Psychetropic live!

I’ve been spending the last few months developing and practicing a live set of Psychetropic music. Which is a new thing for me. I’ve played live a bit as a drummer and bassist, but never my own music, and never electronic music. For many reasons, from lack of scene/venue to tech hurdles. But also because live electronic music a little problematic. Keith Emerson said performing live on synthesizer is a desk job, and he’s got a point. It’s even worse with laptops, and the perennial question is: is he just checking his email up there after pressing play?

To solve this and make what I do a true performance has been the problem but I think I’m getting somewhere. My approach is to only have pre-programmed sources for things that are predetermined to begin with: drum patterns, samples and sequences. Everything else, chords/bass/melody, will be played on live keyboard, with live looping as needed.

Equally important is that I’m able to change, in the moment, the shape, direction and form of the music. On the spur of the moment, I should be able to completely reverse or scramble the sections of a song, begin with the end, if I feel like it.

All this so that each pass through a song will result in a unique moment, a unique presentation of that musical idea. And as I said, I’m starting to get there, which is great fun.

Here’s an example, this is a take of a performance of the song China Radio Sunshine, from the 2003 album of the same name. It turned out rather ambient, but that wasn’t in my mind when I pressed record – this just happened.

China Radio Sunshine – Live Ambient Take:

And this is the original recording:

Also coming into nice focus is the equipment setup, a MacBook, a DAW controller, Midi keyboard and audio interface – simple as can be, sets up in minutes and everything runs on USB power. The complexity is built into Ableton, where it’s hidden away. My goal is to never look at the computer screen except to load project files.

As for when/where I’ll actually get out and play, there are some things brewing, so stay tuned.


New Release: The Mystery Demos / Todd Fletcher

Throughout 2016, I worked on demos for a band concept I had. But, failing to ever find a bassist I shelved the idea and began work on The Night Bird’s Song. One of these day these songs, and others might see the light of living day. But nevertheless this project was a fun challenge, even if I never got any groupies from it. These songs are in my guitar rock, retro/shoegazey vein. I present them as is, as a slice of a certain time.

You can stream it from the right sidebar or visit the page

Old Music on Tape

I recently received some kind words of encouragement from a listener in France, regarding my (very) old cassette tape release “Entrance” on Poison Plant.  He also asked if I had the original tapes and planned on releasing it for digital download. The answer is, yes, I have those tapes, and much else besides:

There are many hours of unreleased music in there as well. There are two problems: 1) I don’t have a reel to reel player and the dbx noise reduction for it. But worse, these tapes sat in an Arizona garage for many years and all of the splicing tape has dried up and lost it’s adhesion. The last time I played any of these tapes the edits just fell apart as it played. So I’ll have to re-splice all of these tapes to digitize them, as well as buy a player and the NR to go with.

It’ll happen! But it might take a while as my priority is always on producing new music, and that’s what gets my time. But my intention is to make microrelease the platform for all of my released, and releaseable music. These tapes are will get included eventually, as well as my 2005 CD “The Wasteland”, the master for which sits on a dead hard drive that I need to get recovered.

So stay tuned, more, much more, is coming.

Looks Easy

So, straight to RADAR? I don’t see any sign of midi recording, and why would there be if you can handle all that. And also: the keyboard faces the monitors, not the mixer. As it should for a composer.