Live at Sequential Circus 11

http://tarekith.com/mp3s/Tarekith-SequentialCircus11.mp3

This set was recorded after the fact, because the original recordings of the sets at Sequential Circus 11 were later discovered to be damaged, and unuseable for the podcast they run.  I have used the same set list, and tried to keep the same vibe as the set I performed that night in Vancouver, August 18th, 2012.

Performed using an Elektron Octatrack and Machinedrum.

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In other news, my next gig will be sometime around December 4rd.  The local pub I run my Liquid Beats night at is moving to a bigger location next door, and I’ve been asked to DJ the grand re-opening.  The exact date will depend on how long the move takes, but I’ll be sure to post about here and on Facebook/Twitter once I find out for sure.  Should be fun night!

Recording Audio from iKaossilator to the Octatrack

A couple weeks back I talked about how I’ve been using iOS groovebox-style apps to come up with new song ideas while out and about, and then transfer those to the Elektron Octatrack once I’m back in the studio.  Had a few people ask me how I go about doing this, so I created a quick overview showing how I record and edit audio from the iKaossilator iOS app into the Octatrack.

http://youtu.be/QJ1kMQKt_rY

(Sorry, I had to remove the embedded player as it was killing my site bandwidth)

Hope people find this useful, and as always if you have any questions or comments, post them in the comments section below.  Thanks!

Live at Chillography 5 Recording

Well, it took me awhile to get the recording prepped in order to post this online, but I finally have a copy of the live set I performed at Chillography 5 back on August 4th here in Seattle.  This was all done live using an Elektron Machinedrum and Octatrack, straight into the house mixer.  Good example of my more downtempo and midtempo live set.  Only a few mistakes in this one as it was scorching hot and the sun shining right on my gear made it hard to see somethings, doh!  🙂

http://tarekith.com/mp3s/Tarekith-Live_Chillography5.mp3

 

Hopefully I can have a copy of my more uptempo set from Vancouver posted soon as well, until then, enjoy!

 

 

Vancouver Teaser Live Set

A quick teaser of my new live set, getting played for the first time this weekend in Vancouver at Sequential Circus 11.  100% live with just the Machinedrum and Octatrack, more uptempo this time around.

Here’s a 320kbps MP3 if you prefer that:

http://tarekith.com/mp3s/Tarekith-Vancouver_Teaser.mp3

 

As I mentioned, I’ll be playing Saturday, August 18th in Vancouver at Sequential Circus 11.  Details:

VENUE: Open Studios, #200 – 252 East 1st Avenue
19+ w/ID ONLY – there’s a bar
TICKETS: $20, available at the door only, arrive early to avoid disappointment
Doors at 10:00pm, first performance begins at 10:30pm sharp!

I’m told the last few of these sold out, so get there early to make sure you get in!

 

Elektron ECC-2 Review

Not the most exciting review, but I’ve had a few people asking me about the ECC-2 bag since I got mine.  Figured I’d do a quick video so people can see what it looks like, how big it is, and what the storage is like.  I also talk about a few things I wish were different about it as well.

Chillography 5

Well, the Photosynthesis 5 festival is over and done with, and I have to say I’m really pleased with how my set went.  After all the work I put into prepping a brand new hardware-based live set, it’s a good feeling knowing it all worked well and that people really seemed to enjoy it.  Probably my best live set so far in fact, so I’m very happy with the decision to take a break from the laptop and Live for a bit to focus on dedicated hardware for awhile.

Of course, not everything was perfect.  There was some confusion over time-slots, and I ended up having to go on about an hour earlier than I was scheduled to (depending on who’s schedule you were following I guess).  Plus, my gear was stored in a locked trailer, and the person with the only key for said trailer took awhile to find.  Minor freak out for me.

And then there was the rain, which had started earlier in the day and didn’t let up all night.  The tent I was playing in started to leak eventually, but we scrambled and managed to at least get some tarps up to divert water off the ‘stage’ where the audio gear was.  Unfortunately it had already soaked the carpet, so I ended up performing kneeling in 3 inches of water (the DJs and live acts all perform sitting down normally, since this is a chill out tent).

But, the tent was packed with a line forming outside to get in I’m told, and lots of people were dancing.  Something you don’t always see with downtempo. 🙂

When I finished the set, I realized that due to the scheduling issues, the next live act wasn’t there yet.  So I was planning on putting on CD while I packed up and waited for them, but one of the promoters just asked me to start playing my set again.  So I did another 30 minutes of it while we waited.  Not quite the finale I was planning on, but I’d rather play than not, so it could be worse 🙂

Best part of the weekend was just all the random people that came up to me all weekend telling me how much they enjoyed my set.  Always a nice feeling!

 

But, no rest for the wicked as they say, and now that I’m home and back in the studio I realized there were a few things I wanted to improve in the set still.  Namely most of my songs in the Octatrack don’t use up all the available tracks, there’s still 1-3 tracks free in most of the songs.  A few times while performing, I’d be really into a song and wanting to extend it, but not having more sounds to introduce would have made it too repetitive.

