Backing tracks, sequences, samples and stems.

Loops, samples, sequences, stems and backing tracks.

Someone said to me, 'Oh so you use backing tracks'.  I was showing my synth suitcase with a five track loopstation and two Moog Mother 32's, each with 64 prepared sequences.  I used to be an entertainer playing saxophone with jazz and pop backing tracks. It was cheesy but cool and people liked it. I was a solo artist with no band to organise and the backing tracks carried the sax making a full and entertaining sound.  My electronic music is mostly played solo.

I use sequenced drums, synths and samples. One question I've been asked is, 'Oh so you can just press play and go and have a beer?' If I did that a 32 bar sequence would play over and over, there'd be no drums or bass because they'd be initially muted, no modulations on synths, no fx and no dynamics.  Last year I was using a five track looper to play, each loop would be a three minute pre-recorded track, a stem, and I would fade tracks in and out, use effects on some and live play the two Mother 32's. The loopstation had 99 sessions each of five tracks so I was able to perform and live remix my own music.  At a gig two youths stood pondering my synth suitcase for a moment, but dismissed me as, 'Just a DJ' and wandered off.

I was feeling too locked into my stems/loops. They were wavs and couldn't have instruments altered, only mixed and effected. So I got a proper sequencer.  Synthstrom Deluge suddenly enabled any instrument to be changed for another. Sequenced synths are triggered as a living entity so the modulations in a patch are live, not a recording. I'm no longer limited to five stems, I can have as many as I wish. Deluge is as powerful as a Mac running Ableton. And instead of that ubiquitous Apple logo obscuring my hands at work, Deluge has 128 candy coloured led lit pads.  And it has no screen, only a tiny indicator which scrolls the current value or clip title. I find the idea of playing live with Ableton unattractive, moving a cursor with a mouse or track pad isn't fun.

An elderly man came up and stood over my synth suitcase for a while then said, 'I played Classical music for 50 years and this isn't music!' I reply I patched a hasty LFO to filter resonance and cranked the rate up to make the classic synth fart noise. The Woodbridge Shellfish Festival have not rebooked me.  Recently I've used a more compact suitcase with built-in power block, Deluge, Eventide H9 (excellent midi synced looper algorithm) and Zoom H1 which can record my performance. This suitcase to me is a wonderful instrument and the 50 years Classical guy would be lost with it, it's a whole orchestra including the scores, which I conduct and play solo. He can go do one.   Clarissa Vincent (artist name - girl in a gale)