Monday, September 15, 2003

Unweaving that Turntable Sound

The other day I saw The Herbaliser in concert. Anytime I see a group or artist who's using turntables, a constant stream of records and a whole heap of pushing buttons and twiddling knobs, I'm always wondering what is it they're really doing up there?

I mean, I know what they're doing on a basic level, with stuff like mixing sounds together, scratching and cuing up parts of the records, but I can't get any sense of the correspondence between actions they do and sounds I'm listening to.

Just what's on those records they're using? What are all the things they're doing contributing to the sounds I'm hearing? To what extent are their actions contributing to that sound?

Not knowing this makes it hard to really engage with the music as a live act - it almost makes it feel like I'm listening to a CD. And I think a lot of people -- the majority, perhaps -- have the same experience. They don't get it.

Not everyone, though. I'm sure it's a lot different if you've got some experience doing this kinda stuff with turntables, and you know what's going on. I've been thinking, it'd be interesting to have a little multimedia program that illustrates the kinda stuff that's going on. So if someone, like me, wants to know -- or there's someone who dislikes the music because of the fact that they don't get it -- you can just point them at it.

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