Scream 2007: Analog Live!

Our friend, Richard Devine, will be performing along with several other musicians in a one off show based around analog equipment on Friday November 16, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. Also, another guest in our Workspace series is included in the performance, Alessandro Cortini. If you live around the area, I highly recommend checking this show.

You can more information about the event: here and here.

Peter Grenader from the Plan B User Group Forum:
As far as the equipment we’ll be using, we’ve put together an orchestra of oscillators: Off the top of my head – three rather large Plan B systems, a Doepfer/Plan B/Livewire system, Arp 2600, two cabinets of Aries, one nine panel and a medium-sized three panel Serge fitted with a custom Plan B model 13, the largest Wiard system in the world, an EMS Synthi-AKS, the EAR Performance system, a Buchla 200e, Nord Modular, a Novation, a Waldorf Wave, two tcelectronic reverbs (a
2000 and 60000), tons of delays and a Yamaha SPX90. Controller include a C-Thru-Music Axis, a Continuum Fingerboard, a Doepfer PK88 and MAQ 16/3, Roland A-33, a Fatar workstation and an Analogue Systems French
Connection.

Along with a wall of effect racks, Chas Smith will be bringing two of his own instruments: the Guitarilla and the Towers. Guitarzilla is a steel guitar made of machined aluminum and welded titanium tubing. It has a 12 string neck tuned to a diatonic scale and an 8-string bass neck. It is also fitted with a small waterless Waterphone-type instrument which is bowed. The Towers are eight 1 1/4″ diameter grade 9 titanium rods with titanium plates welded on the ends which are both bowed and struck with a variety of mallets. The longest Tower is109″, standing over 10 feet tall in it’s hanger, and the shortest is 55″. They have been cut to form a scale which can be obliterated by the complexity of the sounds that the plates generate. They’re
sonically and visually majestic, bordering on astonishing. Go here for a photo:

http://www.ear-group.net/towers.jpg

We will be performing six pieces, one each from the six players, all of which performed by the ensemble – it’s not a series of solo performances. Three of the pieces will be world premiers.

These pictures were ganked from Matrixsynth. More pictures can be found: here.

Workspace and Environment: Zach Goheen

Hi.

How long have you been involved with making music?
For fun: Since birth.
For fun and money: Since college

What is your current favorite piece of hardware?
Wurlitzer “super-sprite” funmaker. It’s a 70s console organ with built in drum machine and speakers. It has buttons labeled with things like “magic chords” and “latin”. Of all the keyboards in the studio, thats the first one to get played when someone new comes over. It;s a one man fun band – especially when the Echoplex has its way with it.

What is your current favorite software or plugin?
Probably the new Native Instruments soft synth bundle as a whole. I prefer to have real things that make real sounds but sometimes you gotta fake it. I especially like the ‘Akoustic Piano’ plugin because theres no fucking way we could get a real piano up here. Five guys almost died trying to get the tape machine up the stairs.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
I think it influences it quite a bit. Compared to other spaces that I’ve worked in, I seem to make much ‘happier’ music in this room. I was sick of working in a dark attic and now there are windows and colors and a wonderful sounding room. That’s actually the biggest part for me, this room sounds amazing with the hardwood floors and the brick walls. If it was just a little bit smaller it would be echo-y, but at this size it sounds very much alive. I think its also important to not feel overwhelmed by gear in a studio. Most musicians could care less about how many plugins you have or the 300 different piano patches some keyboard may have. Especially when there’s a steep learning curve that you have to overcome just to play a sound out of a
keyboard or box. We try to keep everything ‘grab-and-twist’: no menus or display screens.

Are you involved in any music/sound work outside of your own projects?
You (Surachai) and I just finished a score for a movie (don’t you remember? It was last month!) which was shot by my roommate Ben Chappell. Most of the time I’m working with other artists to record their music. I produced an album with JT and the Clouds last year and will be working on a side project with them this winter. I like to keep the keyboards happy so I encourage friends to come over whenever they want to write. I make them keys.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining?
Tascam 414 casette 4track

What is on your current ‘wish list’ for new hardware or software?
I need to build a monitor controller with volume, input selection, and a mono/stereo switch. Im currently weeding through schematics.

Zach Goheen lives in chicago and can be found at:
ZachGoheen.com

Workspace and Environment: Chris de Luca vs Phon.o

Hello people. Since I have decided to take this saturday evening to work on music and the blog, I’m throwing up a post for the weekend. I’ve always felt a sort of humbleness when people speak to me in English when it is not their native tongue. This usually happens when traveling but more recently, through these interviews. When English is not the artists first language, or even when it is, they agree to some small changes to keep their ideas fluent. I try to keep the integrity of their words and the context by not putting a spin on their ideas. So if you catch errors in the text regarding hardware or spelling, please let me know because I pretend to be human. With that said and out of the way, here is Chris de Luca vs Phon.o!

