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I'm in trouble now - adventures of a red-headed stepchild in the house of love
mermaid on the mic
djmermaid
djmermaid
I'm in trouble now
I just found out that WEST END RECORDS is on freakin' beatport!

Uh-oh.

I found a track there that I have been looking for for YEARS, ever since Garth dropped it into one of his gorgeous sunrise sets (in a filthy, cold warehouse, but nevermind that) back sometime in the '90s!!!!! (yes, that's 5 !s)

It's an instrumental, and it took me until this year to learn the title of the track, and who did it. Then, I sadly discovered it was only available on vinyl. For a while, that was that - but it has been haunting me. Yesterday, I very nearly ordered it from West End's web site (despite not owning a turntable, and being well aware of how much hassle it would be to get it onto a CD, the too-old-to-be-new, too-new-to-be-old format on which I DJ.) For some reason, I had an intuition to check out beatport, even though I'd thought they only had new stuff (and indeed, all the West End stuff is listed as either Deep House, House, or Chill - despite them offering Larry Levan and Tom Moulton mixes (!!!) Taana Gardner's classic tracks, etc.)

Actually, it's probably just as well that there's not a "disco" category - or a disco version of beatport! This is gonna cost me enough money as it is. %-) However, I do love paying for only the tracks I want, and getting them at a decent bitrate with no stoopid DRM BS attatched!

So I browsed around and filled up my "crate" with a few other yummy goodies, and downloaded a few promising sounding tracks from their free section. Woot Woot!

I do have a few niggly critiques of the site (it'd be nice to be able to see the track length without loading the sample, for one thing) but the samples do load fast and they are nice and long so you get a pretty decent idea of what you'll be getting, even if it isn't a familiar track.

Wish me luck! Self-restraint has never been my strong suit.


In other awesome DJ news, I got a comment from Derrick Love, the DJ who was spinning at the Paradise Disco party on Fryday nigh as we were leaving. He very generously told me who did the version of "Don't Leave Me This Way" that I ran back in to dance to (and it is surely the original!) He also mentioned that he is doing a *free* party on the 21st, which will feature electro-funk, freestyle, boogie, and other early '80s music - sounds like a good time!

I have a friend who dislikes what he considers "nostalgia music" (so he naturally takes a rather dim view of disco - though I did notice some ass-shaking coming from his general direction at the Paradise party - which, to be fair, he said he enjoyed more than he expected to.) I can see his point... to a point. I also think there is much value in the past, because the present (and the future) are built on the foundations of what has happened before. Plus, I just plain love a lot of this older stuff, and I have yet to see an expiration date printed on any of my music!

His analysis is also rather specific to the gay clubbing community, so retro music (especially pre AIDS era music) has a layer of political meaning attached to it that I understand, but that doesn't enter into my appreciation of music as much - I just love it for itself. I totally get that yearning for the pre-AIDS days can go too far and become reactionary - but I don't really mix a lot of intellectualizing into my musical appreciation. I just like what I like, yo. ;-)

That said, we kinda shifted places as far as our analysis of Fryday's Paradise Disco party. I've had a great time at Tubesteak Connection, Bus Station John's weekly party which focuses on "bath house music" of the later '70s and earliest '80s, and the politics do not really enter into it for me. (I'm more disturbed by the crappy sound system they have.) He is uncomfortable with the fetishization of the bath house culture, which I do certainly understand. This issue was not really present at the (mostly het-ish) party last Fryday. I, on the other hand, felt a bit discomfited by the name "Paradise Disco" - clearly a nod to the legendary Paradise Garage - and it caused me to be much more aware of anywhere the party might fall short.

Taken on it's own, it was an awesome night, filled with smiles, fun, the classic ~120 bpm disco that I LOVE, and a very tight disco *orchestra* which knew it's shit and dished the grooves up hot and fresh.

Taken as a comparison to the Paradise Garage, however... well, that's gonna be a tough one. It was a lot like a decent club from Back In Teh Day, but the PG was the gold standard of clubbing (at least in NYC) and that is a tall fucking order.

If you want to hear for yourself what I'm on about, check this out:

http://www.amazon.com/Larry-Levan-Live-Paradise-Garage/dp/B00005QFLB

It is a double CD of Larry Levan spinning live at the Garage, lovingly remastered by Tom Moulton. The story is that someone had this set on a reel tape, and gave the tape to Larry's mom at his funeral. She kept it for a long time, then eventually gave it to Mel Cheren (cofounder of the Garage and owner of West End - see, this IS all related!) who had it remastered and released it.

Now, I will be the first to admit that the mixing is NOT 100% flawless - however! The musical selection is top-notch, and there are a lot of hot mixes in there (especially considering that most disco was recorded by live orchestras, with live drummers.) Until Giorgio Moroder came along with his sequencers behind Donna Summer's vocals and created the roots of techno, that was what you had to work with - live drummers, who might speed up and then slow down, making it maddeningly difficult to mix! Forget about beatmatching for most of it - even the better DJs were mostly just slip-cueing (which consisted of cueing the incoming track up to the point where the beat starts, having the tempos as close to synched as humanly possible, and then letting the new track start and quickly mixing out of the old track.) Backspins come in handy here too, as I'm sure you can imagine (if you have bothered to read this far!)

ANYway, the stuff Larry was doing was AMAZING, especially given the technical limitations of the time, and his ability to read a room and select music to take the dancers on a journey is the stuff of legend. So calling your party "Paradise Disco" is creating quite the high expectation for it - at least in the minds of anyone who knows their disco history.

