Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sound Spectrum Saturday - DJ mixes by Fort Knox Five (funk), Skream (house), Bohemian Club (downtempo), Nightmares On Wax (dub), DJC-kay (drum&bass)

I'm excited to introduce a new Downbeatscape Feature: Sound Spectrum Saturdays - where I share mixes of different styles of music so you can hear what I've been digging lately. I comb the world of music and share the best. You don't have to waste your time, I do the hunting for you!

I started Downbeatscape to curate the best downtempo and chillout music on the planet and as I do so I find it important to balance downtempo with various musical styles. To fully appreciate downtempo, I believe you must also have an appreciation of other styles -the YIN to downtempo YANG. Considering the balance I want to achieve and my interest and experience as a DJ, I'm introducing Sound Spectrum Saturdays to share many styles of music through the lens of DJing, so you can choose which music style you'd like to hear at the moment - be it uptempo dance, funk, chilled downtempo, ambient soundscapes, and more.

For the first Sound Spectrum Saturday, here's some funk, drum&bass, downtempo trip hop, house oriented dance music, and chilled beach party dub. Enjoy!

Fort Knox Five December Funk Mix - Fort Knox Five is one of my favorite modern funk artists, always delivering amazing original funk while being able to DJ great mixes of funk, hip hop and party music.

Skreamizm December Mix - Skream, a huge UK-based bass, house, D&B and grime DJ, delivers a great house-oriented mix that drives you forward through the night. I've been listening to this as a workout mix since it came out.

Bohemian Club Christmas Mix - Alistair of the Bohemian Club Label really has something going here. He's cultivating a variety of downtempo-oriented artists on his label by showcasing their new tracks, mixed in with older works, in mixes every month. This is a great downtempo mix that varies from chilled drum & bass to classic oriented ambient folk.

Nightmares On Wax - Wax Da Box December Mix - You can never go wrong with Nightmares On Wax DJ sets. I love the song selection by downtempo dub veteran George Evelyn aka Nightmares On Wax. He's based out of Ibiza usually, playing pool and ocean side sets perfect for chilling out at sunset.

DJC-kay Drum & Bass Mix - DJC-kay has consistently been sharing great D&B mini-mixes with me for several months now. He's consistent, tight and delivers a great D&B sound.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Ambient Winter Mix: I.R.I.S. (Therapist & AuroraX) - A Billion Year Voyage

The Winter Solstice this year brought us more than just a chill in the air, it brought us chill sounds from around the world, including a beautiful new mix of ambient pyschill soundscapes from Bulgarian DJs Therapist and AuroraX.

I wrote about Therapist this summer as he was competing for a DJ spot at TREE OF LIFE, a Turkish outdoor psychedelic music festival. He has since joined Ajnavision Records, a label that supports several downtempo DJs, most of whom create psychill and international fusion sounds. This winter, he partnered with AuroraX, another Bulgarian downtempo DJ on Ajnavision, to produce a mix for's Winter Solstice Event. 
I.R.I.S. - A Billion Year Voyage is the result - a dramatic composition that is ambient in nature, with soundscapes reminiscent of a deep-space voyage movie soundtrack. The composition combines drawn out ambient crescendos and lush space sound elements that layer on top of each other to sound like one long song instead of a DJ mix. It is certainly one of the more true ambient mixes I've posted recently. One to help us relax and sink into the winter ahead of us.

I was in touch with Therapist to learn more about this mix - read more about how he and AuroraX created this voyage: 
Dowbeatscape: Overall, this composition sounds kind of like a dramatic movie soundtrack - what was your vision going into the mix and did it change at all as you created it together? What did each of you bring to the process?
Therapist: The concept of the mix was a deep space voyage, as the name suggests. We were drawn by the mysteries of The Great Attractor, an immensely dense gravitational anomaly so great it is theorized to be pulling entire galaxies towards it, including our own. The mix tracks the solitary journey of a single spacecraft, sent on a mission to this massive object, passing by countless star systems, nebulae, galaxies and clusters. Naturally, the voyage is epic in proportion, hence the dramatic movie feel you experienced. We hope listeners will also embark on the trip to one of the most massive and distant objects in the observable Universe.
We began the process by selecting a number of tracks separately from one another, then sat together and discussed which ones fit the concept best and with each other and started recording after that, filtering some parts, adding new ones, sampling over tracks or editing them, so they match better.
D: This mix has an almost spiritual journey about it, did you have that in mind as you created it? And how did you map the "story" of this journey? There are several points in the mix where the emotion ebbs and flows - for example when the female vocal sample recedes several minutes into the mix and is replaced by an ambient tone that mimics her voice, or when heavy bass undertones are introduced and the mix takes on a slightly ominous feel.
T: The beginning felt spiritual to us too, it represents leaving the closer, most familiar parts of outer space and heading into unknown and uncharted territories. I'm really glad you noticed the transition between the first tracks and later on, we tried to create an uniform flow and a sense of lightness on the voyage, but also a feeling of separation from all that you have known at the same time, illustrating a lush spectrum of emotions and experiences. The tracks and samples we chose were mainly related to our concept of space sound and how we hoped to manifest that experience.
D: There are vocals in the mix. Is that you, or a sample? How did you choose the sample or write the "lyrics"?
T: It's neither of us talking, I wish I had such radio voice. :) We spent a lot of time searching for voice samples from different sources and we selected those which best mapped our vision for the voyage. Actually almost all of the vocals you hear in the mix are not from the tracks themselves, but edited in Ableton and sampled, be it from other tracks (e.g. Asura - Simply Blue) or voice samples we collected over the years from other space events like the Atlantis landing or lectures about the Pioneer 10 space probe.

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