Last night I had the great pleasure in taking part of Tekserve’s The Future of Music V, The Craft of iPad Music-Making. First off, Tekserve is one of those NYC places. It’s a place that defines the city just like Katz Delicatessen or The Empire State Building. The fix and sell Apple products and have been doing it long before the Apple stores existed. The large store sits in the flat iron district and it’s full of people and goodies. Not only new glass and aluminum stuff but the shop is filled with vintage cameras, awesome recording gear from the 60s, computer posters from the 80s and it’s a classic Mac museum too. You can tell it’s sits on Manhattan real estate because like the city it’s always packed and the pace inside is frenetic. Numbers and being yelled, tutorials are happening and people are spending obscene amounts of money all around you. The real wonder of Tekserve is the amazing team of what I learned were close friends running the place. Paul Rechsteiner who manages the place flies around the store smiling ear to ear doing what at first seems like mingling but on closer inspection he’s micro organizing everyone like a turbo charged Roomba. I met a few of Paul’s co-workers such as Rob in the A/V dept and operating the on stage camera, Ben Casey who was doing sound who took the time to show me his Elektron Oktopad and Steve Chu who helped me figure out a hardware glitch on this very Macbook Pro I am writing to you on today. It’s a smart bunch and when Paul walked me through the huge back and basement of the store to get me coffee even the managers and CEO smiled at me. This place reeked of pure class.
Around 7:00PM the other presenters of the evening arrived. I’ve know Peter Kirn for a few months now and he brought his new Meeblip with him. I’m fascinated with the energy he puts into his blog Create Digital Music and it’s a kick to talk shop with him. During his performance He used the software Pure Data on his iPad and Midi to control his hardware Meeblip. I met Harry Allen who had a seriously long list of credentials but for the life of me the only single fact I can remember about his resume was that he was the guy who said the line, “Don’t Believe the Hype” in the samed named Public Enemy song. Steve Horelick who runs the popular Macprovideo.com tutorial site and is known for creating the theme song for the television show Reading Rainbow played two ambient pieces. Before the event there was a lot of discussion because Steve really wanted to play a longer piece. In my mind I thought oh boy ambient this is going to be lame. Not only were half the people there solely to see Steve both his live pieces were great. I usually hate that kind of music but it was more Stanley Kubrick soundtrack and hippy dippy burnt guy sounds. Joshue Ott created an iPad app called Thicket. It’s an art toy filled with as my wife put’s it “migraine inducing visuals” and sound. His performance was by far the most futuristic. The generated audio bleeping away with the wild grid lines the app puts out were really stunning when projected loud and large.
For my own performance I used TC Electronic’s Voicejam, a great 360 looper on my iPad. I used an IK Multimedia iRig adapter to bring audio from several iPhone apps into the iPad and Voicejam. I first created a beat using Tweakybeat. It’s a little drum machine app with a heavy swing and random option. Anything Tweakybeat creates could be a Berlinesque minimal track. Next I layered in some Moog Filatron. I set the Moogs analog delay simulation all the way up to feedback and then recorded a loop while I played with the delay time. It creates a sound like 500 samplers all pitching up and down. For the third layer I recorded a vocal saying “I Want Your Body” into an App called iVoxel. It’s a nice sounding vocoder app with a neat trick. There is an edit mode where you can scrub your finger across your recorded and vocoded waveform. Into Voicejam that went to but not just a simple one shot. I recorded my finger swiping across the waveform. I added some white noise toms from a synth App called NNN Mono. Just to impress the crowd I then used an app called Scanner911 and recorded some live Chicago Police department ramblings. Once all my loops were recorded I used Voicejam and put on a quick performance. The wonderful thing about this looper is it’s circular and each loops plays in time where you put your finger. So if you click around the circle at different loop locations your glitching or say time traveling between loops.
Tekserve was notified the New York Times, Rolling Stones and some other big press were at the event. There were certainly enough large still and video cameras around to believe it. On my way out Paul handed me a Tekserve bag with a 1TB portable Glyph drive in it… class operation!
It’s 7:30AM so I have to run out of here to my day job calling. Tonight I will update this post with more photos and eventually the entire video from the night will be online. Thanks to everyone who showed up!
UPDATE: I finally had a chance to upload a full photo set: click here
For more info: tekserve.com
This entry was written by interviews, live performance and tagged Ben Casey, Harry Allen, Joshue Ott, Oliver Chesler, Paul Rechsteiner, Peter Kirn, Steve Chu, Tekserve. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
KVR Audio has an interesting article from Chris Halaby where takes us back and shows us the very early days of software sequencers. The story is written from his point of view and I am sure the German companies would slant things differently. I also think Atari’s were rock solid and I never knew anyone who needed to keep a spare around. That said, it’s a great read and I appreciate some of the new info there. Check it out: click here
“Dave’s idea was to use the Mac to replace the dedicated hardware that people like me were using in recording sessions. In November of 1984, he bought a Macintosh, and after learning to program in a GUI environment, wrote the first version of ‘Sequencer’ (a software version of the aforementioned box) in six months. I loaned him my DSX for a couple of weeks so he could make sure that his software would be able to everything the DSX could do. In order to connect to the Mac he designed a simple MIDI interface that could be connected to the printer and modem ports (RS-422) and in a stroke of brilliance made the package narrow enough so that one could screw two separate interfaces to the ports on back of their Mac and get a total of 32 MIDI channels.” – Chris Halaby
photo credit: Marco Raaphorst
This entry was written by interviews and tagged Atari, Chris Halaby, KVR, midi, Opcode, sequencer. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
Andrew Zuckerman: Music is an iPad multimedia book with interviews, photographs and portraits of 50 popular musicians. What has me interested is the theme of the interviews. Andrew asks why music is important. What makes music important to the artist. “The App is currently $4.99 and is available on in the App store: click here
“The Andrew Zuckerman: Music iPad app features dynamic portraits of over fifty musicians, from across genres, who provide their perspectives on one of the most universal and yet unexplainable art forms. It includes portraits and a short film for each contributor, as well as interviews and behind-the-scenes photography. Live text from the interviews can be organized by theme and is sharable. Musician pages link directly to the artist’s page in iTunes…” – andrewzuckerman.com
For more info: andrewzuckerman.com
This entry was written by interviews, iPad, music, promotion and tagged Andrew Zuckerman, biography, interviews, iPad, musicians. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
To coordinate with my New Year’s Eve performance at the Landespavillon in Stuttgart, Partysan Magazine has interviewed me. You click the image above for a readable size or head over to my record label’s website for an English translation: click here
” I played one year for my Birthday. After the show I walked outside of Club Prag and some young German people were leaving and asked me to come with them. I got in their car leaving all my stuff at Prag. A few hours later I was in some other club so trashed I was asking people what they thought of my live show! Everyone in the new club was like, “Who the hell are you?”!” – Oliver Chesler (The Horrorist)
For more info: thingstocome.com
This entry was written by interviews and tagged 2011, Germany, interview, Landespavillon, New Years Eve, Partysan, Stuttgart, The Horrorist, Things to Come Records. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
Puremagnetik creates and sells mini monthly sample packs for Ableton, Kontakt & Logic. I recently met Micah Frank at IMSTA FESTA and thought I would follow up with this interview.
I really like your subscription model. Tell Wire to the Ear readers how it works.
Puremagnetik produces a new “Micropak” each month. A Micropak is a small (usually under 600MB) sound set that is very focused on a particular instrument. You can subscribe for $5.75 per month and download the Current Micropak. We keep each Micropak current for 2 months, so there are two Current Micropaks available at all times. You can also buy a full year subscription or buy the entire catalog. Additionally, users can purchase back catalog Micropaks individually – similar to back issues of a magazine.
Tell us about your recording chain. Are there any microphones or outboard processors your in love with?
I mostly program Puremagnetik’s electronic content. I prefer to keep my signal chain as transparent as possible. Good A/D matters most to me. I rarely use compression during tracking but sometimes I like to use my API Lunchbox’s 512C’s as a DI. Our other sound developer Brian produces all of the acoustic stuff in some great studios. He uses all of the Pultecs, Chandlers and Neumanns.
Sometimes we go shopping (Toys r Us). We also have a great network of studios and synth geeks all up and down the east coast. If I can find a good deal on eBay, I’ll jump on it – Synthi owners speak up! A lot of the stuff I’m working on now is more conceptual so it requires less defined devices.
What percent of your customers would you say subscribe vs just buy a pack they like?
It’s a 50/50 split. Some people like the subscription model. Just as many people are happy grabbing them once they become back catalogued.
What is your most popular Micropak and what are your top 3 personal favorites?
The most popular Micropak is an oldie but goodie – Eight Bit. It is a pack of sounds from a Commodore 64 SID chip.
