Monday, October 30, 2006

Music thing: How to roll up your cables (properly!)


.:Music thing: How to roll up your cables (properly!):.

Here is a great article posted over at musicthing. How to role up your cables properly. If any of you are like me, that being a neat freak, you just can't stand messed up cables. Even if you aren't a neat freak and want to clean up your stage a little or perhaps speed up your tear down then learning how to roll up cables might be a good first step.


How to Take Care of Your Gear by Nermidi


The article below is a messageboard post from over at written by Nermidi. It is a small editorial that I liked ad might have some truth to it.

I know some of you are going through the menus, pushing those buttons at 300 miles an hour, and hitting those keys like a freaking punching bag and then you wonder why your gear crashes, malfunctions, and in the worst case scenario dies.

Just take into consideration that all the internal components and circuitry are working with help of electricity and all those pathways and chips convey electricity in the form of messages that are sent externally by the user. When all the works take place, I think that there is a certain amount of physical stress to the components and pathways that takes place at all times and I'd like to think that all the parts are made to sustain all the pressure that is asserted upon them, but all the modern technology doesn't make those parts perfect. How do we know for sure if the pattern and speed at which those messages travel do not effect circuitry, chips, ram, and all the places they go? For example, my CS [Command Station] would crash if there was too many track erase messages being sent through shift/erase shortcut. After very slowly realizing the cause of the crash I started working my way around it and then I realized that if I focus a bit more and do it the right way the first or second time I wouldn't worry about the erase button as much. Now that I am using erase button less often, and it hasn't crashed on me in a long time in comparison to crashing every time I used it before the change of a habit. Going through all that led me to change a lot of other aspects in the way I use gear and how effective I am.

A lot of gear that is made a few years back is slowly losing manufacturer's support or is being discontinued. Just take a E-mu stuff for example. Their products are very good and durable IMO, but what do you do if something that you have used for years and it has basically become an extension of yourself, all of a sudden won't boot? You can either try to fix it, get another one or adjust to something else. Either way the options would be hard to pull of especially with discontinued gear. Although going through all that could be a good challenge why not relax and focus to become more effective and direct your creative energy towards what really matters. That way you can take a lot of pressure off your tools and make them last until you (Emphasis added) are ready to replace it.

One advice I could give is don't make one unit do all work. Too much polyphony can kill. Dedicate one unit to a specific task or disperse the parts as equally as possible.

Interesting thought don't you think? I had to edit the article for some spelling mistakes because I think he was wasted when he wrote it, but it begs one to think for a moment about the way we use our gear and our long term processes. Does taking a little extra time now to plan think about your music save yourself not only time, but your gear? We all know how attached we can become and what are you going to do five or ten years from now if that favorite synth of yours crashes with years worth of work in it?


Sunday, October 29, 2006

Last Orbital Performance: July 28th, 2004 Maida Vale Studios: BBC Radio 1


As promised (albeit late) I have finally posted the special treat I had. It is the very last liveset of Orbital recorded on Radio 1 in July 2004. As far as I know this is not online anywhere else. I have even spliced in the additional encore track that was not broadcast on the radio.

I hope everyone enjoys this. The track unfortunately is not a direct mp3 link. It is hosted on

.:Orbital- July 28th, 2004 Maida Vale Studios, London:.

Here is the set list. Enjoy.
The Girl With The Sun In Her Head
You Lot
The Box
Halcyon (Belinda Carlisle/Bon Jovi/The Darkness)
One Perfect Sunrise
Dr Who
Remind (encore)


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Live demo recording!


+ Economicon 3:16 +

This is a recording of me busting out a live track in one single go-- literally just press record and let it fly, without prettying it up in Ableton later like a shivering wuss. It came after a long day of testing out my newest piece of gear, a Korg Electribe ER-1mkII. The new Electribe is the instrument responsible for all the weird bleeping noises, and a large part of the percussion. This track also features an Electribe ES-1, the enduring Juno 106 (feel the basssss), a Roland V-series mixer (w/FX), and a Yamaha RM1x. The Electibe ES--1 is threaded through the ER-1MKII's 'audio in', and the RM1X is, of course, the live sequencer. The original patterns were all sequenced on an Atari 1040 computer using Notator SL midi software. Audio recorded/encoded using Cubase SX.

