The record label and artist schwag has arrived.

Do you remember my post titled “Give away free stickers and rock buttons at shows!“? I took my own advice and re-ordered some stickers and rockpins for my record label. Here’s two photos of how they look. This specific schwag comes from www.stickerguy.com and www.rockbuttons.com. I will be chucking this stuff out at the next bunch of live shows I do. I can report satisfaction with both orders.

Remember to save a few for the promoter who booked you, the sound guy and your driver. Also it doesn’t hurt to put a few pins on some nice looking ladies. If the club is ok with stickers plastered all over it like CBGBs be sure to go to town!

By the way, I will make some Wire to the Ear merchandise later this year!

Quick Tip: Ableton Live’s Auto Pan as a Chopper.

When I record old analog synthesizers that do not have MIDI or CV control (like my Roland SH3) I often use a Chopper plug-in to make the synth sync rhythmically. An example where I did this is my song Sex Machine. The main driving bassline is actually the SH3 playing a solid note being chopped into 8th notes (audio sample below)

I recorded that song using Cubase SX3 which has a built-in plug-in called “Chopper”. But Ableton Live doesn’t have a dedicated Chopper plug-in. For Chopper duties in Live select the Auto Pan! If you want a triangle wave cutting your audio into 8th notes like in the Sex Machine audio sample below put Auto Pan on the track you want chopped, choose the Chopper preset and input these settings: Amount: 100%, Rate: 1/8, Phase: 0.00°, Shape: 100%

Sex Machine:

Of course there are many free and third party chopper, gate, trance freakout plug-ins you can also use. What’s your method?

DJMixes.us is a place you can download techno sets.

No one likes a fat rock star. Because of that fact I hit the gym about five times a week. I do thirty minutes of weight training and thirty cardio. Sometimes I run on the treadmill and sometimes I do the dam elliptical trainer. So I do I keep from going mind numbingly bored? How do I keep myself motivated? I have an endless supply of new DJ sets.

Almost every day you can find a new mix posted at DJmixes.us. The obvious disclaimer here is that more likely than not this is not a legit site. I doubt any proper permission or licensing has been sorted out for these to be available. That said I am always happy when my own live sets show up on filesharing sites. In the end it just gets me more bookings. I personally have bought quite a few tracks on Beatport that I discovered while listening to DJ sets.

http://www.djmixes.us/

Amazon’s new MP3 Clips Widget is pretty nice.

I was pleased when Amazon.com took on iTunes in the MP3 selling space. The more competition the better. I am a member of Amazon’s affiliate program. When I suggest a product on Amazon I can add a little snippet of code to the end of the url and if someone purchases the item I get a small cut. You can add your own affiliate code to your own band’s music for sale on Amazon too. This way you make money from the sale of the MP3 and a small bit extra for creating the sale on Amazon. Amazon also gives you a cut of anything else someone buys on their site during the visit that started with the special url. So if someone comes to Amazon to buy your MP3 but then buys a television you make a nice commission.

The great thing about the Amazon affiliate program is that you not only make commissions on the item that you link to from your blog but any item that your referred reader might buy after clicking your link. – problogger.net

Last week Amazon released a new MP3 Clips Widget. You don’t have to be an affiliate member to create and use them. You can choose any song or album or combination of either to be displayed. If you are an affiliate member it will attach you code to any sale generated by the Widget. The Widget’s come in a few web friendly sizes. Interestingly, your MP3 Clips widget can also be set to automatically display the latest MP3 tracks you purchase on Amazon. Here is a Widget I created for my newest album:

If you hit the play button you can see the cool translucent interface that pops up over the album cover image. The buy links take your directly to Amazon and include my affiliate code. I hope iTunes releases something similar. As of now their affiliate program which is run by Linkshare only lets you attach an affiliate code to an iMix or pre-determined popular albums.

If you want to feature just one song try the mini player. Here is one set with a white background:

The AES convention in Amsterdam is this weekend.

