From the Archive: Experimental Turntablism

July 12, 2016

vinyl record stickers experimental tuntablism

I’m in the final stretch of a practice led PhD developing approaches to turntablist composition and performance. I’ve been reflecting on how my approach has developed over the years from experiments with junk shop records to becoming a vinyl mastering engineer and cutting my own records for use in composition and performance. I recently unearthed a live set which was broadcast on Demon FM in 2006 and I can hear quite clearly how my turntablist aesthetic has developed over time.

When this performance was recorded, I was experimenting with turntablist improvisation using two turntables with a Vestax PCM 05 Pro DJ mixer that had an inbuilt delay unit. Read the rest of this entry »

Film Score Production: Honeytrap Film

February 5, 2016

honeytrap film poster jessica sula

I produced the music score for the feature film Honeytrap, working closely with the composer Francis Binns. My role included sound recording, music sequencing, mixing and preparing stems for post production. I have been researching the role that music plays within film for a number of years and this project was a great opportunity to apply my theoretical understanding to decisions about the arrangement and the mix of the music. The entire film is shot from the main character Layla’s perspective which means that the musical score is particularly crucial to representing Layla’s emotional state as her world starts to crumble around her in the latter part of the film.

Honeytrap had its UK premier at the BFI London Film Festival (2014), where director Rebecca Johnson was nominated for Best British Newcomer. The US premier was at SXSW Film Festival (2015), and it was later shown at The Urban World Film Festival, New York (2016).

Honeytrap was critically well received, gaining 4 out of 5 in Total Film, The List and The Guardian, which also featured it as ‘The Film to Watch This Week‘. It is now available on DVD, reaching the dizzying heights of number 13 in the Asda DVD chart.

 

 

Ambient Electronica: James Kelly and Adam Weikert – Green Ep

January 31, 2016

green ep james kelly adam weikert

 

Green Ep is a studio collaboration which was recorded eight years ago with the composer and musician Adam Weikert. The tracks were entirely improvised combining sampled sounds on turntables with samples and keyboard playing on a laptop. The EP was released as a CDR in February 2008 and was sold and handed out at gigs around that time. Read the rest of this entry »

Ambient Music: James Kelly Ft. Ola Szmidt Transformation Remix EP

February 12, 2015

Transformation James Kelly

Following on from the Healing Remix EP, I released the Transformation Remix EP Ft. Ola Szmidt. The EP features the original track, along with remixes from Ed Dowie, MSB and Hervé Perez. The original is an ambient drone piece featuring the Polish singer Ola Szmidt on vocals and Dave Dhonau on cello. Ed Dowie’s mix creates a new vocal lament and MSB takes the track deep into glitch territory, while Hervé Perez extends the three minute track into a 17 minute epic, allowing the listener space to focus on individual textures from the original track, while adding saxophone arrangements and glitch drums. The release is available on my bandcamp page.

Dubplate Cutting

January 8, 2015

vinyl

A dubplate is a one off acetate (not vinyl) record often played by Dub Reggae sound systems, but the term is also used in Drum and Bass and Dubstep. The dubplate originated in Jamaica in the 1970’s and these records were a combination of two separate stages of the record manufacturing process. Disc cutting lathes by manufacturers such as Neumann and Skully were usually found in vinyl manufacturing plants and used to cut acetate discs or lacquers as part of the manufacturing process, before the vinyl was pressed. Jamaican producers such as King Tubby however, bypassed this stage by having a disc cutting lathe in the recording studio itself. This allowed Tubby to make test cuts and special one off discs for playback on sound systems before the commercial release of the track on vinyl. The fact that each record is a one off cut, allowed him to cut different versions of the tracks, making each dubplate unique for the sound systems that played them. Read the rest of this entry »

BPM 2014 Trends Numark NV Traktor S8 Novation Launch Control XL

October 4, 2014

Native Instruments Kontrol S49 Demo

For the last few years I’ve been using the BPM show as an opportunity to look at the latest offerings in DJ technology and see if I can identify any new trends. It’s also good fun talking to the manufacturers and trying out all the gear! This year, it seems that two general trends are; screens on midi controllers displaying data from software and a tighter integration of software and hardware compared to general third party midi controllers. Read the rest of this entry »

BPM 2014 Kontrol S49 Review

September 16, 2014

Komplet Kontrol Review

Native Instruments Komplete package is a set of sampler instruments powered by the Kontakt 5 virtual sampler and a series of virtual synthesisers and effects such as Massive and Reaktor. It has become an industry standard set of plug-ins used to create all sorts of popular music and film soundtracks. I have been using Komplete for a number of years on music and film projects and I was quite keen to try out the new Kontrol S49 keyboard and Komplete Kontrol software at the BPM Show 2014. I spent half an hour or so trying out the keyboard and scrolling through sample sets and instruments using the Komplete Kontrol software. The Kontrol S49 is part of the Kontrol S-Series of keyboards, which also includes 25 and 61 key versions. Read the rest of this entry »

iPad DJ and the post-laptop era of DJ’ing continues. BPM 2013

November 22, 2013

Traktor Kontrol Z1

At BPM in 2012, it was clear that the iPad was going to become a serious option for DJ’ing. I wrote a lengthy blog post discussing the post-laptop era of Dj’ing, brought on by controllers such as Numark iDJ Pro, Vestax Spin 2 and the Pioneer XDJ – AERO. A year on at BPM 2013, it seems that the iPad is gaining traction in the DJ market. Read the rest of this entry »

Iration Steppas at Tokyo Dub: Pure Phase Ft I-mitri One Away (Counteraction Dubplate)

October 8, 2013

iration steppas sound system

Great to hear that UK Dub legends Iration Steppas have been playing the Pure Phase track One Away Ft I-Mitri. The track is a dubplate for the Counteraction Soundz label.

Dirty Electronics Ensemble and Kei Miyata

May 30, 2013

Dirty electronics ensemble kai Miyata

I recently worked with the Dirty Electronic Ensemble and Japanese choreographer Kei Miyata (Teshigawara/Karas) in residence at the Curve Theatre, Leicester, UK. It was great getting my hands dirty again with some dirty electronics and it was and honour working with Kei Miyata. Over a two week period led by Kai and John Richards, we built new electronic instruments and devised a performance piece called Rock – Papers – Scissors. Read the rest of this entry »


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