AFK – Frisky Loves Canada 2015

New mix!

A followup to a previous appearance on the Frisky Radio spotlight on Canadian DJs, I’ve put something together that is only an hour long. Let me tell you, that does not seem like very much time to me after putting together my last mix, which was around 3 hours long. I think I have to stop doing those big long mixes as they take a really long time to smooth out and sequence and generally be happy with, which means it was more like work than play. This, on the other hand, was definitely play.


  1. Tom Middleton – Sea of Glass (Jon Hopkins remix) [Café Del Mar Music]
  2. Nick Warren – Devil’s Elbow (Max Cooper remix) [Hope Recordings]
  3. Odd Parents – Learn to Fly (Maceo Plex’s Flight Home remix) [Ellum]
  4. DAVI – The Gates of Babylon (Original mix) [Rebellion]
  5. Joy Wellboy – Before the Sunrise (Dixon remix) [Bpitch Control]
  6. Dave Seaman – Right Side of Wrong (Guy Mantzur & Lonya remix) [Sudbeat Music]
  7. Kaan Koray – Heart of Africa (Faskil breaks mix) [Magnetism Digital]
  8. Pryda – Sunburst (Original mix) [Virgin UK]
  9. Barry Jamieson – Stars (Charlie May’s Black Hole remix) [microCastle]
  10. Ana Criado – Afterglow (Will Holland remix) [Adrian & Raz]

Download: AFK – Frisky Loves Canada (right click, save as, etc)

tennis court

If you have to choose one sport to associate yourself with, you could do a lot worse than tennis.

The game is fun, challenging, can be played with a team mate or just one on one, and has some sophisticated equipment – racquets mostly, along with a few neat accessories and doodads that can legitimately enhance the game.

My background with tennis is something I’ve never written about, but why not? I have played it most my life, and I seem to spend a fair bit of time playing the sport, watching it, and occasionally talking about it with a few friends that also are fans of the game.

So here we go..

I first started playing about 28 years ago, when my friend Dani and I were sitting around in the house, being very young and lazy and bored. I can’t remember whose parents handed us the wooden tennis racquets, but I do remember we walked down the street to Majestic Park to the single tennis court there.

We started playing – or trying to play that day.. We weren’t very good, which makes a lot of sense, since I now believe that you’re only as good as how much you play. When I don’t play for spans of time, I reconcile my play with how I once played or last played when I played a lot, and of course it is disappointing. If one doesn’t play, the rhythm of the game will be off. And the game is all about rhythm – footwork and swings. I digress.

We would each drop the ball in front of us and swing underhand at it. The ball, if we made contact with it, would fly what seemed like 100 feet in the air over the three and a half foot net, and sometimes make it into play on the other side. We did this an immeasurable amount of times. I invited my older brother Krishen to play with us. He did.

At some point, we figured out the rules and started playing some “matches.” I recall trying to serve overhand on my first serve and actually managing to get it in on a few occasions. After a year or so, we were still playing with wooden racquets. We discovered the sweet spot, a zone on the racquet face that has the maximum bounce and minimum vibration. On a wooden racquet, that zone is extremely small – on modern racquets, they have managed to make it significantly larger. One might say that newer players have it easier because of this, but on the contrary, playing with a wooden racquet forces your swing to be more accurate. The wooden racquets turned out to be a huge favour.

Fast forward a few years and I had gathered enough coins to buy a metal racquet from Canadian Tire. I think it was a Spalding racquet, a brand not really huge in the tennis game any more, but at the time it was pretty much the best thing in the universe to me. I would take my tennis racquet everywhere with me – to the beach, camping, where-ever, as long as there was someone to play with. If there wasn’t anyone to play with, it wasn’t unlike me to find a wall and drill it for an hour or two.

I remember being on trips to Trinidad to visit my mom’s family, and catching Wimbledon on television. We watched a lot of it. There was Becker, Lendl, Graf, Edberg, Navratilova, big names back then. Names who dominated the major tournaments back then, and are now found as the top player’s coaches.

In this time, I had also gathered a few new friends to hit the ball with, as had my brother. Between us, we could easily fill all four courts at Lambrick Park, and I believe that we did many times. Krishen had a few tennis friends – Stefan, Andrew and Bima, if I recall correctly. I was frequently down there with David, Dave and Don. In the summer, some of us, definitely myself included, would get on the courts at 9 AM and play until 4 or 5 PM. Our friend Jenny, who lived beside the courts, would sometimes come down and bring us iced tea and heckle/watch. Sometimes we would take a break if someone else was waiting for a court, wait til they would leave (usually 30 minutes), and get back on the courts again. While we waited, we would make new friends with others who were waiting. There were times when we would agree to share the next court over a game of doubles. We were young, without much else to do. Courts were free and we didn’t need to be anywhere. Like I said, one could pick a worse sport.