The Audio Engineering Society meets this weekend (May 17-20, 2008) at the RAI Conference and Exhibition Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. It’s has a few similarities to other pro-audio trade shows like NAMM or Musikmesse. However, some would argue AES has a stronger focus on the scientific side of audio. Audio forensics for police applications and presentations by the Fraunhofer group concerning their surround sound MP3 format are the types of panels featured.

Established in 1948, the Audio Engineering Society (AES) draws its membership from amongst engineers, scientists, manufacturers and other organizations and individuals with an interest or involvement in the professional audio industry. They are mainly engineers developing devices or products for audio, and also people working in audio content production. What came to be the AES was formed at an organizational meeting at RCA Victor Studios in New York City on February 17, 1948. Its first membership meeting followed on March 11, drawing primarily from the area’s broadcast and recording operations. The guest speaker at the first meeting was Harry F. Olson, a prominent engineer and scientist at RCA. – Wikipedia.org

Gear is also intruduced at AES and that side of things will be well covered on many pro-audio sites. Be sure to check out our friends list on the middle column of this page for some websites to check. The pre-roll has begun: a nice Universal Audio 710 Twin-Finity Single Channel, Tube & Solid-State, Tone-Blending Preamp was announced. Another tasty tidbit is CharterOak’s ‘small studio collection’ which “is the total
microphone solution for small recording studios with a tight budget”.

After the weekend I will update this post with anything I feel is interesting from the show.

Montreal was great. Drove to NYC. Opened boxes.

The first night Festival Kinetik was great. We sound checked at the same time as Ascii Disko (photo above). He forgot his audio interface so I lent him my M-Audio Firewire 410. I have to mention the 410 because that interface has worked flawlessly for my live show over the past several years. Daniel (Ascii) jumped online without leaving the stage, downloaded the drivers and it worked without a glitch. It only takes a minute to set up the 410 to control the on stage monitors using the M-audio control/system preference panel We had dinner and Sake together and had a chance to catch up with Matt (Satronica) who was one of my best friends when I lived in NYC.

The Montreal Mirror interview I did was out around town and it’s also available online now too. You can read it by: clicking here. I also did a video podcast for Vergel Evans great show LX7.ca. Be sure to keep an eye out on his site for that. Lastly, I did a video interview for noisescape.tv based out of San Fransisco. I was in a strange good mood when I did that interview and told some interesting stories. I will be ashamed when I see it!

There will be a plenty of photos and videos from all the live shows. You can already see one from Nitzer Ebb’s set on YouTube: Join in the Chant


I skipped the after party fun and got enough sleep to pick up the rental car at 9:00AM. We ended up with a Kia Sedona. I wanted something with some power but it rained most of the drive back so in the end the Kia was a good choice.

I arrived in NY and happy me the box from Curious Inventor.com was waiting. So far no audio tests but here’s a photo of my new toys…

In the hotel in Montreal jet-lagged but ready to play.

Tonight I perform in Montreal, Canada at a Festival Kinetik. It’s a three day event with over 50 electronic bands and DJs. Tonights show is Nitzer Ebb, Ascii Disko and myself (The Horrorist).

We flew here last night with Air France; layover in Paris. For the transatlantic leg we were on a huge Boeing 777-200. A small city can fit on these planes. It was boring as ever. I can’t believe when I lived in NYC I used to fly over the Atlantic 2-3 times a month. I don’t think I could go back to doing that. To pass the time I listened to a few podcasts. For readers of this blog the podcast of note you should check out is Sonic Talk from Nick Batts and his crew over and SonicState.com. This week they discussed the Moog Guitar, Turnkey going out of business and in ear headphones. I also had the mispleasure of watching the movie Jumper staring Hayden Christensen and Samuel L. Jackson.

