Friday, December 27, 2013

pedals for sale

I have to sell a few pedals to fund my new project (I first considered selling a guitar - it would have been quicker - but I just can't do it, one day I'll probably die of starvation hugging my guitars). They are all in very good state - I'm quite maniac with my gear - and I picked these ones to sale mostly because they are too good for what I do with them! 

Take the Empress Tape Delay, it's a Rolls Royce and I use it like my MXR Carbon Copy, when there are many mods, sounds, tap tempos and stuff… It deserves to be used by someone who needs something sophisticated… Same with the Boss Loop Station, it has a lot of functions, layers, memories, when I just need a one switch TCE Ditto.

The Boss Metal Zone is incredibly powerful and more versatile that one could believe, but I'm so much into fuzzboxes now that I never really used it - and the Boss FZ-5 Fuzz emulates the Maestro FZ-1A, the Fuzz Face and the Octavia - it's perfect to explore fuzz sounds at a reasonable price before switching to a favorite - mine is now the Sovtek Big Muff - or to gig without having to carry a ton of precious pedals…

If you're interested, please ask me in comments for the prices (suited to European market).

You can check some reviews and demos here, here and here.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Korg Volca Bass and Beats

Finally, after I pre-ordered them 5 months ago (I wanted to have them as soon as they were released, but Korg distribution in Europe kinda sucks), I received my new Korg Volca instruments - the Volca Beats and the Volca Bass. I didn't read the user's manual yet but I already had a lot of fun with them last evening! They're very house oriented but there are many other ways to use them if you explore a little bit...

You probably noticed that in the last months I acquired and built several electronic music devices - and I have a serious project with them. I never felt comfortable to bring a computer on stage, but very soon I will have adapted my computer compositions to these analogue machines - and also I will learn to improvise with them… Of course I don't give up guitars, I just increase my music practice. I always hated sleeping.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

more sketches

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Vienna Improvisers Orchestra @ 21er Haus

Last week I went to see the Vienna Improvisers Orchestra in the Viennese contemporary art museum 21er Haus. I went there without knowing what to expect - I just knew one of the musicians - and the evening started with poems reading in German, that I mostly didn't understand (except, for some reasons, some erotic poems - gotta check on my learning German method).

The VIO comprises about twenty musicians and plays directed improvised music, conducted by Michael Fischer in Butch Morris style, with a made to measure gesture code. I've actually been a longtime member of a similar orchestra in France - the acclaimed La Pieuvre - I'm quite familiar with this, and I have to admit that the music resulting of this method is roughly always the same... It's powerful the first time you hear it, but once you know the tricks it's quite limited - the vocabulary is too narrow and the musicians' focus being always split between following the director, listening to the other musicians and improvising, they can't really produce something interesting more than a few minutes in a row...

The VIO is saved by its instrumentation and its musicians - the flutes and cellos give it its specific color, as do the female voice trio and its beautiful long modulated drones. Electric guitars are a good counterpoint with original sounds like detuned chords and a general well mastered minimalism. Drums are also quite well placed, that can be difficult. There was sometimes some text readings added to the music, quite cliché but not unpleasant, and even enjoyable when it slipped to theatrical.

picture by Christian Kurz

My feeling about the 21er Haus concert is that ultimately this kind of orchestra should be able to play without being directed. It would take a lot of practice and deeply involved musicians but I'd love to hear the music it would produce. I always believed that a music piece is always contained in its first seconds and that a good improviser is the one who can understand the underlaying structure and bring it to its 'logical' conclusion: to reach that as a collective is a grand achievement!

That makes me think that the ultimate purpose of Communism was supposed to be the disappearance of State, once the People has reached Political Maturity...

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