May 28, 2020 § Leave a comment
I like having my gear in one place as I try to record live in one take as much as possible, performing on the units as I play (as opposed to post-producing with the same units), and one of the issues I quickly ran into was that cables and power supply cables at the back of units “bump” into the gear right behind them: the row of Moogerfoogers bumped into the Drummer One, the Yamaha Reface YC keyboard’s cables bumped into the Grandmother. The units themselves all fit, but the cables were the problem. Super simple, super cheap solution: simply cut wood strips at the appropriate length and glue them on top of each other until you reach the correct height so that cables going to/coming from the front gear can go under the platform you’ve just built for the rear gear, thereby also ensuring neat access to the rear gear’s controls (plus extra ventilation)!
This isn’t even particularly clever and I feel a bit weird writing about something so simple, but I hadn’t seen it elsewhere, and it really solved a problem that was annoying me, so I hope that somehow it may help someone out there!
May 24, 2020 § Leave a comment
My studio is organized as two sides: music gear/instrument side, recording/DAW/monitoring side. In the middle is a space just big enough for a tall mike stand for vocal takes, and a high swivel chair that enables me to go seamlessly from one side to the other. I care about the environment and I really wanted to limit my purchases and avoid plastic or highly transformed material if I could, so the tabletops are the recycled sides of an unused wardrobe that had decent wood and whose depth is just perfect for music-related activities. This, by the way, is Sol’s second favorite spot after the Space Echo: I’m guessing very large cats are perfect for absorbing unwanted frequencies bouncing off tabletops during the monitoring process, so I think he’ll prove to be of some actual use (I’ll just try to push him more towards the middle!😊).
The tabletops sit on heavy duty trestles manufactured with certified pine wood by a Basque company, super sturdy so no worries about piling up gear, and can be adjusted to the desired height (the music side is higher up so I can play standing if I want to). The bottom “shelves” of the trestles are used to store (formerly wine) boxes containing cables, power supplies and whatnots, or to hold my nearfield monitors’ sub so it doesn’t rest directly on the floor. The contents of the boxes is protected from the dust with covers I sewed from Japanese denim I bought in Tokyo when I played at Mutek in 2018. There’s also room underneath the trestles to accommodate more objects if necessary. I also hang my headphones on them, and last but not least, a plank of plywood slid on top of the trestles on the recording side holds the folders containing my recording notes and other miscellaneous stuff, while 2 wire baskets hold manuals, gear templates and music scores on the music side.
Next I’ll share something really simple and really useful for those of us working in very small spaces, so stay tuned! 😊
May 22, 2020 § Leave a comment
7 SQ M / 75 SQ FT IN A FLAT IN BARCELONA
Several days ago I had to fully dismantle the music gear side of my studio because damp spots had appeared below the small window: thankfully the owners of the place (I rent) agreed to come and repair the origin of the problem, and paint the wall anew. Later on I had to rearrange everything again, which gave me the opportunity to take photos and show you some of the solutions I’ve used that go a long way towards making this a space I not only feel comfortable in but actually love working in.
I love seeing the places where artists get their work done, and for musicians, workspaces can be a real conundrum due to the noisy nature of our activity. Last year I wrote a series of posts on my Facebook and website about all the various places I’ve made my albums in, and the pros and cons of having a studio outside the home (my case from 2010 to 2018 – you can find all the links here below the Barcelona studio video) . I’ve only used the home studio in this picture since October 2019: from January to September 2019 I had a twice as large home studio in the same flat, but it didn’t work out the way I had planned, as I got depressed by the lack of light, to the point of thinking that I really couldn’t work in there. The beauty of keeping your setup small is that you can do what I did: downsize even further in exchange for light, which was what I really needed :-)
More about the studio very soon!
May 16, 2020 § Leave a comment
May 11, 2020 § Leave a comment
I have been absent from this space for a long time, and just wanted to send you a tiny hello – after 8 weeks in confinement, including 7 weeks of hardcore confinement (not allowed to go out for exercise or a walk, just for shopping for necessities), it feels good to be back in touch.
The most observant among you will immediately see that this is not the home studio space I had introduced you to last year, and indeed, I swapped places with the other bedroom in the flat not so long after that post: long story short, the lack of light and view really made me feel down and too cut off from the world in that other room at the back of the flat, and the light and patio view in this much brighter room have solved the problem. It is however *really* tiny (around 7 square metres – 75 square feet), but it’s funny how once you’ve downsized once (from 40 sq m to 14 sq m), downsizing the second time feels almost natural. This ultracompact space actually works just fine for the type of music I’m working on right now, and the workflow really couldn’t be smoother: I just swivel my chair and there you go, from recording to listening and mixing in a second!
The other thing you may have noticed is the presence of a glorious Roland Space Echo RE-201, supplied to me by the great people at Soundgas (who also supplied the Elka Drummer One just below it), and on top of those two pieces of gear now sleeps one of two new additions to the house, a red and cream giant named Sol. You could almost say he is part of the setup now as he does love that one spot very much. I initially tried to prevent him from climbing all over my gear, and I was definitely not amused when he climbed on top of the Space Echo for the first time (and freaked out when I switched it on and he heard the tape running), but if I leave the studio open – and really, I did not adopt two cats to close my door on them – then there is just no way to actually prevent him, so instead, I’m developing strategies to encourage the path of least destruction: in this case I’m trying to teach him to jump to the one small spot to the right of the MIDIMuRF where there is no gear, and to jump from there to the Space Echo – it’s actually worked a couple of times, so hopefully this will become an ingrained habit at some point!
I will hopefully be back in the coming months to give you updates on how work on the new album is coming – it’s slowly but surely getting there, and I’m hoping to have it out next year. Given the current circumstances, I’ll be grateful just for that in the first place – to actually have it released somehow into the wider world.
As always thank you for reading and listening, and it goes without saying but I will say it: I hope all those of you reading these lines and your loved ones are doing ok.