No Challenge?

MF_LP1A
That’s MiddleF…and Launchpad (Mini). Or one badass long-playing album!

RPM Challenge 2014 has got to be some of the most prolific work I’ve crafted thus far, but has it been challenging? I did get an early start in February working with Ableton Live and the Launchpad Mini/LaunchControl in set preparation for Prototype 5, which I deemed productive idea creation for the album. There was, however, plenty of downtime for birthdays, family visits, nights out to party, watching the tube, etc. Instead of being stressed about being behind in the recording process, I took time out on a couple of weekdays (mostly in the last week) to finish up some working projects and polish the mixes. I also managed to record a Robot Scout session for RPM submission, too. Does it mean I like to procrastinate until the final possible minute? No, but it does seem to end up close to the wire most of the time. It’s always challenging to create under a deadline, but these days I’ve streamlined the process to make it easier to operate quickly and efficiently. Hence, I can afford to take my time with some things or choose to break from it with the knowledge that it’s simple to come back to. I’ve done the RPM Challenge for a number of years now, and likely would have made yearly records anyway, even if no challenge existed. We make our own challenges, and I consider this one to be more of a necessity.  I make art, and that doesn’t change. The challenge is making art you’re happy with. And even though I endorse a certain amount of improvisation in much of my work, it’s satisfying when it sounds composed.

This brings me to the selling point of this post: here’s where you get to listen to the finished product. Below are players for the new los beatniko record, MiddleF, and a Robot Scout session entitled Trois Robots. It’s a fine start for 2014, and I hope it’s the start of more challenges met and conquered. Until next time.

One final note…a link to the Last Gasp Noise Jam for this year, which is always a fun time. Neanderthal Lions is even small enough this year to be a band, not an orchestra!

Neanderthal Lions
Last Gasp Noise Jam 2014! With built in visuals!
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Prototype 5

A friend and electronic producer who performs as MssngMrblz has been organizing a series of shows called Prototype to showcase local electronic artists playing original material. I made my second appearance at the most recent show, Prototype 5, held at The Rockhouse in St. John’s on February 15. Not only was it a larger venue this time around, but the lights and sound were spectacular to behold. Flat screens, man! I opened the night with some harder-hitting tunes I’d been working on this month (being RPM Challenge season…more to come), and sporting another fun animal mask. The laid-back giraffe. I tried a rushed Mixlr broadcast, and was pleased with the enthusiasm I got for my set offstage. The rest of the evening was stellar, especially when I was able to snap some of the action using my new Fuji X-A1. Awesome performances by all, and a vibrant, excited crowd on the floor. It was great to see and hear local music-makers step it up and show off their best works. Events like this are a welcome addition to the growing electronic music scene in St. John’s, and here’s to continued successes. Check out mssngmrblz.com for more (the gallery has some great pics), and I’ve got mine up for view here. Now back to polishing some of those new tracks for this month’s album. Ciao!

Enter the headphones

Mixlr goes live with listenoften!

Time to go live on Mixlr!

Got a new spot to broadcast all things listenoften — Mixlr. I’d wanted to try some live audio streaming since ages past, and here we are in the future. Future!!! The future‘s supposed to provide that kinda instantaneous stuff and also get done in the easiest possible way, with the least amount of headache involved. This one looks pretty cool and easy to operate, but the proof will be in future live broadcasts of sound. Future! I’ll keep you informed of when the first big red button press is on, featuring everything from live Robot Scout jam sessions or studio performances, to los beatniko electronic sets. It’s a fantastic idea, especially for impromptu electronic DJ sets, and I’m excited about getting some real airplay for a change. Especially after upgrading Ableton and adding some Novation controllers to the mix. A new year is…hear?

Enter the headphones
Turn on, tune in, drop out!
Trash Tapes 1

Trash Tapes

Recently I decided to take an opportunity to join some local artists at Eastern Edge Gallery, and perform a sound art piece for their Annual Members Exhibition. I wanted to revisit the cassette tape’s role in history and in memories by using a couple of Sony Walkman players (Sport and classic 80′s Stereo models) routed through partially functioning outdated electronic equipment. The setup consisted of a busted Tascam Portastudio 246 with effects sends from a Digitech Delay rack into a small, crackly Realistic amp, which was output to a working Sony stereo able to record (to tape) the resulting performance. Playback of delay-warbled sections of early-1980′s cassettes (mostly recorded from vinyl by my uncle) in oddly familiar cacophony made for an interesting background for those gathered to see the other artworks featured in the gallery. Thanks to Michael Waterman and Kevin Hehir of Noice for their assistance. I returned Tuesday to listen back to the cassette of the night’s show (available as an installation for the week), and it sounds much clearer in headphones. This brings me to my closing message: somebody else’s trash is another’s art. I felt the need to get better utilization from my stack of archaic equipment and underused (yet “retro”) tapes, so I decided to fashion some new memories by destroying the old ones. And maybe a little more destruction or deconstruction is needed in these times of excess, instead of hoarding countless piles of vintage ‘stuff’ that you’ve outgrown. Some of these historical fragments of society have real value — at least in shaping who we are (or what we do) as people. Others are just sentimental junk we should throw away, or in my case, recycle one last time. Included are a few pics of the setup at Eastern Edge, and I may revisit the mangled tape theme for a future idea. I’ll keep you posted.

