15 July 2012
3 June 2012
20 May 2012
The video shows a light reworking of Caribou’s Sun using only static machines and four source tracks. Flex machines and slicing samples can take you a lot further, but it also takes a lot of time to get set up, so I wanted to show what is possible using some basic techniques. This way of working feels quite “freestyle” in that you can put something together quickly and easily try out different ideas. Since not so much is pre-programmed, it does require practice to develop some kind of a routine.
In the current version of the Octatrack OS (1.11), samples can be played using one of two “machines”: static or flex.
Static is for playing long samples (limited only by the capacity of your compact flash card), and flex is for short samples. Static machines can be used to construct DJ sets by juggling playback of complete tracks between two static machines.
Flex machines are loaded into the Octatrack’s memory and are thus are limited in length (eg, one-shots or a couple of phrases). On the up side, you have very deep, fine-grained control over triggering and the sound itself.
At present (again, v1.11), it is a little convoluted to do extensive sample chopping on the Octatrack itself. It is much easier to prepare and warp samples prior to loading them onto the OT. It can be done, but unfortunately it’s rather tedious. Many OT owners are hoping the situation improves. It really should be a straightforward exercise to load a static sample, find and loop a segment you like, and then grab the loop, saving it as a new sample and assigning to a flex machine slot. But it’s not.
The work flow was as follows:
25 February 2012
My favourite music of 2011, wherein I list things I like and make pithy comments. See also, from 2010. A good year in music. A good year for sellers of reverb pedals.
If you have Spotify installed, you can listen to most of the music mentioned herein (or via a web link).
Could best be described as 2011’s Vampire Weekend. Catchy, sugary, summery and light; singing about not much in particular, take it or leave it. Like Vampire Weekend, one might wonder how long the shtick will hold for before smacking of triteness.
Drawing on electro stabs, the stand out tracks on Eye Contact are of a decent length: setting a scene, packing a picnic basket, and taking you somewhere. Experimentation is leavened with pop sensibilities and mid-tempo beats.
High-tempo dub/wonky/dubstep/dnb/whateverwecallitnow/. With restrained production and well-programmed beats, the album is chock-full of quality tracks.
Basically, a good old-fashioned pop-rock affair. Lots of catchy, somewhat twangy guitar-driven tunes. Elements of the tracks fit well together and there is enough interest and depth to keep the ear interested.
A wonderfully accessible and rollicking adventure in art-rock. Frenetic, jangling sounds which seem to metamorphose every 30 seconds, flipping from soft gentle singing and guitar strumming to righteous guitar licks and on to fuzzy noise.
Fusing the spoken word of Gil Scott-Heron with Jamie xx’s production talent results in a fresh sound that swims between hip-hop, dub, two-step, wonky and dancehall. The track “Ny Is Killing Me” is one of the most anthemic tracks of the year with a piercing synth line and bouncy, rubbery toms. The collaborative effort is made more poignant by the passing of Scott-Heron in 2011 after a rather colourful life.
Perhaps a little overlooked because everyone expects genius from the living treasure that is Tom Waits. Raucous shanties and soft ballads highlight Waits’ versatility and distinctive character.
A rather sublime release with the overall album having a muted, shimmering feel. The biggest disappointment is its short run-length, which seems over before it starts, and leaves us hanging with some rather beautifully haunting closing tracks.
This is saxophone played in an animalistic way, seeming to channel raw agony, pain and delight. Combined with sparse vocals, looped phrases and occasional percussion, Stetson paints a grand scene. Urgent, throbbing and incredibly emotive.
I’ve never really been much of a PJ Harvey fan. I know she is a respected artist and all, but I always found her a bit dull. Perhaps it is a sign of my maturing (or going over the hill) that I find Let England Shake so wonderful. It brings together excellent, meaningful lyrics, superb singing and great compositions. It is also the only full-length album from 2011 which I enjoy listening through in its entirety. Repeatedly. It’s not a gimmicky or cutting-edge sound. But it does sound instantly familiar and reminiscent, a sound that is well-lived in somehow, and will surely age well.
(p.s., thanks Ms. Pettersen!)
Didn’t quite make my top 10, but are worth a listen were:
Some favourite tracks from albums not mentioned above:
7 February 2012