If history is any indication, we're about three months away from FUSE TV announcing the new program: "So You Think You Can DJ?" Skrillex is the most popular DJ in the Western hemisphere right now, and Pauly D from "Jersey Store" has taken to putting a "DJ" in front of his name for club gigs.
Two electronic tools have helped to accelerate the rise in DJ culture. The first is Serato, a kind of steroids for DJs which bridges turntables and digital music files -- the sort of thing that allows YMCA basketball warriors to be on an even playing field with the pros. It's like getting to dunk on a trampoline. Then there is its relative, Ableton Live, a software program that allows electronic musicians to play live with more ease than ever before.
Consider the testimony of Thavius Beck, one of the progenitors of the L.A. beat scene aesthetic, who's hosting a free tutorial of Ableton Live on Sunday night at the Downtown Independent. Following the two-hour lecture, there will be performances from Celectrixx ( N'Dea Davenport and Katsuya), Chapman University professor/composer/producer Steve Nalepa and "12-year-old beat prodigy" Subjection.
In advance of the event, Beck is premiering "Terror Byte," a swirling haze of grape smoke synths and snapping drums, one with its own singular swing. It's a complicated piece of music but fluid and futuristic, switching into 8-bit symphony without seeming stale. This is the kind of thing that you can't teach.
-- Jeff Weiss