Here’s another Kaossilator 2 Jam. Like the others, it has no edits or post-processing, just one take.
I think this is a satisfying constraint because the Kaossilator 2 is really an instrument as opposed to a “workstation” or any other kind of production tool. It Can’t really be said to support “editing”, so while it does enable “composition” through successively capturing loops, and while it has some drum patterns and a gate arpeggiator which enable beat-precise notes and drum sounds, it is generally unforgiving of mistakes (no undo) and its limits are regarded as severe, for example, the loop length maxes out at 8 beats, ruling out most chord-progression style jams.
So freestyling is a good way to get the visceral sound qualities but also to avoid the trap of endless tweaking and perfecting note position, effects chains and tune composition that a full DAW seems to invite.
Unfortunately the video and audio are slightly out of sync which is super annoying considering I captured them together, it seems they only diverged after Youtube’s video processing step. I’ll have to look into that because video and audio sync has been a persistent challenge for me.
If you have any tips for this please leave a comment below.
Make your own music! One thing I’m conscious of these days is how much of my time is spent consuming what other people make compared to the time I spend making my own stuff. If I exclude “the day job” which is actually making stuff for other people in exchange for money, I wonder what the percentage of each really is.
So here’s a Kaossilator Jam I just made, Kitchen Table Techno. Strictly speaking, it’s not really techno… more of a megamix maybe, but it’s definitely a kitchen table and it was all made in one sitting with no edits on the little Kaossilator 2. Some disapprovingly call it a toy, but I call it a toy and fully approve 🙂
Please let me know what you think of it in the comments.
So much of modern western civilisation focuses on the economics of mass consumption, but I prefer to focus on the economics of mass creation! This doesn’t mean I think we should all be subsistence hermits, but what is a healthy ratio?
Making stuff expands your skills of self-sufficiency and it adds value to the world. Making is a form of discovery and a path to mastery.
The maker movement is a trend that picks up the trail of DIY Culture and I see it as a good example of a restorative and enriching trend in the world today. It’s the most literal form of productive culture I know.
As one of my heroes, Alan Kay, says, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it”.
What do you think is a healthy ratio of making to consuming?
Here’s a jam I recorded on my new Korg Kaossilator 2. I restricted myself to a short, unedited session with no post processing or other mistake-fixing. What you’re hearing is just the sound recorded directly in the device while I improvise on it.
The Kaossilator 2 is so much fun I am starting to drool over the Kaossilator Pro which is bigger and more powerful. Honestly though, the fact that I can keep this little thing in my pocket makes it much more usable.
If you are not familiar with Kaossilators, the sound is super fat. The Kaossilator 2 has a full hardware PCM engine with 150 different sound programs. It has drum patterns, kits, chords, bass, acoustic, lead and sound effect banks, each of which can be played in any key on the touch pad which can be switched to dozens of different scales. One of the coolest features is a gate arpegiator with 30 different rhythmic patterns so if you put the scales and arpeggiator together you can get pretty precise good control of notes and timing. It even has variable swing.
Oh, there’s also an iPhone/iPad app called iKaossilator (see what they did there?) which really is a different beast. It’s good for the same kind of stuff but it has very different abilities. It’s more like a five track looping sequencer. You can edit your five tracks in only a limited way but they remain independent. This limits additive layering but enables more precise mixing because you can solo and mute five parts. The 16 beat loop length also really expands the options. No gate arpeggiator though.
Overdubbing into two independent beat-matched loopers allows you to build up and break down tracks. You can also cross fade them. It has some serious limitations which may annoy some (no undo, no ping ponging) and it only does up to 8 beat loops which is a real killer if you want to do anything like a pop tune or most things with chord progressions. Nevertheless, for electronic dance music, various bass music styles, jazz genres like afrobeat and anything else with layers and loops, it’s an excellent sketch pad for making beats.
