Monday, June 9, 2008

Adventures in DJing: The 20 goto 10 Gallery

This past Thursday Lord Kook and I were invited to play a gallery opening for a friend of ours, Doghood, who, with his partner worthless, create amazing op-art; worthless creates the patterns and colors on the canvas, while Doghood programs the LEDs that animate the images. It truly has to be seen to believed, so you should go to the gallery and check out their stuff.

We had no idea what kind of set-up the gallery had beyond the fact that there were two turntables and some kind of two-track mixer, all hooked into a home stereo amplifier. We took along our CJD-800s and a Pioneer DJM-300 mixer, which turned out to be a fortunate idea since the entire set-up at the gallery looked like it had been put together by a hip-hop DJ, with a two channel scratch mixer and turntables set up “battle style;” this means they were set-up sideways, with the tone-arms at the top of the case, rather than on the right side. This drove me crazy all night, since I had to reach across the tone-arms to move the pitch slider, and on several occasions bumped the tone-arm out of the groove in the process.

We each played a two-hour set, and despite the fact that I didn’t have a monitor and had to rely on what I could hear of the master channel through the headphones, everything mixed together quite nicely – nothing like a little crowd noise to cover those moments of high-end dissonance. I went for pretty deep techno on vinyl, including tracks like Martin Buttrich’s “Hunted,” Luciano and Melchior’s “Father,” and then into slightly harder territory with tracks like Larsson’s “Automat” and some Dominik Eulberg, winding up with Gui Boratto’s “Experiment in the Lab.” It all went over very well, and made me think more about how much I prefer going for a deep, psychedelic listening experiences rather than dancefloor bangers.

Lord Kook took over from me and played his set on the CDJs, and regretted that, although he had brought all his minimal CDs with him, he hadn’t listed out the tracks on them, so he had no idea what was on them. He wound up playing stuff that was perhaps more dance-oriented, though his set was also very well received.

All in all it was a great DJ experience, despite the somewhat sketchy audio set-up, and taught us both a little bit about our own ability to adapt to a situation. We were really happy to contribute what ambience we could to the event, and I hope we may have turned some people on to music that they otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to hear.

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