Being from Austin, and being more electronic, and being more pop, and living in the the world of Americana and big, floppy hats, and being very authentic, things get weird if you let them. I have some low grade anger towards the middling world of Americana. This is not to say that there is stuff that does not rise above, but there is definitely stuff that does not.

I did sound for a show this weekend, and I just didn’t get it. Seemed like an act. So, how do you check that at the door and get to the essence?

Here’s how I’m going to do it.

The new Set-Up

My gig this week will be the first where I finally drop the guitar as a centerpiece along with the sing-songs and push into the shaky frontier of improvisation and electronic. Mixing this with my 80’s-sounding sing-songs.

Will it work gig #1? I don’t know. Going to try. (I am excited about show 3 or 4.) The starting line-up is drafted, and I am going with what’s pictured above. Have some assumptions about the equipment and its ability to hold up.

The Xone mixer is very old, but it’s also very rock-solid. Interface from Ableton to mixer is a bit sketchy. If it all goes to shite I can just play the guitar and sing, so nothing lost there.

I will say this: on the Monday before a Friday show, I am interested to see how it turns out. It could go 1000’s of different ways. That’s really great and inspiring. Hope it’s inspired!

Hope to see a few of you out Friday!

If you’ve been following along at all, and for personal ego purposes I’ll pretend you have, I’ve been dealing with the problem of how to get a number of back-logged songs recorded and out efficiently and as cleverly as possible.

Had you ever told me there would be problem of too many songs, I would have maybe believed it but could not have envisioned it. Believed it? Yes. Couldn’t have envisioned the path.

Maybe you don’t know how to get-doing it either, in need a spark or a push. This series will be for you.

So, as much for me as it is for anyone else, we’re going to go back and map it all out. And, hopefully, continue to document the process in blog (not video) form.

We’re really going to go into into the why rather than review gear, which seems to be what everything turns in to these days. So this is basically a long, ongoing story. Incredibly boring to some, enlightening to others, and interesting and affirming to a small, specific crowd. Not for everybody, but really for somebody. Smallest possible audience theory at work here!

And speaking of, my why of doing all of this to identify my small, specific crowd. You are out there. I know you are! I want you to listen to the music I make.

The Beginning:
The real spark came with a special purpose combined with some divine timing, which was a random camp reunion lunch of all things. Put simply: I met a former camper who was in a song writing group at the same time I was going deep into Ableton Live 9.

A lucky perfect storm, yes, but I was paying enough attention to life at the time to know it was kind of now or never. Some direction with perfect timing.

You may be thinking to yourself that mid 40’s is well past now-or-never, but I do not think it’s ever too late. If you’ve got it you’ll always have it. Doesn’t mean you can’t lose your way, but if it’s in there, menage to come out, it’ll be there waiting for you. I feel like I have science to back this up.

Series entry #2 is the Why of Ableton over the other DAW’s.

PS:
There has to be some gear! Early, primary tools were from Roland, Moog, M-Audio, Arturia, Ableton Live, Sound On Sound magazine, and a lot-lot of YouTube. [system1, various boutiques, oxygen-25, minituar, Analog Lab]

Here’s a live compilation of especially early mrtorian works.

Using it as bait to tune-up the Bandcamp page, it’s the first step in a move away from larger streaming services. We’ll see how well this strategy does, but with 55k songs added to Spotify in a day (yikes) 2 sold gets us WAY ahead of the game for ’21!

_jd

For anyone still thinking streaming is worthless, catalogs are semi-quietly being snapped up by all sorts of equity. No longer a one time purchase, if your song catches on, it keeps paying and paying, even if there are no ads associated with it.

Live?

In what seems to be an emerging fact, the long game is putting it out there to stream. Not playing live, but 9-to-5’ing it at your desk. Sat in front of the computer to get eyes and ears on it. Trade the glory of the stage for the glory of ‘likes’ and a lot of small but growing checks.

What if people, now off the road, put the effort into listens? This is happening, and I can tell you from my own experience, it works.

Bob Dylan Sells His Songwriting Catalog in Blockbuster Deal

I spy with little eye …

Look at none other than the high priestess of all all things interconnected-Moog, Lisa Bella Donna–maybe the most analog person on the internet, using the recently-reviewed the Zoom LiveTrack L-12 in a pretty amazing set.

You know, sometimes people need some validation. It’s also funny how life converges if you let it.

Example: my first analog synth was a Minitaur. What I wanted was a Taurus 3, but I could not make that happen at the time. Today they are long gone, presumably in closets or buried in save-it-for-later-when-I-can-get-to-it collections. Anyway, years later I cross-graded to a Sirin, which was great, but the Minituar was such specific and wonderful little beast. So I was restless. And after a year of seeing the delightful-looking Grandmother out there, I took the plunge, finally renting one. Wow. Bought one almost immediately, and have really loved it since. But, save LBD’s PatchBook, I’ve been using it sans spaghetti cords.

A Bajook!

Then I saw this. Generally only slightly perturbed at the Grandmother’s manual (KB Mode in the VCA not 100% explained), Patch and Tweak with Moog has already, 39 pages in, cleared up some small bits and pieces regarding the Grandmother to an amazing extent, revealing the total the monster I knew it to be. [Book review forthcoming] It also, obviously, features Lisa.

So, as it happens when you let it, while I was cleaning up the studio last night, a bit thoughtlessly cueing up a random Lisa Bella Donna Youtube performance, what did I see pulling it all together!?!

This is all to say that using this mixer at home rehearsing solo, or with the band, or to record solo run-throughs for said band, or recording with your DAW [Ableton Live], AND playing live, from solo-acoustic to full band with click Moog etc., this mixer is the most flexible I have come across when usability and portability are key factors. A pleasure to use, really.

Besides, it’s nice to know you may be on the right track. Have a great day.

-jd