The Micropaks I like the most are the ones I enjoyed working on the most. I love the ability in Live to reverse engineer the concepts behind some great synths. If you look at Puremagnetik’s Vector, Waveframe and P-50 Linear you will see that I have broken the synths down into their core components and reconstructed them in Live Racks. In Waveframe for instance, I took all of the Fizmo’s wavetable content and reconstructed the whole synth in Live using Ableton Sampler’s modulation functions.
Brian also did the same kind of reverse engineering in this month’s Omnichord inspired pack. In my opinion, this is where Puremagnetik really shines – when we break away from the same old multisampling conventions.
I know you make music yourself. Tell Wire to the Ear readers some of the bands you work or have worked with and some places online they can hear your music.
The only band I have worked with in the past few years is a local artist named Atarah Valentine. I got in touch with him through Ableton and Damian Taylor (Bjork). The highlight of my work with him was this past June when we opened for La Roux at Terminal 5. He’s a very talented singer so I look forward to working with him a lot more in the future.
My big project for the past year is Tectonic. It is a realtime sonification of earthquake data as interpreted by Max and then synthesized by a Kyma/Pacarana system. http://micahfrank.com/tagged/tectonic. For the past few years I haven’t really enjoyed making horizontal music. By that, I mean music that is pre-composed in a given timeframe by a horizontally oriented DAW. I am finding it much more gratifying to create a system like Tectonic or just grab my DrumKat and improvise under my alias Kamoni (kamoni.net) You can see and hear all of the other stuff I’m up to at micahfrank.com or soundcloud.com/micahfrank.
What music are you listening to lately?
Tim Hecker, Robert Normandeau, Ben Frost, Alva Noto, Zoot Woman
Here’s a public offer. If you want to make a Micropak out of my Electrocomp-101 (number 521 out of 2000) feel free but you have to come to my place. I’m not lugging that thing to Brooklyn!
Thanks Oliver! That would be totally awesome. You have just been inducted into PECSGN (Puremagnetik East Coast Synth Geek Network).
photo credit: Rachel Papo
This entry was written by interviews, sounds and tagged 8bit, Brooklyn, Micah Frank, Micropak, Puremagnetik, sample library, samples, sound. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
I had a great time speaking on the “Geek Out” panel at this weekends IMSTA FESTA. The event put on by Shocklee has pro-audio companies show their stuff in different recording studios at SAE Manhattan. As I approached the street entrance a young guy stopped me and asked if I would buy one of his hip-hop CDs. I was surprised because I didn’t think I looked like a good target audience for him. I asked if he was coming inside and I was surprised again when he told me he had no idea what I was talking about. I let him know he should come up and there would be producers, djs and lots of stuff to check out. He looked a bit afraid and I got the idea he was probably 15 years old or so. Anyway I went in without him and wondered if there was anything at all on the CDs he was trying to sell.
On the 9th floor of SAE there were about 10 security guards in the halls. Once I meandered into the recording studios I knew why: there was lots of nice equipment inside! Immediately I ran into Fady Hayek who is the National Sales Manager for SSL. I was a regular at the Club Cubase meeting he ran when he worked for Steinberg in the 90s. James Bernard had a nice audience watching him go through some amazing tricks and tips with Reason and Record. I love watching him demo stuff. He really gets the software, knows the shortcuts and makes you want to run home and do it yourself.
In the VIP room I met Peter Kirn (Create Digital Music) for the first time face to face. We spent some time thumbing through the latest Keyboard Magazine where Peter wrote the lead story about Moog. We instantly got into the Voyager XL and how it doesn’t make any sense and how awesome it is. I met the Micah Frank from Puremagnetik who apparently I had some emails correspondence with in the past but forgot. Sorry Micah! I briefly met Julie Covello (DJ Shakey) from Warper and we moved to the panel room. We decided to each chat about the one thing that’s blowing us away these days. Peter chose Pure Data and explained in other words it’s the code he’s got a passion for. That it can be on his old desktop machine or his phone and it’s been with him a long time. He’s pure geek for sure! Julie picked SoundCloud and YouTube. I didn’t even consider a non-tangible object so props to her because I think we all spend more time in Social Media than making music (shame on all of us!). I thought her pick was a right on. Micah picked Renoise the old school Tracker that was recently updated. I made the obvious choice to everyone that knows me… iPad! What was unexpected is upon polling the crowd we found that only two people there owned iPads besides me. I showed off iElectribe, SynthPond and SoundPrism. We had a short Q&A where we learned Micah translates earthquake data into sample packs. Yep… he’s a geek too. Propellerheads let me give a few shirts and hats away and it was a wrap. Thank you Jo-Anne for inviting me I enjoyed it greatly!
