Syncopate To Generate by Carsten Jensen

It was love at first sight when Carsten Jensen bumped into electronic music in 1991. The interest and passion towards house, techno and all that in between grew and grew, which was why he decided to dish it out as a DJ in 2002. Carsten have been playing all over Copenhagen ever since at places like Culture Box, Dunkel, Ritz and K18. He had a regular clubnight at K18 together with Waqar, before it eventually got shut down. Carsten is a guy who loves playing tracks you probably haven’t heard before, but you’ll love the tracks when you hear him playing them. He is a feinschmecker when it comes to picking out those fine minimal tracks. This time Carsten is giving us a two hour travel through the minimal genre. It has been long journey, but here it is.

Being a part of the Copenhagen clubscene for nearly a decade dj’ing and promoting, things has been quiet from your side lately. What have you been up to?


Since I stopped doing parties in Copenhagen I’ve been able to spend more time on producing music which is what I’ve been doing for the last 18-24 months. Unfortunately that’s reflected on the amount of bookings lately. I’d love to play more, but the way scene currently works locally you have be a promoter first and foremost – do parties – and I just don’t have the time and energy to promote. I’m not bitter about it. It’s just how it is when the scene is so small and not exactly overcrowded with people in the know. People need to be dragged out and I can’t be bothered to make the effort.
But as before mentioned I produce now. It now finally seems be paying off after 2 years looking for my own sound and I feel confident I’ll release something decent in 2011. Hopefully that’ll pave the way for some proper bookings. We’ll see.

Knowning that you often play tunes we normally never hear other dj’s play. Can you tell us a little about how much time you are putting into finding new tracks? Is there a specific thing a track needs to have to catch your ear?


Too much time I guess. I haven’t really kept count but it depending on how busy I am I think spend between 10-20 hours pr. week diggin’ through the virtuel record crates of the internet. I check Hardwax and Rushhour once a week. Decks.de every weekday more or less and if I got time for it I have a look at what Boomkat has to offer. And that’s just the weekly news. Then there is the time I spend on the messageboards IDing and chasing IDs. I guess I listen to previews of tracks that amounts to in between 500-1000 tracks pr. week.
It is hard to define what a track needs to get my attention. After searching for records for quite a few years now I’ve refined my ways of finding those special ones and avoiding all the crap. First and foremost a great track has to have something that stuns you in one way or another. It can something about the idea or maybe how it’s produced. I usually get that special feeling within listening 5 seconds to a track when I’ve struck gold. It’s instinct on that part.
Then there is my filters. What I call a filter is basically what I won’t allow in a track simply just because I hate it or find it stupid. It’s really about what my philosophy is regarding what I want to offer to the listener. Or do not want to offer. For instance tracks that has white noise build ups will never be played by me. It’s musical rape imo. Another filter I have is about hihats. I just find it mindnumbing if a producer can’t put in the effort to program a hihat that is no more than linear across the whole track. If it is too simple and if linear then it doesn’t really bring anything more than pace to the track. Even worse it takes up room/space for other sounds and instruments to breathe. It’s hard to explain in words what I regard good and bad in that sense. I also have filters about certain kick drums, basslines and a lot of things. A whole variety in fact. I’m also listening to see if the instruments connect with each other. It’s usually a rookie producer mistake to play an instrument that sounds out of touch with the rest. And then there is the buying process. I rarely buy something instantly. Tracks I like go on the wishlist or a similar function (I’ll only buy instantly if it’s a limited record that I suspect will sell out quickly) because ones mood reflect hugely on what you like on a certain day. For instance if your mood is aggressive the day you are buying that will reflect on what ends up in the basket. One week later listening to the same record you’ll go ”what the hell was I thinking”. After a month of shortlisting the best records I’ll then narrow it down to buy only the 10 best. At that point I’ve probably listened to the shortlisted previews at least 15-20 times during that month. In the end it’s a lot effort to put in but it’s just so damn rewarding when you find that little piece of magic.

Can you tell us a about your mix for Smackcast. What thoughts have you made around the track selection?


Hmm where to start… One thing was the atmosphere or feel of the mix. The best records doesn’t always make the best mix so I had to make some hard choices and leave out some favourites simply because they just wouldn’t fit the mix. For example I had to leave out my favourite Derrick Carter record; It was just to happy and bouncy compared to what I was trying to achieve. Then there is the actual order of the records. I made decisions on BPM vs the tempo of certain records when I considered how early or late one should be placed. Furthermore it was a bit of a puzzle to connect the dots between the genres so a natural flow was achieved: Breaks, minimal, techhouse, techno, old school house, experimental, ambient, post-dubstep and drum’n’bass. All within 2 hours – it wasn’t that easy especially since I felt like using 4 hours to to tell the story. In general what I’m aiming for is for the mix to be relatively quiet in the first part followed by more intensity in the next. It like it when it gradually builds up. The last 20 minutes it’s the emotional/epic end of the night type of records. It is just the type of stuff I like to hear at the end of a proper rave. It’s when ravers know it’s the last chance to hug it out one last time with the stranger next to them they’ll never see again. Ohh.. I forgot. The introduction of the mix. I just love finding that little quirky funny spastic whatever thing that becomes the start of the mix. It’s something I picked up on listening to Sasha & Digweed in late nineties. I sort of stole their signature. In the end it was all about presenting quality music and pushing the envelope. Something that hopefully could inspire listeners, clubgoers and DJs to strive for more.


Tracklist


Secret. Contact Carsten Jensen for specific track ID's at his facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/carstenjensen

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