Wired News reports today on the recent trend of electronic musicians performing live by writing and executing code in real-time, rather than using traditional sequencers and midi controllers. Wired calls them DJs, presumably because they perform at raves and clubs.

It’s an interesting article, though classifying the performers as DJs is a little iffy. Generally, DJs play, mix, and re-arrange pre-recorded music. With the growing popularity of computers among DJs, it has become much easier to incorporate an original music performance into a set, further blurring the line between DJing and live composition. The wired article doesn’t go into quite enough detail, but it seems as though theses “DJs” are triggering notes and and rhythms via the code they are writing. It sounds quite improvisational. Once the “DJ” begins creating completely new music, via synthesizers or manipulation of samples, I think we’ve moved out of the realm of DJ and into the realm of electronic musician. Is an electronic musician performing original music at a rave automatically a DJ? Who knows, maybe a few years from now that’s what DJ’s will do. But for now, I think Wired has simply, maybe intentionally, missed the mark. “DJ” is certainly a sexier title than “electronic musician” these days, and is bound to bring more readers to the article.