Sunday Sessions: Experimental Reggae

Sat down this weekend to work on a new track, and in fact, a completely new genre for me.

Despite having been born in Jamaica, I have never tried my hand at Reggae, although I have always been a fan.

This track, built with the help of the Black Arc Expansion pack from Native Instruments, blends some Reggae, Dub, Cuban and Calypso inspired themes. Still a work in progress.

Passing Time On Planes

I fly somewhere between 340-400K KMS each year, and that (obviously) implies spending hours on planes.

Although I tend to work one way, often catching up on the deluge of eMails that piles up in my inbox, I try to take some time and recharge on the way back.

In my case, this involves writing music. For me, it's not only a great way to stimulate a completely different part of my brain, there is something about the process of creation that is all consuming and makes time pass very quickly.

I carry a very smart little keyboard from CME called the xKEY. It is low profile, fits in any knapsack or shoulder bag alongside a laptop, and yet is velocity sensitive, complete with after touch. In fact, all you need is an xKey, a Laptop, and your favourite DAW, and you have a fully functional recording studio at 40,000 feet. 

On the flight back from London yesterday, I spent some time on a new piece of music, enjoying and leveraging some fantastic instruments from Edwardo Tarilonte in addition to a new vocal instrument from Output, called Exhale. I would recommend you checking both of them out. I have barely scratched the surface of these libraries, and they are unreal.

So for what it's worth, here is the track that kept me occupied on the 7.5 hour flight across the atlantic yesterday, as did the unbelievable "alien" clouds (as you can see in the picture below). Caveat: the piece is still very much a work in progress. 

Latest Remix Project: Carmina Burana

As a challenge, perhaps jokingly, a friend suggested that I try a remix of Carmina Burana.

This is a wonderful piece of music, but not a trivial one to work with as (a) it changes key, and (b) it often changes tempo ... not to mention having a wide range of moods and tonality.

Here is the first draft (and very much still a work in progress) of three of the movements. The main elements of Carmina were extracted using Native Instruments Traktor, with additional voices  from the Komplete library played in on an AKAI MPK225 and a Native Instruments Komplete S62.

Update On The Four Horsemen

A must see presentation from Scott Galloway of NYU Stern, on the Four Horsemen of the internet (Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook), who is winning and who is losing, and why Apple may very well be the first trillion dollar company. 

Fasten your seatbelt, it's an action packed few minutes. 

Another 2 hour project

Another cold weekend by the fire, and another 2 hour project in the morning while the family sleeps; this time, starting with the excellent NEON Maschine Expansion Pack from Native Instruments, and selected components from the demo track "Fever Line". A wonderful way to explore what is possible with Maschine and the Komplete Library.

Another Weekend Project

On a snowy, cold day in Toronto, what better way to pass the time than working on a new track. This time, a down tempo, chill-out vibe ... perhaps inspired by the dreary conditions outside, and the dream of warm outdoor evenings that surely must only be months away. 

2 Hour Project

Sat down on a dreary Toronto morning and gave myself a 2 hour window to deliver something end-end. This track leverages the excellent Drop Squad Expansion Pack for Maschine. 

I gave myself a bit of a head start with the "Back To Dub Roots" sample project. The rest was played in on Maschine Studio, and my tiny CME xKey travelling keyboard. Track was mastered on-line with LANDR.

Despite having used Bigwig for a number of months now, getting back to Maschine was a breeze thanks to the workflow of Machine Studio.

Physically Playing Virtual Instruments

One of the frustrations with using keyboards as the predominant way in which to encode digital music is that they are a poor input device for capturing the nuances of wind and bowed instruments. Well, that's all about to change, as Hagai Davidoff illustrates in this video.

By using a Leap Motion controller, and the Reaktor "Ensemble Serenade III", he is able to mimic the motion of a bow on strings, and generate a richly textured set of outputs.

If you are interested in experimenting with the Leap Motion controller for making music, you need to check out the  Geco Midi Controller ( as can be seen in the video below: