After working on it for over six months, I’m happy to finally announce my new techno/electro DJ mix, Escape.

Update November 2019: I remastered the mix and uploaded it to Mixcloud.

[mixcloud width=100% height=120 hide_cover=1]

This is my first mix released since 2005’s Year of Reflection, which was actually recorded in 2004 (hence the title). So I’ve been on a bit of a break from this type of thing for a while. My turntables and records have been boxed up in my closet for a year and a half, and it’s probably only a matter of time before I sell them all. But I’m actually very happy for this.

I made this mix entirely with Ableton Live using MP3s that I downloaded from eMusic, Beatport and Bleep. This is something I’ve wanted to do for years, but at first the technology didn’t exist, then the technology appeared but songs were unavailable digitally, and more recently the technology and music both became readily available, but I couldn’t find the time to put them together. I called the mix “Escape” in part because I’ve finally found my way past these obstacles and made something very close to what I always hoped would be possible in a post-vinyl DJing age.

Far from some people’s claims that using software to beat-match and mix is the easy way out, this was the most labor-intensive mix that I’ve ever created. Tracks were transposed, extended, edited, sliced up, and processed heavily to get them to blend well. It was a very educational experience, but it also taught me that I still have a lot to learn. I hope, now that this is finished, I can spend more time learning and applying these new skills to original productions, something else I’ve intended for years but never made the time to pursue seriously.

I hope it goes without saying, but please be aware that the independent labels that produce this music rely on the support of electronic music fans to stay in business, and I am not providing this mix to profit from the work of the original artists. Especially since I’m no longer playing out, I made this purely for the fun of creating it, but I hope that if you enjoy the music you hear, you’ll buy the original tracks.


00:00–04:19 Ellen Allien & Apparat — Red Planets
02:16–10:50 Lucien-N-Luciano — Future Senses (feat. Francisca Leon) (mini re-edit)
07:46–14:49 The Field — Over the Ice
12:38–21:46 Minilogue — Space
19:48–28:23 Monolake — Plumbicon
21:36–27:47 Alex Smoke — Never Want to See You Again
26:43–33:04 Lusine — The Stop (Robag Wruhme remix)
31:19–34:27 Modeselektor — B.M.I.
32:51–36:57 Kraftwerk — Numbers
33:53–39:17 Ellen Allien & Apparat — Do Not Break
37:51–45:01 Undo & Vicknoise — Mescalina
42:27–49:41 The Field — Everday
48:17–56:48 Gui Boratto — Beautiful Life

I plan to upload some of my older mixes to this site in the coming weeks and months, and maybe even dig out some of the previously-unreleased recordings if anyone would be interested. In the meantime, I’d love to hear what you think of this one in the comments.

Photo credit: sierraromeo

7 Replies to “Escape”

  1. Just finally got a new laptop, so I can listen
    to your mix now! I posted a link to this on
    squirrels, much love for it so far. I’m definitely
    digging it, but you probably knew that would be the
    case : )


  2. Great mix! Very well done. 🙂

    I’d love to collaborate with you on something some time. Maybe a back-to-back coast-to-coast tag team. You drop some tracks in ableton, ftp it someplace, I grab it and add stuff, and back and forth.

    That could be neat.

  3. tim? tim moore from dc and ruffneckplayazcrew? your mix landed on my ipod through blentwell. cool to randomly see you there. how are things? drop me a line at myspace or my email. love the track that starts in around 34-35 min in.

  4. Hi Tim, found you via the Immersants meetup group.

    “using software to beat-match and mix is the easy way out”…

    Actually it *is* but you may have been using Ableton in sequencer mode (ie “arrangement view”) rather than loop mode (ie “session view”)? If you come to a Share Sydney gig feel free to ask any of the several Ableton heads for tips.

    Ableton is not the best DJ tool though. Despite being called “Live!” it should be called “Live?” because you need to import your tracks in advance. Traktor is *the* DJ tool (albeit buggy).

    Since you obviously have a keen ear for detail (your cross-fades are perfect) and now have the Ableton editing knowhow I’m sure you will enjoy its potential for fine detail in making remixes and originals (which is the only thing I ever use it for… especially for acoustic tracks). And with your fine choice of tracks I look forward to them!

    1. Thanks for listening and commenting, and for approving me for the Immersants group. I hope you didn’t notice any disruption on the site while you were browsing (I just upgraded WordPress to 3.0 a few minutes ago).

      I did indeed use the arrangement view for this. I agree that Live works best with a little prep work, and it wasn’t really designed for DJing. That said, I actually think it’s an excellent tool for arranging studio mixes. I approach mixes intended for listening in a very different way than live mixes, though it’s been years since I’ve played out live. I’ve used Traktor before (an old version, quite a while ago) and it is definitely a different kind of beast. It is much more like mixing records or CDs, for better and for worse.

      One thing I did with this mix was really deconstruct many of the tracks, making custom edits, adjusting the swing on some tracks and extending some sections to try to improve the flow. That is the sort of thing that Ableton shines with, but it’s obviously not something you could easily improvise live with any tools.

      I also really like Live’s capabilities for sound design, especially with the fully decked-out Ableton 8 suite. Recently, though, I got a Native Instruments Maschine, and I actually find a lot of comfort in its more-limited UI. Ableton’s flexibility can be overwhelming; Maschine strikes a great balance.

      I have actually started picking tracks for two new mixes recently. I hope to put them up here soon.

      Thanks again for your kind words. I’m looking forward to meeting you in person at the next Immersants meetup.

  5. “Extending some sections” is easy in Traktor *on-the-fly*.

    “adjusting the swing”… subtle! I have not even played with that Ableton feature yet. The Share Sydney group focuses on minimal techno so your unegotistical attention to detail would be perfect for our jams. If you get around to working in session view that is.

    I haven’t worked in Session view myself yet, chosing to actually jam with Traktor while the others use Ableton and because external sync is one of the major *MAJOR* bugs that Traktor has, the workaround is not trivial (and requires obscure hardware). Ableton still crashes when pushed hard but in general it does everything it sets out to do well.

    By the way, I really appreciate the timecoded accurate tracklisting: helps us understand the creative process and is respectful to the original artists.

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