Workspace and Environment: Richard Lainhart

Update – 1.4.12
This is the worst update we have to make this post, one that puts finality to Richard’s life but also purpose and meaning. Richard passed away December 30th, 2011. Read about his life on Wikipedia & Matrixsynth.

Justin and I are off to NAMM next week and hopefully we squeeze in a few more articles between now and then. We will have word on some gigs we are performing at next week and I will be asking for help for an upcoming European tour. Until then, I present the prolific Richard Lainhart!

Background
I started playing electric bass when I was 15, so in a few weeks it will have been 40 years. I was born in Vestal, NY, outside Binghamton (the Forbidden City), and ended up where I am by first going to school in Albany, moving to New York City to find work, and moving to Rockland County to escape the noise and density of NYC.

Favorite Hardware
Right now, it’s the Buchla 200e, although I’d really have to include the Haken Continuum as a part of the whole system. The 200e is an extraordinary instrument in its own right, but I think it’s the addition of the Continuum that really takes it to an entirely new level of expression and control. So I’d have to say both are my current favorites, in equal parts.

I started my life as composer by recording and manipulating sound on tape, and soon afterwards, in college, was able to work in a series of well-equipped Moog synthesizer studios. My first real compositions were created with modular synths and multitracking, and I got quite adept, if I may say so, at modular synthesizer programming. In the MIDI era, though, I completely gave that up and devoted myself to computers. What you could do with MIDI and computers, especially in live performance, went so far beyond what was possible with modulars that there seemed to be no reason to ever go back.

However, when I started working with Jordan Rudess on our live improvised electronic music project, he on MiniMoogs and I on laptops and softsynths, I really came to miss the immediacy and direct expression that he enjoyed working with true analog hardware. In our project, Jordan typically plays his MiniMoogs with one hand on the keyboard and the other on the knobs, and continually generates new sounds as he’s playing – he doesn’t work with presets, but just starts in an open state and goes where the knobs take him. With a softsynth, you have to start from a preset, and have to control the parameters with a multitude of pre-programmed MIDI controllers if you want to approach the same flexibility and ease of expression. And still, there are layers of interface between you and the sound.

At the same time, though, I love harmony and polyphony, so a monosynth isn’t for me. And the fixed signal path of something like the MiniMoog does, I feel, limit full expression when compared to a completely patchable system. On the other hand, a standard patchable system isn’t very practical for live performance if you want to work with many different sounds. The 200e is, as far as I know, the only currently produced analog modular synth that allows for polyphony and patch memory, so you can start with a basic patch in performance, and through presets, create many different basic variations on the basic configuration. From there, you can work with higher-level functions like controlling several voices and parameters at once with the multi-dimensional expression of the Continuum, but also lower-level functions like twisting knobs and throwing patchcords around. It’s nearly the ideal system for me, and I’ve come to love it.

Favorite Software
Adobe After Effects, actually. I work with a lot of music software, including some wonderfully creative apps like Max and Kyma X, but my favorite program is AE. I’ve used it since it first came out, and all my visual work starts and ends there or at least goes through it at some point. It’s the most flexible and creative motion graphics app I know.

Workspace and Environment
This studio is the first I’ve had where I’ve been able to set up all my mallet instruments, so just from that viewpoint it’s been a blessing. But it’s also inspiring on other levels, too. My property backs onto a land preserve, which in theory at least can never be developed, and I can’t see any of my few neighbors from the large window that faces the preserve – just trees and sky. I often spend long periods at my desk, just looking out the window and watching the clouds roll by, and I never tire of the beauty of it all. It’s quiet here too, and so I can live in my own sonic world without hindrance. The structures on which I base my music come from nature, and I happen to believe that the best music comes from a calm center, not a position of strife or chaos, so living here has, I feel, been only beneficial to my work.

Extra Curricular
My day job is Technical Director at Total Training Productions, which produces video-based training for Adobe, Microsoft, and Apple digital media software, among others. I used to write all the theme and interstitial music for those productions, and still do occasionally. Other than that, no. I’ve created music in the past for film, commercials, CD-ROM games and magazines, Web sites, and so on, but I’ve pretty much gotten away from that kind of work – I find it increasingly difficult to let others make the final decisions about how the music I create should sound.

