Time to cut the newbies some slack.

I’ve seen quite a few posts recently with various djs complaining about the next generation of djs.

The main thrust of their argument is that technology has taken over from the skills of beatmatching, key matching and the timing of mixing.

 

So what do I think about this? Well, lets look back 15 years. It was the height of big beat, Daft Punk and Stardust were at the top of their game. House music pretty much ruled the charts. Everyone knew someone with a set of decks. Didn’t matter if they were direct, belt or even hamster-driven, there was one or two people out of each friendship group who either attempted to replicate the famous DJs of the day or had a brother (or indeed sister!) who had a DJ for a mate.

I was one the people who took up djing at this time. There was very little whinging from the previous generation of djs – there could even be said to be a bit of excitement about the newbies starting out on their journey of music-related discovery.

As with every fad, some people stuck at it (myself included), while others sold decks, and moved on to the next thing. The ones who kept going, learnt their craft, made different mistakes from the previous generation, and pushed the boundaries more.

 

So let’s compare this to the current crop of wannabe DJs. So what’s changed? In a word, the kit that is used now makes the mechanics of djing easier. And I use that phrase carefully. Because its not really what djing is about. The guys who came up with me from 15 or so years ago learnt on vinyl. Then re-learnt for CD. Then re-learnt AGAIN for mp3 and laptops. But how you do it doesn’t matter as much as what’s being put into it by the dj themselves. Djing is about linking your feelings about music, sharing them with others in a big kind of mutual appreciation session.

Very few people get this straight away. It takes time, experience, observation, a great deal of mistakes and a fair bit of self-reflection before you start to spot where you’re going wrong.

We may have learnt the lessons, but those doing it now don’t know them yet. They may not have experienced the same emotional connection yet, but can we really moan when they are just where we were all those years ago?

 

In conclusion then, we need to give these guys a break. Let them get experience and then see if they stick at it. The ones that do, could well be keepers. So lets not blast them for not knowing what we had to learn ourselves.

Reviews part 2

Reviews

Danito & Athina – Really Like – Deep Inside Your Love EP – Jeudi Records

http://www.traxsource.com/track/1480480/really-like

Some tracks put a smile on your face. This one certainly does that, along with a piano riff that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Its a soulful, deep (in the traditional emotional sense, rather than the reincarnated UK Garage deep stuff), and has a laid back quality which keeps things grooving along. The rest of the ep is more of a deeper vein, but is of equal quality. Got to say, this is the first time I’ve heard any tracks on Jeudi Records. I’ll be checking them out in future.

 

Kraak & Smaak featuring John Turrell – Back Again – Jalapeno Records

http://www.traxsource.com/track/1355723/back-again

Really been feeling the slower more soulful vibes of late, and this one has a great balance of bleep, funk, soul and groove. Got a real Crazy P/Ron Basejam/Hot Toddy feel to it which I’m really feeling. Definitely worth checking out.

 

Ninelives – All This Love (Drop Out Orchestra Remix)- Vendition

http://www.traxsource.com/track/1485461/all-this-love-drop-out-orchestra-remix

I’ve been playing the last few Ninelives tracks for a while now. They are always well constructed, funking groovers of the highest order. So when I spotted that Drop Out Orchestra had remixed one of their releases, it REALLY flagged my interest. The Drop Out boys make bass that sounds like no other – fat, low slung and properly dirty. They are properly among my favourite remixers out there at the moment and anyone who can make Rick Astley into dubby disco, and then make it sound great, has got to be worth listening to.

