Posts Tagged ‘Minimal’


The Fancy Plans Guide to Music Genres: Part Two

July 9, 2010

In our previous guide we discovered, through the magic of the internet and several broad stereotypes, what various musical genres encompassed. Today it’s more of the same, only with different genre names and stereotypes. The elderly may or may not be abusing Bradypus variegatus. We’ll just have to wait and see. Mainly wait.

So, while the inevitable crawls slowly into view, let’s take a quick, informative look at a few other music genres and their corresponding fans.

It does. Like a motherfucker.

World Music
Any music not produced in the US, Canada or Western Europe, or by Caucasians in general. (For example: Krautrock – not World Music; Drunken gypsy chants – World Music.)

Despite its origins, World Music is mainly sold to white people (Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, David Byrne) who then co-opt and repackage their watered-down version and sell it to other white people (Vampire Weekend).

Black Americans may recognize this modus operandi as being nearly identical to the repackaging of black rock and roll into friendly, white packages (Pat Boone, Elvis Presley, Fred Durst). The only difference at this point is that the new white purveyors are viewed as “enlightened” rather than as “thieving pricks.”

Fans: White people. White people who think they’re smarter than other white people. White people who think they’re smarter than all other people, regardless of race, which they don’t even think of the world in terms of, because that’s how damn “enlightened” they are. DJs/producers in search of royalty-free samples.

And my vinyl tits run...

Drum n Bass
A perverse offshoot of both hip hop and breakbeats in which the bassline and the drums are programmed by separate producers who are not allowed to contact each other at any time. This results in tracks consisting of a bowel-loosening bassline over which a drumbeat skitters along like cockroaches running from a light source.

Often accompanied live by an MC, or “toaster,” whose impromptu rhyming tends to flow along a melody only he can hear and consists mainly of invitations to dance more or show more enthusiasm, but in a broad Caribbean accent. Inexplicably popular.

Fans: People who have grown tired of “danceable” dance music. Drum n Bass producers/DJs. Radiation-proof insects. Reggae lovers with sizable speed habits.

The scene is nothing without the love. Or the reusable shopping bags.

Drill n Bass
Like Drum n Bass, only utilizing a drum programmer with no previous experience or mechanical aptitude. The bowel-loosening sub-bass remains, but the drumbeats now skitter along like roaches running out of a lit meth foiler.

Fans: People who think drum n bass is too “hummable.” Richard D. James fans. Richard D. James. Hardcore techno fans who are tired of keeping score.

Because it's just not a goth wedding without someone in a Hefty Cinch Sack.

One of the most maligned music genres, Goth was conceived during a wild three-way involving punk, art school and eyeliner. Blacker than punk but lighter than black metal, Goth gave misunderstood teens the world over a whole new way to be misunderstood.

Taking Henry Ford’s mantra of “any color as long as it’s black” to their bleeding hearts, Goths let their (black) freak flags fly, drawing the intense mockery of music critics, peers, teachers and parents. This of course makes the whole genre that much more “real,” despite it being 90% heavily-madeup artifice.

Fans: Misunderstood teens. Emo fans who don’t really understand genre boundaries. Mislabeled emo fans. Eyeliner manufacturers. People looking to shock the easily shocked. Anne Rice fans. People who greatly overestimate black’s “slimming” power. Cleopatra Record execs.

While Nordic Youth #1 struggles with righting his cross, Youth #2 decides to pick another church made from a more flammable material. Like childrens' sleepwear.

Black Metal
Black metal is a “darker than thou” form of metal, usually found in wintry Nordic countries with centuries of organized religion under their belts. It can often be a very demanding genre, in which you really haven’t “made it” as a band until you’ve had to disband the group, thanks to a majority of the members having committed suicide or facing murder charges.

Perhaps the only genre that can be entirely attributed to a Vitamin D deficiency.

Fans: Former metal fans disillusioned by the lack of dead/arrested musicians in regular metal. Un-murdered Nordic youth. That guy you thought was a harmless goth until he celebrated his latest church burning by killing you and having sex with your corpse. Satan.

Minimal producer Sidney Frost declares LP label to be "too busy;" asks for a 40% cyan reduction.

A Germanic-influenced brand of techno deployed by producers with a shortage of equipment/plugins. Has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years, perhaps as a backlash to the overblown sounds of trance, or more likely, as a result of there being a very high DJ/fan ratio, which leaves few bedroom producers with the steady income needed to purchase more equipment/plugins.

Or maybe it’s just some sort of Germanic thing, (see also: Krautrock.) in which another genre (in this case, techno) is disassembled and reassembled incorrectly, leaving several “extra” pieces, which are discarded in Germany’s quest to remain both misunderstood and brutally inept.

