Mashing On The Motorway

As I think I’ve mentioned at one point or another, at Christmas I acquired two things that were meant to bring me closer to my goal of musicianship or what have you. For software, I got a copy of Native Instrument’s fantastic Traktor DJ Studio 2.5, possibly the best DJ software you can have for MP3-based DJ spinning. For hardware, I grabbed a M-Audio Oxygen 8 USB MIDI Controller, a small 25 key keyboard that can be used to control anything that takes a MIDI input.
For about a month I was left wondering what I was going to be able to do with this combination. In terms of strict music-making, the software isn’t desirable – you have to use existing songs, you can’t throw down drum loops on the fly or anything. In terms of DJ mixing, the hardware was the sticking point – it’s hard to come up with a suitable DJ-usable setup using a two-octave keyboard. And at the time, GarageBand wasn’t out (not that it has enabled me to do much).
What’s a young man with a fairly full iPod to do? The answer should’ve been obvious sooner than it came to me – and that answer is mashups. But what is a mashup? I quote Salon:

The wacky juxtaposition spawned its own kind of revolution, inspiring legions of the club remixes now called “mash-ups” — with one classic example being “Smells Like Booty,” in which Destiny’s Child wails over Nirvana’s classic dirge and drone. Also referred to as “bastard pop,” mash-ups involves blending samples from two songs — generally, one song’s vocals atop another’s instrumental or rhythm track. The sum of the parts often surpasses the originals. The more disparate the genre-blending is, the better; the best mash-ups blend punk with funk or Top 40 with heavy metal, boosting the tension between slick and raw. Part of the fun is identifying the source of two familiar sounds now made strange — and then giggling over how perfect Whitney sounds singing with Kraftwerk.

To be honest, my mashup drive was started completely by accident. While just attempting to throw together a mix of funky disco-esqe tracks, I had carelessly thrown two Beatmania IIDX tracks next to each other (The Biggest Roaster and Funky Bingo Paradise) due to similar tempos. I tried to get a crossover between the two tracks working and I recall accidently starting them both at nearly the same time and it just clicked instantly. And so, my first mashup, The Bingo Roaster, was created.
I started digging through Bemani tracks to find another juxtaposition that would work. Due to my anal-retentiveness about my iTunes library, I already had BPMs for all the IIDX songs (since they’re given in game), and could sort easily. Quickly I found matching songs and threw them together until I found the now semi-legendary combination of hard techno (QQQ) and hyper eurobeat (Night Of Fire). This led to Night Of QQQ, which remains my best work.
Since then, I’ve slapped together three more, including the incredible Let Them Dunk. I plan on doing some non-Bemani ones, but for now I’ve been having fun making goofy inside jokes as such.
If you’re interested in listening to them, I’ve put up a little archive; let me know what you think if you haven’t heard them previously. Or even if you have. Either way.