In preparation for finally buying Serato (and avoiding more pulled muscles from lugging creates of records to gigs), I decided to start digitizing my vinyl collection. I stared at my wall of 2,000 plus records daunted by the task of squashing all these amazing objects into little ones and zeros. Where to begin?  I decided to start with the records that have been my favorites to mix live – the crazy-off-the wall genre blends that I was the most proud of. 

Once I had a bunch of these tracks in my computer I decided to use Ableton Live to put the mix together. I made sure to leave the warping function off so that the mix could be reproduced using just turntables and a mixer (no cutting up tracks or separating pitch from speed). I also wanted to make sure that the harmonies that worked so well on vinyl would still work in the computer.

In the spirit of “Beat Research” I made it a point to switch genres with each new addition and was particularly open to playing tracks at odd speeds. Another thing I wanted to do was include some of my favorite songs that are outside of the hip-hop/electronica world but that mean a lot to me personally -  I was psyched to include tracks from two of my all time favorite records; "Double Nickels on the Dime" by the Minutemen and "Remain in Light" by the Talking Heads.  I like to take advantage of the fact that we have the entire history of recorded music at our fingertips and put older music in a new context.

The most important factor for choosing the order of the mix, however, was based purely on how well each track meshed rhythmically and harmonically with the previous one.  I also wanted to throw in a few of those crazy surprise mixes that nobody else would have thought of.  I remember being back at my old apartment and discovering how well the folk harmonies of the Roches on “Boat Family” went with both the key and the funky beat of the One Draw riddim – I can’t remember what kind of strange trial an error mood I must have been in to figure that one out, but I was so excited to reproduce it for this mix.

As for the Smurfs, well that is from a record I used to listen to with my sister when we were kids.  I thought the sped up voice thing went well with my notion of playing things on the wrong speed and when I revisited that record I was surprised to find a track that was pretty danceable and even had an electronic reggae bounce to it!- the lyrics were even more drugged out than I remember.  As Droid pointed out  “if smurfs eat smurfburgers- does that make them cannibals?”, frankly I wouldn’t put it past them.  I am not really a big fan of the Smurfs and I want this mix to take you past those creepy blue humanoid beings and over to the unexplored regions of their magical valley where even stranger creatures exist. 

I put a lot of time, energy and love into this mix – follow me on this twisted journey...

BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE SMURFS.

Enjoy

- DJ FLACK

Back to track listing