This what I do at night and the evenings (and on the weekends etc.).

I have a small record label that’s a growing collection of my more organized music projects; a release platform for my music, cues and songs for professional commercial use, and–as of this year, a growing filed recording library.

Does anyone out there have any music needs?

Rather than a generalist, I do a few things very well (synth textures mixed with folk instruments to name one).

Below is from early this week. Cuckoo is from Norway and a bit of a modern titan in today’s YouTube-based synth world. This is a pice I did that will go into a pack I am building called Today’s Future [but]_non-dystopian_. (starts at 10:52!)

Today’s patch was originally intended to be a spatial, washy sound-bed for a forthcoming track “Ghidd Whaah.” Mixing the original wrapped this week, and yesterday a rearranged the track for a micro live set. The plan was to enter it in a new #jamuary2022 contest. 

(Jamuary is a sharing event at the start of each year meant to get folks writing. In maybe it’s 4th or 5th interaction, it really seems to be growing.)

Coincidentally, the theme this week was “uplifting,” and “Gheed Whaah” is just that, composed of gibberish robot lyrics set to nice chords. 

[This how-i-did it is a much as a kind-of diary as a look into the ‘how’ on this particular patch.]

the Morphagene

I started in B @ 85bpm with a randomized Xynthesizr patch. Xynthesizr is a iPhone app that allows for all sorts of tinkly synth sequences. It is a good starting point for just about anything—ex.: think drone to write acoustic chords over. 

From there it’s fed into the Morphagene, which mangles audio in all sorts of horrible ways. In between this carnage, there are some beautiful bits. I’ve really been trying to get to this beauty a lot faster, so I’ve been burning up the manual as well as racking up the reps/ hours. 

Basically this module allows you to tape, chop, shrink/ expand bits of audio in some sort of way so that totally new sounds unheard by man coming out the other side.

I am generally still flying blind, but the tiniest rays of light are starting to poke thru. 

And to complicate life even further, this is all being fed into the Mimeophon, which is a delay/ echo/ reverb unit. I know it does a lot more, but this is what I have it doing now. Again, I can only scratch the surface presently, but I have real faith greatness here too is just around the bend. 

These were made to work together. 

Lastly, I duplicated the output and fed it thru a Doepfer SEM filter. Really I wanted to see what would happen, but I made it self oscillate into a kind of bass drone. I am pretty sure I know what’s going on, but I need more time, man!

The whole of all of this is firmly in happy accident territory. And in my personal continuing quest for non-dystopian-future-sounding future sounds,* I’m not sure there is a better customizable instrument. 

Hope you enjoyed the sounds. 

-jd 

*More on this later. 

Beautiful sunset @ Lost Creek Country Club

Had a fantastic Saturday night, pool-side set. Beautiful vibes all around. I am at my level best @ this kind of gig.

Actually hanging up the solo electronic/ acoustic spurs for a bit to concentrate on these DJ sets.

Gives me a greater opportunity to share music I love, keeps me so current — searching for new cuts, and I can mix in my own electronic stuff (that fits).
-jd

Playlist

Walking on the Moon – The Police
A classic, ushering in the right feel.

All I Want to Do – UB40
Deep cut from my favorite album of theirs. Such a great groove. Amazing drum machine and bass (machine) too.

Natty Dread – Bob Marley
All time favorite Bob track. So chill.

T’aint What You Do – Fun Boy 3
So weird and great.

Non Stop – Kraftwerk
One of the greats. This is a newer remix. Absolutely love the mood here.

Verona – Lastlings
Nice, close song. I think I heard it in passing on Apple Music.

Rat in Mi Kitchen – UB40
Couldn’t help myself. Had to go back to the well.

Fems Pay Douces – Raphael Toiné
Heard this via Paris’ Le Mellotron. Shows up in a lot of folks sets. How could you not love this guy?

I Fell it Coming – The Weekend/ Daft Punk 
Such a jam. Chorus is repeated a lot. Not sure the kids know what he’s talking about, luckily.

Sentimental Street – Night Ranger
Again, I can not help myself sometimes with the 80’s.

Paradise (live) – Sade
Thee deepest of grooves. Love this whole record too.

Wouldn’t it Be Good – Danny Hutton Hitters
A classic. Good break-the-sounds-up song. A bit cheesy, version-wise.

A Message to You Rudy – The Specials
Perfect pool-side music. Drunken horns on a Saturday after noon are perfection.

Down Under – Men at Work
Always sounds great loud. You wouldn’t think, but it’s true.

