Monthly Archives: November 2010

Ableton one track at a time

Back in 85/86, I would make mixes and record them on 90 minute cassettes. I didn’t have a lot of records yet then so my mixes would use the same songs over and over. They were repetitive and sometimes just damn strange – I would throw in some song that just didn’t fit just to try something different. Sometimes it would work, usually it wouldn’t. But that experimentation was cool, even when it didn’t work.

And that 1985 vibe is what I’m feeling now when I play with Ableton mixes. I’ve been mixing live with Ableton on my Infinity Tunes set for a few weeks now. I’m slowly adding songs to Ableton one at a time but not quite fast enough. So not only are my Ableton mixes sometimes sloppy since I’m still new at it, but they can get repetitive too since I’m using a lot of the same songs week after week.

But hey, that’s cool. It’s all part of the learning process. And just like now, when I listen to those 1985 mixes and cringe at the bad parts and pat myself on the back for the good parts, I can’t wait for perfection to put stuff out there. So I’ll be trying to remember to upload my Infinity Tunes live mixes, warts and all, so months/years from now, other people can hear that timeline from just average to (hopefully) something pretty damn cool.

Here’s a mix from Oct 30, 2010.

(Update – December 2011. House-mixes ate this mix. It’s ok. You’re not missing much.)

Justice – Phantom
A Skills & Beatvandals – Simply Playing
Tobias Tinker – Tiga
The Blue Nile – She Saw The World
The Field Mice – Missing The Moon
Prefab Sprout – If You Don’t Love Me
Dirty Vegas – Home Again
Madonna – Future Lovers
Mr V – Da Bump
The Rapture – Don Gon Do It
New Order – Fine Time
Kylie Minogue – Come Into My World
Jean Paul Bondy – Cold Reformer
Fluke – Absurd
Covenant – Tension
Iris – Annie, Would I Lie To You
Tears For Fears – Change
Luxxury – Drunk
Daft Punk – Around The World / Harder Better Faster Stronger
Texas – Summer Son
Reggie and The Full Effect – Laura’s Australian Dance Party
Chemical Brothers – Let Forever Be
Sally Shapiro – Find My Soul
Caged Baby – 16 Lovers
Boyfriendgirlfriend – Infatuation Dot Com
Nick Rhodes – Come Alive (Tiga Remix)
Abigail – Constant Craving
Prodigy – Spitfire (Future Funk Remix)
Mea – Red Light Go
Andy Hunter – The Wonders Of You
Armand Van Helden – Three Girl Rhumba
Timo Mass – Pictures (Evil Nine Remix)
Primal Scream – Swastika Eyes (Jagz Kooner Mix)
Uberzone – Seville (General Midi Mix)
Hyper – We Control
The Alpha Conspiracy – Close
System22 – Halfway To There
Hybrid – Out Of The Dark
Paul Van Dyk – Spellbound
Oxide & Neutrino – Garage Beat
Playradioplay! – Even Fairy Tale Characters Would Be Jealous
Dogzilla – Without You
Lucia – We Are Angels
Sunna – I’m Not Trading

Song of the Day: Jackstreet Inc. EP

I guess you would call this a 4-track EP, although ‘Break It Down’ and ‘Makin House Music’ just seem like remixes of each other.
There’s a slightly experimental vibe to these songs that I like. “Makin’ House Music” especially reminds me of Mr. Lee’s “Art of Acid”.

Mike “Hitman” Wilson Presents
Jackstreet Inc.
Break It Down
Makin’ House Music
Can’t Do It Alone
Calypso Underground

Real House Records – RHR-102
Produced by R. Rodgers and S. Bramlett
Exec. Prod: Mike “Hitman” Wilson

Song of the Day: Yello Metropolitan Mixdown 1989

This is one of the more interesting records in my collection. They released a record in 1989 with a fold out sleeve that had space for two records. It came with one record and second one would be released later. And I checked the record stores multiple times a week until I got a copy of the second disc.

