What turns you off/on about DJs at Burning Man?

Re: What turns you off/on about DJs at Burning Man?

Postby gyre » Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:54 am

How is any of this different from the skills everyone that knows what they are doing in studio production has used for years?
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Re: What turns you off/on about DJs at Burning Man?

Postby junglesmacks » Wed Aug 10, 2011 5:12 am

gyre wrote:How is any of this different from the skills everyone that knows what they are doing in studio production has used for years?



Hm? Are you comparing studio production work/talent to DJing?


If so, apples and oranges. Studio editing/remastering/etc is in a nice, controlled environment with all the time in the world to do what you want.

DJing in front of a live audience is OMGDOITNOWNOWNOW GO GO GO DONTFUCKUP! You get one shot to perfectly pull the marionette strings just right. No mistakes allowed, and you have 15 seconds to do it if that. It's a complete on the fly, tightrope walking performance.

Also.. and I know this is hard to explain to those that aren't "in" to this kind of music, but the gist/challenge/fun with electronic music is physically playing with the rhythm.. dancing in and out of it, changing it, looping around and back and going 1/2 time, 1/4 time, 1/8 time compress compress WHAM back in and around. If done right, it's really quite incredible to engage and understand. Like said before, it's playing with things not only on an immediate level, but on a grand scale as well to form a whole performance.

I've played african drums/djembe for years now, and it's the same exact thing.. taking base rhythms and forming lead change-ups in tempo that dance through and around and back down again and around and around and through and just.. playing with the rhythm.

I heard this great quote once from this old man that had been around once or twice. He compared rhythm to a cylinder, in that it has a round shape that always comes back to itself. Once you understand the shape of it, you're able to dance freely within it. It stuck with me forever and to this day when I drum in circles. I imagine and can visualize that cylinder of rhythm that the group is creating, and am able to create equidistant and mathematically correct change-ups and variations all within the perfect shape of the rhythm. I love it.

Oh yeah.. the "old man" that made that analogy? Jerry Garcia.
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Re: What turns you off/on about DJs at Burning Man?

Postby gyre » Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:10 am

I've done some other things too, and all without a programmable studio.

And audiences hold no fear for me.

Some have promised to explain it all to me.
I look forward to being impressed, or not.

It was also suggested that maybe I should be doing this.
I have always been a fan of musique concrete.
I remain baffled that more of it isn't done, now that it's so easy.

I'm familiar with what are called african drums, though it's a worldwide thing.
I'm especially fond of some of the southern pacific patterns.

Is that all this is about?
Drumming electronically?



At a rainbow gathering, there were three world class drummers.
Amazingly good.
No idea who they were.
Everyone else just tried to follow.
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Re: What turns you off/on about DJs at Burning Man?

Postby junglesmacks » Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:23 am

gyre wrote:
Is that all this is about?
Drumming electronically?



If you want to put it that way.. kind of. It's about the basic yet complex concept of rhythm and the ability to manipulate, play, layer, chop, divide, etc..

You can use drums, you can use pots and pans, you can use a plastic bucket, you can use electronically created tones and glitches.. but it's all timing. Rhythm is a pie. You can divide it up however you want.. in halves, in quarters, in thirds.. whatever. Cylindrical. It all comes back around to the one big BOOM which is the master beat. If you listen, you can find that one master timing beat in just about all music. From there, it's further divided mathematically and evenly.

http://www.musiclearningworkshop.com/ti ... tures.html

Recently, I finally and actually LISTENED to a few Bassnectar tracks. I can't stand dubstep. Hate it. BUT.. after reading an interview with him where he briefly explained his theory on time signatures and how to further chop, twist and manipulate it.. I was blown away. Noise aside, the guy will switch seamlessly between completely different time signatures and tempos.. I mean.. distant cousins of them.. but yet seam them back together all within the blink of an eye. At first, it just sounds like garbled noise.. but if you pay attention to the mathematics of what he's doing, it's pretty effin' incredible.

