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 - nothing about genre or era, and no A-list/B-list hierarchies. We don't know what the system will select, but often the music flows so smoothly and naturally you won't notice when one song ends and the next begins.

There are no ads, sponsorship, or interuptions.

What do I mean by Harmonic Radio?

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 two calypso tracks in succession would then sound brilliant going into dubstep. And it does... more often than not. I, however, have no idea what's going to be played next, so there are no guarantees.

I was introduced to harmoinc mixing back in 2002 in a book called How to DJ Properly. That's when I got the idea of the station. Nearly 20 years later and now there are consultants who provide tools to big media companies and software that finds harmonic keys for club DJs... but finding stations with harmonic listening as a core part of their programming policy has proved a little more difficult. That's why I think Midtempo is special.

A playlist compiled by a musical-magpie can only be constructed harmonically if it's to play smoothly, have a natural flow that makes it easier to listen to. Once the system has the intensity, structure, and keys of all the music, it should be able to 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 I'm trying to achieve - truly eclectic, totally graceful.

Unfortunately it's not always as lovely as I'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 I'm 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 - there's just not enough ability to control the things I want to. The only way to fix that is to rewrite the whole thing from scratch... You can follow that process over at Patreon.

I hope your next transition is a smooth one.


Midtempo/Midtempo Radio/Midtempo.net/com/co.uk, are all © Midtempo Ltd, which in turn is Chris Burford. You can contact me through any of the social links.