Modular synths, vintage boxes and plug ins are maybe streaming the spotlight, but sampling has returned big time – this time as more that a nostalgic tint over shit de jour beats. 

The new tools point in the same direction – the logic updates new focus on sampling and mimicking of Ableton, the new SP2400 and MPCs.

 On the other hand we have lawyers  and labels all over the charts suing even recreations and interpolations of old music, and as usual the original artists on both sides are the loosers.

But sample chopping is still an essential tool for modern music production, even if it’s not legal. Producers are still searching for “open breaks” or intros to reedit. 

The Kanye West-class producers still pay obscene amounts for big hit samples and flash them like sports cars, but a lot of producers gave up and now use presets, precleared libraries or their own recordings or twist the original sample beyond recognition – or pay services like tracklib for cleared old records to recontextualise. They even got Isaac Hayes stems now. 

But every samplists wet dream is still to extract stems  from a master recording: instant accapellas, baselines and drums on separate tracks for endless new creative mutation. 

We all dream of a new vertical split tool – like propellerheads recycle  software revolutionized horisontal choosing and loop control revolutionized music and taking jungle and hip hop into a post timestrech territory.

Cue to good old Algorithm – makers of the first streaming based dj software: they tap into this dream by releasing Neural mix pro – a easy to use REALTIME audio extractor – you are supposed to make 3 separate stems from any master: drums, harmonics, vocal… Nice and easy – except it sounds nasal, harsh and the tracks bleed over. I loved the idea, but was disappointed. 

Its a nice idea, but should be a free beta – or a plug-in effect for algorithms nice DJ pro line for Mac, or a vet for DAWs. Its a weird move with a program that can’t make music or DJ, just extract.

So back to the lab, dear Algorithm – and take note Ableton, Apple, Akai etc…this is the game-changing feature people want – if it can be made to sound good and are easy to use.

My quest for stem extraction will continue – il test the new RX8, Melodyne and Hit’n’mix Infinity soon.

Techno: my early years