Thanks, Europe Tour, Help Us Gig and Links….

There are a few more Workspace and Environment articles to post before I’ll be leaving for Eurolands but I’ll get to those details in a second. I’d like to take this space to say thanks for all the e-mails of support and to all the anonymous readers alike. We haven’t gained a penny since we started this blog and while we really have no clue how to capitalize on something like this, we’ll most likely continue the blog for quite some time for the sheer pleasure. And according to our hits, it’s a great place to promote friends and their artistry be it audio, physical or whatever garbage they produce. So I only hope we expose you to new music, products and thoughts.

With the thanks and sentimental crap out of the way. I will be on tour in Europe, destroying cities with my great friends Eustachian. A big chunk of the shows will have The Teknoist headlining with us and I’m sure we’ll have fun melting faces around his hood. I’m hyped to be a part of great lineups to play again with Captain Ahab in Madrid! I’m expecting to see a lot of familiar faces as the hardcore/grind/loudfastwhatever community is intensely small and personable. However I hope to meet new people! So if you’re on the list of cities, come out and say hi! If you mention you’re a reader of the blog, I’ll hand you out a nifty Surachai satanic sticker and a You Are Beautiful sticker to patch up the evilness. While I’m not on the road, I’ll be using Paris as a home base, so if any of you want to buy me cheese, drop a line! The schedule changes from day to day and we’re still looking for gigs on our off time. If you know someone or are someone who can find us a gig, please drop an e-mail to the address to the right ( While my makeshift Surachai site is the best source for updates on the gigs, here is the path of destruction as it stands:

March 22 2008 – Liege, Belgium – Peace and Corn w/ Eustachian, Teknoist
March 27 2008 – Madrid, Spain – w/Massive Lineup!
April 4 2008 – Zaragoza, Spain – Day of the Droids 11 w/Electric Kettle
April 5 2008 – Erfurt, Germany – Hellsbreakz w/Eustachian, Teknoist
April 30 2008 – Ghent, Belgium – w/Eustachian
May 1 2008 – Bristol, United Kingdom – Drum Disciples w/Eustachian, Teknoist
May 2 2008 – Barcelona, Spain – Day of the Droids w/Massive Lineup
May 3 2008 – Paris, France – TBA – w/Eustachian, Sgure, Autopsy Protocol
May 9 2008 – Leuven, Belgium – TBA w/Eustachian
May 10 2008 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Kunstvlaai Festival w/Eustachian

audio_Output: Justin McGrath – The Night That Laid Still EP

Out today is my EP called ‘The night that laid still.’ Included with this is a remix album by various artists called ‘Reconstructions’ and a video for the track ‘Slowly and Quietly Absorbed’ by Bridget Driessen.

Listen and experience here:

Workspace and Environment: Genghis Tron

While they were between tours, practice spaces and studios they managed to drop off a picture and we’ll take it! They’re on the road yet again supporting their new release on Relapse Records. I think the picture is sufficient as you can see how Michael works, you just got to turn him around and tell him to stop staring at my soul….

I have been progamming beats and playing synths for the band Genghis Tron for the past 3 years. Before that I was experimenting with electronic music on my own beginning around 1999 or so. My newest synth is an Alesis Andromeda which I like a lot. It is a great analog synth that has more flexibility than other analogs because of its high polyphony, excellent envelopes and well routed modulation matrix. I also use a Novation KS-4.

On Hardware
Our live set up consists of the three of us. I play the Andromeda and Novation KS live and our singer also plays a rack Moog Voyager and controls our drum tracks through a Roland sampler which is triggered via midi remote controller. We also have a guitar player who uses many pedals.

Remember You First Piece of Hardware?
A crappy Korg EA1. Worst synth ever!

What is on your wishlist?
Waldorf Q!

On Software
For making beats on the computer I really like Native Instruments Battery 3 for drum sampling, which I run through Ableton Live. As for how I am influenced by my surroundings, I would say very little. No matter where I am, I’m still just staring at a computer screen! The biggest distraction from writing music is the internet. The fact that the music is being made on a computer doesnt help. It’s very easy to stop working on a beat and check e-mail for no reason. Also, the desire to hangout with friends instead of being alone in your room working on music. i think that making on a computer is very easy if you practice enough and have a reasonable amount of time and patience. I really like functions that help randomize music in subtle and clever ways instead of doing it manually. It would be nice if I had access to more plug ins and programs that help with automating patterns in unpredictable ways.

