A space for sonic contemplation

With no specific projects on the horizon it is of course time to make some.  As is always the way – I’m refining my current setup.  Regular readers may remember this picture from times past…

oldsynthtable

Well I’ve returned to this idea somewhat and managed to find a neat way to fit everything and maintain a workspace for recording and mixing with room to also work on the educational stuff that pays rent/bills.  Having a focused desk makes it easier to focus on improvisation and development without mouse tweakage.

LoopstationjustTable

All the hardware runs through the MOTU which is controlled via Push and Ableton.  V-Synth is being used as a source and a controller.  I discovered the X/Y Pad is great for modulating the System-1m filter.  3 stereo channels out from the MOTU go to the R16 for recording.  There is also a Send/Return that goes via the Aira FX, one Send that goes to the Loopstation returning as a stereo feed to the R16 and one that goes to the V-Synth for resampling of material.

gearPano

I’m going to try and keep this arrangement for a while as it seems pretty comprehensive and useful.  With the upcoming Live 9.7 features, especially the ability to select ins and outs, will make this setup even more viable.  Here is an ambient improvisation I recorded.

Hand-me-down

Today my mother gave me a Cedar book stand that my grandfather made.

I tried setting it up with the Push – it was pretty interesting but not as useful as it looks – mainly because the angle means it can’t stand in front of the synth rack.

IMG_1001 IMG_1003

So I’ve found a more interesting use for it.  I’ve got the old Ikea stand back for the Push and now I have a front facing mixing desk.

IMG_1007 IMG_1005

Unconference Showcase went pretty well.  PFM sounded fabulous, Feet Teeth filled the auditorium with menacing neo-kraut-rock and the Sonic Manipulator was… well…

IMG_0994

…undescribable?  He made everyone happy.  My intro performance with just Shnth and Loop-Station went down well also.   With the new firmware I can add compression and EQ to make it sound better in the room.

Catching up with Chronos

It’s been a while… managed to shift some piles of work into the “Out” tray just in time for…

NIME + Unconference

The New Interfaces for Musical Expression conference is on in Brisbane this year.

Some very exciting stuff to see / hear / talk about and I’ve been tasked with organising the Unconference at The Edge.  Amongst the guests we are blessed with DJ Sniff and the Sonic Manipulator demonstrating their approaches to performance and composition.

The Sonic Manipulator will also be performing at the showcase gig in the evening with fab local innovators, Feet Teeth, Hetleveiker and LopezDonado.

UNCSHW

Noise Wall

Joe Musgrove, Adam Sussman and I provide audiovisual support to the closing night party of Ali Bezer’s Noise Wall.  Was pretty chaotic and we ended up losing the audience war to a nearby coast music band (think somewhere between RHCP and Led Zeppelin) but overall a fun night and some unique sounds.  Here is an excerpt.

Reaktor 6

In my period of catching up I’ve been getting back to Reaktor 6, particularly messing with the Blocks now that the user library is presenting some very mature options.  Michael Hetrick’s Euro Reakt Blocks are essential as is the Instrument Browser for drag / drop time saving.

Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 4.40.12 pm

One thing I have found kinda irritating is the Push knobs not being available for Blocks.  Despite PrEditor making them available for most ensembles the controls aren’t always consistently added which makes sense when you consider these are discrete modules to be connected as you wish in a more temporary fashion.

The best solution i’ve found is to add a M4L CC sender patch like ControlChange8 from Robert Henke and use Reaktor’s MIDI learn.  Saves the messing around for making crazy sounds.

Loopstation

Last bit of news – a surprise firmware update for the RC505 which has been crying quietly in my cupboard for the last few months.  The key changes for me are the ability to have up to three simultaneous effects on both in and out though I’d like it more if there was a way to route certain tracks through certain effects.  There are also a bunch of additional CCs to allow external assignment (which makes the guitar players happy) and a useful ALL CLEAR function.

Most disappointing addition has to be the monitoring function.  The phone jack used to just output headphone sounds – now you can choose which track to hear but sadly it is post-gain for each looper which makes it kinda useless for monitoring in my opinion.  Would be nice to have the phones monitor the input or pre on individual tracks before making them live.  Oh well – a missed opportunity. Overall there’s enough goodness to get it out again though – I bashed out a track with it in celebration of Roland’s surprise continuing support of a device I’d assumed they’d forgotten about.