wanderinglevel_feature

AFK – Wandering Level

“wandering level” describes the mix as a whole .. it meanders this way and that; it’s a vocal-less, solitary journey in the country along an unmarked path. It’s the way of a traveller, but not a tourist. Wandering level is also an anagram for my first and last name.

Download AFK – Wandering Level – right click, save as. 469 MB; run time: 3 hours, 15 minutes.

tracklisting and some notes

  1. Sasha – Coma (Charlie May Ambient remix) [emFire]
  2. Christian Smith and John Selway – Mistral (Ambient mix) [Bedrock Records]
  3. Derek Howell – Stride (Peter Martin remix) [Proton Music]
  4. Guy J – Milestone (Original mix) [Lost & Found]
  5. DAVI – False Awakenings (Original mix) [Subtract Music]
  6. Peter Gun & Terzi – Acapulco (Kasey Taylor remix) [Iboga Records]
  7. Martin Roth – Epic Waves (Original mix) [Sudbeat Music]
  8. 16 Bit Lolitas – Friendly Neighbour (Original mix) [Anjunadeep]
  9. Damabiah – Irminsul, Le Pilier Du Monde (Andrew Bayer remix) [Natura Sonoris]
  10. Barry Jamieson – Phaze Loop (Cid Inc. remix) [microCastle]
  11. 16 Bit Lolitas – Deep Space Girls (DAVI remix) [Bits and Pieces]
  12. Ricky Ryan – Mess Monster (Barry Jamieson remix) [Avangardia]
  13. Cid Inc. – Blizzard (Cid Inc’s Dailchi Unit1 mix) [microCastle]
  14. Aeron Aether – Sparks (Original mix) [Nueva Digital]
  15. DJ Noor and Stefan Addo – Distances (Atrium Sun Dirty Breaks mix) [Mistique Music]
  16. Eelke Kleijn – Lone Ranger (Hybrid Soundsystem remix) [Manual Music]
  17. AMbassador – The Fade (Guy J remix) [Lost & Found]
  18. Kosmas Epsilon – Karelia (Original mix) [System Recordings]
  19. Franz Kirmann – Liza (Charlie May Atlantis Club mix) [microCastle]
  20. C-Jay, Le Ron & Yves Eaux – FantoomLust (Kasey Taylor remix) [Vapour Recordings]
  21. Zack Roth – The Longest Haul (Robert Nickson’s RNX remix) [Colorize (Enhanced)]
  22. Anthony Yarranton and Pete McCarthey – Techastreisand (Pete McCarthey remix) [Movement Recordings]
  23. Quivver – The Fog (Kassey Voorn Vintage Interpretation) [Visceral]
  24. Cirez D – Teaser (Deadmau5 remix Version 1) [Mouseville]
  25. SQL & Child – Nootropica (Original mix) [Outpost Recordings]
  26. Jeremy Olander – Rorschach (Original mix) [Cr2 Records]
  27. Shifter & Quivver – Pipe Control (Cid Inc. remix) [Plastik Park]
  28. Kenneth Thomas – Staircase Monster (Solarity remix) [Nueva]
  29. Protoculture – Topaz (Max Graham remix) [Armada Music]
  30. Oliver Smith – New Dawn (Original mix) [Anjunabeats]
  31. Pryda – Nile (Original mix) [Pryda Recordings]
  32. Guy J – Dizzy Moments (Original mix) [Lost & Found]
  33. Push – Strange World (Tranquilo’s Underwater Kingdom Chillout mix) [Bonzai Elemental]

a retrospective glance

I started putting together DJ mixes in 1997 and was DJing at all-night parties, clubs, and music festivals shortly after. The first few years, I was bringing some very anti-social, introspective music into very extraverted circumstances, i.e. parties full of young people staying up all night. I felt like I could do that because I made no secrets about what kind of music I was interested in sharing – I was on the radio pushing it out, and people seemed interested in that sound, and promoters booked me quite a bit. As years went by, there was a bit more festival play and club play, less all-night parties and less dedicated club nights focused on this particular sound. EDM was being commercialized; for the most part, that meant that DJs were being booked to help sell alcohol at the bar. That is the ugly truth of it; the music itself took a back seat. If people were caught appreciating music, well, that didn’t exactly pay the rent.

Time went by and it became clear that I would have several record bags: music for radio (calm, thoughtful music); music for parties (vocalized, happy, sometimes even aggressive); music for festivals (energetic, laser sounds, anthemic); music for outdoor events, i.e. a full moon gathering in the forest (atmospheric, mysterious, dark, epic); and of course, the music I made myself as AFK, Royal Assassin, Tiebreaker, Emerald Green, Trifecta and so forth, i.e. featured artist kind of stuff. All of these are distinctive sounds and very different creative directions, and any one of them could easily be a set on their own – and have been.

