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international news _ 23rd February, 2007

Beat Mixing Matters?

Text by Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)

The Village Voice suggested the rise of new rave is prompting a resurgence of beat-matching DJs on New York's cutting edge alternative-electro scene this week, in a lengthy feature called 'The Return Of Rave'.

"Breaking news: DJs are mixing again! Matching beats," Trish Romano trumpeted, going on to eulogise Denny Le Nimh's one year old weekly 'rave-meets-rock party' Ruff Club as the epicenter of the trend.

"I think it's catching on, mixing, it's definitely the way the music is going as well," DJ/ co-promoter Le Nimh confirmed.

New York Bank DJ/promoter Larry Tee agreed, saying "If you want to manipulate a crowd into a frenzy, I think beat-matching is an important tool. However, having long beat-matched mixes can be a real bore if you are staying in one format all night. Who can tell if the record has changed? Nobody except DJ fanatics," he laughed.

London new rave man-about-town Jim Warboy (who promotes All You Can Eat and DJs extensively) told Skrufff he 'probably beat-matches more than a lot of the new DJs around me,' though stressed "I don't consider myself a better or worse DJ because of that."

"Largely through house, techno, and trance, many DJs started to consider beat matching the main technical skill and they operated with a misplaced superiority which left them wide open to be challenged, especially when the music in their genres hit a stalemate around the end of the 90s," Jim suggested.

"New DJs came along with fresher ideas and helped to break their hold on things by introducing a lot more diversity in rhythms and tempos. Sometimes it's impossible to beat match when the tempos are wide apart, so different skills need to be employed to help make the transition feel right."

Pointing out that many London new rave DJs automatically beat-match with computer programs like Ableton Live, he also pointed out that many clubbers prefer radio edit vocal based tracks with melodies over '8 minute Megadon mixes', though admitted some DJs remain better than others.

London new rave icon Niyi admitted he remains less than obsessed with seamless mixing though pointed out 'listen to early dance music, it was anything but slick'.

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