On Humans
My friends and family are very supportive. Even my grandmother has a copy of one of our CD’s. Most of my family don’t really “get” the music but they are supportive anyways. My dad actually digs the music which is cool. I’m very lucky to have the support of my family and friends!
What I’ve found is that there is a way to do anything, but not through one program. What I mean is that some programs are good for one thing, and another program or plug in will be good for something else. So I wouldn’t want to put one single tweak into a program, but rather build one super program that could do everything!

Michael Sochynsky was born in Berkeley, California and currently resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Genghis Tron can be found on Relapse Records, Crucial Blast Records and Myspace.

Harvestman Module Review

“After receiving a couple of Harvestman modules today and a CD ready for my European tour, I decided to incorporate the two. A Video of the assembly of the modular for my live setup and a track from the CD. Artwork credit goes to Byonic.

I must say receiving Modules reminds me of my younger days in middle school where I used to buy RAM, install it into my PC and through trial and error THINK I learned something. Well the trial and error is not an option anymore as these bastards cost a hell of a lot more money and I’m not using these modules to help me destroy people in Quake. First impressions: I have to mention that the packaging the units come in are impressive and they arrive in their own Harvestman boxes and static bags. Oh the small touches! At first glance I’m slightly confused as to why the Malgorithm is smaller than the Polivoks Filter depth wise. I was assuming since the Malgorithm has digital components, space would be consolidated into chips while the analog circuitry in the Polivoks simply took up more space. I’m sure I’m right in some cases but in this one I’m not. Both are relatively shallow compared to Livewire and Doepfer Modules. When at NAMM I noticed Scott Jaeger/Harvestman held all of his modules with the similarly shallow Cwejman modules in a small briefcase. It definitely gives new options for cases and not having to lug around a Doepfer portable which is somewhat of a strain for my 3 muscles. I just spilled cranberry juice nearly on everything in Justin’s studio. Shh… he doesn’t even read this.
Both modules are aesthetically beautiful front and back and well constructed. I’m not sure how I feel about Buchla Style wiggle on the knobs. The knobs definitely makes me feel more rich, almost as if I could afford a Buchla. It’s almost like picturing your girlfriend is Shannyn Sossamon while you’re…… *ahem*. Anyways this is almost like cheating… so aside from the wiggle causing hallucinations, I’m going to assume that they’re a welcome change because I treat my gear like crap and a little give on the knobs will keep them from getting bent.
I’m not going to talk too much about the sounds of the modules until I’ve gotten more than 20 minutes to play with them, but from first impressions the sounds are much higher quality than I anticipated (cause of examples on youtube). The reason I chose Harvestman modules is the focus on the options of destruction and aggression. The Malgorithm has, from what I’ve gathered, no bypass and whatever signal is going in will get hurt (in a great masochistic way). The filter on the other hand is surprisingly smooth and has extreme coloration/character that I find completely agreeable. It seems like most of the filter action happens between off to 12 o’clock. The resonance is the most unstable and aggressive I’ve heard. Also if you turn everything up, the sound warbles a bit, which may be a wanted or unwanted effect.
So to sum it up: If you want chaos, aggression and a bit of finesse, you can’t overlook these modules.

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……

Workspace and Environment: Trifonic

Trifonic had a party yesterday in San Francisco promoting their debut album coming out in a few days and here we are with their interview. Rarely do I promote other people’s music [Buy it now – Justin] but this album is melodically and technically beautiful. Don’t worry I won’t do an album review, only the interview…

I started playing guitar when I was 11, so I’ve been involved with music for 14 years. I studied jazz guitar in college and began exploring electronic music production at the same time. I work with my brother Laurence under the name Trifonic. Our debut album “Emergence” will be available directly from our website,, starting February 26, 2008. It will also be available on iTunes, Amazon and the other usual suspects.

