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    Coachella Junkie chiapet's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    Seattle area

    Default Max Cooper Obsession Thread

    So... for the past 6 months or so, I've been obsessed with this guy. He makes EDM that cannot easily be labeled, pulling from multiple electronic music genres as well as modern classical for his influences. What I can say about his music is that it is something you FEEL, not just hear... it is emotional, visceral,... and at the same time it sounds more, well, intellectual, than most music being produced today. (The dude's apparently incredibly smart -- he has a PhD in computational biology and worked as a genetics researcher until his music career started to take off). Many of his tracks are also so damned melodic that I feel they appeal to a wider audience - for example a lot of friends who feel techno is (in general) bland and repetitive are pretty taken with Max's work.

    He acknowledges he is not a musician in the classical sense, but takes a very scientific approach to creating music.
    I’m no pianist or trained musician; I make all my music pretty much with just a computer and speakers….literally nothing else for most of it. It’s some sort of fiddly trial and error system I’m working with, no graceful expression of new ideas here. That’s the thing I love about modern production technology, it allows you to form your own way of getting internal ideas out into musical form without having to take any formal training. The only thing you need is a sense of whether any given change is better or worse, you could literally make good music on that basis alone with no other knowledge, if you were willing to randomly change settings in your production software long enough to reach a good solution. It’s exactly the same as the evolutionary simulations I used to run for my research, and how nature is able to create such amazing complex, efficient and beautiful machines without any knowledge of its action. It takes a long time though, so it’s helpful to know what you’re doing a bit if you want to make more than one killer tune every million years or so.
    In some ways I think it could be useful not to be trained in music theory, as it means there are no preconceptions about how to construct a chord progression. It's easier to focus on matching the emotions in the head with the emotions that you want to come out of the monitors.
    I've been lucky enough to see his live show twice - nights within the same weekend which held significantly different set lists / moods (he claims to go into no show with a completely pre-defined plan, and just pulls from and reworks the 100+ tracks in his catalogue as he feels out what the crowd in each particular city and venue responds to). Both shows were superb... the first show I went to was, without a doubt, one of the best EDM sets I've ever experienced. While he's been DJ'ing for over a decade (having gotten his start as a turntablist), he only began creating original material about 5 years ago. While his star is rising in Europe, he's still very unknown in the US and has only played a few shows state-side (decibel festival in September and is currently on a mini-tour with a few shows in the US and Canada). It's a crime this guy isn't getting booked for more widespread tours in America.

    To top it off, he seems to be just... such a nice and normal guy who is thrilled that people are interested in the music he's making.

    Here are a couple of my favorite original tracks of his:

    He also is quite talented as a remixer:

    And if you enjoyed the above, here are some longer selections... I feel the latter captures some of the essence of his live show.

    His Resident Advisor Mix from last year:
    The mix is a balance of contrast against continuity. I think that contrast can make any musical message more powerful. Like if everything is really beautiful and soft and quiet and then some nasty drill and bass drops its brutality will have more impact than it would in the context of a full set of noisy mania. Then there are contrasts of melody versus atonality, glitch versus simplicity, old versus new etc. But a whole set like this is going to have zero flow and wouldn't really work well in most clubs, and I wanted to make something representative of what I play out too. So the result is this amalgamation of genres which I'm in to, which I hope holds together in some sort of reasonable way. There's a fair few exclusives in there too, which won't have been heard anywhere else yet.

    Live set (Loom):

    Great mix of Max's with a sampling of some of his own tracks and remixes:

    Please add your favorite mixes, remixes, tracks ... of Max's.
    Last edited by chiapet; 01-16-2012 at 04:20 PM.

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