Last Saturday, The SF Bay Area Reason User Group finally had the chance to meet up for a full blown jam session with eight laptops running Reason + one Line6 Variax Guitar. Participating were Darin, Ed, Hayden, Mark, Mason, Mike, Nick, and me; along with a few guests. We’re lucky to have some enthusiastic people involved, because we managed to get this event organized quickly. It’s always nice to get together and talk about music and technology, but it’s definitely more fun to jam out!
We were fortunate enough to be allowed to use a massive warehouse space in SF, where Mark’s wife works. There was no lease for the space, but we couldn’t make it an all out event and invite the public. In the future we will find a more public venue if more people are interested in coming… maybe something with a bar
The afternoon passed in a blur and a few of us walked away thinking that things didn’t turn out as cool as we had expected. When we did the test run with only 4 laptops, things ran pretty smoothly. When we added another four, things seemed to get a little out of control. Ed (EditEd4TV) brought in some gear to record and videotape the session, and I just had the opportunity to listen through the session, and there were some surprisingly cool moments.
Mixing and Tempo control were handled with hardware. We had audio feeds from each person running into a Mackie, and MIDI Clock sent out from a Boss DR-202 and distributed via a MOTU MTP II. During the session, we could adjust the tempo and change up the styles from slow prog rock stuff up to some fast trance bits. We even had a few of Ed’s favorite Reason cover tracks mixed in. There were occasional problems with levels and sync, but for the most part we could just play without thinking about the technology.
The entire recording spanned about 2.5 hours, but i’ve reduced it to a few highlights in this 13 minute MP3. Bear in mind that this is mostly live - Real Time - most of the sequences were created on the fly including some drum arrangements:
We will definitely make this a regular event and perhaps start mixing it up with live instruments, vocalists, and other types of software.