LLAMA025: More Luck Than Judgement: 25 Releases from Llama Farm

Global Release Date: 01/04/2014

Remixes release weekly exclusives from 11/02/2014

Featuring:

1. Bang Bang – Still Got Feelings (Arco Remix)
2. Ken Venom – Caribbean Nights (Corduroy Mavericks Remix)
3. Bang Bang – Freaky Love (Tom Special Interest Remix)
4. Tourist – Ticket to Ride (The Boogie) (Little Man Big Remix)
5. Bang Bang – Still Got Feelings (Jon Delerious Deep N’ Dub Remix)
6. Tourist – Ticket to Ride (The Boogie) (Freaky Behaviour Remix)
7. Bang Bang – Still Got Feelings (Demarkus Lewis Remix)

 

Well, after 7 years, 2 distros, at least 17 different artists and what can only be described as a sporadic release schedule, Llama Farm has made it to the quarter century of releases. We started out not knowing what we were doing, and eventually we learnt not to worry about it all and go on instinct.

So to celebrate this landmark achievement (well for us, anyway, since most labels don’t do one of these till release 50 or 100), we got together some friends and asked them to take a gem from our back catalogue, update, tweak, caress, and fondle it, and then send it back.

Thankfully, everyone pulled a blinder. So in this package of fondly remembered earworms, we have retouches from the likes of Demarkus Lewis, Freaky Behaviour, Jon Delerious, Little Man Big, Corduroy Mavericks, Tom Special Interest , and Arco.

There maybe even something else on the way from one of our mates too, but why open all the presents before your birthday?

So here it is. Enjoy. And here’s to at least another 25 releases where we made what we liked in the headphones come out the big speakers.

Cheers

Pete Le Freq
Llama Farm Recordings

Special Thanks go to Dimitri @ CMS for the Mastering, and Joe Savoy for his fantastic artwork.

101 Ways to annoy a label owner….#56 The poorly thought out demo submission

Producing tracks takes time and care. Talent helps too. So you’ve got what you think will be a #1 hit on beatport. And you need to get it released. So what do you do? 

Well, before I tell you what I THINK you should do, I’m going to give an example of what you shouldn’t do. With Llama Farm, I have a dropbox on my soundcloud account (http://soundcloud.com/llamafarmrecordings if you want to have a look….). I wrote what I thought was quite clear in terms of what I’m looking for.

I said in no uncertain terms that any submissions should be in keeping with the labels output. Yeah, obviously wasn’t clear enough. So what do I get? People sending vast amounts of tracks shared to 5000 people who will equally be not interested in it. “Privately shared” on soundcloud means restricted numbers. 5000 people does not equate to private.

Interestingly,the most recent submission described my label as “deep and crispy”. I have no idea as to what this refers to, but the submission HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE OUTPUT OF THE LABEL, so I deleted it.

 

So what should you do?

 

  • Firstly, send your music to a label you buy the music of regularly. If you make what you like, this should tie together.
  • Submit one track, and make it your best one.
  • Be polite, but don’t make claims you can’t back up. (If they’ve never heard of you, you are not the saviour of whatever form of music you have chosen to produce)
  • Send it to a handful of labels. Remember that people know people too. House music is a pretty small community, word does get round as everyone chats. If word gets round, you may get offers from interested labels.
  • Ask people for feedback. Take it on board when its criticism. Make better tracks. Repeat!

 

And hopefully, that’s turned a frown upside down.

 

PS Please, please, please stop sending me minimal techno. Its a waste of my bandwidth.

 

Ned Flanders is back (AGAIN!)

LLAMA024
Ned Flanders

Attack of the 50 Foot Llama EP

Global Release Date:
27/5/2013
Featuring:

1. Nothing Can Come Between Us

2. Paradise

3. Rhythm Slave

NOW AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE!

Now available at all your favourite outlets, including:


Llama Farm @Stompy Llama Farm @ Beatport
Llama Farm @ TrackitdownLlama Farm @ Junodownload
Llama Farm Online Shop

Well, you just can’t a keep a good man down. Now fully recovered from his spell in the wilderness, Ned Flanders makes a quick return to Llama Farm with 3 80s soul-jazz-funk cuts to grace your ears.

First up we have a bumpin vocal in the form of Nothing Can Come Between Us. Then the smooth operator that is Paradise, all relentless grooving smooth bass and keys.