In terms of style it's something chitinous and insectile like Autechre picking at the scabs of a grimy kind of drum-n-bass; minimalism vs. the merciless urban scream. It's not meant to be anything like a song, just me road testing some interesting gear. Also, nobody really needs to critique the structure or the mixing , I'm aware that both are bit weird.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Orbital Live in San Francisco 1999


Liveset from Orbital way back in 1999. Unfortunatly the file is hosted at so I cannot directly link to the mp3.

.:Orbital Live 1999 Mp3:. via


Monday, October 23, 2006

Daft Punk Live Videos


Youtube and have a whole bunch of videos with Live Daft Punk videos. Check them out.

.:Daft Punk Videos @

.:Daft Punk @


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Steph Live @ AK 44


Liveset from artist Steph featuring a stripped back style of techno.

.:Steph Live @ AK 44:.

It was recorded at Christian Schacta's (Syntax Error) label release party for Feinwerk #10 at the AK 44 Club. It's very much in line with his Null Records EP. The same ultra clean, bass and glitch Techno full of edits and weird rhythms. It's very upbeat stuff and has a touch more synth work than I remember in his last set. All in all a very good live set once again.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Need Help From You to Post a Liveset


So I have a very special recorded liveset of a very special group (to my heart) sitting on a minidisc right beside me. As far as I know this liveset is not anywhere online and I would love to upload it somewhere. The problem is it was recorded off of BBC radio a couple of years back so I am not sure if I can post it up to or because of broadcasting issues.

If anyone has as suggestion as to where I might be able to upload this liveset please let me know. Preferably I would like to be able to directly link the mp3 file so I would like to avoid sites like Megaupload if possible.


Lindstrom Liveset


Liveset from artist Lindstrom. This is a laptop liveset that has a sort of housey feel to it. The set is pretty crisp, perhaps too crisp for my personal liking but pretty good.

.:Lindstrom Liveset:.


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Cubase 4



So I haven't had much time to screw around with it (because I had to go through some aggravating copy protection/license updating so that I can continue to use Cubase SX3 AND Cubase 4), but here's my initial analysis of the latest version of Cubase 4: I like it. I'll warm up to it over time, and when I finally do get that faster computer I'll probably be in love with it. The GUI itself is SOOOOOOOOO much better.

There's one glaring bug, and that's the dreaded preset crash: Load up a 3rd party VSTi, and click where the preset bank should be. It crashes Cubase 4. :o( So long as you can navigate to it without that option, you're OK. Otherwise, your VSTi is garbage now (at least until this is fixed/worked around). I tried this with Absynth 3 and it crashed C4. However normal loading in both that and the Virus Control plugin worked fine through the usual GUI.

One really great thing that's been touted about C4 is the revision of the EQ system. And holy shit did they overhaul it. It actually looks like (and after my brief test, sounds like) a REAL EQ this time around. For starters there's the 10-band EQ, and then the more impressive 30-band EQ.

But after that, there's what looks like an even more impressive, in-depth EQ module with TONS of presets for beginners and versatility for the experienced studio pro.

Moving on from that, there's the new included softsynth - Halion One. It's a sample-based instrument but it comes with LOADS of presets as well and they seem to sound on par with any other. Anybody with Kontakt would probably use that instead...

Other instruments included are Mystic (a kind of crappy general-purpose synth, nothing new here), Prologue (a MUCH better sounding synth) and Spector (kind of an Absynth wannabe...though there are very cool sounds), which all seem really promising....and if they stink, at least they look damn cool...

And finally there's obvious revisions to the mixer and even my old favorite, the VSTDynamics plugin. Little things like a new GUI work for me...but what makes the VSTDynamics appealing is FINALLY THE SIDECHAINING OPTION.