This entry was written by hardware, interviews, iPad, promotion, Propellerhead Reason, synthesizer and tagged IMSTA, IMSTA FESTA, Julie Covello, Micah Frank, Oliver Chesler, Peter Kirn, Puremagnetik, SAE. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
I will be speaking on a panel with Peter Kirn (Create Digital Music), Micah Frank aka Kamoni (Sound Designer & Founder of Puremagnetik), and Julie Covello aka DJ Shakey (DJ, Creator & Promoter of the Warper Party, Music Collector) on Saturday, September 25 at the SAE, 1293 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York NY 10001.
The IMSTA FESTA is free and should be good fun and of great interest to anyone who reads this blog. It’s a pro-audio manufacturer get together and panel series. It’s from 11:00AM – 7:00PM. Some of the exhibitors include Ableton, Arturia, Bias, SSL, Celemony, IK Multimedia, Image Line, Native Instruments, Pianoteq, Propellerhead, Rob Papen, Steinberg and Waves.
UPDATE: Over 1,000 people are registered. Come on down!
“IMSTA FESTA, a celebration of music software is coming to the heart of New York City. The First IMSTA FESTA started in Japan where it was highly successful for technology companies, producers and hobbyists alike. IMSTA FESTA brings a collection of the top audio technology companies together in an environment where they can interact with music makers face-to-face. If you use music software you will benefit from this event in a number of ways.” – http://www.imsta.org
For more info: http://www.imsta.org
This entry was written by interviews and tagged ableton, Arturia, Bias, Celemony, IK Multimedia, Image Line, IMSTA, IMSTA FESTA, native instruments, Oliver Chesler, Peter Kirn, Pianoteq, Propellerhead, Puremagnetik, Rob Papen, SAE, SSL, Steinberg, Waves. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
NPR has posted an audio story on the history of the Vocoder. They interview Dave Tompkins who recently wrote a book called How to Wreck a Nice Beach: The Vocoder From World War II to Hip-Hop. Grab the book from Amazon (about $20): click here
“If you’ve listened to pop music in the past 40 years, you’ve probably heard more than a few songs with a robotic sound. That’s thanks to the vocoder, a device invented by Bell Labs, the research division of AT&T. Though the vocoder has found its way into music, the machine was never intended for that function. Rather, it was developed to decrease the cost of long-distance calls and has taken on numerous other uses since.” – NPR.org
To listen to the audio story on NPR: click here
This entry was written by hardware, interviews and tagged book, Dave Tompkins, How to Wreck A Nice Beach, interview, NPR, vocoder. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
I’ve always thought Gary Numan was highly underrated. Go back today and listen through his albums and see if you don’t agree. Honest loud real analog synths and interesting vocals. They don’t make them like they used to.
“Gary Numan (born Gary Webb on 8 March 1958) is an English singer, composer, and musician, most widely known for his chart-topping 1979 hits “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” (with Tubeway Army) and “Cars”. One of the first musicians to use electronic synthesizers successfully in rock music, his signature sound consisted of heavy synthesizer hooks fed through guitar effects pedals. Commercially unsuccessful for many years of his career, Numan is nevertheless considered a pioneer of commercial electronic music. His use of themes from science fiction, and his combination of aggressive punk energy with electronics, have since been widely imitated.” – Wikipedia.org
The official Gary Numan homepage: http://www.numan.co.uk
This entry was written by interviews, live performance, music, synthesizer and tagged 1980's, concert, Gary Numan, interview, music, new wave, Recording Studio, synthesizer, synthpop. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
I once also owned every single Front 242 record. I wish they still made song structured songs with Jean Luc DeMeyer on lead vocals. Even still, I am glad for the amazing albums they gave us such as Official Version and Front by Front. I saw them perform at the Palidium in the late 80s. It was awesome.
“Belgian industrial group Front 242 were at the crest of the Electronic Body Music wave, carrying the baton from groups like Throbbing Gristle and Caberet Voltaire, combining their post-punk aesthetic with strong backbeats, slices, samples, and ominous vocals. Their raw sound is married with strong militaristic imagery, chopped-up scenes from television, and even evangelical leanings.” – redbullmusicacademy.com
For more info: front242.com
This entry was written by interviews, music, video and tagged electronic body music, Front 242, Red Bull Music Academy. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.