Mu­sic and Tech

Mac Format - - APPLEPROFILE -

We speak to LJ Rich, tal­ented com­poser and TV pre­sen­ter

QQWhat’s your main Mac hard­ware and soft­ware? LJR: My fixed kit in­cludes a eight-core Mac Pro with a Wa­com Bam­boo graph­ics tablet, fully-weighted Yamaha P90 and Roland FP-2 88-note key­boards, Blue Mi­cro­phones Yeti and Tell us about your­self, and your ca­reer… LJ Rich: I’m a mu­sic hacker, techob­ses­sive clas­si­cal com­poser. I present pro­grammes on the BBC ( BBC Click) with em­pha­sis on mu­sic tech­nol­ogy, maker cul­ture and con­cept tech. I gained a schol­ar­ship to the Royal Col­lege of Mu­sic at the age of 12; I had weekly lessons us­ing an Atari com­puter run­ning Pro-24 mu­sic soft­ware. For the retro fans, I also used an Akai S700 sam­pler, a Korg M1 and a Yamaha TX81Z re­verb unit! Years later it be­came ap­par­ent that my abil­ity with mu­sic com­po­si­tion/re­pro­duc­tion could be due to synaes­the­sia. The con­di­tion is de­scribed as a ‘mix­ing of the senses’. For me, lis­ten­ing to and play­ing mu­sic gen­er­ates colours, and when I taste things, I also hear mu­sic, mainly chords. a RME Fireface 800 sound card. I run Logic Stu­dio and Fi­nal Cut Ex­press on my Mac. When out and about, I use a 15-inch Mac­Book Pro with non-gloss screen, and Key­note for pre­sen­ta­tions. I’m al­ways run­ning mu­sic pro­grams Logic and Able­ton Live on there, and I take my iRig Keys MIDI con­troller to com­pose on the move. I use LIVKONTROL PRO, a re­mote con­troller for Able­ton Live, and NoSleep (an app that keeps my MacBookPro on when the lid is closed). Most of my kit is quite old by tech­nol­ogy stan­dards; I gen­er­ally wait un­til some­thing’s been es­tab­lished for a while, for the bugs to be ironed out and the price to have gone down a bit be­fore I com­mit.

QSo what’s BBC Click? LJR: Click is a tech­nol­ogy show on BBC News, BBC World and it’s also on the iPlayer. It’s best de­scribed as a tech­nol­ogy mag­a­zine pro­gramme. I find the story and then write, shoot and present it. As well as be­ing given as­sign­ments by the ed­i­tor, I also pitch ideas for sto­ries, which tend to be mu­sic tech­nol­ogy, maker tech or in­no­va­tive (sci-fi-style) con­cepts. I’ve cov­ered ev­ery­thing from the CEATEC Ja­panese con­sumer elec­tron­ics ex­hi­bi­tion to the in­ge­nious low-cost tablet mar­ket in In­dia.

QWhat do you think of the democratis­ing ef­fects of mod­ern tech on mu­sic? LJR: When I started as a sound en­gi­neer, record­ing stu­dios were ex­pen­sive and ex­clu­sive. Now I can hear what thou­sands of peo­ple have cre­ated on Sound­Cloud, Spo­tify or another stream­ing plat­form. The democrati­sa­tion of mu­sic and video cre­ation has made the in­dus­try up its game. But as an artist, it’s as dif­fi­cult as ever to get paid to do what you love; there will al­ways be de­bate about the dis­tri­bu­tion of funds be­tween plat­forms, artists and pub­lish­ers.

QWhere do you think Macs and re­lated tech­nol­ogy will go in the next few years? LJR: Yosemite looks very min­i­mal­ist and sleek. I think this re­flects a gen­eral trend to­ward our choice of tech be­ing less about the lat­est gad­get and more about tech­nol­ogy as­sist­ing us in achiev­ing our own goals in an un­ob­tru­sive way. We’re see­ing more wear­able tech, per­sonal mon­i­tor­ing/ per­sonal record­ing habits, and the con­nected/learn­ing home – all th­ese sce­nar­ios are be­com­ing more re­al­is­tic as our com­put­ing power and con­nec­tiv­ity in­crease. This phase is go­ing to make a lot of us more re­liant than ever on our de­vices. Cou­ple this with print­able cir­cuits, open source tech and the im­mi­nent 3D print­ing revo­lu­tion (it’s one user-friendly de­vice away from mass adop­tion in my view) and not only will we be able to deeply af­fect how our tech looks and be­haves but our tech will af­fect us back.

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