So while my friend was able to look at the party from a more neutral place, I was hyper aware of any shortcomings I noticed. I realize that this isn't exactly fair, and I tried to keep this filter of mine from affecting my review of the night - because honestly, it was one of the best disco nights I have ever been to (I was sadly too young to even attempt to sneak into clubs in the '70s.)

I can say that I am wholeheartedly happy that disco nights (plural!) are happening now. I absolutely MUST get off my ass and record a demo so I can get behind the decks some time! (Then who is going to have the bright light of critique shining in her face?! Well, a lot of it will come from me myself, as always, so at least I'll be prepared.)

My beatport stuff is finished downloading, so I should call it a night.

In conclusion: DISCO LIVES! ;-)
6 smooches or Gimme Some Love!
Comments
smoness From: smoness Date: December 5th, 2007 02:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love your enthusiasm and passion for music. :)
saruryujin From: saruryujin Date: December 12th, 2007 07:41 am (UTC) (Link)

switch to vinyl, it's way better and genuine DJin', you won't regret it.

*_°

Mel is gone in Heaven!
Leaving us Paradise,
already behind …
but also the vibes,
supportive spirit,
some art,
some words
and of course the music,
all
Unforgettable.
Rest in peace, Mel.
djmermaid From: djmermaid Date: December 12th, 2007 09:48 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: switch to vinyl, it's way better and genuine DJin', you won't regret it.

So sad about Mel. :-(

Vinyl is not "way better" nor does anything about it make it inherently "genuine" over other media. Music is music. Vinyl snobbism is just silly.

The appeal of vinyl to me is purely in the availability of music that is not on other formats. The downsides are considerable: it is expensive, heavy, and worst of all EVERY time you play it, it slightly degrades. This is NOT acceptable. The only thing I would do with vinyl would be to digitize it and burn CDs to spin from (and you can make two copies and go back and forth for bonus mixie tricks.)

Sorry, dude, the medium is NOT the message.
saruryujin From: saruryujin Date: December 12th, 2007 12:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: switch to vinyl, it's way better and genuine DJin', you won't regret it.

First don't call me dude,
you don't know who you are adressing and how long i have been in the field.
I was happy to read the enthousiasm in your post but not the conservatism in your reply, you also seam to ignore what West End Records are standing for
and the visionary that was behind it …
Yes, music is music BUT sound is sound, and DJing is DJing…

Put simply, when it comes to vinyl, you obviously don't know what you are talking about. So permit me at least a 'droit de réponse' instead of slaping the door up my face calling me dude not even knowing my age, my profession nor my gender!

By the why do you think Mel Cheren and his label solely release vinyls?

Vinyl doesn't degrade that much as ceedees if you treat them well (its an art)
and check/change your needle regularly.
A few articles for the iGNORANTS:

SONY admits CD is inferior

On the longevity of Digital info

an essay on CD

The free music is myth

SHINY, ALUMINUM, PLASTIC, AND DIGITAL {you'll understand why vinyl has become expensive and an approach such as yours won't help making it cheaper, peak-oil neither too i admit, it'll be soon a luxury}

and

I totally enjoy my records and wrote that subject line as a recommendation with the sole aim to enhance your experience (what would you need more, you seam to have aquired a taste) but you reply calling me dude and a snob! As if i was the culprit of the solid peculiarities of a medium that annoys you so much (and maybe making you jaleous of those who excel with it so you can call them snobs).

With your open and utilitarian mind-set, you remind me of vegeterians who don't like ugly looking animals but refuse to eat rabbits because these are sooooo cute. If you dislike race horses don't try to become a jockey.

I guess you iTHINK that you are open iMINDED and i am a snob but you shout
out to me what is NOT acceptable (and what is then?), while you know perfectly well that each medium has its own limitation and singularity AND What Happened To Dynamic Range? Is this acceptable? Is this acceptable?
Yes with a CD you can pre-record a mix of yours or from someone else no one
is gonna know if your "performance" is live or not, also when as CD is stuck it will goes "tik-tik-tik-tik-tik" … Is this acceptable? Is this acceptable?

I guess my recommendation as well as my pointers from professionals (even outside of the DJin' realm, check again these links) does not count, then if your prefer blatant words closer to your writting style i suggest you to ask Frankie Bones on Discogs what he thinks. Oh yeah but he's probably just a nitwit vinyl snob with no experience whatsoever…

It looks more like you are owned (by what the industry wants to sell you) and in performance your vision is probably closer to the one of the horse (with a narrower view on the track) than the jockey∞
djmermaid From: djmermaid Date: December 12th, 2007 11:04 pm (UTC) (Link)

four things

1) I am from California. I call everyone dude. Chill, yo.

2) You're right, I *don't* know who you are. You turned up randomly in my journal and decided to get all huffy with me. I have no idea who you are, how you found your way in here, or even why you care to pick a fight with me. And, why should I?

3) West End has released CDs and they are on freakin' BEATPORT! So much for the idea that they worship vinyl! I'm sure it's a business decision. The very able Kenton Nix runs things over there now and I'm sure they know what they're doing.

4) Don't yell at me, this is *my* journal.
thecatsmeowww From: thecatsmeowww Date: December 14th, 2007 11:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Disco is life.......

:)

6 smooches or Gimme Some Love!