First Piece of Equipment
A really terrible Hagstrom electric bass – the strings were almost an inch off the fretboard, although I didn’t know any better, so I thought it was pretty cool. Fortunately, soon after that I upgraded to a German-made Hofner Beatle bass, which was actually a very nice instrument. Around the same time, my father gave me his old Ampex semi-pro stereo reel-to-reel recorder, which had three heads. The three heads meant that I could do tape echo and sound-on-sound, and I soon started experimenting with running my bass through it and setting up screaming runaway echoes, along with some very primitive multi-tracking. The combination of the electric instrument and the tape deck was what really started me on the path to becoming a composer of electronic music.

Your Wishlist
Very little, really. I’d like a set of 4 matched powered speakers for performance, so I can play in quad (which is what the Buchla is really designed for), but so far, running in stereo and using house systems has worked out well. Beyond that, I have enough to work with for quite a while. A vanderPlas four-octave vibraphone or Marimba One five-octave marimba would be nice, though….

Mobile Setup
I do not have a formal one, but I’ve done some live recording of friends’ concerts with the MacBook Pro, the MOTU Traveler and the Shure KSMs, and that’s worked out well. The addition of an Evolution keyboard and headphones would give me a reasonably complete, compact system, I think. I have several different setups for live performances, depending on the situation. The most basic is a MacBook, MOTU Traveler, and an Evolution keyboard, controlling Moog Modular V. The next level up is the MacBook, the Kyma hardware, Line 6 Pod Pro, Traveler, and guitar or lap steel – I have
a number of pieces that use that configuration. Finally, there’s the full Buchla/Continuum/MacBook quad system, which includes a Mackie mixer, Niche fader controller, Lexicon MX-400, Roland RE-20, and MOTU 828 in the rack. You can see it in the “Studio Right” image. I’ve been performing a lot with it lately, but moving it around is a two-man job, unfortunately.

How Many Locations Have You Had Your Studio?
4 different locations. The first was in an apartment in Albany, NY, and consisted of a Korg DW-8000 and SDD digital delay. I used that for my first album, with a couple of pieces of borrowed gear. The next was in my house in Albany, and was much expanded with a Mac Plus (running Digidesign Sound Designer, Intelligent Music M, and Opcode Sequencer), 3 Emax samplers, Alesis digital reverbs, JBL speakers, and several delays and reverbs. That was my first performance system, and I used it for my second, unreleased, album. I sold most of it when I moved to New York City to upgrade to a Mac Quadra 900, SampleCell cards, a Yamaha DMP-7 digital mixer, and a Panasonic DAT deck, and used that system for most of the commercial work I did at the time. Then, when I left the city and moved north to Rockland County, I sold it all again to upgrade to a PowerMac and a largely software-based studio. So, basically, every time I moved, I upgraded.

Richard Lainhart’s personal website with old and new music can be found here: www.otownmedia.com
Collaborations with Jordan Rudess are available here: downloadplatform.com/richard_lainhart
airglowmusic.com
jordanrudess.com/download

Richard is also on the XI Records and Ex Ovo labels.

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

Workspace and Environment: ddmf

The term ‘artist’ to me (I can’t speak for Justin) is simply a creator. Whether this creation be audio, visual, mental or physical, it could leave the interpretation that everyone is an artist. While I believe that everyone has the inherent capacity to be an artist, this blog limits itself to those involved directly in the audio field. I’m saying this because we have and will feature instrument makers like Folktek and The Harvestman, programmers and anything we find inspirational (NOT Wii controlled anything). I present the programmer behind ddmf plug-ins, which has follows the ‘any price you like’ trend recently picked up by musicians such as the artist we previously featured, The Depreciation Guild. So, blah blah, (but blah blah). BLaH. Here we go..

Christian of ddmf Plug-ins

Background.
It started probably about 28 years ago when learning how to play the wooden flute :-) then came the clarinet, both taught by “real” teachers with emphasis on classical music. At about 13 I started to learn guitar, which soon became my “main” instrument. I played in various enthusiastic but unsuccessful bands (haven’t we all…), the last one being a rock’n roll cover band named “Rex Dildo and the Ladyshavers”. Go figure… the 10th anniversary of the last concert of this wonderful formation has just passed. I’ve only picked up doing music electronically about 4 years ago, and since then I’m trying to combine the electric guitar with electronic sounds. And, probably the reason why I write here, I’ve started to develop my own audio effect plugins. It’s a one man show going under the name of ddmf.