Yamaha produced a kind of experimental control surface for electronic musicians called the Tenori-On. The interface is a little too experimental for my taste, but it does show how you can control almost every aspect of a multi-track composition with a simple matrix of lights – track volume, modulation, instrument selection, melodic sequencing and pattern composition to name a few. I had a chance to play with a software reproduction of this device for the iPhone. The result is a very rough sketch of a melodic electronica vibe:
My good friend Jim Poe, DJ and label master of Republic Music, founding member of New York’s legendary FSR crew and confirmed good guy – he’s been busy and that means we all get lucky. In this sample set he gets together with JP as “Mancusian Circus” (whatever that means) and broadcasts a sturdy set of galactically eclectic vibes across Bondi Beach (as you do).
The musical angle seems to be a “Nuyorican melting pot” with healthy helpings of Afrobeat, Disco, Dub, Deep House and what is, to my ear, a sprinkling of Brazilian Funk, Japanese LoungeCore and Hawaiian Country … or something! I don’t even know. Jim! JP! Where do you get these sounds?
The unassuming two perched their decks up near the skate bowl and pumped the life-giving bass across the surfscape in the early autumn sun. If you want to catch more of this kind of thing, why not head to their Thursday gig at the inimitable Ching-a-Lings on Oxford St in Darlinghurst, Sydney.
No cover, no mirrors, no attitude.
Sounds like my scene. I’ll try to be there, say hi. More details are to be had thither: https://www.facebook.com/TheMancusianCircus
A while ago we blogged about masterful bassist Nathan Navarro producing some pretty dope dubstep wobbles live on a bass guitar. At the time, Nathan was using the Source Audio Hot Hand which a lot of our visitors have been particularly interested in.
In case you don’t know, the Hot Hand is just like a guitar pedal, except that you can activate it by moving your hand. But it’s better than that. If you want to continuously change an effect, like a Wah Pedal, you can use it to modulate the sound. Of course the sound doesn’t just have to be a Wah Wah, and it works great for a lead guitar as well.
Better than that, you can actually control two parameters at once, so, really it’s more like a 2D control surface like a laptop trackpad. Being a modern control, you can choose what parameters you control, so it’s no surprise that Nathan manages to pump out some serious wub wubs and wow wows.
Great news for anyone who has been holding out before getting one of these babies, since our previous post there is a new version, the Hot Hand 3. It’s compatible with everything, has a huge wireless range and gives more options and more control than the earlier versions.
Check it now:
As Nathan demonstrates, you can have the Hot Hand on the headstock of the guitar or bass and move the whole guitar to generate an effect, or you can have the Hot Hand ring on which allows hand movements to do the same… or, if you’re Nathan Navarro, both at once!
Since working on Racer and launching it a few people have said, ‘oh it’s like such and such a game’ but I’m yet to find something that is truely as unique as this AND is in a browser. Racer is a multi-player, multi-device Chrome Experiment. A retro-style slot car game played across screens. On phones or tablets, Android or iOS. Anyone can join. No apps. No downloads. Just the mobile web. It’s now up for The FWA Cutting Edge Project of the Year. If you think it deserves it please cast a vote!
Here’s Racer being demo’d at Google I/O 2013 – live demos are always nerve wracking, thankfully this one went smoothly.
Also awesome and cutting edge is that there’s also an installation version that runs on the same code base as the mobile game. The table was at Google I/O 2013 and another Google event ‘Zeitgeist’. Here’s a couple of pics of the table:
In addition to the table version, there are two flight case boxes containing a line up of mobile devices ready to play. This version also runs on the same code base. Here’s a pic of the cases and me demo’ing it at Cannes 2013 in the Google tent :
This is my first exposure to Estas Tonne. Maybe he is Hugh Jackman’s long lost twin or what.
Watch his face. Now watch the crowd’s faces. He is transporting them to another place.
Classical purists might not be totally on board but this is exactly the sort of impassioned, accessible creativity that inspires me. It’s been a long time but that look of total absorption reminds me of the feeling I always followed when practicing guitar: being lost in the vibe improvisation.
The incense wedged in the guitar headstock is an interesting touch.