Recently there’s been a lot of talk (including from me!) about the score to a recent 80s-throwback horror show on a popular streaming platform. While I do love attention being paid to cool, darkly moody synth music, I do want to point out that there is a ton of cool, darkly moody synth music already out in the world.

To that end, I give you: unsettled.

To capture the mood I was going for, I tried to stick to a few criteria. I looked for prominent, dark synths, often arpeggiated. I tried, for the most part, to avoid other instruments (especially drums, though some do appear here) and vocals. Reverb always helps, too — in fact, I cheated a bit and drenched one of the drier tunes in reverb myself.

Don’t worry, though — after all that dread, I did allow the last tune to be a little uplifting, so you’ll be able to continue on with your day, a little unscathed.

So, enjoy. Tracklist below.

  • Disasterpeace, “It Follows: Title” (2015)
  • Walls/Oram, “Extremely Long Corridor” (196X?/2014)
  • Daft Punk, “Armory” (2010)
  • John Carpenter, “Wrong Flavour” (1976)
  • Johnathan Snipes & William Hutson, “Universal Weak Male” (2013)
  • Laurel Halo, “Carcass” (2012)
  • YOU, “Zone Black” (1983)
  • Makeup and Vanity Set, “The Faceless Man” (2011)
  • Majeure, “Termination Shock” (2014)
  • Aperture Science Psychoacoustics Laboratory, “TEST” (2011)
  • Skinny Puppy, “Love” (1986)
  • Harper / Russe / St. George, “Nightwalker” (1972)
  • AFX, “‎ssnb” (1994?)
  • µ-Ziq, “Sleep” (1991)
  • (d), “Trust” (2014)
  • Delia Gonzalez & Gavin Russom, “Black Spring” (2005)
  • X-TG, “E.H.s.” (2012)
  • Ricardo Donoso, “Klatu” (2014)
  • OK Ikumi, “Slope” (2012)
  • Nathaniel Ritter, “Tleilaxu Metaphors” (2012)
  • Chroma Key, “Come In, Over” (2004)

logo by Max Huffman. he rules.

I’ll be creating things more consistently in 2015, and hopefully that will include a podcast. The details aren’t ironed out yet, but I think it’ll be a talk format, with one to two other, perhaps rotating guests. In preparation for this, I’ve been listening back to the previous podcast, called We Are Not Delicious. It was a talk format, nothing groundbreaking, but it was fun to do. I’m finding it surprisingly entertaining, and I’m not just saying that so you’ll check it out.

We stopped mainly because it just sorta fizzled out. We were both quite busy, and the weekly show’s production (recording and post-production) took about three to four of my evenings a week. This, combined with a lot of technical challenges (both with hardware and Skype, as my co-host was in Arlington), made for something that was ultimately unsustainable.

In revisiting the podcast, I noticed that the RSS feed wasn’t working correctly, and a few quick attempts to fix it were unsuccessful. So, for those of you who may want to check it out, here are all the episodes (and extra bits), along with links to the show notes.

Feel free to comment below, if you are so moved.

This is a five minute minimix, a bit like the ones on Annie Mac’s BBC show. It’s short, but there’s a lot packed in there. You can download from the soundcloud widget, or click here.

01) Graham Philip d’Ancey – Sacred Dance
02) Sheila Chandra – Strange Minaret
03) Moon Boots – Aretha (Zimmer remix)
04) The System – You Are in My System
05) Cut Copy – Sun God (Andrew Weatherall Arp version)
06) Fan Death – Veronica’s Veil
07) René & Angela – Save Your Love (for #1) (feat. Kurtis Blow) (12″ version)
08) Thompson Twins – Love on Your Side (No Talkin’) (12″ version)
09) Liaisons Dangereuses – Los niños del parque
10) The Who – Eminence Front (The Love Supreme edit)
11) schädel [untitled] (rpm 04) Something Like a Hajj (demo)
12) Genius of Time – Houston We Have a Problem
13) Zodiac – Pacific (original mix)
14) Baron von Luxxury – That Disco Beat
15) DAF – Brothers
16) Ellie Herring – Hunter’s Dreamboat (schädel remix)
17) The Black Madonna – Exodus

detrimentalist stretched cover

download: Venetian Snares, “Gentleman (1/4 Speed mix)”
17 aug 2010

Today everyone’s been passing around the 8x slowed down Justin Bieber track. It’s pretty sweet, and though I’ve been playing around with slowed samples for quite a while, I never had an app that worked as well as PaulStretch.

After listening to the Bieber track, I thought I’d see what Venetian Snares sounds like at 1/4 speed. It’s not as slow, ratio-wise, as the Bieber thing, but I wanted the result to still have a beat.

If you’d like to hear the original version of “Gentleman“, here you go:

download: DJ Empirical, “Don’t Aleja-Round (Ace of Base vs. Lady Gaga)”
27 jun 2010

When I first heard Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro”, I thought the similarities to Ace of Base’s classic “Don’t Turn Around” were striking. I dug up the Gaga instrumental easily, but the Ace of Base a capella was tougher to find. In the end, I had to use the 2009 version, which has a slightly different vocal rhythm — not exactly what I wanted, but I think it works.

