The Making of Belizean Heat: Part 8 – Caves Branch

I was able to borrow a GoPro camera for my trip to Belize, so I actually have a lot of video footage. Eventually I hope to use that footage to make videos for at least a few of the songs. This song is actually more based on video footage than field recordings, and it spent a lot of time in limbo before I figured out a direction for it. Once I did settle on a direction it was actually completed quite quickly (by my standards). It was one of the last songs finished on the album along with Stowaway, which I talked about in the last making of post. Continue reading “The Making of Belizean Heat: Part 8 – Caves Branch”

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Just in: Case!

Case MontageFor 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.

Case InsideEarlier 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.

Case FinishedI’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.

 

 

 

 

 

New Live Set at the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire

Poly got potentiometered!
Poly got potentiometered!

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.ca Continue reading “New Live Set at the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire”

Sonidos de Cuba has a new look!

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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!