Friday, July 31, 2009

Oh my Oh my

How good is it to be connected again. Well it certainly rates higher than the film "Duplicity" which we had the "pleasure" of yawning through last night that´s for sure. Can´t believe the Jinster though. Total twitter geek. You´ve gotta love her....

Geek Review: Google´s Chrome Browser & Tweetdeck - Excellent. You´ve gotta be excited about the Chrome OS. Roll on.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Change The Filter Change Reality

Tao, pinch me please, let me know this isn´t just a beautiful lucid dream. I remember many years ago when still working for the man, up early one morning frantically forcing my breakfast cursing the time, loathing the thought of having to go to (to quote Bill) "a job which did not inspire me creatively in any way shape or form" when I could have spent that valuable 10 hours creating music. The TV was on as the days mass media corporate sponsored and approved messages were being regurgitated and suddenly after a flick to Channel 4 a voice grabbed my attention and Jinny´s.

I looked at the TV increasingly mesmerised by the words, who was this guy? He was rapping accapella stylee but this was no East or West coast shit. This was spiritual, trippy, far out, positive uplifting and English. But the guy had such a voice, like liquid chocolate. And yeah his rap wasn´t rap like Biggie, Snoop etc it was more of a Terrence McKenna rap. But the voice, the words, the message;, hit home like a thunderbolt on steroids. Then after a far too brief a time we were back to News Land and Jin & I stared at each other and I´m sure the words "What the fu*k" were uttered incredulously by one or both of us.

"Who was that?"

"Barefoot Doctor.... " frantic search for words.


Who would have thought that a few short years and a move to the most amazing island and a million coincidences later he´d be our good friend and I´d be producing music with him? I remember thinking I´d love to sample that guy and yet today there we were. No sampling required. Live & Direct. Is it a coincidence that the length of audio fit perfectly with an instrumental track I´ve had ready just waiting for a killer vocal. I´ve stopped believing in coincidences, all is now. Quantum physics and all that.

It´s sounding fine, the track that is, a couple more hours work should finish it then off to Ibiza Global Radio we go. Produced and Mastered in Ableton Live 8 so far, usually Logic handles the main work but not in this case. I´m really liking Live 8 so far, the midi editor is a hell of an improvement and it runs as slick and processor un-intensive as ever.

Still can´t believe it.

Thanks Tao.
Love to all

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ibiza Life

Well kittlings, it´s been a long time coming. One of the joys of living in Ibiza is the amazingly relaxed lifestyle, the downside - well it´s sooooooooooooooooo relaxed (tranquilo) that things take time. Even simple things. The internet. Something I / we took for granted. Well it´s back. OMG nearly 2 years of waiting and it finally arrives. Living in the "campo" (countryside) is breathtaking but web access is not what it should be. But now, ah, deep joy :)

Connected again and loving it. So much to say, lots & lots of news and views. Stay posted Von Hash is back :)

Thursday, March 27, 2008


A massive thank you to my man Julio for all his input and synthesiser help :)

Soundtrack - Triana


The joy of Music. Currently hot on the playlist and gracing the decks, Triana, many thanks (Muchisimo Gracias Tio) to Manu for hooking me up with this little Jewel.

Logically Speaking

So where to start? Well, for sure it's been awhile so let's cover positive, important stuff first. Anyone that knows me also knows that I love technology, in particular technology that helps me create. My relationship with my technological kit can puzzle innocent bystanders and leave them slightly baffled nay bewildered and confused. I make no apologies for this, having long ago realised that I have a passion and enthusiasm for what I love doing (and the things that help me do it). Over the last few months 4 other stunning bits of kit have joined the list of technology I have loved.

First up and chronologically ordered, the amazing upgrade to my favourite sequencer, now as I've stated many times on these pages the job of the sequencer is to allow you to make music, it is an interface between your creative ideas and your creative output. It needs to be as seamless as possible. In reality the interface shouldn't feel like an interface, it needs to be intuitive yet powerful enough to capture your ideas. Having spent many years learning various sequencers, both hardware & software, it's a real joy to report that the upgrade to Logic Pro was painless and relatively cheap and more importantly so ridiculously powerful & intuitive that it's a real joy to use. The Channel Strip settings are a stroke of genius and the ease of adding extra Aux, Bus and Rewire inputs makes my creative life so much easier. The media, loop and preset library is again simplicity itself and creating / saving your own customised settings so simple it's almost a joke. Sidechaining is now also easier than ever which makes for tight, fat, professional sounding mixes. I'm also digging the new Compare function which for me is a real Godsend.

I love creating my own sounds, it adds an obviously personal level of detail to a track. Most of my own sounds (but not all) usually start from a preset that is then fairly heavily edited. It's just how I tend to work. Get a sound that's somewhere close to what you want then make it exactly what you want. This maybe a simple case of adjusting the characteristics of the sound itself, passing the sound through some mind disturbing effect units or depending on exactly what sound I'm after - building a sound from scratch. It's here where a good Compare function comes in useful. Logic Studio has that nailed. One click allows a quick before and after comparison - essential for a soundsmith. Save your new creation as a Channel Strip setting and it's available in the new media browser only one click away. Genius.