But that doesn't mean that I'm totally sold on it yet, even after paying for the upgrade (it's only been about 6 hours of tinkering!). My final judgement comes when I use this monster on a high-end system later this year....

UPDATE: Fixed display problem with images. Added Tags. M.A.S.


The Trials of a Non-EDM LivePA


LivePA artists have it tough of enough in this world, trying to battle DJ's, stupid fans, and spilled beer. Those few artists out there though who try to do livePA that is not dance music have it even harder then the rest of the PAs around. I myself am one of those non-EDM livePA artists who has struggled tying to find places to perform and people to listen to me. It seems that the electronic music world is completely fixated on dance music and sometimes even the fans are left scratching their heads as to what exactly a non-EDM artist is doing. Perhaps because they are actually looking at us instead of dancing.

Before I started doing livePA I composed mostly ambient music. I love the genre and for whatever reason I found that I am fairly good at it. Over time though my creativity began to run a little stale and at the same time I became increasingly interested in LivePA. As I began to explore the whole process I decided to take the change as an opportunity to help redefine my style and creative persona. As I moved over to my livePA set, I began to incorporate beats into my music, but overall I still retained the non-dance music feel.

It was about two years ago that I finally had my live project all ready to go and I began to start looking for places to perform. I passed out demos, talked to clubs and in the end found that no one was looking for non-dance electronic music.

At first I thought that most events would have chillout rooms that a performer like myself could perform at. It seems logical, but to my surprise the chillout room seems to have fallen out of favor, at least in Chicago. I honestly have to say, the first few months of trying to find places to perform was extremely discouraging.

In the end I was able to find some places to perform, but none of those places truly felt like they fit for the music I was trying to convey. Chicago has a very nice underground IDM scene, and you could possibly argue that IDM is not really dance music. I found myself in a couple of lineups for IDM events, but to be honest my music was not IDM and consequently I really did not fit the crowd.

So in the end of it all I had to settle on doing performances mostly in cafes, art shows and other similar venues. Granted these are not the large parties that most livePA acts probably hope for, but I find performing for twenty people sipping on coffee is better then performing for no one.

So what exactly is the point of this post? Basically this.....If you find yourself in a similar position as I have, as a non-EDM livePA, try not to get discouraged. Try to find more creative ways in which you can distribute your music and perform. That cafe show with twenty people may not be exactly what you are looking for, but you may actually find the intimacy of the event quite rewarding. At nearly every performance I have done I have had someone come up to me and tell me that my music was "beautiful". In some way that just means a little more then the "Rockin' set man" you might get from someone at a dance party. And if you happen to find some other non-EDM performers in your area, try to network with them, because honestly, we all need to stick together.


Friday, October 13, 2006

Liveset MP3 from Audioelectronic


Below is a live set from Audioelectronic composed using only an EMU Command Station, an Electrix Filter Queen, and a Line6 DL-4.

.:Audioelectronic Live @ Ground Kontrol:.


Sunday, October 08, 2006

LivePA Makes It Into WikiPedia


It looks like the term LivePA has made it into I guess you are a real "thing" when you make it in there. The description is a little brief but not too bad. Check it out.


Saturday, October 07, 2006

Impromptu: Live Audio Programming Language


.:Impromptu Homepage:.

About a week or two ago I posted about .:Chuck:., which is an audio programming language designed for live performance. This week I have happened upon another audio programming language that is designed for live audio performance and programming. Impromptu is conceptually similar to Chuck, but it might have a little more flexibility in the sense that it can produce visuals as well as audio. It even loads AudioUnits!!! I am not exactly sure how an audio programming language would load a plugin, but it does, and it appears rather cool. In case you haven't figured it out Impromptu is Mac OSX only and is free, so all you Mac users start downloading.

