Posts tagged ‘music’

Tour -Ettes syndrome

I suppose I just like to be busy, and when touring always need to accomplish something other than just turning up for the show each day. I knew I had over a years touring to do and wanted writing/producing solution that was easy to carry and didn’t require a flight case.

iPad was the obvious solution as I carry it most places anyhow but it seems that digital audio workstation (DAW) and MIDI software was a bit thin on the ground individually never mind as a package. Garage Band seemed the obvious solution. It’s very powerful and free! But the big requirement, to me, of having a portable recording solution is the ability to export your midi and audio into a bigger studio once home or at work. Garage band doesn’t do this at all. You can export a .wav or .aiff file but not midi. A nice chap called Lars Kobbe has written an applet GB2MIDI. In order to do this Scott Troyer‘s work around is lumpy but workable. You will have had to export the .aif file from your iPad to a Laptop/Desktop.

As an established Pro Tools user I didn’t want to go down the Cubase/Logic route. The research that I did suggested two possible apps NanoStudio


and Auria


NanoStudio is very good and integrates both audio and midi. As the web site says “NanoStudio is a recording studio for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. It has virtual analogue synths, sample trigger pads, a comprehensive sequencer, a sample editor, a mixer and multiple effects all integrated into a single application.” It’s easy to use and the synths, drum machine and mixer work well and for £5 its a bargain. There is an in-app purchase £3.99 to make it 16 tracks and this is also worth it. Once again the exporting is the issue. MIDI exports from the computer version but seemingly not the iPad. You can mix down on the iPad or export to the laptop version of NanoStudio and you can share with SoundCloud.

Auria I liked from the off but vs1 didn’t support MIDI, there was a work around involving Audiobus and Nanostudio but none of this worked fully until Apple released iOS 9 in Late 2015. With this came the release of Auria Pro and this now had MIDI integrated.

This now all worked without Audiobus running (I believe that it runs in the background) and I could include other synths like Animoog and Sampletank as MIDI instruments.

Now we could write and export via Auria’s .aaf export option directly into Pro Tools either via Dropbox or iTunes when connected to the laptop. Auria Pro is £34.99

The next nut to crack was a portable mic preamp. I’ve a couple of USB/firewire interfaces but neither of the are portable. Speaking with my chums at Mediaspec UK they unanimously suggested IK Multimedia’s iRig Pro. This little device is pocket size and very good.


It integrates with Auria very well and is easy to use. You can plug either a jack or xld into it and 48V phantom power is supplied via a 9v battery (not included). It evens works as a MIDI interface. I’ve done a few sax/flute solos for dance tracks with it already. Here’s one for Phil Bonna .

I have found the iPad a little fiddly to play so as a little Christmas gift to myself I bought iRig Keys a 37 note key board. Although it doesn’t fit in the man bag it is quite portable.


There you have it it, a mobile recording/writing system all in one man bag. The only addition that I have now made is Pro Control for Pro tools 12.


PT Control

Here’s the first track written and recorded on this system – Agent Tea Bag






February 10, 2016 at 15:50 Leave a comment

Review: Juan Martin and his Flamenco Ensemble, National Centre For Early Music, York – By Steve Crowther


“Juan Martin opened his set with a whimsical explorative piece, which had the most lyrical episodes punctuated by the characteristic strumming chords (rasgueado).

This was followed by taconeos, notable for the sheer variety of colour and timbre displayed by this remarkable performer.

The show really came into its own with the entrance of dancers Raquel de Luna and Miguel Infante. They danced a series of short set pieces (Sevillanas) full of pride, posture and intent. It was a whirling, twirling delight.

The duet between Juan Martin and singer Carlos Brias was emotionally raw and gripping.

Later, the guitarist was joined by clarinettist, Paul Fawcus, in three Sephardic songs. The first two were particularly touching: a simple setting with the clarinet darkening, shading the lovely guitar melody, followed by a melancholic, sumptuous clarinet song with gentle guitar commentary.

The Rondena from Picasso Portraits was first performed for Picasso’s 90th birthday bash, and it was obvious that the composer had pushed the boundaries of Flamenco with jazz, experimental and improvised playing, in honour of the great man.

But it was the dancers who stole the show. In the Alegrias (joyful dances), dancer Raquel again performed a series of movements, each ending in the most frighteningly blurred staccato footwork, explosive gestures, a performance as intimidating as it was beautiful.

The response from dancer Miguel was scary. Again a virtuoso display of percussive foot-tapping, indeed the sheer physicality of the performance was spectacular: rhythmic, strutting, a performance emanating as much testosterone as sweat, on a Sunday, too. “

A review by Steve Crowther from the Yorkshire Times of one our recent concerts with Juan and the group. This small, intimate venue venue really responded on this hot and steamy May evening.

Being a converted church the stone floor was too hard for the dancers so two sheets of marine ply were skillfully taped to the stone floor.

A new DVD filmed in glorious HD is available now from Flamencovision


June 7, 2010 at 09:14 Leave a comment

New DVD from Juan Martin – released May 24th

Guitar legend Juan Martín traces the passionate art of flamenco music and dance in his new DVD “Live in London”.

Continue Reading April 19, 2010 at 17:43 Leave a comment

Grooveshark Widget: Chameleon

I hope you like my own music

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May 11, 2009 at 12:00 2 comments

How to be in five places at the same time!

If time is of the essence then with a little bit of organisation you can increase your web presence five fold.

Continue Reading April 25, 2009 at 12:49 Leave a comment

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