Tag Archives: mixing

Djing with insights

Speech bubbles at Erg

Si Lumb came up with the interesting term yesterday.

Djing with insights

Presenting strings of ideas/concepts in a non-linear method like a dj?

We had a brief chat about it today and concluded the software was the thing holding back the concept. I did suggest mindmaps but I agree its more like a making music with by live coding.

Interestingly I think the DJing with insights concept will be tested by myself during my online dating talk in November. No laptop, no slides, just me thoughts and a geeky passion for online dating.

It also reminds me of Jason Silva’s shots of awe, which is a kind of existential jazz. Not that un-similar from djing with insights or even mixing with concepts?

Jason Silva every week as he freestyles his way into the complex systems of society, technology and human existence and discusses the truth and beauty of science in a form of existential jazz

Showers & Thunderstorms, my latest Pacemaker Mix

Showers and thunderstorms mix by Cubicgarden on Mixcloud

Its been ages since I have published a Pacemaker Device Mix.

This one I have been listening to on and off for the last few weeks on my phone as I wonder around Manchester. Lots of new tunes and a less hectic pace of about 135bpm, but plenty of hands in the air moments and smooth mixing.

I also added chapter marks to give you can idea of what was influencing my tune selections.


  1. Perpetual Motion – Protoculture
  2. Hold that sucker down (Jerome Isma-Ae’s 10 year anniversary mix) – Jerome Isma-Ae
  3. Running up the hill – (Jerome Isma-Ae bootleg) – Placebo
  4. Humming the lights – Armin van Buuren pres. Gaia
  5. Shelter (Photographer remix) – Dash Berlin feat. Roxanne Emery
  6. Hello (Jerome Isma-Ae Remix) – Above & Beyond
  7. Whites Of Her Eyes – Simon Patterson
  8. Stellar  – Driftmoon
  9. Brush Strokes  – Simon Patterson
  10. Imagineer (Alex M.O.R.P.H remix) – Lange
  11. Seven Cities (V-One’s Living Cities remix) – Solar Stone
  12. Higher State – Above & Beyond
  13. Intruder – Armin vs MIKE
  14. Hystereo (KhoMha Remix) – Armin van Buuren
  15. The Evil ID – Max Graham
  16. Shenanigans – Orjan Nilsen
  17. Dissolve – Simon Patterson feat. Sarah Howells
  18. Timebomb – David Gravell
  19. Anahera (extended mix) – Ferry Corsten presents Gouryella

Stem mixing, what you waiting for?


Joel alerted me to a interview with John Digweed, Mr Bedrock.

There’s been much talk recently about STEMS. Does Bedrock have any plans to release some of their catalogue this way?

Not at the moment just waiting to see how it works out.

To which I instantly thought…  Why the heck would you wait? Get in early…  I mean you can’t start the interview with…

Bedrock is always about pushing the music first and foremost?

…and say we’ll wait and see how it shakes out…!

Talked about stems so many times, its time now and Bedrock is one of those people who could pioneer this whole thing.

Stem based mixing again

Si Lumb sent me a link to a BBC News piece about Stem based music mixing. Always something interesting, especially since 8trk

Of course I sent LJ Rich and Si a few links to 8Trk which we developed at Mozfest 3 years ago as part of Dj Hackday. Of course Native instruments has been mentioned by me before but it seems to be getting some traction?


Software ahead of the curve: Virtual Turntables

VTT virtualturntables

I was reflecting on my move to digital music after the on the beat conference. I’m sure I mentioned it elsewhere before.

The speed and progress of digital djing has been reasonable but frankly it could be better. Yes its the perfect setup for a DJ Hackday, but regardless. I was talking to somebody about the Pacemaker device and started to reminisce about Digital Djing. Now I know I’m going to sound like grandad but I think its interesting to remember where we came from.

I was saying I remember VTT (Virtual TurnTables) which from my memory was the first commercially available Dj software I was aware of. I had a copy and installed it on my 200 MMX desktop computer. It ran ok but frankly it was super basic, no auto BPM, very laggy pitch control and the cross-fader slow to react.

However I have to say it did support multiple sound cards and configurations which would make it actually usable in a real DJ environment. It would play Mp3’s, Wav’s and Aiff’s. Unlimited playback (which on a 200MMX is about 2 songs max). Special effects, very basic sampling and looping.