Background
Chris: I started making music around 14 years ago.
Phon.o: I started making music around 10 years ago.
CLP: Chris was one part of Funkstörung, after the split in 2006 we started a new project together with called CLP (Chris de Luca vs Phon.o). Since about one year we’re working on an album which is almost done. We also did several remixes which you can listen to it on our website.

Play favorites with your hardware
CLP: There are so many good pieces and they all have different special features, but we would say that our fave is still the Nord Lead, because you can create so many different sounds with it and it always sounds so weird and special ,especially if we run it through the Chandler TG1 or our custom made distortion filter. Another favorite is our Amek 9098 compressor, damn, this piece is a weapon on drums and vocals. For us it is very important to put in a warm analog sound on our tracks. Favorite Software
CLP: It is a plugin done by a friend called Disctruction. This plugin is just amazing, it’s a combination of many plugins like granulator, bouncy, dblue glitch, etc, but all in one. It would take us to long to explain all features it has. :) …also we love the Duende plugins from SSL. we use the compressor and the drumstrip on all our files. It rocks!!

Can you talk about your workspace?
CLP: We like squares, it makes our sound more rectangled. So far we have a small studio in Chris’s flat. It smells like herbs and our table is too big for the room. Behind us there is messy stuff like boxes and a mattress, things like that. We really need a bigger studio and we actually found something really big together with our friends Apparat and Kid 606. After all the construction work is done and we finally can move in, we will tell you how this workspace will be. ;))

Are you guys involved with anything outside of your current project?
From time to time we’re working for advertising and film music. We also do a lot of remixes and productions for other bands.

Do you remember your first piece of gear?
Chris: It was the Roland TR-808. I’m a drum freak and this machine just blew me away and it was easy to play around with.
Phon.o: The Roland TR-606 was my flash.

Whats on your wishlist?
CLP: Oh, our wish list is very long, but if we have enough money (maybe in 20 years… ) we want to buy a Studer mixing console a SE Electronics ATC-1X, a Korg M3, a Protools System, 2 japanes knifes, and a Avalon AD 2044.

What does your live setup look like?
CLP: It includes 1 Powerbook, 1 Macbook Pro, 2 M-audio FastTrack Pro, 1 Akai MPD 16, 3 different Faderfox controllers, 1 Kaoss Pad Mini, 1 Kaoss pad 2, 2 customised distortion filters, 1 Evolution UC-33, 1 Behringer B-control rotary.

Chris de Luca was born in Rosenheim, a town near Munich in south Bavaria, Germany. He moved to Berlin about 3 years ago.
Phon.o was born in Thüringen (East Germany) where they have the best sausages ever. In 1997 he moved to Berlin.

You can find Chris de Luca vs Phon.o at
chrisdelucavsphono.com
myspace.com/chrisdeluca

Workspace and Environment: Protman

How long have you been involved with making music/sound?
I’ve been making sound and music since early high school when a friend turned me on to MOD tracking, which is still my primary way of sequencing. We won battle of the bands that year with our computers, and were then DQ’d for having an “unfair advantage”. The judges then gave the prize to the band with their parents playing the lead instruments. Do we have to talk about this?

What is your current favorite piece of hardware? What makes this your favorite?
My wireless xbox360 controller; I’ve rigged it up to function like having seven Kaoss pads in my hands at once.

What is your current favorite software or plugin? What makes this your favorite?
Schism Tracker, an Impulse Tracker emulator that works on any OS. There are so many reasons that it’s my favorite. I’ve been using the interface for so long; it’s like I become one with the computer while sequencing. I also prefer to combine it with a 1984 IBM “clicky” keyboard. That reminds me to add a “clicky” Das Keyboard to my wishlist. This also makes me require laptops with a full qwerty+numpad. I wish they made laptop keyboards more durable with more motion and clickyness. I need to pound my fist on it from time to time to see what happens. My favorite plugins are ones with very minimal or nonexistent GUIs like the MDA and Tweakbench plugs.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
I very often need to refresh and rearrange my workspace and workplace. Keep things and thneeds to a minimal minimum. If my surroundings become too static, I feel I become pathologically static creatively as well, and I’m pretty sure I need to go to rehab for internet abuse. Maybe yall can conspire an intervention for me.

Are you involved in any music/sound work outside of your own projects?
I’ve been involved in zillions of small projects for independent films and other media. I’ve been commissioned for some remixes; one for Beck that wound up being a fun fiasco. I also work freelance for several wireless hardware, content providers, and distributors. Pretty soon you’ll be hearing tracks of mine built into Kyocera phones. There was also a ridiculous track of mine I never expected to be used as background music for some Playboy soft-core. “Campy” can’t quite describe the results. I would definitely enjoy doing more of that.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining?
My Gravis Ultrasound MAX soundcard! It’s huge! And pink! Google it.
It allowed me, for the first time, to use 16bit sounds as opposed to 8bit; though it did limit me to 512KB of sample data. Santa gave it to me the same xxxmas I acquired “The 7th Guest”. That was when I got really deep into tracking, staying up till 3am on schoolnights and making audio cassettes to listen to in the morning. The memories of “Mod4Win” and “Cubic Player” are really making me wistful of my childhood.

