Seeing us through to the end of the year we’ve reached out to a number of our favourite artists and cultural creatives to join us in celebrating good things. A bunch of five things that make their world go around, inspire them or just need celebrating for what they are. There’s no theme here. It’s no kind of “best of year” round-up. These are just five things of the many things identified as making the world a better place to be. We’re all about positivity. Almost all of the time. We promise…
Kurt Uenala has his fingerprints on more things than you may realize. While Null + Void, the moniker he creates under, may be new to you, it’s possible you’ve come across collaborations he’s done with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Big Pink, Shannon Funchess of Light Asylum plus, most notably, Dave Gahan and Depeche Mode. Kurt's current studio is a decommissioned Icelandic church... From there, Kurt checks in...
I recently relocated my life from NYC to Iceland. I was pretty burned out on city life and was aching for calmer waters. After visiting Iceland 12 times, I knew what a paradise (albeit a cold one) was going to be in my new home. The welcoming music scene, the curiosity and welcoming people I have met over the years were just what I needed. And of course the breathtaking beauty of the landscape and the smell of moss and moist herbs on my walks make it easy to get over big city life.
The highlight of any trip! The simple and comforting food that awaits at a hotel breakfast buffet is absolutely the highlight of my day or even night! After a late concert, the luckiest thing that can happen is that you make it back to the hotel when the breakfast buffet has just opened. When everything is still neat and quiet, muted sounds are coming from the kitchen mixed with gentle Muzak from the speakers. And best of all, the towers of croissants are all yours!
NATIVE INSTRUMENTS MASCHINE+
The original Maschine was a game changer for my production work. The ease of use and clever layout of the UI really spoke to me. It sped up my workflow tremendously and changed the way i program rhythm tracks and also make it so inspiring to cut samples and assign them in creative ways. I actually wrote to them and was asking for tips on what mini PC i could use to make it a standalone production instrument (with audio ins/outs) and they gave me some pointers. I didn’t go through with the build but then, at last, Maschine+ was released and it had everything included I could wish for. So that is what I use as a live performance setup now…Maschine+ and some hardware synths. It can even do vocoding and runs Reaktor!
KS DIGITAL C88 SPEAKERS
I left my good trusted old Tannoy speakers back in the NY as my studio partner got used to them and likes them. So i was on the hunt for another pair which, as any audio person will know, is a big step. To leave a sonic environment behind (the room you are so used to working in) and also have to change the monitoring loudspeakers is quite a challenge. It can be disorienting for a little while. But after trying out a few options I remembered a friend in Switzerland had a pair and I always loved the way they represented the stereo image. Another friend in Iceland had a small version of the speaker so I got to hear them again and confirmed my affinity to their sound. When I received the c88 pair I set them up, listened and was in awe of the amount of detail and punch, along with an incredibly wide and beautiful stereo image. Then, after measuring the room response and tweaking the internal EQ it was even more accurate. They are very fast and accurate so they are perfect for intricate percussive sounds. I couldn't be without them.
GOING HOME WHEN OTHERS GO TO WORK
I have many great memories of working on a composition or song and really getting lost in it. To experiment without a time limit and take risks. To work through the night and slowly see the sun come up and then finally upload the file to a server and shutting down the studio. To then step out into the morning light and see the hustle and bustle of NYC around you, people going to work with their “to go” cups and disappearing into the subway. I would often go get myself a reward in the form of a toasted bagel with egg + cheese from the corner bodega and eat it on a park bench before biking home to sleep. Great NYC memories…In iceland the situation is quite different as there is no bodega or warm parkbench, especially not in dark winter. But then northern lights sometimes greet me when I leave the studio…not bad at all.
More about Kurt on his website, here⇒