Archive for January, 2011

Bi Polar Girl

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Writing about Orsii & her struggle with depression early in life, reminded me of a (very good) friend of mine.

Gabrielle-Blackman Sheppard was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder some years ago & has written about her experiences from suffering to diagnosis, treatment & beyond in an incredibly frank & surprisingly humorous  account, ‘Bi Polar Girl: An Irreverent Look At Bipolar Disorder’.

Part personal account, part self-help book, it doesn’t dodge difficult areas, doesn’t get bogged down in dry, academic explanations or jargon, nor does it present easy, quick-fix solutions, unlike some sugary, touchy-feely tomes, peddled by (in my opinion), perma-tanned, snake-oil selling charlatons. She also asks simple, direct questions of the reader, yet the overall tone is one of quiet optimism & hope. Some may find it over-simplistic, but if you are going through ANY of this, trying to wade through reams of text & complicated exercises is the last thing you want (or are able) to do.

Considering 1 in 4 people in the UK has or will have had some form of mental illness, I’d say getting a handle on issues like this is rather important.

She is doing fine & continues to write & offer experience & support at her blog ‘Bipolar Girl‘.

I’d also like to add my appreciation & thanks to her husband, Richard, who as offered advice & support in getting me online. His help has not only been invaluable, but gave me the confidence to actually take the plunge & go online.

2 Months in The Clouds….

Friday, January 28th, 2011

I’ve been on Mixcloud for about 2 months (give or take), and during this time, I ’ve met a real cross-section of people, all of whom have been very supportive as well as overwhelmingly positive.

Just a quick browse on the site not only reveals the bewildering, brain-stretching wealth & breadth of material on offer, but there really is a sense of community (Myspace? Hmmmmmmm……………………..)

This in turns fires a part of me that  remembers why I got into DJing in the first place & why I still enjoy it

Others may

  • Be better mixers/scratchers/turtablists
  • Have bigger/more extensive collections
  • Possess the latest/hottest tunes
  • Have larger follower/fanbases

but, I simply love music & that’s why I DJ & I like to think that comes across in every mix I do or any set I play.  I’ve always said I don’t love music because I’m a DJ, rather I’m a DJ because I love music.

Case in point: I get a message from Blakbird, a young gun based in Bristol. Only DJing for about a year & a mad keen dubstep fan. Asks for feedback on his mixes.

A long while ago, my reply would probably been short & to the point (including the word ‘off’ at some stage). However, now I thought, ‘well they’ve asked, the least I can do is listen’.

I’m not a dubstep fan (no reason, I just haven’t heard my ‘killer selection’ yet), but what I heard was impressive. It was clear, despite me not being into the scene there was obviously a high level of thought & technical work in his mix. The use of effects & edits clearly demonstrated a lot of time & care had gone into making the mix work.

It could be argued that technology has made the process of DJing easier & to a point that’s true. However, no amount of technology so far has been a substitute for talent, be it inate or the result of hard graft. Blakbird is a talented kid, & has (rightly) seen his followers grow dramatically in number.

As I say, it doesn’t matter if I give someone a junk shop fiddle or a priceless 16th century violin from Cremona: if you can’t play and/or are tone deaf it’ll still sound like you skinning a cat dipped in salt , whilst electrocuting its gonads.

Seeing what others are doing & uploading took me aback at first, then it has given me a ‘fresh wind’ of inspiration.

I kinda like it out here…………….

Mixcloud Buddies pt 2

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Vlada Stojanovic

The Serb Scientist

This unassuming Serbian doesn’t so much upload mixes as fire off a series of audio curveballs, ranging from dreamy soundscapes through to full, hide-behind the-sofa-and beg-for-your-mummy walls of noise.

He’s (quite rightly) earned his place in the Top 40 Cloudcasters of 2010 (He’s at 32) and you could do worse than check out some of his uploads. Also check out his website – I did & ended up downloading an EP by ‘ClassicBeatz’!

