Live on Mixlr (and a bit of ‘geeking-out’)

As you possibly know, I’ve been considering playing some of my stuff live in order to give me (and hopefully, listeners) a new perspective on my music and to promote my tunes a bit more. I also said that I was going to document the process, as I learn and/or make mistakes….so here it is (be warned: this post contains some really mundane info about my…ahem…’equipment’). I’m not sure I’m any closer to actually taking my stuff out to venues yet, but I have, at least, found a way to play my music as a performance.

I’ve recently spent a few days trying to work out some practicalities: how to recreate sequenced parts (about 80% of the music) for instance; without just sitting there and pressing ‘play’. Ableton Live is now my chosen method of recording and, as its name suggests, it is equally adept at facilitating some forms of live performance. That was its whole selling-point back in the day. Another issue was how to route the computer and the live instrumentation (such as Monotrons, my synth and bass guitar) in order to use the multiple effects my tracks rely on whilst being able to retain ‘hands-on’ control for live tweaking. Then there was the issue of streaming the audio to Mixlr.com.

Well I seem to have worked it out. The more technical adept amongst you would probably have a solution to all of this instantly. It took me a bit longer. Two days of re-arranging, trying-out and occasional frustration. But the set-up is now complete, I think. Well, except for a decent clip controller such as the Launchpad (I bought an app for the iPad which purportedly does the same, but its reliability is really erratic….not exactly what you want for a live situation). Anyway, I can’t afford to spend anything at the moment, so the Launchpad will have to wait.

So, this is the primitive and Heath-Robinson-style set-up:

  • iMac running Live (if I ever need to do a gig, I’ll use the MacBook instead, but for streaming from home, I need the laptop to connect to Mixlr at the moment). With clips triggered manually on the fly.
  • Keyboard controller connected to iMac.
  • Monotrons chained together.
  • Alesis Fusion as a stand-alone synth/sampler and for some sequencing duties.
  • Bass guitars fed through the mixer.
  • Multi-fx connected to the mixer’s sends.
  • iPad for Korg MS20 sounds.

All of this is fed through my tiny Behringer mixer and then routed into the Macbook via a Tascam i/o interface. The only issue I’ve encountered is a bit of interference from the Mac (or it could be my wireless router) when using the multi-fx.

So, this gives me the means to use Live and to tweak effects settings/clips and the mix using the mouse (at the moment, though I’ll use the controllers when I get the Launchpad or similar). There’s probably easier, more straight-forward ways of doing this, but it works for me.
This is what it all looks like at present:

The mixer is full to capacity! But this layout does make it easy to twiddle, tweak and play everything from the same spot (while maintaining a degree of tidiness!).

As for Mixlr….I recommend it. At first it seemed a little bit awkward to stream using their dedicated free software (you have to download this if you wish to broadcast. It didn’t display correctly and I couldn’t make head nor tail of it. Then I realised I had some system fonts missing on my computer. Once I’d installed these, the text appeared correctly and it was easy. Not exactly rocket-science….or even GCSE Science…..but it challenged me! The site itself looks very slick and I get the impression there’s quite a bit of beta testing going on, but it works ok. It’d be nice to have more of my networking friends on there, but I hope that’ll come in time.

So, the plan is to present a series of hour-long ‘gigs’ on Mixlr with a different tracklist from my albums for each gig, also some cover versions of my favourite music and anything else I fancy doing…..synthy improv (‘Symprov?’), noise, radiophonic-style stuff, that kind of thing. I am sincerely hoping people tune-in to listen, or I’m gonna feel like a complete dick.

I did a little test (three tracks) which you can listen to HERE. A few mistakes, a bit of sound-balancing needed; but I’m quite happy with the sound quality in general.

 

 

February Mailout – ‘Crash St’ Imminent

Hello again. This is just a reminder to tell you that my new album ‘Crash St’ is available from Thursday 1st March (ie. next Thursday) at http://dementio13.com . I’m really pleased with it and hope you can share in the music.

It’s a pay-what-you-want download, with no minimum price, so you could have it for free. All I ask is that, if you decide to download it and like it, please share links on Twitter and/or Facebook; your recommendations help it reach a wider audience.

