Ed Piskor at 8:00 am Tue, Oct 9, 2012
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Here’s a link to the Wheels of Steel. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXNzMVLqIHg
Mixed live…that’s crazy!
the amazing thing about WoS is not actually mixing technique – once you have a handle on what you’re going for, it doesn’t take a huge amount of practice to do this live (*). i could do WoS live for friends back in the 80′s, though it would have been totally cheesy to ever do that at a gig. i wasn’t that good of a scratch mixer (though I wasn’t bad).
no, what flash bought to the world with WoS was the concept of this kind of live mixing, something that he wasn’t complete unique in doing, but that he was definitely one of the most original and skillful proponents. almost everybody else was working at a much simpler level – one background record, possibly a recut loop, providing beats, then cut in some other material (spoken word, instrument noise, quick note runs or vocal chants from other records). flash took this to a whole new level by creating such an integrated experience. you knew you were listening to multiple records, but you could no longer tell where (all) the seams where.
the serious magic there was in his head, not in his hands.
(*) doing it live on two decks though … that would be amazing. i’m pretty sure flash used three for the record, and it was the only way i could get it to work too.
This. I was bothered by Ted Mills’ post a bit, too. However, on listening to it critically, switching out all those records that quickly on 2 decks… I’d have to see it to believe it. Either PaulDavisTheFirst is right about 3 decks (or 4 decks and 2 mixers?) being used, or Flash is hyping himself and (as I had always just assumed) he was tracking out the mix in the studio.
Anyway, what is awesome about TAOGMFOTWOS is not only that Flash was far, FAR ahead of his time conceptually, but his mix engages you. You understand that the DJ is controlling your experience, and that experience is way better than what your local radio or discotheque DJ could do.
Also: my vinyl weighs a ton.
While reading further, I found that Flash would use 3 decks when doing Wheels of Steel live.
Man, I love the YouTube comments on that, which are basically the same argument happening over and over and over:
Person A: “He’s a legend. But he sucks. DJs have come a long way.”
Person B: “Oh, yeah, sure. With digital mixing. I don’t want get all fogey on you and be like, ‘Grandmaster Flash cut this track while walking uphill both ways barefoot in the snow.’ But, you know. He did.”
Person C: “Who is Blondie?”
Some reaaaaaally good art in this one. I mean even by your normal standards.
Also, a link to the Clash’s The Magnificent Seven You can hear exactly where this was coming from.
Oh, wow. I guess that explains the impetus behind the incredibly shitty “punk band making a dance tune” copycat track “True Love part 2″ on X’s More Fun In The New World–an otherwise awesome LP. Never understood why they would play a Doobie Brothers break. It all makes sense now. They were trying to make a rap record in the style of the Clash.