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A Day in the Life of Surachai

After a beautiful night of dinner, movies and in-depth conversation, we were parting ways until I sealed my fate….

Me: “Hey, do you want to come in and play with my modular?”
Her: “I have no idea what that is but ok ?

We haven’t talked since……

Sightings: Mark Romanek Documentary

I realize this post belongs more on Matrix or another gear porn site as it’s nothing more than ‘LOOK!’ A friend let me borrow some DVD’s since I’m not leaving my apartment today because the high for today’s weather in Chicago is 2. TWO!
I’m a few years overdue to watch The Director’s Series second series, which includes four more directors to the already inspiring three. The first series is mandatory watching and realize that between Gondry, Cunningham and Jonze, Bjork is their play thing. As a piece of useless trivia: Spike Jonze went to my highschool in Bethesda, MD and we hang out alllllll the time(repeated letters denote sarcasm). The videos are artistic, iconic, beautiful, etc. but I’m particularly interested in the production/behind the scenes/interviews of the work. In the 40 minute documentary on the DVD I saw somethings I’ve never seen in these series. As a segway, Flea states he ‘fucking hates’ one of Romaneks videos and if you’re distracted by his face, you’ll miss a nice Doepfer A-100 system in the background. In another shot it has multiplied by two in addition to some patch cables. From my limited experience I say it’s a hybrid between one of the suggested setups and some random modules.

Later on when Trent Reznor is talking about his work with Romanek there is a lonely Sherman Filterbank II under a rig of Pro Tools interfaces. I’m sure this is before he bought one of everything at Analog Haven.

But most importantly there is Shannyn Sossamon. She’s dreamy. What? No. You’re the stalker.

L.A: Lust 4 Lace

If you are in L.A. on valentines day and you are reading this, it says a few things. One: you will not be snowed into your apartment. Two: you are probably single because you enjoy reading blogs about dude’s tools. Three: you’re smart enough to know that women get increasingly desperate and lonely as Valentines creeps in. Not only do you take advantage of this, your middle name is ‘the cherry picker’. So as a person who can walk freely outside but preferably behind men and in the shadows, I invite you to Lust 4 Lace. I don’t know much about the event other than it’s some sort of indie sex party. BUT it’s in a museum, so that makes it ok. Right? I composed a three part …. composition *sigh* for a short film my beautiful friend Willia shot and it will premiered among the dozens of films shown that night..

The following review is by Gabriel Solorio:
“You say you want to try, for several days perhaps.
Perhaps for several weeks.
Perhaps even for your whole life.
Try what? She asks.
Loving, your answer.”
(The Malady of Death by Marguerite Duras)

Inspired by Marguerite Duras’s novel ‘The Malady of Death’, artists Willia Drew and Carlos Zamora have created a beautiful and deceptively sensual short film that addresses subjects that will indeed resonate with and confront the viewer. ‘A Kind of Ache’ is simultaneously an exploration of the yearning for love through sexual contact and an interrogation of both conventional ideas of who ought to be intimate with each other and established sex roles. As a whole, the piece is a tribute to romanticism and a critique of simple traditionalism. The film’s rich colors along with its polite settings and softcore porn-esque quality provide a particular sensuousness that make delving into the critical and intellectual aspects of the work that much more compelling and what are found in those parts cleverly surprising.

[‘A Kind of Ache’ is a new video piece by Carlos Zamora & Willia Drew. Music by Surachai. Performances by Pete Borboa, Maurice Harris, Ceri Z., Cindy Conde, Chris Zeischegg & Prince Willia. Full running time is 11 minutes. ©2008. The piece will debut at the Lust 4 Lace show on Valentines day.]

Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibits (LACE)
6522 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028 [map]
Phone: 323-957-1777
Hours: Wed-Sun 12-6 Fri 12-9
Event Date: Feb 14th 8:00PM – 11:00PM

Selected Stills From California

A condensed summary of our pornographic gear expedition in L.A. and Anaheim/NAMM. Catch the picture where Justin is using my Sherman Filterbank as a pillow. I had to throw something at him to get him to move off it. I’m starting to document where my Doepfer has been through pictures. It’s survived a lot of mayhem: L.A., Chicago, D.C., Paris, Nurnburg, Vienna, Hamburg, Berlin, Barcelona, Madrid, London among other places beyond my memory. The last two pictures are by Sarah Sitkin using only our(Tony Welter of Eustachian and Surachai) horrid bodies and her great vision. She rules!

