Corey W. DeVos, who is also known as dj rekluse, creates wonderful mixes that merge pop music and mysticism. As often as he’ll include Outcast, Radiohead or David Bowie, he’ll throw in spoken word pieces from luminaries such as Ken Wilber, Alex Grey or Alan Watts.
Two recent releases are Sutras and The Kosmic Slop and both are available through Integral Life. On that website he makes the case for DJing as being a much more important role for society than many imagine.
To some, a DJ mix might seem like little more than an iTunes playlist, a mix tape you made for your boyfriend in middle school, or the product of wedding DJs who are contractually obligated to play “Mony Mony”, “The Chicken Dance”, and the Black Eyed Peas everywhere they go. But to others, the DJ mix is something much more extraordinary. When done right, it can be a truly integrative art form—taking bits and pieces of our shared cultural reference points, and using technology as an instrument to transpose, transform, and recontextualize those pieces until something genuinely and unmistakably new emerges.
The DJ is so much more than a human jukebox who puts together a compilation of catchy tracks. It’s about knowing how to fit those tracks together into greater and greater wholes—matching, manipulating, looping, and layering individual songs into a single seamless experience. At his or her best, the DJ is a musical maven, turning people on to new sounds and new genres while fighting the growing tides of cultural homogenization. It’s an art of sonic ninjitsu, learning how to use turntables, MIDI players, or laptops to mix and match beats, keys, and melodies. And like any performance art, DJing can be a sort of 21st century shamanism, conjuring and shaping the states and experiences of entire groups of people by crafting the most unbelievably satisfying breakdowns, bardos, and transitions—creating a space for all of us to dance ourselves into oblivion.
Now to be perfectly clear, the DJ mix is still a subversive art form, and is often perceived as a threat to the status quo of the music industry—which, come on, kind of makes it a little bit cooler doesn’t it? Although no small-time DJs like me have ever been harassed or sued for sharing their mixes for free on the internet, I have to admit the fact that this all exists in something of a grey area in copyright law. I do believe I am morally justified in sharing my art with you all, but there are some who would disagree.