We can’t take the pressure.

Next time you think your existence is too pressured, remember that you’re not 300 meters undersea.  Your head would implode at that depth, and a multitude of sea creatures would feast on your remains.  Watched some recent BBC documentaries on the vast expanses of ocean on the earth, and reaffirmed my thoughts that the human animal is still nothing compared to many inhabitants of the planet.  We may ‘walk the walk’ and ‘talk the talk’, but deep sea is the same as deep space for us — unknown, dangerous and awe-inspiring.  So I got a little inspired myself and posted a new creation on Soundcloud called DeepSeaLevels because I remember some early 70′s nature programs having pretty funky soundtracks, and wanted to paint my style of audio picture, too.  Close your eyes, take a deep breath and enjoy it.  Just like your land-dwelling life.

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Underwater creatures party late at night!
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New Fall Tech.

So I ordered a new laptop recently to help me with any upcoming musical efforts…and mostly to avoid any unnecessary blue-screening from the old one. A bit of a chunk of change, but worth it for the customization. The only issue is that now I also need to procure the extra funds for upgraded DJ and sound production software, Traktor Pro and Ableton 9, respectively. Also worth it, but maybe at a slower rate of acquisition. There’s always going to be other gear to purchase in the grand scheme of things. I like using my old stuff, but sometimes it’s not compatible with new operations. And everyone loves to get new stuff, even if cash flow is dicey.
On that note, I’m including a new track on the Bandcamp page. Figured I’d toss this one up because I had most of the parts prepared (on my archaic version of Ableton), and it was sounding pretty great. Imagine a future world suddenly littered with lifetimes of discarded busted electronics, broken metal and plastic, and you being disoriented by the surrounding masses of jungle-like peripheral cables and endless extension cords hanging over the earth. What kinds of misplaced creatures or tribal cyborgs would you encounter? Ponder this scenario while you listen to los beatniko‘s new single, “Jungle Of Wires.” Here’s the track:

Here’s to a new season of collection! With purpose!

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Passion for sound art.

I read a good article my friend Gary James Joynes shared recently, by writer Geeta Dayal. Got me thinking about my role as a “dial twiddler” in the universe, and how I’ll never be happy doing anything otherwise. Isn’t this how an artist expresses oneself? By inventing and experimenting in their chosen medium, because it’s NECESSARY for personal satisfaction in their world. Not because anybody has to like it. Not everyone will. If there are those who appreciate (or pay you for) your creations, then give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back. You made an artistic impression on an audience who gets your stuff. Sound artists have been messing around for centuries, with varied tools and results. Everyone has their own method. The fact of the matter is that sounds are heard differently by a multitude of different people (especially these days), no matter how they’re created. And I’ll do it till I’m dead.  End of story.  Here’s some art:

VFI-BeatTheHeat

Official biz.

VFI-BeatTheHeat
Crave quality tunes you can lounge with beside your cooler? Not sooo fast…

Okay.  Summer’s officially begun, which means everyone’s doing something fun (or wants to be doing something fun).  Me included.  So here’s a shout to anyone in the St. John’s area who’d like some classy variety in their wind-down summer soundtrack — los beatniko twists some hipster jazz, funky grooves, electro chill, world sounds and hidden gems for your next shindig!  Got a bbq party, wine tasting, tapas and cocktails gathering, or other event with yr fine friends?  Got an interesting vinyl collection I can potentially utilize?  Wanna lend a hand in cultivating local arts?  Got a gig for me?  Fill out the contact form below to tell me where and when!  Let’s get down this summer!

I’ll end the post with a sampling of some original music from my Bandcamp site:

12-bit-autograph

Hot Plates!

The Kid was burnin’ at the closing night of the Lawnya Vawnya Festival, which may be the reason there were oven mitts for sale at the merch table.  I’m speaking of Eric San, a.k.a. Kid Koala, who I’ve been anticipating for weeks.  I’ve long been a fan of this unconventional turntablist, and quite frankly the guy’s a wizard. So it was fantastic to see him perform in my hometown, to a packed house.  And being a fan, I managed to get a few snaps and vids of the moment.  And the best part was the fact that I took with me my copy of his new record, 12 bit Blues, got his autograph, had a nice conversation, and gave him some of my music, too.  That made my night.  He’s a super nice guy, and gave me some cool things to think about.  I may end up in Montreal yet.  Regardless, it is really satisfying as an artist to get the chance to see others who have influenced your own creations.  Other performers who have done it their own way, and are successful with their art.  And having fun with it.  Smile.

 

12-bit-autograph
It’s worth it to wait until the end of the night…

You don’t have to win.

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Jump ship? Sink or swim.

Winning isn’t everything, it’s how you play the game.  Recall that idiom?  It’s apparent that society must have winners and losers in everything, because some rise higher than others.  However, those winners and losers may actually be trying too hard in their respective fields, instead of just doing what it is that gives them the most joy.  Playing .  On that note, I submit to you a new composition I’ve uploaded to Soundcloud.  If you keep floating above the surface, you’re doing alright.  Make yr art or music or whatever for the only reason you know.  Because if you didn’t, you’d sink and be miserable.  Everything else doesn’t matter.

a multimedia blog / online label / music post for the eccentric