Figure and Allihoopa: Free Music Making Software

What a fun toy Figure is for making little songs and loops! Even someone who can’t play an instrument can make something that sounds good in Figure. (If I can do it, anyone can). Check it out (it’s free) by clicking the image on the left below.

On the right is my Allihoopa page with the pieces I’ve made so far.

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My Allihoopa page
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Click to get Figure

Solomun!

My goodness. Every time I go on FB these days I’m presented with clips from a DJ I already love or someone new I feel I must discover in person.

I have just discovered Solomun! How gorgeous is this set?! Deep and melodic – so melodic, but yet not weak. Tugs at the soul strings.

A friend of mine saw Solomun at Loveland and I missed him, and watching this, I’m sorry I did. But I will find him. For now, let’s enjoy this magical set from Barcelona!

Reflections on 20 years of raving

Loveland 1I didn’t even realize it was 20 years until yesterday.

I experienced the monumental joy of helping “birth” another raver last weekend at Loveland. Ruth, a first time rave attender, turned to me at one point and said, “Thank you – I’m having the time of my life!” I had the pleasure of saying to her, “You know what, 20 years from now, it will probably still be as much fun as it is now!” In fact for me it may be even better. I don’t know. The joy is still palpable, and that’s what matters.

I sort of exploded onto the Washington DC scene in 1996, fresh from a failed marriage, relatively old for the scene at age 29 and and very eager to explore electronic music. The “regulars” seemed a bit surprised by my enthusiasm, but I think they saw that I was genuinely meant to be there, and they soon welcomed me into their fold.

after perfect motionIn particular, I was welcomed by “Ravers Geriatric” a group of ravers over 25 years of age (!!) led by Jammin’ James E, a 30-something lawyer by day and raver by night.

I cried at my first event, I was so happy to have found my home.

By 1997 I had bought my own turntables and by 1998 I had my first DJ gig as DJ Zelda, which happened in a hair salon in Rockville, Maryland as I recall, with two expert DJs on each side of me, (Ty T and Jay Selway) helping me push the right buttons and get through the thing without completely making a fool of myself. I am grateful to them to this day.

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DJ Zelda at Buzz, circa 2001.

As DJ Zelda I got to play at most of the major clubs in the DJ area, even at Buzz, where I opened for my heroine at the time, Mrs. Wood, a techno DJ who was married with children, such a revolutionary concept in those days. I even started my own DJ school, Metatrack studios, which lasted until 2002.

DJ zelda 2000

At that time, the political climate in the US was intolerable for my husband, and we decided to move to Madrid, Spain, to start a new life, and a new DJ career for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, the DJ fame I thought was headed my way did not materialize. I continued as DJ Zelda until 2005, but then we started a family and things got rather complicated in terms of  playing at 3AM…I found I lost my music muse.

However, I still dabble in DJing today, and I still *adore* going out and helping bring people together who love electronic dance music. Most of the people I was involved with 20 years ago are still involved in the music as (sometimes quite famous or well-known) DJs, producers, promoters, designers and partiers like myself. It just doesn’t get boring, and you don’t just outgrow it!

My main mission these days is to keep spreading the joy of stepping outside the mainstream music scene, to fall in love with something real and different and ever-evolving. Those who can hear the music, like my new friend Ruth can, are set to enjoy so many years of joy in the electronic dance music scene.

Are you up to the challenge? Can you hear it?DJZelda1_smEtienne en mi BCN

 

 

Loveland – The Best Techno Music Artists AND the Best Production

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I mean really. Does it get any better than this? A lineup of nearly all of the best techno music artists and literally the best stage production (all the stages) that I’ve ever seen. This was my 5th year at Loveland, and they hit it outta the park again. Each year until now I’ve come back wondering if they can do it again, and they do. This year I was a little bit concerned because they rearranged things and made the main stage a long, long walk from everything, and particularly far from the other stage with techno DJs.

I need not have worried.

Loveland 1Unlike many electronic dance music festivals,  all the stages here had excellent music, decor and sound, and the festival grounds were fun and easy to navigate. The light shows were simply incredible, as you can see. I discovered Hernan Cattaneo of Argentina – WOW. I am now glad for the long walk between the two techno stages, because it led me to listen to DJs I otherwise would have ignored. Very clever of them!

Between Hernan Cattaneo and Guy Mantzur, I’m saving a place in my techno heart for progressive music. It was deep and thunking, spiritual and melodic. Delicious! Sven Vath finally, after several years of “missets”, delivered a spectacular performance, and Secret Cinema, well – I thought I was getting tired of him but then he came back and thrilled me yet again. Such talent from right here in the Netherlands.

I left Loveland feeling utterly fulfilled and ready to buy my next 5 years of tickets to Loveland today.Loveland 2

Not the best DJ set, but an awesome party anyway

Trooped off to Bloemendaal Aan Zee on Sunday, to the Woodstock beach club. This despite not hearing the best DJ set online from the proposed artists (“Sunday Breakfast”), and despite the day starting out cloudy, cool and windy. Woodstock is a lovely venue and I figured I might as well get outside and enjoy the day and enjoy seeing my good friend Folami who just bought an apartment not too far from the venue. Lucky!

Woodstock in Bloemendaal, NetherlandsAnyway, I was pleasantly surprised on arrival – the sun came out, and the music was quite good! I later realized it was so good because it was the residents playing, and not the guest artists. To be fair, the guest DJs were good, just not great. They had at least one of the three important qualities of a great DJ: they chose great tracks that we loved to dance to. Their technical mixing skills weren’t very good (although to be fair it was very windy, and spinning vinyl outdoors in windy conditions is not easy). They also didn’t seem to create much of a journey.

The fact that we had an awesome time speaks to the other aspects of a great party: a nice venue, friendly people, friendly staff and good quality sound. All of these were present and accounted for, so we really enjoyed ourselves and danced a lot more than I thought we would. Great way to spend a Sunday evening!

 

Welcome to the Future and Toffler to duke it out for our ticket purchase

So two of the best of the best promoters in the Netherlands, Welcome to the Future and Toffler, have decided to do an indoor festival on the exact same day, November 19, one in Amsterdam and one in Rotterdam. Everyone’s already in a tizzy. Will be fascinating to see who “wins”! I don’t even know yet who will get my vote.

Oh wow – by then my country will have a new president!