Yet our sounds are also a vocabulary for those who detest the walled-off concentrations of wealth, and steal property back: the collectives that build their own sound systems, stage free parties, and invite DJs to perform. The international DJ becomes emblematic of global capitalism’s complicated cultural dimension. On flights and at the free Continental breakfasts in hotels, often the same soul-destroying hotel chains in each city, we get stuck chatting with our fellow Americans and Western Europeans, the executives eager to find compatriots. We make small talk with these consultants and deal-makers in the descending elevators in the evening—then go out to the city’s dead-end and unowned spaces or its luxury venues to soundtrack the night of the region’s youth, hungry for something new. DJ music is now the common art form of squatters and the nouveau riche; it is the soundtrack both for capital and for its opposition.
So many choices, now. For actually playing tracks, I personally use Ableton Live, which is insane for a variety of reasons. Traktor and Serato etc are actually designed for this.
Open source/ lower cost alternatives?
- mixxx is an open-source one.
- Algoriddim djay (AUD80) runs on ipad mac and Windows and claims it can stream tracks from spotify.
- mixedinkey (analysis) and flow8deck (playback) are a pair of apps which automate circle-of-fifths key transitions, which they call camelot mixing because they want to copyright the circle of fifths.
- Traktor Pro is the DJ software I learned to mix with. AUD149. Includes good tempo detection and GUI by boring effects, which is why I use Bitwig instead.
- Serato DJ Pro is similar to Traktor. They are famous for supporting input using actual turntables which is great if you are a turntablist and a colossal wank if you are not, but seem to be a good bit of kit regardless.
- Rekordbox is a more-or-less equivalent thingy from Pioneer. C&C serato.
- Keyfinder is another analysis engine. Plush lookin’ (former) student project that classifies things by musical key, not to mention other the intermediate details; it can visualise chord structures, melodies and key changes too. Open-source. Free. There is also a command-line wrapper for easy bulk analysis.