Category Archives: productions

AFK & Dustin H – Cascadia

This is the first collaboration between Dustin H and myself. Actually I should mention how we got in contact to do music in the first place. A couple of summers ago, The Brothers Moreh (Shiloh) were playing in town. As was tradition, myself and Braeden met up with them for dinner before the gig (Lush at Hush) and they brought a friend of theirs with them. I know what you’re thinking – this is going to lead to someone getting whacked. Let me be the first to tell you that this isn’t some lame pseudo-mafia meeting. I have had it with you and your imagination. What happened next was not an illegal crime stunt, but rather, to quote a good friend of mine named Adam, a beautiful mind puzzle between myself and Dustin H. When it was all put together you have something that sounds like what the above photo approximately looks like.

I took the photo of the mountains above while flying over the coastal mountains of British Columbia on the way to the Yukon. Unfortunately, it turns out I was headed in the wrong direction, as Dustin actually lives in Seattle. Bummer, but a good photo shoot. Funny story here actually. The first time I went over to visit Dustin, I got on the Clipper (the worlds fastest ferry, except for this day) from Victoria to Seattle. It was fairly dark by this time, as it was winter and around 6 PM on a Friday evening. On the way there, a log went in one of the turbine engine intakes. Yes, this ship has airplane engines. Awesome. Log in the turbine? Not awesome. This was unfortunate, as it was pitch black now, and we were essentially in the Pacific Ocean (but more like around Port Townsend). Eventually some poor dude had to go out and dive in the icy waters and get the log out of the intake. You’re sick. That is not the funny part. It was around this time that I realized that I didn’t have Dustin’s number in my cell phone. So what do I do? I phone everyone I know in Seattle and ask them to go online to see if they can find a guy from Seattle named “Dustin H.” Yes, it could not have been better planned on my part. So my friend offers to come meet me for dinner since it has become evident that I have no idea what I am doing in Seattle for the night. My friend somehow gets ahold of Dustin, or Dustin somehow gets ahold of me, and then we all meet up for dinner somewhere near the Space Needle. It is not clear how this happened. And that’s my hilarious story.

Most of this track was written while we weren’t playing Halo 2 in the living room. Basically we would take turns writing the tune, going back and forth between Pizza and Halo and Dustin’s laptop. It was a lot of fun and we got a lot of work done in a very short amount of time – the Clipper schedule on the weekends is pretty awful in the off-season. I had to come back on Sunday morning at 7 AM. Creativity under pressure due to time constraints has its advantages and an obvious disadvantage. Lets talk about its glaring disadvantage: you don’t have much time to refine your ideas. So things that aren’t working have to be immediately discharged — it’s more efficient to come up with several new ideas and pick a strong one than it is to tweak one bad one until it becomes somewhat good. You can’t polish a turd, unless you wait for it to petrify. Then you can, but that’s pretty weird man. Don’t do it. My point here is that time is of the essence, so you must learn to quickly recognize the good ideas before they necessarily “sound good”. At this point, you must be very good with the tools in front of you, even if they’re not your own. The other thing that’s good about having the time constraint is that it motivates you in a goal oriented way – it was immensely gratifying to have a whole song to show for a weekend. In production terms, that is huge. I have spent up to 6 months on a single track before, and I’ll do it again. The disadvantages to being creative while being constrained by time is that sometimes you just don’t feel like you have any good ideas and you need to rest and come back to it. This actually turns into an advantage, because with collaborations, the brilliant thing is that there’s another person there coming up with ideas while you’re putting around and refining the thing you just did to the song. Tag-team composition is a lot of fun this way, and the synergy really catches on and snowballs once you’ve gone through the first few steps. Another motivating factor in here is that it costs over a hundred dollars to take the Clipper to Seattle and back, even with the Islanders’ discount. So in a business sense, there’s a cover charge to composition, and it’s up to the songwriters to make it worth the time and money already committed to the project.

Shortly after we wrote the song, I found myself on a plane to Florida to visit my brother Krishen in Sarasota. We went to an event called the Winter Music Conference (WMC) in Miami and I met up with a fellow named Jacob Todd at the Proton Radio party, which was at the Penthouse on Collins Avenue (the main street in South Beach). He signed Cascadia to his label – Emote Music – and did a storming club remix himself, while Daniel Lindeberg (AKA Dumb Dan) did a very creepy but fun theremin inspired remix. You might think that the 8 minute released version is pretty long, but the original unreleased mix is just over 12 minutes long. I just had a listen and it didn’t sound too long to me, but I also really enjoy Voyager and he’s been known to make tracks much longer than that. It’s all taste in any case – I have heard 2 hour mixes that do far less than this one song. Check it out:

  1. AFK & Dustin H – Cascadia (Original mix)
  2. AFK & Dustin H – Cascadia (Jacob Todd remix)
  3. AFK & Dustin H – Cascadia (Daniel Lindeberg remix)

AFK & Dustin H – Cascadia on Beatport.

