Sunday, April 29, 2007
Make magazine has pictures as well as some information and links about this past weekend's Bent Festival in New York.
The Bent Festival is a festival held in New York, Los Angeles, and Minneanapolis. Each year circuit benders from across the country are invited to conduct workshops on circuitbending and also setup performances for musicians using circuit bent gear.
For more information, and details about the next Bent Festival head on over to .:bentfestival.org:.
.:Pompelmoessap & Konpiúta @ piping Part 2:.
This week's liveset comes in a two part series from Pompelmoessap & Konpiúta.
You can find more music from these artists at their websites.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
I had always thought stomp boxes were reserved to the realm of the guitar and being completely unusable for a LivePA artist because of their low sound quality and mono outputs. I have quickly learned however that not only are stomp boxes completely appropriate for use with synthesizers, but for a LivePA artist, they very well may be the most flexible and transportable option for external effects in a live set.
Stomp boxes have really grown and come a long way in the past decade and there now exists a stomp box for just about every effect imaginable. There are even stomp boxes for singers!!!! Perhaps one of the greatest assets of stomp boxes is their obvious portability. Most of them come in a pretty standard sized package and can fit in the palm of your hand. They are super easy to use, very hands on, modular, lower power consumption and very affordable.
One of the other really nice benefits of the stomp box is that they really are a modular piece of kit. They are designed to be chained together, and the whole design of the stomp pedal for activating the box not only presents a nice easy target for the dark club, but also presents just a simple logical design approach in general. They almost always have plenty of knobs of them for live tweaking, and chances are you don't even need a manual to get it up and running. Add to the fact that there are several cases out at your local music store that you can pick up to transport and chain a few boxes together for quick live setup, and you have a pretty fantastic effects setup just waiting in a suitcase.
I myself use a really simple and cheap Boss DS-1 Distortion Pedal (~$40) to dirty up my Korg EA-1. It is a simple, and cheap approach to add just a little something to my sound when I need it.
So head on out there and give some stomp boxes a try for a quick, easy and effective way to add some more effects to your rig. The plethora of distortion options alone should make any dance artist giddy with delight, but also look into some some of the other ways in which you can use stomp boxes. Try out that exciter, bass enhancer, delay or reverb pedal. You never know what might find its way as a regular into your rig.
Monday, April 23, 2007
.:Finding & Fixing Hum:.
This article gives some good tips on how you can find and fix hum related issues in your audio system.
Very few audio or video systems are dead quiet. There are usually always a few hum related problems. If your system has a bit of hum, is it the transformer or not? How do you determine the source of hum and what can you do about it?
Sometimes hums and buzzes are quite obvious, sometimes not. The 'hum noise' usually comes in two flavors, a low non-irritating drone (50 or 60 Hz) or a slightly higher pitched buzz or raspy/irritating 'angry insect' sound (100 or 120 Hz). Video hum is usually seen as diagonal bars across the TV or screen of a projector.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
.:N.O.R.O. Live @ Radio FM Slovak: 09/22/06:.
This week's liveset is from artist Noro from Radio FM Slovak. Unfortunately I cannot find anymore information on this artist. The link to the set is in an eastern European language, and the website does not appear to be his own. If anyone can find more info on this artist please reply to the thread on our Blog.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Today I was thinking about music hardware and such, and it really occurred to me that hardware synths have not changed at all since the introduction of MIDI. Think about it for a second. After the MIDI port, what have we seen on the back of our hardware since? Not much. Sure the occasional USB port pops up, but nothing innovative has come along at all. I would really like to see manufacturers add a lot more to the back to improve hardware. Much of the improvements that I am thinking about are pretty cheap these days.
My Improvement Ideas
Female and Male USB/Firewire ports on all synths: There is no reason we cannot connect synths to each other via USB/Firewire right? Come one, audio and other data should be sent to all gear.
Ethernet ports: Lets get some open Ethernet ports and let developers decide what to do with them, be it OSC or whatever.
A standardized Digital Output system: I don't care what it is.
More Knobs!!!! Come on developers, how much does a knob really cost you? I shouldn't have to buy a midi controller just to use my hardware synth. The $150 Electribes have more knobs then some of high end synths these days.
My requests are simple aren't they? It shouldn't be too hard. While I think my requests are fairly simple, what do the readers out there think manufacturers should be doing to try to improve?
Do you want to see more VST/Hardware integration? Something else?
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
.:LivePA.org: The Death of the Groovebox:.
User Mitch over at the LivePA boards was keen enough to notice that Korg has removed their EA-1 and ER-1 from the main product page. Does this mean that with the demise of the eletribe series we are finally seeeing the end of the Groovebox for good? Sure there are still the MPC's, the higher end EMX/ESX, and more, but gone it seems is the era of the "every man" affordable peice of kit.
Now personally I am a huge fan of grooveboxes because of their affordability, ease of use, and ability to create music quickly. It perhaps leaves us as artists wondering where exactly music is going doesn't it?
