I’ve released a free EP of some of my older work on my Bandcamp store. I discovered and developed my unique style of working with field recordings in these four songs. Sonidos de Cuba was born from these early acoustic explorations. I like to think of them as musical larvae or protozoa, which is why I’ve called the EP Proto-Sonos.
The CDs of Sonidos de Cuba have arrived! I’ve already given a few out to some of my Rockethub supporters and the rest of you will receive them soon. They look great thanks to Tania Clarke’s wonderful album artwork. Next I’ll send off a few to CD Baby so the physical copies will be available there too.
It’s a little funny. Two of the people I’ve given copies to have commented on how long it’s been since they’ve bought a physical CD. I know the format is definitely waning in use as people move towards digital and cloud based music, but I really wanted to have some physical copies. It just makes the album feel that much more real, complete, and professional. Continue reading “CDs and Contests and Gigs and News and Stuff”→
In March of 2010, I travelled with my fiance to Cuba for ten days. Despite the short amount of time I spent there, I was overwhelmed by the complexity, culture, rhythm and pulse of the country. I brought with me a Zoom H4N portable recorder and gathered various snippets of the rich acoustic landscape. After returning home, I began using these recordings as a foundation for my own music. I spent many hours editing, warping, looping, filtering, sampling, and mangling the sounds to distil them into songs. Over the next three years, I created an album of electronic music that attempts to tell the story of this visit. I made this music in an effort to relive and restructure not merely the recordings, but the memories of my time there in order to share this journey with others. Hopefully you’ll feel transported as you listen and enjoy these Sonidos de Cuba. Continue reading “The Stories behind the Sonidos”→
Check out the cover art for my album! It was recently finished by the beautiful and talented Tania Clarke of Side B Design Studio (side-b.ca) who also happens to be my wife. She took some gorgeous photos during our trip to Cuba. If you’d like to have a look please visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/sidebdesign
In other news, my show at Sequential Circus 11 on August 18th was a lot of fun! I was pretty nervous leading up to (and during) my set. I’ve never sweat so much while playing and my slick lips had a hard time hitting my higher range. I was feeling pretty sloppy with my trumpet playing, and not feeling too good about my performance until after I finished. I received a good round of applause and was given a lot of congratulations on my set so I guess it wasn’t as bad as I thought! The rest of the evening was fantastic.
Phonotactic had a great journey of a set using Ableton and a Kaosspad. He went from mellow funky dubby music to thumping floor fillers. Then Tarekith took the stage with his Elektron duo (Octatrack and Machinedrum). His set was smooth, cool, and full of slick production. Next, Dark Arps emerged with gut throbbing basslines and tech funk delights. My friend dubbed him the Techno-borg as he was wearing a Sci-Fi suit that glowed and flashed to the music. It was hot enough there in shorts and a T-shirt so I imagine he was baking in his Borg suit. Muxx followed him with a high energy techno set that reminded me of fun times in early raves. His “One night in East Van” had the whole crowd chanting along with him. Lastly Vincent Parker switched things up with psychedelic synth washed dubby beats. Good times indeed!
The Sequential Circus crew should be posting the sets on their website soon if you’d like to hear them for yourself. I’ll post a link once they emerge. Meanwhile, I’m working on sound design for one of the rooms at this year’s Dunbar Haunted House. It’s turning into a fun creative project making the atmosphere for a Daycare of Doom. I’ve even done some voice-acting. Just one song left to complete for Sonidos de Cuba. This one’s called Ascensor (for now) and features a recording of the elevator in our apartment in Vedado. It would only go up to the 7th floor, but our Casa Particulaire was on the 9th so we’d have to hoof the last two floors. Working elevators are something I never realized I took for granted in Canada until then. Once that one is finished I’ll spend some time mastering the album and then I’ll be able to finally unleash it on the world!
I’m pleased to announce that on August 18th I’ll be opening at Sequential Circus! Playing at one of these shows is a real honour for me as they’ve been a big inspiration for my own music. They’re a bi-annual party focused on live electronic music. Always a lot of fun with a friendly happy crowd.
Here’s the official word: “Sequential Circus is dedicated to promoting the understanding and recognition of live electronic audio/visual performance as an evolving artform. Through our events, we will provide a venue for artists to explore and develop expressive technologies and to perform before an appreciative audience. We will strive to provide the best possible experience for artists, audiences, volunteers and staff, and to foster a healthy artistic community with Vancouver as its capital.” http://sequentialcircus.ca/
One of the guys playing is someone that I actually learned from in developing my own live set. If you’re looking for some ideas or instruction on how to acquire and put together a live electronic gig he’s got a very thorough blog entry. He’s got some other great stuff on site too so it’s worth checking out. http://tarekith.com/assets/playinglive.html
For my live set I’ve stemmed all of my songs down to 8 tracks. Specifically Kick/Snare, Percussion 1, Percussion 2, Bass, Chords & Leads 1, Chords & Leads 2, Chords & Leads 3 (this one is usually my solo horn stuff), and SFX. That way, I’m using each track on the APC40 and I don’t have to scroll side to side. I use a custom Live Effect Rack on each track with Looping, Bit Reduction, Distortion, High and Low Pass Filters, and an Auto Filter. I’ve got Delay and Reverb on sends. I use Send C for my white noise sweeps. I have a noise generator controlled by an envelope follower that I created in Applied Acoustics Tassman on Send C, and each track is sending full blast to that return (along with Sends A & B). I use the crossfader to control volume and the Cue button knob to vary the cutoff frequency. It occurs to me now that since I’m not ever changing the value of Send C I could assign that one to something different if I wanted. I’m also not making use of the Panning controls at this point. So there’s still a couple things I can change to spice things up. Oooohhhhh the possibilities!