AFK – Eclipse

Here is a melodic breakbeat track I made around the same time as Lush. The original idea was to release the tracks together, but the way it worked out was that Lush was to go to Proton Music and this was being redone by Steve May for Pacific Front Recordings. Steve had already done a remix for Pacific Front of the Tiebreaker tune “Prominence” — and it worked out so well that I got him working on this one before we even decided which label it was going to. Rising star Dustin H put together a complete monster of a remix to match Steve May’s efforts and Thor (Fractal) from Tide Pool Recordings laid down a tech inspired mix that is butter to mix.

  1. AFK – Eclipse (Original mix)
  2. AFK – Eclipse (Steve May’s Total Lunar remix)
  3. AFK – Eclipse (Dustin H’s Someday Solar remix)
  4. AFK – Eclipse (Fractal’s Transit of Venus remix)

Tiebreaker – Markarian 421

Around the time I was making Eclipse, Anand had started work on our third track. This one started off as a pretty deadly breakbeat that Anand had programmed while he was over one time. I made a bassline, Anand tweaked it a bunch and we started in on the atmospherics. The sample is a fellow talking about Quasars and in particular they were tracking this one which seemed to be moving away from the earth at an incredible speed. They are not talking about Markarian 421 (read this link, it’s super neat), which is categorized as a Blazar (type of quasar from my understanding).

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Markarian 421 is particularly notabable, however, as it is roughly the same brightness as our entire galaxy and is suspected to have a black hole as part of it’s object, as well as a companion galaxy. Blazars are regarded as being the most volatile object in the universe, and I think it might be because the black hole is actually rejecting “new submissions” and projecting them in two beams perpendicular to accretion disk surrounding it. One of those beams is, apparently, pointed directly at earth. Anyway if you are interested in this, read this article on Markarian 421, it is much better at explaining it than I am. Kind of hard to imagine, but there you have it. Maaaahh-seeev. Some of the noises in this track are mimicking waves of light and also pulses. Australian house and breaks producer extraordinare Jarius Miller does a funky progressive house remix, and Ritual Sounds / Moontribe’s Seed (DJ Brian if you ever picked up one of his Hardesertrance CD’s on Moonshine) does a nasty breaks remix with Phokus.

  1. Tiebreaker – Markarian 421 (Original mix)
  2. Tiebreaker – Markarian 421 (Jarius Miller remix)
  3. Tiebreaker – Markarian 421 (Seed and Phokus remix)

c79 – Violent Silence (AFK’s Passive Aggressive remix)

This full EP from c79 has two very original tracks with inverted naming. This is arguably Pacific Front’s biggest release to date. We ended up licensing Silent Violence (Original mix) to Paul Oakenfold’s Perfecto label for a Sandra Collins compilation. Kan Shinomura did a smooth tech remix and I did an atmospheric breaks remix to round out the package. I took the photo for this release at Luminara in 2006. This monster was wandering through the forest in Beacon Hill Park and I caught him with my telephoto before he ran away.

  1. c79 – Silent Violence (Original mix)
  2. c79 – Silent Violence (Kan Shinomura remix)
  3. c79 – Violent Silence (Original mix)
  4. c79 – Violent Silence (AFK’s Passive Aggressive remix)

Micah – Capable Space (AFK’s Chehalis Space Station remix)

One of my favorite tracks by Micah (from Calgary) is Capable Space. It’s got a bit of funk, a bit of eeriness, and some truly great moments. Justin agreed, and we had Micah on Pacific Front with this release. Jarius Miller actually did two remixes of this, the other one of which can be found on the Storm Warning 002 EP. I did a half breaks, half progressive remix (because you know I love that half and half versatility in a set) that I recently remastered and put in a Pacific Front Sessions show.

