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Thread: Visually mapping compatible tunes

  1. #1
    New Member
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    Mar 2020

    Visually mapping compatible tunes

    Dark Trance set map.jpg

    I don't know how other DJ's organise their sets,

    I once was told that a collection of tunes were like deck of cards and as a DJ you need to know which ones to play and in what order.

    I'm quite a visual person and I don't feel I know all of my tunes well enough to simply pluck random ones out mid set and have fully flexible style, so instead I have made some diagrams linking together tunes that I like which sound good together and follow a similar vibe, and then can use it as a guide so can be semi-flexible but also semi-planned.

    I like this approach as it allows me to focus the creativity into how I use bits of the track and what effects and techniques I will use, rather than a panic trying to dig out an old tune from a massive catalogue.

    Does anyone else have a similar approach? or do you do something completely different?

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  3. #3
    Your move ⚒️ Alex Murphy's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
    I do that, but in my head. Being blessed with having perfect pitch, combined with many years of music school, I can sort of tell in advance which can blend with what easier. Then in practice, I will try dozens of combinations and find out what results I like best, then take a written note of that. Full mental process until I write down what I like, so I don't forget. Writing it kinds of helps me to memorise it visually on top of musically.

    Over the years, I got used to remember what goes better with what, and what doesn't go so well. The longer you do it the better it works, it's like mental gymnastics.
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  4. #4
    New Member
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    Apr 2020
    Interesting system. Regarding the comment about cards I wouldn't agree that there is a certain order that records 'should' be played. I think that if the selection is good enough and within the same genre then order isn't so important. There could be some differences due to genre though I'll admit.

    Coming from a jungle/drum and bass background, for me when I play a set there might be a track or two that are in mind as a set starter and a few that are 'crowd pleasers' or 'weapons' which its best not to play to early as the set might peak too soon.

    I don't play as much now and that can mean less familiarity with the music but when I played out I found that having a selection of new records, probably 50 to 80 that I was very familiar with along with a few classics that I also knew really well made it easy to 'think' about how the tracks I wanted to play would sound with the one currently playing. Having an intro that's purely beats and easy to mix or a musical intro with no drums was also a factor, the latter usually not getting played so much, you kind of subconsciously stayed away from them.

    I've recently started to use Serato and I seem to find it a little bit harder to remember digital tracks compared to physical vinyl. It could be related to the tactile and visual aspect combined with the audio. Or perhaps I'm getting old

    It's be cool to make some sort of app to do what you are writing down, you could input the info and it would be able to suggest your next track to mix based on what you have told it about what works together.

  5. #5
    New Member
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    Apr 2020
    Edmonton, Canada
    There are two headspaces that generally determine how I put things together at home, playing whatever the hell I want or purposefully putting together tracks. Any time I have played out, I have went with a prepped mix and a few "in case of emergency" tracks.

    I can generally sense where something would go in a mix within seconds, often getting first track, last track, vibes from tunes. For a mix, which are really like diary entries to me, track queue is intentional. Sometimes I ever have certain words I will search for on Beatport to listen to tracks with specific titles. I can spend upwards to two months shopping for enough tracks to fill a 1-1.5 hour mix but I usually put them together quickly. I base this off the energy of the song, what I am trying to express with the mix, and generally a build up of energy and intensity from start to finish.

    Great post and it's awesome to hear how other people queue and construct their mixes

    I love your method of visual mapping it. It's unique and it just goes to show how varied and complex music can be.

  6. #6
    Junior Member Heliotropic27's Avatar
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    Jun 2020
    Seattle, WA
    I'm new to mixing vinyl but I've been using the practice mode in Serato to quickly see what does and doesn't work. It's really easy to do with tracks that I had to buy digitally (turns out there's a lot of stuff you can't get on vinyl or is super expensive!) since it's quicker than testing them with the control vinyl. Big downside is that it obviously doesn't work with actual vinyl and sometimes the software just can't seem to sync the tracks properly. But I like how I can use the virtual crates to create a set and then make modifications from there. It's actually helped me to map out sets with my regular vinyl while leaving room for improvisations.
    Last edited by Heliotropic27; 07-30-2020 at 12:38 AM.

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