The thing to remember is this is about 1997, this is 2 years before the height of Napster. The advancement in Digital Djing was CDj’s at the time. For Carrot Innovations to rock up with a DJ application so early and for it to look like something the Djs was use to was mind blowing. Heck Mp3’s wasn’t even legally available outside the darknets! So we had to rip CDs using one of the darknet dodge tools. It was only recently you could do it legally in the UK.

Crazy times…! But thank you Carrot Innovation for creating VTT.

Beta certainly means beta on the Pacemaker


I’ve had a problem in the past with the recording mixes on the actual  pacemaker using the new but unofficial firmwares.People on the pacemaker forum suggested it might be the fact I’m running Ubuntu and using mainly wine windows emulator or virtual machine technology. I was never really convinced by this argument to tell the truth but couldn’t be sure. So I would use the analogue output to record mixes with my laptop.

Pretty much all the new mixes in the last few years were done this way. I generally would record the mix on the pacemaker along with the output, making the track-listing easier to put in Mixcloud.

I recently bought a second-hand Pacemaker running the last official firmware 1.4. I tried doing a mix and as you can hear, its flawless in recording. This puts me in a bit of dilemma.

The feature I love the most about the new unofficial firmware is the snap loops, meaning you can just loop with no effort. In the very latest, you can even adjust how big the loops are. I will miss that feature but the ability to record on the go is fantastic and I’ve missed it for a long while.

I’m going to look at the differences in the filesystem and SQLlite DB to see if that reveals something obvious.

Old Pacemaker Firmware mix by Cubicgarden on Mixcloud

Little update….

I installed the old firmware on my old pacemaker and did a mix. As you can hear its pretty much working as it should recording the mix (its not perfect as I was walking and on the tram).

Old Pacemaker Firmware revisited by Cubicgarden on Mixcloud

The firey drive mix

The firey drive mix by Cubicgarden on Mixcloud

Time for another one of my mixes, done with the Pacemaker Device rather than the Pacemaker App. Still loving the device and this mix is a slower mix at 135bpm over the usual 140. A few brand new tunes mixed with some older classics. Nice beat friendly mix with plenty to keep you going on those long drives in the mountains.
Tracklist is below…
  1. Breathe (Blake Jarrell Remix) by Anna Nalick
  2. Take me away into the night (purple haze remix) by 4 strings
  3. Humming the lights (radio edit) by Armin van Buuren, Gaia
  4. Stella – Ferry Corsten vs Markus Schulz
  5. The Evil ID – Max Graham
  6. The Spring – Ernesto and Alex Fisher
  7. Orbion (Max Graham vs Protoculture Remix) – Armin Van Buuren
  8. 3rd Earth (heatbeat remix) – Solarstone vs Scott Bond
  9. Megalodon – Dash Berlin
  10. Attention – John 00 Fleming Vs Christopher Lawrence
  11. The Storm – Eco
  12. Sundown (Sneijder remix) – Thomas Bronzwaer
  13. Rainmaker – Des mcmahon
  14. Shadow World Thomas Bronzwaer
  15. Big Sky (Signum vs RAM Remix) – John O’Callaghan feat. Audrey Gallagher
  16. Solarcoaster (protoculture Remix) – Solarstone
  17. Wonder of Life (f & w remix) – Tukan Light
  18. Diss! – Ferry Corsten
  19. RoseGarden 2.0 – JS16

#mixeverything, democratising mixing for everyone?

The all new pacemaker app for ipad


Two things happened to today…

Those crazy pacemaker guys Jonas, Olof and Willem released a ipad app (one of the worst kept secrets to be honest) but they did some great things to make the whole thing much more simple and usable for the people who just want to play. Those guys have always been excellent at interface design, conveying complexity in quite a unique way. One of the reasons why I love the pacemaker device.

Si Lumb was the first to break it to me on Twitter via The Verge. The interface is different from the Pacemaker app which came on the Blackberry. But the massive difference is the Spotify access. Direct access to mix and screw around with any track on Spotify in real time? Thats almost worth buying a ipad for… Don’t worry I’ll be asking the guys when the Android version is coming. But to be fair I have (well my sister has it but its mine) a blackberry playbook for the sole reason of mixing, so why not a ipad too…?

What got me slightly choked up is the commitment to #mixeverything and ultimately the democratisation of mixing and djing. Yes its not virtualdj or Tracktor but its something you can easily pull out at a party and get people dancing.

It all reminds me of my slide (number 17) from the Dj Hackday  presentation… New rules, new blood, new ideas… I want my first born (male or female) to want to be a DJ not some pop idiot.

