AFK – Pacific Front Sessions: August 2009

The last Pacific Front Sessions mix starts off atmospheric and ambient with some classic work by Saints and Sinners – “Peace,” remixed by the one and only Michael Woods. I had to do quite a bit of warping and filtering to get it to mix into the following track, Luke Chable’s “Melburn” which was given an ambient treatment by .. himself. I believe I heard this version when Kasey Taylor came to Focus at Lotus (Vancouver) several years back and started a set with it. Very cool so far as backwards music goes, or forwards music for that matter. Some light rhythm in Melburn sets the stage for the transition to breaks, where Domased Electronica’s “Mermaid” swims into the mix, with a remix by the atmospheric breakbeat authority of Fretwell. This track is brooding and determined, building momentum in preparation for Ronyo and Chris Drifter’s “Disconnected Illusions.” Aeron Aether is one of my favourite artists out there right now and he shows why in this understated remix which continues what Mermaid began. Half time beats and filtered down sounds come together to increase the inertia of the mix – layer upon layer.

The pads of Michael, Levan and Stiven Rivic’s “Free Fall” lay over top of Disconnected Illusions for a bit before the four on the floor takes over from the breakbeat of Domased Electronica, but it’s not long before they return midway through Free Fall, care of Dynamic Illusion’s superb remix work. Dynamic Illusion has grown to become one of my favourite remixers in progressive house and breaks over the last few years and he shows why in this track. Humbling work on this track, reminiscent of the Pet Shop Boys and Starecase at the same time. The mix takes a turn for the haunting as Lighter and Gee’s “Helene” steps into the mix. Armin Prayd’s remix is somehow both abrasive and smooth at once, crafting an old school feel out of synths and a vocal that sounds like it could have come straight out of Alice in Wonderland. Dark, lo-fi and hi-fi at the same time, Helene’s unusual arrangement leaves you wondering how far down the rabbit hole you’ve actually gone. The answer is provided by BT’s new track, “Rose of Jericho,” which features rolling basslines and stupendous intertwining melodies. This track has an Adam K and Soha treatment on the remix, and the result of combining their very smooth remix style with BT’s unparalleled original work is nothing short of a progressive masterpiece. Following in this vibe is Mango’s “5th in Blue,” with a nod to the 80s with well placed tom rolls as well as a nod to the future with crisp and punchy bassline work in Proff’s remix. The mood of this track really opens up and resolves a lot of tension that has built up over the mix.

The second to last track, “Abydos,” continues with the energy that has built up and turns it into a driving bassline and arpeggiation. Probspot and Zinfandel (not a bad wine) keep it smooth and clinical and the track has built up into a many-layered eastern-melodic piece before you know it. Finally, Vince Vaccaro’s “South Pacific Ocean,” a favourite track of mine, gets a remix treatment by… me. There is breakdowns galore, synths and basslines galore, slide guitars, strings vocals, and a lot of effects. I made the ending of this track specifically the way it is to end this mix and the show in general. Hope you like it, it’s going to get properly mastered once I do another couple remixes.


  1. Saints and Sinners – Peace (Michael Woods remix) [Lost Language]
  2. Luke Chable – Melburn (Am Bee En Tea mix) [Trojan]
  3. Domased Electronica – Mermaid (Fretwell remix) [Mistiquemusic]
  4. Ronyo and Chris Drifter – Disconnected Illusions (Aeron Aether remix) [SoundTribe Rekords]
  5. Michael and Levan featuring Stiven Rivic – Free Fall (Dynamic Illusion’s Cloud West Paradise mix) [Toes in the Sand Digital]
  6. Lighter and Gee – Helene (Armin Prayd remix) [BikiniTracks]
  7. BT – Rose of Jericho (Adam K and Soha remix) [Nettwerk]
  8. Mango – 5th in Blue (Proff Original mix) [Unreleased Digital]
  9. Probspot and Zinfandel – Abydos (Original mix) [Amenta]
  10. Vince Vaccaro – South Pacific Ocean (AFK remix) [Unreleased]
Download: AFK – Pacific Front Sessions: August 2009 (mp3)

Right click and Save As, or option-click the link on a Mac to automatically download

Pacific Front Sessions is now over

With myself and Formulate as the hosts, Pacific Front Sessions has brought the sound of the Pacific northwest to an international audience on Proton Radio for 3 years. Our guests have included (in order of appearance, multiple appearances have been omitted):

  • AFK
  • Formulate
  • c79
  • Braeden
  • Fractal
  • Leekee
  • Vespers
  • Kenzie Clarke
  • Emmanuel Fereira
  • Gillsans
  • Beaks McGavin
  • NPG
  • Steve May
  • Dirty
  • The Firm
  • Joel Armstrong
  • Julian Chow
  • Calex
  • DJ Velvety
  • Miguel Alvarado
  • Kevin Shiu
  • John Morgan (Powerplant)
  • Stefan Anion
  • DJ Raph
  • Retroid
  • Dustin H
  • Natron
  • Toby Emerson
  • Dub Gnostic
  • Stefan Alan

A full archive, including guest mixes and voiceovers as they aired, is available on Look on the right.

