Got my first tunes cut to Vinyl on Tuesday, so happy! I got 2 tracks on a 10" and they sound amazing. Tracks produced 100% in Renoise, and mastered in Logic and Pro Tools by Dub Studio in Bristol.
Big ups to Dub Studio and DJ Mystery for getting them done! Mystery’s got another couple of my tunes cut for his crate too. Cost £25 for my 10". Highly recommend getting tunes cut, there’s something really really cool about making your music into a physical object (burning a CD just isn’t quite the same!)
oh yeah and I hand drew the label graphics. much more interesting than just a white label!
I’d say vinyl is still hugely important in electronic music . Obviously computers and CDJs are becoming more popular to perform with (I use mainly denon or pioneer CDJs and play a few things off vinyl), but the large majority of techno, house and breaks and almost all drum & bass, dubstep, and hip hop DJs use only vinyl in their sets, especially here in the UK.
Cue the obligatory music-related-forum vinyl vs. digital discussion!
Good to know. I didn’t know because I’m not directly out in the scene anymore. But I just remember hearing some drum&bass radio shows from about 2-3 years ago where the DJ’s kept encouraging people to buy vinyl… And I thought “this is a sure sign that the format is finally dying”, if they’re having to beg people to buy it. Ha. Since it’s been 2-3 years since then, I assumed that things had gotten worse by now. So I’m happy to be coloured wrong.
I’m not aware of any statistical surveys (is there domesday book for Djs?) but it’s certainly becoming less the case. I think you are almost as likely to go out and see someone mixing with a laptop or cdjs these days, but as you rightly point out genre can make a difference.
Personally I think there have been enough occasions where i’ve seen people mixing with ableton live and its been one of the most tedious and boring things ever. I spoke to one of the DJs once and he told me it was great but you had to plan all the songs in advance. Why not just prerecord a mix and play the CD then? That said, I think there is also huge potential to do amazing stuff with that software, especially when you start exploiting its unique potentials. But with regards to DJing, perhaps partly due to the preparation involved, how often do these potentials really get exploited as much as they could?
The problem in my view, lies in the fact that in a great vinyl dj set, you can hear the surfaces being physically manipulated, even if its only bringing slightly out of sync beats back in, and I think this can sound fantastic. If you’re mixing something which is auto-beatmatched, it loses this quality. Additionally, the tendancy is for (which is as much dictated by the tools as anything) an hour long set at exactly the same tempo… this is often boring. There’s a great interview with J Mascis from Dinosaur Jr. where he says he hates it when drums are recorded to a metronome in a song, favouring the more ‘organic’ potential for slight increase or decrease in speed. Indeed part of the art of drumming is regulate the overal speed, but does it need to be perfect? You can apply the same principle to vinyl DJs… it’s easy to gradually get faster and faster in a set… which could be awful or great depending on how it works with the records you play.
Another problem is the audio quality… arguably vinyl can sound better in some scenarios, especially versus inferior quality mp3s. Increasingly though, mp3 offers the opportunity to have a vaster selection of tunes at your disposal… which could be great, or not. I’ve Dj’d with thousands of songs in mp3 format, and it can certainly be a blessing or a curse… the plus is that any song you have you can suddenly think of an locate immediately, the con is that if you’re buying vinyl and taking a specific selection of tunes to play, then you’ve already created an intrinsic quality bar… you’re only going to have bought the tunes you thought were totally amazing and brought down your very best ones. Suddenly you realise as you search through the poorly tagged mp3s of Goldies “Timeless” album, that you really don’t need to have all these tracks, because there are only two tunes on that record you’d want to play anyway. Of course these problems can be overcome with some preparation and thought usually. But there are also many instances still, where more obscure tracks can only be obtained on vinyl, so to play these you’re going to have to rip them first. Usually if you ripped your own vinyl, it wont sound quite as good as playing the original record.
I usually mix with Serato Scratch Live when i DJ now, which has the potential for you to play real vinyls aswell, and use most of the same manipulation techniques with mp3s or wavs. I think the advantages of SSL in terms of track selection outweigh the awkwardness of taking huge crates of vinyl around with you, however there is no doubt in my mind that the mixes I recorded with vinyl-only sound of a higher quality to those recorded with serato or with part vinyl part digital. I’ve also yet to hear any truly amazing ableton live mixes, but it’ll happen in time I guess.
I’ve also stopped buying vinyl for the time being, simply because its too expensive to mail order for a record every time you hear something great, and also you can buy alot of stuff on FLAC now, which I can then put straight in Serato without the time consuming process of ripping a vinyl.
As you pointed out though, electronic music / vinyl for DJs is a slightly different affair to LPs for casual home listening. Often DJs are most concerned with the practicalities involved with carting tunes around than the retro appeal of giant black disks. Obviously a trance DJ certainly wont want the crackle and imperfections of vinyl which a dubstep or hip-hop DJ might want. But particularly for album listening, there is a certain appeal in having a physical object, especially when it has nice artwork (Corticyte - your dubplate looks wicked too, btw.) and you can put it on your shelf and it looks good. The act of getting up and putting on a record, flipping it over etc. can be fun. It’s also great for social settings where someone can look through your record collection, rather than look through your mp3 folder, and you can turn the computer off so people talk instead of staring at a visualisation.
The trendy thing is interesting because that seems to be something seperate again, like vinyl as if its a fashion item or accessory, like a cool lamp, piece of furniture, or novel retro item.
So I don’t think vinyl will disappear yet, although I do wonder about its longevity for DJing, especially as the digital tools become better and the availability of lossless tracks becomes the norm. Outside of genres like dubstep which have mythologised the bass response of vinyl, there are really starting to be less and less practical reasons to mix with vinyl… but they are cool.
If you’re interested, there is a very good dunplate cutting service in center of Helsinki.
Come to cut your plates by yourself (ferry is something like 20euros from Estonia-Helsinki-Estonia)
or I can work things out for you and put vinyls on post.
I think number 13 or so on the list of things that need to happen before I die is to get one of my songs on vynyl. But I’m not cutting it… somebody has to want to flip that bill for me… could be a label, could be my wife.