i’d like to hand it over to DJ Dualitas for our very first guest post here at unofficialbootleg.com…
Anatomy of a Mix: Dualitas, 30 tracks in 30 minutes
The internet is full of great tutorials on advanced techniques with Ableton Live.
This is not one of them.
Instead, it’s a look at how I used this sophisticated software to achieve something primitive – but hopefully enjoyable!
Mixcloud, in conjunction with Bench and Montreal’s Igloofest, recently hosted a DJ Mix Competition. The only parameter was a time limit of 30 minutes. Unless you’re a battle DJ, 30 minutes isn’t much time. If you’re just playing tracks seqeuentially, 30 minutes can fit maybe 5 to 10 tracks. Since this was a competition, my mix had to be more than just sequential tracks. I decided to approach it like a battle DJ, with a memorable intro and lots of “spice”. For battle DJ’s that means tricks and lots of records. For me, that meant using the full capabilities of my 4-virtual-deck setup. I realize traktor pro is the industry standard for 4-virtual-deck setups. While I will probably eventually use it, I don’currently own it. I just have an old version of Ableton Live, which I’ve configured into a 4-virtual-deck setup. It’s caveman like, but it works.
As the screenshot shows, the setup is simple. The 4 channels on the left are for the 4 decks. The next 3 channels (5 to 7) are my “record crate”. I’m literally just dragging clips from the crate into the 4 deck channels, like putting records on physical turntables. My controller is the M-Audio X-Session pro, available for $40 USD. I’ve set it up as a basic 4-channel Dj mixer with 3-band EQ. That’s my setup – not exactly cutting-edge. But one can do a lot with lunch money technology.
I started with about 50 of my favourite tracks at the moment. (30 ended up making the cut.) I also made a little intro for myself, as well as a shoutout to Bench, which I mixed in at 19:12. It took about a week to prep the tracks for Abletone Live. This involved warping, looping, and listing the keys of the tracks. I’m not super strict about mixing “harmonically”, but it’s nice to see potential connections between tracks that aren’t immediately obvious. Many tracks in this mix are pitched up or down so they mix better with each other. The clearest example is the Michael Jackson segment, which begins around 10:53. It’s built around a 2-bar loop from Thriller. I wanted to use this loop to make something special that could be the “peak” of the mix. So I took one of the tracks I mixed with it, Variance Function (Reduced Edit), and gradually pitched it up in Ableton so as to build tension. (You can hear the pitch shifting begin around 12:40). That was the most involved part of the mix. It took about two days to put together. The rest of the mix fell together pretty quickly. It took a day to sequence the tracks, a week to practive mixing them, and I recorded the mix in one take. 30 tracks, 30 minutes, 4 virtual decks, $40 controller. Life ain’t bad.
You can see a chart of how the tracks mix together here. For a track list and FREE DOWNLOAD, go to www.mixcould.com/Dualitas/bench-igloofest-competition/.
and here’s the same mix, but blasted into space and 8 mins longer enjoy as well!!
laugh around // shawnpar