All in all it's a great upgrade, there's lots more to it but I've gotta cover three of the baddest Soft Synths known to mankind yet so excuse me while I slip into something more comfortable and lay these monsters out on general display.

All I can say to start with is Native Instuments! Stop now you're scaring me!

Those crazy creative Germans have done it again. Not content with launching the careers of thousands of Minimal musicians with the insanely inspirational Reaktor and it's Nuskool plugin (the sound of which has systematically destroyed dancefloors from Ibiza to Brazil and beyond), their rapidly growing Soft Synth catalogue has three absolute monsters that I'm now the lucky & proud owner of:

Battery 3

I think FM8 has stolen the title of My Favourite Synth, this prestigious award used to belong to the ES2 (closely followed by Rob Papen's Albino) but I can honestly report that FM8 is the synth that I find myself going to again and again. It's received rave reviews in the tech music press and after using it for only a few days I can already see why. Try it - you'll like it. NI offer demos of most of their synths and once you start playing them you'll be hooked.

When Yamaha released the DX7 it was a milestone in Synthesiser history. Only a few synths are good enough to be called classics, the DX7 was one of them. I remember the first time I heard one (in a little music shop in Bingley, West Yorkshire, England) it sounded like no other Synth I'd ever heard. It was the sound of 80's synthesis. Up to that point analogue was God. After the DX7 was released FM synths became the new "must have" sound. An interesting fact here - FM synths became so "fashionable" and analogue synths so "old hat" that I remember seeing a Roland TB-303 for sale in the same small music shop for £35. I was the proud owner of a Korg MS-10 which I couldn't even swap for a guitar effects pedal (and I tried!) both these classic synths now change hands for hundreds of pounds. Technology eh? Everybody wanted the clean FM sound. Analogue was tired and old and fuzzy sounding, the synths were notorious for going out of tune (as they warmed up), drum machines suddenly used "Samples" to make their sounds. Whatever next?

But "fashion" has always been the same, and as in all things fashionable it's a cyclic phenomena. Technology on the other hand always marches on and the new FM synthesis offered by NI is so far ahead of it's ancient cousin it's frightening. When NI released FM7 it caused quite a stir, FM8 is no ripple on the pond, it's a tsunami. One of the weak points of "old" FM synths was their lack of "warmth" (a yearning for the halcyon days of analogue - which of course led to the analogue sound becoming fashionable again - do you see a pattern here kittlings?) FM8 has no such shortfalls. It does all the things the DX7 and its offspring's were capable of but then shows us that nearly 30 years on FM synthesis has grown into something almost unrecognisable.

Oh yes it does "Warm". It does "Fat" it does all the things you want a synth to do. It also reads all the old DX7 (and later models) soundbanks so should you want to sound like a Bronski Beat revival band you can. But it also generates sounds you can't even begin to describe, sounds that twist and undulate then rip the bass cones from your monitors and shred the shirt on your back. Stupidly fat leads, ridiculously rich pads, effects that spin your cerebrum into a gibbering monkey mind mess.

FM synthesisers are notoriously difficult to program and edit, not so NI's latest offering. They offer an accurately named "Easy" morph mode in which you can tweak and twist recognisable parameters (timbre, harmonics, attack, decay, release etc) and a mind meltingly complex "Expert" mode where you can modulate those sine waves and algorithms till your eyes pop and you have a beard as long as Noah's.

All in all 10 out of 10. NI we salute you! :)

So grab yourself the demo and see what you think, better still let me know what you think, I'll cover Massive and Battery in the next post, until then, happy creating Kittlings!

Hasta Luego



Quote For Forever (so obviously quote of the day)

"Imagine that every person in the world is enlightened but you. They are all your teachers, each doing the right things to help you learn patience, perfect wisdom, perfect compassion."


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Global Warming

The Genius that is Mark Steel

Having long been a fan of Mark Steel, it was a real pleasure to see this article. A true comedian who like the legendary Bill Hicks uses his comedic genius to "tell the truth". In this case Global Warming

"The Live Earth concert was worthwhile, because it provoked this splendid argument from a columnist in The Sun, who insists the climate isn't changing - "Global warming is simply the new way of screwing more and more taxes out of us."

So it turns out all those scientists and weather people and botanists and people measuring glaciers have made it all up so the Government can propose a twelve quid long-haul airline tax. There's probably a secret group in Greenland hacking icebergs to bits with a shovel to make it look more convincing.

Next week he'll add: "And what about these so-called 'sound waves'? Have you ever seen one? Of course not, because they're simply another scam dreamed up by the BBC so they can charge us a license fee."

This is the level of debate offered by those who dispute global warming is happening. Either that, or they repeat some snippet they've seen on a website, like: "What about the Montana Institute of Snow, eh? They analysed nine different snowflakes in the Andes and concluded flakes are bigger now than in the olden days, so although there are less flakes, there's 80-per-cent more snow in total than ever before, and the man who does the graphs to say there's global warming is being paid by a cycle shop in Taunton."

