Archive Monthly Archives: September 2018

News from the community and beyond

Check out what's happening within the ItsTheDJ community and the rest of the music world.

That's Melanie abobe from NJ who came for DJ lessons last Spring. She's been practicing away on her XDJ RX2 mk2, and just played her friends birthday party. Go Mel!

There's Dean Zlato from Sydney rocking out a Thursday night party.  Dean has been consistently playing events and is a rising star down under.  You can catch his weekly radio show on soundcloud.

Mir. Z. Ali rocking a room in Los Angeles.  He's made a name for himself and is a frequent performer in the LA underground scene. 

Big News Coming from Jacki-e of "A Darker Wave"

Jacki runs a weekly radio show called "A Darker Wave" - we've been connected on FB for some time as I made a guest appearance on her show about 3 some years ago.  It's been over a year in the works, but Jacki's first track to be professionally released is coming out on a major Berlin dance label - more on that shortly, but artwork is complete as are 2 fine remixes.  Here's Jacki on soundcloud.

Agent Orange's Witch Doktor Edit finds a home on Drumcode Radio

Ara aka Agent Orange stopped by the blog last year.   His recent edit of the classic Armand Van Helden track Witch Doktor has been getting support from Carl Cox and Adam Beyer.  Catch it in this week's drum code radio - the 2nd song in

news worth checking out

New documentary called "The Sound of Berlin" is out now.

New York City based House Icon, David Morales calls out Kanye West for stealing one of his bass-lines.

In 1988, Acid House swept Britain - NYTimes w/ the story.

Psyk discusses new alias "MAAN"

"DJ Samuel" aka Sam Paganini shares an early mixtape from the 1990.  Listen on SC.

Young rising star Avision / Anthony Cardinale shares production tips --"His tracks and remixes have been released by such esteemed labels as Intec, On Edge Society, InMotion LTD and Mark Broom's Beardman Records, and supported by the likes of Chris Liebing, Pan-Pot, Joseph Capriati, Ben Sims, Paco Osuna and many more."

And in other news Pioneer and Native Instruments have dropped new stuff.

Competition is always good.  Pioneers release isn't such a big deal - yet another controller in the XDJ line.  This time it's a less costly version of their XDJ-RX.

Native Instruments drops a ton of stuff w/ Traktor 3 coming soon along with updated S2 and S4 controllers.  The S4 comes in at $899 which is less that Pioneers DDJ 1000 and new XDJ RR.  Between these 3 offerings there's a good amount to choose from for the serious DJ who doesn't want to shell out big bucks.

The Traktor S4 MK3 looks interesting!  While full details are limited it looks like it can run as a stand alone mixer which is a win for anyone with a turntable and it can play from IOS with the Traktor DJ app.  However the app has collected dust for a while - to me the question is if you can run 4 tracks with the controller playing from the Traktor DJ app.

Im sure Traktor users are psyched for Traktor 3.0.  I'm more of a Maschine user so I'm hoping a big Maschine update is coming soon.

Finish Faster – Luca Agnelli “Voltumna” Analysis and Mock Arrangement in Ableton

Free Ableton Arrangement Template Based on Voltumna by Luca Agnelli

I listened to this tune in great detail, jotting notes down below and making a template to arrange from in Ableton. Shorten your production time when you study the masters and take the guesswork out of arranging.

The screenshot above isn't the real working session of the tune, but a template I made in Ableton using silent “dummy” midi &audio clips.

Studying other people’s music is a great way to improve your own productions. This way the process becomes internalized and you’re no longer guessing how to finish a track.

Today we’re taking a look at Luca Agnelli's Voltumna - the original mix. 

Here Are Some High Level Notes And Key Takeaways

The structure is quite typical.  Lots of 16 bar patterns, the main drop is at bar 145 which I've seen in other tracks. On a macro level there's 3 main sections.  Intro, middle section, and conclusion.  This is a great example of less is more.  I don't think there's too many individual sounds used in this tune but the ones picked are very good and well used.

Also a good example of varying these parts over time to increase energy and attention.  
Listen to the open hi hats, there are points where they shuffle through out the tune.  The chord stab sound also has varying energy levels through out.
What I've done in this file is label the different patterns when I heard changes.  For example the ride cymbals wash out with a hi pass filter.  

Bar 1-8  Track opens with a pounding kick, hi hats and percussion pattern. There’s a pumping airy sound you can tell is side chained to the kick.  The congas are mixed low in the mix, I almost didn’t hear them.  The other percussion part is more prominent 

Bar 9-16  More of the same only the kick is hi passed for a the last 2 beats of bar 16 and some delay is applied to the conga 

Bar 17-32 Another distorted “clank” kind of percussion sound is added, the kick is hi passed for 4 beats of bar 32 or the 16 part pattern  making it sound like it’s not there - the percussion is delayed.  At Bar 17 there are some very very subtle shakers in the mix panned a bit left.   

Bar 33-48 The melody or hook appears it’s the flute like sound, we also hear some rides which are hi passed as the pattern evolves.    The rides have a hi pass filter where the cut off is increased so as bar 49 approaches the rides “wash out.”   At Bar 41 the kick is severely hi passed meaning the lows are removed.  This is a little 8 bar break down

Bar 49-65  Here’s the first little drop where we hear kind of a vocal drone sound.  This gets used throughout the track typically every 8-16 bars.  When the energy of the song is highest it’s used more frequently The melody or hook is fully present in the mix.  At bar 57 the chords start fading in so by bar 65 both the hook and chords are at full volume.  There’s also a more open hi hat that starts at bar 49

Bar 57-89 Here’s a typical 32 bar section often found in many techno tracks.  At Bar 57 the chords fade in by bar 73 all sounds are present in the mix.  The riff or hook and the chords plus all the percussive parts.  So far this is where energy is highest in the tune.  At bar 73 we here some subtle variations to the chords and the hi hats.  

At Bar 85 the Kick is hi passed so it sounds like it’s not in the mix for 4 bars.

Bar 89-112 .  This is another drop in the tune where the melody has been removed and the chords are mostly faded out at the start of Bar 89. They fade back in and in this section the chords kinda get wild as do the hi hats.  At bar 112 the kicks are reversed for a subtle effect. 

Bar 113 - Here’s we’re moving towards the main break down of the track.   The melodic part that sounds like a flute returns at bar 121 the kick is hi passed.  The Rides come back in and “wash out” with the hi pass filter like we heard previously.  The drone sound repeats to give some sense of repeating patterns. 

Bar 129 - the chords come back and slowly fade in.  All percussion is out of the mix.  The kick is out for 8 bars.  

Bar 137, A hi passed kick returns along w/ some cymbals to build energy -  The “clank” percussion sound is there but low passed so it’s not super present in the mix.  Just enough to build  energy for the drop at Bar 145.   Bar 145 is a typical spot to end a break down. 

Bar 145 -160 Typical 16 bar pattern where all elements are playing together.  At the end of bar 160 the kick is hi passed for 2 beats.

Bar 161-176 - another 16 bar section.  At the beginning of the measure list to the hi hats they shuffle and have some repeated notes which vary the energy of the track.  The keys also go crazy for 8 bars and then wind down as bar 177 approaches.  Also the kick is hi passed for the last 4 beats of bar 176.

Bar 177 - the chords are removed as energy is removed from the song.  The melodic part fades out over the next 8 bars.

Bar 185 This is the DJ outtro or conclusion of the tune identical to the intro of the song.  Just kick, hats and percussion.

Bar 209 is it and the song is over.