The Final Single Of The Year!

Currently at number 8 in the @traxsource #garage chart is “Slipped Away”, my final release of 2021. It’s a bouncy, piano infused vocal hooky #garagehouse banger that comes in a jingle bell infused festive version as well as non-festive for the underground heads. Initial DJ charts from Jackman Jones, Tony Fuel and Michael Pieterse lead the pack with more to come. You can grab the DJ downloads exclusively from Traxsource or hit your favourite streaming platform for the radio edit using this link – https://bit.ly/DJLSlippedAway

A Special End Of Year Message

Watch the video below to hear the instrumental version of the single and some closing words from Danny.

The 90s Tapes Volume Two

After the huge success of Volume One I’ve got another batch of my DAT tape remasters up on Traxsource this week, link here – https://www.traxsource.com/title/1698426/the-90s-tapes-volume-2 It’s been a real emotional journey for me to revisit these and I’m so glad to be able to share them with you. It’s a diverse range that takes in Garage, Garage House, UK Garage, Peaktime House and more.

If you want to hear them in context in a DJ mix I also did a livestream on YouTube the other evening and it was great to share the tracks with an audience in in realtime, thanks to all who attended. I’ll be scheduling some new livestreams in coming weeks.

Traxsource Garage EOY Analytics 2021

So it’s that time of year again where the mighty Traxsource creates end of year stats for its Artists and Labels. It’s a fascinating thing to explore visually as we scroll through our socials and there are some huge achievements – congrats to all. Now whilst scrolling my mind was building up a dataset and dashboard and I just had to put something together which is incredibly compelling to explore.

You can find the link here – https://datastudio.google.com/s/sOuE7vbmKh0

Methodology & Build

Considering all of this was publicly available I hand crawled the Garage Top 100 and pulled the stats from each artist using the web app front end. I did make exceptions however, where an artist is predominantly NOT garage I removed them to avoid skewing the figures and if an artist had no stats they were of course not included. The overall ranking was a simple summing of all metrics which felt fair – I saw no point in weighting each as they all contribute to the ‘success’ overall of the artist.

I grabbed the artist URLs and noted some other information – those who did not have bio and artist texts (room for improvement basically). This data was compiled into a spreadsheet and then ingested into a Google Data Studio project where the Dashoard was built.

What has been incredibly interesting here for me is the education of who is doing what. It has introduced me to new names I hadn’t been paying attention to and will do from now on – especially because I’m starting to do live-streaming DJ mixes and need fresh tracks! I imagine this is going to be very thought provoking and discussion will no doubt be interesting over on the Traxsource Garage Group – I’ll answer questions if anyone has them over there 😉

How do you say it? The great Garage Debate

Firstly, congrats to the entire Garage community, we have a new home! Traxsource in their wisdom have given us our dedicated top sales chart and associated complimentary assets – thank you!

Go take a look for yourself – https://www.traxsource.com/genre/29/garage/top

Group leader and talented producer Marc Cotterell quite rightly highlighted the diversity of sub genres that exist under this umbrella on the Facebook group’s header – see below

Traxsource Garage Facebook Group

So it confidently encompasses the following:

  • Garage
  • Garage House
  • US Garage
  • 2 Step
  • UKG

It’s a solid and sensibly mixed bunch that covers a variety of styles but there’s just one thing that needs clarification – how do you actually say Garage?

This young lady perhaps has the full lowdown:

The fact that the above video mentions class is interesting. Some people have told me in the past that they consider 4/4 Garage as ‘Council House’ but how does that make someone feel from that demographic? Appropriate? Insulting? I lived on a council estate for a few years and I pronounce it the ‘posh’ way so where does that leave us?!

Perhaps across the sub genres it is indeed pronounced differently. I was brought up on the US (Paradise) Garage and there’s no way the yanks said Paradise Garridge 🤣 That’s the reasoning behind my pronunciation – what’s yours?

What U Thinking?

So the big new music release is out today on Traxsource for DJs to download and all the streaming platforms for the music consumers out there.

Listen on Spotify

There’s something super catchy about this one so I’ve put together a colourful and lively video that’s up on both tiktok and Instagram in reel format to allow people to get creative and do whatever they want to do with it.

This is a new venture for me and an interesting step into a younger and more accessible market, should be really interesting to track the results. I’ll let you know how it goes.. if there are any interesting findings I’ll put them on the blog.

All the links here – https://dannyjlewis.lnk.to/jhqDwa0x

Enzyme Black – Anthology

Listen To The Article

Out now as a Bandcamp exclusive and coming to streaming on the 15th October is a brand new compilation of remastered Deep House tracks I made a decade or so ago under the pseudonym Enzyme Black. These tracks sound amazing and I’m super proud of them still, especially “Simple” where I did something I very very rarely do – sing. You can preview the tracks right now in the player below and if you’re feeling the vibe and want to spin the tracks in your DJ sets you can purchase the complete album in uncompressed format for a great price. Let me your your favourite jams in the comments 😉

Not my usual…

Now one of the big benefits of releasing music yourself is the fact that you have total freedom and it means you can put up songs or tracks that are a bit more obscure and left of centre compared to your usual output. I was listening to a couple this weekend that I created a while back and I thought I’d surface them again here so that people can experience them if they haven’t heard them before.

