Live in April

Announcement:

I will perform a live session with the modular synth in Tokyo under the new alias Halt! Run! in April.

Details will be shared as we get closer, but all will be recorded and shared afterwards.

Onwards and Upwards!

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Cumulus 2, The Start…

Now that I’ve gotten most of my gear in place I’ve slowly started to work on material for the next Cumulus compilation. The track below is a sketch, not yet complete but I thought I’d share the working versions along the way. Have a listen if  your interested.

The track was made in one take entirely on my modular system. Live 9.1 was used as a recording device only.

Lightening up the Subway

In the Stockholm subway it’s common to see older men stepping on to the train playing instruments and sometimes even singing. It’s like a street musician on board. Usually they get on at one stop, play a song and then step off at the next station either to move to another train or another wagon.

It looks like they have a rather short repertoire but the level of expertise with which they deliver the songs they know is pretty impressive. Usually they are completely ignored by the passengers but the other day I saw a fantastic little scene play out.

This older guy with a harmonica got on at Fridhelmsplan and performed the usual ninja routine of walking down the moving coach while at the same time masterfully improvising and never loosing a beat or his balance.

At first the passengers played their role perfectly and treated him as pure air, but then an old man suddenly got up to give the musician some cash. Nothing too far from the ordinary, but the donor whispered something and they suddenly burst out in laughter. The notes that started flowing out of the harmonica next were easily recognised as the old russian tune ‘Kalinka’. On top of this the man that gave the cash started singing the words in russian with a clear and strong voice.

By now the other passengers looked pretty uncomfortable, but staying true to Swedish nature no one pretended to notice the scene taking place in front of them. It was clear though that the two older guys were having an awesome time, lost in the music and totally ignorant of the stiff looks from the people around them.

Another thing these walking musicians are really good at is wrapping up just in time to get of the train as it pulls into a station, so as the we started slowing down for the stop at Odenplan the song came to a stop. Laughing loudly the two said goodbye and the musician stepped off.

Awesome way to to start an afternoon at the town :).

Why you should practice DJing

I’ve never really been interested in the art of DJing, but lately I’ve started lusting for a Digital DJ Controller. Why? I think the spark came when I visited one of the huge DJ stores in Tokyo a while back. They had rows and rows of beautiful controller lined up, and I have to admit that it was pure looks that pulled me in.

At the time I had only a vague idea of how they work, but I guy in the store was kind enough to give me an overview of the standard controls and he also gave me a quick intro to Traktor and Serato DJ.

As I got home that night I downloaded the demo version of both and started playing around with them. While they are limited they do contain all the basic functionality, and since then I’ve been fooling around with more and more often.

Here are some really cool takeaways, and the reasons why I’m now considering buying an actual controller:

1. Building a library of tracks to practice with has forced me to listen to and buy a lot of new music. This has ben crazy inspirational and a really good kick in the ass to explore and listen to more music! (Especially more mainstream music.)

2. Practicing mixing has taught me a ton of new details about track composition and timing. How long is a typical trance lead in? Lead out?

3. Rhythm practice and appreciation of EQ and frequency bands. Understanding what to take away, what to emphasize and how to adjust speed and tempo to seamlessly blend and mix tracks has forced me to think more about where in the frequency band certain sounds or instruments lie and why.

4. Greater appreciation for sampling. I’ve found myself not just listening to more music (remember 1 above?), but also out in record stores digging through old vinyls and CDs looking for interesting, fun or just unusual loops and sounds to sample.

I think dabbling with DJing (really, I suck but hey…) has gotten me thinking about structure, tempo and sound in new ways. Before I could talk and reason about it, but now I feel like I ‘understand’ and can appreciate it even more.

If you haven’t tried it yet, I really recommend you do!

New Video (Dark Echoes)

A little video I pulled together while jet lagged in Stockholm. It’s just the Doepfer Dark Time sequencing the Dark Energy with some percussive clickety-clacks from an Elektron MaschineDrum.

The delay and Reverb are from the built-in FX section of the Allen & Heath ZED-10FX mixer.