When an artist brings me their work, I treat it like food — like a frozen chicken. Like, I have my stove and I didn’t make the chicken, but I can put the right spices on it, and put my stove at a certain degree.

DJ Drama in an interview with Brandon Soderberg/@notrivia.

Riff Market: Theoretically Unpublished Piece About Girl Talk

I endorse this criticism, particularly regarding the uniformity of timbre/texture/tempo. And/or I’m just old and cranky and don’t understand kids these days. (via)

With Girl Talk, we get that blissful moment of recognition without having to suffer through the next three minutes and thirty seconds remembering exactly why it hasn’t been Hammertime for more than a decade now.


Girl Talk’s insistence on not being a pure DJ is a key to why the music sounds like it does, why it has only one speed, one timbre, and one density: if he lets a sample or phrase or loop breath on its own without some kind of additional percussion or secondary element, he is violating his own semantic scruples. Rule Number One of Girl Talk Club: Everything must be mashed at all times or otherwise the whole musique concrete / “art compounded from other art” rationale falls away, and Gillis is “just a DJ.”

This was intriguing, but has maybe been true for decades:

With Girl Talk compositions, one wonders how much of Gillis’s ease is a testament to his technical prowess, and how much is just an articulation of the fact that pop music has become increasingly standardized.

And also:

Forget art. The question is, without a public hungry for the references, is Feed the Animals anything at all? Does Girl Talk hold up as “music” without all the extratextual information? If you had no idea about mash-ups or hip-hop or “No Diggity” or “Epic” by Faith No More would you really be all that impressed? It would just be a long stream of unstructured pop drone. Imaginary straw-men that have lived in a underground bunker for fifty years would totally hate Girl Talk!

Riff Market: Theoretically Unpublished Piece About Girl Talk

Respect the dance floor because the dance floor never lies. The DJ is not the star.

Ben Watt, via one of my old PoliSci professors.

Live performance in the age of supercomputing, a good essay on the past & present of electronic music, and how we make it happen:

The more operations that a computer in the bedroom studio was able to carry out, the more complex the musical output could be, and the less possible it was to re-create the results live. A straight techno piece made with an Roland TR-808 and some effects and synth washes can be performed as an endlessly varying track for hours. A mid 90s drum&bass track, with all its timestretches, sampling tricks and carefully engineered and well-composed breaks is much harder to produce live, and marks pretty much the end of real live performance in most cases. To reproduce such a complex work one needs a lot of players, unless most parts are pre-recorded. As a result, most live performances became more tape concert-like again, with whole pieces played back triggered by one mouse click and the performer watching the computer doing the work…

Fame puts the performer on stage, away from the audience. Miniaturisation puts the orchestra inside the laptop. Fame plus miniaturisation works very effectively as a performance killer.