Editor's Blog: SXSW Music & Mac Metal Madness? Eugene Says "Yeah!"

Editor's Blog: SXSW Music & Mac Metal Madness? Eugene Says "Yeah!"

 

If you’re not into music, and there are some of you for whom there’s no functioning difference between the noise a washing machine makes and what’s coming through your iPod, then none of this will makes sense.

 

That is: 10,000 people descending on Austin, Texas for four or five days of South By Southwest (SXSW) to hear music, make music, watch film, and talk multimedia.

 

While that might make sense if it were happening in the city where you lived, the part that beggars rationality is if it happened 22 hours away by car. Well, yeah, it barely makes sense to me either but for the last seven years I’ve climbed into a 1985 Ford Van and made the drive that people who still maintain some sort of belief in the transformative powers of chaos make just to participate.

 

And while I’m not going to start regaling you with tales of drunken excess, not now at least, I am going to note the increasingly amusing appearance of our most-loved technology in places you least expect to find it. At this point, if you even know a little about music, you’d not be surprised to find PowerBook G4s all over the stages of hip hop, electronica, trance, IDM, glitch core, and house bands. This music would not even exist in live venues without the huge amounts of processing power and ease of use that Apple’s offered the music’d masses. So, yes, these places you expect to find laptops.

 

But onstage at arguably the heavy metal event of the festival: the JESU show?

 

Jesu, formerly Godflesh, formerly Head of David, formerly Napalm Death? Oh yeah. There it was: bass, drums, guitars, and a PowerBook G4. Tended to by roadies along with out-of-tune guitars, SM54s that needed to be adjusted, and drum pedals that need to be re-nailed down, their Mac which, I’m guessing, was running atmospheric loops that throbbed through their ambient metal soundscapes.

 

But that was the simple part. The harder part? Figuring out what programs were doing what when. And maneuvering through screaming crowds of upward of 500 fist-pumping fans I notice that I’m not the only one crab walking and neck craning to see what the hell that laptop was doing. There are three or four of us, through the throng, who were on the Need To Know plan (was it GarageBand? Audacity? Or one of the super-sophisticated programs meant only for serious production junkies?) and when spotted by a gimlet-eyed handler I notice that he shifts the laptop both back toward stage rear and away from our prying eyes.

 

This is not new either. Guitar players jealously guard their equipment chain, lying about what effects they use and how, which guitars and why, but the laptop player (and yeah, what do we call this person? A laptopist?) is concerned we’re going to steal his ju ju?

 

Obviously.

 

Which means, under the auspices of this being what journalist's do, that we gots to know and we won't be stopped trying to find out. So, stay tuned to the Mac|Life mag because I’m aiming to do exactly that: steal Jesu’s ju ju. Off an almost-ancient PowerBook (by our hothouse Valley standards). Hot damn.

 

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Dr Strange

JK Broadrick uses logic both live and in his studio as far as i know, i saw jesu last year and he was defiantly using it then and i he talked about it in a interview i read.

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jma689

I think it's well known that Justin Broadrick uses the newest Mac version of the Hammerhead Music Station (the infamous beta 2.56)...

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Ari

Are you kidding me?
Garageband?
Audacity?
Or one of the super-sophisticated programs meant only for serious production junkies?

Garageband is a toy (really fun though) and Audacity is a sound recording UTILITY, nothing more.

Even the band of twelve year old in the garage next door are using more serious stuff than that.

Jesu is fairly probably running something which can handle some form of commercial plugins such as VST, RTAS or the likes.
That would mean they can run a series of synths and effects, just like a guitarist pedal setup, almost certainly also some including some kind of MIDI sequencer.

Possible candidates include Cubase, ProTools, Ableton Live, Reason, Fruityloops (garagebands bigger cousin) and quite a few others.

The name of the software wouldn´t tell you much though, the effects chain might give you some idea, but ultimately it´s down to the exact setting of each part of the chain.

As to musicians not telling about their effect chains, most PROFESSIONAL musicians will gladly tell exactly what they use, how they set it up and all, some amateurs seem to think that some magic settings produce a sound which will make them famous, it just isn´t so!

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Eugene

....well I got one but I don't want to cheat my print piece but it starts with Logic......and as for only Pro musicians willing to talk: QTSA dude Josh Homme lies like a rug about everything from his gear to his settings...EXPRESSLY to baffle the unwashed, hahaha.....

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Michael D.

This really has nothing to do with the post but it just reinstalled my yearning for a powerbook (or macbook pro)
there just so cool. The prossesing power of course but also that aluminum look! it would make me feel like such a pro.
my old white ibook is nice but its just not the same!
NEED ALUMINUM!

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Danthebassplayingmacbookproingman

its titanium. :) and i love it.

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