Do you remember hearing your first recorded mix? Like most people, the first mixes I got into were live set recordings, often poor quality with dodgy mixing. But because they reflected your weekend moments, tracks you’ve never heard and new music styles, they were cherished beyond words in 128kbps formats ripped off Soulseek. Off the back of these mixes, I started to buy CD mixes from some of the artists I enjoyed – programmed – although I didn’t always know it at the time. Mixes that come to mind immediately are the early Global Underground stuff, from Sasha, John Digweed and Nick Warren. The mixing was flawless, track selection was impeccable and for the first time I started to listen to journey’s instead of tracklists, manipulations instead of transitions, live instrumentation over tracks I thought couldn’t get any better, and overall feelings instead of isolated moments, and I realised that being a DJ isn’t about beat-matching or having the latest records, and that there were people out there mixing using more than just a turntable. It was a new type of ‘set’ that really started to break down the conventional DJ mix.
Apart from the notorious Global Underground mixes, there’s been a few on ASIP which really highlight this feeling and approach. Tripswitch’s isolatedmix comes to mind, as does Rob Dowell’s Figment Fragments and DJ Todos’ multiple Kilchurn Sessions. More recently, Andy Schneider’s ‘Home’ can be added to that list – a true journey.
Since that mix, Andy has continued to work with his musical partner Brian, developing their own productions as Arts Learning Community and in parallel, developing the follow-up mix to ‘Home’. Aptly named ‘Away’ for many reasons, including the duo’s separate locations (San Fran and Taipei) and the time committed to this mix – a commitment which actually resulted in Andy relocating to Taipei for a month. As you will read below in Andy and Brian’s introductions they have literally poured their life and soul into this mix, and never has such dedication been so apparent.
To revisit my earlier sentiment, this is one of those mixes which you need to dedicate hours to with no distractions. A true audiophile journey and one that you just know, took revision after revision, change after change and tweaks in there thousands. If, like me all those years ago, you’re just falling in love with DJ mixes, please take the time to absorb what’s about to follow. For these reasons, this is an utterly deserved isolatedmix and i’m pretty sure you’ll fall in love with the journey these guys have managed to conjure – a truly epic piece of work and a homage to the DJ mix.
Introductions by Andy and Brian below.
“For a while, Brian and I had been talking about doing a follow up to Home – my first attempt at taking a progressive DJ approach to a genre-less mix, which I was honored to have featured here on ASIP last year. I never really planned a sequel nor a collaboration for something as personal and musically autobiographical as that mix, but the challenge (with Ryan’s encouragement) got the better of me. And with Brian being a sound designer and studio engineer by day, I wanted to hear how our extracurricular skills could work together in this format.
That’s how it started, with a plan to have it finished in a few months. What we didn’t expect was an onslaught of everything professional and personal life could throw at us, all at once. This pushed back the deadline almost a year, but along the way influenced what we were listening to, and eventually changed the goal of the mix. All of this ultimately shows up in the track list, with many of these songs feeling like little anthems for big life events, something I’m sure all music fans can relate to.
Putting these symbolic/amazing pieces of music into a unique, contextual narrative like this has been quite an incredible process. And now that we’re at the other end, it’s also unexpectedly cathartic. Which is nice, because it’s been one of the most consuming musical things we’ve ever done. Lots of special edits, layering, and massaging square pegs into round holes, all while trying to preserve the original spirit of the tracks. However many hundreds of hours later, it’s absolutely been worth it, even just for us. But, given how inspirational ASIP and the legendary isolatedmix series has been, I really hope you guys like it too.
Thanks to Ryan for his support (and patience) along the way. Thanks to each of these amazing artists we’ve featured and hope to expose to new ears. Thanks to our talented friends Julia Turner, Duser and Carly for contributing incredible, original visual interpretations of the mix. And finally, a special thank you to The Dead Sea and Pierce Fulton for personally providing us with lossless source material. Look out for our Arts Learning Community debut release soon. Until then, enjoy isolatedmix40!”
