As I state in my About page, my musical career began with the woodwind instruments, primarily flute and saxophone (alto, tenor and baritone). Call me biased, but when it comes to pure expressivity, I still think nothing beats the breath-controlled instruments (brass included). The two biggest limitations on such instruments are their monophonic nature and the limited timbres available. I suppose this is what fascinated me about the Yamaha WX7 wind controller when I first learned about it 20 years ago. It opened doors for wind players; now you had an unlimited palette of sound to play with just like the keyboard and guitar players. And one could still keep that connection to the instrument that channels such wonderful elements of creativity and emotion – breath.
Here is the late Michael Brecker, virtuoso jazz artist, playing on an Akai EWI. He shows just how powerful this type of performance can be.
While the focus of this blog is typically on new technology, if I find something more “organic” that is particularly novel I will share it as well. Such is the case with this next performance. This sort of hits a nerd trifecta for me:
It features a flute, which I played as a kid
It features beatboxing, which I ‘ve been fascinated with since I was a kid
Yesterday, I posted about the emerging field of Augmented Reality. The folks at 5 Gum are already working on making this a music interface. The graphic pattern that is shown determines the beat that is played and the proximity of it to a given point determines the volume.
There really is nothing like performing live for a crowd and my years of live gigging are memories I will treasure forever. Having shifted my focus to other priorities, I must say that my passion for mixing has never left and to this day, I try and get in some time on the decks if only for myself and some friends. Every so often, Discogs forum members hold a mixing competition and I have competed in it several times. The mix I am presenting here took second place, as rated by fellow Discogs forum members and contest participants, in the Spring 2006 competition. This mix is down-tempo and is my attempt to be as diverse in genre as possible and I hit everything from jazz, latin, funk, trip-hop and dub. Thanks for listening!
As I state in my About page, from a young age I have wanted to be involved in music production, which is why as part of my undergraduate work, I went for a minor in Recording Arts. Over the years, I have written dozens of half-finished pieces and riffs, but for one reason or another was really never able to fully finish a piece. One of the gifts that college has provided me is better discipline and better focus. In my Introduction to Electronic Music class we were tasked with developing an original composition, which forced me to follow my creative efforts through to completion. Earlier this week, I posted about the Buchla, and this piece has elements of the Buchla in it, hence the name. The piece was done primarily in Pro-Tools, and is my attempt at an original drum ‘n bass track. I will be the first to admit that structurally, it is probably not very DJ friendly, and it may not even be very dance floor friendly. But as my first fully developed and completed original piece of work, I would like to present it. Here is Buchlasaurus.
This is a performance from 2002, but it still blows me away everytime I see it. DJ A-Trak is a world champion DJ, having won the contest in 1997 at the age of 15, making him the youngest DJ to win the honor. In this clip, he is creating songs on the fly by sampling loops, scratches and synth tones from his turntables and mixer. He layers them piece by piece in real time and the results are pretty amazing.