What is your current favorite piece of hardware?
The Virus TI is my favorite hardware piece at the moment. It can produce a wide range of sounds, and it has great digital filters and FX. The Virus is especially good for creating warbly, wobbly, nasty basses. I like to sample bass sounds from the Virus and process them with distortion, compression and then resample the sound. I typically repeat the processing and resampling a few times until I get the sound I want. I have a soft spot for those classic DNB Reece sounds, and the Virus is perfect for that as well as other synthetic sounds.

What is your current favorite software or plugin? What makes this your favorite?
Logic Pro 7 and 8 are my favorites. Sculpture, Logic’s physical modeling synth, is capable of all sorts of rolling and bouncing melodic sounds that are emotional, strange and unpredictable. We used to Sculpture on our track “Parks On Fire” to make the melody line that sounds like a marble rolling around. I also love Logic’s Space Designer convolution reverb. You can load any sound file as an impulse and get wonderfully unexpected results. Logic 8 has an amazing new plug-in Delay Designer, which is a multi-tap delay that gives you pan, pitch and filter control over each delay tap. Its pretty crazy.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
The vibe and ergonomics of a workspace are essential. Our studio is set up in a tiny room, which is conducive to working efficiently and taking advantage of all of our gear. Everything is within arm’s reach and very accessible, and we have most of our hardware running through a patch bay. So it’s pretty effortless to incorporate any piece of equipment that we want. On the other hand, our room isn’t big enough for a full bass response, and that was a problem at first. We work around that issue by using a second set of monitors with a sub so that we can compare the bass levels. I also spent a lot of time listening to reference music when we first set up the studio, which really helped me get a feel for what things are supposed to sound like in the room.

Are you involved with music outside of your own?
I worked for BT as a guitarist/programmer from 2003 to 2007. I worked on a film score with him recently for the movie “Battle In Seattle” (Charlize Theron, Ray Liota, Woody Harrelson.) I’ve also been doing some session guitar work for the video game composer Jesper Kyd. I find visuals very inspiring when I create music, so I really enjoy working to picture.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining?
In 1994 my parents bought me a sunburst Fender Strat that was made in Mexico and a Crate GX-10R amplifier I was in 6th grade. It was my first guitar and it was awesome!

What is on your current ‘wish list’ for new hardware or software?
Hardware: Cwejman S1 Analog Synth, Pedal-steel guitar, Mandolin, 5-string electric Bass
Software: Sonnox Oxford plug-ins, Live 7

NAMM Infiltration + Dieter Doepfer Videos

Some things are better never than late. This one is a general overview of our NAMM invasion.

This video is of Dieter Doepfer explaining some new and old modules. Some nice little tips and his favorites are mentioned.

Thanks go out to: Shawn Cleary of AnalogHaven, Mike Brown of Livewire, Richard Devine, Scott Jaeger of Harvestman, Dieter Doepfer, James at, the guys from Elektron that came to party, and your mom. A few pictures from our time in California can be found on this previous post: Selected Stills

Workspace and Environment: LSD

Leon Dawson of LSD
I started playing around with loop-based sequencing (Sony ACID) when I was about 19. A few years later I started studying music production, this is when I got ‘serious’; on my 21st birthday I bought a midi workstation (Yamaha RM1X) and switched from loop based stuff to midi based music. I’m 26 now so I guess you could say I’ve been ‘involved’ for about 8 years. What gets me motivated is hard to say, I get a rush whenever I hear something new… I have always, and I mean ALWAYS, been passionate about music. My record collection is measured in thousands and thats not including CDs, tapes and MP3… One day I was messing around on ACID doing a remix of some obscure funk track when my mums friend walked in and said ‘you should study music production’ the next week he gives me a prospectus and before I know it I’m studying Dance Music Production. Music is like a drug to me, I’ve been on an endless high for as long as I can remember. I’ll be here as long as the music is, I’m addicted. Thats my motivation, music its self.

What is your current favourite piece of hardware?
That’s a really difficult question, the first thing that comes to mind is my PC but that would be cheating. I guess I would have to say the Yamaha RM1X. There are so many memories connected with it and its so much fun to use, even though a lot of the sounds are dated it still has many uses.

What is your current favourite software or plugin?
Propellerhead’s Reason. It’s so easy to use & great for quickly putting down ideas. Also it integrates easily into my set up when running Cubase as host.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
I find it has a direct effect on it. Not only because of physical things like accoustics but on a subconcious level too. I find a cluttered/unorginised workspace hinders creative flow.

