Roland’s Edirol PCR keyboard series will *not* be getting a windows10 driver, according to Roland. Well thanks guys, back to midi cables then….
I’ve had a message from Keith Wilson, who is struggling to make his FCB talk to ableton looper. So here’s a rundown of a “looper bank”, I have 3 such banks, 2 for a guitar loop, a third for keyboards. Loopers 2 & 3 are set to follow the song tempo whereas the first one sets & follows it. Quantisation is set to 1 bar. For recording the first loop, the transport should not be running.
I decided to limit myself to just 8 controls per looper, switching banks for the same looper isn’t really practical. So, you have to decide what features you want to use. The only one I wrestled with was undo, but I felt the pan feature was more positive musical choice!
#1 Controls rec / play with double click for stop. This HAS to be a midi note, not a CC message
#2 Reverse – used a LOT 😉
#3 Half Speed (ie down an octave)
#4 Double speed (ie up an octave)
#5 Sets track focus to the track with this looper instance
#6 Toggles full left/right on the track pan setting, so I can have overdubs on either side of the stereo
#7 sets pan back to central (I couldn’t work out a way to do this using only 1 switch)
#8 clears current loop
#9 double loop length (multiply)
#10 half loop length
Each patch has the same assignment for the expression pedals, which hand feedback and speed (usually set within ableton to drop 2 octaves – I wanted it to go up as well, but it’s then really tricky to quickly set it back to “normal” speed.)
Questions welcomed 😉
Our second outing was part of the day of Discus Music at the 3 Cranes, part of the Tramlines Festival. Playing (somewhat unusually) during the daytime, Martin, Steve and I played just a single piece, lasting over 7 hours. Maybe. Photos by Kathy and others 😉
And here’s a short video extract from the gig – for the full show you’ll have to buy the DVD 😉
The latest album by Meson is out now – 5C4L3 (55CD). I’ve played on several of Bo’s previous releases and he asked me to tear apart one of these tracks and remix the sh*t out of it. So I did, adding the odd splange of bowed guitar along the way. The track (#7) is called “Beware the Signals” and features some storming saxes…
The album as a whole is full of the classic Meson unpredictable musical elements, underpinning the uxorious vocals stylings of the head honcho.
Closing passages from the debut performance of DAS RAD at a medieval building in Sheffield. June 24 2016. Thanks to Jez for the video, Steve for the audio & Jan for the lighting…
Some pics from our night at Bishop’s 24/06/16
Haze are Sheffield legends, forming in the late 70’s they have somehow managed to survive to the present day. I saw them last night & they were excellent. I’ve seen them at countless gigs over the years and their song-writing & musicality have always been so strong. They could have been contenders, but for the usual quirks of fate.
I first played with their bassist/keyboardist/bass-pedallist/bazouki-ist and singer Chris in 1988 as sessionj players for an an album called Love For All Seasons (available in all good charity shops) then supported their alter-egos World Turtle on several dates & played acoustic for them. I contributed guitar to various of Chris’ side-projects and we got on really well. In an extraordinary act of generosity, they asked me to contribute an entire track to the Wilderness of Eden CD. I put together some of my live looping and sure enough, it ended up on the album. Royalties have been sparse!
I last played with the McMahon brothers as World Turtle back in 1998 at the Boardwalk, along with Freddy Satsuma, another local leg end. I formed a wacky covers band with Chris and Freddie (called Satsuma, naturally) who blazed a trail of rock-fuelled ABBA covers around the district. We had the unique distinction of playing at the opening of the (doomed!) Sheffield Rock & Pop Museum – after our first set, they paid us off saying the crown wanted the disco instead! There’s some lost footage somewhere. We took a selfie at the gig last night 😉
Curiously enough, Paul’s son Daniel plays drums for Haze, but they’ve asked my son (Nick Jnr.) to fill in for an upcoming gig. Below is a photo of the recording sessions for Wilderness of Eden, with my son in orange. Who’d have thought?
We really enjoyed our debut gig at Bishops’ House – a small but incredibly responsive audience made the evening flow like a dream. Thanks to Jan T and Jan G for the photos. Video coming soon(ish)…
I’ve recently ditched my zoom floor pedal, which was creating the basic guitar tones I want. The generous gift of a new laptop from my children has given me enough CPU power to look at modelling withing Ableton. The internal amp plugin has a variety of basic amps, with the usual controls.
Figuring out a foot pedal method of simultaneously switching one preset on as another goes off another looked tricky. At first, I mapped the basic” amp type” choice to a slider, which allowed me to jump through the 7 amp types. To quote from the Live website
Clean is based on the “Brilliant” channel of a classic amp from the ’60s. This amp was widely used by guitarists of the British Invasion.
Boost is based on the “Tremolo” channel of the same amp, and is great for edgy rock riffs.
Blues is based on a ’70s-era guitar amp with a bright character. This classic amp is popular with country, rock and blues guitarists.
Rock is modeled after a classic 45 watt amp from the ’60s. Perhaps the best known rock amp of all time.
Lead is based on the “Modern” channel of a high-gain amp popular with metal guitarists.
Heavy is based on the “Vintage” channel of the same amp and is also ideal for metal and grunge sounds.
Bass is modeled after a rare PA from the ’70s which has become popular with bass players due to its strong low end and “fuzz” at high volumes.
Cabinet is a separate effect that provides a selection of classic guitar cabs with optimized mics.
But, I only wanted to use certain amps so I need to find another way around the selection issue. The solution I’m using is to create an audio effect rack with the required amps added. Next, you create chain controls, divide the selector bars equally (a right click option), then map the chain slider (circled in green) to a slider. Apparently, when working this way, only 1 amp is ever using CPU power at a time, so you can add as many as you want. Since each amp is in a different chain, you can add other FX as required, such as a touch of compression on the clean chain.
Each amp is then tweaked for tone, then I mapped the same fader to cover both volume and gain. I inverted the range (see below) so that as the gain rises, the volume falls. In the map area, you can also quickly adjust min/max for each amp, since each amp model treats the relationship differently differently. Essentially, I want the tone to change as the gain increases, but not the volume.
You set the minimum volume to your basic guitar level, so you can’t fade the volume all the way out (I did this at a recent gig, it took me 5 mins to realise what I’d done and restore the sound!) Here’s the mapping for the chain controller and you repeat for each amp in the rack.
No doubt this will evolve, I’ll keep you up to speed…..
Due to Andy’s commitments elsewhere, he has had to withdraw from the band, but his place has been filled by Jan Gilhooley (A Collection Of Notes) and they are working on new material.
Here’s a video of Nick & Jan along with Peter Challoner, jamming at Bishops’ House