Midempo is an experiment in harmonic audio broadcasting, playing great tracks from a diverse music library as smoothly as possible. The global playlist includes Electronic, Funk, Latin, Afrobeat, Soul, Downtempo, Modern Classical, Pop, Folk, Disco, Dubstep, Alternative, Reggae, Dub, Doo-wop, Jazz, Hip-hop, Blues, Balkan Beat, Indian Devotional, Bluegrass, and more...
Each track is analysed on key, tempo, and intensity, then passes through various playlist selection rules - although nothing about genre or era, and no A-list/B-list hierarchies - before being broadcast. Despite the wilfully eclectic material, the music should flow smoothly and naturally...and be an engaging and entertaining listen.
There are no ads, sponsorship, or interuptions.
Harmonic music mixing is just one track following another based on their key (and intensity). The transition between two songs when they're both in the same key sounds more natural than if their keys were wildly differing - all fairly obvious once you think of it. Similarly if the intensity of the songs are similar they'll flow together easier. Many good club DJs have used harmonics for years, but harmonic radio isn't something that features much in the broadcast industry.
Modern day radio programmers will have been told that a new listener should hear the totality of the station's "sound" in any 15 minute period. Here, the system might feel that three calypso tracks in succession would then sound brilliant going into dubstep. And it does... more often than not. We, however, have no idea what's going to be played next, so there are no guarantees.
We were introduced to harmoinc mixing back in 2002 in How to DJ Properly, and now there are consultants who provide tools to big media companies and software that finds harmonic keys for club DJs, but finding stations on the ground with harmonic listening as a core part of their programming policy has proved a little more difficult. That's why we think we're special.
A playlist compiled by a musical-magpie has to be constructed harmonically if it's to play smoothly, with a natural flow. Once the system has the intensity, structure, and keys of all our music, it can play a doo-wop song from the 1940s, then blend that into Massive Attack, into some Nigerian funk, and finish with a classical viola de gamba solo piece. That's what we're trying to achieve - truly eclectic, totally graceful.
Unfortunately it's not always as lovely as we'd like. The library - big as it is - isn't yet large enough to get overly prescriptive with the rules. For example, tracks with an abrupt end should ideally be followed by one with an abrupt start - but that level of restriction, along with the key and intensity rules - mean the same songs follow each other too often. So we're adding more music, while still trying to keep some sort of quality control.
A more challenging problem is that the platform is just not quite good enough for where we're trying to go. The only way to fix that is to rewrite the whole thing from scratch... and that's a job for another day.
We hope your next transition is a smooth one.
We have a Patreon account, which goes towards streaming costs, licence fees, and ongoing development. Any/all support gratefully received!
Also, Chris (LinkedIn) is actively looking for interesting work. Originally an old-school LAMP developer - mostly building big, complex database-driven web-systems - more recently he's been making Alexa talk. Please get in touch if you know of anything. Thanks!