Now there may be readers out there who have never really gotten into the Groovebox. Perhaps you grew up with just the laptop, or think of them as cheap, useless gear. But for others out there, particularly the artists who were making music in the 90's in their bedroom, the groovebox may have been a cornerstone of your live setup. The MC-303, as pitiful as its features look today, in many respects helped to define some music back in the early ninties.
So what do the readers out there think? Are you a fan of the Groovebox? Has the $500 laptop and ability to warez software killed it? What does the future hold for the Groovebox, if any?
R.I.P to the Grooveboxes
Monday, April 16, 2007
Sporting a built-in condenser mic, an unusual recrding scheme, and conversion software for both Mac and Pc, the new MR1 hand held recorder from Korg seems to have a lot of people scratching their heads. The question seems to be, in a world where higher bit rates normally mean a better, more pristine sound, what in the world is Korg thinking releasing anything that only works with 1-bit sound? Isn't that the opposite of what we really want? The simplest answer goes something like this: those bit rates that you see everywhere, from mp3s to edting software, are denoting a kind of file compression applied to the audio file to make it smaller. The higher the bit rate, the more detail makes it through the compression process. The lower the bit rate, the less detail makes it through. This is a (retardedly) simplified version of the real answer, but it will do for our purposes.
So, why 1-bit sound? Because 1-bit sound denotes the complete absence of software file compression. Thus fidelity is achieved not through a clever scheme that keeps files small, but a clever scheme that allows files to be as large as possible in order to retain clarity. Pack that into something the size of an iPod with a built in condenser mic and a dozen other tiny but neato features and you've got a groovy thing goin' on.
Way back in the day, I used to carry around a hand held mini-cassette recorder for the purposes of guerilla sampling. Hiding it in a pocket to be snuck out and triggered at the right moment, I would record everything from weird sounds I came across throughout my day to snippets of conversations. The quality wasn't great, but the alteratives seemd to have too many drawbacks: minidiscs went almost as soon as they came, traditional cassette recorders were too bulky and offered little better quality in terms of mics, and hand held mp3 recorders just seemed too flimsy and expensive for what they were. It would seem that technology has indeed caught up with my adolescent sampling dreams at last.
A larger and slightly less portable model also exists, the MR1000, offering 40 gigs of space over the MR1's 20 gigs, an incerased sample rate of 5.6mHz, and dozens of more serious features aimed at a much more discerning crowd. These features do, of course, sacrifice some portability, but it's still the size of a rather large hoagie, and is geared toward a more professional crowd.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Wikirecording.org is an online open community for information regarding recording. Information reanges from simple definitions of terms and gear, to more complex recording concepts. As is standard with any Wiki, this one is open to community editing to help improve and expand upon the content.
If you looking for some information regarding recording, or have a little bit of advice to share you should go and check it out. It is a very nice site for recording information.
This post is just a little self promotion for a new show that I am running at the moment. In addition to the livePA blog here, I am also running a music production podcast simply titled "The Electronic Musican" aka. T.E.M.
The show is basically about topics covering electronic music production. I try to keep the show fairly general in the knowledge base as to try to appeal to everyone out there, with all of the different type of music software. Some with advanced knowledge may find the content too rudimentary at this point, but I plan to have a balanced width between more advanced and beginner information.
The first episode was an introduction to music production, the second covered MIDI, and I just posted the third episode discussed purchasing midi controllers and some gear from Muskimesse.
If your interested please sign up, or if you know someone who may be interested in this podcast please pass it around. I am open to feedback as well on this show. You can email me for this podcast at sup (at) serious-sounds.net
Friday, April 13, 2007
So it seems this new song, "Thou Shalt Always Kill" is sort of blowing up on the radio right now. Well for your viewing pleasure here is a nice tasty live versio of that song.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
At this past week's Musikesse T.C. Electronics announced the release of a very interesting little audio interface that is designed for live performance. This new sound interface is called the Konnekt Live and it features a master compressor and finalizer on the analog outputs, as well as extensive output routing. The Konnekt Live offloads the master out DSP processing from your computer, to the audio interface.
DSP effects on the unit include the following:
Fabrik C Live
3-band finalizing compressor with MINT (Meta Intuitive Navigation Technology)
Fabrik R Live
Nine classic reverb algorithms
Lo-cut/hi-cut filter with 6, 12 and 24 dB slopes. It also features inter-communication-bus facilitates for controlling and tweaking multiple plug-ins and parameters from one plug-in.
Monday, April 09, 2007
I found this video interview from Italian TV that interviews the creator of the Jomox gear. Pretty interesting and you get a quick look into how some of the Jomox gear is made, such as the 999 drummachine, and the Resonator Neuronium. They have a fan in this corner, and I hope to be picking up an 09 sometime as one of my next gear purchases.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
Woot!! Woot!!!! Looks like I figured out what was wrong with the Podcast feed. I in my infinite wisdom in updating the feed about two weeks ago made a minor mistake in the RSS url that I updated. I put the "Summary" feed instead of the "Full" feed up. Consequently, this posted all of the text in our feeds, but did not post the links or html content of the feed. Because of that there was no way you could get to the content I was linking to.
A minor mistake, but they always are aren't they?