  1. Micah – Capable Space (Original mix)
  2. Micah – Capable Space (AFK’s Chehalis Space Station remix)
  3. Micah – Capable Space (Jarius Miller’s Headverb remix)

Tiebreaker – Settle the Score

One Christmas Eve, myself and Anand were over at our parents place and as usual we couldn’t sleep because of all the sweet presents we were going to open the next day, like socks and matching family sweaters, that sort of thing. My mom used to seem to think it was pretty awesome to make us all wear the same thing at the family reunion. I am pretty sure she’s given up, but it was pretty funny while it lasted. Anyway so we were sitting around in the basement as if we were teenagers stuck at home again, and then I decided I was going to install some production software on my mom & dad’s computer, which I did. Then we went back and forth on this for about 7 or 8 hours straight and we had our song. Just like that, bam! It was easily one of the most fluid music productions I have ever been a part of. The song went on to get remixed by the breakbeat duo from Vancouver known as Influenza and also Micah from Ruhn Song / Baroque did a slick progressive house remix. The original mix is one of those half breaks, half four-on-the-floor tracks that seems to be so hard to come by. Anand, Justin and I did live version of this at VEMF 2006 with myself and Justin on effects and loops and Anand playing live saxophone over top of it. The song was featured on a Love Parade Compilation which topped the dance charts on iTunes for a while and received a lot of play and support from the local DJ’s here in Victoria.

  1. Tiebreaker – Settle the Score (Original mix)
  2. Tiebreaker – Settle the Score (Influenza remix)
  3. Tiebreaker – Settle the Score (Micah’s Miami Style Justice remix)

AFK – Lush

One of my most successful tracks, this four on the floor melodic progressive house is how most people know the name AFK. This spent a good amount of time on the definitive Balance Record Pool chart and was hammered by many an A-List DJ. Lush is named after the club night at Hush which I have enjoyed playing at for years during my residency there with Braeden. I have since moved on but this stands as my tribute to an immense night that had line ups going around the corner of the block.

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Much fun. Cover art lettering was done by Jason @ Proton Radio. The photo is a “self landscape” that I took on the BC Ferries on the way from Vancouver to Nanaimo – I had missed the last ferry to Victoria unfortunately. I put the camera on a post, hit the delay, and then did a 15 second time exposure as the ferry pulled out of the dock, hence the clear foreground and smeared background. This was released on May 23, 2006 on the LA / Dallas based label Proton Music.

  1. AFK – Lush (Original mix)
  2. AFK – Lush (Formulate remix)
  3. AFK – Lush (Matt Rowan and Jaytech remix)

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AFK – Dreamcache

One night I had a dream. I wont get into the details of exactly what happened but at some point in my dream, my brother Krishen whipped out a keyboard and played the main melody for this song on it. Dreamcache henceforth is a cache or memory of the dream I had. I was late for work because I had to get the song down before I forgot it. Justin (Formulate) put together a rather devastating remix that everyone from Shiloh to Luke Chable was hammering at the time. Blake Jarrell and Jeff Devas, two guys who I respect quite a bit in the music biz, were graceful with their remix, making a Voyager-esque remix that also did the business on the dancefloor. My original is pretty clangy and features some pretty big noises, and a twang partly inspired by the Echomen.

  1. AFK – Dreamcache (Original mix)
  2. AFK – Dreamcache (Formulate Doesn’t Dream remix)
  3. AFK – Dreamcache (Blake Jarrell and Jeff Devas Black Lotus remix)

Tiebreaker – Prominence

The first collaboration between myself and Anand (the other half of Tiebreaker) came as an ambient tune that Anand wrote while watching WWE Raw is War. I recommended a few blippy ambient noises and then they were all there. I did a breakbeat remix that got a fair bit of play from the prog breaks community. Steve May did a progressive house remix which Sasha and Digweed spun at WMC during the American Airlines arena party. Still one of my favorite releases on Pacific Front Recordings.

  1. Tiebreaker – Prominence (Original mix)
  2. Tiebreaker – Prominence (Steve May’s Doing It For The Digital Slut remix)
  3. Tiebreaker – Prominence (AFK’s Mah-seev Breaks mix)

Obakeh – Ghosted (AFK’s Fully Spooked remix)

Charles (Obakeh, c79, Chompers) had these Peter Tosh samples and made a very cool dub tech-house track out of them and a number of other sounds that he put together. Habersham stepped in and did a fabulous tech dub which does the business on the dance floor. I did a progressive breaks remix that sampled the original drums and voices, but stepped in a slightly different and slightly epic breaks direction. The sleeve art is Charles himself making some statues on Mt. Doug in Victoria at sunset. I can’t remember when we were up there, but it was a while ago, maybe even before Pacific Front existed. I also did an ambient remix that we might put out some day as a PFR-X release, or maybe as part of a Storm Warning EP. Only time will tell..

  1. Obakeh – Ghosted (Original mix)
  2. Obakeh – Ghosted (Habersham’s Tech-Phunked Up Dub)
  3. Obakeh – Ghosted (AFK’s Fully Spooked remix)