Today I got an email inviting me to Beatport's new streaming service. Sign me up! I love to stream electronic music!

(By the way, the 'old' Beatport - the mp3 shop - is now known as Beatport Pro.)

Overall, it's pretty great. I'll be using this a lot when I want to listen to curated lists of current, popular dance music. Beatport has a pretty enviable catalogue. Sadly, Cartoon Beats is not on there - yet! - in the meantime here's some stuff involving Haszari and check out our buddies at Newclear Music and Muzikozi.

This experience is a huge improvement on crate-digging via short mp3 snippets!

Beatport Screenshot

Good Things

There are lots of curated playlists for genres, big sellers, new releases, etc. I listened to Deep House Essentials and then Sounds of the Underground which both were great as working background music, and had the occasional gem too. Genre-wise they were actually pretty similar (broadly deep & somewhat techy house), which I found curious.

I like the look and design of the site - it's clean and uncluttered. There's reasonably deep info there too: for example, heart/play counts, and metadata such as key and BPM. When you're looking at a track or release, you get recommendations for other tunes.

As a streaming music player it's pretty good and flexible - you can skip around in songs (by visiting the page for the track), as well as hit next when something horrible comes on. The sound quality seemed pretty fine too (note I am not any kind of audiophile!).

Wish List

While it's a good simple service, there are some things that would make it amazing (in my opinion).

  1. A radio / discover mode. This is the biggest gap for me. I'd like to tell it to keep playing, and have it play stuff based on its related/recommendations data. I don't care if the algorithm's dumb, I just want it to keep playing. (Of course they can improve the algorithm over time!)
  2. Play queue management e.g. "add to up next". It's really basic right now - when you hit play on a list or a track, it wipes out whatever is queued. I'd like to add lots of things from lots of places to my playlist, and then play that on shuffle (and then play related stuff when it runs out).
  3. Shuffle/random playback. Surely this is essential!
  4. Play history.

It'll be interesting to see how the service develops, and how it impacts on the other players in the market (e.g. Spotify, iTunes Radio, Red Bull Music Academy Radio, etc). Nice pivot, Beatport.

Tricky has a new album out. No one does breathy, atmospheric, post-trip-hop quite like Tricky (or even approaching the way he does it?).

What's really cool is he's dropped another cover. I may not be fully up with this running gag of homages (hard H thanks) to great songs (can someone tell me if there is one on Pre-Millenium Tension...?), but there is a great rock cover of Black Steel on Maxinquaye. The original Black Steel (+ "In The Hour Of Chaos"), as far as I know, (once again: "prove me wrong, kids, prove me wrong") is by none other than Public Enemy. So it was more of a political/conscious hard-hitting rap track, made over into a sung (of course by Martina), melodic punk track. Nice cover!

So, on the Knowle West Boy, the cover is of one of my favourite pop artists (possibly my number one? the mp3 stats indicate she's well up there), Kylie (Minogue).

The track is a great one, off the Fever album, which was of course a corker when it comes to electronic-pop music: Slow. This is right up Tricky's alley, breathy, atmospheric, sweaty. Of course Martina does most of the vocal but true to form Tricky's there muttering and whispering, breathing down her neck. Great new realisation of a good song. Also nice cover!

Come to think of it, I think the whole (genre) of dubstep owes something to Tricky. I'd wager he was putting out breathy and gutteral and hummy music before Burial was a teenager (?).
I heard the King Unique remix of Gabriel & Dresden's "Tracking Treasure Down" on the weekend while helping out with our local house music radio show, Energy Flash on Radio 1.

My reaction was: the original was a great crossover clubby trance pop song, with a very pop/song structure, and King Unique succeeded in using the vocal over a much more constant/monotonous (i.e. the chord changes are not there) electro track.

Which is fine and all, obviously that's more relevant, and that's what I tend to be into a lot of the time, but for me it had the effect of making the vocal fairly irrelevant.

If you want to hear the King Unique remix, listen to the energyflash podcast. If you want to hear the original, get in a time machine and go back to last year and listen to Pete Tong's Essential Selection thru early/mid 2006.