24 May 2010

ideas i'm never going to use, 1

There was a rumour a while ago that Technics were about to cease production of the 1200 and 1210 - a rumour that seemed all too plausible at the time, even if it was subsequently proved false.

It reminded me of an idea I had years ago, and might as well admit to myself that I'm never going to carry out.

The idea was: produce two records in a gatefold sleeve, the content of which was to be designed to be played simultaneously on two turntables through a mixer.

The tones, the tempos, all would be based on the ratios inherent to the technology: the ratios of 33'/3 to 45 rpm, the facility for pitching playback speed up or down 8%. The listener would have four sides of music, giving the following combinations: side A with side C or D, and side B with C or D. Within those permutations would lie and endless field of adjustments that could be made according to the listeners whim by using different start points, different speeds, etc. Everything about the two discs' content would be made with the possibilities created by identity / contrast in mind.

I never quite worked out the question of difference vs doubling. ie, with two records, each having two sides, should sides A and C be sonically identical, enabling all the strange phasing effects that arise from minute variations of speed? Or should the doubling be limited to patches on each side? Or should side A, B, C, and D all be completely different? What about using locked grooves?

I also never resolved the major difficulty: that it would only have appealed (or at least been readily available as an experience) to those with two decks and a mixer... so essentially amateur/hobbyist/would-be/poseur DJs upwards. If anyone wants to actually do this, please send me a copy when it's done.


Seb said...

Zaireeka notwithstanding, the closest anyone's come to this is Boris' Dronevil (both on CD and vinyl): one disc all ambient drones & atmospheric dread, the other thick & dirty stoner-rock riffing. Perfectly matched. But it still didn't account for the vagueries of RPM-mismatching, pitch-shifting, or such.

The funny aspect about producing such a sonic experiment is that it'd be relatively easy in the analog domain, but a sumbtich of a headache digitally. It would involve so much number-crunching and time wasted rendering time-stretches & whatnot. Pain in the ass. But then how many of us can afford proper tape machines in our home studios?

ZoneStyxTravelcard said...

Wouldn't it be easy enough with CD decks & mixer to make something like this work on digital?

I imagine it being devised in such a way that it would 'work' out of phase, out of time -- ie, it wouldn't induce headaches and dizzy spells. So it would be patches of bare rhythm (drum programming), patches of pure drone/tone, patches of arpeggiated stuff. Having a lot going on per side would be like, i don't know, listening to Brainticket, or whatever Twin Infinitives sounded like before they mixed it down.

Versions of the idea have already been produced, I'm going to post up a list of some that have been pointed out to me in the next day or two....

Seb said...

No headaches or dizzy spells? Jeez, where's the fun in that?

Thinking about what a pain it would be, I was thinking about the recording process. When you can change the tape speed at the flick of a dial, there's no real extra work in arranging new parts to complement the sped-up/slowed-down track. But in the digital domain, it would involve rendering, patience, actual math (!). Not nearly as much fun. Of course, you could be a little more stochastic about it and just count on whoever's working the CD decks to sort it out.

Anonymous said...

'sbeen done