To round out the ep comes the crazy as a middle aged woman hula-hooping in front of the Queen, Rhythm Slave. Yup, Ned’s back, and he means business

Cheers

Pete Le Freq
Llama Farm Recordings

Special Thanks go to Dimitri @ CMS for the Mastering, and Tim Wood for his usual high standard of artwork.

Daft Punk: Is going back the way forward?

Daft Punk’s new album has got a a lot of people all a-quiver. The hype has been, well quite frankly annoying, due to the sheer scale of people tweeting/facebook posting.

One of the talking points has been its effect on the future direction of the mainstream genre of EDM. Will it cause people to return to house’s roots of disco, soul or funk?

For the last few years, commercial dance music has appeared to be a preset driven, laptop orientated template-fest, where similar sounds dominate. The major labels have employed producers to give their artists a house “edge”, and as I’ve previously written, when that happens, cash drives out the “soul” of music. Its homogenised, safe, and for the house lover, a snore-inducing experience.

So when the house music community saw that Daft Punk where returning to the party, everyone got quite excited. Then it was announced they were working with Nile Rodgers of Chic fame. Could DISCO be back? Will they move the dance music community back towards live sounds?

Err. I don’t think so. Reading the album notes to their new album, the sheer scale of the live element is incredibly impressive. Orchestras, session musicians (some of the best in the world!). This all adds up to one thing. A boatload of cash.

The last EDM push was based on what anyone could make on their laptops. (What I like to call the “Ooh I’ve got Ableton, I’m a producer” factor). What Daft Punk have done, is take the bit they like from that, looked at what worked for them and what didn’t, and decided that actually, the original ways are the best sounding for them. There was talk of experimentation with various ages of microphones for the best sound. Lets be honest, not everyone can afford those.

So what exactly am I getting at? Will the return of Daft Punk have the same effect as their initial impact? Probably not. But at least it might make some pull their fingers out of their backside and delete their templates.

DJ Sneak Vs The World: Or does he just have a point?

Dj Sneak has, over the last few years, caused a bit of a furore on social media, with his high profile “calling out” of various djs, and producers. His targets have have included the likes of Swedish House Mafia, Seth Troxler, Armand Van Helden, Tommie Sunshine and Deadmau5. All these guys have had recent commercial success, and have engaged with Sneak back in various different ways, some antagonistic and some just plain blocked him. So what is his beef, and does he have a point?

Sneak himself, for those not in the know, was one of the second wave of house DJs to come out of Chicago in the late 80s/early 90s. So from this we can gather, he’s been around for a while, seen quite a lot. He was even name-checked on Daft Punk’s seminal “Homework” album and even wrote the lyrics to “Digital Love”. So, a bit of a pedigree.

So what has got him so riled? The word that comes up most is FAKE. This is what links every incident. Swedish House Mafia (to start you could see this would wind him up, since Sneak is the self-proclaimed “House Gangster”) were accused of “cheating their fans” by playing recorded sets that were linked to pyrotechnics.

Given the amount of money they were able to demand for their high profile stadium gigs, you start to think that if they are pre-recorded, there is an element of truth in what Sneak is saying. He comes from the days when it was all about working the vinyl, and it was near impossible to “Fake” any part of a dj set. He sees this as calling them out. The problem is, for those who don’t know his background, its seen as jealous whinging.

The second part of Sneak’s argument is to do with respecting the underground. This leaves him on slightly shakier ground in that mainstream EDM is always a result of the underground. The difference this time, is that whereas before, the cream of producers rose to the top, had a number of small successes, then returned to the underground, this time the major labels have seen house as a way to make some serious cash. And they’ve hit the all you can eat buffet with seriously high metabolisms.

What happens when the majors get hold of anything? It gets diluted, homogenised, and the soul of it is lost in the scramble to make money. This is why guys from the higher paid echelons of the scene get asked to work with high profile artists, to bring their “edge” to what otherwise be formless shapeless throwaway songs.

They’ve done the same with dubstep, now they are back with house. Its an endless cycle.

This has caused real worry for those in the underground since they rely to an extent on the mainstream to attract and lure people to the purer stuff. When the mainstream stuff had little link to the underground scene, the underground suffers from a lack of new fans.