Even this would be more convincing than the theory of Johnny Ball, who for some reason has become one of their media spokemen, and who cornered me for half an hour, during which time he said with great conviction: "Do you know what causes more global warming than anything else? The methane from spiders."

The little buggers. I bet they're using coal-powered webs, with not a thought for the environment. And instead of hanging from beams in sheds, they're flying round garages in Boeing 757s they've had built by bees.

One thing the spiders should be ashamed of is their effect on the islands of Kiribati, some of which have been sunk by rising sea levels, forcing the population to flee. Or maybe that was caused by condensation. The Sun columnist would go round and say: "Aah, I say what's happened here - someone's had the kettle on."

The other main point of the sceptics is that Al Gore is a pompous politician who flies everywhere himself. Which is true, but this has little bearing on whether the climate is changing. You might as well say, "Isaac Newton was a right scruffy bastard. And yet you expect me to believe in gravity?"

Some of the science is confusing and uncertain, so one way to judge it is to look at who's on which side of the argument. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report was made by 600 scientists from 40 countries, assessed by 600 reviewers, and agrees this is happening.

Whereas most of the stuff that contradicts it can be traced back to websites that aren't entirely neutral. For example, one leading source for the "global warming's a myth" supporters is called "Friends of Science" - except their president admitted: "About one third of the funding for the Friends of Science is provided by the oil industry." Yet this stuff is repeated round the world by columnists as fact.

Exxon has spent millions of dollars on a website that disputes global warming. Or there's the publication called 21st Century Science and Technology, which claimed that 55 per cent of glaciers are actually growing at the moment.

But this paper turns out to be owned by an American millionaire by the name of Lyndon Larouche, who has also claimed the British royal family is running an international drugs syndicate. Nonetheless, he's been quoted by global warming sceptics, including David Bellamy.

Johnny Ball, David Bellamy - why does this affliction seem to target 1970s TV presenters? Soon Frank Bough will announce that global warming is caused by cyclists, because they disrupt the path of flies who then whizz about more erratically, making themselves a more difficult prey for spiders, who have to move faster to catch them, causing methane mayhem.

Apart from TV presenters, opponents of the scientists seem to be supporters of the oil companies, or people who believe they're standing up against a woozy liberal agenda. Because the PC mafia are forcing us to burn our cars and buy tandems and not go on holiday, while the only people resisting this are the downtrodden voices of the petro-chemical industry, the airlines, and the government of America.

So they're not interested in the science at all. When they were at a chemistry class in school, and the teacher announced that the litmus paper had turned red so vinegar must be an acid, they probably shouted: "Oh what do you know? I suppose now we'll all have to campaign to save alkalines from extinction will we?"

Live Earth may have brought the scale of the climate problem to people's attention. But it can't be resolved without confronting those giant companies and governments in whose interest it is to deny the problem is there at all.

For example, to reduce the number of cars, we could invest in a re-nationalised public transport system, which would upset the private rail firms and the car firms. And it would upset the people who complained that Live Earth "only put one point of view". They'll probably also complain the coverage of the Tour de France "only puts one point of view," as there should be someone else saying: "They can't have gone all that way, they'd have tipped over the edge."

Having watched his series The Mark Steel Lectures and loved it, particularly the Einstein Lecture which dealt with some of the mind bending implications of his theories, it's always a pleasure to hear Mark Steel tell it like it is.

Peace & Love


There is No Spoon


"You only have a finite amount of time and a finite amount of energy. Make sure you use it positively."

Quote Mike Throup

Never a truer word said. Don't focus on the negative my brothers and sisters, life is way too short for that. Don't be distracted by the world of the ten thousand things. Focus on the positive, let your love shine through.

Negative influences, places, thoughts and even sometimes people need to be let go. You'll never achieve your purpose if you let negative clutter distract you.

Remember there is no spoon.....

A place in the sun..

Apologies for the lack of posts recently but now when they do come they'll more than likely arrive in a group. My new work off-line strategy. We're blessed and lucky and give thanks that we are where we are at this moment, our new place to live on this magic island is the most beautiful place we've ever been lucky enough to call home. It's a reality check for me every morning; as having lived in the UK all my life I never really expected to ever wake up and see oranges, lemons, apples, grapes, peppers, onions, melons, peas, beans, aubergines, tomato's, pomegranates, garlic and even coffee growing in my garden. Add to that the still mesmerising foliage and the perfect dream of a life in the sun has manifested itself...

The Old One. Thanks once again.....

Monday, June 25, 2007

Freakshow @ Cocoon

Freakshow @ Cocoon
Originally uploaded by Miguel Ramirez
Ready for work, our friends Erik, Rachel, Amanda, Elo and their colleagues. Erik designed & made all the outfits, too much talent that fella :)

An amazing night! Welcome to the real world :)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Fierceness Is Always Welcome

Monday night was Cocoon @ Privilege: Erik - our beautiful neighbour, Designer, Dancer & all round "Fierce Black Bitch". A truly beautiful human being and one of our closest friends on this amazing island - Backstage.

It was a stunning night, a truly stunning night....

Peace & Love