Impromptu has been developed for use in live sonic/visual performance. Live, real-time or on-the-fly programming is a performance paradigm stemming from laptop performance, but with an emphasis on the crafting of algorithms in real-time. Impromptu is designed to provide a dynamic, real-time, multi-user runtime capable of supporting the creation, modification, distribution and evaluation of source code in live performance.

Impromptu is a programmable AudioUnit host. A powerful environment for creating AudioUnit graphs of arbitrary complexity with precise programmatic control over individual AU nodes. Musical material can be precisely scheduled for performance by any AudioUnit instrument node and parameters, program changes and presets can be programmatically changed on-the-fly as well as directly via the AU's user interface.

Quartz drawing routines can be applied with the same temporal accuracy as audio material allowing composers to tightly integrate audio and visual components. Quicktime movies, bezier paths, images, CoreImage filters and beautiful text rendering are a few of the graphics features available for artists to play with.

Sounds like a nerd sound designers dream. Push forth IDM performers.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Google Earth Maps for Burning Man-LifeHacker


.:Google Earth maps Burning Man - Lifehacker:.

While this isn't livePA news per-se it is pretty darn cool, and there are a ton of LivePA artists at this festival.

A dedicated person out there decided to map out all of the events from this past year's Burning Man Festival. The overall effect is pretty cool and I hope that it continues for future Burning man evens with more people contributing to the file with photos and information. It would be really wild to have this mapped out live to see where things are happening, but I bet the desert doesn't have very good wifi access.

For those of you not in the know, Burning Man is a large art and culture festival that is held every year in the salt flats of Black Rock City Nevada. Think of it sort of like Woodstock for the cyberpunk, modern hippie, techno culture. Every year artists, patrons, musicians and whoevers come from around the globe to hang out and do some crazy insane shit. Dust gets on everything and it is an amazing time (or so I hear). Check out the .:Burning Man Homepage:. for more information.

UPDATE: Added a descrption as to what Burning Man is.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

SetMaker from Sweetwater: Setlist Creation Software.


.:SetMaker Download:.

The people over at .:Sweetwater:. (yes the music gear retailer) have a nifty little program hidden away on their downloads pages. Setmaker is basically exactly what the name is. It allows you to store information about your songs such as the names, times, tempo, moods, etc. and then create setlists for your performances with a simple interface that can tell you the approximate time of your set.

An extremely handy tool that is so simple that it is brilliant. You can download the program for Mac or Windows.


Monday, October 02, 2006

Innovation, or just drug-related brain damage?


Alright, faithful blog readers, it's time we got down to the nitty-gritty: how much can I trust you lot? I mean, if I asked, would you all shout truth at me, whether it be laurels or knives into my spine? Hell, do any of you even have the guts to voice an opinion beyond the timid squeak of head-bobbing scene urchin? Well, if you do, then I might just need your mouthy arse to stop me from doing something bad (in a musical sense, of course).

It all started when the girl came home with a new CD she'd bought from a street band downtown, the Inkwell Rhythm Makers. Popping it in, she described how they played while dressed like old-time tramps and hobos, with patched trousers, smashed hats and maybe two pairs of shoes between all of them. As she spoke, their music squawked to life as a lurid re-visitation into the true American folk music, the kind of ugly, tar-roof backwater music that never made the radio and was seldom even recorded for that matter. As they blared out tune after rancid, surprisingly catchy tune, she told me about how they appeared to have constructed their instruments from plain old junk like washboards and the like. Of particular interest to me was her description of a bloke wearing thick gloves made entirely of duct tape playing a one-string washtub bass.

Several months later, while at the local hardware store, I was seized by the odd idea of building a percussion instrument from plastic tubing, and incorporating trombone-like slides in order to change each tube's pitch. Yes, I know the Blue Man Group did it first, and moreover, probably better than I ever could. However, as I do not currently own a pair of drumsticks, I shelved the idea in my head, right next to the washtub bass idea. Later on that day, I was unceremoniously and unfairly lashed by the aforementioned girl with a length of plastic arts and crafts string. I soon found that I had actually wrapped one end around my toes and plucking at it with one hand, the other being used to hold it taut. After experimenting with the way different tensions produced different notes, I was soon plucking out a DnB-style bassline. I thought of the washtub thing again. The gears lurched forward another notch or two.