Thank you to all of those who played, many of you several times, and a special thanks to Ben Malcolm who provided high quality voiceovers for the radio versions of the mixes. Thanks to all the record labels and producers that sent me high quality promos which I was able to mix into a lot of the shows. That network we developed has a specific sound to it, and I’m glad we have been able to collaborate this way.

We started the show at a very odd hour, as I recall, and over time the station recognized the show’s potential and kept moving it further into the peak hours of the day time until we were back to back with John Digweed’s “Transitions.” To this end we owe Jason and Sam from Proton Radio our deepest gratitude for sticking with us and believing in the show concept.

Finally, thank you to those who listened regularly and participated by leaving their thoughts behind with each mix. That included people on this site and a few other forums, most notably on hybridized and ravevictoria, as well as by email. It’s been a slice!

the technology pendulum

Is design technology doing what we need it to do? New products are everywhere, but is technology helping with quality products or obfuscating design’s purpose with quantity of products? Are those responsible for rendering our designs doing so in a timely way? Finally, is infrastructure for cloud computing ready for what designers will need it to do?
When I started designing, technology was looking for ways to catch up to design. Programs were popping up for illustration, photo manipulation, colour, pantone integration, tablets, etc. After a while, the software and hardware caught up, and (not for the first time) changed everything about the way we produced design work. Some more time goes by, the technology passed us, and the world of design moved far beyond typography, grids, shapes and the colour wheel to a lot of really technical, software and server oriented advancements. Fine, learn some code. Wait a year or two, and then no longer was simply knowing HTML enough to make websites, you had to evolve again with technology. As a designer, it was a question of not if I could learn a new programming language or program, but whether the particular language or technology was niche, or indeed the wave of the future. We, as designers, evaluate all new things this way. This, I imagine, is because we are not just designers, but also business people – people who evaluate a skill on the marketability of the skill in question. At some point you have to make a choice – either you’re going to continue learning every single program coming out, or you’re going to start doing what you love – which is to say, designing things for people that need it with the skills that you have.
For example, when Flash was new, I pondered learning it – and I did, a bit, but demand wasn’t there, and I wasn’t too interested in making animated websites that required a plugin to function. At the time, many people weren’t even allowed to install it, so it seemed like a poor idea. Over time, flash has certainly grown in appeal to me, but it’s still a niche so far as what clients actually need in terms of visual communications. Certainly it is more useful to certain types of industry than others. I digress. I love flash, it just wasn’t in demand in my area.
I don’t really want to make examples out of any specific software that I consider to be less than useful because it isn’t productive. The people who make the software know it’s not (because they see the numbers) and you know when you come across a piece of software or hardware that is not, in the foreseeable future, going to be of any use to you or anyone you know. The reasons why this irrelevant technology gets made in the first place could fill a whole blog post, so lets just say that there are reasons. The reasons themselves are not as important so much as the noise to signal when we’re looking to advance our skill-sets, and ultimately make visual communication pieces for our clients.
Lets talk about some technology that has jived with design, shall we?

Continue reading the technology pendulum

Victoria Electronic Music Festival 2009

Victoria Electronic Music Festival 2009
Victoria Electronic Music Festival 2009
Victoria Electronic Music Festival 2009
Victoria Electronic Music Festival 2009
Victoria Electronic Music Festival 2009
This weekend past was the Victoria Electronic Music Festival for 2009. My involvement this year was further to my goal of being an artist and advancing my own level of performance as an artist. Part of this goal setting has seen some new synergies develop between myself and other musicians, and it was pretty exciting and pleasing to do some new collaborations with two musicians in particular – Laura Mitic (violin and vocals) and Vince Vaccaro (guitar and vocals.) We got our chance to perform what we’d been working on in front of the Ambrosia stage audience and we had a great time, despite some technical difficulties that prevented the vocal element from taking place. I’m looking forward to future shows with these two as we work really well together.
See after the break for more photos from the weekend.

Continue reading Victoria Electronic Music Festival 2009