For the first time in October, I had to take my gear on a plane. The logistics of transporting my equipment proved more difficult to solve than I anticipated. My eclectic collection of gear was pretty awkward to accommodate. Any bags or cases large enough to accommodate all of my equipment were too big to be guaranteed approval as carry on luggage. If I had to risk checking in my luggage, I wanted to make sure I had a case that would protect my synths and samplers. I looked at a number of cases from a range of companies but couldn’t find anything really appropriate. Finally I decided to give Dinosaur Cases a call. Doug listened to my requirements and gave me a rough quote, as well as a couple other recommendations to try. The more I looked around, the more I realized how reasonable his quote was. Many of the available products were just as expensive or even more. Having a custom case made specifically for my gear had some pretty attractive advantages too.
Earlier in the year I had been visualizing a stand for my Kraftzwerg so that it would sit closer to the MicroBrute and angled upwards for better ergonomics and access to the knobs. If I was paying to have a custom case made, maybe I could have my studio workflow improved too. I ran this by Doug, and while it would increase the cost it would certainly be possible, so I decided to go ahead with the case.
I’m quite happy with the results! The Dinos were able to make a tray with a hinged shelf that sits inside the lid of the case. When I get to the gig I just put the case on a stand or a table, open it up, plug in a few cables and I’m ready to go. If it sits too low I can use the case as a platform and save myself a lot of back ache from hunching over my equipment. In the studio it sits nicely on my desk and the raised back items are more accessible. Plus it looks really professional and dare I say sexy.
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. Continue reading “Maker Faire 2014 and a WCMA Nomination!”→
I’ll be playing again at the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire on Sunday June 8th at 2pm, only this time I’ll be using my Elektron Octatrack. I’ve been working hard exporting, sequencing, and reworking Sonidos de Cuba so that I can perform it live with this amazing device. At first I was trying to remake the songs close to how they sound on the album, but I kept encountering happy accidents and decided to let go and allow the album to evolve into a new form. Now some parts sound similar, but others sound completely different. It’s allowed me to get excited about the music again as I had grown a little tired of it after hearing so much of it. I’m using the Octatrack to sequence my MFB Kraftzwerg and Arturia Microbrute and as an effects unit for my Electro-Lobotomy Sonic Forest and Trumpet. It should be fun so I hope to see you there! The Maker Faire is a really great inspiring event so I highly recommend checking it out even if you can’t make my performance. If I have time I may even play one of the songs off my next album featuring recordings from Thailand along with my Manastone Hank Drum. More info at: http://makerfaire.caContinue reading “New Live Set at the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire”→
Fall and winter of 2013 saw a few new instruments enter my arsenal at Studio Sublime. The strangest one came first. My wife bought me something called a Sonic Forest for my birthday. I must admit my initial reaction when she showed it to me was not very enthusiastic as I didn’t really know what to make of it or how I would incorporate it into my music. However, when it arrived I quickly fell in love with it and the experimental, hands on approach to music making that it invited. Basically, the Sonic Forest is a wooden box with a contact mic inside and a 1/4″ audio output. Attached to the box sprouts a forest of guitar and bass strings of various lengths that you can pluck, rasp, bow or otherwise molest to produce a variety of sound textures. It also has a Mute switch and a tone switch that functions as a high-pass filter. I made a short song using only the Forest and effects from Ableton Live and you can listen to it below. You can also check out Electro Lobotomy’s other esoteric creations here: http://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/ElectroLobotomy?ref=l2-shop-info-
I received a generous bit of birthday money from my Grandpa so I decided it was time to pull the trigger on an instrument I’ve been obsessing over for a while now: A Hank or Steel Tongue Drum. Hank drums are propane tanks modified into beautiful musical instruments. Continue reading “New Toys for the Studio!”→