cydonia.sessions.o1 (2010)

tobias.dj @ Upgrade International NYC (2005)

DOWNLOAD CYDONIA.SESSIONS.o1

In 2010, I recorded a series of online broadcasts for net pirates & djs entitled the cydonia.sessions. Each set followed a thematic resonance through strains of techno, house, and electro, capturing the way in which I tend to construct and deconstruct sets around fragmented motifs and recurring signatures of sound. The sets were recorded by a third-party server; some came out alright, others had unfortunate gaps of several seconds that led to frustratingly incomplete recordings. The cydonia.sessions were also designed as tests of my Traktor Scratch platform, which I configured as a digital vinyl system that required manual beatmatching. With the Traktor Scratch (Pro) software combined with my Technics SL1200s and the Mackie d4.Pro mixer, all the parameters of techno-turntablism are still at play. The main difference is that the source of the music has shifted from the vinyl medium itself to digital files on the laptop. Vinyl has been divorced from its recording content, becoming a pure form, an instrument for performativity. Instead of selecting and manipulating analog vinyl, I work with digital vinyl, which offers similar tactile methods of control and play. Indeed this is all it is: a control/playback component of the turntable-mixer assemblage. Part of me appreciates this. Yet, the effect is not the same: the laptop screen is distracting, and I miss the aesthetics of crate-digging records and flipping on and off the vinyl. I don’t close my eyes as much. These are all things to be overcome, as I can no longer purchase vinyl where I live. DJ record stores — like movie theatres, indie book sellers, and movie rental outlets — are a thing of the past. Objects that combined content with functionality are obsolete; today’s objects channel content from elsewhere (a laptop, cloud, distributed network) while their form serves to manipulate this delocalized content. “Thick” objects have become “empty” containers. By splitting content from form, digital vinyl has opened up other possibilities (such as liberating the wear and tear of vinyl from the degradation of the music itself), even as it forms part of a trend of dismantling public space (I miss the Thursday nights at Bassix, when new vinyl would arrive; all the city’s DJs would be there, hunting through the fresh wax). With digital integration, I have certainly taken advantage of the effects and looping possibilities of Traktor with the addition of the X1 controller. I’ve often worked with effects in the mix, and Traktor’s selection is superb, with the X1 offering well-designed handling that bridges turntablism with performative remixing. The cydonia.sessions capture a few of the results, as well as forays into my ever growing digital collection of music.

Photo — tobias.dj @ Upgrade International NYC, Eyebeam (2005).

tobias.dj
April 2012

Be Sociable, Share!