Watched
Oliver, I really enjoyed this breakdown of how you turned a jam into a track. Growing up, I never quite knew how it all worked, especially in regards to sequencing. (Life before YouTube.) Even with all my dabbling with synths and software (particularly Fruity Loops), I could never quite make sense how some sounds and songs such were made. I think that I thought DJing was just a guy with a crate of records.

At one stage many years ago I had a Roland GR700 and would press hold on a note and just explore sounds with the Roland PG-200 that you could attach. However, all I had to record with was a tap deck, which I never properly saved. I recently bought a Korg Volca Modular, thinking that might be something of an entry point, but again like the PG-200, it feels like it has its limitations.

I recently came upon vcvrack.com and think that this might be my next point of exploration. I would love to build my own, as Chris Beckstrom has, just not quite sure about the time and space. (I knew I should have kept my reference monitors.)

One question, what are the trigger pads? I assume, like a Launchpad, they are linked to Ableton that allow you to trigger samples and/or midi tracks? Or are they triggering a module within the rack?

Replied to Taking conferences online during the pandemic by Oliver Quinlan (oliverquinlan.com)

Tips we learned for running an online conference:

  • Have a very clear programme with all the timings, URLs to access resources and meeting spaces.
  • Stick to timings and chair ruthlessly – it can really mess things up if people in different spaces are not synchronised, and if things start to drag then engagement drops more quickly online.
  • Run a staffed green room for presenters – it worked so well getting everyone prepared and ready to transition smoothly between presentations.
  • Have plenty of staff to help with any technical challenges or people who need help.
  • Have a staff backchannel to co-ordinate and discuss issues away from the content. We used our organisation’s Slack instance.
Thank you for the breakdown of your experience Oliver. I really like the idea of a virtual green room, even though it seems obvious it is not something that I have seen discussed. It was also interesting the way in which things were mixed up to accommodate the move online, such as moving the keynote.

Guess no one knows what the future may hold, however it will be interesting to see what sticks long term.

Listened Mentat Mix 1 from SoundCloud

Kidnap – Aurora
KIKDRM – Little Helper 311-1
Cari Golden & Dance Spirit – Wash Me Clean (Dance Spirit’s Hyperspace Dub)
Kölsch – In Bottles
Moon Boots – First Landing
Yotto – Chemicals (Mentat’s Way Out West Edit)
AEONIX – A Star Is Born (Clint Stewart Remix)
Guy J – Airborne
Nick Warren & Tripswitch – Voight Kampff
Max Cooper – Resynthesis
Dino Lenny & Artbat – Sand In Your Shoes
Arthr – Balloons (Mentat Mix)
Alex Metric & Ten Ven – Otic
Sonin feat. Swedish Red Elephant – All Of My Teenage Crimes

Replied to The myths we live by, limitless tools & silent study by Oliver Quinlan (Quinlearning)

Faced with limitless possibilities, creativity can really struggle. But there’s no reason why we have to use all these possibilities. In fact, a lot of what I learned about visual artists when I was at school was how they often seek to restrict themselves. The George Fitzgerald interview linked above really got me thinking, as rather than just showing off all his music equipment, he really gets into why he uses a room full of ageing 70s and 80s electronics when he could emulate it all in a laptop. It all comes down to restrictions. He takes each limited piece of equipment and finds the few ways in which it can do something special, then repeatedly uses these to create music that sounds unique.

It has been interesting to see the transition in soft synths Oliver. The interview with George FitzGerald reminded me a short clip involving Jack Antonoff. He too restricts himself to original equipment:

Antonoff condenses months of creativity into eight minutes. It left me think about how much learning is assumed to get to a point of understanding the technology to get to a point of control. I remember when I was young, I had a Roland G707. I would use a cassette player to record tape after tape of tweeking with the various sounds. There was something about the physicality of it that was never matched when I moved onto Fruity Loops.