November 14, 2001 11:21 AM   Subscribe

HP-Diddy! Forget the desktop - HP's coming after your boo-tay!
posted by geronimo_rex (18 comments total)
His solution is to give each clubber a device like a wristwatch that monitors their behaviour, feeding info back to the HPDJ via a "Bluetooth" wireless link. "It tracks your location, measures your heart and perspiration rate, and an accelerometer monitors how active you are," Cliff explains

What fun! Take it a step further and dispense with people altogether. Why HP don't concentrate on the really important stuff, like making their ink cartridges last longer or preventing the ####### paper from mashing itself round the roller, I'll never know.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:31 AM on November 14, 2001

oh man... that's all i needed. more competition against my mix man studio skills.
posted by lotsofno at 11:39 AM on November 14, 2001

my largest gripe with the HPDJ stems from a comment made by Larry Heard, a famous house DJ from Chicago (now an expatriot in another city; paraphrased from URB magazine): "I'm sick of the chickenshit DJs who are afraid of clearing the floors. Frankie Knuckles once played a track at (some club) that cleared the floor the first time; the second time he played it, some people cleared away but some remained; the third time, everyone was getting into it."

i think one of the most important roles of playing music live is in exploration. the HPDJ is predicated on precisely playing what the crowd wants to hear; clearing the floor is interpreted as a "failure." of course, the machine attempts to construct its music on the fly rather than play pre-recorded music.

this is my other gripe. constructing music on the fly such as the HPDJ does, i ask where the emotion is in the music? i don't want a machine that derives from work by juan atkins to play music, though atkins was and is an excellent producer in his own right. i want the music produced by someone who misses a loved one or who feels panicked in a new city. derivation cannot and should not be the primary inspiration of music, i think -- which is exactly the scenario with the HPDJ.

oh i suppose some won't care. let them dance to RAVE 2001!!!! and TEW KEWL FOR SKEWL produced by dj fucknut; it's their money, and it's their life. at least with a human dj at the helm, these people have a chance of discovering some music that goes beyond their tired shelter; i'm afraid that won't be much possible with the HPDJ.
posted by moz at 12:00 PM on November 14, 2001

For some wierd reason, this story produced a mental image of a room full of one man bands and every time someone moves, theres a boom or a tish.....

The movement = music idea was used in a club scene by the rather excellent Michael Marshall Smith in his book "Spares."
posted by davehat at 12:15 PM on November 14, 2001

posted by lbergstr at 12:19 PM on November 14, 2001

When it comes to being a DJ: either you lead the crowd, or you follow the crowd.

Actually on second thought, most DJs I see out these days don't seem to do either. HP's invention would be a definite improvement on them.
posted by dlewis at 12:34 PM on November 14, 2001

As long as it's not playing trance....
posted by atom128 at 12:40 PM on November 14, 2001

Forgive me, for I am not a clubber, but are these places so dark that the DJ can't see if the crowd is dancing?

In any case, will technology make the DJ care? dlewis' comment on leading/following makes me wonder.
posted by tommasz at 1:55 PM on November 14, 2001

tommasz: no, there is usually some lighting in the clubs, particularly on the dance floor.
posted by moz at 2:22 PM on November 14, 2001

Lbergstr: Amen!

FTB is exactly what will come out of this thing, and while it might keep some people who don't care happy, it'll probably just get boring after a while. As Moz said, experimentation is an important thing. There are too many DJs, and now programs, who think that the "dance" part of dance music is everything. I had a philosophy while I was spinning that if it wasn't also worth listening to, I wouldn't play it.
At any given time, there are plenty of people in a club who aren't dancing, and they should be able to enjoy the music anyway, not be bored by some droning 4/4 beat.
posted by Su at 2:42 PM on November 14, 2001

Su - actually, 'faceless techno bollocks' was an insult turned into a slogan by people who were proud of the fact that they were into the music, not the personalities. People wore it on t-shirts: "in your face, grunge fans!"

Personally, I think there are a lot of club DJs who deserve to lose their jobs to an HPDJ. And the idea of music continually evolving in response to input from hundreds of little body monitors...I mean, I don't know if I'd want to dance or listen to it, but I'm damn curious.

But everyone else is right, it'll never replace the true etc etc.
posted by lbergstr at 2:55 PM on November 14, 2001

i think one of the most important roles of playing music live is in exploration.

Seems to me that this could be yet another interesting way to explore, which would no doubt be more satisfying to some than to others. If you believe that people will always be more "creative" than machines, then it is fairly easy to imagine (and assume) that some people will find creative and unexpected ways to utilize this technology to interesting effect (and some talentless hacks will make it tedious and rote and ensure that it doesn't last long in this form).
posted by rushmc at 3:33 PM on November 14, 2001

Acquisition goes both ways.

I wonder if this thing has some sort of cut-off. Like, imagine a roomful of people strung out on DrugOfChoice who just kept responding to the music in sort of a feedback loop. The machine eventually starts pumping out gabber, and everybody spontaneously combusts.
Now, that's a party.

Rush: I saw we take several of the monitors, tie them on to cords, and swing them around at high velocity. See what the HPDJ thinks of that motion. Bonus: Might take out a raver or two.
posted by Su at 3:41 PM on November 14, 2001


there are different ways to be creative in the dj booth, and i respect some more than others. in particular, i respect creativity in satisfying a personal aesthetic (what the dj likes) more so than creativity in satisfying a social aesthetic (what the crowd wants, and what the HPDJ ultimately aims for).

i don't mean to claim that computers cannot feel as humans do; i won't put anything past artificial intelligence. i simply think that the aim of the HPDJ is wrong-headed, but clearly its aim is one that is also shared by many DJs that spin today.

where the HPDJ might fail is in scratch DJing, infamously more difficult to manage than simple mixing. when do you scratch? what about a freestyle section during a dj set? when do you start, when do you stop? can you tell if the guy or girl rapping is pausing too much, or what you can do to compensate for them through scratching? again, these goals aren't impossible, but i think they're pretty difficult to achieve.
posted by moz at 3:53 PM on November 14, 2001

in particular, i respect creativity in satisfying a personal aesthetic (what the dj likes) more so than creativity in satisfying a social aesthetic (what the crowd wants

The history of art would surely suggest that there is room for both approaches?
posted by rushmc at 4:55 PM on November 14, 2001

What, so it locks into what pleases the crowd and spins the same type of material on and on? Give me a DJ with some personality.
posted by mmarcos at 5:03 PM on November 14, 2001

Even though he doesn't play much techno, I thought this'd be a great time to plug my favorite DJ, Z-Trip. His flavor is really old skool, so much so that the music he spins predates hip-hop. But it is. I can't explain it, just listen to it. And if you want to buy his CD, good luck because he only made 1000 copies (and I think I got the last one). Try Turntable Lab (scroll down).
posted by MarkO at 6:09 PM on November 14, 2001

Neal Stephenson wrote about a music-making technique very like this in his book The Diamond Age.
posted by poseur at 9:38 PM on November 14, 2001

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