Friday, June 26, 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I finally made it to Iceland! A lifelong dream finally realised. I spent two days and one night in Reykjavík on the way to the UK. It was sunny and a warm 14° C and it was just amazing to be there. I stayed in Hótel Björk and for the flight home on Icelandair, the pilot's name was Snorri!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Classic Analog

Well today was all about analog synths for me. I am all of a sudden, once again, totally interested in learning about old skool synths like the Roland Jupiter-8, Roland Juno-6, Arp 2600 and MiniMoog, etc. Roland's owner's manuals are available online, and there are plenty of websites dedicated to vintage analog synthesizers.


"The Jupiter 8 was Roland's first truly professional analog synthesizer. The Jupiter 8 features 16 rich analog oscillators at 2 per voice, eight voice polyphony and easy programming! At eight voices you can get some pretty thick analog sounds. Easy and intuitive programming via front panel sliders, knobs and buttons for all your tweaking needs. The legacy of the Jupiter synthesizers is due to their unique voice architecture and design, creating sounds that were so unreal and amazing that they have to be heard! No other synths in the world can create analog sounds as cool and authentic as these.

The Jupiter 8 was the biggest and fattest of them all (Jupiters and Junos)! It was one of the first synths to allow its keyboard to be split and layered - it's eight voices of trance heaven! Cross-mod, oscillator sync, a great LFO and a classic arpeggiator are also on-board. (The arpeggiator can be heard all over the Duran Duran classic, "Rio".) There's also two killer resonant analog 24dB/oct filters with 2-pole and 4-pole settings as well as low- and high-pass filtering methods. Unfortunately for the earlier models, tuning was very unstable but that seemed to be resolved in later models. Unlike its smaller counterpart, the Jupiter 6, the Jup 8 does not feature MIDI, only Roland's DCB sync can be found on some models. However, MIDI retro-kit's are available from various companies. Patch presets can store keyboard splits, arpeggiator settings, voice assign mode, hold, portamento and modulation settings.

The Jupiter 8 has been used by Tangerine Dream, Orbital, Future Sound of London, Moby, Duran Duran, Underworld, Vince Clarke, Überzone, Jean Michel Jarre, Roxy Music, OMD, A Flock Of Seagulls, Depeche Mode, Rush, Meat Beat Manifesto, Banco De Gaia, Josh Wink, Thomas Dolby, Howard Jones, The Cars, Prince, Gary Wright, Jan Hammer, BT, Adrian Lee, Heaven 17, Kitaro, Elvis Costello, Tears for Fears, Huey Lewis and the News, Journey, Moog Cookbook, Toto, Yes, Devo, Freddy Fresh, George Duke, Greg Phillanganes, Jonathan Cain of Journey, Greg Johnson & Kevin Kendrick of Cameo, Stevie Wonder and Simple Minds."

Obviously, there is no way I'd ever be able to afford to collect actual vintage synths like these, so I will content myself with VSTs and emulators. Arturia makes some pretty nice Jupiter-8, Arp 2600 and Moog VSTs. You can download some demos here.

Since I've been reading about these old synthesizers, I have decided to school myself in the roots of synth pop, by researching 80s bands like the Human League. Of course, it's impossible not to have heard their huge hit "Don't You Want Me", but their album Dare! is supposed to be a synth pop classic. You can download it here (password: tmi).

Saturday, January 24, 2009


LE_Cantin is the project of Montrealer Pat Cantin, who is a friend of a friend. Released on the Archipel label, LE_Cantin's music is minimal and hypnotic. I definitely need to meet this dude! Maybe a Snorri remix is in order to get his attention! ;-)

Have a listen to his track No Fake.
You can hear a live set here.

Here is a video of LE_Cantin describing his work:

Archipel video podcast #2 from Pheek on Vimeo.

Become his fan on Facebook.

Treasure Fingers

My new discovery this week (and new musical saviour) is a DJ from Atlanta who plays the most amazing discohouse I've ever heard. I am a huge house fan and he plays just the right kind: funky, ass-shaking, proper disco house music. Not only does he DJ, but he produces and remixes. Check out my new favourite track, a remix he did for Empire of the Sun and then a recent DJ mix here and tell me you aren't sold on Treasure Fingers.

Treasure Fingers Winter 2008 Mix
01. peacefire - sapphire (grum edit)
02. alex gopher - aurora (riot in belgium & knightlife remix)
03. symbolone - love juice (moulinex remix)
04. manyus & dario guida - stardust
05. sean biddle - times gets tough (matt soda remix)
06. the bucketheads - the bomb (john mazella bistro mix)
07. alex herrera - disco steppin
08. favretto feat. naan - whats your name (treasure fingers remix)
09. big gipp - hot (treasure fingers remix)
10. agent stereo - fast lane
11. d'stephanie - rock the disco
12. dj funkso - a disco kid song
13. the young punx - dance with someone else (phunk investigation remix)
14. empire of the sun - walking on a dream (treasure fingers remix)
15. disco rockets - highschool (treasure fingers edit)
16. alan parsons project - i wouldn't want to be like you (the twelves remix)
17. the presets - this boy's in love (lifelike remix)
18. munk - down in la (shazam remix)
19. demon - happy therapy (lifelike remix)
20. jr disco - what cha going to do
21. dj kittles - disco bones
22. the presets - talk like that (miami horror remix)
23. disco rockets - be my lady
24. matt hughes - can't talk now
25. alex metric - caller
26. treasure fingers - cross the dancefloor (chromeo remix)
27. the american dream team feat. lily - my boo
28. mini viva - tokyo (treasure fingers remix)
29. kid sister - family reunion (treasure fingers southern fried mix)
30. plemo vs rampue feat jessica drosten - excess express (bastian heerhorst mellow mix)
31. kavinsky - 1986
32. sneaky sound system - when we were young (shazam remix)
33. chromeo - 100% (treasure fingers remix)
34. vega - all too vivid (kill the noise remix)

Ableton Live 8

So the big news this week is that Ableton Live 8 is coming. Not only that but they have developed Max for Live together with Cycling 74, the people behind Max/MSP. Live 8 includes great new features like new instruments, new groove pattern capabilities, new effects, workflow enhancements and a new sharing feature, that allows you to more easily share your work with collaborators.

As if that weren't enough, Ableton has teamed up with Akai, the makers of the classic MPC-60 sampler (an icon in the hip hop industry), to develop the first dedicated Ableton controller, called the APC40. It's not only pretty, it's highly functional and completely emliminates the need for a mouse. I can't wait to get my hands on one of these!

Head on over to for more details!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


So my good friends Accost from Vancouver have just played their first show and have recorded an EP. I went to audio engineering school with Blair, the keyboard player and we recorded some Accost songs for our studio project. They mix gorgeous electronic melodies with sweet lyrics and emotional vocals.

Warsaw Pact Yard Sale

You can purchase their EP for $5.94 on iTunes here.