Free audio recordings from the Berlin S-Bahn.

Yesterday I took a trip to Ikea in Berlin. To get from Prenzlauer Berg to Spandau takes about thirty minutes on the S-Bahn. I had my camera with me which also takes decent video. However, it wasn’t visual imagery I was after. I hit record but left the camera’s lens cap on. I was only after audio recordings.

There are a myriad of hot flash recorders on the market but I used what I had with me and I think the recordings sound great. Another advantage of recording this way is people aren’t really aware of what your doing. If I had a Sony PCM-D1 in my hand people may not speak naturally. I’m planning on using some of these recordings on my next album but your free to use them too. Remember it’s not the sounds, it’s how you use them!

The audio player will play each sample in succession:

You can download the 24bit Wavs by clicking here:

Berlin_S-Bahn by Oliver Chesler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at

photo credit: leralle

Iggy and the Stooges equipment stolen.

One of the golden rules of modern times is: Never ever leave stuff in a truck unattended. Every first of the month in any city you see moving vans guarded by college girls as their boyfriends haul Ikea crap up into apartments. If they all know this rule why didn’t The Stooges management? Nevertheless we can’t blame them; it’s the dirty thieves that we have to be pissed off at. Let’s hope they are dumb enough to try and hock the gear on eBay because one thing the management did right was record all the serial numbers. Here’s the story:


All equipment was in a rented penske 15 foot yellow truck with u.s. (michigan) license plate number AC46493 parked immediately outside the hotel, the theft had to have happened in the morning, between 6:30 and 7:30 am – truck and all gear stolen.

if anyone has information, ANY INFORMATION! Please, please, PLEASE as soon as possible contact Eric Fischer at:, cell phone: +1 646 932 1907

By the amount of “please’s” above, I’d say Eric is in deep shite. I know Montreal has a big biker community so maybe they can help considering they probably agree with Iggy’s demeanor. Then again… maybe they pulled this heist off. Let’s hope they catch whoever did it.

For a list of what was stolen and each item’s serial number: click here

Related posts:
Hard drive stolen right out of computer during set.
Secure your recording studio from thieves.

Photo credits: 3pom and Robert Scales

Negative or subtractive sequence arranging.

I often say that the arrangement is the most important part of a song. For some people it’s also the most difficult task. Anyone can make an incredible short loop but developing it into a 4-5 minute song takes some practice, thought and planning. A trick my friend Miro Pajic uses which he calls “negative arranging” consists of copying every track’s parts across the entire 4-5 minutes. Next, he goes in and deletes parts instead of starting blank and adding clips/parts as he progresses. I don’t personally work this way but I was surprised to see Miro is not alone.

As I was doing my nightly troll though the Ableton forums I came across a post by uber Live geek Tarekith. He posted a link to his guide to song arranging and it’s definitely worth a read. He also uses the “negative arrangement” style but he calls it, “subtractive sequencing”: click to read

This is a technique I call subtractive sequencing, where we start with all the song elements and remove bits and pieces to form the structure of the song. –

Have you ever tried this technique? Personally I fill up Session view with many tracks, clips and scenes and drag them into a blank Arrangement view.

Infrasonik’s top 10 Ableton Live shortcuts.

Infrasonik is a Canadian company which produces sample packs for electronic musicians. They just posted an outstanding video on YouTube of their top 10 Ableton Live shortcuts. This is one of the best Ableton Live tutorial videos out there. I knew most of the shortcuts but this was a nice reminder of a few forgotten tricks. If you use Live I am sure you will learn something.

On the Wire to the Ear YouTube channel I have created an Ableton Tips & Tricks Playlist. So far I put five videos in it and will be added more as a come across videos I think fit.

Pick a portable hard drive for your music catalog.

I’ve been recording music since 1989 and each year since I’ve saved my songs, stems and album covers on Cassettes, DATs, Zip Disks, CDs, DVDs, assorted hard drives and even in the cloud. Today with each new important music social network or online music retailer that arrives I have to upload my entire catalog again. The past few times I’ve done this by digging into all the old CDs repeatedly. Today I put an end to that madness. I purchased a portable bus powered USB 2.0 drive that is the new grand central station of all the music I ever created (and all the music on my record label). Each release is in its own folder containing the song in all formats, artwork and remix files. When it’s time to upload to Trackitdown I have 320kpbs MP3s using the Lame encoder ready. Beatport? No problem Wavs are at hand. Oh yeah, I also keep 30 second previews saved too.

This is a novel idea but I feel good that I finally got around to it. I think this massive futz was just in the nick of time as my old Tascam DA-30 DAT machine was making squeaking sounds. The next step is to use SuperDuper! and regularly clone the new baby. It’s true that someone could steal my entire music catalog all in one swoop but those interested are already doing that online (har har). I put a .txt document on the drive titled Contact_Me.txt. I hope if the drive ever does get lost, stolen and found a nice person will be kind enough to reach me. I’m considering also encrypting the drive. I’ve heard Leo Laporte on the TWIT podcast mention software to just that. What was it called again? As long as it’s not too tricky or kill the performance of the drive why not.

So what exactly did I get? I’m in Berlin so I walked down to Alexanderplatz to Mediamarkt and grabbed a Western Digital “My Passport” 160GB bus powered USB 2.0 drive. I know Firewire would be a bit faster but I am purely just using the drive for file storage and I have more USB ports than Firewire ones available. This drive was only 67€, anything with Firewire was over 150€. Check out the photos of this thing: click here I know its geeky to look at hard drive photos but this thing is uber nice. It’s white, tiny and has a white LED power light that also blinks when the drive is in action. To top it off it came with a short white USB cable.