Brother’s Cup – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Wasn’t sure about this one. Kept waiting for an errant blue word. Never came!

Matadjem Yinmixan – Tinarwian
I love this song so much. Perfect chill afternoon vibe.

Cruel Summer – Bananarama
Ditto. Love this too. Sounds so wooly and perfectly of its time.

Where Angels Fear to Tread – Disclosure 
Amazing. The whole thing; every facet. Made me a fan of these guys.

Meditate – INXS
Weird, but it worked. Forget how it even got on the playlist.

Oguo – Lakou Mizik & Joseph Ray
I almost misted-up when this started. Such amazing work here combining the rural, very real island life with the modern. Breathtaking. Watch the video. Reminds you what an amazing world we live in.

Secrets – The Weekend
The most modern way to cover songs ever. Genius.

Adventure of a Lifetime – Coldplay
No apologies for loving theses guys. This record changed the course of my life.

Crazy – Gnarls Barkley 
Classic. Everybody loves it. Period.

Bad Dream – Cannons
How cool is this? Love these guys.

Love is Not Enough – Above & Beyond ft. Zoë Johnson
Beautiful remix. And that voice. Wow.

Chameleon – Panu
Happiest song ever? I could listen to it over-and-over-and-over.

Warning Signs – Alan Fitzpatrick & Lawrence Hart
This has been playing in the car a lot. Like a lot.

One More Time – Daft Punk
I can still remember the first time I heard this. Fell right in love.

Sailing – Chicane
Cool idea and execution. Prefect for the Country Club afternoon set. Tailor made.

Beyond Beliefs – Ben Böhmer
The summer song of 2021. For sure.

+[encore]

The Telephone Call – Kraftwerk
Yes! Current favorite Kraftwerk song.

SuperJumper – MadMixMustang
So ridiculous.

The home, manual beat matching set-up.

Saturday I am opening for myself, or as I like to call it, playing myself in.

Here’s the pick-list: https://embed.music.apple.com/us/playlist/21-7-10-dj-crate/pl.u-Z6Wmjtq6KvN

My first steps from zero to hero:

  1. What’s Good? Favorite DJ resource on the Internet (a/k/a Youtube) is Digital DJ Tips. Honerable mention to DJ Tech Tools as well.
  2. Can I stream? No you cannot stream form Apple music or Spotify. You have to to sign up for Tidal, but I am not using streaming this time around.
  3. How to Setlist? Per Digital DJ Tips’ advice, I have twice as much music ready as I need packed neatly into a Serato, in order of BPM, which is probably how I will play it. Organization has been the best digital tip (of many). I’ve watched a ton of Phil’s content on repeat, and his patience is saintly.
  4. What’s your thing? Know what you’re after. I mix like a vinyl DJ, and that’s making the first outing easy: emphasis on vibe and mood, not non-stop dancing. Making this distinction–figuring out the what and how, will save heartache down the road.
  5. What’s been the best? The internet (Youtube) is filled with some really amazing feats of curation an dexterity from DJ’s all over. A lot of great Brazilian action out there right now. As a closeted sp-404 guy, I found LeMellotron in Paris, and their DJ sets are second to none. I love all of their programing.
  6. What about your original music? It’s all affecting the music I’m making now. This week’s track is a prime example.
    https://soundcloud.com/jdtorian/right-demo
  7. This guy

Next post: set building.

Being from Austin, and being more electronic, and being more pop, and living in the the world of Americana and big, floppy hats, and being very authentic, things get weird if you let them. I have some low grade anger towards the middling world of Americana. This is not to say that there is stuff that does not rise above, but there is definitely stuff that does not.

I did sound for a show this weekend, and I just didn’t get it. Seemed like an act. So, how do you check that at the door and get to the essence?

Here’s how I’m going to do it.

The new Set-Up

My gig this week will be the first where I finally drop the guitar as a centerpiece along with the sing-songs and push into the shaky frontier of improvisation and electronic. Mixing this with my 80’s-sounding sing-songs.

Will it work gig #1? I don’t know. Going to try. (I am excited about show 3 or 4.) The starting line-up is drafted, and I am going with what’s pictured above. Have some assumptions about the equipment and its ability to hold up.

The Xone mixer is very old, but it’s also very rock-solid. Interface from Ableton to mixer is a bit sketchy. If it all goes to shite I can just play the guitar and sing, so nothing lost there.

I will say this: on the Monday before a Friday show, I am interested to see how it turns out. It could go 1000’s of different ways. That’s really great and inspiring. Hope it’s inspired!

Hope to see a few of you out Friday!