The first record contained:
Of Course I’m Lying (3:52) (a shorter mix than the album version)
Oh Yeah (Dance Mix) (same version from the 12 inch)
The Yello Metropolitan Mixdown 1989 Part I

The sleeve said the second record would contain “(The Truth Is) Of Course I’m Lying” which sounded like a new, interesting remix, but when it was released, the second record contained:
Of Course I’m Lying (5:56) (album version)
Bostich (3:39) (same as previously released versions)
The Yello Metropolitan Mixdown 1989 Part II

Unfortunately, the mix isn’t nearly as interesting as the packaging. Except for the intros to both mixes, the songs aren’t really ‘mixed’ together. The Race will be playing, a sample from Bostich is played on top of it, then the song jumps to Bostich. Each song/mix is like that. Paul Dakeyne and DMC have made some good stuff in the past. Either they phoned this one in or the powers that be didn’t want them doing anything too radical to Yello’s music.

The Yello Metropolitan Mixdown 1989 Part I and II

Mercury Phonogram 872 945-1
Mercury Phonogram 872 947-1

Music composed and arranged by Boris Blank
Lyrics and vocals by Dieter Meier
Produced and engineered by Yello
Remixed by Paul Dakeyne for DMC
Cover by Ernst Gamper

Mixdown I features:
Dakeyne Intro
The Race
Call It Love (Trego Snare)
Tied Up
Vicious Games
I Love You
Oh Yeah

Mixdown II features:
Dakeyne Intro
The Rhythm Divine
La Habanera
Blazing Saddles
Live At The Roxy
Pin Ball Cha Cha

From inside sleeve:
Dieter Meier and Boris Blank collaborated their talents in 1979 to form the Swiss music group Yello.

Faithful to their own aesthetics, they have amassed the largest modern music cult following in Europe, and defied the jargonistic terms set up by the pop press authorities.

Once one drops the needle onto any of their albums, all the pseudo-hip definitions of electrofunk and future expressionism are washed down the tubes by the most devastatingly original symphonic-synthesizer music to be created in the 80’s.

Dieter Meier, an artistic visionary of Life takes charge of the vocals, lyrics, video and music co-productions. Boris Blank, a self taught musician with perfect pitch, composes, arranges and mixes all of Yello’s music tracks. Alone, he is capable of making a demolition job sound like Mendelssohn’s Halleluyah. Together, they channel the most eclectic wave of music in whose waters no other musician dare tread, only admire or borrow from.

The group’s first single “I.T. Splash” b/w “Gluehead”, was well received on the continent, but it was not until they linked up with The Residents’ Ralph Records and released the LP “Solid Pleasure” (1980) that they began to cause a stir in the USA and UK obtaining their first dance floor hit with the song “Bostich”.

Yello’s second LP, “Claro Que Si”, refined their style and method further, each song being a mini-soundtrack which packed sound scenario and imitations of action, narrative and plot into three minutes, but still left room for you to dance.

Though his only previous film experience had been in the avant garde field, Dieter himself directed the video clips for the album’s “Pinball Cha Cha”, and “The Evening’s Young”, which made playful use of animation and old movie archetypes. “Pinball Cha Cha” was chosen as one of the 32 examples used in the Musuem of Modern Art’s 1985 Music Video Exhibition, and it may have been largely on the strength of these videos that Dieter was able to raise the money to make his first full-length movie, “Jetzt und Alles” (“Now and Everything”), from his own script. He describes the film, a kidnap / thriller / mystery / musical which covers the same connections between criminality and celebrity as Nicolas Roeg’s “Performance”, as a “Zeitgeist movie”, reflecting today’s “desire for everything”, rather than the more specific social and political desires of the 60’s. “Jetzt und Alles” was shown at the 1982 Manila International Film Festival, and at the 28th Taormina International Film Festival in Italy.

Other projects from this time included the music for a fashion show for the design house of Thierry Mugler in Paris. In 1983, however, Yello made a giant step with the universally acclaimed LP “You Gotta Say Yes To Another Excess”, a statement of principle borne out in the extraordinary pop soundscapes on the record. Dieter’s videos for the tracks “I Love You” and “Lost Again”, proved to be some of the most popular on MTV, whilst in Europe his videos for Trio’s”DaDaDa” and Alphaville’s “Big In Japan” were warmly received, the latter chosen as Best Video of 1984 by Sky Channel.