So is he right, and do I agree with him? Well, in terms of calling them out, I kind of think fair enough. DJ fees are so low right now, that anyone earning the kind of money they are better be damn good to show their worth.

But does calling them out go against the original spirit of house music? House is supposed to be about a shared love and experience. But then you could say that even when you love someone, you should still tell them when they are being an arse.

I suppose what I’m saying is right argument, possibly the wrong way of going about it…..but then if it gets people talking………

 

LLAMA023 – ITS THE RETURN OF NED FLANDERS! OUT NOW!!!

LLAMA023

Featuring:

1. All Sheryl Wants to Do
2. Bit Broke
3. Memory Loss (Ned’s Forgotten Edit)

 Get It At TRAXSOURCE

Get It At LLAMA FARM HQ

Here at Llama Farm, sometimes we find people who don’t want to be found. Or indeed, they need to be. We found Ned Flanders wandering in the house music wilderness, clutching a usb stick of his productions, dehydrated from a lack of indeedily funkin doodily.

Always happy to help out an old friend, we nicked the usb stick and got those tunes out!

So here we have three of Ned’s best. First up is All Sheryl Wants to Do, which is more than a little bit obvious! Followed up with Bit Broke, which is a kind of mantra for these times. Closing out with a new re-edit of one of his short-lived earlier tracks – Memory Loss.

Then we packed him off to A & E to get sorted out……

Cheers

Pete Le Freq
Llama Farm Recordings

Special Thanks go to Dimitri @ CMS for the Mastering, and Tim Wood for his usual high standard of artwork.

Its release review time………

Been thinking for a while I should do some reviews of music that either just come out or I’ve been sent as promos. For the sake of angst and avoiding being negative, Im only going to pick the stuff I’ve been REALLY impressed with.

So, here we go….

 Nico K – Love Dust EP – Black Cherry

http://www.traxsource.com/title/214199/love-dust-ep

 

 

Now Dj Heather’s label doesn’t release that often (in fact even less often than Llama Farm, and I’m slack when it comes to putting things out), but man, when they release something, its always worth listening to.

Nico K isn’t a name I’ve seen around much before, but the ep produced has a really nice balance across the five tracks. There’s something for pretty much everyone here who likes shades of jack.

The ep opener “Back together” has a deep soulful vibe – kind of a jacked up version of the soulful stuff Large used to put out. The vocal is crisp and theres a smoothness to the whole thing, which just just helps the whole track glide. Its probably my pick off the ep, simply due to smile it puts on my face.

The other cut of note on here is “Got It Bad”, which has a James Brown cut up feel to it – never giving away exactly what its sampled through an obvious breakdown, having the right level of funk to keep things going.

The ep also includes a South of Rooslevelt remix of Back Together, and two other originals in Zombie and Welcome to the Party.

Rating: 4 ½ Llamas out of 5

 

Random Soul and Joshua Heath – Time To Funk – Random Soul Recordings

http://www.traxsource.com/title/213160/time-to-funk

 

 

A few years ago I had the pleasure of working with two thirds of the producers of this track (namely Husky and Joshua). They are names I always keep an eye out for and this track, when I saw the title made me start salivating. Now, I know Josh knows the funk (just listen to any bassline in any track he’s ever had ANYTHING to do with an you’ll know what I mean), and Yogi and Husky just bring their bumpin soul to table and the whole thing sticks together like some big funky cookie dough that you can’t resist.

My two picks off the ep are the the Random Soul Dub and the original extended version. I was surprised when I heard it was Josh doing the vocals – (then I twigged his flow was first heard on the re-release of his “Wanna Dance” a few years back). Josh’s lyrics are amusing and very apt and fits the RSR boys bleepy bouncy soul perfectly.

The two versions are picked for different times in the night – the extended original is more of a nu-disco feel to it, and the dub is a more straight up house version. Either way, it kicks ass.

Rating: 4 Llamas out of 5