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SSL X-Desk

Posted on 27/02/2014

Exciting new addition to my live setup today. Keyboard players usually rely on a small mixing desk to submix their various keyboards when playing live, so that they don’t take up more than a few channel strips on the front-of-house and monitor mixing desks. I’ve had a Mackie 1404 for this purpose for almost 20 years now, from since I was starting out in cover bands in Denmark in my teens. Transistor-based equipment like the Mackie isn’t really supposed to last that long, but it did the job and I might have clung on to it a little too long for nostalgic reasons. Anyway, the stereo imaging and top end frequencies of my keyboard stereo mix really started to show weaknesses, and it was time to replace it.

Since I don’t make this kind of change very often, I was looking for something serious that could last for years to come. Quite a few manufacturers put out products to suit my needs, but there are few high-end options. It always seemed a little strange to me to have 15.000€ of equipment run through a 400€ mixing desk. It made sense to look into the very best products available. After a bit of investigation, the SSL X-desk seemed to be the best option.

We tried it out at soundcheck yesterday and compared it to my old Mackie. The difference blew everyone away, even the drummer (!). It was not a matter of subtle variations, but really two worlds apart. The depth, stereo image, transparency, clarity of the sound of the SSL was every bit as striking as you’d imagine from this kind of top-end brand. It’s five times the price of my old Mackie, but the sound is beyond comparison. Since every note of every concert I’ll play for the next many years will be running through this board, I didn’t hesitate to make the investment.

Notion for iPad

Posted on 17/02/2014

Very cool new discovery, “Notion”, a music notation app for the iPad. I rely on making simple charts for learning new repertoires quite often, and until now I have been using Logic Audio on Mac OS for this purpose. Serious notation software like Sibelius always seemed a little too vast (and expensive) for my needs. Fortunately a lot of talented programmers and developers are putting their time and energy into the iPad and iOS these days, and thousands of great apps are showing up on the App Store, including this intelligent and powerful sheet music editor. It has the kind of flexibility I need for making charts that sometimes only have the chord changes and the structure of the song, and sometimes includes all kinds of arrangements, melodies, random notes about what the rest of the band is doing at a certain point in the song etc. This little piece of software does all that and much more in a much simpler and straight-forward way than what I’ve been used to in Logic Audio, while still offering powerful tools in terms of notation and page layout. Very cool indeed, and a real bargain at 13€99.

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Posted on 04/02/2014

France 2 filmed a show we did with Gaetan Roussel at the Gaité Lyrique in Paris in December for the monthly hour-long concert segment of their music show Alcaline. The venue is a little different from the ones we usually play on the “Orpailleur” tour, and we only had one hour, so this concert is somewhat apart from our normal show. La Gaité Lyrique has a cool 360° video setup that we used on a few songs, and Gaetan invited some friends along: Rover, Owlle and his old buddies from Louise Attaque.

Etienne Daho

Posted on 04/02/2014

I’m doing a few radio and TV shows this month with Etienne Daho, an artist I’ve always had a lot of respect for. He’s had a consistently high level of quality in his work for the past 30 years. Here’s “En Surface” from Le Grand Journal, a song written by Dominique A for Etienne’s new album “Les chansons de l’innocence retrouvée”.