I remember the arguments about dedicated cameras vs camera phones. The best camera you have is the one in your pocket or even your hand at the time. Is this true of djing too? Yes if I had my records and decks, but you don’t… And with the app you can pull up virtually most songs, even those stupid request songs.

I’d still like to know how they are doing the twin output, I assume its using the audio out and the HDMI/Lightning port? If not I’m expecting it will change soon.

Secondly those crazy guys released a new firmware update for the Pacemaker device. Seems not many of the usual suspects know much about this, so I’ll be one of the first to give it a run. Which is great because I’ve been playing with the pacemaker device again. My next mix is going to be something special… But now I want to run home and get the firmware updated.

Armin van Buuren and the Philips M1X

Well Armin Van Buuren launches a DJ device with Philips.

Its the M1X and on the face of it, it looks like a reasonable DJ device. 399 euros should mean about 299 pounds, which isn’t bad for a 100 watt boombox, with dj controller.

However, you must run it off an Apple ipad or iphone with lightning connection. This your suddenly talking upwards of 599 euros for something you can actually use (on the beach – as Armin said many times). The lightning connector slams the door on your Android devices. It also seems to only work with Algoriddim djay 2! So even if you invested in Traktor, Virtual DJ or what ever, your screwed? The only interesting feature is the ability to hook up multiple M1x’s to the same thing. How this works in practice is a massive question and I look forward to seeing people messing with this in time.

Armin said again and again, you can use it on the beach, but really? Are you going to carry that whole thing down on to the sand? A boombox with good speakers and amp is a lot cheaper that 399 euros. Plug in a Pacemaker and your laughing. Nope sorry its nice in concept but its not going to carve its way out of a tiny niche. That niche is smaller that the pacemaker and thats saying something!

Thumbs down sorry Armin… Either do something different like the Pacemaker guys or make the whole thing real cheap…

Its seems crazy that no one has a better device than the pacemaker, even with all the progression in memory, cpu speeds, display tech, etc.

Out, back and beyond mixes

Its another one of those pacemaker mixes which I’m specially enjoyed doing…

There’s some real classic tunes and plenty of catchy anthems to get you up and dancing or deep into that code if your doing so.

This time it comes into versions, the standard and the extended version. The versions do have slight different bpm and is a little faster and heavier in the extended version, rather than just cut differently.

Out back and beyond mix by Cubicgarden on Mixcloud

  1. The Truth (David West Remix) – Headstrong feat. Tiff Lacey
  2. Wonder of life (f & w remix) – tukan
  3. Grooveline (Matt Darey Remix) – Blockster
  4. Louder – Jose Amnesia feat Jennifer Rene
  5. Lotus – Shogun
  6. Ecstasy – Eddie Makabi Feat. Einat
  7. Constellation (John’O Callaghan Remix) – Thomas Bronzwaer
  8. Surrender (Sneijder Vs John O’Callaghan Remix) – Full Tilt Feat Deirdre Mclaughlin
  9. Intution (Martin Roth mix) – Marninx vs Ecco
  10. Sinster – Airbase
  11. Shadow world – Thomas Bronzwaer
  12. Nothing else matters – Max Graham feat Ana Criado
  13. Breeze – Ferrin and Low
  14. Out of the blue (2010 remix) – System F
  15. Everything’s been written – 8 Wonders
    -<Extended mix>-
  16. Resurrection (Paul Oakenfold Full On Fluoro Remix) – Planet Perfecto Knights
  17. Skyfire – Shogun
  18. 1998 (Alex M.O.R.P.H remix) – Binary Finary

The Satisfaction Zero mix

Its been a long while since I’ve uploaded a mix to Mixcloud or even Soundcloud. So I decided to throw together a mix on the pacemaker and stick it up. Its a strange mix of some classics and some new tunes. Nothing over thought, just good music mixed together…

I present the Satisfaction zero mix

  1. D.N.A – W&W
  2. Language (Santiago Nino Mix) – Hammer & Bennett
  3. Lift – Sean Tyas
  4. Skyfire (Alex M.O.R.P.H Mix) – Shogun
  5. Everything’s Been Written – 8 Wonders
  6. The Strings Which Bind Us – Arnej
  7. Beautiful Thing (Photon Project Remix) – Andain
  8. Ramazing – Ram
  9. No More Alone (John O’Callaghan Remix) – Giuseppe Ottavian Feat Stephen Pickup
  10. Without You (John O’Callaghan Remix) – Dogzilla
  11. Ultracurve – Cosmic Gate
  12. The Situation (Liquid Life Remix) – A Situation
  13. Ramsterdam (Jornvan Deynhoven Remix) – Ram
  14. Intuition (Original Mix) – Marninx Pres. Ecco
  15. Big Sky (Agneli & Nelson Remix) – John O’Callaghan Feat. Audrey Gallagher
  16. Black Is Back – The Blackmaster
  17. Cream – Blank & Jones

Stem based mixing coming your way soon?

