Battles using an Octatrack

I saw Battles play the other night at the Brudenell in Leeds (UK).

They had an Octatrack on stage alongside a Push and some other bits.

Does anyone have any knowledge of how they use the Octatrack? Is it just live playing of loops and sequencing or do they use it to write too?

Had a brief look around Google and could only find the briefest reference:

“Battles apply their medium of choice: intricate arpeggios sequenced on an Elektron Octatrack, mind-altering pitch-shifted chord progressions, sixteen-measure time signatures and twisted clues to do the talking.”

Btw, they still are amazing live, even as a two piece.


I’m immediately reminded by this documentary. No Octa in the set-up, but you can see why they would be drawn to it.


I love that documentary.

Totally agree, seems like it would slot in with how they work.

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Little Big Planet brought me here.

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it’s insane that they’re a two piece now. I can see why they’d want to use the OT, just as much as I can see why they’d want to use Ableton. funny part is when they were a four piece they did no sequencing/looping in computers. they ran Logic on the laptops as a sample/audio unit source only, and looped with the Gibson Echoplex/Line Six DL4. but Ian has been looping guitar since the mid-90’s (saw his last show with Don Caballero actually, running two Akai Headrushes) so it’s rad to see him move on to more advanced hardware, and still running with the idea.

they (errr, Ian) definitely have a RYTM as well. and a Shared System.

(from Ian’s Twitter)

How was the Don Cab show? Never got to see them.

Really intrigued to know about how they utilise Octa.

I sent Ian a message on Insta but not heard back yet haha.

Don Cab was great live back then, and on the What Burns Never Returns tour. I didn’t like the later re-incarnation. I’m very much a non-fan of Damon Che’s personality, however. both how he behaved at this and other shows of theirs and because after I opened for Don Cab at a later show (2007ish), as I was coming off-stage, he muttered some comments at me and literally kicked my drums aside to get his kit onto the stage. good drummer. total a-hole.

(sorry for the aside, but that sorta stuff does kinda ruin Don Cab for me. so kinda related, I guess!)

You’re right though. He is a drumming idol of mine, but he is a belligerent drunk piece of shit every time I’ve seen him play.

Wow, I miss them as a 4 piece! Those early releases were hugely influential to me. Once Tyondai left, so did the magic imo.