Friday, 20 March 2009

Book Choice #7:

Junot Diaz: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

A superb, highly original read. Set against the backdrop of a country with a brutal recent history, this tale of an overweight, Dominican sci-fi/fantasy "nerd" and his cursed family often reads like Wax Poetics magazine doing Tolkien.

NI Maschine

Native Instruments Maschine

A new addition to the studio: Maschine - the hardware MIDI controller, sampler, "groovebox", step sequencer, FX unit, etc, etc from Native Instruments. User-customizable Controller templates allow you to set-up the knobs, pads and buttons to remotely control software instruments such as Massive and Battery - and even DAW's such as Ableton Live.

Beat-making, MPC-style is straight-forward, and after some file-management of various template files I've successfully done sessions in Ableton Live 7 switching effortlessly between Maschine control, controlling Massive and firing clips in Ableton itself.

The hardware build-quality is extremely impressive - especially considering the unit is retailing for around £600 UKP. The Sound Library - as you'd expect from a company such as NI is very extensive - with many (80%?) of the sounds exclusive to Maschine.

There is some confusion as to it's functionality - it's such a multi-purpose unit, I guess that's inevitable. The main complaint seems to be the lack of MIDI exporting of Maschine's own sequencing data. However - this will hopefully be addressed in a future update. For now - the audio is captured via routing of virtual outputs into any DAW.

I've only had the unit for 2 days, so will report back with various findings over the next few weeks. Of particular interest will be any latency issues when using Maschine as a plug-in within DAW's, the extent of custom built templates for controlling software (the Ableton control is fairly limited at present - and there is no visual feedback when navigating around the Arrange view).

Friday, 13 March 2009

By popular request:

I get a lot of emails asking about my various radio shows from over the years. I have a few knocking around on DAT and will upload as I come across them. For now - enjoy my Disco Mix show for Nuphonic's London Xpress show in 2002.

Split into four easily digestible 3omin sections... tracklisting to come.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Book Choice #6:

Marcus Zusak: The Book Thief

A tale set in the most harrowing and darkest of times. Written with a tender beauty and deceptive simplicity. With characters you genuinely care about, the last chapters make for difficult reading. 

Monday, 9 March 2009

Currently feeling:

Josh Wink: When A Banana Was Just A Banana (2009 Ovum)

Release of the year for me so far - Josh Wink encapsulates the current influences on dance music over the course of this fine album. An inspiring mixture of post-mnml-techno-house. Exactly where my head is right now. Love it.