Thursday, August 27, 2009

Halifax Classics Reunion 2009

This past weekend I played at a private event, held in Nova Scotia at a private camping site with a number of cabins and chalets. Approximately a dozen DJ's played in total, and the sets were a lot of fun, because I was playing with a bunch of old friends. Essentially, the guest list for the event included a lineup of DJ's who have all been playing in Halifax and throughout Atlantic Canada & beyond for at least ten years or more, and the attendees at the Reunion (a little under 100 people) were all people who partied a lot in Halifax in the 1990's.

The rules were simple. Each DJ got about an hour to play, and the goal was to try to play on all vinyl, and to use only tracks that were produced in 2000 or earlier. There were some legendary Halifax DJ's playing: Tommy Knuckles, Jorun Bombay (possibly my favorite set), Charife, Nick Nonsense, Mad Mike Mathers, and half a dozen others. In addition, legendary house DJ Terrence Parker flew in from Detroit to play a two hour set as a headliner for the evening.





I recorded my set, and if anyone is interested, it's available now for downloading. Be forewarned: this is old music! And not just old songs, but old vinyl, so the sound quality isn't quite as good as most mixes that would be released nowadays. Some of the tracks that I played were definitely big favorites many years ago, and I've played them so many times that the vinyl was almost worn out.

Here's a track listing:

   01. Echomen, "Substance"
   02. 16B feat Morel, "Escape (Driving To Heaven)" [Omid's Dark Dub]
   03. Trancesetters, "Roaches" [Peace Division Remix]
   04. Halo Varga, "Future" [Original Mix]
   05. Tilt, "Seduction Of Orpheus" [Tarrantella vs Redanka Remix]
   06. Datar, "B" [Tarrantella & Redanka's NYSC Mix]
   07. Jason Downs, "Cherokee" [John Creamer & Stephane K Remix]
   08. Killahurtz, "West On 27th" [A Tribe Called KHz Mix]
   09. Jimmy Van M, "ECIPS" [Medway Remix]
   10. Art Of Trance, "Madagascar" [Cygnus X Mix]


As you can see, the set was mostly very heavy and darker progressive/tribal stuff, although I did end things off with a trance classic, in honour of a good friend of mine, Darin Lee (Thrills), who couldn't make it for the weekend.

Click here if you want to see a small photo gallery from the event.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

-Live at Photosynthesis- mix now available

The set that I played at the Photosynthesis 2.0 Festival in Trout Lake, Washington (on August 7th) is now online.


The set is a little over two hours long, and it was a spontaneous show. I showed up at the festival on Friday night, just to relax for the weekend and help my friend TProphet, who was running the Techno Barn stage for the weekend. However, five minutes after I arrived, someone asked me if I would be willing to play since the scheduled DJ was stuck in traffic and couldn't make it in time for his set. I ended up playing in that slot, plus the one immediately afterward (for the same reason), which gave me a completely unexpected two-hour set. I wasn't really mentally prepared for this, so my programming & mixing was a bit disjointed for the first half hour, but then I got into a groove and had a lot of fun with the set.




Here’s the track listing from the set:


   01. Arnold, "Am I."
   02. DJ Wope, "My Generation."
   03. Artificial Dreamer, "Dusted."
   04. Audionova & Electrobios, "Pacific."
   05. Prospect, "Tok."
   06. Wawa & Thomas Gold, "Latin Thing."
   07. Dfuzhion, "Unidentified."
   08. Carl Jurgen, "City Lights."
   09. KT, "Riders On The Storm."
   10. Sensorica & Omen, "Another Day."
   11. Mark Ronson, "Oh My God."
   12. Danny Teneglia, "D'Ibiza."
   13. Nicholas Van Orton, "Evil Forces."
   14. Etienne Osborne, "Drums Of Afrika."
   15. Creamer & K, "Forget The World."
   16. Reead, "Nobody's Innocent."
   17. Basement Jaxx, "Raindrops."
   18. Kurd Maverick, "All Over The World."
   19. MattLok, "Rock The Box."
   20. Heaven & Earth, "And Let's Disco."
   21. Bailey & Fauvrelle, "Pushing Beatz."
   22. Cedrick Gervais, "Electro Therapy."
   23. Maska, "Late."
   24. Chris Scott and Dmitry Bobrov, "Too Much Is Not Enough."


You'll notice that I didn't list the exact remix that I used for each track. That's because none of them are conventional remixes. I've started taking every track that I play in sets and doing a "Bolivia's Edit" on the track. I usually cut out the major breakdowns entirely, to keep the dance floor moving. Sometimes I mix and match between a couple different remixes of a particular track. For mid-volume breakdowns, I often increase the volume a few decibels. I add one or two effects throughout the track, or drop-outs on key beats. And then finally, I boost with a hard limiter so the volume ends up being fairly consistent throughout, even through the breakdowns. All in all, that keeps the dance floor a lot more aggressive and energetic. If I ever want to give the dancers a quick break, I can reduce volumes on breakdowns on the mixer. I find this keeps things fresh and higher energy. I'll keep a few originals with breakdowns in my crate, so I can play to a lower energy level early in the set if necessary, or so I can give the dance floor a real break late in the night, but 90% of the tracks that I play are ones that I've modified before the show.