“I’m quite honestly ashamed for having spent so long on a single mix, although for the reasons Andy mentioned, and considering our satisfaction with resulting material, it all feels worthwhile. Bouncing the final mix was both a moment of victory and of substantial relief.
Listening back, events in the mix evoke vivid associations, and the piece in its entirety documents a significant breadth of emotions for me. I truly hope it resonates with you too, and that you connect with the narrative in some way.
Special thanks to:
Sean Costello of ValhallaDSP for his outstanding reverberation algorithms, used extensively throughout this mix. Bootsy (H.L. Goldberg) of Variety of Sound for his wonderful free contributions to the audio community. Everyone who encouraged and supported me during the process, and Andy for staying excited and continuing to help me move forward after finishing a pretty amazing draft – and eventually flying to Taiwan to remove the 6000+ mile and 16 hour time difference encumbrances from our collaboration.
Ryan, for his supremely potent online ambient music dosing center, and of course, all the immensely talented people who were involved with the creation of the selected songs.
Caffeine, for maintaining a respectable level of efficacy even after such dramatic periods of abuse, and for conveniently existing within delicious beans. You, for reading this and taking the time to listen.”
0:00:00 Nils Frahm – live improvisation @ la route du rock 2/22/11
0:03:00 Working for a Nuclear Free City – je suis le vent
0:04:37 Infusion – we follow. i fly.
0:05:52 Roxy Music – in every dream home a heartache
0:07:24 Rosetta – deneb
0:09:39 The Boxer Rebellion – semi-automatic (acoustic)
0:10:24 Luomo – visitor
0:11:40 Max Jasper Mezzowave – valaam and the angel
0:12:02 Pelican – ataraxia
0:13:11 Smashing Pumpkins – daydream
0:15:57 Hammock – winter light
0:19:08 Alt J – blood flood
0:23:13 Alt J – intro
0:24:14 DJ Khaled feat. Drake, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross – i’m on one
0:25:20 Everything But the Girl – before today
0:29:34 Prefuse 73 – no special bed
0:30:00 Amiina – bláskjár
0:30:20 Prefuse 73 – awakening to a…
0:31:23 Tiki Obmar – deru (remix)
0:32:27 Worm is Green – love will tear us apart
0:36:46 Working for a Nuclear Free City – pixelated birds
0:37:56 Oliver Blank – balloon suite prelude
0:40:43 Oliver Blank – you can call me x
0:42:18 How To Destroy Angels – the sleep of reason produces monsters
0:44:58 Rosetta – cleansing undertones of wake_life 1
0:46:25 Tool – useful idiot
0:46:30 Michael Stearns + Monks of the Dip Tse Chok Lin + Brother Hamish Richardson – broken vows (a prayer of kala rupa – an daorac)
0:47:26 Max Jasper Mezzowave – initiation
0:48:16 Ulf Lohmann – kristall
0:50:22 PJ Harvey – horses in my dreams
0:55:40 FC Kahuna – fear of guitars
0:56:56 Michael Stearns – organics
0:59:01 Pierce Fulton – 10 / 6 (that should do it)
1:02:36 Pink Floyd – a new machine (part 1)
1:04:30 The Dead Sea – banquet
1:05:39 Dead Can Dance – host of seraphim
1:11:28 Prefuse 73 – if they died and they were yours
1:12:08 Chairlift – i belong in your arms
1:15:18 Junius – spirit guidance
1:16:42 Voyager One – out and over
1:17:42 Eluvium – everything to come
1:18:46 Mogwai – kids will be skeletons
1:23:29 The Dead Sea – nulla desiderata
1:25:37 Explosions in the Sky – the birth and death of the day (jesu mix)
1:33:24 Jesu – weightless and horizontal
1:38:55 Good Weather for an Airstrike – rescue
1:39:46 Sasha – cut me down
1:45:38 Junius – eidolon & perispirit
1:49:35 Matt Lange – rift (Kerry Leva undo)
1:52:31 The Cinematic Orchestra – that home feat. patrick watson
1:54:13 Death Cab for Cutie – brothers on a hotel bed (bachelors of science mix)