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Heads down, Thumbs up – ‘Berlin Part 2′


We slowly pushed the piano around the corner, attempting not to cause any damage to the floor on the way. I had been looking forward to hearing the sound of the piano for a while, interested in how it would record on my portable producing setup. After setting it in place, congratulating one and other, I opened up the lid and played the first notes. It sounded wonderful.

The next step was recording directly into Cubase through the Zoom H4 field recorder. This usually brings mixed results, although with a bit of tweaking, EQ and reverb – The sound was stunning and full. After recording various layers and finding the sweet spot of the mix, I started to wonder what direction the album should take. I had been inspired by the minimal house and techno which was so proliferate in Berlin. I had been making the slow shift from ‘breakbeat’ patterns to the traditional ’4/4′ pattern for a while now, my appreciation for long progressions and developments in house was brewing. Continue reading “Heads down, Thumbs up – ‘Berlin Part 2′” »

Berlin ist arm, aber sexy – ‘Part 1′


It was getting late, 1 AM had just ticked over and I was in a mental jam. I had heard all sorts of rumours about a notorious club in Berlin named ‘Berghain’ (This was named after two areas of Berlin – Kreuz’berg’ and Friedrichs’hain’, both areas reunited after the fall of the Berlin wall). The first rumour said that this was considered potentially the best club in the world, a bit of research appeared to back this up – citing the Funktion One PA sound system (in my opinion, the best) installed and tuned distinctly for the venue. The second, that it was near impossible to get in.

Guarded by ‘Sven’ – seemingly immortalized as a Tattoo’ed and Pierced ‘Scary German Bouncer’. Of whom, with help from other security staff on the door would practise the art of ‘Facial selection’ and tailor the correct crowd for the night. Reviews of the club gave various hints – ‘Dress like a hipster’, ‘Appear more gay’, ‘Approach as though you don’t care if you get in or not’. Looking at the limited clothing I had with me, I decided I’d be excused from the first two options, and would have to try out the third. I devised a backup plan – I would head home, with a beer in one hand and a kebab in the other, feeling accomplished that I had at least tried to get past ‘Sven’ and his cronies.
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The Sum of its Parts – ‘Adios Barcelona’


I wasn’t well, it occurred in my mind that I had definitely passed the line of drunk into the beginning of alcohol poisoning territory. I began to loose the ability to focus my eyes on La Rambla’s now-empty tourist thoroughfare, as we walked gingerly up to find a Metro station in order to get us home faster. The rolling of the underground train quickly became unbearable and as we rolled into the right station, the next few moments where not the classiest, nor should be revealed in detail.

The tape rewinds back to a lovely Barcelonian day, starting in the afternoon with some Montaditos (High-value mini-roll multi-filling eats) and a few cheeky-beers. A day away from the computer – producing what has become the first track of the trip. I was to meet up with Laura in the afternoon for a beer, then to attend a Paella cooking class. This involved walking around a local market with a chef, as he explains each ingredient to put in the dish. A feature of the tour was the freedom to mix your own Sangria’s as the Paella was being cooked, complete with full plates of Tapas ingredients for some DIY creations. A deadly and delicious combination.

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Disturbance in the force


Sometimes paths take weird directions. The first day of riding did not provide much comfort, but it did bring a lot of clarity and consideration to the project as a whole. 80 KM out of Barcelona, I decided to sit and reflect on how I was going to approach the next 6 months, and if it should be done entirely on the bike saddle. I figured out that 10,000KM of pure cycling would work out to around 100KM per 3 days. Doable, sure. But a significant proportion of the trip would be taken up with the administration of bike touring, and far less on the end result – the album.

It struck me immediately how much I had underestimated the cycling. My bike was struggling under the weight, multiple slow punctures one after another, limited water supply and access to further water along the road. Maps which where dependent on my mobile phone which required recharging daily and terrain which I had not expected nor trained for.

At the end of the day, I found a small village with a train line and slowly made my way back into Barcelona. There I would regroup, rethink and build a new plan of attack. Fortunately a friend of a friend provided very generous hospitality and let me stay for a few days with the addition of lots of beer consumption. I found myself in two minds, either I ‘cheat’ and take the bike over the pyrenees via transportation or I change my approach entirely, making the cycling a feature of the project not its linchpin.
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And So It Begins – (Vicki, Christina, Barcelona)


I have to admit, I’m a pretty nervy traveller. ┬áIt takes me a few good weeks to get to grips with feeling comfortable in a new area. Previously to departing Melbourne, I’d been told time and time again to keep your wallet in the front of your pants, of which I believe contributed to somewhat of a personal paranoia rather than just helpful advise. I also had initial doubts about what I had packed, If I was truly able to ride on European roads, if I’d go mad with loneliness or simply starve to death. Then I realised, its purely the start of a journey – one of which you must relax into and enjoy the ebbs and flows.

The first port of call is Barcelona. I booked out 5 days through an Airbnb host in order to get a comfortable bed to sort out some jetlag and get myself on my feet. It was just the ticket. Barcelona is a busy place, the majority of its residents live ontop of each other in pancake apartments (made out of pancakes), which seem to be in an endless grid configuration with pedestrian roads called “Rambla’s” in between, its pretty overwhelming at the start, but it works and its fairly simple to figure out. At least the 1.50 Euro 6-pack of half decent beer from the supermarket “Consum” down the road didn’t hurt!

Continue reading “And So It Begins – (Vicki, Christina, Barcelona)” »