Sometimes we would be playing in the evening, after dinner. We would catch the golden hour in the summers, cool mountain air flowing into the court area, making it a perfect temperature. We would play until darkness – until we couldn’t see the ball anymore, and it became dangerous because we were hitting the ball pretty hard by then. It was around then that one of us figured out that we could go on the lit courts at Henderson. It was just a short 15 minute bike ride away. When we got the means, we would even reserve the courts under the lights, which was (and still is) awesome in the summer, since you get to play in the cool outdoor night air.

It was funny how different it was playing with different people. I noticed myself playing to their weaknesses instead of developing my own strengths. Playing to others’ weaknesses is the weakness of playing to win. You exploit ways to win points, but in the process, you lose your own way. Still, you can play your own game without hitting the ball to their backhand every time, or doing really annoying drop shots because you notice they’re slow to react.

Sometimes the difference in play was in mood. My friend Don loved playing tennis, but was no good to hang out with afterwards if he lost the game. He loved to win. Who doesn’t? Anyway, he won enough to stay in a good mood, most of the time. Dave and David were roughly equal skill level, but less moody after the games, so I tended to play with them a bit more.

By high school, I had been playing for a while, but I didn’t have time to play as much with band practice in grades 8 and 9. After grade 9, I quit band and joined the high school tennis team. I had saved up enough to buy a Wilson Staff, which I then later replaced with a Wilson Pro Staff after a friend borrowed (and lost) my Staff. The team, of course, came with a coach. At the time, he would correct me on some of my form and teach me little things that I didn’t really get at the time, but make more and more sense now. His voice (for better or for worse) echoes in my head when I watch the technique of the pro players. It was helpful.

It was around this time as a teenager that I started having recurring dreams. So in this one, I used to have this nightmare that my Wilson ProStaff had been destroyed somehow – I can still see it – there was a gap in the top of the racquet, making it unusable. There was a large feeling of dread associated with the dream. Like, what am I going to do without a tennis racquet? It was my most prized possession. In the dream, replacing the racquet would have been beyond my means, but in reality, I could have done something about it.

The tennis team was pretty fun. We were competitive. Some of the people on our team were very competitive. I mostly played on the doubles team, which was great because it meant lots of net time. We had a few star players on the team, one of which liked to hit the ball after school with me. I got better at taking the ball off the rise and matching some of the bigger player pace. I started returning big serves consistently. I wasn’t doing anything specifically different. It was just exposure to a different level of play that enabled me to up my own game – hence the importance of not playing to someone else’s weakness; when one does play to someone else’s weakness, one can make both players worse. Instead, why not make both players better by playing consistently and predictably? That helped me develop my own rhythm.

The team went on to win the provincial championships and then we went back the next year to defend, but got rained out in the final. They gave us a second place – I think the other team was ahead, but we had never lost, so I was anticipating that we would come back. No matter. That year we also got to travel down to Washington State and play in a tournament against a high school there. They destroyed us handily, in a way that I wasn’t aware we were susceptible to. It didn’t matter though, we were having a good time, and the teams hung out together at night. Some one from the Washington team invited us over for a party and we all hung out listening to Counting Crows and eating pizza (I think.) They really, really liked Counting Crows. That’s all we listened to that one night.

After high school, tennis took a back seat to a very active social life, DJing, Magic, the Gathering, radio, college, some girlfriends that didn’t play and didn’t want to learn, and of course photography. I would randomly play tennis with a few friends here and there, once or twice a year at max. I lost touch with the game.

Fast forward until a few years ago, and one of the fellows from work mentioned that he liked to play. Shockingly, we made plans to play and stuck to them, even though we are both busier than ever. I collected a few other friends who used to play and wanted to hit the ball again. Now I play once every week or two, and there were even some times last summer when I would play 3 times in 2 days. It’s funny how I got re-ignited on the sport after such a long hiatus. It’s a sport that you can really get into the flow of – no thinking required – in fact, thinking can be a detriment. Given that we live in an age where we are constantly in front of screens, paid for our brains, something that is so the opposite of that can be quite appealing.

Maybe even necessary.

