On June 8th I performed Sonidos de Cuba at the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire. My wife was also showing off her Drift clothing and accessories (you can check out her stuff here). Previously I had used a laptop running Ableton Live with an Akai APC40, a Korg Electribe ES1mkII and my trumpet. This time I debuted my new live setup focused around the Elektron Octatrack. I’m also using an Arturia MicroBrute, MFB Kraftzwerg, Electo-Lobotomy Sonic Forest, Manastone Hank Drum and Trumpet. Changing my setup has caused the songs to evolve quite dramatically. I’m still playing back stems from each song on the album, but sequencing them on the Octatrack has changed the way they’re configured. The Octatrack is also sequencing the two synthesizers which imparts some great new life into the material.
I set up a camera to film my performance, but unfortunately it cut out after about 20 minutes. I didn’t realize at the time that the Zoom Q4 was released with a bug that caps the file size at 3GB. They’ve fixed the problem with a firmware update, but it was pretty disappointing to find the camera stopped at the end of my performance. Luckily I was able to get some iPhone footage recorded after the camera cut out (thanks mom!). She caught a moment I was particularly happy with, where I sampled my trumpet live, rearranged the recording, and effected it all on the fly. As complicated as this sounds, the Octatrack does it quite elegantly. If you slice your record buffer and sequence your slices to a track, anything you record into that record buffer will automatically be sliced and sequenced. That’s right, I can sequence audio before it’s even recorded. Whoa.
Because the video from the Maker Faire was cut short I could only really make a highlights reel out of it. The next day I filmed myself playing the set again in my basement studio. The audio quality for this set is much better because I could blend together the direct outs of the Octatrack with the Q4 camera mics, which are actually quite good. It’s a full hour long set, so make yourself comfortable if you want to watch the whole thing, or you can download the audio from my soundcloud page and listen to it whenever you want.
Leading up to the show I was on Galiano island, so I brought my trumpet with me in order to practice and keep my chops up. It was pretty magical to play as the sun was setting. My wife was testing out her new camera and got a great shot capturing the dramatic lighting.
When I was about to return from the island I noticed a mysterious post on my Facebook wall congratulating me on my nomination. It turns out Sonidos de Cuba has been nominated for Best Electronic Album of 2014 in the Western Canadian Music Awards! Appropriately enough, it was Tom Towers who notified me of the nomination. His awesome band Five Alarm Funk was nominated for Best Instrumental Album last year, and he played a lot of the Congas recorded in Sonidos de Cuba. I feel really honoured to be recognized for my work alongside some really talented artists. The awards will be announced in Winnipeg in October, so I have a while to wait before I see how that turns out.