Impulse Response Tutorial

Impulse responses allow you to ‘sample’ your room and use it as a reverb in whichever program supports it. I personally love impulse responses for their ‘set’ characteristics, though they’re not as versatile as some reverb plug-ins I find these limitations inspiring. Let’s assume you are not stupid, you have Leopard and Logic 8. I am going to explain how to do this as quickly as possible using only a macbook with its built in microphone and horrid speakers. Of course you can substitute the hardware with something proper or you can even substitute this tutorial with a proper one from a ‘professional’ website, you know, a website that doesn’t use the word ‘pood’ when describing low quality audio files. Anyways, I’m getting started:
You can find the program here: /Applications/Utilities/Impulse Response This is the general space of the program. If your screen does not look like this, you have opened Guitar Hero.

1. After choosing to work in Mono, I only have to press ‘R’ and the ‘S’ will automatically light up. ‘R’ puts the program in record mode and makes the ‘Sweep’ option available.

2. Before I press ‘Sweep’, I make sure my ‘Monitor Mute’ box is checked. I usually enjoy feedback but not through the already piercing ‘speakers’ on the macbook. I’ll be sure to experiment and pull this off with the feedback on one day. So I Sweeped it!

After I have sweeped the frequencies my recorded waveform looked like this. Basically horrible low and high frequency responses because my microphone and speakers eat it.

3. At the bottom left, I will want to press ‘Deconvolve’ then ‘Create Space Designer Setting…’, I name my file accordingly and jump into Logic 8. I could ‘audition’ my reverb but I rather skip this entirely and go straight to logic because I get confused and discouraged at what I am hearing.

4. In Logic 8, I open space designer and see my impulse response staring right at me in its own little custom section. My impulse response looks like this. The volume is not decaying rather it is gating and sounds like pood.

This is easily customizable by grabbing the points and adjusting it to your liking. I prefer my turd room to trail like this.

You can hear quick examples of the IR’s I created. Apparently my room has walls made of metal.
My loop dry
My loop wet
One shot dry
One shot wet

Or using the preset in Ultrabeat. Listen to the accentuation of the hi-hats.
Ultrabeat sample dry
Ultrabeat sample wet

To recap.
1: Press ‘R’.
2. Press ‘Sweep’
3. Press ‘Deconvolve’ and ‘Create Space Designer Setting’ (not sure why this is one step)
4. Get in Logic and fix your jacked volume settings in space designer
Now go get your platinum record. You know, the one you are reminded to achieve every time you open logic 8……

audio_Output: Chris de Luca vs Phon.o DJ Mix

We just got word that the CLP crew just released two free DJ mixes in time for your new years party.
“First of all we wish you all a great new years eve party and all the best for 2008! To let you dance your ass off, we thought this would help you out.” – CLP
Also sure to catch their article with us about their workspace.

Click the kicks for the downloads

Chris de Luca’s Sensational Mix

Phon.o’s Back2Bounce Mix

Folktek's Harmonic Field Contact Synthesizer

Folktek just sent over a new video they made of their Harmonic Field Contact Synth. It looks beautiful and it certainly SOUNDS beautiful. Be sure to check out their Workspace and Environment article from a day or so ago here.

Richard Devine: Analog Live! Follow Up (Now with TWO pictures)

Hello all. I’ve skimmed through a lot of forums that link to us and there is a lot of slander and animosity even but hey, what’s new! I decided to re-interview some of our artists. Also, I made a point that I was not going to write these articles as a reaction to negativity nor a defense for our fellow artists. I was simply going to have an open dialog that would naturally address issues through personality, also I thought would be somewhat of an interesting read. Now onto the interview!

Can you talk about your endorsements? What do the companies expect of you when they sign you on?

Well, most of the gear that was given to me was like I said from the previous answer is from projects where I designed factory patches or internal sounds. I know a lot of people probably think that I am some rich bastard who just collects synths and piles them up in a room, when honestly they were all companies that I worked with in creating the sounds for each synth. Every synth you see in my studio was a project that I participated in and you can find many of my sounds in these synths. It’s really fun, I look at sound synth programming as one of my favorite things to do these days. I can really learn new hardware and technology and at the same time build my sound design library which grows a little more each week.

You mentioned you had heart surgery a while ago. Although we talked about it privately, can you divulge publicly what happened?

Well, I got what is called “bacterial endocarditis” which is basically a staph infection of your blood which then attacks your heart valves and outer lining of the heart. Its very bad stuff, and it almost killed me twice in the hospital this year. I spent a good two months rehabilitating myself back to normal from that. I didn’t get away unscathed as I now have a mechanical heart valve ticking away in my aortic opening. So I now click and tick like a real machine. I even have my own serial and ID number now. I guess I have turned into a real life droid=) It’s been a rough recovery to get back on my feet, and get my life back in order. It was a massive ordeal and I thank god that I am back on planet earth again. I was never faced with the idea of my own mortality until this all happened. You never think that you could loose your life at such a young age. I am only 31 so it was shocking to hear that I would have to have open heart surgery, and be on blood thinners (rat poison) for the rest of my life. It has completely changed my outlook on life. I really appreciate every day I have now.

