This week saw the closing of an online community that has nourished me over the years.
Then when I bought a computer and started playing with audio software, the remix competitions organised by members of the Forum introduced me to many techniques. For a number of months the stems that made a song would be uploaded and then later it'd be fascinating to hear how different producers had manipulated the material.
Over the years other projects developed as a result of posts on the Forum and many of the best were based on a simple creative constraint, much like the Disquiet Junto that I engage with each week.
The 64-bar Challenge was one of the better-known, which sets a length for a track with an agreed BPM. Results were even prepared by Ninja Tune luminary Keven Foakes, who now handles the DJ Food-moniker that was first an outlet for the Ninja Tune label's founders Coldcut.
(I've recently contributed a couple of tracks to a new Challenge and it was interesting for me as the BPMs chosen weren't those I normally use.)
The Seven-minute mixes were another good project, where the goal was to provide an overview of an artist or band within that time constraint. I enjoyed sharing Beck's breaks, some of Skunkhour and the INXS mix below.
Another project was Cut And Run, which involved a four-bar conribution with the first overlapping on the previous contributor and the last overlapping with the next. The result is brief but gives a taste of the different approaches.
And, finally, the Remix Chain. We're currently working through the fifth of these collaborative projects, where each person remixes the last in a Chinese whispers-style. The title Shinobi Cuts is a play on Ninja Tune but in recent years with conversed more on Facebook than the Forum, so I guess that shows one of the challenges to online communities in recent years.