Time spirals

I’ve long thought about time in Tidal as a spiral – where cycles develop over time. I don’t think I’ve really made the connection to vinyl before though. Alexandra posted a DJ battle between D-Styles and Qbert to fb, which lead me to watch this from D-Styles:

The whole thing is great but the one-step back two-steps forward bit from around 1m15s reminded me a lot of shifting patterns in Tidal. I think seeing this repeated gliding happening on a slower scale has really opened up the complexities of turntablism as a whole for me.

It’s also inspiring because it helps me see Tidal’s limitations. Tidal has a spiral timeline which you can manipulate, but not in the same way. When I’ve tried scratching in the past it’s super difficult, I don’t know anything about it really but it feels like you’re constantly managing the state of the record.. It’s one thing to scratch the record and totally another to recover from the needle ending up in a different point in the timeline. I could never work it out by myself.

Tidal doesn’t suffer from this problem because there is no state – you don’t move time, you jump between different manipulations of time. For example if you reverse time, it’s not like moving backwards from where you are. Instead you jump to a different reality when time was always reversed. This is clearer with e.g. slowing down time. If you halve time you might play half a cycle, but then if you double time Tidal won’t continue from halfway through the cycle.. It’ll act as if time always was doubled, and therefore continue from the start of a cycle some way into the future. In terms of a turntable, if you add slow 2 to a pattern, you’re not doing something like moving the pitch slider down, you’re doing something more like swapping the record with another one with the music recorded slower, and putting the needle on the same place as the original.. It’ll sound slower, but you’ll have jumped to a different part of the track. It’s hard to imagine DJing under these circumstances..

Watching this video it’s clear this ‘problem’ of state isn’t a problem at all, but fundamental to the music. It would be amazing if you could do something like this in Tidal – not slow down a pattern, but slow down the timeline.. I.e. add the ability to pattern changes to time, rather than jump around the timeline. I’ll have to think about this, it could be something easy to implement that I just have never thought about..

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