Dj Challenge in progress

One of the killer ideas which came out of the Mozilla Festival in the Dj challenge was the idea of Stem based mixing

The idea is great and I think there’s plenty of momentum behind it. Daniel James and Fin Stamp worked this idea through and now there’s a post on the Mixxx forums. Here’s the details of the post…

At the Mozilla Festival in London last weekend, I took part in a Hack the DJ workshop, looking at ways to take digital DJ’ing to the next level. One of the ideas proposed was stem mixing, using multichannel files in DJ applications. A proprietary implementation of this idea is Fireplayer but this app is built with the intention that users will buy remixable versions of (a very limited number of) well-known songs from an in-app store. I would like to work towards a new open standard for stem mixing, something that is compatible with sharing our mixes on the open web – legally, of course – but could also be used by record labels that sell tracks to DJs.

For example, eight channel Ogg Vorbis files where the first two tracks are a stereo mix of the drums, third and fourth stereo bass, fifth and sixth stereo vocals, and seventh and eighth tracks everything else. This means that you can mute or solo individual stems in the mix, giving you the versatility of four-deck or eight-deck mixing but without the problems of keeping many decks in sync, since the stems within a single file are locked on the same timeline. Also, it makes using the mixer a lot simpler than for many-deck mixing, because you don’t need to keep assigning the crossfader to the various different decks.

Of course this means that the eight channel .ogg file has to be prepared specially for DJ’ing, but this is already possible in Audacity. So we have a file format, and an editor, but what we don’t yet have is full support for stem mixing in open source DJ applications. Sweep supports scratching on eight-channel files, but it doesn’t have a mixer. Mixxx has a mixer, but doesn’t support multichannel Ogg files (yet), as far as I can see.

So, what do you think? Is stem mixing a genuinely useful feature that will allow DJs to be more creative, or will it fail if the best music continues to be available in stereo only? Please add your comments below

I like to think this could be massive thing because although you might be able to get the Stem’s of a tune if your a international superstar dj and have contacts in high places. But if your just a bedroom dj or even play out quite a bit but not a popular name, getting access to the stems of a tune is near impossible.

In fact what were trying to do is standardise the format, so it means the bedroom producers and the massive music businesses can compete on a level platform. This might strike fear into some but when the stereo track is no more and everyone is expecting the Stems of the track as standard, then you will have to go along with it.

Ogg Vorbis is a great starting point and knowing it can support up to 200+ tracks is great for future capability. There are a ton of questions of how it works for a Dj but its certainly a challenge which will be fun to have. I just hope we can stay away from the logic/alberton type interface…

Can’t wait to mix with Stem’ed Ogg Vorbis files…!

Startup your night in the best possible way

Startup bar AB Remix

Were at it again… The startup bar is back in full force.

This time we have 4 djs, starting up at 9pm and finishing at 2am. This Friday (22nd June) and every Friday (except maybe next week, 29th July TBC).

If your in Manchester and out on Friday night, you can’t do much better than experience the House, Electro and Trance played by some great up-shots in the Manchester scene… Feel free to RSVP here.

Hope to see you all there…

How to use the Pacemaker editor with Ubuntu via wine

How I got the Pacemaker editor working under Ubuntu with Wine

This should be a easy task but Tonium did something to a later version of the free pacemaker editor, so it no longer worked. In the meantime I personally have been running a virtual machine just for the purpose of taking tunes on and off my pacemaker. No one could work out what they changed in the later version but although you could get the software to work, it wouldn’t recognize the pacemaker device at all. I even stuck it on WineHQ to see if that might help…

Many people tried different ways to get it working but none of them worked. Tonium unhelpfully said it was only supported on Windows and Mac.

But they came back with…

Yeah i am aware of this. ubuntu runs a program called ‘wine’ that emulates windows so you can still run windows only programmes such as this. was just wondering if anyone out there had experienced similar problems…

i have looked on ubuntu forums and pacemaker should run fine, apart from it being a bit fiddly to unmount sometimes.

