“Folk music of the 21st Century” – radio broadcaster, jazz aficionado, and jazz-based Ableton Live instrumentalist / remix artist Nick Francis really sums up what this whole site is about. As he chops up jazz greats in Ableton, his mash-up music chops are as much musical analysis as they are performance. He walks through his controller moves in a pedagogical way, highlighting the meat of the jazz legends he puts into play. It’s a kind of digital transcription, transcribing re-imagined for Ableton’s colored blocks in place of.
Of course, you’ll only be able to reflect on this once you can take your eyes off that stunning wooden controller, which has the look of a decades-old instrument. Kraftwerk in their early days would have chuckled at the polished-wooden nostalgia, but here, it’s about care as much as memory – and Nick is a fan of Kraftwerk, DJ Shadow, and others. None other than Matt Moldover inspired all of this. (I look forward to catching up with Matt in California next month.)
We first saw Nick in May:
A Controller Love Supreme: Beautifully-Crafted Wooden Jazz Controller with Ableton Live [tons more detail there]
Our friends over at Dubspot have an extensive, illustrated video series on interviews. You can tell they didn’t have to edit too much here, that Nick just kept talking and saying great things.
But seeing electronic music with Nick’s self-described “vintage fetish” – from the RCA-chic swirled woodgrain to the great old standards – is a joy. And if you can’t get enough of Nick, you can go listen to his radio show, too.
Flip that YouTube into 720p to hear the sound properly – yes, even in this modern age, the default setting is a bit lacking in warmth.
There’s also a second part of the video with a performance of “Canto de Wonderwall.” (Not visible in Germany due to licensing issues.)