I don’t DJ at parties and clubs much any more; my lifestyle has changed to be less nocturnal – but the music itself is something I haven’t given up. It’s just something I have been enjoying mostly on my own.

introversion

Out of all my DJ mixes, this is likely the most introverted. Exploring music and listening for the layers and the mood of each composition is not really a thing you do in the company of people, unless you know people already do that on their own. It is wordless on purpose as to not distract from the qualities of each piece. Not to say that vocals cannot be an introversion, but rather that they can be demanding and engaging on a level that leaves a listener wanting more vocals of a similar quality, or turned off regardless of the quality of the music behind it; vocals can be quite polarizing for the listener.

Vocals over EDM have become a hallmark of pop music lately, and I’ve felt like distancing myself from that. Although you can dance to this music, I would not call it dance music. It’s a different relationship with music that I wanted to push away, at least this time, in favour of this study of synths and sifting syncopated sounds.

patience

This is my first new mix since 2012. I’ve been gathering music as it comes up. These are pieces of inspiration; the fruit of 2 years of hunting. I spent a full year putting this together, and another 2 months making sure it flowed right, the levels worked, the cues made sense, and the right chances were being taken with some of the ambient blends. A 3.25 hour long mix takes a while to wholly proof. I do not know how many hours I have put into this, but the mix has been my getaway, consistently, for the last year. It’s a little creative outlet.

So this means that I have been working on it while I have been travelling: Tofino, Vancouver, Nashville, Sarasota, Key West, and also at 35,000 feet. The traveller theme is completely built into the mix philosophy: the mix image was taken with my iPhone while taking off from Houston, Texas. The lines are the skyline of the city as the camera did a time exposure and the pilot banked to turn the plane in the right direction.

“Completion-date” for the mix was never a question, I just worked on it when there was time, and didn’t know when it would wrap itself up. It has it’s own life, and in years-spent-on-music terms, this represents 11.25% of mine.

long format

At 3.25 hours and with no explicit narrative, I don’t really expect this kind of mix to appeal to most people. It’s fairly specialized in a direction that isn’t what I’d call popular. I called it a “study” above and I believe that’s what it is – how to weave several different sub-genres together over several hours. It is for the listener to interpret; it is meant to accompany the listener during whatever it is they want to do, and it provides no instructions on how to enjoy it.

rules and illusion

There’s all these rules I’ve made up for myself in order to make a good mix. They’ve been practiced in almost all of my previous mixes: the current track has the energy of the preceding track +1; foreshadow and hint early in the mix about different styles that will follow later in the mix so that the introduction of a full tangent in those directions is not a big surprise and flows naturally; give the listener a full exploration of the tangent before mixing away from it, or make the tangent build into a whole new direction; build from basic sound designs into more complex and affected sound designs; and evolve from simple repetitive riffs into melodic widescreen epic scores. There is a shared aesthetic logic to the collection.

There’s probably more that I can’t remember right now, but the sum of that is that you have a mix that seems to speed up, slow down, wind this way and that. But the truth is, this mix never changes tempo – it’s 126 BPM the whole way through. It seems to get quite fast towards the end, but it’s an auditory illusion created through layers and sequencing.

break up or stay together

This mix could have easily been 3 or 4 different mixes; it certainly has the content and the scale for it. That probably would have been easier on me to put together, and probably easier for the listener as well. That’s what I’ve done in the past, for the most part, but early on when I was putting this mix together, I decided it was not going to make compromises based on time – that the journey was going to take as long as the music in it demanded. This is the least I could do to really place these pieces in a way that honours the countless hours that the producers and remixers listed above put into their pieces.

technical notes

Mixed in Ableton Live 9 with the Complex Pro mode to preserve as much quality as possible while still being able to properly re-pitch tracks as necessary. It was exported as a 1.99 GB AIFF and then compressed to MP3 with VBR turned off, as well as the filtering options turned off. The mp3 is at 320K, and sounds, I think, pretty good.

how to work with me

Well, besides my LinkedIn profile, which describes some of my experience, skills, abilities and so forth, what should you know about the soft skills of Davin Greenwell if you happen to find yourself working with him?

Well, I am him, so I’ll share some insight on that, based on a series of tests I took to determine my personality / talents etc. One of the tests is about strengths (why work all the time on weaknesses when you can, instead, leverage what you excel at?) and another is personality based (MBTI). You can use this information to figure out how to interact or collaborate best with me (hi boss), judge me, or otherwise attempt to manipulate me in some manner.