Then today I had a good think about the problem and started thinking out of the box/experimenting over lunch. Last night I was convinced I would need to install a Github version of Wine for the USB to work and thought I’d install wine from source while eating my lunch.

But before I got to remove Wine, I thought I’d have a online search again and look through the wine settings again. Surely someone must have the solution. I found someone who suggested there might be a read/write problem with the pacemaker and suggested the following.

chown yourusername /media/yourpacemaker

chmod u=rw /media/yourpacemaker

After that I thought for a while, surely theres nothing magical happening. I mean Tonium are using open methods for most of the software and the build of the pacemaker. Even the config files are simply .xml files. The only illusion so far is the stm files which seem to be the analysed raw data stuffed in xml files. So we’re talking low level methods to make it all work, surely this would extend to the way Tonium did the method for putting tunes on the actual device. In actual fact, Musicinstinct2 had already started building a manager for linux and got it mostly working except for the stm file part. Then I had a moment of genius…

My thoughts I documented on the pacemaker getsatisfaction help list.

I got thinking that Windows simply mounts the Pacemaker then the Pacemaker Editor simply looks at a certain drive letter. The problem we’ve had is as default Wine sets the Pacemaker hard drive as drive E: as default. Windows from memory allocates drive letters from Z backwards. That or Tonium through they would be clever and use a letter which wouldn’t normally be used!

I also thought about upgrading my Wine to support USB better but I started thinking, wine can see the pacemaker as a drive if I select it. So it must be the editor which is at fault.

So the first thing I did was mounted the drive under Z: Y: X: then used different advanced options to see if that made a difference. By pure chance on the 1st time I loaded up the pacemaker editor it automatically showed the contains of the Pacemaker. I thought it was a mistake and decided to close it down and load it up again. Bingo! Exactly the same thing. So I did some crude operations like copying files, renaming files, etc. They all pretty much worked.

At this point I had to share my joy with the world by posting up this post.

After this I did some tweaking so it could see my music collection, etc and discovered the option of type was essential to the whole thing working. I had by pure chance selected floppy disc on the correct drive letter. I also tried removing drives to see exactly which drive it was expecting, and discovered it was all about X: it seemed. Without waiting I wrote up the whole thing on the community maintained forum.

Mount the Pacemaker as usual by plugging it into a linux machine (I’m using Ubuntu 10/10 64bit edition)

I set the pacemaker to be writable using,

"sudo chown yourusername /media/yourpacemaker"

"sudo chmod u=rw /media/yourpacemaker"

*warning if you don’t understand the command don’t type it in… and I’m not responsible for anything which happens.

I’m assuming you already have Wine 1.3 and the Pacemaker Editor installed…

In the Wine preferences, setup a new drive letter X: and set it to /media/Pacemaker

Then set the type under the advanced options to floppy drive.

Now start the pacemaker editor with the pacemaker connected to the machine and it should come up and you can drag files on and off it.

Now in hindsight it might just be the floppy drive option not the drive letter and I’m unsure if you need to make the pacemaker writable using the commands above. But to be honest, I don’t see them harming anything and I’m sure someone else will narrow the instructions down soon enough.

The only question left is if Linux pacemaker users will see this or not? I certainly hope so…

The Geometry Set

The Geometry Set by cubicgarden

This is my latest mix on my pacemaker. Lots of new tunes and some classics returns.

Its known as just the geometry set, but why? Well most of the mix has something to do with geometry in some way. If you think you can work out the link in each tune, feel free to comment below.

You may have noticed this is also a much shorter mix that I usually do but it didn’t feel the need to be long and drawn out.

Ladies and Gentleman, I present The Geometry Set

The Geometry Set by cubicgarden

  1. Endless Wave (albion remix) – Kamaya Painters
  2. Heal – Electrique Boutique
  3. Arctic Globe – DJ Governor Presents Orjan
  4. Strange Bends (Kyau Vs Albert) – Sebastian Sand
  5. Shadow World – Thomas Bronzwaer
  6. Call The Galaxy Taxi (Martin Roth Nu Style Remix) – Plastic Angel
  7. The Spring – Ernesto and Alex Fisher
  8. Ultra Curve – Cosmic Gate
  9. Exposure – Gareth Emery
  10. Perfect Wave – peter martin pres anthanasia
  11. The string that binds us (8 wonders remix) – Arnej
  12. Intution – Marninx Pres Ecco