So the last few days I’ve been using Live and Omnisphere to write new parts for all of my live songs in the downtempo set, 17 in total.  Mainly I was just MIDI syncing the hardware to Live and jamming with Omni until I got something cool that I liked.  This was trimmed, and then transferred to the OT.  I probably could have recorded into the OT directly, but I wanted to work fast to get this done, and I’m definitely more used to working like this in Live still.

So, now all the new material is prepped and in the hardware, and I just need to go into each song and dial in the mixdown, and any small tweaks to the new sounds with the OT’s effects.  It was a lot of work overall, especially considering that I thought I was done with the set prep work.  But I think in the end things sound much better, and with the new sounds I added, it really gives me a lot more flexibility in how I perform the set and want it to flow.

Which is a good thing, since my next live gig is not that far away!  I’ll be doing the live set at Chillography in Seattle on August 4th, at Myrtle Edwards Park.  It’s a free party that runs from noon til 9:00 PM, and it’s in a beautiful location right on the shoreline of Puget Sound and within walking distance of the Art Institute’s outdoor sculpture garden.

My set is from 6:00-7:00PM.

Stop on by to hang out and listen to some great music for free.  Bring some lunch, a book, your dog, you name it, and enjoy the great vibe the h’Art people bring to all their events.  Hopefully I can record my set this time too!

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Next up, I’ve had a few people ask me when the next Production Q&A will be.  The answer is that it depends on all of you!  I need a couple more questions before I’ll start, so if you have anything music or production related you want advice on, just drop me an email.

Finally, thanks once again to all the people who sent in a donation over the last couple of weeks.  It might only be a couple dollars to you, but if enough people pitch in, I can finally buy that pony I’ve always wanted.  🙂

Thanks!

Photosynthesis 5.0

Hard to believe that after months of work prepping the new live set, the first festival of the summer I’ll be performing at is almost here!  Photosynthesis 5.0 starts next Friday, and runs through Monday morning (July 20-22) in beautiful Neah Bay, WA.  For those of you who’ve never been there, it’s a beautiful location, and also happens to be the northwestern-most tip of the continental US.

This year I’ll once again be performing in the H’art tent, and my set time is Friday (technically Saturday really) from 2:00-3:30 AM.  I’ll be performing my brand new downtempo/midtempo live set, super excited to bring the vibe to what is guaranteed to be an incredible tent.  Still no confirmation if I’m doing a more uptempo set in another tent that weekend, I’ll be sure to post here when I find out.

Tickets are going fast, so if you’re interested head to the website or Facebook page for more details.

http://photosynthesisfestival.com/

https://www.facebook.com/events/314150431967132/

Two weeks after Photosynthesis, I’ll be doing another live set at Chillography in Seattle at Myrtle Edwards Park.  This is a free day time event, so if you can’t make it all the way to Neah Bay, I highly recommend Chillography.  Great downtempo music in another beautiful location!

http://www.chillography.net/blog/events/next-event/

Finally, August 18th I’ll be doing an uptempo set at Sequential Circuits 11 in Vancouver, BC.  I’ll post more details on that event once I get them.

Thanks everyone, and I hope to see some of you this summer at one of these gigs!

Elektron Artist Spotlight

This week I was the featured artist in the Elektron newsletter.  They did a quick interview coving mastering and my workflow when making music, which I’ve copied below.

Spotlight: Tarekith

If you are an owner of the Machinedrum or the Monomachine you have most likely stumbled across the extremely comprehensive lists of tips and tricks Tarekith has assembled for said machines. Not only a true Elektron wizard, he also runs his own mastering studio and is the author of several music production guides. His skills are evident in his music. The spaciousness of his finely crafted songs makes them seem almost tailor made for summer outdoor parties.

1. How do you divide time between mixing, mastering and creating electronic music?

These days it’s probably 90% mastering and mixdowns, as that’s how I make my living. So that kind of work always has to come first, which is fine with me as it’s something I truly enjoy doing all the time.

Once my work is done for the day, then I have time to myself to work on my own music. After being in the studio all day working, it’s nice having something portable like the Machinedrum or Octatrack that I can take out on my deck and make music in a different environment.

2. Do you have any special mastering tricks you want to share?

Well, I don’t think it’s really about there being any special tricks, which is a misconception I think a lot of people have about mastering. The best advice I can offer for people looking to master their own music is make sure that whatever processing they do is really needed. I think too often people over-process when self-mastering, either because they heard “artist x, y, z” did something a certain way, or because they don’t know any better.

Really though, that kind of thinking should be part of the entire production process. Have a reason for the things you do, don’t just do things to your music ‘just because’.

3. Electronic music making offers so many possibilities, which can be both a blessing and a curse. How to you avoid getting distracted by choices?

I think early on a lot of people (myself included) go through a phase where you collect gear, be it hardware or software. But pretty soon you start to realize that you spend more time looking for the right sound, instead of writing music. At least that’s how it was for me anyway.

So I made a pretty conscious decision early on to whittle down my gear collection to a few pieces that I really enjoyed using, and that offered a broad range of sounds. The Machinedrum is a prime example of that, loads of fun to play, tons of great sounds, and it works live or in the studio equally well.

