Spencer from Vapor Mache emails us with a story about his use of AudioCubes while and after he studied at Berklee College of Music.
I use AudioCubes in a number of ways in both creation and performance situations. The first way I began using the Cubes was to control region switching in Ableton Live. I'll often set up my Live session to feature a "solo" section where there are a bunch of regions piled together that I can sift through on the fly by turning the Cubes and moving them around each other. It's a great way for me to directly interact with the audience I'm in front of as well as to generate some unexpected sounds and progressions particularly when I'm moving them around quickly and in an unrehearsed order. Already a very physical and visual interaction with a computer, those movements I make with the cubes are aided by dummy clips in my Live sessions that change the intensity and color of the cubes as I perform. I also use the Cubes' proximity sensors in Live to open and close filters, control the wet signal on delays, stutter beats, open and close different EQ bands, control send amounts and much more. When I'm not using the Cubes to control functions in Ableton Live, I'm using them to control patches I design in Jitter. Before I started using the Cubes a major objective of mine when performing with video/visual patches was to stay out of the way of the screen - don't distract my viewers with my own goofy movements. That all changed when I was able to incorporate the cubes. I can immediately become part of the visual experience whether I'm in front of the screen, off to the side or even part of what's on screen by feeding video of myself back into the patch.
I was raised in Omaha, Nebraska and played several instruments growing up. I started looping guitar and bass lines in high school along with factory beats from an old Roland keyboard I had. It was a revelation when I got everything to sync up for the first time with Cakewalk sending MIDI clock to my keyboard...a major musical moment for me. When I arrived in Boston to study at Berklee College of Music in '03 I was given a laptop with Reason installed on it. That was my formal introduction to electronic beat-making and sound design. Reason provided me with the opportunity to take control of my entire arrangement and pull forward some sound design elements that were totally new to me. At that point, though, I was still trying to apply those beats I was making to music I was performing with a band. It wasn't until I started digging into Logic a couple years later that I really discovered the wealth of potential a little home studio could provide. I let loose and focused on laptop-based electronic music production pretty much full time from then on out. I am now based in Los Angeles working as a freelance composer, producer and sound designer. I self-released my debut album, People., in October 2008 under the moniker Vapor MachÃ©. I am currently in the process of completing my second LP and hope to have it wrapped up within a couple months.
I found out about AudioCubes when I noticed them in the Berklee Music Synthesis equipment office. They looked too fascinating to be left alone so I checked them out for practice and was ecstatic about the opportunity to perform and create with a truly hands-on live music production platform to anything else that was around and available. I had a concert at Berklee coming up within a couple weeks of my discovery so it was perfect timing. I dove right into incorporating the Cubes into my live set as the main instrument interacting with Ableton Live. The show went off without a hitch and the Cubes drew much positive attention to my performance. Eventually I moved on to using the AudioCubes in conjunction with Jitter to control a few patches I designed. I used the Cubes as my Jitter live-performance instrument and utilized them during the creation/design phase to provoke trial and error moments that often yielded cool results in portions of my patches that I had trouble generating ideas for.
To listen to Spencer's music please visit http://www.myspace.com/vapormache