His Software
It all started with the LP10. I have a background (see PhD) in theoretical physics, so as a musician the question of signal processing naturally sparked my interest. I had used Fourier analysis quite extensively in the description of physical processes, and I wanted to see whether I could achieve something that would be of similar quality as existing EQs. I was quite pleased with the result and decided to try and sell the plugin. During the process of designing the LP10, I also got interested in Infinite Impulse techniques and consequently developed the IIEQ short afterwards. Now obviously I can’t tell what other developers are doing different since I haven’t seen their code, but I guess my experience in programming scientific applications has really helped to produce highly optimized plugins with a very clean signal treatment. And from the feedback of the users, this is also what the EQs are usually recognized for…
Apart from my own stuff… uhe’s Zebra is quite amazing, at least I use it a lot. It sounds very good, still it doesn’t take away all the sound space so you still can group other instruments around it without things getting too muddy.

Workspace and Environment
It’s simply a room in my apartment and this appartment has very thin walls. So I’m somewhat constrained concerning the loudness levels. It also has a resonance at G… but apart from that, I feel really comfortable with it. I think that’s the main thing: I can sit there for hours without getting tired, having back pain etc… the light is good, and the chair as well :-) Small but important things!

Free
I started selling the LP10 and the IIEQPro (an improved version of the IIEQ) for 40, later 50 Euros. Already from the very beginning I thought that such a static pricing scheme for a product that you sell worldwide over the internet is maybe not the best solution; after all, prices for cars etc. vary a lot between different countries. Also I had to deal with piracy problems like everybody else, but didn’t want to waste half of my time just to win another day or so before the EQs appear on emule anyway. So when Radiohead published their CD for “any price you like”, I thought, alright, in principle this is exactly what I want. It doesn’t make sense to pirate my products, and if somebody is really broke/from a really poor country he can still give me a dollar or so, which is still better than nothing. On the other hand, I counted on the fairness of more senior people who, as I expected, would acknowledge the quality of my plugs and therefore give a little more. And so far, I haven’t been disappointed…

Favorite Hardware
Since I’m still mainly a guitar player, my favourite piece of hardware is the Line6 PodXT. It’s still not the real thing, but it’s damn close…

Extra Curricular
I’ve started to collaborate with GLGP (http://www.glgp.org), which is a small company currently very active in the Amsterdam sound/vision scene. I’ve produced a few small things for them and there’s definitely more on the agenda for 2008!

Find the plug-ins here: http://www.ddmf.eu/

Youtube User

You can find my youtube profile here. I can’t promise a reliable schedule of updates. For instance I uploaded 4 videos a few days ago and before that, there was no activity for 2 months. But I can say that the NAMM videos we will be there. You can find a few shorts I made here. Most of them are timelapse pieces, like this one from work in the summer with music by radicalfashion who will be featured really soon on our blog:

Here is a ‘normal’ one from today. Bridget gives Justin an oceanharp. It’s killer!!

Workspace and Environment: Le Mépris

Hello all. We’ve reached over 30 thousand hits from 6 thousand countries in around 2 months. Ok, 6 thousand countries really means: too many countries to count and I honestly don’t know how many. I’d like to steal a little space to thank you all for coming, supporting and sending e-mails. Even if it’s just a hello, we respond to all of them. Although we don’t generally receive 30 thousand e-mails, we do get a bit so please excuse any late responses. Anyways, have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by!

Background
Reiko Matane of Le Mépris started playing guitar in ‘noisy, shoegaze-style wall of sound bands’ in her teens. She has a new self-titled mp3 release on Aerotone. You can find a link to it at the end of the article.

Hardware
I think it is my white/red Fender Jazzmaster Reissue (Japanese edition). I like the Tremolo. I use guitar mostly without too much “dry” signal and also do not worry about analog/digital too much. I don’t know, I do not have space or money to go completely analog and I am afraid I am too much used to editing on the screen that I am not patient enough anymore to do anything with tapes, although I love the sound you get.

Software
Host is Ableton. The drumrack is good for other stuff too.
Also my Piano Plugin http://www.truepianos.com/ is of course essential. I am a bit afraid to tell that I do not really own a real piano. I also record the midi with my microkorg as controller. So all the professionals out there will raise their eyebrows.

Environment
Rent is high in Nakano, Tokyo, at least for me. Working 3 days and making music for people free does not allow me to have a fancy big space.

First Piece of Gear
It was a cheap Sunn o))) Stratocaster copy. I still have it, but it sits here a bit unused next to a Fender Telecaster and Fender Jazzmaster Reissue…

Wishlist
Always more effect stomp boxes. I love delays (Line 6 DL-4, Digidelay, also Digiverb but I think that the Ableton Reverb and Delays are also good, also Ohmforce Stuff is used…).

