Network: My Tech - It's just a little cosmic cowpat

The Orb's Andy Hughes talks to Jennifer Rodger about his Notron/Latroni c midi sequencer

When the owner showed it to us, we said: "You're not leaving this room with this machine." I rolled back on my chair and was like, "I want one, I want one." That day we were doing a remix, and we did the whole remix on that unit in a day - the whole lot the first time I ever used it. When he first showed us how to use it, I was like, "Oh my god, how am I going to get my head round this?" But you start trusting your ears and start hearing it.

I use it for programming and keyboard and drum patterns mainly. We use it live quite a bit. You can do really bizarre things, often by accident, which is pretty much how I work anyway. It's not like a computer, when you can see exactly what you are doing. It's a four-track midi-sequencer, four elements and six steps. Each button has got a set of midi-notes, so the velocity and length of each note can be adjusted, and it goes out over whatever midi gear you have got.

I've always been interested in finding ways of composing, without the standard way of doing things because it can be quite limiting. And this sounded ideal, and indeed it was. Absolutely brilliant. The only software- based machine I have used before is a program made by Opcode called Max, just for the midi.

The thing that is really great is that I've used midi-controllers for messing around with sounds, but they are very linear. This is designed so that you can put wave forms and shapes, you can make it go wobbly in a certain shape at a certain rate and can do things with filters and modulations. That is when you are setting yourself up for an accident, because it starts doing things that you can never, ever, re-create on any equipment I have used.

Using it live is fantastic because you can have it hidden, and then bring it in, mess around with it, and get rid of it. So many people stretch necks to have a look, and I can keep my head down during gigs because I hate being on stage! Sitting there going "ha ha"! It's more creative, definitely. But it's like everything: the more you get into it, the harder it gets, and there is so much stuff in there that if you don't use it for a couple of weeks it's not like riding a bike, you can't get straight back on it again.

I take it on the road as well. We have a little sound module and have it set up, and it's about the only way I know to alleviate the boredom on tour.

The manual is written for someone just like me. It says: "For those of you reading this in bed, here's a picture of it." You don't even need loads of gear; I have got this little Roland SC7, a little general midi box I use it with. It's a composing tool as well as a live thing. You work out patterns, that's how I did that remix first time I used it. Then you put it into the computer and can do whatever you want afterwards with the basic structure of what you would have played on the keyboard. But it's done in a way that you would never have been able to do on a keyboard or any other instrument.

It's a lot quicker. I have had a whole studio running off this little cosmic cowpat. I like stuff that's tactile, like this. A lot of old analogue keyboards you can actually grab hold of. Digital discs, I can't stand it, ones that are a 48-channel disc, but you can only get 16 at one time, so you are constantly paging through it. I just don't want to know. With the Notron it's right in front of you and you can just use it.

I always end up mixing live instruments as well with it, but now it ends up mostly on computer. It's cheaper, it's more user friendly - because if you are working on stuff you can actually take chunks of the song and move it around. It's like a word processor. It can be set up in places where it will skip chunks of song without actually getting rid of it, so you can see how it might work.

I think you have to know what you want, what you want to do and what equipment you need to do it, rather than just go out and buy stuff that's the latest. People get screwed up with that.

But everything is changing: we have been using a Mac since '86 and it has been the standard for making music and now everyone is jumping on the bandwagon and doing stuff with a PC that you can't get with a Mac. And it's driving me nuts because there is no way that I am ever going to get a PC. I am sorry, because they are a pile of shit. PC is Piece of Crap, that's what it stands for.

LatronicUK@AOL.COM

Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
books
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
books
Arts and Entertainment
The man with the golden run: Daniel Craig as James Bond in 'Skyfall'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
'Waving Seal' by Luke Wilkinson was Highly Commended in the Portraits category

photography
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'

Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
The X Factor 2014 judges: Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Mel B and Louis Walsh

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace was caught by a camera van driving 32mph over the speed limit

TV
Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Outlaw Pete is based on an eight-minute ballad from Springsteen’s 2009 Working on a Dream album

books
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012

film
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Arts and Entertainment
Suha Arraf’s film ‘Villa Touma’ (left) is set in Ramallah and all the actresses are Palestinian

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering