Does listening to music alter your musical taste?

The 80'dIt’s interesting how our tastes in music changes over time. What we once considered “not my style” at some point, for some reason, can start to become attractive. The music I listened too as a youth, has definitely influenced what I love to play today.

My style shifts around depending on the kinds of places I play in, and interestingly, I think this has shifted what I actually like to play.

Let’s say you are working in a new environment, and someone always listens to a particular radio station, perhaps it’s golden oldies, by having this on in the background all the time, your absorbing music that you might not have otherwise listened too, and perhaps you hear something you like, or don’t like. Over time the gentle infiltration of the music starts to alter your tastes.

I do a lot of my searching for new music on blogs, as well as great services such as Juno, Stompy, Primal Records, and Beatport. Using stores you can specify the genres, and sub genres you want to listen too, and really hone in on the sounds that you like, without the countless hours of listening to music that is totally off the track.

I love charging off into new musical directions, it’s at the core of why I love djing so much. I’ve gone from playing at 127-134, house, tech house, progressive, electro, breakbeat. I now play my sets at Deep Boogie Theory from 75bpm, and sometimes I never get over 90, consisting of boogie, disco, nu disco, lots of edits, funk, broken beat, infused with all sorts of different eras.

I spend a huge amounts of time listening to music, it’s getting harder and harder to find the time to sift thru the music that is quite honestly horrible, to find the gems that are out there. Although there seems to be and endless supply of shite….  Is it possible that by listening to so much crap music that my taste in music be altered? Will I start playing crap, thinking it’s actually good stuff? (shudder)

After months of intense consultation, debate, and furious discussion, I came to a consensus, that I should start a tumblr page devoted to my night at No5, Deep Boogie Theory. I’ve been updating it with heaps of fresh tunes, many of which I don’t even have, but are on the horizon for release. So pop on over, and have a listen, or better yet, pop down to no5 this friday from 6pm on!

Deep Boogie Theory – Late Night Sessions

Pillowtalk - Far From Home (Original Mix)
Kolombo Demarzo - Darling (Original Mix)
Sam Bailey - Sam Bailey
Daniel Kilian Vs Charles and Eddie - Tellin U Baby (Original Mix)
Martin Dawson & Jay Shepheard - Cut A Hole (Original Mix)
Will Berridge - Clearly (Original Mix)
Wildkats & Tboy - Be An Example (Damian Uzabiaga Rmx)
Chromeo - Hot Mess (Slow It Down M
Ruede Hagelstein Noir Audiojack - My Lover (Original Mix)
Tom Demac & Silverclub - Throat Trip (Tiger Stripes Remix)
Marbert Rocel - My Bed (Nico Pusch Bootleg Remix)
Shadow Child - So High
Samuel W - Echelon
Dusky - Henry 85 (Original Mix)
Hotbox - Marvin’s Gangsta Groove (Hotbox’s Re-Rub)
Timos - One Of A Kind (Original Mix)
Lesale - We Go Straight Ahead (Burnin Tears Remix)
Finnebassen - Such A High (Original Mix)
Hnqo - Point Of View
Qbeck feat. Julia Govor - Alice
Leftwing, Kody - Feel So Free (Original Mix)
Roni Be & Saar Fogel - Groovebox (Tom Lustig Remix)
5 Years Diynamic - Roads
Habischman Plus Me - Time To Fall (Original Mix)

Deep Boogie Theory

Deep Boogie Theory at No5 Church Lane
Deep Boogie Theory at No5 Church Lane, every Friday from 6

Starting at 6pm every Friday, Deep Boogie Theory brings you fresh cuts of nu-funk, indie dance, nudisco and deep house. Start your weekend at No5.

Choosing the right track in a blink….

This blog is about what takes place in the moment that we decide if a track is worthy of our collection or not..

I just finished reading the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, which goes into detail of the power of thinking without thinking, it’s a fascinating book, and well worth a read. After reading it I started thinking about how, and why I can make a decision on a particular track, within a few moments of listening to it.

For most people we generally know we like a particular piece of music in the first few seconds, we have all listened to a large variety of music, and most of us would say we are pretty expert on the genres of music that we most often listen to. But there is something much more complex at play when a dj is sifting thru music, it’s not just about “do I like this or not”, it’s more about “do I think I can fit this in a particular set”, or does it fit with other music I have, when would it fit it in, is it right for what I consider, “my sound”, and much more.

I generally approach choosing and entering music into my collection in three phases, the first is intention, second searching and listening, the third sorting and categorization.

First I define the rules of engagement, am I looking for a particular style, for a particular night, or am I just interested in a particular artist, or perhaps I just want to be inspired, and just start in some new direction. Whatever the start point, I will start to listen to music, lots of music…. Having an initial intention, or direction is key to finding what you want, but not defining a particular direction can lead you to unexpected and fruitful musical places.

Sometimes I listen to several hundred, or even up to a thousand tracks in a listening session, this seems like an impossible task to find music I like, when listening to huge numbers of sometimes wildly different music types and genres, how can I be objective? I don’t play a single style either, so at times I will jump from different music sites, blogs, charts, and sometimes friends collections, but the key here is that most of the time I know with near 100% certainty if I can fit a track into a set…. And all this happens in the briefest of moments.

At this early listening stage, to use a term from Malcolms book, I thin slice the track, I quickly jump to a number of locations in the track, and within those briefest of moments, I dissect the tracks inner workings of the track in my brain, to determine the entire song. I can’t possibly listen to every track in its entirety, that would take too much time, and I would get too caught up with the details, I pick out elements that resonate with me, a particular bass line, a high hat, synth, vocal or something else, that I can’t quite put my finger on, but I know I like. It’s a process that takes place fast, within a couple of seconds I’ve made a snap judgment that I want that track. I then take a little more time, and listen to the breakdown, usually not more then 30 seconds in total of the whole track, just to sure myself of my quick descision. At the end of a session I usually have a selection of tracks, sometimes from different genres, different bpms and styles. Sometimes they might be considered worth mixing together, but really, at this stage they are just tracks that I think could fit within a set. Effectively I have finished with those tracks for the time being, and generally don’t go back to them, I buy it, or download it, or transfer it to the keepers, and that’s it, searching phase over.

The next step is to move from the predominantly right brain act of quick decision making, and into the more left brain act of categorization, and sorting. Mixing these two acts together yields poor results, I usually do these in different sessions. If I try to describe the music I’m trying to choose, I get muddled, I never try to work out if a track is tech house, or disco house, or summery, or dark, I instinctively know these things anyhow, but I keep this descriptive process at the back of my mind, rather than in the forefront so that i can concentrate on the music itself. I have written a number of blogs about sorting and categorization, so won’t go into that.

What is really interesting to me is the brief moment in time when I decide, yes, or no, which will ultimately chose the direction, and content of a future mix, 3o seconds of thin slicing is all it takes…