The deep thinking DJ.

So this is a bit of a strange one. What on earth am I going to talk about now you might be thinking. Let me explain… But first a small introduction.

During this horrible pandemic of Covoid 19, I decided to treat myself to a new Kontrol S3 DJ controller. I’ve always dabbled in DJing. I actually went to Manchester DJ academy when I was 17/18. I learnt how to beat match and understand the basic 4/4 rules and breakdown of music. It helped a lot.


I had belt drive Soundlab decks and a Citronic mixer. I loved it. But I had no idea what I was doing! Not only was I learning how to mix but I was also learning how to keep my belt drive turntables alive! I mixed vinyl and added CD decks a few years later.

Years went by (I won’t bore you!) and now nearly two decades later I am back doing DJ mixes regularly. But now it’s live on YouTube and all MP3! Very different.

So why the deep thinking?

I find myself now planning and thinking about mixing a lot. In-between work and being with my family I am planning my next mix. But it’s not just planning. I think about it very deeply. I plan. I create private YouTube playlists and study the tracks. Whilst working on my laptop I am listening to a playlist over and over again.

Then; I think about the journey, the story. What track’s work, what don’t. Which need replacing or moving to next week’s mix. What is the track telling me? Is it happy, sad, neutral? What is the energy and vibe of the track? What about the lyrics? Where does it sit in the order? Beginning, middle or end? Does it work harmonically? What root key is it?

I wonder how I will mix it with the next track. Where are the breakdowns and opportunities to tease the next track in? When should I drop the base or use a filter effect?

What effects might work well with this track? What won’t? How can I add movement or add a better build-up to the track? The list goes on…

For me, it’s not just about playing the latest music. It’s a journey. A story being played live. I know the tracks are not mine but I desperately want my listeners to understand why I chose the tracks and why I delivered them in the order that I did. As rvery ticking beat passes by the waveform on the screen I look at an imaginary crowd, hoping that they are enjoying it.

But the mix goes quickly. And before I know it I am cueing up the last track, which I have delicately chosen and given the honour of ending this set. The ending track is an important one for me. Like the ending of a film. The last moments mean a lot.

After mixing live for an hour I am knackered. Emotionally drained… But as soon as I put my headphones down the addiction starts again.

It tells me I need to start planning my next mix. 

It’s exhausting.

But I love it.

House Move, Makey Makey GO, Bazik and Ni-Mate 2!

Hi All,

I’ve been pretty awful at blogging lately. Sorry about that. I’ve been moving house and working hard at my day job. I do however have a lovely new desk to do my audio-visual work and lots more room to play. By play I mean make music, edit video, program Isadora and plug my kinect sensor into Ni-Mate and other software.



I now have a gaming PC which doubles up as a Audio-Visual work horse. It’s pretty decent spec but nothing too fancy. I have Isadora on here to help with testing and stuff. I now can also install other windows based software and muck about. It’s quite handy having a mac and a windows PC. I try and not be a mac or windows hater, I just use both!

I have a snazzy new Novation keyboard for use with Ableton and lots of space for my cables and “junk” as my wife calls it! 🙂 haha.

I got a message a few weeks ago from my good pal Julius from Delicode asking if i’d help him test Ni-Mate version 2.0 and of course I said yes. I helped quite a lot with the first version and I was very pleased to be a part of it. So, it’s public knowledge now as they did a blog post a few days ago:

“It’s been nearly a year since we last put out an official update to NI mate. This doesn’t mean that we’ve stopped working on the software – on the contrary. We’re happy to now announce on the blog that for the past 1,5 years we’ve been hard at work preparing NI mate v2.0 for an eventual release in July 2015.

While we’re launching a complete redesign on as well as a thorough blog post about the updated features and business model in June, some of the things to look forward to include: extended sensor support (adding support for the new Kinect for Windows/XBOX One and Leap Motion), simultaneous sensor support (run multiple sensors in a single instance of NI mate, even mixing different sensor types), BVH/FBX export and an official Autodesk Motion Builder plugin.

Existing purchases of NI mate v1.0 will continue to work forever. Similarly v1 license owners will be offered a generous upgrade path in case they would like to enjoy the new features offered in v2.0. While we’re preparing the new software for official release, we’re also looking for a few good participants in a closed beta. In case you think you would be a good fit, please feel free to send us an application by filling in this form (requires a Google account).”

I also ordered a new toy called the Makey Makey GO. I already have the classic Makey Makey, but thisones is smaller, magnetic and does not require an earth wire. It’s hard to explain exactly what it does and how it does it but you can read more here:

They are really cool devices. I have used them for all sorts and I am hoping to use a few for an instillation at the museum. I may do a full blog post about that at some point.

I am also now beta testing and using a new amazing software called Bazik which is an audio responsive software with Syphon out, MIDI, OSC and much more!

Here is a screenshot of it running into Isadora via Syphon:

So, that’s a little update from me. I have been working hard with the rest of the Isadora crew on testing, problem solving and much more. If you have not checked out Isadora 2 then I suggest you check it out now!

Off to bed now! Talk soon folks!

Graham (aka skulpture)

[A]ura Video

A nice 3 minute video from Aura here, it’s a bit late – i’ve been rather busy!

[A]ura – WYSIWYG
What You See Is What You Get

A performance-gallery with open-source-choreography
One day the internet will be as sacred as a giant ancient cathedral. And everybody will sacrifice their details to pay tribute to the digital gods.
In the interactive performance (A)ura, the user is transformed from spectator, to creator: during the weeks before the premiere they can find a unique feature at ChoreoMixer, with which they can design and remix the choreography and contents of (A)ura, by using the browser.
Walter Benjamin says that in modern art the aura of the work of art withers because of mechanical reproduction, and inaccessibility, due to too close a proximity to the observer.
At the same time, a completely different aura of amazement will be created by new technologies. Every user can be a choreographer, an innovative remixer and in that way create his own virtual memorial which perhaps will follow its own unexpected ways. Closeness and distance will join crosswise in a new way.
But what about the situation when the digital medium refuses to cooperate with the user?
What you see is what you get.
choreography/dance: Elke Pichler
music/video: Alexander Nantschev
stagedesign/costumes: Monika Biegler
programming: Stefan Lechner
interactive technical support: Graham Thorne
legal consulting: Clemens Lahner
pr: Stefan Eigenthaler
camera: Philipp Aichinger
Kindly supported by:
MA7, Kosmostheater and Ars Electronica Center”

Bazik & Isadora via Syphon.

I recently stumbled across this amazing audio responsive software called Bazik.*

I have been after an audio visualisation tool for a while to incorporate into my Isadora VJ patches. And wow this one really hits the nail on the head.

I also love that “You can add Quartz animations or Shader GLSL” effects!

Here is a short demo on how I set it up.


*NOTE: this was limited to 100 downloads for the beta stage – very sorry!



Interesting Videos…

A selection of random and interesting videos that I’ve found over the last few weeks….


Code Control Award Winner

Massive well done to Gavin from Digital Fun Fair  for this one!


‘holodeck’ IlumiRoom by Microsoft

I knew this would happen one day… More info HERE



Home theatre with modified XBMC running AmbiPi, Raspberry Pi with custom PixelPi showing Avatar fire scene.

I think I am going to have a go at this over the summer; what a cool project!


PixelPusher: Intelligent Networked LED Controller

A nice kickstart project here… I need to look more into this stuff. it even has Syphon input?! Crazy.