The Making of Belizean Heat: Part 5 – Garifuna Grackle Party

The Garifuna are a people with a fascinating history and culture resulting from the mingling of African and Native Caribs as a result of the slave trade and colonialism. In Belize, Hopkins is known as something of a center of Garifuna culture.

While visiting there, we stumbled into an impromptu drum circle, which served as part of the foundation and inspiration for this fifth song. Most of the origin of this song however, came from the birds. Grackles to be specific.

Grackles are all over Belize; as common as crows in Vancouver. Like crows, they have a wide repertoire of vocalizations and are very social creatures. While walking down the main street in Hopkins, we heard this apocalyptic screeching coming from a large tree. It turned out to be a massive gathering of grackles having a grand old time. Of course I had to record them, and positioned myself right under the tree. One baffled woman passing by exclaimed “Aren’t you afraid they gonna poop on your head?” and if you listen closely you might be able to hear her in the song.

Shortly after I started recording, this loud bass line and reggaeton drum groove dropped from what I assume was a nearby dance studio. I was disappointed that my recording had been ruined, but my wife was excited to hear how I would incorporate it into a song. So, that bass line provided the main melody of my Garifuna Grackle Party, but I sped it up substantially and turned it into more of an old school rave track.

Most of the sounds and processing on this song were done using the Elektron Dark Trinity of Octatrack, Analog Four, and Analog RYTM. There were also a few sounds from Omnisphere and a Yamaha FB01 FM synth.

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The next chapter actually covers two songs, Hideaway and Stowaway.

 

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Maker Faire 2014 and a WCMA Nomination!

Maker Faire SpreadOn 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!”