Or.. it just all sounds like an old shoe in the dryer to you and you'd rather do something else. :D No harm, no foul. My point of all this is that electronic music is much, much, MUCH more than it seems at a cursory glance. If you haven't ever done so.. I challenge any of you to give it a chance with an open mind. Go one night for say.. 5-10 minutes. Go to a big sound camp. Find your way to the front, and stand right in front of a speaker and LISTEN. Don't worry about looking cool, dancing, whatever.. just listen with an open mind and pay attention to what is going on. You may be surprised.. and in the case of a night of maybe a little *intoxication.. you may blow your own mind. :wink:
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Re: What turns you off/on about DJs at Burning Man?

Postby The CO » Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:32 am

Actually, drums are a good comparison for me regarding DJs, not just at the burn.

A world class drummer/percussionist can make music & captivate you with nothing but a drum. They can make it sound like a small band is playing, when it's just them.

A world class DJ can take music you hate, and turn it into the greatest song you have ever heard.

The problem I run into, is that in both cases, the ratio of world-class to egotistical talentless hack is about 1:10,000.

The worst in the percussion side is when you hear a drum circle, and there's one or two people that are clearly very skilled, but they are being overpowered by 50 monkeys that think loud=good.

The worst in the DJ side is when you hear a song/beat you like, and a crapp-ass DJ can't sync it, blend it, adjust levels or pay attention to the fact that his lack of skill is driving people off the floor.

I guess the thing that turns me off about DJs at Burning Man is that I hear 1 or 2 great ones each year, and about 5000 that are shit.
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Re: What turns you off/on about DJs at Burning Man?

Postby junglesmacks » Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:40 am

The CO wrote:The worst in the percussion side is when you hear a drum circle, and there's one or two people that are clearly very skilled, but they are being overpowered by 50 monkeys that think loud=good.


Or vice versa which to me is even worse.. when you've got 2 or 3 people that are really good and insist on drowning out everyone else and circling up amongst themselves and thinking that it's more of a performance than a community, inclusive event. Vibe = killed.


The CO wrote:I guess the thing that turns me off about DJs at Burning Man is that I hear 1 or 2 great ones each year, and about 5000 that are shit.


I'll give you that one for sure. I'll listen and hang out for a bit, but even with all my arm waving in support of EDM here.. I spend maybe 15 mins at 10 or 2 before I'm bored and go back out to open playa to wander. I'll come back in a while.. play with the people.. bob the head.. smoke a clove.. wander back out.. play time!
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Re: What turns you off/on about DJs at Burning Man?

Postby Ugly Dougly » Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:50 pm

This is all I have to say:
Image

:)
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Re: What turns you off/on about DJs at Burning Man?

Postby junglesmacks » Wed Aug 10, 2011 9:54 pm

Holy fucking shit. I need to switch to decaf in the morning.

Seriously?


Just slap me next time.
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Re: What turns you off/on about DJs at Burning Man?

Postby Corbin » Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:03 pm

Walking down Haight street today listening to the street musicians, I realized that its probably hard to DJ for spare change or food....
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no, not really.

Postby Roberto Dobbisano » Thu Aug 11, 2011 7:16 am

Image
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Re: What turns you off/on about DJs at Burning Man?

Postby plumblove » Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:30 am

I don't spend a lot of time at the dance camps. (I prefer to drive around and see a little of everything.) But I can tell you that the thing that always pumps me is some recognizable clip or beat or lyric. We happened to be near Roots when Bohemian Rhapsody came on and we couldn't help but be drawn in. The frenzy was intoxicating. The relentless beats that you hear most of the time don't project the feeling of a 'special moment' happening. If every time I go by a dance camp it sounds the same then I don't feel as if I'm missing something to not stop in.
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Re: What turns you off/on about DJs at Burning Man?

Postby Ugly Dougly » Thu Aug 11, 2011 9:52 am

Corbin wrote:Walking down Haight street today listening to the street musicians, I realized that its probably hard to DJ for spare change or food....


What does that mean to you?
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Re: What turns you off/on about DJs at Burning Man?

Postby Savannah » Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:22 am

junglesmacks wrote:Holy fucking shit. I need to switch to decaf in the morning.

Seriously?


Just slap me next time.


Oh noes! Junglesmacks revealed that he haz a soul! And nuance! It was terrible! Terrible!

Each of the two times I read your post, I suffered horribly. :P
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Re: What turns you off/on about DJs at Burning Man?

Postby Corbin » Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:36 am

What does that mean to you?