I upped this onto youtube when I made it, but I’m just now (Nov ’10) uploading it here for download.

download: DJ Empirical, “Nous Nous Appelons Disco”
11 mar 2010

This is a mix I made to promote my monthly disco night, Nous Nous Appelons Disco. It’s 80 minutes of stuff I play at my night, meaning Disco (of any kind, but especially space/leftfield/nu-disco), Italo, High NRG, and even some proto-House — basically anything even vaguely related!

The tempo of this mix ramps up from a beginning-of-the-night 109 to a frantic 133 near the end, to mimic the usual pace of the Nous Nous Appelons Disco nights.

If you dig the stuff in this mix, come out on Friday!

Here’s the track list:

Z – Silver Lady Disco (Nous Nous Appelons Disco edit)
Hipnosis – Windland
Glass Candy – The Chameleon (Johan Agebjörn remix)
Gaznevada – I.C. Love Affair
Happy Mondays – WFL (Vince Clarke mix) (Autodisco‘s “We Love Mondays” edit)
Pink FloydKeep Talking (Nelue re-edit)
Västkustska Ryggdunkarsällskapet – Vansbro Boogie
Beatconductor – Funky Boogie
Colonel Abrams – Trapped
Ilya Santana – Discotized
Soft Rocks – Leave Your Earth Behind
Majeure – Teleforce (with samples from Steve Dahl and his disco demolition)
RAF Self Control (Trustus‘ Deeply Existential remix)
Cecile & Venice – Rimmel
Electric Minds – Pick Me Up (Casual Touch mix)
Sisters of Transistors – The Don
Trilogy – Not Love (instrumental)
Change – Angel in My Pocket
Ottawan – D.I.S.C.O.
Munich Machine – Space Warrior (DJ Empirical edit)
Giorgio Moroder – From Here to Eternity
Space – Magic Fly
Divine – You Think You’re a Man (Disco Beard‘s Big One edit)
Sylvester – Do Ya Wanna Funk
Zombi – Sapphire
Visage – The Damned Don’t Cry
Greg Vandike – Clone
A. Hobson – Perpetuum
Sylvia Love – Instant Love
The Flirts – Danger (Macho mix)
Kano – I’m Ready
Tantra Hills of Katmandu (Patrick Cowley mix)
Gil Mantera’s Party Dream – Eyes of Blue (DJ Empirical edit)

artwork for DJ Empirical, "Party Like It's Before 1990"

download: DJ Empirical, “Party Like It’s Before 1990”
14 feb 2010

This is my debut release on AERO, the longform mix release sublabel of Race Car Productions. For this one, I’ll let them speak for me:

DJ Empirical
Party Like It’s Before 1990
released: 2010-02
catolog #: AERO 013
Stephen Boyd is a fascinating character. As DJ Empirical he employs his knack for obscure music collecting and correlating seemingly unrelated tracks just perfectly. Here we find him behind the wheels of a Delorean going back to where it all began.

To add to that, basically I felt like early techno and electro (as well as acid) was not something I was as familiar with as I should be. I figured that doing a set of those tunes would force the research I needed to close that gap a bit.



Model 500 – Sound of Stereo (instrumental) [1987, Metroplex]
Hithouse – Jack to the Sound of the Underground [1988, CBS]
Rhythim Is Rhythim – It Is What It Is (Majestic mix) [1988, Transmat]
Armando – World Unknown (My Mixx Is Dunn) [1988, Warehouse]
Phresh Phantasy – Come on Acid [supposedly 1988, released 2005, Logistic]
Phuture – Acid Tracks [1987, Trax]
Virgo Four – In a Vision (808 State edit) [1987, Trax, edit 2008, Harmless]
Amnesia – Ibiza (Loco Acid remix) [1988, Indisc]
Jack Frost & The Circle Jerks – Shout (Ashley Beedle edit) [1987, FLEX, edit 2008, Harmless]
Cybotron – R-9 [1985, Fantasy]
Juan – Techno Music [1988, Ten]
A Tongue & D Groove – Feel Surreal [1988, Ten]
Adonis – No Way Back (Greg Wilson edit) [1986, Trax, edit 2008, Harmless]
Model 500 – What’s the Game [1988, Metroplex]
Rational Youth – Dancing on the Berlin Wall [1982, Yul]
Channel One – Technicolor (long mix) [1986, Metroplex]
Mike Dunn – So Let It Be Houze! [1988, Westbrook]
Forgemasters – Track With No Name [1989, Warp]

download: DJ Empirical, “Ideomotor”
dec 2009

This is my half-hour mix from the December 2009 Pris promo double cd of mixes entitled Basic Pleasure Model. (Get it? 🙂 )

We only made about 50 of the cds, so I thought I should share it here.


Basement Jaxx – Raindrops (Joker & Ginz remix)
Boxcutter – Sidetrak
José James – Blackmagic (Untold remix)
Fault – Don’t Dread on Me
Blasta – Your Dub Delay
MIDIval PunditZ – Atomizer (Nucleya remix)
Rusko – How Low (feat. Chali2na)
Eskmo – I Dream I’m Flying
Annie – My Love Is Better (Sukh Knight remix)
Ultrablack – Dirty Dirty
Tom Encore – Jig
Miss Platnum – She Moved In