Onto something more lighthearted…. PUN INTENDED
I know how you use modular but can you explain how you approach them for people who may not know? I usually separate people into two groups: there are the musical modulars and the sound design modular heads. (A good portion of people find themselves in both categories.)

Well, I would definitely consider myself a Sound Design modular head. I always use these systems for more non-musical things. Mostly for random generators, chaos frequency modulation, and creating alien modulated sound structures. I have always loved the fact that you can patch, multiply, cross feedback, invert, mutate, and divide, what you will of control voltages giving you lots of options for making complex sounds. Which is what initially drew me into using them in the first place? I still have all my old modulars synths, as I always love going back to them and messing around, and sampling them. You see that my collection of modular stuff revolves more around chaotic random things, like the Doepfer 149-1, 2, and two of Peter’s Heisenberg Generators. I am still building more, but I love using modules that generate random voltages and gates much like Don Buchla’s 266e (Source Of Uncertainty). I usually patch things around until I get something really interesting then sample it and then dump it into Battery 3 or Kontakt 3 for further manipulation and control.

Can you talk about how you saw yourself compliment the other artists and the analog live show in general.

I was asked to participate in the show about a year ago. I have been long time friends with Peter Grenader from Plan B modular (Ear Acoustic). He had been playing around with the idea of doing a show with artists and friends he admired. I have always loved Peter’s work. His music and the piece “The Secret Life of Semiconductors” he played is one of my favorite analogue pieces to date. I was very excited at working with Peter and doing a show with him. It turned out to be a complete success and I was extremely happy to meet the other artists like Alessandro Cortini, and Chas Smith who I have been a long time fan for many years. It was a very interesting to see how everyone approached using these new and old machines to make compositional works. I unfortunately couldn’t bring out my modular stuff, as I have strict weight lifting restrictions from only having my surgery months ago. So I had to play on my computers which I know many people might have frowned on me for, but it was the only way I could participate in the show. I was just happy to be there and experience the show.

Obviously modulars are limited in their capabilities for performance but have major advantages in the studio: What was your thought process in getting together your performance?

Yes, there are some definite limitations to using analogue modular gear for live performances, but I like that in a way. I like having only a few options and really making the best out of the situation. I have performed a number of times with my modular gear, and sometimes like to jam live on the old TR-606 and TB-303. I love that you can work a crowd with just minimal equipment and I try to really work at my musical composition and sequencing to heighten the experience.

You said, and I along with others agree, that having too much gear hinders you from being productive (programming, fleshing out ideas). Can you explain how you see your gear in your studio?

I totally agree with that. Like I said I work mostly from my kitchen table these days, with just my macbook and sony viao, and sound card. Its super simple I keep everything in one environment. I work mostly on sound design projects, working with major advertising companies, as well as other audio manufactures always creating new sounds. I do have a lot of keyboards, but these where projects where I design or programmed the sounds for each of these companies, so I acquired many hardware synths as you can see. It’s great to have them here as I like to compare notes all the time when designing new sounds for another company. I will compare thousands of patches on different machines, using different forms of synthesis. I use them all at one point or another. Everything gets sampled or manipulated to use as a layer or component in a piece or for a sound layer in something else that I give to users in sound libraries or other synth sounds.

NAMM IS OURS! and a quick roundup

Justin and I have been relentlessly trying to coax our way into NAMM this year. We know some people that are going to be there and working for booths, we somehow even know a band that could get us in even though NAMM says that musicians aren’t allowed. Basically we had a lot of begging to do but throughout all this searching, we should’ve been a little more self-aware and looked at our own blog as a means. Justin wrote a nice little letter and almost instantly we were accepted!! So if you see two dorky kids (Justin is the tall skinny white kid with glasses and boots. I’m the medium asian kid with piercings, scars and tattoos) wearing media badges, please say hi. Actually, say ‘HI!” loudly so people will think we’re important and thus solidifying our ‘credentials’. Obviously we’ll be putting posts up about our upcoming charade of importance and of course we won’t tell you about the newest gear. We’ll leave that to everyone else.

And since a bragging post isn’t really acceptable, I’m putting together quick recap of the artists we’ve posted so far. There is a history section somewhere at the bottom right of the webpage but if you’re too lazy to scroll down, here it is:

Richard Devine
Dino Felipe
Aaron Spectre
Captain Ahab
Zach Goheen
Atom TM
James Cigler
Scott Jaeger
Keith Hillebrandt
Landau Orchestra
The Depreciation Guild

Sonic State's Weekly Audio Podcast… has been around forever and features a weekly audio podcast that is definitely worth listening to. They touch on a lot of different topics but, so far, my favorite episode is number 65A. In this, Richard Evans carries a portable recorder with him to capture and share his experience of touring with Peter Gabriel.

This weeks episode is extra special as they mention Trash_Audio and cover the topic ‘Workspaces and Environments’ Check it out here!

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