The Harder Side of St. Vincent’s Live Rig: Custom Rack, Eventide Stompboxes, MIDI

St. Vincent is doing some amazing live shows, so it’s little wonder that a look inside the software rig and approach to computer-enhanced performance got some attention Friday. Eagle-eyed readers, though, weren’t only satisfied hearing from the band about the role of Ableton Live and Reason. That expansive rack of stompboxes, including some of my personal favorites from New Jersey-based maker Eventide, clearly matters, too. In comments, there’s a full explanation of what you’re seeing. As Dan writes: Mike Vegas of Nice Rack Canada (formerly Nice Rack NYC) built that board for Annie. The MasterMind provides switching for the analog …


How St. Vincent Plays Live, ‘Through the Looking Glass’ [Video Behind-the-Scenes]

At the end of the day, what motivates extra technical preparation is the same thing that drives musicians to practice scales or work long hours in the studio: that extra discipline can pay off in real freedom of expression. So, it’s moving to hear St. Vincent talk about musicality as the end point for onstage computer-based coordination. In the behind-the-scenes video, you can see how the band combines Ableton Live, a loaded rack of instruments in Propellerhead Reason (presumably running via ReWire into Live), and a whole big mess of pedals. Interestingly, MIDI triggers for those pedals helped focus on …


Inside Koma Electronik, Boutique Maker: Studio Tour, Profile [Gallery, Audio]

Big or small, talk to many music gear makers, and you’ll find they’re in the business largely for love. But it’s still amazing just how many gear makers choose to go it alone. They build equipment in their flats and garages, hand-packing their creations and shipping it to a world of fellow musicians. Koma Electronik is just one of those in the worldwide scene of boutique hardware makers. We’re especially fond of their interfaces and the company of musicians they keep. So, following up on the video that showed what it’s like getting a demo in a van from Koma, …


Hands-on with Koma’s Analog Filter/Sequencer, Gate/Delay, in a Van, with Champagne

Koma’s stuff is good. Really good. So good, you might even want to watch a hands-on video where I’m juggling a camera in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other. Their stompable, playable analog effects show well even in the back of a van circling Musikmesse. How I came to see this hardware in the van is a story in itself. The trade show gig works like this: you pay an enormous amount of money for some sort of trade membership, then an enormous amount of money for a booth, an enormous amount of money to staff …


AmpliTube 2 for iPhone, as the Handheld Music Workflow Gets Clearer

AmpliTube 2 arrives today with new effects, recording, bounce to audio, export/import, practice tools, and in-app purchase of extra stomp modules. I’ve been playing with a pre-release version for the last few days. Combined with an audio interface like IK Multimedia’s own iRig, AmpliTube 2 turns your iPhone or iPod touch into a handheld, pocket-able workstation. But let’s step back for a moment and consider what that means. What would you want a device to do for your music if that device fit in the palm of your hand? Last week, I raised the question of physical size, inspired by …


Guitar Pedals Go DIY, Open Source

Ever wished you could open up guitar pedals and make them work the way you like? This week brought good news for you, whether your flavor is hardware or software. Prefer to wire up a simple DIY project and learn about circuitry without soldering? Or want a mad eight-core food pedal with video output and lots of jacks? Whatever your taste, Beavis and Coyote can make you happy – all without needing a gigantic crucifix form factor. (Uh … more on that in a bit. Long story.) The Beavis, shipping now, offers everything you need to wire up 25 sound-shaping …