Bloggers/DJs have been very complimentary in their reviews:

“…electronic, programmed machine music, bursting at the seams with humanity and soul, imprinted with the traces of its creator…….Dementio13 has mastered the art of creating human music, organic music that breathes, while capitalising on the power and impact of the machine.” (Jan 26, 2012)
Oliver Arditi – oliverarditi.com

Full review at oliverarditi.com/2012/01/26/dementio-13-crash-st

“…his forthcoming Crash St album reveals him to be still moving forward in invigorating and never predictable directions, his exploratory electronica more varied in texture and mood than pretty much any of his contemporaries.” (Jan 31 2012)
Unwashed Territories – unwashedterritories.blogspot.com

Also, there’s a free album of my older stuff over at http://cutmatrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/alt-delete, so help yourself. You don’t even need to join a mailing list to download….no strings.

CRASH ST. PREVIEW:

Thanks,

Paul”

No Label, No Scene….

Hello again. Hope you all had a jolly nice Christmas and are gearing up for the New Year. So, here I sit with a glass of mulled wine in the hand and Prefuse73 on the ipod dreaming of aural spires. Whatever that means.

I’ve been ruminating heavily…..on the subject of what form my next release should take. As always, there’s a bit of a concept behind the new album, a clear vision. But there isn’t as clear a vision about what media it should take the form of.

I recently had a (very flattering and appreciated) suggestion that I should submit ‘The Hobbyist’ for serious consideration for release by a fairly hefty and cool netlabel. Now, I’ve been stung by this before, letting the flattery and ease of submitting the distribution of an album take over the my need to be totally independent. So, I’m eschewing this route. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate it……it’s just not right for me at the moment.

I should make it clear to all and sundry that I’m not concerned with making money from my releases. That’s why my music is free/pay what you want. Neither am I craving any form of fame or notoriety. Maybe I should be; but I’ve gotta admit that I have a total lack of ambition in these matters. Sure, if something came along, I’d possibly accept it (given the right circumstances), but seriously, it’s about getting the music out there and heard, even if only by 50 people. I really appreciate it when folks download my music, I’m ecstatic if they pay for it, as I tend to believe that the music isn’t really worth people’s hard-earned cash. But if people are voluntarily paying for it, I take this as the ultimate compliment. Every single download means so much.

I’m reading a lot of blog posts, etc from people stating that sharing is the way to build an audience and I’ve always agreed with that. However, the means of sharing is not fixed. As I’ve noted, Twitter and Facebook are now not an option for me as I’m depriving myself of these media as a little experiment (it’s not the people that are the problem, it’s that I am getting disillusioned with the corporate nature of these sites and how much time I was spending on them, plus I found I was tweeting absolute bollocks most of the time!). My main form of communication is now through this blog, email and the wonderful Soundcloud. Also, in the spirit of sharing, I’ve enabled all my albums to be downloadable for free on Last.fm. If you’re short of cash, or just want to listen before spending time downloading hi-res versions, 128kbps MP3s are available on Last.fm. This will probably be the case with the new album too. It may be ready to release earlier than I thought, also.

On a slightly different tack….Cardiff/South Wales has a burgeoning and lively independent scene championed by the likes of Huw Stephens, Adam Walton and John Rostron. Artists such as Alone, Sweet Baboo, The School, Pulco and Jewellers are making great inroads into independent territory and gaining a decent following on the back of some cool releases and live performances. All are worth checking out, by the way.

I, on the other hand, am not planning to play live….not in the flesh anyway (I’ve got two live sessions soon to be aired on Dandelion Radio in 2012). My promotional methods are constantly changing but are mainly limited (or ‘developing’, to look on it positively). I’m a hermit. I’m not at all fashionable. My music is sometimes quite conventional but not populist, even to left-field musos. So, I think I’m not part of any scene as such. This is a good thing, you understand; but it places me on the fringe of something which is already on the fringe. This is not a complaint….it’s almost a badge of honour actually! But it means my music will not be heard by a large mass. That’s something which occasionally I regret, but is purely of my making, so no problem.

Anyway, the new album might be ready for February (end of).

That is all.

Peace out, etc, etc.

 

SnackTracks – A Breakdown

Hopefully, some of you lovely readers will have listened to the new EP. If you’ve downloaded it, many thanks. If you’ve bought it, many, many thanks!

I like to get some insight into the music I listen to, whether its trying to guess what equipment has been used, or trying to surmise what the intentions were. So here’s a breakdown of the tracks, just in case you’re interested in these things.

