Your Favorite [Cassette] DJ Savior
March 20, 2008 2:08 PM   Subscribe

Dual cassette deck DJ. DJ Ramsey of Scottsdale, Arizona does with cassettes what DJ's have done for decades with vinyl records, CDs and mp3s.
posted by basicchannel (19 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
DJ "Ruthless Ramsey" Higgins.
posted by puke & cry at 2:18 PM on March 20, 2008

That is just wicked cool.
posted by uncleozzy at 2:20 PM on March 20, 2008

There's another video on there, btw.
posted by puke & cry at 2:20 PM on March 20, 2008

Strange skill set to develop...kind of like someone who can bust a move with Palm Graffiti or something.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:31 PM on March 20, 2008

That's at least 8 kinds of awesome.
posted by ninjew at 2:41 PM on March 20, 2008

Cool, but not all that impressive as a DJ. Making those scratching noises is ridiculously easy with the right sources/samples. The beatmatching is spotty, at best, and he relies on the old "use the same tracks in both decks so you don't have to pitchbend" trick.

You can do the same thing with turntables. Just drop two identical records on the decks, zero out the pitch control, place the needles wherever and pingpong the crossfader. Hey, look! New breakbeats!

However, I learned to DJ with cassettes and reel-to-reel tapes. My first experiences with tempo-matching beats was with portable cassette-recorders or reel-to-reel decks with pitch control wheels. What he's doing takes some skill, but 90% of what he's doing is what I call a bad case of "fancy elbow". It's a lot of flashy, distracting movements.

Now I do all of that with WAV and MP3 files I can't even actually see or touch. No, doing good software DJing isn't easier - it's harder. I do it because it's more flexible, it has more options for creative control, and I get to carry ALL of my music to any gigs. (See my profile for a link to a free download of a live mix set.)
posted by loquacious at 2:59 PM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]

Brings back memories of the 2003 Cassette Jockey championship at Camp Gay, in Chicago. Quite possibly the hippist event I will ever attend in my life.
posted by Squid Voltaire at 3:05 PM on March 20, 2008

Longtime Kansas City musician, horn sculpturist, and instrument inventor Mark Southerland (TJ Dovebelly, Malachy Papers, Eugene Chadbourne, Snuff Jazz) does scratching with some old 8-track players, although I've never seen him beat juggle with them.

Also, I remember Mix Master Mike saying that's how he started DJing because he couldn't afford turntables. I think it was in Scratch.
posted by sleepy pete at 3:21 PM on March 20, 2008

Loquacious, yeah, I was about to say that at least two friends of mine learned to dj with tape decks that had pitch control... the funniest set I ever saw was dj'ed entirely on two fisher-price players and the guy was using two 45's.

It's still nice to see that some people will do anything to play music, technology notwithstanding.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 4:00 PM on March 20, 2008

Put a smile on my face like Ultra Brite.
posted by everichon at 6:29 PM on March 20, 2008

I've heard a tape jockey once, but I didn't get to watch how he did it. Thanks for posting this.
posted by basilwhite at 6:32 PM on March 20, 2008

Congratulations, you produced a crabby fucking scratch with a tape deck.
posted by rxrfrx at 6:59 PM on March 20, 2008

Now I do all of that with WAV and MP3 files I can't even actually see or touch. No, doing good software DJing isn't easier - it's harder.

Agree with that. I found dj'ing turntables so much easier than cds because they have a concrete feel, like playing a drum or another instrument. Digital manipulation can be much more unpredictable.
posted by mannequito at 7:05 PM on March 20, 2008

Oh, and Loquacious: the "old trick" you are referring to is the very first DJ skill ever developed, looping the "get down part" a/k/a breakbeat. It's not some way of avoiding beatmatching between different songs.
posted by rxrfrx at 7:06 PM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

First vinyl, now cassette tapes. Next thing you'll want to tell me that DJs are using cds... or even digital music files.
posted by jeffmik at 7:07 PM on March 20, 2008

rxrfrx, that's incredibly debatable. Djs that played Disco records in clubs would beat match different records and crossfade. That's pre-hip hop innovation of playing breakbeat back to back with breakbeat to continue a groove for a rapper to spit over.
posted by geekhorde at 8:19 PM on March 20, 2008

Oh and loquacious, that's a great mix. What did you use? Ableton? Traktor?
posted by geekhorde at 8:52 PM on March 20, 2008

That's Traktor vs. vinyl in a free-for-all 2x4 set. D.syn is carrying a lot of weight in that mix, because he owns way too much good vinyl and it's hard for me to keep up or not otherwise just be outright schooled, but it worked well.
posted by loquacious at 9:22 PM on March 20, 2008

There was a russian dj that did this a few years ago, here's an up-close view of one of his decks.
posted by o0o0o at 10:24 PM on March 20, 2008

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