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August 2000 Columns
xmag.com : August 2000 : Behind the Hype

Behind the Hype by DJ Anon

I'm a commercial radio personality in my late 20s who sold-out some time ago so I could do what I love--being behind the mic, spinning fresh music. And all the while coming to grips with the daily routine of corporate rock insanity.

Don't get me wrong; I love my job. Got a good contract with benefits, and I even like some of the music that I'm "forced" to play on a regular basis. With that, I'd like to invite you inside the studio and say 'welcome to my world.' I'm on what's known as the midday slot. So, after my requisite 4 cups of coffee before noon, I do my best to answer the deluge of email from kids that profess "ur so kewl, can I please hear more Limp Bizkit because it's the bomb"--usually in one huge run-on Grammar Teacher's nightmare of a sentence.

"Our transmitter lets out a groan and attempts to switch over to a backup in what must be a small outhouse, sweltering 115 degrees on the edge of hell."

Then there's the task of waking up one of the other DJs, found fast asleep out in the trailer where our own version of Survivor has been transpiring for the past week. [Someone thought it would be hip to make us DJs suffer together in a trailer for five days à la the hit show]. He'd been down for the count for a good 3 hours and wouldn't come-to, despite a good shaking, yelling and a swift spank on the ass. Meanwhile, our own version of the Survivor kids gave me vacant, exhausted and hungry stares. After 3 minutes of this, I realize my song's probably over and retreat, utterly defeated, back to my little room where I entertain the world.

At precisely 12:14, our transmitter goes down for the count, just like it does every Thursday for some insane reason. Now I'm propelled into the teeth grinding seconds of the "dead zone." There's a sea of static on our frequency as somewhere (in lower Slovenia?) our transmitter lets out a groan and attempts to switch over to a backup in what must be a small outhouse, sweltering 115 degrees on the edge of hell. The signal comes back, and the calls flood in from everyone in a 60 mile radius who is just trying to "help out" by telling me that our radio station's "broken or something!" The rest of the day, I'm tortured by the tantalizing view of the river, the clear skies and skin-tanning sun. Meanwhile I'm cursing the reality that playing anything older than '95 in CD player four invites miscues, mid-song drops and me looking like an idiot. But I still love my job.

One of the reasons for that is the music I get to taste. My current favorite is the release from BT entitled Movement in Still Life. BT (aka Brian Transeau) is a 29 year old classically trained musician from Maryland who's put together a brilliant collection of his work of the past 2 years. Of course, being the electronic music fanatic that I am, I'm horribly biased, but in a world that throws around the buzzword "Electronica" like it did "Grunge" back in the early '90s, people should pay attention to this one. Included on this CD is the current radio darling "Never Gonna Come Back Down," featuring M. Doughty from Soul Coughing on vocals. And there's the beat and sample heavy title track, "Movement in Still Life," complete with breakdancing, inspired scratching and samples from Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five. But my super favorite has to be cut number seven, "Godspeed," which is a lush and atmospheric trance track, complete with burning female vocals and a house-music-inspired "four on the floor" beat. A couple of the tracks have some rapping, which doesn't meld with my preferences, but at least it tends to play backdrop to the instrumentation. At a whopping 56 minutes, I get the impression that several tracks were omitted for this release. Maybe some B-sides in the future? Yum, Yum.

Well, my three minutes and fifty seconds is up. Gotta go front-sell the next song so you will buy it. Just remember, if you should see me at the grocery store, I didn't make the songs, I just play 'em. And, no, I don't remember meeting you about two years ago at such and such.




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