13
Oct

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This fantastic steel drum player was busking outside Ealing Broadway station, this evening. In the couple of minutes I spent listening to him he covered some pop song I couldn’t place and Bach’s Toccata & Fugue in D-minor. He let flow a gentle, swaying lyricism to both pieces: a hint of jazz, a nod to the relaxing heat of the Carribean, the odd blue note and lots of swing. Glorious!

I’m a fan of buskers who pick music or styles that exaggerate or totally shift the ambience of a space. I think if you simply busk famous songs in a style similar to how they’re most known, you’re missing a trick. Busking has so much potential to subvert the familliar patterns of an average day. Not that I have musical skill enou to pull this off, you understand!

This guy nailed it. Totally out of place amongst commuters scrambling to get home, and really beautiful; reminding us to take it easier and smile more often.

26
Nov

I’ve owned an Akai MPK-49 controller keyboard for nearly three years. It’s built (fairly) well, surviving a couple of years’ worth of gigs with only minor damage and almost totally functional. What isn’t so good are the pads. They’re dreadful. Akai’s MPC series drum-samplers have legendary pads – their 4×4 layout, solid construction and that slightly grippy rubberised texture are an iconic design.

an mpc 60 Read the rest of this entry »

27
May

I’ve uploaded some sounds from the BC 16 to SoundCloud, for playing and sharing. They’re all made with the patch leads set up the same way, but with different settings to some of the controls. And they mostly sound like sirens in rave reocrds!

Here’s a photo of the patching:

BC16 "Swinging pendulums" patch Read the rest of this entry »

26
May

Domestic Disturbance descended on my friend Andrew McWilliams‘ flat a few weekends ago. About 15 people installed artworks or performed something whilst the 30-strong crowd chatted, sipped beers or snacked on the crazy food by Schrodinger’s Cake (everything that looked sweet was savoury and everything that seemed to be savoury was sweet!). I tried to perform something, and I’ll talk about that below.

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22
Dec

I can scarcely believe it but my Chimera Synthesis BC16 has ACTUALLY ARRIVED!  The tiny round synth is here. Take a look at its cute white glowing wondrousness.

A simple BC16 patch

A simple BC16 patch

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05
Aug

Sergi Jordà came to the Dana Center back in June to take part in a discussion panel and show off his Reactable. The thing blows my mind so I felt very fortunate getting to hear him speak and to watch/hear him perform with it.

Sergi Jordà plays the Reactable

– Sergi Jordà plays the Reactable –

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11
Jul

I caught a late train recently, sharing a carriage with a guy who couldn’t help himself gently pluck the strange looking musical instrument he carried. The soft, etherial but welcoming sound caught my ear with a familiar ring: it reminded me of an album I’d copied (stolen) from the office music server at a company I worked at years ago. I’d never learned the name of the instrument or even the album because the MP3s weren’t correctly tagged, but it had captured my imagination and I loved listening to it.

Emilio playing the kora

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