I always thought that the one thing that’s missing from a lot of electronic music is that sense of musicianship you get when you dedicate a lot of your time to learning an instrument. So for a long time I looked for gear that I could spend years mastering how to use in every way possible. The Elektron equipment is awesome for that, incredibly fun to use day to day, but so deep in what they can do that you’re still learning something new years later.

4. What would you say is the biggest difference between how you approach music making today compared to when you started out?

Well right now I’m actually in a phase where I’ve made a decision to focus on making music like I used to when I started out! Mainly just getting away from the computer and a lot of the micro-editing I used to do, and spending more time with only a couple hardware boxes to make most of my music.

Nothing wrong with software, I’m just over that phase of spending 8 hours slicing, dicing, and programming a 4 bar drum fill! Plus, because I spend so much of my day in front of the computer in the studio for the mastering business, it’s nice to just be able to sit down and focus my attention on something like the Octatrack.

It’s still a really powerful way to make detailed or complex music, but I can do so in a way that’s a lot more fun for me, and less visually oriented too. In fact, if there’s one downside to spending 90% of my studio time mastering other people’s music, it’s that I haven’t had as much time to master the Octatrack as much as I’d like! Every time I sit down with that box I’m blown away by something new it can do I hadn’t thought of before.

Live Set Video, May 2012

As many of you who read the blog no doubt know, I’ve been really busy working on material for my new live sets lately.  Here’s a quick video of some of the latest material from my uptempo set.  The track order has not been sorted yet, so some of the transitions are…. interesting 🙂  But really, that’s what this run through was all about, seeing how these tracks sound when I actually perform them, and not just while writing them.

Anyway, quite a bit of new material in this set, enjoy!

Festival Season

Well, summer’s here and that means the start of the festival season here in the US.  Lots of cool outdoor weekend long parties here in the Pacific Northwest, and once again I got asked to perform at Photosynthesis Festival.  This year I’ll be doing two sets it looks like, a downtempo/midtempo set in the H’art tent again, and a more upbeat one in some other tent.  Not sure which yet, this is all very preliminary 🙂

People who follow my blog know I’ve been talking non-stop about the Octatrack lately, which is my latest gear purchase.  Mostly I’ve been working on taking my previous Ableton-based live set, and transfering it to the Machinedrum and Octatrack for live performance.  Recent posts of mine will go more into the details if you’re curious, but it’s mostly been about remixing the old material into something new with the Elektron hardware.

For the most part, I think the sets are basically ready to perform, I’m pretty happy with both.  I think I’ll still work on the the more uptempo one some more now that I know I’m playing two sets.  I’ve mainly been focusing on the downtempo one, since I knew I had a couple of those gigs coming up this summer.  I’ll post some run-throughs of the uptempo set in a couple weeks when I’ve had a chance to work on it some more.

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Other than the live set, I’ve spent a lot of time the last few weeks diving back into iPad music apps.  Now that the weather is getting nicer, I can finally take the iPad somewhere and work on some music outside the studio.  I love my studio and writing tracks in there, but now that I work in there all day too, sometimes I just need to go somwhere new for inspiration.

In the past I’ve used everything from my laptop a couple MIDI controllers, to a much more compact Palm TX running Bhajis Loops.  Lately I’ve been using my iPhone running NanoStudio for out and about music making.  It’s pretty amazing how powerful the apps are now, and the newer touch based apps mean you really don’t even need to bring anything else but headphones.

Still, I have to admit there were times it was a little frustrating trying to work on such a small screen.  You COULD write a whole song on them, but it could be a little tedious trying to navigate around some of the more complex apps.  I could always bring my laptop, but to be honest I find it cumbersome to take on my bike or out in the woods for instance.

The iPad has fit the bill nicely though, I’m pretty impressed at how well it fits the role of portable studio.  Well, maybe not studio, but idea starter maybe 🙂  Fits in my Camelbak so it’s unnoticeable on bike rides or hikes, but it’s large enough to turn making music on it into something you WANT to do.  Good battery life too, I’ve yet to come anywhere close to running mine down all the way when out and about writing music for a whole day.

One of the biggest things that I’ve discovered working like this, or on iOS devices in general, is that I’m much more productive if I stop trying to write complete songs in them.  Instead I just focus on building up a cool groove, or some synth melodies.  I can record them into the Octatrack for further tweaking and arranging back in the studio.  Much easier doing that for me, that trying to sit there and be focused enough to do a complete song when it’s beautiful out.

I tend to go to a few different parks every time I work on music like this, so at each new park I start a new idea.  Usually I’ll switch apps to force myself to approach the next song idea a little differently.  It’s a fun way of working, because I know I have a use for anything I decide to keep and expand on later.  If I come up with something that ultimately doesn’t sound that good and just gets deleted, oh well, at least it was fun while I was making it.

Really digging Propellorheads Figure for this kind of work lately too, it’s deeper than you would think the first time you use it.  Now if they would just let us save our work so we can have mulitple songs in the app.  More sounds too! 🙂