This was the second year for Photosynthesis. The festival was organized by Kyle Bove, a friend of mine from Seattle who is a talented musician himself. It featured some really amazing acts over the weekend, including the Lawn Chair Generals, Amon Tobin, Daedelus, and Kid Koala (and about fifty other talented acts). In addition, a big highlight for me was getting introduced to the music of Bryan Zentz, who played a set starting about an hour after I finished. To put it quite simply, he rocked. It's probably been about three or four years since I've enjoyed a set as much as his, and I've seen some pretty top notch "A-Class" DJ's in the past few years. I think that a lot of the tracks he played were his own productions, and I was thoroughly impressed. If you like progressive house, check out his work.


This mix can be downloaded as part of an archive of all 28 of DJ Bolivia's available recordings of live shows, from the following Google Drive link:


The recordings are compressed as a RAR archive, which can be opened natively in Windows.  If you're using a Mac, you can use a free utility to open the RAR (popular examples are "The Unarchiver" and the "UnRarX" app).  The password to open the archive is simply 'bolivia' and the size of the download is 5.6 gigabytes.  If you have problems downloading this archive from the above Google Drive link, you can email DJ Bolivia at djbolivia@gmail.com for an alternate download link.

Additional information about finding any of DJ Bolivia's older mixes can be found at this link:


Thanks for your interest in these old historical mixes!


Anyway, please email the link to the mix to any of your friends who might like listening. It's not quite as professional as the set that I recorded in Vegas the week before, but there are a lot of good tracks in here. Only eight of the twenty four tracks in this set were also in my recent Vegas set, so the two mixes don't overlap much.

Enjoy!

PS: Join my Facebook fan page: www.facebook.com/djbolivia

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Best Live Rock Concerts

Although the name "DJ Bolivia" probably makes most people think of dance music, I've got a much broader musical background than just electronic beats. I probably listen to more classic rock and indie rock than dance tracks, and I also listen to classical and jazz music fairly often. Anyway, I was asked a few weeks ago what my favourite live album would be, and that was a really tough question that got me thinking. So I came up with a list of my top seven picks for live rock albums.

I also have to comment on one thing that's always bothered me. Quite often, the soundtracks to live albums have very little resemblance to videos produced from the same shows. Bands have frequently remastered the soundtracks, adding overdubs, combining parts from multiple performances, and even adding studio tracks into the middle of the albums. And almost without exception, I've preferred the soundtracks to the videos. I know that they are usually less "true" to the original show, but the sound quality and content is usually a lot better, in my mind.


Top Pick:

01. Genesis, "Seconds Out" – Genesis released several live albums, but this one has got to be my favourite. This album was recorded after Peter Gabriel left the band and Phil Collins took over as lead singer, but still contains many older tracks that were originally sung by Gabriel. "Three Sides Live" is another great Genesis live album, but I prefer "Seconds Out" because it focuses more on the band's more complex older material, before they started writing shorter mainstream tracks. Strangely enough, of the top seven live albums that I'm listing here, I think this is the one that most people would enjoy the least. But personally, I like it a lot, so there you go. Sorry, there is no film version available.



Other Favorites:

02. Dire Straits, "Alchemy Live" – I listened to this album hundreds and hundreds of times before I ever knew that it was also available on film. You don’t need to see the film. Put the album on, close your eyes, and enjoy. Now you’d know where "Romeo & Juliet" (The Killers) originally came from. Incidentally, I just noticed a couple days ago that the film version is going to be re-mastered and re-released next spring.



03. Pink Floyd, "Delicate Sound of Thunder" – This album, more than any other, turned me into a Pink Floyd fan, and this is one of the rare picks where I prefer the film version rather than the album. This was recorded in 1988, and was not received as well as their 1994 live album/film, "Pulse." I’ll admit that the production and film quality of "Pulse" is a lot better. However, there’s something about "Delicate Sound Of Thunder" that just stands out for me, even though it’s quite a bit shorter than "Pulse." I think it might be because of the recording for "That Great Gig In The Sky." The version on "Delicate Sound Of Thunder" is far better than the "Pulse" version, and the video shot of the girl in the crowd fluffing her hair always blew me away (this was maybe at a live show at Versailles Palace, if I recognize the background correctly). I think that for a long time I was in love with Rachel Fury, the first of the three singers in the "Delicate Sound Of Thunder" version, although admittedly the next two singers gave better vocal performances during this track. Unforgettable. Watch the movie, don’t just listen to the soundtrack.