So I put it to you, dear loyal readers (and I say that with a straight face, just barely): should I take these two weird ideas and run with them, incorporating non-traditional, home-brewed instruments into (gasp) electronica songs? Part of me says, why the fuck not? You can them up and run them through distortion effects, run a wah pedal between the pre-amp and the distortion effect for some freakadelic fun. That's fuckin' boss, like those wacko Musique Concrete types, or some obscure old industrial band. Another part of me says, stop yourself. You fried your brain somewhere along the way, and now you're paying the price.

What do you all think? Brilliant, or just weird? Worthwhile, or just funky in a bad way? Leave a damn comment and let me know whether or not you all think I'm out of my head on this one.



Sunday, October 01, 2006

Midi Tutorial Part 4: Setting Up Multiple Hardware Synthesizers


Note: The following article is a general outline to introduce readers to the general concepts and methods behind setting up midi. The specific details of how to setup a midi keyboard with your computer will vary depending upon the hardware and software that you use.

Setting Up Multiple Hardware Synthesizers .
1. Use the same steps as you did to setup a single synthesizer. Since you want to use multiple synthesizer there are several considerations that need to be taken into account on how you will want to connect your multiple synthesizers.

2. Chaining synthesizers: Chaining synthesizers is done when you link multiple synthesizers together and have them run into 1 midi in/out connection on your midi interface. For the first synthesizer in the chain connect midi out from the interface to midi in on the synthesizer. Next, connect this synthesizer to another synthesizer by connecting the midi thru on the first synthesizer to midi in on the second synthesizer, and continue to do this down the line for your synthesizer.

3. On the last synthesizer in the chain you can simply end you midi connections and leave it at that, but if you want to send midi data from any of these synthesizers back to your sequencer then on the last synthesizer in the chain you will need to run a cable from the midi out connection to the corresponding midi in port on your interface (this means if you used midi out A on your interface to go to the first synthesizer then run the midi out from the last synthesizer into the midi in A on the interface.)

4. Remember however that the more synthesizers you link up, the more latency you will develop because midi information degrade will degrade as it travels greater distances. It is recommended that you chain no more then fours together. At the most chain together eight.

5. After you have all of your synthesizers chained together you now need to go into each hardware synthesizer and assign a separate midi channel for each one. This way each will respond to only midi data received on that channel coming out of your sequencer. The easiest way to do this is to use midi channel 1 for synthesizer one 2 for synthesizer 2, etc, etc. down the line. This also means that you cannot assign these channels inside your sequencer to internal sounds or plugins.

6. The second possible way to set up multiple synthesizers is to have each midi out on your midi interface run to a single synthesizer. Simply set this up the same way as you do for one sound module. In this case however we do encounter a problem. Remember that each midi port can handle 16 channels of midi. So if we set a synthesizer to each midi out port on the interface (in this example 2 ports. Ports A and B) then we have a total of 32 channels of midi data. Channels 1-16A and channels 1-16B. Most keyboards and midi controllers cannot differentiate between different ports. They only recognize midi channel numbers and the synthesizer will both be recognized on midi channel 1. The two channels would be midi channel 1A and midi channel 1B.

Tips on using hardware synthesizers
Remember that when using midi with a hardware synthesizer that no sound data is transferred over the midi cables. Audio is only transferred out of the audio out lines of your particular synthesizer. When you want to mix down your tracks from your sequencer the audio from your hardware synthesizer will not be mixed down into your song as your soft synthesizer do. In order to mix down your hard synthesizer tracks you will need to bounce them to a .wav file and then import them into project or song as ..wav files in their own channels. After this is done you will no longer need your to have your hard synthesizers play when you mix down the song for your sequencer/studio.