Strengths

These are themed by Gallup and the test is called StrengthsFinder; you can also see the full list of strength themes. As far as I know, there’s no free version of this test, so there is no link to one here.

  • Individualization
    People who are especially talented in the Individualization theme are intrigued with the unique qualities of each person. They have a gift for figuring out how people who are different can work together productively.
  • Futuristic
    People who are especially talented in the Futuristic theme are inspired by the future and what could be. They inspire others with their visions of the future.
  • Activator
    People who are especially talented in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. They are often impatient.
  • Learner
    People who are especially talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.
  • Command
    People who are especially talented in the Command theme have presence. They can take control of a situation and make decisions.

Anyone who has worked with me will not be surprised by any of the above.

Myers Briggs Type Indicator

The MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) test was first introduced to me as “a way for people to put other people into little boxes.” There are four dichotomies of personality in this test with a range in each; at the end of the test, you get four letters that describe your personality. For those of you keeping track at home, that is 16 possible combinations of letters, or 16 possible personality types.

So, my results (after multiple tests) are:

  • E (Extraverted)
  • N (iNtuitive)
  • F (Feeling)
  • P (Perceiving)

Some call the ENFP “champion,” “inspirer,” or other nicknames, which are no doubt chosen to make the test-taker feel good about taking the test and spread it to their friends. Nonsense aside, here’s a snippet of what that term approximately means:

“Like the other Idealists, Champions are rather rare, say three or four percent of the population, but even more than the others they consider intense emotional experiences as being vital to a full life. Champions have a wide range and variety of emotions, and a great passion for novelty. They see life as an exciting drama, pregnant with possibilities for both good and evil, and they want to experience all the meaningful events and fascinating people in the world. The most outgoing of the Idealists, Champions often can’t wait to tell others of their extraordinary experiences. Champions can be tireless in talking with others, like fountains that bubble and splash, spilling over their own words to get it all out. And usually this is not simple storytelling; Champions often speak (or write) in the hope of revealing some truth about human experience, or of motivating others with their powerful convictions.” – Dr. David Keirsey

You can read the full ENFP description on Keirsey’s site and then analyze me. It is somewhat accurate.

Some psychologist friends of mine think this test is mostly rubbish, so perhaps keep that in mind. Also, if you get one letter or another, that does not mean you are just that one thing, rather you may sway in that direction most of the time. For example: I have introverted times, which nobody believes happen because they don’t see me (imagine that) when I am spending time by myself. Anyway, there are a few free versions of this test online; here is the MBTI test I’ve been using the last several years.

topographic vector map of BC

BC_map_davingreenwell

I keep on making these and then switching computers every few years and losing them, so I’m putting it here. The above file is what it looks like, but it’s a .PNG; ignore it. Here is a link to the BC vector map in AI (Adobe Illustrator) format. If you need to know what an Illustrator file is, this blog post isn’t for you.

I can’t guarantee the accuracy of the elevations but this will generally do for presentations / report covers etc. It is based on a JPG I found through a Google image search, but this will reproduce far better if you are working in Illustrator or InDesign. If you need a more sciencey or accurate topographic map, I recommend you go to GeoBC.

If you are a topography nerd, you should view this list of North American ultras. There are some sweet prominences in there, many of which are in B.C.

experiment_chainflight

to fly

Another bit from The Experiment.

This is just an exercise in symbolism; the focus is on the barrier but the bulk of the image is an out of focus plane in flight. So that could mean a lot of things, really whatever you want. Obviously there are different barriers for different people to travel – the image of a plane as freedom by itself is a dream and woefully incomplete.

experiment_dylan

magnetic minds

The blueprint for how TEDxVictoria currently exists came from these three – Dylan, John and Carol-Lynne. I am fortunate to have worked with them quite a bit on TEDxVictoria in the past.

You should check out the three of them, they’re actually very active in their own ways:

  • Dylan is the chief organizer of TEDxVictoria and just went to TEDActive – check out his blog as linked – he has written extensively about it and a lot of other stuff too. He has lent me two dystopian future scifi novels that I am reading right now.
  • Carol-Lynne has a lot of stuff going on.  I think the only way to keep up with it all is her 11k+ tweets. She hasn’t lent me any books.
  • John has tremendous business and technology  sense and has started up something called Coinforest. He’s lent me a book called “What Technology Wants” and I haven’t started it yet, because Dylan lent me two books that I haven’t finished yet.

experiment_john
John

experiment_carollynne
Carol-Lynne

diversity is my university