04. Talking Heads, "Stop Making Sense" – If you don’t know this one, you’re missing out on some classic Rock 'n' Roll history. But first of all, let me admit something embarrassing. I have listened to this soundtrack for twenty years, and I only saw the film for the first time ever this week. And that's crazy, because I've known about the film for twenty years. The premise is simple – the show starts out with just the lead singer (David Bryne) performing "Psycho Killer" on an acoustic guitar with a synthesized drum track. As the concert progresses, more and more band members and equipment are slowly added to the stage. Anyway, the soundtrack only contains nine songs, whereas the film contains almost twice as many. And the soundtrack was heavily re-edited, so when I saw the film last week I thought it must have been from a completely different concert, but it wasn't. My recommendation is that you stick with the soundtrack here, although you need to watch the film at least once to understand it better.



05. Tom Petty, "Pack Up The Plantation" – This is classic summer cottage rock at its best. Apparently, a video exists to accompany this album, but you don't need to watch it. This is all older Tom Petty material which some people might not recognize, but it is great stuff. Do you remember the "American Girl" sequence in the movie "Silence Of The Lambs"? This soundtrack has, in my opinion, the best recording that I've ever heard of "American Girl."



06. Neil Young, "Rust Never Sleeps" – It's hard to get excited about such a short cross-section of Neil Young's career, as he is probably my favourite singer/songwriter, with hundreds of great songs to his credit over about five decades. But this album is great, especially the acoustic hits like "Thrasher" and "Pocohontas." Don’t worry about seeing the film – the album is good enough as a standalone product.



07. Allman Brothers, "Live at Fillmore East" – Classic, classic blues rock. From the opening licks of "Statesboro Blues," to the epic 23 minute long "Whipping Post," you can't go wrong. Grab a case of beer, head to the cottage, and start the party right by throwing this onto the stereo. I don't think there are film versions of this.




There you have it. A great selection of live shows, and almost without exception, you can focus on the albums rather than on the video recordings. Track some of these down and give them a listen today.

Now it's your turn. List some of your favorite classic (or indie) rock concerts in the comments below ...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

-Live In Las Vegas- mix now available

The set that I played at DefCon 17 in Las Vegas (on July 31st) is now online.


This mix can be downloaded as part of an archive of all 28 of DJ Bolivia's available recordings of live shows, from the following Google Drive link:


The recordings are compressed as a RAR archive, which can be opened natively in Windows.  If you're using a Mac, you can use a free utility to open the RAR (popular examples are "The Unarchiver" and the "UnRarX" app).  The password to open the archive is simply 'bolivia' and the size of the download is 5.6 gigabytes.  If you have problems downloading this archive from the above Google Drive link, you can email DJ Bolivia at djbolivia@gmail.com for an alternate download link.

Additional information about finding any of DJ Bolivia's older mixes can be found at this link:


Thanks for your interest in these old historical mixes!


The set is about 77 minutes long. I actually played about fifteen minutes longer than that, but I cut the last couple songs out from the recording so it would fit onto a CD, for those of you who listen to mixes in CD players instead of on mp3 players or on computers.




Here’s the track listing from the set:

     01. David Jones & Aqua Diva, "Thriller."
     02. Electrixx, "Tetris."
     03. Creamer & K, "Forget The World."
     04. Sandy Rivera & Andy Daneill, "Whatever."
     05. Jean Elan, "Killer."
     06. Basement Jaxx, "Raindrops."
     07. Mark Ronson, "Oh My God."
     08. Reead, "Nobody's Innocent."
     09. Bailey & Fauvrelle, "Pushing Beatz."
     10. Chris Scott and Dmitry Bobrov, "Too Much Is Not Enough."
     11. Dextro, "My House Is Your House."
     12. DJ Wope, "My Generation."
     13. Heaven & Earth, "And Let's Disco."
     14. Leron Yves Eaux and Luke Star, "Fashionized."
     15. Felguk, "All Night Long."


For people who were at the party and who are wondering what the last tracks (not included on the download mix) were, I finished the set with:

     16. Levan, "Miau."
     17. Milk & Sugar, "Let The Sun Shine."


You'll notice that I didn't list the exact remix that I used for each track. That's because none of them are conventional remixes. I've started taking every track that I play in sets and doing a "Bolivia's Edit" on the track. I usually cut out the major breakdowns entirely, to keep the dance floor moving. Sometimes I mix and match between a couple different remixes of a particular track. For mid-volume breakdowns, I often increase the volume a few decibels. I add one or two effects throughout the track, or drop-outs on key beats. And then finally, I boost with a hard limiter so the volume ends up being fairly consistent throughout, even through the breakdowns. All in all, that keeps the dance floor a lot more aggressive and energetic, and if I ever want to give the dancers a quick break, I can reduce volumes on breakdowns on the mixer. I find this keeps things fresh and higher energy. I'll keep a few originals with breakdowns in my crate, so I can play to a lower energy level early in the set if necessary, or so I can give the dance floor a real break late in the night, but 90% of the tracks that I play are ones that I've bastardized prior to the show.

Please email the link to any of your friends who might like listening.

Enjoy!