My first avant-classical mix

Update (20 February 2012): Now available on mixcloud.

Something a bit special here. Or at least I hope so.

Below you’ll find links to a mix that I’ve been working on, on and off, for the last few months. I’ve long wondered what a fully mixed set of avant classical would actually sound like, and even if it was possible at all. However, although I know of plenty of DJs who drop classical works (of whatever stripe) into their sets every now and then, I’ve yet to come across any that do so for more than a couple of tracks at a time. (If anyone has any pointers or recommendations though, I’d love to hear them.)

So, I figured I’d give it a bash myself. Even though I don’t own any decks, or even any proper mixing software, and have never done any mixing before. The whole thing was done in Audacity, with no pitch changes, tempo changes, and only minimal edits and fades. I’m quite pleased with this side of it, although at points I think some more sophisticated EQ tools might have been handy. (The ogg version by the way sounds much better in this respect than the mp3.) And there’s a minor glitch about 4 minutes in that I wish I could be bothered to get rid of.

Although I didn’t start out with any rules, a set of guidelines for myself did evolve. Because I wanted to wanted to prove something to myself – that it was possible to mix with a certain kind of flow using avant garde concert music – I tried to avoid heavily rhythmic minimalism, etc, which would have been easy and not entirely original. So amongst the composer names there’s some compromise to approachability, but not much. The fact that the only nonclassical tunes are all early-90s shoegazy stuff is pure coincidence and more a reflection on my personal tastes and the sort of widely resonant spaces that started to come out of the mix as I was putting it together than any starting plan. At one point I did have Messiaen’s Et exspecto… pushed up alongside ‘Reduction’ by postpunkers Material to surprisingly funky effect, but I couldn’t quite get it to work in the mix.

The two files (the same thing, in ogg and mp3) are on YouSendIt, so they’ll be valid for 7 days or 25 downloads each. If there’s a big demand I might re-up them at some stage. Please leave feedback!

Long Shadows – avant-classical mix by Rambler

1. Meredith Monk – Long Shadows 1
2. György Ligeti – Cello Concerto, 1st mvt
3. Terry Riley – In the Summer
4. Alvin Lucier – I am Sitting in a Room
5. Ride – Nowhere
6. Gerard Grisey – Partiels
7. Chas Smith – October ’68
8. György Kurtág – Stele, 3rd mvt
9. Arvo Pärt – Solfeggio
10. Arne Nordheim – Solitaire
11. Gabriel Prokofiev – String Quartet no.1 (Max de Wardener remix)
12. Slowdive – Souvlaki Space Station
13. Dead Voices on Air – Funfundsiebzig
14. Dave Seidel – Sublimation
15. Morton Feldman and John Cage in conversation
16. Morton Feldman – Rothko Chapel
17. Curve – Hung Up
18. Meredith Monk – Long Shadows 2
mp3 | ogg

Update: ANAblog have generously uploaded the mp3 version to their hosting service, so once the YouSendIt links expire you can get your copies here.

Update 2: The mix is now uploaded as an mp3 to Rapidshare – click here. And I know Rapidshare (as a free service at least) can be a bit buggy – to say the least – but take my advice: invest a few quid in a monthly pass. All downloading bugs disappear, you’re not locked into any sort of contract with Rapidshare, and with the number of out-of-print albums populating Rapidshare at the moment you can go download crazy for next to nothing.

Update 3: You might also be interested in the mix I did for Blogariddims; available here.

Update 4: Uploaded once more at Megaupload:

37 thoughts on “My first avant-classical mix

  1. Wow, Tim, thanks so much! I am flattered and grateful to be included in such illustrious company. By the way, the name of the Terry Riley track (at least accoding to the MP3 I have) is “In The Summer”.

    I hope find a good place to sneak in that Material track in a future mix — that’s one of my favorites from them.

  2. Weird bit of synchronocity here… did a very similar set last night – lodsa classical (but no indie ;P) and avant garde – think I even played that Feldman/Cage Conversation!

    From what Ive heard of this so far it sounds great… Grab it now, and keep the DL alive people!

  3. hmm, eager to hear it 🙂
    Slowdive . Curve… never heard them )
    downloading, thanks.
    putting your files on you get at least unlimited downloads….

  4. The part I like the best is between Grisey and Slowdive. Gorgeous indeed. I am less thrilled by Ride and Curve. Anyway, thanks for the amazing idea and the brilliant result!

  5. I came to this late, but really enjoyed it – holding a mood through different nuances in the section from Ride to Slowdive is particularly impressive.

    If you want criticism: I think it would be interesting to see how you could further “de-privilege” (ugh! can’t think of the right word) the rock tracks from sounding like points of stability framed by atmospheric “artsy” bits. Anyway, I’m listening to it again…

  6. That’s fair and perceptive criticism Ben. It was something I was aware of as I was putting the mix together (and there was a conscious, if aesthetically suspect intent to put the rock stuff in as stabilisers), but it’s something I’d like to move away from – either removing the more immediately-grasped music altogether or, better, finding more equal connections between them.

  7. I figured it might well be conscious, and that you’d either intend to stick with it, or else try to develop away from it later. But I guess that’s something you can only work out once you’re actually grappling with the materials.

  8. INtersting-looking mix…shame I’m late to the party (file is gone…so many blogs, so little time/drive-space) –

  9. Sounds pretty good. I think I agree with the poster above who suggests “de-privileging” the rock tracks: the effect is to create a very long ambient-ish intro to, well, a rock track. (A pretty good one – but still…)

    Although I didn’t primarily use avant-classical stuff, I put together a mix a few years back that was somewhat similar in its sonic philosophy. You can see a track-listing (most tracks are excerpted) at I’ll be posting segments from that mix in a day or so at my blog.

  10. I really like the look of that mix 2fs. Look forward to hearing the segments.

    Thanks for the feedback. I’m working on a new mix right now and I’m trying to avoid rock stuff altogether. Actually, I’m trying to avoid all non-modern classical altogether, but it’s hard – very little of it has the sonic immediacy that studio music has, so it’s tricky to build structure and pacing without resorting to endless mush…

  11. Greetings,

    Loving the new Blogariddims mix (I know half the artists and pieces, and not the other half, what a great mix), I was hoping to find links to the FIRST avant-classical mix you did. But all the links are dead. Is it possible to get my ears wrapped around it? Can you post an updated link? Or send me a copy of it, somehow? Thanks!

  12. Michael – glad you like the mix. I hadn’t noticed that ANAblog had stopped hosting the old one (not that I blame them – it’s their bandwidth), but I’ll be re-uploading the file to a couple of free hosting services soon, so keep an eye out.

  13. Is there any chance of getting hold of the Max de Wardener remix of Prokofiev? The idea intrigues me greatly…..

  14. hi. i have to say i stumbled to this site from droid – slugs blog. but unfortunatly the rapidshare file is gone. shame. cause i’ve heard really good things about it.

  15. А если посмотреть на это с другой точки зрения то не все так гладко получается

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