Category Archives: Music

Dance!

Is there anything more human than dancing? Here are a few of my favourite music videos with dancing in them, simply because they make me so damn happy (or other emotions). Also: kick-ass tunes!

 

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Montreal Assembly Count To Five

One of the most peculiar pedals I have bought myself in a long while. It is a sort of granular delay/looper with three distinct modes of operation: digital delay, instant looper, instant triple voice looper.

I am not even going to try to explain it in any depth, but in the first two modes you can control the pitch and direction of the playback from one octave up and backwards, to one down and backwards, then to unity pitch+speed, to then increase to one octave up forwards. The “delay” mode has length and feedback controls much like you would expect, the instant looper length and length randomiser. The triple voice looper works much like the instant looper but there is just one speed/pitch for each voice and you control if you want one, two or three voices playing back.

See? Makes no sense in text. You need to sit down with it, guitar plugged in and in hand, to understand how things work together.

For me the CT5 has meant two challanges: firstly, to learn how it works – this I have started to come to grips with; secondly, to learn how to apply what it does – this is the hard part!

NOTE: I tried hard to embed some nice photos and clips from Instagram here but it just didn’t work. You can find them here, if you want.

Review: smallsounds/bigsounds Fuck Overdrive

I have been wanting to get my hands on one of these for years. For some reason, other pedals were prioriotised (many fuzzes, chorus, looper, the Quest for Compression etcetera) and time passed. And then in 2014 there was a Black Friday sale on the smallsound/bigsound website and I finally took the leap. It came in a limited edition finish and with a t-shirt included, both of which I am a complete sucker for…

A brief overview: it has controls for Gain, High Cut, Volume on the top row which do what you would expect them to; the second row controls the secondary function of the pedal – the Crackle function, activated with the momentary footswitch labled Boost. The On/Off switch controls if the momentary switch turns the Crackle on or off when pedal is activated; Threshold sets how strong signal is needed for the sound to get Crackled; the Heavy/Light switch controls the nature or the Crackle, glitchy/gated death or overdriven tape deck with maintained sustain.

So my journey with this pedal has gone like this: first I started with the pedal in the middle of my dirt section, with the gain set low. The Crackle goes up as the gain goes down, so this was a lot of fun! I then discovered how pleasing the overdrive from the pedal was so I spent a few weeks with the gain pushed up quite a bit – but that lost me the explosiveness of the Crackle (fantastic for looping), which eventually made me take the gain down again. By then putting the pedal last in the dirt section I get all the sustain from the previous drives and fuzzes and as a welcome side effect, the Fuck is absolutely amazing when you stack other pedals into it. The JFET-based circuit has a warm but still quite flat EQ which does wonders for fuzzes especially but firming up the low end.

This has in practice become an always-on pedal for me. I only turn it off when I need really clean, sustaining notes for looping or more delicate and/or funky stuff. These days, whenever I turn on another overdrive or fuzz and this one is not on after it I immediately feel like something is missing. The Crackle function is just the delicious, seductive icing on the cake that is this lovely piece of electronic pastry.

[ there used to be a very nice photo here of the FOD sitting on the very nice t-shirt I got with it but it’s disappeared and I can’t even find it on my computer anymore! ]

 

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Online recordings

I may have forgotten to mention here that I have a SoundCloud account where I upload things. So to correct this: I have a SoundCloud account where I upload things! Mostly it is sound tests, various proofs of concept, there a a few pedal demos etcetera.

This is the link that takes you to the page.

Here are some pieces of actual music I recorded today – I just put the phone down in front of the amplifier and uploaded straight from the SC app. Recording on the phone is not without risk… Sorry.

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The latest videos

Here are the latest additions to my Youtube channel.

First, another example of what happens when you glitch the tempo on a Deluxe Memory Boy delay pedal. Since it keeps changing tempo the delays are constantly pitch shifting. This could very easily be gimmicky and distracting but with this soundscape it works very well.

Next, a demonstration of what the “crush, kill and destroy” function of the Fuck Overdrive from smallsound/bigsound does to the signal from an electric guitar. The real juice starts after the five minute mark!

Finally a demonstration of the types of sounds that can be expected from a Malekko Vibrato. Warning: dog hairs.

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Recent videos

Today I have a Boss VB-2 visiting so I made a very simple demo of it. Sounds lovely!

Here is a brief one from when I was learning the basics of my new looper:

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Making money with music as a paper thin excuse

A current Pitchfork article: Making Cents.

A couple of pertinent quotes from said article:

“The question of when we’ll be profitable actually feels irrelevant. Our focus is all on growth. That is priority one, two, three, four and five.” (Daniel Ek, CEO of Spotify).

Indeed, music itself seems to be irrelevant to these businesses– it is just another form of information, the same as any other that might entice us to click a link or a buy button on a stock exchange.

Who are backing these companies? Would I be very far off if I guessed that they are various kinds of capitalists (venture-, investment- et al) who have found a quick way to generate capital? Who are running them? Would I be very far off if I guessed that they are various kinds of “boardroom professionals” as we call them here?

Look at the ownership of these companies. Why do the old “conventional” record companies own such great shares in for example Spotify? I suggest that control of assets is the key motivator.

All of this (and more) work to limit creativiy and suppress variety in the mainstream. None of it has the slightest thing to do with music.

Also, an interesting perspective from the world of books: I Tripled My Royalties.

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Audio demo of the Tech 21 Liverpool

I intend to use this mainly as a DI for recording, but also as a way to get close to my sound at rehearsals where I can’t bring my amp by plugging it into whatever amp or PA may be around. Sounds good, feels much better than Guitar Rig.

This was recorded with my Hagström Swede reissue through my pedalboard, into the Liverpool and then straight into the NI audio interface – the Liverpool is basically acting as an active, toneshaping DI box.

Please note that this is by no stretch of the imagination a showcase of my playing, I’m basically just fiddling around with a bunch of sounds. It’s one stright take, unedited.

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New looping video

Did this yesterday, a few new tricks and techniques this time and not quite as “nice” sounding.

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