Some random tennis thoughts:

  • It’s interesting that the price point of a tennis racquet hasn’t seemed to gone up in the last 20 years.
  • I notice that I like rallying more than playing sets, but a pure rally lacks the competitive aspect that changes the way one plays the game. The happy middle ground is a game called 11, where both players have to have hit the ball over twice for a point to begin/count. First one to make it to 11 and win by 2 wins the game. I definitely notice that both players usually up their game when there is a point on the line. There may be lessons for other parts of life in there, even though I detest tracking myself in such a way..
  • I may have gone to bed at 10 PM on a Saturday night, just so I could wake up at midnight and watch the final of the Australian Open.
  • I noticed on the (mostly American) broadcasts of the Australian Open that the media coverage frequently mentioned a criticism of the sport, mainly being that the sport lacked personality. I had never really thought about it, but for the most part that criticism is right. Interviews are bland and feel almost institutional, but I think that goes with the discipline of the sport.
  • Occasionally you will see a player get fired up and emote on court and it seems to be a big deal and people talk about it. But the same outburst would not make it on the radar in sports like football, hockey, basketball, etc. The absence of personality in the sport makes the presence of a single personality into news, kind of like how darkness is the absence of light. From darkness, you add a little bit of light to one spot and, voila, you get a spotlight.
  • If the sport wants to expand, tennis has an opportunity to do some work on it’s identity. Sport growth comes from fans, and fans are attracted to personalities. I can tell some of the governing bodies are trying to give fans more to hook into, but the athletes also have to come to play this particular game. Some are doing better than others.
  • I line judged a tournament in the fall – some really good players were there from all over the world. I did it for the experience. It’s actually really hard work, with not a lot of reward for getting the calls right, and plenty of scorn if you don’t get it 100%. If you’re going to watch tennis, though, you can’t get much closer than actually being on the court. One thing that is interesting is that the line judges are taught to say “hout” rather than “out” because it does a better job of stopping the play.

Speaking of sleep, I just spent an hour and a half writing about tennis, and now it’s past my bedtime! Good night.

The evolution of sleep

My friend Miriam recently sent me this Inquiring Minds episode on sleep. Did you know that, just 100 years ago, adults regularly got 9.25 hours of sleep per night on average?

“Lack of sleep” and “being tired” are more serious than they sound. 8 hours a night seems to be the sweet spot (most people seem to know this), but did you know that if you get less than 7, there are biological consequences?  Insufficient sleep has been found to be associated with an increased risk of:

  • Stroke
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Depletion of immune function, linked to malignancy cancer

“The link between lack of sleep and cancer is now so strong that the World Health Organization, a couple years ago, decided to classify shift work as a possible carcinogen.” – Matt Walker

Okay, some good stuff now – sleep does three things for learning:

  • Sleep the night before a day of learning seems to restore the ability of the brain to absorb new information
  • Sleep after learning also cements in the new knowledge
  • R.E.M. sleep takes all the new things you’ve been learning and builds webs of association, testing connections and taking memories further .. and this does have the ability to move your knowledge to wisdom as new things are realized

So that is pretty cool.

There’s been a lot of recent research on sleep, and much more of it is covered with Matt Walker, Principal Investigator at UC Berkeley’s Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab, in the linked episode. Pretty good listen …may even change your life.

Do you get enough sleep?



This is a shot from last year’s experiment (black and white) .. so it’s a bit of a throwback thursday I suppose.

Yesterday Miriam told me she liked reading this website, and now she’s on it! This was taken last year at Matty and Sarah’s wedding reception, which I did not ruin with a torch mishap, but I almost did.

There we have it.

change or transformation

Recently, I was doing a search for “transformation” – one of those words that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

In my head I was thinking “of course it means change” – and it does, but change of what? A google image search for the term “transformation” yields a much different result than a google image search for the term “change.” I didn’t care for either for my purpose, which is communicating about change. This morning I was walking to work and, as usual, I walked by a bunch of Canadian maple trees and I scooped the above leaf and decided that was a great metaphor for change – the fall is all about a shift in what we do and how we do it. Trees do this every year – they shed their leaves and all the stuff they do with those leaves as they prepare for winter, which I imagine is like tree vacation for them since they don’t have to do anything in particular.

Actually I just read that trees shed leaves in order to save water. Wow eh. #learning

victoria wine festival notes

A couple weekends ago, I went to Victoria Wine Festival to check out some new-to-me wines. I went with a friend and we limited ourselves to reds to get more of a sense of what we liked and didn’t like as much.

So I have a few notes from that. I am not a wine writer but I did take a few photos of what I liked to remember for later, so here they all are.


Very nice #vicwf

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beautiful packaging #vicwf

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Lovely Argentinian red – looks light but taste is surprisingly big #vicwf

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some #wine I liked at #vicwf #latergram #notes

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some #wine I liked at #vicwf #latergram #notes

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the velvet devil; some #wine I liked at #vicwf #latergram #notes

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some #wine I liked at #vicwf #latergram #notes

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Red Zinfandel has six times lower sales than White Zinfandel in the USA. I prefer mine red, however. #wine I liked at #vicwf #latergram #notes #big #bold

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Any-old-hoo, that’s all I got for now.

a life without sleep

“Life must be lived forwards, however, it can only be understood backwards.” – Søren Kierkegaard

Sleep is one of those basic things that seems simple at first, but as we progress through life, it seems to take on complexity without any additional effort from an individual. If one were to say, simply go to bed, the assumption may be that the rest was taken care of; one would wake up rejuvenated and ready to take on another great day. The next morning’s metadata might have tags like: #refreshed #sunrise #orange_juice #morning_show #running #writing #music #yolo.

