Sunday, December 27, 2009

loops, vocals and the live factor

Loop based performance feels right, makes the whole event FUN and different.

My material for the new set, is really only the beginnings. I use the patterns and melodies as templates which I evolve, thus I am not using too many of them. each pattern has controls such as speed (2x,1x,1/2x,1/4x) transpose (engaged/off, +/- semitones), gate, accent. then it has my Note group. These define the notes in my sequence. A few notes is all it takes (so I have a note offset per note in my note group), so I can easily have the notes for 2 or 3 tracks in front of me, which gets FUN. the concept is found and used in the Brussels sequencer in this post.

So in my set, big parts are unwritten and evolved only through tweaking of such controls.

Progressions are played live, certain step notes are dropped in out or transposed to evolve a part into a new area and the whole thing is looped, then a second layer at 1/2 speed of a different part here and there sprinkled throughout the groove and layered upon. then I go into other parts and vocals too (my own live vocal loops and singing too) to add to the live slant of the performance to get closer to the croud and to see where this takes me. now this gets fun

Vocals, live and what not.

In the middle of the holidays I recorded my favourite vocalist (whose angelic voice was my xmas gift this year! Wow what a gift, these vocals carry so much passion, they are fun, reusable quirky, and good feel for me.

Her voice in captured in many samples which will soon be played from my white synthesizer, the waldorf blofeld which can morph these samples into analog lushness soooo smoothly. +1 on the waldorf License SL option.

My looper lets me run 3 simultaneous stereo loops which is more than I need but nice to have. fading between loop different loops is where I can take a break and repeat. having said that, i can't store more than 3 stereo loops simultaneously. which means I have to record new stuff quite often. which makes it scary, fun, and always guaranteed to sound different (if the looper is employed). I did have an incident with my looper where stopped working but I managed to get it back -- good to know before you play live what kinds of things to expect from your gear,

cause Murphy is a b-tch, whatever can go wrong, will go wrong at some time. Makes it really fun and satisfying to get it all back though :)

Friday, December 25, 2009

catch my new live set on NYE stream

My friends at are playing recording of my new set live on Dec 31, 2009 nye live stream. More info (time, link) will follow soon.


hey there, merry xmas!

i've been busy around the holidays but I've managed to find time to put into the new set. Just recently some changes happened, once again.

the major change is the re-introduction of my yamaha rs7000 h/w sequencer because of a few important features
1. the rock solid and unterrupted midi clock regardless of what any other piece of gear is doing
2. the ability to rewind/restart with the touch of a button
3. the ability to sequence and mute drum tracks (including fills)
5. and have another (3rd) row of blinky lights to edit my sequences simulanously (since my x0xb0x has them, as does the Nord G2)
6. the ability to launch clips in the blofeld which will soon include vocals.
7. the ability to sync up to a dj using tap temp

i have been practising the performance, mixing, cueing aspects of my gig and it's getting stronger. each time around it is different and fun. the way i like it. the only downside is that if you don't practise, you lose your chops, and the set sounds weaker until you've brushed up and warmed up again. and using the looper actively means more diversity and better chops, and more time to think and try different things.

with some newly recorded vocals from Theda Miller, the set is gaining momentum, with more depth and beauty. that was my xmas gift.

my rig at this point is:
1. Nord G2 (mixer. loop router, drum synth, sequencer, grooves)
2. x0xb0x with recently installed sokks OS (highly recommended 3rd party x0xb0x firmware)
3. blofeld (with Theda Miller vocal samples)
4. electroharmonix 2880 looper
5. yamaha rs7000 (midi only)
6. a microphone

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Big shifts in workflow

Wow, what a week it has been since I got the 2880 looper. It has been a profound and complete shift in work flow for me and what at a great alignment of my skills over time and layers it has been! Yikes, wow, blush, :P

The live looper has added so much in terms of control, definition and depth (and I have to MIDI automate it in my single Nord G2 yet, wow I wonder what kind of control will feel like) . I could talk about how it's impacted me, but I will save that for another post, all I'll say for now it has made me more giddy and amazed than I have been in a looong time. The results speak (or rather sing) for themselves ;)

Hence, I have now redefined my whole setup and it's structure (with over 50 days to go to the gig to boot, which is good). I am now using 1 less Nord. Here is what my setup looks like:

1. Nord G2 expanded (with a Peavy PC1600 for dedicated physical control over mixer and loop routing control)

1.a Master patch
1.a.i mixer for internal and external sound sources.
1.a.ii looper recording router for internal and external sound sources. the looper router lets me assign a particular source (internal G2 drum and other sounds, x0xb0x, Blofeld, and my voice) to the looper for recording purposes. I can pre-listen on my G2, and when I bring up the Loop Record Level (Dry out) on the looper I hear my sound which is awesome for cueing it up, and I can layer to my hearts content.
1.a.iii sequencer for internal and external sounds with midi looping x 2 built in.
1.a.iv an fx system with external routing of fx (so effects happen per song)
1.b Groove/song 1 patch
1.b.i a groove built upon internal sequencing and sound sources (Loop Record Level / Dry out)
1.b.ii sequencer for internal and external sounds with midi looping x 2
1.b.iii song specific fx for the vocal, x0x and blofeld sources (send defined in 1.a.iv)
1.c Another groove/song 2 patch
1.d Empty - but it will get another groove/song patch probably

2. x0xb0x
slaved by Nord G2 and played when one or more sequencer in the G2 is sending it music. played by hand sometimes

3. Blofeld
slaved by Nord G2 and played when one or more sequencer in the G2 is sending it music. patches determined by hand. and played by hand sometimes

4. My Voice
well, it is mixed, fx-ed and looped as needed.

5. My 2880 Looper (but other loopers might work for you)
5.a My mixer
5.b My performance recorder and player and "layerer" (is that a word?)
5.c My in-between song filler

I have been testing this configuration in the last few days and it is growing on me. Back to loop land :)