Posted by: martinworster | October 3, 2009

72. DUSTY DJ

I’ve been wheeled out of DJ retirement for a few years now and spin at a monthly event here – entitled Zap! – in Costa Mesa, Orange County at the Avalon Bar with my English friend Matt. I’ve learnt to cope with my insufferable tinnitus. I just drink loads and pay for it the morning after. Whistle posse make some noise – forever…

 

Our night is a vinyl only night. That’s right, we only play 12 – sometimes 7 – inches of gorgeous rotating black plastic. Most DJs nowadays seem to play music using their Macs using software like Serato or Final Scratch. They can hunt for the latest tunes on MP3 as recommended by hipster music bloggers and download it for free. In the process playing what every other muppet ‘cool’ DJ plays and simultaneously totally annihilating whatever remnants of the music industry there is left to destroy.

 

I enjoy being vinyl only. It means I don’t have to learn how to use a new piece of software, encode all of my rare tunes and DJ whilst staring at a screen. I stare at screens for more than half my waking life – I don’t want to do it whilst out. It seems like more and more of everything I – we – do involves staring at screens. Plus, MP3s sound shit – you can’t beat the rich and warm sound of vinyl. The whole process of selecting vinyl as a DJ (grabbing whatever jumps out from your record bag before the last record ends) is much more organic than starting at a screen and Googling rows of tune titles.

 

I’m also finding that most of the music I buy now is older stuff – rare groove, funk, soul, boogie, post punk, reggae, 80s. I do buy some new stuff too, I’m just a bit more discerning. I find the constant churn of the music industry tiring – this months hot band will be waiting tables next month. The most in demand song now is forgotten next week. To me, the speeded up digital age – where everything and history moves at lightening speed – has devalued the creative process and product. Everyone’s an artist. Everyone thinks they have something to say. The artist no longer sits in a lofty ivory tower. The whole process is democratized beyond recognition. The artist stares at his Mac monitor. Everyone makes music, writes, films, takes photos. It’s a revolution out there and it’s more than televised – it’s filmed, ripped, pixelated, digitised, encoded, grabbed, Tweeted, MySpaced and YouTubed till it’s absolutely meaningless and of no value. The whole glut of material is overwhelming. The speeded up thirst for everything new and now makes for a very short shelf life of artistic product indeed. 

 

New music? I like the whole cosmic disco thing, the odd dub step tune is okay plus of course my good, faithful friend – house music. All night long. Apart from the start of the night when we get into the groove with older music. Maybe I’m too old for all this?

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