1. Snackshack

This track was actually first recorded in 1999, so its very old. I was slightly in thrall of DJ Shadow, Wagon Christ and Coldcut at the time; so the original version of the track reflected that. That original version has always been a personal favourite track of mine, with its lolloping beat (drum hits from James Brown’s ‘Funky Drummer’), weird atmospherics and 1960s beat music groove. It reminds me of a particularly good time in my life too. For a laugh, my old mate Neil did a mock-Norwegian rap to it which actually sounded really good; but that was never recorded.
Anyway, the new version, recorded in November 2010, was an attempt to recreate the mood of the original, and beef it up a bit too. The updated version has an insistent sample from Coppolla’s film ‘The Conversation’ (if you’re not familiar with it, check it out, its fantastic) and a couple of other movie samples, as well as a more synthetic feel. The same distorted bass sounds and drumbeats remain.

2. F*** You, Purist

This track just kinda happened. I’d not intended to do a vocal track originally, but thought I’d try a spoken-word vocal on there. The lyrics were originally a lot more varied and the vocal was longer as a result, but I cut most of it out in order to make it fit a little better. The theme, as such, is me ranting about the rather self-righteous nature of self-confessed music ‘purists’, who will dismiss music because its of a certain genre, or because its been recorded in a certain way; without actually listening to it! They tend to be a bit obsessive about vintage gear like analogue synths, or classic guitars, or vinyl, as well. Oh…and valves! They’re always ranting on about “warmth”, like some elderly relative constantly feeling the radiators and complaining about the chill. It’s about music and equipment fetishism.
I mean, we’re all music snobs to some extent, but really!
Anyway, the noise on this track is pretty piercing…an FM drone on my Alesis Fusion. The synth bass is a squarewave bass I programmed, and the underlying bassline is my bass guitar through a lowpass filter and a ring modulator.

3. Ohm Song

This was originally a song (ie with vocals) also, but I cut the vocal as the track seemed to have a life of its own as an instrumental. It’s got a lovely upright piano sound from the Fusion, and a tweaked Oberheim preset synth from the Fusion again (I tend to programme most of my own sounds and record my own samples, but there are some expert, and rather cool, preset banks on the Fusion website, so I occasionally use them). Incidentally, the Alesis Fusion is my main instrument for writing/recording…. it pretty much does everything, and because it’s not used by many people (its not one of the more fashionable synths), the tracks always have a slightly different sonic ‘feel’ to other music. Its very underrated, if occasionally a bit unpredictable!

4. The Pit

This track is very recent and has gone through a couple of incarnations. I never intend to make a track actually sound like another artist, I just stick to my guns. But I guess your influences do affect the way you make music, so in retrospect, this has turned out a little bit ‘John Carpenter’! Anyway, repetition that slowly builds and builds is a musical feature which I love. Repetition that slowly builds and builds is a…. oh, you see what I did there?!

5. Under The Bed

A funny one this. The instrumental version had been completed, but the track still didn’t feel right, and I’d been singing along to it. I came up with an odd little lyric; about capturing dreams through drawings and placing them under people’s beds to make them dream those dreams. Er..yes, Paul (backs out of room). Anyway, it seemed to fit. Once I recorded it after a few tries, I still wasn’t happy with the vocal (this is usual for me; I’m no singer!). So I put it through a vocal transformer, and hey, presto! Instant ‘drunk female vocalist’! Enough said.
The instrumentation is fairly simple: strings, synth pad, lead synth and chorused bass guitar (two bass lines).

6. Clinging To The Wind

I really love music which conjures up images for the listener. Movie soundtracks are a big part of my listening habits; and, of course, my music is a reflection of this. So, that this track has elements of John Barry, Ennio Morricone, Roy Budd and Ron Grainer, is inevitable I guess.
A layered theme with dense instrumentation, I think this is a bit excessive sonically, but oddly I’m still quite pleased with it. There’s a distorted bass guitar under there somewhere, and also the bass played as a lead guitar. As a result, it sounds a bit New Order-ish as well, which was unintentional.

Anyway, I hope this has either given you some insight, or made you want to download the EP, or not download it, even!
Bye for now.

Dementio13 – Grid Reference – Out today!

Dementio13 – Grid Reference – Out today!


Grid Reference – Dementio13

A hand picked collection of 8 impressive electric tracks that showcases the talents of Producer/Remixer Dementio13.
Grid Reference smashes its way through various electronic genres giving a loud, proud two finger salute to ’sticking to one formula’.
Dark, Fast, Deep and Mellow ‘Grid Reference’ is your Number One user guide to all things Dementio13!

mp3 zip pack (320kbps)
8 tracks
£6.00

‘Echoes In The Alleyway’ Tracklist

Well, its almost two weeks to the release of the album, and Nicky (MacMillan – the guy who brilliantly put this all together) has sorted out and issued the tracklist.
The order of play has been much thought about. Despite the fact that you can download individual tracks separately, as many people will, this is still an ‘Album’ (capital A) and is intended to be heard from beginning to end.
Anyway, Nicky’s done a great job of coordinating all this.
Remember, this album can be downloaded free, but a decent contribution to the Teenage Cancer Trust would be most welcome.

