Friday, August 31, 2007

musical gymnasts are raising the bar Creative Commons photo by Nelson Minar, licensed through his courtesy on an attribution sharealike license

As someone who imagines himself more a modest manipulator of samples than a truly full-fledged remixter, I usually don't worry too much when I hear the leaps forward in quality that sometimes move the site forward (or afflict it, in a rather exuberant yet feverish way). I still fret with arranging noise into atmosphere, and am not really much up to matching harmonies to gorgeous vocals.

Tonight, inspired by MC Jack in the Box's new "review everything for Labor Day" program and the insomnia that liberates me from sleep from time to time, I decided to do a lot of ccmixter listening and reviewing. I just started at the most recent and headed downward for a detailed listen to a goodish number of entries. It was great fun, because I used to do that more consistently, and was glad to hear such a varied set of mixes. It was what they call entertainment,and it was good.

This confirmed my recent impression. The ccmixter bar appears to be on the rise.
I heard some great mixes, some great ideas, and a lot of technical skills. New mixters are bringing deserved editors' picks. Established mixters are growing their sounds into new and quite impressive places.

Couple that with Calendar Girl's enchanting 'pellas and the amazing materials contributed by Songboy, among others, and the high jump bar looks like it's towering up over 7' and heading skyward like a rocket cathedral.

I suppose I should be daunted, and humbled, as my own material, whether original or remixed (and sometimes I am not sure there is really a difference), is so much more limited than what I hear.

But I have to admit that I'm instead pleased to hear the board burst out like autumn flowers, and pole vault in exciting new ways. Granted, I am still more interested in making my sequencer sound like a cross between a hammond and a sushi knife collection, but it's such a thrill to hear the possibility that people are bringing to the board.

If this is a revolution, as I firmly believe, then it is no longer merely the domain of three lo-fi chords in a hypothetical suburban garage.

People come to "play", these days, and it's a joy to hear it happen.


teru said...

To me it's no surprise that the bar constantly gets raised. It's as if we are all children and as the bar gets raised we all grow a bit taller.

I know for people who aren't familiar to the site, reading the comments and such, it may come across as if we're constantly praising ourselves. Which, I guess we are. But in all honesty when I check out other similar music sites, like Soundclick or Acidplanet (no disrespect meant) it is very noticeable how much ccM constantly evolves due to the interactive/interdependence component to the site.

When a Songboy3 or a Calendar Girl or DJ Vadim shows up, how could you not push yourself to grow?

fourstones said...

I really REALLY appreciate MC J's initiative, esp. in his promise to keep the reviews honest.

Overall I think you both hit on the 'secret' -- there's a ton of producing talent out there and a bunch of great singers; all we did was hook them up.

More on point: In recent weeks I've pulled almost as many remixes as I've posted. Stuff that I would have easily just let fly last year just isn't good enough nowadays.

fourstones said...

btw, I think the comment feed is broken.

teru said...

"I think the comment feed is broken"

Yup. I wrote the Blogger Help Group about 2 weeks ago. Blogger Help is..... well there really isn't any Blogger Help.

MC Jack in the Box said...

hey, glad you guys liked my idea. :)

honestly, i was inspired by the exchange that victor was having with drumity about leaving reviews to get some back. i just thought drumity's response was kind of selfish and victor definitely took the high rode. so i just thought it was time to try to inspire a different way of thinking about giving feedback and the fact that while reciprocation is good, benevolency is even better.

like everything else about the mixter, it's more about giving than receiving.

gurdonark said...

It was a great idea, MC Jack in the Box, and the corollary idea embedded in your notion that an honest review is a greater gift than a short "way to go" review also appealed to me. It's funny how the reviwe function differs at different sites. Neither "be as caustic as you can" nor "just be encouraging" prevent the problem of in-breeding which can afflict such processes. I thought your suggested review approach was nicely in the middle of the choices. A good Labor Day kindness on your part :).

oldDog said...

I'd also like to say thanks to MC Jack in the Box. Constructive criticism is one of the great things about ccMixter, and I've personally learned a lot from other peoples' comments. In fact I'd say the site was the best way to pick up some mixing techniques and explore whatever musical style you're into - and maybe discover a few that you didn't know about.
I've tried a few of the other mixing sites, but keep coming back to ccM because the quality is so high, and the range of styles so wide.