Time For Change

Whew, to say things have been in a little state of flux here lately would be an understatement I suppose. And if I keep having the thoughts I am, this is only the start of things.


Ok, I guess that’s a little cryptic, so maybe I should back up a little bit.

If you follow the blog, then you know that lately I’ve been spending more and more time writing music on the iPad. Some try to call me out on it, claiming I’m just Apple fan boi looking to jump on the latest fad. Other people have said I only do it to prove a point.  No, it’s just fun for me.


Whatever the reason, at a time when I’ve frankly been fighting burnout when it comes to producing my own music, working on the iPad has been a breath of fresh air. Portability, the fact I can DJ AND write music on it, long battery life, the minimalist nature of it, cheap apps, and most important… tools that are generally trying to do new and innovative things when it comes to music creation. It resonates much more with me than I ever expected it was going to, especially when I pair it with something like the QuNexus (another innovation IMVHO).

At the same time as I have been exploring what I could do with an iPad, I’ve also been working on putting together a new live set and album with the Elektron Octatrack (OT). Things were going pretty well, I had spent a lot of time collecting and making sample chains, and working out a new method for using the OT to perform with. Then my card reader broke in the OT, and it had to be sent in for warranty work.

After about a month the Octatrack was fixed and on it’s way back to me, but the process had left a bad taste in my mouth. I’m not going into specifics (don’t ask), but for reasons between me and Elektron I wasn’t pleased with the way everything was handled. And because the OT was gone for so long, it gave me a lot of time to consider if it was really something I wanted to spend more time on.

I knew the power of that little box, and it had worked well for me for two years of gigs and studio use. But I had been questioning if I was having as much fun using it as I should be, especially given the amount of time I had put into the new set. I had my doubts, and the recent warranty episode just sealed the deal that perhaps it is time to move on to something new.

Genuinely new.  So the Octatrack is getting sold, in fact someone is on their way over to look at it right now as I type this.  So it could be gone already by the time you read this.

As I started looking around at other options like the DSI Tempest, OP-1, or maybe even the forthcoming Prophet 12 Rack, I realized I’m just not that excited by some of the hardware coming out these days. Which is odd, because by all accounts this is an exciting time for hardware! (especially if you want a cheap analog monosynth)

No, for some reason these days I’ve been feeling the irresistible draw of…

… a new acoustic guitar.

I know, no one is surprised more than me. But for a long time now I’ve been wanting to go back to my first instrument, and really put in the time to improve my playing. I have a nice electric (Parker Dragonfly 824), and I already have an ok Ovation acoustic/electric. But as I get older the allure of a really nice, hand-made acoustic guitar grows stronger. Something that will let me make music away from computers and even iPads, and really get back to what it was that drew me to music in the first place.

Nothing is set in stone yet, but for right now this is the path I’m starting to lean towards. It doesn’t mean that I’m giving up electronic music, like I said I still have the iPad which I enjoy for that, and of course there’s always Ableton and a Push sitting right here too. And I think it could be interesting processing acoustic guitar recordings with a bunch of effects too, instead of using my electric like normal.

Needless to say, there’s a lot on my mind at the moment, but it feels good to have a new direction to consider. I’ll definitely keep people updated as I get further along in this process, who knows what I’ll end up with! (A Taylor 814ce is the current front runner for those that are curious).


Until then, back to working on my new Auria track….

10 Replies to “Time For Change”

  1. Sorry to hear about the Octatrack. That makes me nervous because I was planning on getting one for the holidays!

    Have you ever thought of purchasing a modular synth? My eurorack keeps me pretty inspired and somehow just keeps growing…

    With that being said, I miss guitar (also my first and only instrument). I played it for a solid eight years before picking up electronic music and miss it quite often. Maybe one day I’ll go down the same road you are heading down. 🙂

  2. I thought about doing the modular thing for a long time, but I think it’s a bit too open-ended of a way to work for me. I’d constantly be wanting to buy new modules, I’m not ready for that sink hole here 🙂

    I started playing guitar 22 years ago, but it’s been really off and on the last 10 or so for me too. Looking to rectify that for a bit!

  3. I find myself being “Put off” by hardware. Having the power to produce all in the box was always a dream for me which is now a reality on the computer but I could just never get around doing it with hardware.. in fact the thought of a studio full of hardware makes me cringe. Back in the 90’s when I first started producing I had an old Atari and a Roland sound module along with an akai S2000 (Mostly because it looked cool). Everything was midi (Except for triggering from the akai of course) and i had no audio options at the time, but whenever i wanted to manipulate anything coming out the roland module or even the Akai I would just cringe at the thought of endlessly pressing command buttons and arrows etc to get what i wanted. I bought a Yamaha RM1X in the late 90’s because it also looked cool and i thought that maybe hardware was easier to use then but sold it a few weeks later because of the same problem. I hated learning all the different hardware shortcuts etc, it was the worst for creativity imo.

    I know it sounds crazy but I just hate hardware. Period. So for me following your story about the OT just made me all the more happier I have only software that doesn’t (Usually) break. Yes it has its own set of issues like crashing and the whole Service center crap but it’s easily rectified.

    Good luck with it, but I think the guitar will be a good restate from the hardware hell you have been experiencing recently 🙂

  4. LOL, it’s the opposite for me usually, I love hardware. It’s how I started making music, and I always prefer specific physical interfaces versus generic midi controllers. I CAN produce in the box just fine, but most of the time I don’t enjoy it nearly as much as hardware.

    No idea why I’m so into the iPad right now, can’t get more generic than a piece of glass. 🙂

  5. haha… I think its the simplicity and combination of hardware& all in the box software driven app’s… best of both worlds :-).

  6. Great blog post as usual. Looking forward to getting your new EP soon as well.

    I was wondering, what do you do with sample storage and file storage and transferring when shifting between ipad / ableton or anything. Do you keep it on a cloud drive? Or portable hard drive?

    And great call on guitar! It never gets old, always so fun.

  7. If you enable wifi syncing on your iPad, you can basically connect to the iPad like it’s an external drive via itunes. So it’s easy to back up my files, even if the iPad is in another room. Auria also does back up to Dropbox, so I put safety back ups there every few days if I’m writing a new song, just to be safe.

  8. I feel you on this. I’ve been loving making electronic music for a long time but there’s something so nice about an integrated instrument. It’s not that my basses never need repair or upkeep, but that they aren’t full of surprises and there’s an instant gratification to them–at least after playing for 30-odd years.

  9. Indeed. My acoustic bass has the sound generation, control interface and amplifier all physically connected. Electronic instruments are more, well, modular.

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