in the mix, music

In the mix: DJ David, Mon Amour’s “Symptoms of the Audrey Hepburn Complex”

This column was delayed considerably from its originally-intended release date, due to it falling so unforgivingly close to the holiday season, but we are proud to present W. David Marx, aka DJ David, Mon Amour, sharing a relic from his Shibuya-kei past in his own words. Mix, and David’s commentary, below the jump.

I moved to New York in July 2001 after college, and I decided I was going to exclusively DJ “Shibuya-kei.” This was in imitation of the Readymade and Escalator guys, but whereas they played original Western source material and their own records, I was going to do all Japanese-music sets. Thanks to a sizeable collection of Japanese records I bought the summer before (I only ate peanut butter sandwiches for a month so I could spend all my research stipend on music), I was able to do vinyl-only sets of latin-inflected house, sample-y breakbeats, and “loungecore.” I took the name DJ David, Mon Amour (in homage to Pizzicato Five’s “Tokyo, Mon Amour” or “Mon Amour Tokyo,” itself in homage to “Hiroshima, Mon Amour.”)

In 2001, I put together a Brazilian-themed lounge-house mix, and in the course of making that with turntables and recording it to my iMac, I realized that I could fix any blending errors digitally through Sound Edit 16. That got me thinking, and I decided to next use Pro Tools Free to make a “listening mix” that went far beyond what was actually doable live in a club. I meticulously sliced each track into shorter edits to fit 27 tracks into 40 minutes.

The heavy editing took about six months of nightly work, and the result, “Symptoms of the Audrey Hepburn Complex” came out sometime in mid-2002. I got my friend Mumbleboy to do the cover in homage to the first Pizzicato Five cover. Track list is available here.

A few things to note:

  • The opening line is Albert Camus reading The Stranger and then a lot of inside jokes on Konishi’s oversampling of stereo demonstration records — especially, the “a new stereophonic sound spectacular” line.

  • There is a very subtle blend of Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” and “ABC” that is poking fun at the fact that Konishi’s remixes of both sounded identical.

  • Shiina Ringo and Sentimental Bus are not really Shibuya-kei. Puffy is borderline.

  • There used to be this FTP server full of new music associated with the Shibuya-kei mailing list, and I could not have made this mix without that. (Thank you to all the uploaders.)

  • I sent the mix to Masashi Naka from Escalator who told me, “You should have sent it to Konishi instead.” The guy from Akakage told me it started off good and then “went on for too long.”

Right after I finished Symptoms, I heard Too Many DJ’s “As Heard on Radio Soulwax, Part 2,” and realized that digital mix/cutting was going into full mashup territory. “Symptoms of the Audrey Hepburn Complex” comes from a very brief historical period between the good old days of DJs proudly live mixing with turntables at clubs and an era of full digital editing to make new songs out of old ones.

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One thought on “In the mix: DJ David, Mon Amour’s “Symptoms of the Audrey Hepburn Complex”

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