Keston and Westdal at Nublu, NYC Circa 2009

I just had a listen to these videos of Keston and Westdal with Graham O’Brien on drums at Nublu in New York, Feb 7, 2009. The eight year old recordings were shot by my mate, Benjamin Montag, who is responsible for the majority of the art and design work for Unearthed Music, including the art on my new solo album, Isosceles.

I was using the Nublu house Rhodes, which I repaired earlier that night replacing a couple of broken tines and tuning a few notes. I brought along a laptop and interface to live-loop the Rhodes and send a click track to Graham. I borrowed the Korg MS2000 from Simone Giuliani. You may also notice distortion on the Rhodes at about 6:47. For that I brought along my BOSS DF-2 Super Distortion & Feedbacker pedal, which I have been using on Rhodes since the ’90s.

Since I had the laptop to loop the Rhodes in Ableton Live I ended up a few nice phrases that I ended up posting here on Audiocookbook. For example, in one post I shared a nice phrase and discussed my repair job before the gig and another includes a field recording inside a taxi on the way to the show. Checkout a few archival recordings from the gig below:

Rhodes Loop from the Nublu Backline
Another Rhodes Recording from Nublu
Segment of Recording from Nublu
Inside a Taxi in New York with Ben and Simone

Korg MS2000 Granulated Prickly Synth

To get this prickly texture I ran the Korg MS2000 through Grain Delay and Auto Pan in Ableton Live. I forgot to mention that the track was going through the usually reverb and delay sends as well.


An Exclusive Holiday Gift from Ostraka

Here’s a set I recorded live to Ableton during a performance at Nick and Eddie Thursday Funhouse hosted by Jon Davis, December 16, 2010. This is all new material that I’ve been working on, except for the last track, which is a remix of Illuminator Console from Precambrian Resonance (Unearthed Music 2009). Here’s the download link for the 37:28 minute set hosted on Unearthed Music. Expect to hear lots of Grain Machine, as well as synth sounds from the Casio CZ-1000, the Korg MS2000, the Roland D-50, my Sequential Circuits Pro-One, some old Hammond rhythm programs, and even a little bit of Rhodes electric piano.

Download Live Ostraka Set at Nick and Eddie Thursday Funhouse (89.9 MB)

Keston and Westdal with Graham O’Brien at Galactic Soul Lounge

Hosted by Toki Wright, Galactic Soul Lounge is happening tonight. Artists include St. Paul Slim who is celebrating the re-release of his album “Baldheaded Samsun” on Soul Tools Records, Keston and Westdal with Graham O’Brien on drums, VOC Women’s Division performing African Dance, and Radio Pocho (Miguel Vargas & Steven Renderos) DJ’ing a dedication mix to Janet Jackson.

Galactic Soul Lounge is a monthly night of Funk, Hip Hop, Reggae, R&B, Soul, Latin, Dance, and much more. The event is 21+ and a bargain at $5 cover. Please join us at 10pm tonight, November 24, 2010, at Cause (formerly Sauce) Spirit and Sound Bar, 3001 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Control the GMS Via Ableton Live

Currently I am busy preparing for the Ostracon show at the In / Out Festival of Digital Performance that is coming up on September 17 and 18 in New York (we are playing on the Saturday the 18th at 9:30pm). Part of my preparation involves minimizing my setup for ease of transport. For one thing, I am not bringing my Korg MS2000 as a controller for the GMS, as I have done for other performances. However, because I’m projecting the live video source, I cannot use the on-screen controls in the GMS.

My first idea to solve this problem was to share a single Korg nanoKONTROL between Ableton Live and the GMS. Unfortunately this approach was not practical because it would require some major reconfigurations as well as recompiling the GMS with a set of new external MIDI controls. My next idea was to route the MIDI control and program changes to the GMS via MIDI clips in Ableton’s session view. This worked immediately and I knew I was on the right track. The only problem was that there seemed to be a MIDI signal feedback loop when using the same bus for output and external control in the GMS. I solved this problem by creating a second IAC bus for the external control and using the first bus for the MIDI output. Finally I configured a combination of keyboard controls and Korg Nano buttons to trigger the clips in Ableton that, in turn, trigger the specific functions in the GMS. Voilà!

The flexibility of Ableton never ceases to amaze me. I had never used session clips to send MIDI program and control change messages to an external device, let alone, independent software running simultaneously. Nor had I ever needed to do this in the past. Yet the thought occurred to me, I wonder if Ableton can do this? It turns out that it can. Thanks to Ableton this solution has saved me many hours of redundant and tedious programming, and well as making my setup more streamlined and efficient for upcoming performances. How have Ableton’s capabilities surprised you?