Any good musician will tell you that to truly get your timing tight, you need to sit down with a metronome for at least one hour per day. No amount of live performance or “jamming” will replace training against the clock. The same is true certainly true in controllerism, especially if your aim is to get really tight cue point juggling or button mashing. I can almost hear the groans all the way across the world now, “uhhh a metronome? what is this 1686?” Yeah, metronomes can get a little boring so I frequently employ the next best thing: Guitar Hero! Guitar hero trains the left hand, improves button timing and tracks your performance in a much more exciting way than a metronome. Plus- they have some pretty cool songs that some how never seem to get old.
More than meets the eye?
Many of you may loathe Guitar Hero, and possibly even guitars in general so perhaps “Dj Hero” might be the perfect practice right for controllerists? The “Scratch” controller from Numark (shown above) is reversible so you can easily train both hands to get out of this world timing. Your probably know that several of the big software makers out there like Ableton, and now even Traktor offer a quantize function that can iron out your beat jump mistakes. We really don’t recommend you use them however, as its the mistakes that make music unique and those small variations in timing that can really make a groove bump. In addition, Traktor’s quantize function only snaps to a 1/4 note making musical variations pretty much impossible. No my friend, to get truly good, I am afraid we all need to hit the decks and practice the old school way: with a metronome or perhaps a dj hero controller?
We are clearly confused by the myriad of dj games on the market. As a reader pointed out in the comments, there are actaully 2 options coming to market soon.
- Scratch: The controller looks fairly interesting but the software?
- Dj Hero: Weak controller but I have to admit that the software concept actually looks better.
The Evolution of Scratch
A major game release from any company like Activision has some major cash behind it and is just about mainstream as it comes. So to see the basic form of a “scratch device” morph into the controllerism direction is a positive sign. Even though Numark had to put 5 buttons on it to keep in step with the games predecessors, you cant help but notice a global shift away from the simple turntable/ crossfader paradigm. if millions of kids start playing this thing, then its just a short jump over to a real dj controller.