I think it’s funny that the Canadian border is by far the hardest to get through. I’ve been to places like the Ukraine but Canada holds the top spot for always being a major pain in the ass. I always have a proper work permit but it’s never good enough. Every time it’s first a stop at the immigration office and then Customs. This time Customs was extra nasty throwing my underwear all over the table. It took me twenty minutes to fold those neatly! Anyway, we made it though and met the promoters and Nitzer Ebb. I’ve played Montreal a bunch of times before and know the promoters well so we caught up a bit then drove to the hotel.

The hotel is decent, a place called Candlewood Suites. Each room has a kitchen and free wifi. Free internet makes me happy and the kitchen is useful because it’s stocked with coffee. I’m going to need that tonight because I’m typing this to you at 6:30 AM. Luckily jet lag usually doesn’t effect me too much.

They are shooting a DVD of the festival and I know the director Larry Kraman so there will be some wicked footage. They will have six nice cameras rolling tonight. I also did an interview for the Montreal Mirror yesterday. Of course I’ll post whatever media I can grab.

Back in Berlin Miro Pajic is using my studio and feeding the dog. As long as he doesn’t put in the wrong alarm system code again (that was a disaster) he should make some good music this week. By the way he has a full length album that just came out on my label called Everything is Nothing.

After Montreal we head to NYC by car. I will be doing a few music related things like visiting the studio of Mark Ephraim (The Shorebirds). He has some nice API gear. Oh I also have a Voice of Saturn Synth and Sequencer being delivered to my mothers house!

Crystal Castles caught ripping other artists off.

Crystal Castles is a band named after a pretty cool 80s video game. Ethan Kath and vocalist Alice Glass are from Toronto, Canada. I’m going to tell you right now I like their music. I’m also going to point out two important things. First, people are having strong reactions to their music. They love it or hate it and usually that means the music is somewhat good. If there is no reaction to music or it’s “ok” that usually means it sucks. It’s easy to make filler right?. Second, the fact that they got caught means they got noticed and in today’s blur of a million bands thats also a good thing. All press is good press.

They suck….and they’re thieves. – Cycom, Harmony Central Forums

So what did they do that was so bad? Allegedly they took some 8-bit “chip tunes” music by artist Lo-bat that had a Creative Commons license attached but used the song in the wrong manner. The license stated the music could not be used commercially and also stated one had to give attribution to the original producer. Crystal Castles apparently did neither. Here is the article on the Create Digital Music blog discussing the details including audio samples of the original and new song. Be sure to also read the interesting comments: click here

But thats not all they did. UK visual artist Trevor Brown makes paintings of injured woman and children. He has a painting of Maddonna with a black eye. Crystal Castles saw the painting and used it as one of there album covers. They did so without any permission. When contacted by Trevor they made promises they didn’t fulfill and in the end insulted the guy. You can read Trevor’s blog post titled “crystal [expletive deleted] castles”: click here

As an artist you draw ideas and concepts from the world around you. You do have a few completely original thoughts in your life but they are truly few. I am sure Crystal Castles could have easily avoided this situation with a few emails asking for permission. I have no doubt Lo-bat and Trevor Brown would have read said emails with joy and gave an official “go ahead”. Instead Crystal Castles are being trashed and calls are even being made to have them knocked off the NIN tour.

Do you like Crystal Castles music?

photo credit: Jalapeño and small ape

Driver’s License as Ableton Live MIDI Controller.

This morning I had a message on Facebook from a friend of mine George GábriÅ¡. The message said. “Yo I found this to be quiet bizzare.” and there was a link to the video above. Apparently someone figured out you can use the magnetic strip of a drivers license as a mini ribbon controller for Ableton Live.

Using the magnetic strip on the back of my driver’s license to make a ribbon controller which then controls Autofilter in Live 6 via MIDI. – db3l

He has some other cool videos up including an Ableton controller made of Popsicle sticks and pennies and a controller printed on a regular piece of paper.

By the way you can friend me on Facebook too: click here