Experiments in sound

Summer, 2002. Hello, Yamaha DJX II. What a bargain. I remember my amazement at the capacity that little slab of plastic had for making musical experimentation fun and easy, especially for someone like me, who still can’t actually play a keyboard properly. It was like an audio sketchpad, a patient and willing helper in my mission to make music without actually being able to play an instrument.

“Three Part Promenade” was the very first DJX experiment. Here’s the kit list-

  • DJX II
  • 4 Channel stereo mixer
  • Sony Walkman Minidisc player/recorder
  • Sony Hi Fi MD player/recorder
  • Stereo microphone on 4 foot broom stale (capturing real world samples)


First came the stereo mic mounted on a four foot length of broom-stale, followed by a Sony Mini Disc recorder. This primitive sampler was given a summer tour of Suffolk, and the captured sounds merged with random audio snippets from Freeview TV,

An hour’s wibbling around on the DJX eventually produced a carefully contrived backing track. Selected samples, ordered and cued on the Hi Fi Minidisc player, were controlled by the ‘pause’ button on the remote control.

Hi Fi and DJX outputs were mixed down to the MD Recorder as a single stereo channel through  a 4 track mixer

And finally, hit “Play” on the DJX and start dropping in samples, keyboard and pattern changes etc, completely off the cuff. The whole thing is captured on the portable MD.

Rinse and repeat with different backing tracks and samples.

For reasons unknown, Promenade fell into three unequal parts.

Promenade (i) : Ebb and Flow (5:47)

Additional samples and snippets from-

  • Amazonian forest sounds, charity shop CD
  • Film, “The Great Race”
  • Star Trek
  • The Simpsons
  • MD sample from Mannings amusement arcade on Felixstowe prom
  • Film, “Desolation Canyon”
  • MD samples of the sea from Felixstowe and Shingle Street
  • MD sample of Woodbridge restaurant chatter
  • MD sample of early morning birdsong in Ipswich

Promenade (ii) : The Bentwaters Way (4:09)

Additional samples and snippets from

  • Looped MD sample of early morning birdsong
  • “Three lives”. Two words sampled from a teatime news bulletin
  • Film, “The Great Race”
  • Star Trek samples under DJX one-shot and loop buttons
  • MD samples from a statement by Bentwaters UFO eyewitness, Deputy Base Commander Colonel Charles Halt
  • Unidentified film with lots of gunfire and the line, “Red squad, hold the line!”
  • MD sample from un-named documentary on the Rosewell UFO

Promenade (iii) :  A Beat Percussive (1:14)

Pattern shifting on the DJX mostly

Additional samples and snippets from-

  • Bentwaters UFO eyewitness, Deputy Base Commander Colonel Charles Halt
  • “Red squad, hold the line!”
  • MD sample of church bells from unknown film

Three Part Promenade (11:11 approx)

djx 2The crunchy rasp of shingle underfoot and the gentle wash of the North Sea flow around the unfolding news report of a snow machine race in Alaska.

Sea Shanty (3:06)