SONAR and Rapture Pro at the International Music Summit Ibiza, Spain

One thing is certainly clear.  Ibiza is a very creative island in terms of music. Besides the infamous “foam parties” and club-scene, there are locals here that write, record, promote, produce, live and breathe electronic music on a world-class level. Bringing all these creative people together yearly is a festival known as the International Music Summit, where professionals and music fans converge from all over the world to celebrate and discuss the industry.

This year The International Music Summit is being held at the Hard Rock Hotel in Ibiza, and the Gibson Brands family is here supporting all the great artists. One component to the partnership is the Gibson tour bus which unbelievably came here on a boat and is serving as a meeting spot for many exclusive artists. Parked out in front of the Hard Rock Hotel, the Gibson tour bus has made its appearance in a big way including a SONAR/Tascam / KRK / Surface Pro 3 mobile recording setup inside.

Many of us have been having fun creating some great music here on the bus, but one major highlight today was an appearance by the legendary Arthur Baker who just happened to be sporting his trusty TR-808. Within about 20 minutes, we had a substantial piece of music combining Arthur’s 808 skills, the new Rapture Pro, and some cutting edge loops from Loopmasters. We started with Arthur creating a beat on the 808 at 128bpm and sparingly added in some other loop elements from Loopmasters which created an interesting combination of modern and vintage sounds. After that, we added a lot of color with the large array of sounds from the new Rapture Pro library. Later today we will be adding some vocals to the composition so hopefully we will have something to post by the end of the conference.

On a technical note, I had the good fortune to test out SONAR on the new Surface Pro 3 and what I have to report is good news – the Surface Pro 3 is the real-deal for music creators. The one that was (thankfully) sent to Cakewalk from Intel boasted an Intel Core I7 along with 8 gigs of ram, and this machine flinched at nothing I threw at it. In fact on the contrary, I found it very quick and snappy on every level. I also found the touch responsiveness to be nothing less than spectacular. I highly recommend this machine, but along with that recommendation is the key element of obtaining one with a Core I7. Also be advised that these only have one USB port, so a USB3 powered port expansion is the ticket. Also noteworthy is to make sure your interface is not a power-hog (Class A components usually are).

Another highlight today was a very interesting panel (conversation) featuring Gibson’s own Craig Anderton, Danny Whittle (IBZ Entertainment), Matthew Stuart (Manager), Pino Sagliocco (Live Nation), Shane Murray (Ibiza Rocks) and Mark Jones (Wall of Sound – UK). The panel focused on the question of whether or not traditional instrumentation belongs in the live electronic music scene. What was anticipated to be a minor debate on the subject at hand, ended up being more of a seminar on HOW important the “traditional instrumentation” aspect is on the electronic genre. But the most interesting sentiment was actually how the word “instrumentation” was defined.

Craig Anderton (who literally jammed with DJs before EDM) brought up a great point that sparked many ears in the audience – “What is instrumentation?”  And if you think about it – really, what is it? Controllers, knobs, switches and sliders can certainly all account for instrumentation, and everyone agreed that some DJ’s out there are figuring out creative ways to bring the live performance aspect of the genre to another level. What I gathered from the experts speaking is that there soon may be a bigger movement focusing on the “performance” component of the electronic musician’s show. So the question really is not “if” traditional instrumentation belongs in electronic music, but “how” can it be sprinkled more into the genre – and what does the future hold for the combination of the two on the live front?

Learning about Ibiza’s music culture has been more than interesting. There are music people here we talked to that literally came for the weekend 10 years ago and never left. It’s the type of place that has a touch of magic to it that you can’t describe, and I certainly understand why it draws creative folks from all over world who want some inspiration to write new music. Ibiza’s International Music Summit has done a great job bringing together like-minded music people to promote the possibilities and ideas about how to keep the electronic music industry moving forward. From icons like Trevor Horn and Arthur Baker, to the artists, global managers and music fans alike, IMS is a great place for anyone interested in the future of EDM. Thanks for reading.