Mind 2 Mind / No Exit

There are two tracks particularly that really stuck out as really sounding different. Case in point – one track called “Mind 2 Mind” and the other called “No Exit”. These are not what you would usually associate with me sonically as one of them starts off with a break beat that evolves more into a slow, deep house kind of vibe which has sections where it gets pitch modulated, twists and goes out of tune, but it was definitely deliberate. And it’s funny because I’ll make tracks, and it all depends on my mood at the time what comes out so certainly there are things that I mage on occasions that are little bit different to my normal output.. So when I listened back to these two, it was almost like connecting with music that I hadn’t made, even though I had, so I heard them with fresh ears and that was really interesting – I was really glad to rediscover them.

“Mind 2 Mind” is the one that’s got the break beat and the other one “No Exit” is basically a really long drawn out piece of music that hardly changes over time, although there are subtle shifts in tone and energy. I put it on and I found it almost meditative – I almost fell asleep to this thing and that’s not because it was boring but because it really had that kind of mood to it and I was really pleased to rediscover this so it’s another one I recommend that you check out.

I’ve put links to both of these into the page so you can have a listen and of course, let me know what you think using the comment functionality on the blog so if you have some words to say please let me know – I’m very interested to hear.

Marvin Gaye Remix

Listen To The Article

Note: all rights remain with original label and publisher.

Not available to download – only streaming on YouTube. Rights holders can monetise.

So this is just a little housed-up re-interpretation of the classic but made with a ton of love. This song resonates more than ever now and those vocals sound incredible thanks to a unique audio processing chain that’s detailed below.

Production Notes

Keys

Beautiful warm chords courtesy of the wonderful Korg Triton plugin and the Studio Stage EP preset. This needed a bit more movement so I inserted Ableton Live’s Autopan device.

Vocal Chain

A comprehensive series of plugins enabled the vocal treatment to happen. The accapella I found online was super noisy and needed a ton of work. Take a look at the condensed Ableton Live effects rack below:

A staggering combination of 3 separate De-Essers was part of the process. Overkill? possibly, but each brought it’s own thing to the table. Let’s look at the effects in series..

Ableton EQ 8

This was used to reduce rumble in the low end and pull back some harshness in the highs and at around 1kHz.

Izotope RX7 Voice De-Noise

This literally took the hiss out of the performance. Some may say that the original had character with this but the original had a lot of instrumentation and was recorded in the same era. My version was super clean in comparison so I needed to get the vocal sitting better and de-noising was important.

Ableton Gate

This was set to reduce the space between phrases – almost dipping the reverb back. It also added another layer of noise taming.

Izotope Nektar 3

This was the first de-esser in the chain. The original vocal’s character was too sibilant for my production so I eased things back using this. Buy the plugin here – https://bit.ly/BuyNectar

Eiosis De-esser

Another one! Yep, maybe I didn’t set the previous one right but I felt I needed more! The Eiosis is a great plugin available in the Slate Digital All Access Pass.

Virtual Mix Rack

Here I took the fantastic ‘Pro Vocal’ preset and tweaked it. The combination of LA2 and 1176 compression really brought things into line with the new backing.

Softube Tape Echoes

I love this plugin and here it’s placed in series and automated in places to create a saturated dub delay to bridge elements in the arrangement. I’ve tried a lot of tape delay plugins and this one is the don – you can buy it here – https://bit.ly/BuyTapeEchoes

IK Multimedia TR5 De-esser

The third and final de-esser came from IK Multimedia thanks to my recent participation in the 25 year anniversary group buy!

TR5 Master EQ 432

What with that trinity of de-essing plugins prior I felt I needed to bring a little more hi-frequency energy back so this amazing mastering grade EQ from IK Multimedia worked a treat with a +5dB boost at 10kHz.

The 90s Tapes

Out this week on Traxsource and streaming is a collection of 15 tracks that I made way back in the 90s, some that were released on small independent labels and some that have never been heard in full. I was in my early to mid-twenties when I made these, wide eyed, naive and totally inexperienced. I had no idea about parametric EQ, only having a bass and treble control on my first mixer. I had awful monitoring, flabby second-hand hifi speakers and zero understanding of compression. These tracks were all sequenced using an Atari ST running Cubase on a monochrome monitor connected to a handful of hardware MIDI devices – initially a Roland W30 sampler but later on upgrading to a S770, complete with mouse and CRT monitor for editing. I had a Yamaha TG500 for electric and acoustic pianos, strings, brass, synths etc – that was pretty much the musical workhorse and you can hear it all over the tracks on the album. A couple of cheap Art FX units from Turnkey (fond memories of that place!) were my only choices for reverb or delay.

On reflection right now the paragraph above is so interesting. We live in a world where there is so much choice, so many options when it comes to making music. Instead of 2 FX units I have unlimited amounts, I know how to use compression, how to EQ, how to mix and master. Does it really make a difference? Honestly, some of these tracks sound better for the lack of it. Perhaps it was the energy of youth, the innocence and the ambition that created this. Sadly though I had zero confidence in my own ability in those days. I listen back to these and think they are fantastic. Yes they needed a bit of work on the mastering side for release and some needed new elements to make them work better for DJs (I had a habit of making tracks not so back in those days) but they are a fantastic body of work that my 50 something self can say humbly.

You can grab them now on Traxsource pre-order and then the full release is available on multiple platforms from the 10th September.

https://www.traxsource.com/title/1659667/the-90s-tapes

You can also watch the videos where I rediscovered the tapes a few years back (it’s taken me a long time to commit to putting them out!)