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