Are you involved in any musical extra curricular activity ?
I am currently in the process of building up a portfolio of work with a view to Composing For Games, this is an area I am very interested in at the moment. I have also joined a local radio station in an engineering capacity and will soon be hosting my own show ‘Introducing’. I have previously and continue to work with/record local bands and master their albums. Another area I am interested in is Audio Visual Art, I have a lot of ideas but dont have the skills/expertice to follow them through. I hope to soon be working with a AV artist but as yet havent found the right one.

What is on your current ‘wish list’?
An Akai MPC2500, A Moog rack (any), a CME controller keyboard, Propellerhead’s Recycle (it would save me so much time), a good mic, a rack-mount PC case, a (hardware) 303 emulator.

Do you have a mobile studio setup?
Yes. (basic) ‘oxygen 8’ midi keyboard + Elderol UM-1sX midi adaptor + Laptop running sequencers + Zip drive for transfering samples to/from my S5000.

Do you have a setup for live performances?
Not as such, but it I do have some things I can easily deteatch and reorginise for live use:
Roland TR-626 + Korg Electribe ER1 + Yamaha RM1X + Akai S5000 + Korg Electribe ES1 via Steinberg MidEX8 – midi patchbay + Laptop and Soundcraft Spirit SX mixer.

Where were you born and how did you end up in the location you currently reside?
Born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland. Still reside here.

How many physical locations have you had your studio setup in over time and how have they changed?

I have moved house 5 times in the last 8 years (twice last year). It has changed a lot, its got bigger. It’s become more orginised, thank god for patchbays! It’s become part of the furniture. I started off with a PC, some crappy pc speakers, a groove box, a couple of turntables and a mixer… I now have a full on studio complete with out-board effects, patchbay, mixing desk and studio monitors. Every 6months or so I take the whole thing apart and reconfigure/organise it. It’s always a struggle trying to find the ‘best’ location within any space for the setup especially when you dont live alone but I usually get away with a lot, my studio currently takes up about 1/3 of the living room and 10% of the bedroom.

Leons work can be found under several aliases: LSD, Counter Culture Consortium, Leon S. Dawson, Kid Chameleon, Pure Synthesis, DJ Dub and ElectroMondo. He was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland where he still resides.

Workspace and Environment: Stereo Total

Ask me to do an interview in French and/or German and I am screwed. I must say that I’m completely humbled by the overall correspondence that takes place between international artists and myself. Their capacity to communicate in English is a reminder that I ONLY speak English…. and Thai… and a bit of German. With that out of the way, we will be uploading some videos of our time at NAMM soon. I think we spent more time harassing other people and ourselves than finding out anything useful. Anywho, here is Stereo Total!

Brezel Göring of Stereo Total
How long have you been involved with making music?
Since I was 15. I was born in Kassel (which I hated) and I ended up in Berlin, which is – for a German city – not bad.

What is your favorite hardware unit that you use?
4-track Tascam cassette recorder: It is easy to handle, small and sounds very good.

What is your current favorite software or plugin?
Retro player, which gives everything the sound of a 78 shellac record

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
We have these pictures (see photo) all over our studio/rehearsal room: This definitely influences our workflow

Are you involved in any music/sound work outside of your own projects?
I made two one hour radio plays (one about Patty Hearst, another based on a novel that Francoise Cactus wrote). My music was used in several movies, a game, a tv show and in a comercial.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining?
A Korg Mono/Poly

What is on your current ‘wish list’?
The further away from computers I am the happier I am: so my wish list is to stop using a computer for music

Do you have a mobile studio setup?
A four track, a Neumann mic and a Focusrite pre amp and a Yamaha SU 10 Sampler

What is your setup for live performances?
A Boss dr sample 303, a Yamaha SU 10, a Doepfer modular synthesizer and a self-built midi trigger machine, a Midiman mixer and a Zoom guitar pre amp and a guitar. Francoise has a drum set and a trumpet.

How has your studio evolved?
The place shown in the picure is the first and only work space I ever had. It is in the cellar of a squat and we are in there since 15 Years (1993)

Stereo Total is Françoise Cactus and Brezel Göring.
They can be found on or

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.

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