Building a DJ set of electronic music

19:39, Oct 13 2013

The man that music fans in this country call Blink is known for many things, most recently for running Puppies - a very good venue - and before (and around) that his Camp A Low Hum festival, his gig photography, his DIY tour book/guide and so many other things - from bringing out the weird and wonderful (and sometimes downright awful) through to offering respectful working conditions for artists (someone commented backstage at Puppies that it was a nice touch for the green room to have scrap paper for writing set-lists; it's the little things).

Blink's latest mad-scientist endeavour is to create the Square Wave festival -  for half of the month of November a set of gigs will take place around the country, at venues in Wellington, Palmerston North, Christchurch, Dunedin and Auckland. Here's the lineup. And here's an interview with Blink aka Ian Jorgensen.

There'll be some great things to see and hear and experience as part of this Square Wave festival - the focus is electronica, shining a light on machine-made/man-manipulated and/or manmade/machine-manipulated music; doffing the cap to DJs and producers and bands that incorporate turntablism and other aspects that stretch beyond the rock-roots rudimentary lineup of guitars, bass and drums.

Some of the really exciting names attached to this festival include Glass Vaults, Grayson Gilmour, Alphabethead, Riki Gooch, Estere and Heatsick.

Actually there's a full list of the gigs/events here.

I'm looking forward to the Kraftwerk vs. Daft Punk tribute night.


And I'm looking forward to the Vinyl Night where four people will play an hour-long set of favourite electronica tracks.

I'd be interested in this anyway - but I'm lucky enough (and honoured) to be on the bill. The evening will start with a set from Blink, then I'll do my best to play my handful of favourite electronica tracks before handing over to Bill E.  (he of the fabulous 24 Hour Party People/Atomic DJ evenings) and then Bevan Smith (Signer, Ruby Suns, Glass Vaults) will close out the night.

Pretty excited at the thought of this already, and I've been scrolling through my iPod over the weekend, looking for clues. Going to the record racks to confirm that I have certain favourites on vinyl; thinking all the time about influential, formative pieces. The tracks that were building blocks for me, staples. Aphex Twin's Windowlicker perhaps, something from Kraftwerk and/or Daft Punk? Most likely. Then there's artists that I reckon dabbled - quite brilliantly with proto-electronica before we ever called it anything like that. Something from McCartney's masterpiece perhaps? Or that great David Byrne and Brian Eno collaboration. Then there's the True People: Detroit Techno Album box-set of five 12" records; a crucial touchstone for me, a door-opener in a sense.

A while ago I wrote about Ten important electronica albums - and though I stand by those selections, I doubt my hour-long set will feature any single track from any of those records. They were all hugely important building blocks for me, but really only Aphex Twin or Daft Punk from that list seems likely to be represented when I build my hour-long electronica/electronic music set.

It's a hard thing to do I reckon - or will be. So many great choices - and then there's the fact that one of your favourite pieces to play could easily be 10 or 12 or 20 minutes long...that narrows down the hour rather quickly.

I still have a month or so to mull this over and I thought - as well as mention this event and the festival to you - we could have a go each at building up an hour-long electronica set of favourites.

Here's my first attempt at curating some favourites, key tracks that I love, that opened up this landscape for me.

But by the time I get to playing the set on the night I'm sure it'll be entirely different from anything listed there.

So now it's your turn. You have to build an hour-long set of favourite electronic pieces. What's on your list? 

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