Unfortunately for me, it almost never has.

In my adult life,  I have traditionally been a night person. I write music at night, like to exercise at night, socialize at night, work at night – you name it. It’s not that I wouldn’t want to do these things in the morning, it’s just that I’ve never felt like doing these things in the morning. I never questioned why I was more energetic at night; I just knew I liked life more when it was night time.

Then, one day, I happened to see a local doctor on the noon news talking about sleep:

This got me thinking: I have, in the past, received reports that I snore fairly consistently, and there has been a mention once or twice of lapses of breathing. I was not aware of these occurrences causing much of a problem – I mean, we are all limited to our own experience, and I didn’t have anything to compare it to.

As you may have heard, sleep is one of those three vital pillars of health, along with eating well [link to pal video] and regular exercise.  I couldn’t shake the thought: even if I got 8 hours of bed time, it doesn’t mean that I got 8 hours of good sleep time. I needed to investigate this; I needed to talk to my doctor about sleep.

My doctor asked me some questions, such as:

  • Do you wake up tired?
    My answer was “yes, but I assume everyone has their own version of tired.. I don’t have anything to compare it to”
  • Have there been instances where you’ve been told you snore or stop breathing?
    My answer was “yes.”

My doctor asked if I wanted to find out more about what was really going during my sleep; I agreed to participate in polysomnography (a multi-diagnostic sleep study) to track my sleeping patterns. The test was a simple overnight kit that I took home and returned to the sleep lab the next day.

The results came in – they look like this:


There are a bunch of lines:

  • Sa02 (oxygen level within blood)
  • Heart rate
  • Nasal pressure
  • Something called “Effort”
  • Supine or body position – supine just means whether or not you were on your back
  • Snore level

The numbered valleys mean low oxygen levels. When these patterns come together in a certain way, that can mean there was an occurrence of sleep apnea, which means I stopped breathing in my sleep. Each time this happens, my heart rate goes up as I temporarily (3 seconds max) wake myself up to start breathing again. Here’s some baselining for sleep apnea occurrences per hour of sleep:

  •  < 5: considered normal, most people are in this range
  • 5-15: mild
  • 15-30: moderate
  • 30+: severe

My doctor distilled it for me this way: “You have sleep apnea. Major league levels”:

  • While laying on my side (not supine): 40+ sleep apnea occurrences
  • While laying on my back (supine, how I spend most of the night): 60+ sleep apnea occurrences

This means, per hour, I was waking myself up between 40-60+ times to start breathing again. Sometimes, this means I am waking up more than once a minute throughout a night. It is unclear how my body, or brain, adjusted to this. As you may have noticed yourself, the body and brain need the benefits of sleep:

“It may seem obvious that sleep is beneficial. Even without fully grasping what sleep does for us, we know that going without sleep for too long makes us feel terrible, and that getting a good night’s sleep can make us feel ready to take on the world.” – Harvard Medical School

No wonder I was waking up exhausted and worn-out every day. More sleep wouldn’t make it any better; during sleep, my body would be working more rigorously than when I was awake. This would be the case for, as far as we can tell, my entire adult life. It stands to reason that I am likely a night person because it takes me a day to recover from a night of sleep. By contrast, simply staying awake at night has been less exhausting.

So now that I had become aware of a completely fundamental health problem that was inhibiting all sorts of aspects of my life every day, what do I do? Now what?

There are a few options if you have sleep apnea; different solutions are more appropriate for different levels and causes of sleep apnea, such as a mouthpiece, continuous positive airway pressure, or more invasively, surgery. Through my doctor, I found a solution that was right for me, and I am finally experiencing what it’s like to wake up rejuvenated and well rested. So this is what people have been so satisfied about when it comes to discussing going to bed early.

It is interesting to know that my brain and body was coping with this as I went through various demanding stages of my life, where my energy levels were being utilized in the day time by full-time work, evening classes, as well as exercise, volunteering for various causes, writing music, running a business, and more, all in a single day. The brain and body must have adjusted itself to operate without consistent (or much) sleep. Now it will finally get a chance to adjust to the concept of having regular patterns of sleep, and who knows, maybe I’ll even start dreaming at night for what the next part of my life might be like..

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.


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.


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.