Songs of Forgotten Roads

I put out a new mix-set. It’s one of the serious ones, where I’ve spent a lot of time and effort both on picking out the songs and on making sure the transitions are smooth. It’s not a journey though. Rather, I’m trying to set a mood and then stick with it, intensifying it little by little as the set goes on.

If you’re into dark and mellow electronic dance music (even if not for dancing), then definitely check this out. I’d very much appreciate it.

Songs of Forgotten Roads

Music for Summer Afternoons

I put a new mix set together. It’s been a while, and this one’s been a long time coming. If I recall correctly I started picking out the tracks back before Christmas already. There was something very appealing about sitting in the dark with the winter rain on the windows and picking out summer music.

This is the end result. I wanted music that gave the same kind of feeling as the dream of the long summer afternoons of memory. I’m sure you’ve had them too.

The set starts out a bit deep, perhaps a bit too much so. The first two tracks aren’t all that light and fluffy. It grows though; gets wilder and stronger. Melodies show up, carefully at first, but they become more daring and towards the end they full out fly through the sound scape.

At least, that’s my take on it, but then it’s also my own selection of music that I put together myself. I’m very clearly biased.

I do hope people enjoy it though, and I hope a bit of that summer feeling shines out through the music.

Music for Summer Afternoons

Telling A Story With Other People’s Music

I put together a new mix-set, and I put together a story to go with it:

This is, I’m certain, my best one so far – and by far. It’s got a theme that runs throughout the entire set and the tracks all work together really well. I feel it’s more of a journey than my previous sets. In that way, it also tells more of a story.

Over the last few days I’ve put the finishing touches on the set and I’ve made the tweaks necessary to get it to the point it’s at now. A part of this process has been to lie down on my bed, with the lights out, and listen to the entire set in one go. This means I’m lying still in the same spot, doing nothing but listening to music for over an hour.

It’s been a great experience and if you have the time and the patience I strongly recommend it. A pair of good headphones won’t hurt either.

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Picture from Burning Man last year. I wanted to go out and take a picture to fit with the theme, but I live in Ireland and it’s been raining all day, so there wasn’t really much point to it. This will do.

During these listening sessions a few images have come back repeatedly, and that’s what forms the story of the set. Below here, I’m recounting the story as it plays out in my mind when I listen to the set. If you’d rather listen to it with an open mind and without my influence, skip the rest of the post.

It all begins with a space ship landing on a desert planet. During the second track you can hear announcements made over the PA at the space port (Horus, by Phoebus and Seamless Beat).

After this comes a long journey through deserts and over mountains. Stops are made at oases and watering holes (Shadow of the Desert, by Vansam). Caves give shelter from the howling mountain winds (Legend of Ararat, by Deng & Slavak). Through it all, the spirits of the land and the ghosts of the long dead can be heard whispering in the night (The Silk Road, by Stanisha (and pretty much all other tracks too)).

At long last, the journey reaches its destination: an excavation at the site of an ancient temple somewhere deep in the mountains. Something has gone terrible wrong, and far below the mountain, an evil older than time itself stirs (Annie’s Theme, by Andrez).

Finally, deep within the temple, a horror unimaginable is fought. The science and technology that takes mankind across galaxies stand against a being holding grudges since before the stars were even born (Wild Soul, by JWM).

In the end, the sun still rises over the mountain, and a new day dawns (Sacred Emotion221, by Soulfinder).

That’s my story that comes with the songs I selected. It’s what I hear when I listen to the set. The middle parts are pretty vague, but I’m very clear on the beginning and the end – especially the end (and in my version, the good guys win – of course).

Telling A Story With Other People’s Music

I’ve Been Tinkering With Music Again

I put together another mix-set:

I used to DJ fairly regularly when I was younger. I even lived in New York for a year and during that time I spun out nearly every week. Usually at goth/industrial parties and within the fetish scene, but I also played at some places focusing on more “traditional” types of dance music (house, techno, etc).

It is now several years since I DJ:ed in front of people. Sometimes I miss it, but not enough to put in the effort required to do it again. I still like the act of mixing two songs together though – matching up the beats and tweaking the levels into a nice transition between two tracks. It’s an amazing feeling when you pull it off just right and hit that perfect mix, when it all comes together and the beat just takes off.

I still have my decks and mixer set up out in the living room, but I don’t really use them anymore. I got a computer program to do it for me. That way I don’t have to worry (much) about matching up the beat and I can tweak the volume and EQ levels until the transition between the tracks is exactly as I want it.

What’s more: I can focus on the selection of music.

I’m spending a lot of time picking out the music for my sets. I want to use songs that work together, so that the set becomes more than just a sequence of tunes. I’m probably being pretentious, but I like to think of it as a soundtrack for my imagination.

I like to let my mind drift away with the music and I like it to keep drifting.

I want the music to support a journey of the mind. It’s fine if it swings back and forth a little, but too much and it gets confusing and distracting and the mind snaps back to reality again. That’s why I try to take care already when picking out what songs to include, long before I even start putting them together.

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The set I linked above started with the track Femme Ultime by Moshic. It’s a piece of dark progressive house and it’s a track I’ve known for quite some time. It’s in my playlist I used when I did a lot of night-time running. I tried to pick tracks that would support this and for which this track would be a natural culmination.

It didn’t quite work, but it still turned out pretty good. Rather than one long continuous journey, the set split into two. The first part, which is longer, is more mellow than dark, with a lot of atmospheric sounds and effects. It’s not until the last third of the set that the dark sounds really come into the mix. Here, the sounds get deeper and more eerie. It gets a little bit more intense.

For me, it still works really well, even if it’s not exactly what I had first envisioned. If you have the time, give it a listen, even if you’re not normally into electronic dance music you may still enjoy it.

I’ve Been Tinkering With Music Again