Hopefully everything should be back to normal for the podcast, and they should start showing up in iTunes again shortly.
.:DJ Hoax and Friends - Live Ambient at Psystream Radio (January 24, 2007):.
Continuing our ambient feature, this week's liveset comes from DJ Hoax and friends, and is a set recorded live on Pystream Radio.
Presenting the first release on the exciting Postunder Records from the ambient collective of music students at the University of Wales,Newport. This live ambient set was recorded on the 24th of January in conjunction with Psystream.net and F.S.O.R radio. Marking a new era in live, free improvisation we strive to bring you the best in contemporary chill out, IDM and ambient music. For this project, we used two laptops with Ableton Live, a korg synthesizer with bass and guitar running through a line 6 effects unit. Look out for more of these live recordings in the very near future or tune in to F.S.O.R radio and Psystream.net to get the ful experience of free improvisation and live performance!
For more information head on over to Postunder.net
For more information on this liveset you can visit it at Archive.org
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Sometimes, a report of a homebrew or DIY project comes along that is so creative, yet at the same time somehow mentally unbalanced, that I just have to share it with others. Like this DIY "midi" foot controller, which incorporates an old laptop computer, components of a qwerty keyboard, and a bunch of dirt cheap fx pedals from Radio Shack. The full account of its construction, and the deranged sleep-deprived logic behind it, can be found + here. + It's well worth a read.
The interesting bits, in my opinion, are that the project itself only takes rudimentary understanding of electronics, and that it operates over MIDI with zero (or near-zero) latency. The idea is that the pedals get wired into the pcb from the old qwerty keyboard, which in turn connecs to an old laptop via the ps/2 keyboard interface. This laptop runs a program that turns the qwerty layout into a sort of crappy improvised piano, and sends along a midi signal correponding to the keys played. Only now the external qwerty keyboard's been turned into a plank with pedals nailed to it. Get it? Caveman like in its simplicity. Also on the linked page is a video of the creator, a dude named Forrest, using the controller to accompany himself playing guitar.
.:JoJo Mayer & Nerve: Doing Live DnB Right:.
My father sent me this link to this video today from a really cool drummer called JoJo Mayer. My father is a drummer so he follows up on all of this stuff. Anyways, JoJo Mayer is in a group called Nerve and they did this great performance of live Drum N' Bass that really would take just about any Dn'B producer to school. The video and the musicianship is extremely impressive.
Unfortunately the video is in Windows Media Format, I believe, so it is not embedable. You will have to head on over to the website to watch it. It is well worth the click though.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
I just logged into iTunes today to check out our podcast feed and I have noticed that our podcast is suddenly displaying "0" shows. I am not sure how this has happened, but I have sent a support ticket off to Apple to try to resolve the situation. I apologize to everyone out there who may be having problems downloading the latest livesets.
Our standard RSS feed for the podcast is working correctly, so if you you would like to subscribe to it directly feel free to click on the following link: Podcast RSS
In iTunes simply goto "Advanced-->subscribe to podcast" and paste in the RSS feed, or just click on the buttons provided in the feed by Feedburner.
MusicLAB, the makers of the RealGuitar software, has released a new software interface called RealGuitar Toolbox which enables the user to use the RealGuitar software in a live setting via keyboard or the keytar. Rock on!!!!!!!
For those unfamiliar, RealGuitar is a sample based software guitar instrument that can be played standalone or as a VST plugin. Now why you would not play a real guitar is not entirely clear to me, but if you need to rock out with your keytar here is a good way to do so.
The Toolbox features include:
Play solo and accompaniment guitar parts simultaneously with two individual RealGuitars from a single keyboard using the advanced key split MIDI Input;
Perform accompaniment guitar part with RealGuitar and solo part with any third party synth loaded directly to RealGuitar ToolBox;
Switch on the fly between up to 12 RealGuitars having fully individual settings, including guitar patch, performance mode, any parameter values, panning, etc;
Add audio effects installed on your system to RealGuitar ToolBox output;
Save all configurations as RG ToolBox presets for future use.
Price is $40 for the Toolbox and $160 for the RealGuitar software itself. Both come in both Mac and Windows forms.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
The Hydrogen is an advanced feature drum machine for the Linux platform. It looks like a very interesting project and approach to the drum machine concept. The Hydrogen is a modular interface with 32 instrument tracks. Each track can have up to 64 ticks per track and allows for multi-layered instruments.
If your looking for a super crazy drum machine be sure to check this one out. There are even links to some pretty impressive drumkits on the site, including the classic Roland TR series.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
.:Mikronesia Live at Ambient Ping 04/25/06 (192Kbps Mp3):.
For this week's liveset, I have decided to mix it up a little bit and I am going to feature some ambient artists. I will get a little theme going and continue to feature ambient livesets for the next couple of weeks.
This week's liveset comes from Mikronesia and is performed at the Ambient Ping, a weekly ambient night held in Toronto. This particular liveset is completely improvised. I hope everyone finds this one soothing, and looks forward to more to come in the next few weeks.
For more music from Mikronesia head on over to his website at Mikronesia.com