It means.... maybe time for me to pick the trumpet up again~! Come the apocalypse and ensuing emps, all my electronics will be worthless. And... I am currently unemployed; if I hadn't stopped playing the trumpet 10 years ago I might be able to make a little extra cash playing music to strangers.

It was more of an observation on my part, not a judgment or pot shot at anyone. I know nothing of performing art or music on the street, other than that which I walk by; I enjoy hearing most of the music played and I know some of these people are down on their luck.
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Re: What turns you off/on about DJs at Burning Man?

Postby Ugly Dougly » Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:48 pm

A trumpet serenade - even if badly done - I think that would be something diferent. Bring it! :)
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Re: What turns you off/on about DJs at Burning Man?

Postby faeflora » Sun Aug 14, 2011 10:31 am

Like: MORE DUBSTEP PLEASE

Dislike: LESS SHITTY CRAP HOUSE PLEASE
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Re: What turns you off/on about DJs at Burning Man?

Postby Katiebaby25 » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:08 pm

faeflora wrote:Like: MORE DUBSTEP PLEASE

Dislike: LESS SHITTY CRAP HOUSE PLEASE



Agreed... I LOVE dubstep and I LOVE Bassnectar.. he's a brilliant musician and a brilliant man in everything he does! So inspirational! I don't get the Bassnectar hating!
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Re: What turns you off/on about DJs at Burning Man?

Postby Galaxo Magic » Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:34 am

Dislike the use of clips of recognizable songs.

Love psytrance!!!! Qee Nishi is my favorite DJane!!!!!
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Re: What turns you off/on about DJs at Burning Man?

Postby EastcoastEd » Sat Aug 27, 2011 9:22 pm

Like: When the DJ for the most part just plays and mixes the music. Oh, and the bling monkey.

dislikes: Industrial-house-trance that is the same beat over and over that seems to never fucking end; then it's mixed into and continued into the next song. It's like that shitty action flick where the final chase scene never ends and the vilian won't die.

Remember: DJ's wouldn't exist if it wasn't for musicians.
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Re: What turns you off/on about DJs at Burning Man?

Postby vargaso » Mon Aug 29, 2011 11:10 pm

It bugs me when multiple sound cars cluster around a cool art piece and duke it out for who's loudest. Actually that really bugs me. Also, too much of one style. Is it dubstep that Bassnectar plays? Well whatever it is he plays, there's too fucking much of it for my tastes. A little variety is always nice.

Otherwise, I love strolling around and absorbing the soundscape. I'm a drummer (you know, hitting actual drums), but I appreciate the skill it takes to DJ a complex set that builds tension and releases it at just the right time, driving the crowd into a frenzy. It's a different beast than live music, I think. I mean, I've actually pumped my fist into the air while dancing to DJs at Burning Man, and I can assure you I've never done that to a live band. I'm not sure what it is, but it's real.

Anyway, holy shit!! I'm leaving for the playa in the morning!!! See ya out there!
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Re: What turns you off/on about DJs at Burning Man?

Postby TD-2441 » Tue Aug 30, 2011 7:20 am

My gripe is that there is too much "industrial" techno-type stuff that is just tuneless repetitive noise. In 2010 I could find nowhere playing trance or vocal trance, with some actual melody. I went to all the big open air clubs on the Playa and there was no buzz at all for me due to each one playing the same stuff and all of it far too industrial. I know that it's impossible to see and hear all the music played over the week but on my nightly wanderings all over the Playa I heard NO trance all week :(
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Re: What turns you off/on about DJs at Burning Man?

Postby VanLazarus » Sun Sep 04, 2011 3:17 am

[quote="Dr. Pyro"]I am in complete agreement with Packoderm. Some clown playing dusty discs with no talent of their own with regards to actually composing and playing the music is not art, it's repetition. And boring. It doesn't take talent to play records, it takes talent to be the musician on the records. As one who plays the piano, playing the piano takes talent; playing an old Tom Lehrer album does not.[/quote]

I'm not a DJ but disagree with your statement. Being a great DJ is not only about just playing music. You're confusing bad DJs with all DJs. Some composers/musicians are pretty boring too. Just because they pick up an instrument does not make them more talented or more inspiring. There is talent all the way from composing, to playing instruments, to performing, to video presentation, to cover bands! Your argument against DJs is like saying that a musician is god-like, while the amazing performer that dances to his music is devoid of talent! A good DJ can combine and modify great songs in new ways... and at the very least, bring peoples attention to great music they haven't heard before. It takes skill to find and present music. And many DJs are composers and do create their own music.