Release date: 18th October 2010

‘ECHOES IN THE ALLEYWAY: A TRIBUTE TO DOVES’ TRACKLIST:

‘Disc One’

01. Dementio13 Firesuite

02. The Honored Guests M62 Song

03. Tom Hummer House Of Mirrors

04. A Clearing Snowden

05. Substance Sea Song (Substance Sonar Remix)

06. springtide Rise (Live From Abandoned Seaside)

07. Thoughts Of Crossing Compulsion

08. Loren Carpenter – Red Guts The Last Son

09. prAnkster Caught By The River

10. Ella Constantinides – Friday’s Dust

11. Clarion Words (Reprise)

12. Bradley Rains The Cedar Room

‘Disc Two’

01. Supercade Eleven Miles Out

02. Town Criers Black And White Town

03. Fourteenhours Here It Comes

04. Dr.Keys Dub’s House Of Mirrors

05. Silentjets The Outsiders

06. Substance Spellbound (Substance Quartet Mix)

07. The Jetsprays Brazil

08. Alambradas Melody Calls

09. Loren Carpenter – Red Guts Some Cities

10. Richard Stephens and John Howe Andalucia

11. John Rockliffe Caught By The River

12. The Nurse Who Loved Me The Cedar Room

13. Modeon Ambition

New Album – Free to download

I’ve got a new album finished and I’ve posted it on Last.fm as a free download for all interested parties!
It’s entitled ‘Plate One’…don’t really have a reason why….words just sometimes come into my head!
Anyway, it’s dark, it’s coarse, it’s occasionally chilled…so hopefully you’ll like it.

Download or listen HERE.

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Unsigned Electronica Artists – A handy Cut-Out-n-Keep guide

I don’t buy CDs anymore.

Now, this could be seen as an attempt by me to say “Look how advanced I am technologically”, but far from it.

Its not that I don’t actually buy music anymore, I do. I just prefer to get it in convenient digital packages which take up no space in my living room, I can play immediately and I don’t have to spend hours ripping them onto my Mac in order to listen to them on my ipod.

So, its partly a practical solution.

Once you get over the sentimental and romantic idea that CDs and vinyl are objects to be cherished because you can touch them and look at them on the shelf and say to people (silently, smuggly) “This is my taste, look at my music collection”, it really isn’t a problem.
Of course, if you want to announce your musical taste (and we all do, really), you can do so on Last.fm where people can view your music collection in an instant. The problem with that is: when you secretly play that old Kajagoogoo album that you keep hidden behind all the Finnish Jazz, Swedish pop and Japanese HipHop albums; it isn’t a secret anymore. The Last.fm Big Brother sees all.

Anyway, I digress.

No, the really good thing about the digital music ‘revolution’ (old hat, I know, but it is revolutionary) is that it has enabled any musician with an internet connection to get their music heard. Music sites, MP3s, ipods and social networking have democratised music. Not completely, but mostly.
Labels and distributers still have vast resources to promote and distribute ‘signed’ artists’ music, thus getting it played on radio, etc. But people are becoming more used to the idea that good music is good music, whether it be by a signed artist or an unsigned artist. And if its available for free, all the better.

Its at this point that I must confess that my staple listening involves signed, or established artists. But I’m trying to change my listening habits. Some people have already done that themselves. For instance, my main recent musical collaborator, Marie, seems mainly to play nothing but unsigned artists, all trawled from Last.fm.

Anyway, here is a link to my playlist of unsigned artists whom I have found particularly interesting (excuse the self-promotion bit; I have populated the first part of the playlist with Dementio13 tracks):

‘Sonic Stuff’ playlist

And here’s a list of the artists in no particular order:


Corrientes – Quirky and varied electronic music with elements of pop, rock, electro, HipHop, and latin flavours.


Northcape – stunning trip hop and IDM


The Peach Tree – Bizarre electro and techno


Decabastard – group collaboration project between most of the artists listed here


SK123 – awesome electronica with high production values and interesting arrangements


Remergence – great house, techno and IDM


Metricks – electronica and IDM from Portugal


Pixieguts – wonderful Antipodean vocalist collaborating with many international producers


HealeyIsland – UK-based electronica producer with a growing fanbase


Crimson Death – fantastic drum n bass from Canada

There are many other artists, of course. But these are the ones I am most familiar with. Definitely worth searching out.