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June 17, 2010

Windows Finds a Beat

Back in March, Windows went to the Winter Music Conference on a fact finding trip. We had an idea and needed a gut check. Besides getting us some much loved vitamin D, our trip to Miami convinced us that PCs running Windows have a place in the DJ community. Most DJs use Macs to mix their music. We want to change that. So today we’re kicking off a new partnership with four of the planet’s most creative DJs to show the world just what a PC running Windows 7 can do.

Darek Mazzone

Back in Seattle we asked Darek Mazzone to help identify DJs to bring into the program. Darek is the multi-talented host of Wo’Pop, a weekly, three-hour look into what’s new and happening in modern global music on Seattle’s KEXP (which is, in my humble opinion, also the best radio station in the world). Darek opened his contact book and helped us get a great cross-section of artists—Pezzner, Sabo and Deadbeat—interested in the project.

Pezzner (Dave Pezzner) is a Seattle-based producer and electronic music composer. He’s released more than 45 vinyls and remixes, as well as music compositions for American Idol, The Discovery Channel, Nordstrom and T-Mobile.

New York City-based Sabo has six EP releases on Sol*Selectas, his own record label, two 12” releases on Wonderwheel Recordings and a full length album on Irma Records. He loves to move between genres, whether it’s Afrobeat, House or Reggae.

Finally, Deadbeat (Scott Monteith), a longtime Montréaler, now lives and works in Berlin. He’s been putting out a unique blend of dub laden minimal electronics since 2000 on labels such as Cynosure, Scape and Wagon Repair. He’s performed at Barcelona’s Sonar, Berlin’s Transmediale and Montreal’s Mutek. He’s also a music technology junkie, which got us especially excited about partnering.

After talking with the artists, the next step was getting their hands on a really awesome PC. Fortunately, the folks at Dell were an enthusiastic and early supporter of our idea and supplied us with five, fully-loaded Dell XPS 16’s. Ben has one of the machines and will have a review of it up shortly just posted a hands-on review.

Together with the Dell PCs, we also shipped each DJ a Novation Launchpad controller, a Focusrite Saffire 6 USB audio interface, a Serato Rane SL3 DJ interface, the Ableton Live 8 software suite, a Crane laptop stand, a Flip Mino HD camera and, of course, a Windows-branded Mono DJ bag and T-shirt (we love swag and couldn’t resist).

Darek was the first one to take his Windows 7 Dell XPS 16 for a spin. He opened for the great Rachid Taha at Neumos in Seattle on Tuesday, June 8. For those of you out there with spare miles (or happen to be in Spain and want an awesome experience), Sonar opens in Barcelona today. Deadbeat and Darek will present ska and reggae cuts mixed on their PCs on the roof of the Hotel Pulitzer on Saturday (June 19th) from 7-11pm. Look for more posts in the next few days covering Windows at Sonar.

Windows Sonar Invitation

Over the next few months, we’ll report back on how each DJ in the program is doing, what they’re working on and hopefully turn you on to their stuff. Look for tracks, interviews and more here on the Windows Experience Blog. We couldn’t be more excited about this partnership – and the fact that I get to hang out with these folks only reinforces that I have a very cool job.

As always, if you have questions or comments, don’t hesitate to hit me up @winashbrown or on the blog. Look forward to hearing from you.

Darek Mazzone’s Wo’Pop can be heard every Tuesday evening from 6-9pm PT on KEXP and I can be found listening to it.