Taken at the Y2K International Live Looping Festival at Treasures Roadhouse in Corralitos, CA! As always, it is 100% improvised looping with no pre-made loops or beats.
The new trick on this performance is call-and-response melody lines. This was made possible with two iPads running NanoStudio each. No, they are not synced—that would be awesome. The left hand is looping while the right is doing leads and pads.
Here’s video of my performance in Portland, OR at the great Analog Cafe & Theater. The venue was great and food pretty good too!
Heck yes. After seeing a presentation by a Keith McMillen Instruments representative at last month’s San Francisco Electronic Music Meetup I decided to get that QuNexus. I sent them a video and they published it on their YouTube channel!
This afternoon was spent doing a complete re-org of the 61 Eden synth patches I’m using for performances:
12-15: “Pure” Synths
16-24: Combo Synths
And, I get to test out my new QuNexus. hehee
Yay! I did a live 7-minute demo of my live-looping setup for the San Francisco Electronic Music Meetup (SF-EMM). I ran into a slight problem with my audio interface for the iPad Mini, so I stuck to the main iPad only. This was held at the SAE Institute San Francisco. Check them out at: http://sanfrancisco.sae.edu
This week’s #songrequests takes us to a slower, more melancholy place. I asked you what instruments I should use and the ones that seemed to fit into this style included: banjo, ukulele, violin, trumpet, water in glasses, hydraulophone, bouzouki, duduk, shenai. I was able to work in some guitar-ish sounds, plucked strings, violin, a lonely-sounding lead, and a glass harp. (The last one is that wine glass sample I captured this weekend.)
p.s. I’d love for you to hear me live! Yes, in the real! Check out my upcoming shows in October:
This week’s #songrequests includes an instrument request for “water in glasses”. OK, I can do that. So I got out a set of various glasses:
It turns out that the best sounding glass was the wine glass and the weirdest one was actually the champagne flute. How? Compare the crisp ring I was able to capture off the wine glass (then turned into a sample for NanoStudio):
Versus this wild resonance off of the champagne glass:
Both sounds will eventually be available on FreeSound.org after they get approved.
I thought I’d give a detailed tour of one of the patches that I’ve started to use a lot more and also makes its video debut in this week’s #songrequests: “TranceSAWS”. Here’s a video demo of the patch by itself:
It begins with the foundation of a very similar patch that ships with the NanoStudio iPad app: SweepTeeth. The main synthesizer sound is actually a very sharp strings loop:
Here’s a screenshot of the main synth panel:
But what makes it special is how LFO3 and LFO4 are used: they are “saw down” (or a “ramp down”) waveforms hooked up to amplitude and filter cutoff, respectively. And they oscillate on a 16th note.
What that means is the filter ceiling is at max and the amplitude at full volume at the beginning of every 16th note and in the duration of this note it gets quieter and the filter cuts off to the lowest frequency. If I hold down a key it creates a set of repeating 16th notes without doing any work!
But there’s more: to make a mono synth bassline sound the “1-Glide” setting is used. This lets me hold down on the main bass note (usually the tonic) and then hit any other key to have that other note instantly played. That means a lot less work—in the video I’m rolling between all of the notes only out of habit.
And, yet there’s more. In order to made the typical evolving cutoff that goes from soft to razaor sharp the left X/Y pad controls the filter resonance/Q and main filter cutoff. The LFO4 filter modulation’s range is small because the LFO4 Amount is turned way down, and it turns out that value added to the the X/Y pad position is enough to vary the cutoff.
Though this tour uses NanoStudio you can make this same patch with probably any synth which has a couple of oscillators that can be hooked up to built-in filters.
I can’t believe it has been an entire month of weekly #songrequests. A lot of time has gone into this and thanks for watching and listening to this evolution of sound and style. It has been a real challenge.
I had been thinking about doing something like this earlier this year but put it off because life happened. And seeing how I’m actually traveling to do performances in October, I knew I had to take this more seriously. If I were to just practice by myself I know that I would end up goofing off and maybe something musical might happen, but probably not. I also know that I would get stuck doing the same patterns; #songrequests is a way to challenge me.
Some things I’ve learned:
- It is so time consuming. Monday evenings usually are spent preparing new patches, searching Spotify for ideas, and thinking about how to execute the song. Tuesday evening is spent preparing, recording, and processing the output. And I’ve been going to bed around 3:00 AM.
- Shorter is definitely better. As much as I like 25-40 minute sets, attention spans are short on the Internet.
- Video is better than audio. I love SoundCloud but for this kind of music the visuals are more interesting than just listening to the song.
- Glow-in-the-dark colors are awesome on video. I’ve taken a lot of notes from other videos I’ve seen and color-changing backgrounds really make the whole thing better. Par lights are awesome. Visualizations are distracting though.
- I really only use 1 iPad. I’ve been trying to work in a 2nd iPad but it takes so much concentration to run 1 iPad the second one mostly sits there. One day it’ll become integral.
- 25 keys isn’t enough. When locked into 2 octaves I end up really getting stuck in 1 or 2 main patterns because I don’t have to hit the octave shift buttons. One day I’ll upgrade to a 37-key, but it has to run off of the iPad batteries.
- 2 phrase chord progressions are about the max I can juggle. That’s enough for a 2-3 minute song. It’s a little boring for a 8+ minute song.