Recommended Listening:

Jazzzy…or Not

Hack Saw Drum & Bass

I have no idea how to call this mix

Next…..

K-Cee

The Duracell Disco Bunny from Japan clearly loves disco, 80’s boogie & the (properly) funkier side of house. His mixes are very occasionally, borderline oddness BUT still it works. No pictures exist, but I suspect this individual is secreted in a mountain hideaway, contemplating the next move in total world domination.

Try these mixes:

Leaving This Planet

Gotenyama Sessions Vol 3

Made by J Sessions

Finally………………

Orsii

Great kid, fantastic music. Rubbish disguise

A nice, Nordic music lover, based in the UK. I found a mix made completely of Disney songs (she may have done or listened to), which was so completely bonkers it was genius. Called by one person ‘The First Lady of Mixcloud’, she justifiably made the Top 20 of Best Cloudcasters for 2010. She has a show online at Laidback radio & works at Fat City Records. The lady’s quite prolific, putting out sublime jazzy/hip hop compilations & mixes.

Check out her website , where she, amongst other things, talks with remarkable frankness & honesty of her struggle with depression in her younger years & more recently her feelings following the untimely death of an old college friend.

It was such a moving piece of writing, making a welcome, thought-provoking  change from all the inane online noise.

Check out:

Astrid

Killer No Filler

Inspiration

C’mon Feet!

99 per cent Perspiration…………….

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Have been working on a couple of mixes & it’s been driving me (and The Wife) to distraction.

Trying to find the time to compile & test is one thing, but I’m at the point of throwing things out of windows, as several attempts to record have been terrible.

During practice, no problem: edits in (just about) the right place, but press ‘record’ then something happens. Mischievous imps sabotage cue points, previously well-worked beats clash, and on several occasions, the whole system’s crashed.

The thing’s eating into my (personal) life. My poor Other Half is wondering when I’ll return from this mental exile, while I’m trying to prevent carrying out routine maintenance on my PC with a lump hammer!

Update: have finally finished one mix – am considering using it as part of a larger project, but either way, I’ll probably upload it soon…if they don’t take me away first…………….

My Mixcloud Buddies, Pt 1

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Since joining the Mixcloud community, I’ve not only uploaded my stuff to the wider world, but I’ve found a small but decidedly mint group of buddies who’ve seen fit to follow my work & I check out their stuff too.

They have very different styles but are united in putting together quality, genre-spanning (or defying) podcasts, not just a succession of bangin’ tunes.

TK Kid (Spain)

Our Man in Barca

Heard some of his mixes when I first heard of Mixcloud but before I signed up. He’s got a penchant for Jazz Soul & funk, but isn’t limited to or by these genres. Regularly working in Europe, he’s also put out stuff for Laidback Radio & check his website where you can download some storming selections

He also welcomed me on the ‘Cloud’ once I’d signed. A really decent chap.

Recommended Listening:

2000 – 2010: A Retrospective Soundscape (Vol 1)

UK Funky!

Latin Shin-a-ling!

Next up………………….

Miss Phi 1.61803399

The Girl From Antwerp

In some circles, mention the words ‘ginger’ & ‘Belgian’ in the same sentence amounts to ammunition for 15 minutes of (lame) jokes (Not me – I at least try to be creative, then aim my invective to as wide a group as possible – don’t want people thinking I’ve got favourites).

However, our ‘Gal from Antwerp’ has got quite the following for her sets. Ranging from Jazz, to gypsy music through to head-crunching DnB.  She also exemplifies the concept that

  • A  DJ can put together an astounding set purely on tune selection, as opposed to super-tight mixing
  • Not every DJ in Belgiun/Netherlands is dead set on frying your brains with ear-bleeding trance music

Phi 1.61803399, by the way is a number known as ‘The Golden Ratio’ (look it up on Google).

Recommended Listening:

Micro Cosmos

Senor Coconut’s Cumbia Baile

Dreamers Dream Alone

That’s it for now, I’ll get to some of the others later….