Your knock against DJs sounds like the argument I've heard many times: People creating rock are better than electronica composers because they play a guitar rather than programming a sequencer on their computer!

Talent is everywhere... from the note written on paper to the sound wave hitting your eardrum!
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Re: What turns you off/on about DJs at Burning Man?

Postby MaraA » Mon Sep 05, 2011 5:59 am

I loved burning man this year, but my main issue was the lack of variety in music. It seemed like every night the music was very hard and aggressive dubstep, hip-hop, pop, or very hard techno. There was very little good house music or trance for those of us dancers who prefer music on the softer side. That said, for the most part Robot Heart was a welcome refuge. Particularly the set that was played on Wednesday night. Does anyone know who played at Robot Heart on Wednesday?

I am really, really hoping that the music will be softer next year. Most people I spoke with agreed that the music was entirely too aggro for the warm, loving environment of Burning Man. Even siting inside our RV it was apparent that the music all around us was very hard "headache music" as my camp mates started to call it. I have high hopes that next year more genres of electronic will be represented.
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Re: What turns you off/on about DJs at Burning Man?

Postby Miles » Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:55 am

I hate that most of the DJs just play banger after banger after banger. It gets old reaaaaaaaaaaaaal quick. Soften it out once in a while- create dynamics, a vibe, a journey for you audience. I love dubstep, but the 99% of dubstep I hear out there is just candy raver, aggro-distortion, testosterone fueling shit. Props to Babylon System for being the only DJs I heard this year playing proper sub-driven deep dubstep.


Edit: Also was at robot heart for a while on Wed night this year. <3 <3 <3. I don't like a lot of untz untz music, but that shit was deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep as hell
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Re: What turns you off/on about DJs at Burning Man?

Postby TD-2441 » Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:07 am

MaraA wrote:I loved burning man this year, but my main issue was the lack of variety in music. It seemed like every night the music was very hard and aggressive dubstep, hip-hop, pop, or very hard techno. There was very little good house music or trance for those of us dancers who prefer music on the softer side.


What he said ^^. It seems that the whole "post apocalyptic" thing is taking over a bit - all the dance areas I went to in 2010 looked like something out of Mad Max - lots of people there looked like Mad max extras too - which I guess is up to them, there shouldn't be a dress code to BM :D But as I walked around during the week it seems that everything was going a bit post apocalyptic. I longed for some decent trance and vocal stuff and melodies, even cheesy classic house :D Nobody does a Cheesy House Music theme camp! :mrgreen:

And yes, Robot Heart FTW but on 2010 Burn Night even they were playing some hard stuff.
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Re: What turns you off/on about DJs at Burning Man?

Postby kvd » Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:22 am

What turns me off? Where do I start! I will preface though with this: I am a DJ. I spent years on college radio pre-electronica, then jumped into the rave scene as soon as it hit SF. My first ever week in BRC was in the days before there were dance sound systems there at all, and subsequent years I was involved with the first sound systems out there. I play and enjoy most formats.

So, that said, here's my main point: the very least creative thing you can do in BRC, besides nothing or spectating, is DJing. Almost every sound system out there sucks for both quality and content. The ones that don't suck are played ghastly loud. And do we even need to discuss coming across a camp with one or two people in it at most and a DJ absolutely blasting their masturbatory musical annoyance to no audience? If no one is there, TURN IT FUCKING OFF. Or at least down to conversational levels.

There are so many other places to go with this rant, but I don't have the heart. No point. And don't even get me started about lasers!
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Re: What turns you off/on about DJs at Burning Man?

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:22 am

TD-2441 wrote:It seems that the whole "post apocalyptic" thing is taking over a bit - all the dance areas I went to in 2010 looked like something out of Mad Max

Mad Max was a playa look long before Iliano Wear sewed their first stitch. It was well ensconced back in 2002, and I haven't seen it waver in that time.
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