Friday, 14 November 2008

Summer Love - Winter Chill?

The second mix I am posting is entitled "Summer Love". Rather unseasonal? Well yes, but I think while we often associate the sort of music in this mix with lazing on beaches, it could equally be appreciated while sitting by the fire with a good book, snuggled up in bed, or anywhere else - your choice. It was actually recorded in August so the title was appropriate.

This one all began when my friend Matt told me his girlfriend kept going on about a Ministry chill-out ad she was seeing on TV - "I Love these tunes, can James do me a mix with these tunes"? It took me a while and of the tunes featured in the ad, only one or two found their way into the mix, but in the end I don't think that mattered, the feedback has been excellent!

So anyway, I approached this one rather differently from my usual beatmixed sessions. I guess I usually behave like a warm-up DJ, starting with some good grooves and building up the tempo and the atmosphere, never dropping a beat if I can help it. This was different. Most of the tunes have a beat, and many of the tempos are compatible, but keeping in key was just as important for that smooth mellow chillout vibe, so quite a bit of preparation was required. My recently acquired CDJ-400s with their pitch-lock were also very useful for some of the transitions!

These tunes spread back over the last decade and beyond, some are very well known, others more obscure.

FC Kahuna - Hayling
Stef Pako & Frederik - Magic Shop (Forth's Shopping Trolley)
Electrotete - I Love You (Original)
Moby - Go (Jam & Spoon In Dub Mix)
Salt Tank - Sargasso Sea (Eugina)
Mark Snow - X-Files
Accadia - Into The Dawn (Accadia Ambient Mix)
Art Of Noise - Moments In Love
Groove Armada - At The River
Stef Pako & Frederik - Seaside Atmosphere (Evolution's Ambient Seagull)
William Orbit - Barber's adagio for Strings
Coldcut - Autumn Leaves (Irresistible Force Mix)

I started with FC Kahuna because it is just the perfect intro, it sets the tone. My original choice was Electrotete, but this was just a bit obscure and at times too "electronic", I just felt it set off on the wrong foot slightly. "I Love You" works perfectly with "Go" however, as it seems to sample some of the synths from the original version of Moby's 1991 classic. I made use of Jam & Spoon's awesome dub mix of "Go" for this chillout mix though. I was amazed when I found how many of these tunes all seemed to be in the same or related keys, running easily through the classic Salt Tank into Mark Snow's original version of the X-Files theme. For one mix I must admit to some major "influence". I first heard Art of Noise blended with Groove Armada in this way on a "Sunset Ibiza" compilation. But I hope the use of the loop function on my CDJs has enhanced the anticipation in this mix!

Stef, Pako & Frederik make 2 appearances on this mix, a high incidence considering the size of their discography, but both these remixes make awesome chillout tunes. I first heard "Seaside Atmosphere" on a Muzik mag cover-disc back in 99, and was lucky enough to pickup the 12" cheaply some years later, only to find this awesome near-beatless version on the flip.

Barber's Adagio for strings is one of the tunes from the "inspirational" ministry advert, and should need no introduction, while Mixmaster Morris's take on Coldcut's version of Autumn Leaves has been a standard in chillout sets since it first appeared in 1993.

Having completed the "perfect" chillout mix I was then inspired to produce a "bangin" alternative, basically because every tune in the mix existed in my collection in a more uptempo form (sometimes by a different artist). The only exception was "Moments In Love" but I soon tracked down a decent trance version by Rob Searle, who has done excellent (imo) remixes of LFO and Frankie Goes to Hollywood among others.

I mixed this on 25th September. The tracklisting is all switched about, as matters of tempo came to the fore, but somehow I managed to keep things in key as well. I had to be a bit brutal with the time-stretching for Groove Armada and Moby into opposite ends of Electrotete at the start of this mix, but the CDJ400s cope admirably well with this, producing only minimal digital artifacts for a budget device operating in real-time. After that the tempo gradually progresses upwards, and in fact the track order was partly determined by bpm, with adjustments for continuity, flow and key considerations

The tracklisting goes:

Groove Armada - At The River (English Riviera Mix)
Electrotete - I Love You (Peter Ramson & Danny Van Wauwe Remix)
Moby - Go (Woodtick Mix)
FC Kahuna - Hayling (ILS Remix)
Accadia - Into The Dawn (James Holden Mix)
Way Out West - The Fall
Stef, Pako & Frederik - Seaside Atmosphere (Evolution's Donkey Derby)
Stef, Pako & Frederik - Magic Shop (Original)
DJ Dado - X-Files
Salt Tank - Eugina (Tiesto Remix)
The Art Of Noise - Moments In Love (Rob Searle Remix)
Tiesto - Adagio For Strings (Album Version)

Here are the links
Summer Love (Chillout Mix)
Summer Love (Pumped Mix)

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