Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Yes, my computer is still dead, but I have delusions that I am going to try to revive it today. In the meantime, I am microblogging on Twitter, something I have been watching for a couple of years, but declined to jump in to. Finally had to, to respond to one of Stark Raving Emily's comments.

Anyway, I'm one of the quarter million people following Zoe Keating's mundane and ever-so-fascinating life log. Yesterday Wired posted a video interview, which I am now linking to here, mostly so I can easily reference it later when I can find it no other way, and partly so the few people who read my blog but don't tweet can see it, too.

This is what she says her current equipment consists of, as best I can make it out, being a dead-Windows user and not Mac (yet):
MacBook Pro
* Ableton Live
* Super Looper
* Applescripts to tie things together and allow everything to be controlled with her feet ("duct tape")
Foot controller mapped to the functions in the program(s)

I loved her analogy, likening the way she builds her music to the way a programmer builds information technology. Start small. Try things out. Build on the foundation. Perfect each bit. Scale as needed.

Thanks, Zoe, you make the impossible seem achievable. I have got to try this.


Emily said...

It's not too hard, especially the way she has herself set up. (after much experimenting and streamlining) You can also try it on for size if you're a PC user with Acid looping software. If we do our meetup this summer, I can show you how to use it: it is so simple, much simpler than Ableton Live (and not as robust to be sure) and lots of fun.

Anonymous said...

I saw this last night. Outtasight!
Aside from the music, I was intrigued by the foot controller. From what I think she said, she's triggering applescripts with the footswitches, instead of doing midi-ish things. Did I get that correct?

If so, it might help with my practice. I'm trying to find a way to record small 10- or 20-second excerpts of my playing onto my Macbook Pro (using Garageband or Audio Hijack Pro, I guess), and then play them back immediately, all without having to put my cello down and then touch keyboard or mouse. Does this sound doable?

Hope you get your computer going really soon!

Gottagopractice said...

Emily-now I'm really getting excited!

TC-I've been thinking along those same lines. Would provide much faster feedback than the current record-play options. And faster feedback=better learning.

I believe you (we) understand that correctly. The foot pedal triggers an applescript which triggers the appropriate action in the other software. Since she says she does not do distortions, these should be relatively simple things like start recording, stop recording, open another loop. This is conjecture based on my 20 yo Mac experience.

She also didn't talk about the other important component of the set-up - which pick-up she's using. But I have a vague recollection that she talked about that in a recent ICS forum - I think Instruments & Equipment. Will have to check.

Sounds like a good summer project.

Emily said...

We will do this. Maybe even a little thing at cellopalooza? I think it's going to be affordable for most, and I may even bring in an engineer to bolster my own experience. :)

Gottagopractice said...

That would be awesome - and I'm pretty sure unique in the cello camp experience.