Mobile Setup
It would be my Laptop, M-Audio Fastrack Pro, Microkorg as a controller, and sounds routed through my guitar boxes plus some ebow live guitar through my small Fender amp.

Studio Locations
Rent is high in Nakano, Tokyo, at least for me. Working 3 days and making music for people free does not allow me to have a fancy big space. So basically my room is quite packed and I mainly use my headphones for mixing (AKG 271). I love my small flat but I have to take care of not being too loud which is sometimes a problem. I would really like to integrate more guitars into my stuff but I have to record this at daytime… My flat is basically two very small rooms. So this is basically a bedroom producer situation which might also explain why my music is a bit narcotic, hihi… Actually I would like to have a small studio place and be more organized as I tend to let stuff lying around unused because I might be too lazy to plug it in… Sometimes I hate chords and power supplies, it kills me. It is hard to keep a small space tidy.

Le Mépris was born and currently resides in Tokyo, Japan. She has also lived in Nakano and spent 3 years in Berlin, Germany.

www.myspace.com/lmprs
Aerotone

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
Lusine
Dino Felipe
Aaron Spectre
Jonbro
Jeswa
Captain Ahab
Protman
Zach Goheen
Sgure
Atom TM
James Cigler
Deru
Scott Jaeger
Keith Hillebrandt
Landau Orchestra
Retina.it
The Depreciation Guild
Folktek

Workspace and Environment: Folktek

I am happy to introduce Folktek who are a bit of a departure from our normal Workspace and Environment articles as they are musicians AND instrument builders. Folktek make (and sell) some really amazing creations which there are many pictures of in the article…

Background
Folktek is Ben Houston and Arius Blaze. We work together but also work independently as sound artists/musicians.

Arius:I’ve been a Dj for 15 years and started producing 11 or 12 years ago. Shortly thereafter I started instrument design and sound art.

Ben: I have never really been much of a musician but have always been into sound and music. I come from a visual arts background and got into instrument building through sculpture. I have been building various sound instruments for about 5 years.

Arius: Ben and I are Folktek and soon to be Folktek Records. I work under
my own name… Also Ariza Blues, Future Dead, Sound Awake and the collaborational work Audient with J. Enero. Most of the projects can be found either on my own web site ariusblaze.com or at Run Riot Records (runriotrecords.com).

Ben: Right now I work mostly doing the Folktek thing but I also do
theatre-based masked puppet work under the name See Monkey Sea.

Favorite Hardware/Creation
Arius: “The Garden” (Pictured right). It’s an accoustic-electronic piece I created a couple months ago. The sound is lush and the piece is beautiful. Very nice for soundscapes or glitchy organic sound.

Ben:I’ve been pretty into our filanthopoid series -especially the double bug, each time I sit down and play, it’s an adventure.You sort of get addicted to the sounds off on the horizon and around the corner and it keeps you playing.

Favorite software
Arius: My two kids.
Ben: The Mario Brothers

Workspace and Environment
Folktek: A nicer and more organized space allows us to finish things in a much more efficient manner…The messy space can find us creating works out of the piles and less intentional – they also take much longer to get done…Looking for an exacto blade for a half hour is just frustrating and by the time you find it you’re pissed enough to need a smoke break and a beer…Then it’s over until the next work day.

Extra Curricular
Arius:
I’d love nothing more to work in film, but no.
Ben: I have done some sound work for puppet shows and masked theatre.

First Gear
Arius:
When I was 10 years old I busted the erase head out of my dual tape
cassette recorder and started making mixtapes.
Ben: I used to jam out on this keyboard we had around – one of those with
like 200 sounds, ocean waves and such.

Wishlist
Arius: I’m working on a master modular suitcase thing. It has pitch shifters, delays, samplers, a drum synth, a few tone generators, various other effects, acoustic section and a mixer. Ideally I’ll be able to play shows with only this piece and trade out modules when I want to change things up.
Ben: I guess I just really want a huge amp and bass stack to make bass
based sound installations.

Mobile Setup
Folktek:
We are nomadic workers. We’ll work anywhere. If we don’t have a proper studio we’ll drag tools and parts out in boxes and work outside. It’s ridiculous and setup and cleanup takes a stupid amount of time. We’ve worked in barns, a greenhouse, garages, each of our living rooms, bedrooms, basements, attics, yards and a chicken coupe.

