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.

 

 

Cwtch – “Silver” EP nothing to do with global sports shock!

Hello,

As you may well know, when I’m not recording as Dementio13, teaching as ‘Sir’, or moaning/ruminating as Paul The Miserable Bastard, I’m recording as Cwtch with my  talented antipodean collaborator Marie Craven. We’ve been really quite busy over the past few months, what with new solo releases and (in Marie’s case) preparing/rehearsing live projects. But we always find time to make some new stuff as Cwtch.

Well here is our latest offering, released to no particular fanfare, with no big promotional ‘build-up’. What can I say about it? Well, we’ve made music which we want to hear. We’ve made the music despite a distance of thousands of miles between us. We’ve taken the best bits of what we do as solo musicians and thrown them into the blender. 5 songs which call to mind music past and present, mainstream and niche.

I hope you can share in this music….and, of course, if you like what you hear, share it with others….. we kinda rely on that.

SILVER

Please enjoy.

Loops and Stuff

Besides some experiments with Ableton and some demo tracks; and with no new releases planned as such; I’ve been busy recording and uploading some loops to Soundcloud. Some of them have been sitting on my hard-drive for ages and rarely get used when I record. Some are new loops which I’ve recorded in order to learn Ableton. So I thought I’d share them.

So, anyway, to cut a long story short, I’m putting them ‘out there’ for anyone to download and use as they see fit. The loops are all copyright-free and have an open Creative Commons license. If people want to use them for CC or commercial releases, that’s fine; I don’t want credit and am happy for the loops to be in the public domain.

They cover a few genres I guess, though they’re mainly electronic, having been produced on an Alesis Fusion and Korg Monotrons. A few of the drumloops were made using Propellerhead Rebirth mods on my old Mac. Anyway, I’ll shut the hell up now.

The loops are at http://soundcloud.com/dementio-loops

Still Bubbling Under…

No new ‘official’ releases at the moment, but plenty to keep me busy. I’ve been accustoming myself to some new kit, learning more little tricks on Ableton and knocking out a few experimental tunes.

I did a track a week or so ago, provisionally titled “Sully”, though I wasn’t sure where to go with it once I’d laid the foundations of the track. I decided to put it on Soundcloud to get some feedback/ideas and/or to let someone else play with it. Anyway, somebody did have a play with it; Diane Marie Kloba and Theodore Kloba (whose music is available here) wrote a song around the track, entitled “You Let Me In Your Room”. Here it is:

I really like the quirky post-punk vibe it’s got now.

I’ll probably keep posting some stuff on Soundcloud this week, so keep your eyes and ears open.

Incidentally, my recent album “Crash St” is here if you’ve not yet heard it. It’s a fair example of what I do. If you have bought or downloaded it, please keep tweeting/sharing. It means I get to reach a wider audience. Some of you have already played your part…thanks for that.

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.

 

Merry Christmas and a Sneaky New Track…

A short post, this. I just want to wish readers, listeners and interweb friends a really good Christmas and a marvelous new year. Many thanks to everyone who has either supported, followed, listened-to, or taken-part-in, what I do. 2011 was a pretty good year, creative-wise. It’s hard to think that we’re on the cusp of 2012 already….makes me feel old. Shouldn’t we be driving hover-cars or something? Anyway, whatever your preference/persuasion, have a good holiday season.

In other news, there’s a cheeky little Diebenkorn track (just a single track) for free download. It’s a bit different from the other Diebenkorn stuff…a tad darker, a tad rougher and looser, improvised, a little bit ‘jazzy’ and…er, well…that’s it really. Anyway, download it if you like it.

See you in 2037….I mean, “2012”!

Cwtch have been at it again…

Marie (Craven) and myself have been working on a new short collection of tracks and, I’m happy to say, it’s now available for download at Cwtch Central for free/pay-what-you-want.

It’s a warm combination of abstract lyrics, impeccably sung vocals, analogue atmospheres and stark beats. Marie thinks it sounds a bit like Boards Of Canada; I can see the comparison, but I think it sounds like Cwtch!

Anyway….please feel free to download, enjoy, share and pass it on.

Peace out brothers and sisters…..