snakes, daggers and intel…

Brisbane. The toilet of Australian live music.

So… latest update on the controversy…

The question of whether it was an accident or malicious has been raised however, either way, it is immaterial.  An artist who offers their time for a performance, should not be left with $3000 worth of damages and a “sorry man, accidents happen” attitude.

Timothy Green, the organiser of the Audiopollen events, has been listening to advice and has suggested that profits from the next Audiopollen will go towards replacing Browning Mummery’s gear and it seems there are plans afoot to get a benefit going initiated by a number of people including members of the band performing when the incident allegedly occurred.  Certainly if the 100+ people who visited my blog today contributed $30 to Browning Mummery – he would be able to replace some if not all of his gear.  It would be a shame if he had to pursue legal action.

I’ve had numerous people comment about how this is typical of Brisbane – to that i’ll say i’ve seen some pretty messy gigs in Melbourne also.  But the “privileged debauchery”, as it was described on my Facebook feed, has historically been endemic to the local garage rock and punk scene.  A gig isn’t a gig unless there is a mix of sweat blood and beer coating the floor, holes punched in walls, toilets wrecked etc…  It’s a disgraceful lack of respect for music that people act this way.  However I don’t want to overstate the case – the band in question were far from the worst i’ve seen debauch-wise.  And they at least have the decently to be directly engaging with the victim on attempting to write wrongs.  So enough said about that.

Appropriate alternative venues are, however, something i’m very interested in hearing ideas about.  My discussion with Timothy touched on this.  In Brisbane it is hard enough to get venues to perform in at all, the cops won’t even let you play in your own house unless you have unusually cool or deaf neighbours.  Let alone a venue cheap enough that you might make something on the door to pay the artists, comfortable enough for them to perform without reserve and safe enough that drinks don’t get knocked onto equipment.  For the chin-strokey electronic stuff i’ve been thinking about a monthly meeting – akin to a Men’s Shed minus the gender exclusivity.  I’m not in quite the position to organise this alone however and have no idea of venue (though I think it should be in the burbs!)  Any opinions on this – let me know

I should mention that the gig helped outline what was important and what in my setup needs changing in a live environment – so I want to emphasise that the gig went well… for me.  Just a shame about the other negativity.  After the jump… i’ve had a request for some info outlining my live setup.

pic by Marek

Ok below is a basic schematic of what is happening.


And below is the Ableton Live 9 setup.

Screenshot (1)

First two tracks, NM A and NM B both have an instance of this Max For Live step sequencer. This sends MIDI out to channel 1+2 which correspond to Slot A and B of the NM.  The J74 Step Sequencer is a pretty neat 4 x 16 step sequencer.  An interesting quirk – if you select less than sixteen steps it will loop until the 16 steps have been completed.  So if you select 15 steps it will repeat the first step for example.  Of course you can also edit velocity and duration along with note variation probabilities.  It has randomisation and various possibilities for shifting the values.  It is my favourite so far but Max For Live actually runs quite badly on the tablet and it is a bit of a hog – especially since I need 2 of them (1 for each MIDI channel).

At this point Nord Modular fanatics might ask – “doesn’t NM have it’s own sequencers and event controllers?”  The answer is “yes” but they are very difficult to control in real time live situations.  This one is better – though still not great.  I’m considering a move to Thesys – which looks the business, is easier to edit with a stylus and has lower CPU requirements.  If I was to remove the tablet completely I’d need a rack based step sequencer that could address 1-4 channels at the same time with at least 16 steps.

Screenshot (2)

The Augustus Looper (with a Duochrome skin) is another fairly recent addition.  It is a tape-loop style delay effect which I found more interesting and useful than the Ableton Looper which is super rigid.  You can select really long delays (though i’ve found it locks up on the tablet if I set more than 1min length)  and there are various cool ways to reverse and re-pitch.  Finding the right feedback balance is something I need to work on.  Ideally it should take a bit for it to fully feedback but not drop out after a few loops.

A rack-based loop-station equivalent might replace this at some point if one exists.

So the Augustus Looper gets the input from the PV6 mixer, which Ableton is also sending to.  In case you are wondering… yes this creates a feedback loop – not sure why they made the PV6 work this way, but it is interesting.   So these tracks then run into the FX sends – which for the gig featured Sugar Bytes Turnado but has also hosted Camelspace, Permut8 and Vaz Modular 3 in effects processing mode.  All of these are low CPU requirement Multi-FX that work well within the tablet’s limitations.

I also had some samples taken from here which were also fed into Turnado.

Each track (including the sends) was toggled by a number key on my wireless Logitech keyboard which also provided keys to randomise the effects, set loop time, freeze and clear the loop.  I find navigating Ableton is easier with the trackpad which is another reason why i’ve chosen to keep the keyboard.  It is very light, sits underneath the reverb for storage and transportation.  Ideally a pull-out shelf would be nice for it but it’s easy enough to hold it in your hand or place it on one of the case lids.

I’ve tried using Usine and Max and Ableton remains the least likely to overload the CPU while running this kind of patch.  Bidule and Audiomulch run better but I need to work out how to use the keyboard to trigger stuff with them (not sure it is possible in AM and couldn’t get the HID module to work in Bidule.)

That’s about it.  Next up – following some minor refurbishments – time to work on some stuff not for a live performance!  In case you want the convenience of listening again – here it is.


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