For Performances
Arius: Depends on the project. My work with Run Riot is all fucked up club shit. I use a Korg ESX sampler and a couple home made effects. The other projects rely on various instruments I make or folktek makes that I have before they sell – so it’s ever changing.

Ben: I haven’t performed much but have done some experimental speaker set ups with bass shakers and the dodecahedron speakers I build for some odd sound spaces.

Amount of Locations
Arius: Maybe 20 minimum. They just get messier. Making instruments on a full time basis requires an insane amount of random parts of all shapes and sizes, cases, tools, wood and shit everywhere. Making any sort of attempt to organize is futile in our somewhat nomadic existence. What we need is a studio that stays put for some years, preferrably a warehouse. I try to keep the music studio setup separate and relatively simple. I’m into using a few things at a time – not having some insane studio with hundreds of random modules.

Ben: I usually work at my home but often use various shops for larger scale cutting and building. Have been collecting tools and compiling materials for a few years now so it gets to be a mess. Often the studio is an extention cord to the backyard and boxes full of tools. I usually work on the floor asian style.

Folktek’s creations and music can be found at:
folktek.com
ariusblaze.com
runriotrecords.com


Workspace and Environment: The Depreciation Guild

Some news first before our next post. Justin and I will be in Los Angeles. I’m not exactly sure when Justin will be there, but I will be there form the 16th to the 30th. We have a few things to accomplish. I will be playing a show with Eustachian, Captain Ahab, Richard Devine and The Flashbulb, though I do not know which alias I will be using. Also Richard Devine is going to be at the Access Virus booth during Namm through the 17th-20th, we’re trying to sneak our way in. Also, I plan to finally meet the guys at Analog Haven after spending a good amount of my money and time with their products. I’ll more specifics about the gig and my plans as they come in. So enough with the plans. We have The Depreciation Guild who have a beautiful free album. The link is in the article.

Kurt Feldman of The Depreciation Guild


Background
I started playing guitar when I was 8. I was in my first band at age 10 and I’ve been in too many to count since then. For the stuff that I do now, I guess I started programming NES chiptunes in May of 2003, but The Depreciation Guild didn’t form as a band until August 2005. Born in NYC, lived upstate for a while, moved back to nyc for college. i’ve lived in greenpoint now for a year and a half.
Christoph lived in LA until he went to college in the city. We met at New York University. He moved to greenpoint about 6 months ago. I’ve had the same setup in pretty much every space I’ve lived in. It hasn’t really changed, other than the addition of the famicom and a fancy iMac last year, which we use for recording.

On Hardware
Our current hardware is a (mint condition) Japanese Famicom from 1986 and a more recently manufactured cartridge made by TerraNova Systems that reads memory off of SD cards instead of EPROM. It’s our favorite because it’s actually the only piece of hardware we use (besides guitars and amps).


On Software
We only use one software which is a DOS native program called Nerdtracker II. This is the program that outputs the Nintendo Sound Format code which we load onto our Famicom. It’s essentially a sequencer for Win98 DOS, but you have to type in every note manually on the computer keyboard and there’s no copy and paste function nor is there any way to connect a midi controller. We don’t use any synths to compose our songs. Oh also, when we record, we dump everything into Pro Tools.

Workspace and Environment
The workspace where we rehearse and where I compose the songs is the office in my apartment, so I guess it’s pretty convenient. I might be checking my email and then have this melody idea, so I can just pick up my guitar and record it. And since we both live a few blocks from each other in greenpoint, it’s really easy for us to rehearse and transport gear when necessary.

Extra Curricular
I play drums in The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart (the guitarist of that band is also my roommate) and Christoph also plays guitar in Tropic Of Nelson.

Remember Your First Piece of Gear?
It was a cheap nylon string guitar when I was 8.

Wishlist
….Does a digital camera count?

Mobile Setup
I have a really bad laptop. it’s missing a lot of keys, but it can run nerdtracker so I guess that counts as being mobile right? For live performances I use 2 guitar amps, 2 guitars, A Famicom, 2 vocal mics, several effects pedals.

Why is Your Album Free?
We think we’ve made an album that sounds refreshing and progressive in its musical approach, so holistically, we wanted this to carry over to the way we distributed it. We’re not naive to the direction the music industry is headed and the declining role of the record label and physical product (more specifically CDs). We’re a relatively new band with no other goals other than to make great pop music and have as many people possible hear it and love it, and so far we’ve found the “free” model to work surprisingly well.

You can download their first album for free at inhergentlejaws.com. Also, they have a few songs you can grab for free at 8bitpeoples.com.

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