Though essentially a studio band, Yello have played live on one occasion in front of a largely black and Hispanic crowd of 3000 at New York’s Roxy, which produced the one-sided “Live At The Roxy” EP.

The album “Stella”, released by Elektra Records in the US and UK, and Phonogram worldwide in 1985, pulled Yello out of the European avant garde underground and into the popular market. The two singles released: “Desire” and “Vicious Games” obtained international success, and both were acclaimed at the Video Awards of MIDEM ’86 in Cannes. “Desire”, which was shot in Havana, Cuba, won for best video script. The song “Oh Yeah” was chosen for two prominent Hollywood productions as a soundtrack to their films. John Hughes used it for his blockbuster hit “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, and “The Secret Of My Success” starring Michael Fox sent it to the top 100 in the United States.

Following, “The New Mix In One Go” was released by Phonogram. This is a double album compilation of remixed tracks from their earlier LP’s between 1980 and 1985 which sums succinctly the State of Their Art.

“The New Mix In One Go” acted as an interlude during which time Boris and Dieter put together their next project, “One Second” – featuring previous colleagues Rush Winters (vocalist on “Vicious Games” and “Angel No”) and guitarist Chico Hablas. “One Second” also enlists ex-Associate Billy MacKenzie and international legend and vocal diva Shirley Bassey. Miss Bassey’s performance on “Rhythm Divine” – her entire vocal track completed in just 45 minutes is one of the highlights of an outstanding album. It features the one-off single “Goldrush” which the band performed atop a mountain of TV sets on 1986’s “Eurotube”. Other fascinating details include the fact that Billy MacKenzie’s backing vocals on “Rhythm Divine” are over-dubbed 90 times; “Le Secret Farida” is part of a love poem by Om Kassoum; and “Santiago” narrates a story in the Afro Cuban dialect. “One Second” is an album of fascination and surprises.

But what of the works to come? Dieter Meier is in the process of developing his film project “Snowball” about a young musician who uses his music to escape from an oppresive, macabre underworld. The British actor Paul McGann (co-star of “Withnail and I”) will play the leading role.

And musicwise? Dieter says, “Since the release of ‘One Second’, the daily working process of Yello in their studio has continued. Like painters who give their work to an exhibition, Yello selects some of their songs for an album. The latest one is called ‘FLAG’, and it combines the roots of the band as sound inventors with their new approach to song writing. Each tune is like a soundtrack to a movie in your head. FLAG is a trip around the world in 40 minutes.” Singles on FLAG also include the infamous “The Race” which got to No. 7 in the charts and the totally brilliant “Tied Up” plus now “Of Course I’m Lying” – or are we? (Course we’re not).

The music of Boris Blank catapults Dieter Meier, who sees himself more as an actor in Blank’s sound paintings, into all kinds of situations all over the world. As long as they both land back in the studio for another album, that is the most important thing.

Song of the Day: Yello – Pumping Velvet / No More Words / Lost Again / Bostich

I’m reaching the end of my Yello pile. Here’s a Canadian 12 inch single (I love that those Canucks put a little maple leaf in the corner – is that required by law?) with 4 Yello tunes.
Extended / remixed versions of Pumping Velvet, No More Words, Lost Again, and Bostich (of course). Bostich is a cool song and it was their first major hit, but I think it’s on half of the Yello singles I have.

Pumping Velvet (Extended Dance Version)
No More Words (Extended Dance Version)
Lost Again (Extended Dance Version)
Bostich (Extended Dance Version)

All tracks are composed and written by Boris Blank and Dieter Meier
Produced and engineered by Yello
Thanks to Chico Hablas (guitar on Pumping Velvet) and Beat Ash (drums on Bostich)
Cover design by Ernst Gamper
Photograph by Ray Photography