Fans: Techno fans tired of being asked to enjoy multiple sounds simultaneously. Chin-stroking wallflowers who have mistaken “not much going on” with “artistic integrity.” IDM fans who enjoy an occasional 4/4 beat. The staff at Pitchfork, which is mostly comprised of chin-stroking wallflowers who have mistaken “not much going on” for “artistic integrity.” Painters who believe the real action is the drying time. Satan.

Stay tuned for Part Three, which will explore Folk, Rap Metal, IDM and hopefully, many others.



Fancy Plans Presents: How to Be a DJ

July 16, 2009

Yes. Being a DJ is this fucking cool.

Still on a brief hiatus… originally posted February 28.

The phrase “Everyone wants to be a DJ.” has never been more true than it is now. But should everyone be a DJ? Should you? What about that guy? What about if he wore a cat-in-the-hat hat?

Ask yourself this question: “Are my musical tastes superior to everyone else’s?” If this answer is “yes,” than DJing is the career path for you.

While other how-tos may waste your valuable time with instructions on beat matching, practicing and other such non-essentials, Fancy Plans is here to get you into the action!

Let’s get started.


Room Two, aka the "Broom Closet"

Choose a Name
Don’t underestimate the value of a good name. You will need something short, catchy and original in order to stand out in a lineup of 20 other DJs on thousands of discarded flyers. Some DJs have taken on other personas or nicknames (DJ Tonka, DJ Hell, DJ Qualls, DJ Pro Tools) while other have had more success with a single name (Uberzone, Sasha, Dubfire, Trentemoeller, Ableton). Be creative. Misspellings are not only welcomed, they’re encouraged (Deckwrecka, Boys Noize, DJ Doc Rok, DJ Demonixx, teh Internet LOL).

Choose Your Genre
To put yourself ahead of the pack, pigeonhole yourself into as small a genre as possible. The harder it is to define what the hell it is you’re playing, the easier it will be to appear to be doing it correctly. Some suggestions are microhouse, fidget, minimal, techstep, happy hardcore.

With your new, incredibly obscure brand of music in place, you’ll be able to look down on those who seem irritated, bored or have left the gig completely. They just don’t “get it.” Those who do “get it” will plant themselves on the nearest wall/bassbin or hover in front of the DJ booth stroking their chins thoughtfully. Your local record store will also appreciate your genre choice as they will finally be able to start cleaning out the “Misc” bin.

Put Together Your Set
As you may have noticed, raves and other DJ gigs are not about spontaneity, “working the crowd,” or any other form of mutual enjoyment. Any gig you DJ at should be about you and your amazing, but obscure track selection. If your skills (can also be spelled with a “z” for more wackiness) and track selection are dialed in, your crowd should be unable to tell whether they heard one track or ten over the last hour.

Some do’s and dont’s for building your set:

DON’T Line up the hits
Although your crowd may have spent a lot of money on tickets, drugs and absurdly expensive bottled water in anticipation of a good time, don’t insult them by playing tracks they recognize and/or like. This may work for the Fatboy Slims, Paul Oakenfolds and Judge Juleses of the world, but you do not want to be sucked into their world of drugs, groupies and steady income.

Yes. They can be taught.

Yes. They can be taught.

DO Educate your crowd
As discussed earlier, your musical tastes are beyond reproach and you have finally been given the opportunity to show the world how much their record collections suck. Granted, a lot of your rare picks may go over their heads, but they will be better people by the time their cascade of jeers and water bottles has chased you from the decks (Fun fact: “decks” refers to the wood that generally composes the floor of the DJ booth, much like the “decks” on a boat! Better bring your sealegs LOL!)

Quick test: if they’re dancing, they’re not learning. If the dancefloor seems poised to erupt in an actual good time, hit the unappreciative Neandrathals with some Aphex Twin, Autechre or Labradford.

DO Be aware of your surroundings
As if the general hostility from the dancefloor area wasn’t enough to contend with you may have to fend off ill-informed clubbers who would like to request music, other DJs and their considerable disdain, and irate club owners who would like to express their irritation with your set having chased most of their money out the door.

DO Get paid in advance
This is crucial. Due to your unparalleled genius, you’ll only be invited back by the most masochistic of promoters.

We hope this primer gets you started on your path to stardom, local or otherwise. Future installments will cover other tangential information such as:

Choosing Your Medium – Vinyl, CD or Laptop? Battling the Purists.
Beatmatching – Not Worth the Effort?
DJ Lingo – Decks, Wheels of Steel and Beyond
Advanced DJ Lingo – Trainwreck, Punters and Beyond
Getting Gigs – Does Your Immediate Family Member/Significant Other Own a Club?
Unfortunate Haircuts – Your Ticket to Fame?
Club 69 Remixers Guide – Add a 4/4 in One Easy Step