This weekly night started two weeks ago, Theo Parrish and Rick Wilhite are starting it up. I missed the first week, but then headed down there with my good buddy, WhoDat. Planet XL is a new club that is in pretty good shape, although they're still fixing it up a bit. It's at 6452 E Jefferson. There are two levels, a nice dark wood bar, it's a cool place. WhoDat does her Wednesday radio show from there too. Netmusique,...yes! There were about 20 people down there at one time. WhoDat introduced me to almost everyone.
Some other nice parties are coming up at Planet XL. Halloween - WhoDat and Marcellus Pittman!! Then, on November 22 at Planet XL, Rick Wilhite is doing a show with Nu Bang Clan.
AND...Rick's album will be released next year in February!! I am so ready, I'm going to set aside money right now.
I have taken a small break from my lessons with WhoDat because I have been working on grant proposals (Mellen Foundation wants a dissertation chapter too – so that has been quite a challenge). But doing these lessons has heightened my awareness and understanding of what happens in a DJ’s set. It has also helped me “tune in” in different and more intense ways to the various sounds and their sources during a performance. It was so great to watch Rick. Some of these details that I include in my blog posts are for my own documentation purposes, but it's also for people who might not know what I am talking about when I say that the DJ "cues up a record." Some readers of my blog, but also of my dissertation and fieldnotes, might need more info. So here it goes... He puts a record on with the audio coming only into his headphones which he usually has around his neck and then picks up one ear to hold to his ear in order to cue up the record. He spins it to the spot he wants by putting his finger on the label in the center of the record and spinning it. Then he lets it go and adjusts the tempo. He might do this once or a few times to get it set up and then brings it in slowly, or drops it hard and loud into the other track that was already playing. He doesn’t put his fingers on the vinyl much when he is cueing up a track. It was pretty smooth to watch. The way I am learning is to put the record on and put the needle down at the beginning or near the beginning of the track (on a 12 inch or an EP). Since I don't yet know the records very well, I don't have any idea where else I might want to start the needle, so I just start from the beginning and listen. I listen and start counting the beat coming through the head phones while listening to the beat of the other track coming through the monitor and the speakers. Once I find the beat and count, usually in 4s, then I can catch the record (headphones track) on the 1 touching one or two fingers to the vinyl near the outside edge of it. Then I follow the beat of the other track (coming through monitors and speakers) and move the record (from headphones) back and forth in a scratching motion to the rhythm of the track playing through the monitor. Once I am confident that I have them matched or once I think they might be matched, I let the record go. Sometimes they are blended well, but usually they are not and I have to try again. If they go out of sync a bit I can use the lever on lower corner of the turntable to adjust the tempo slower or faster. I can also spin the record that is slowing down using the label in the center to speed it up. It’s good to write about this. I’m almost ready to start processing and analyzing beyond the surface level that I have been dealing with until now.
So, now back to my dissertation chapter on genre in Detroit!