What is on your current ‘wish list’ for new hardware or software?

I want the full, thousand million dollar, version of Ableton 7 in addition to items on: http://wishlist.protman.com . Otherwise, nothing special. I prefer to get funky with the fundementals rather than goofing off with new toys and warez. Less is more. I just ordered an 18″ long 37 mini-key usb midi keyboard, too. I expect it should fit in my backpack. I need to ditch this dumpy behemoth CRT and get a nice wide flatscreen for my desktop, too.

What is in your live setup?
Laptop, headphones, game controller. I am also soon integrating a Dance Dance Revolution pad I translated to midi; maybe a couple.

Where were you born and how did you end up in the location you currently reside?
I was born on Long Island, NY. (Is it right to say “on?”) My family moved to Chicagoland when I was about one for an opportunity at Sears & Roebuck. Since 1998 I’ve been moving all over Chicago with various friends and musicians, initially to be part of K-Rad way up on the north side. The longest I’ve lived anywhere was at Heaven Gallery in Wicker Park, but I’ve since moved near the near-southwest art district in Pillzen where my roommate Alexander and I bounce musical ideas off each others’ faces.

How many physical locations have you had your studio setup in over time and how have they changed?
Hmm.. one, two, three, four, five, six, back to four; so seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven (same floor as ten, but a dramatically different space), twelve! i don’t know if I really have time to elaborate. It was only at the sixth space where my bedroom and studio were not the same room. In the second iteration of the fourth space I lofted a California king sized mattress over my studio which also acted as soundproofing. Using only 4x4s, a handsaw, and a power-drill; I wish that determination came in a bottle or spray. There could also be an 8.5th space as I set up a small studio in an empty office of the bizarre ISP I worked for. Home is where you make it, homey.

Protman can be found at:
protman.com
myspace.com/protman
padk-rad.com
kracfive.com/ironchef/
Protman Music

Workspace and Environment: Captain Ahab

Hey people. Hope you had a good weekend. I’ve been slightly busy at work (they had me here on Saturday), so I skipped out on posting on Monday. Justin managed to guide me on how to put up the e-mail address here. It’s on the right, so send us comments/feedback or simply a ‘hello’. We love e-mail! Here is Jonathan Snipes from Captain Ahab to start off this week.

How did you start off?
I’ve been making music with computers for about 17 years. At first it was writing little monophonic tunes with the PLAY command in GW & Q-Basic, then finally getting a real computer (that could run Windows!) and playing around with Cakewalk and Noteworthy Composer.

What is your current favorite piece of hardware?
My Synthesizers.com /MOTM / Blacet /Tellun /Wiard /CGS /Oakley /Bananalogue Analogue Modular Synthesizer is my favorite (almost my *only*) piece of hardware. People talk a lot about the versatility of an analogue modular environment, but coming from computers and (particularly) MAX/MSP, I find modulars *fairly* limiting … it’s kind of the lowest amount of customizability that I find acceptable in hardware. I can’t really see myself buying any synthesizers with fixed-signal paths, except for ones that I think are fairly unique in their sound/approach (i.e. Yamaha FS1R, Oberheim OBMX, etc. ) What’s really astounding about all this analogue gear is who phenomenal it sounds. Those of us who have grown up with computer-based music production systems have often been only using things that attempt to emulate the sounds of analogue (and fall short) – this sounds good almost no matter what you do, so there are no more excuses. You make a shitty track with Reason or something, and you say, “Well if I had some better gear I could make better music.” This is it. This synth sounds fantastic, so it’s all up to me to write things for it that are good. This in conjunction with Redmatica Autosampler kicks ass. Any sound I make I can then sample in a few clicks, and have forever in polyphony inside logic. Awesome.

Favorite Software?
Max/MSP & Pluggo. I can build pretty much any effect I need and have it as a plugin inside logic. AND, the plugins can share information back and forth. Like audio – I can send audio back and forth between plugins on different channels without the use of Buses or Auxes. pretty sweet. Max is so versatile. I use it for almost everything. From building synthesizer and plugins to building cueing engines for live theater to building loop management playback systems for live Captain Ahab shows. Can’t say enough good things about MAX. I make all my tracks in Logic, which I probably use more than Max, but Max is my favorite, no question.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
I’m not in an ideal space by any means, if it affects my workflow, it’s probably an extremely negative influence. I’m still pretty poor, so I have a kind of crappy house. It’s full of termites and mold, and the plumbing backs up a lot. That sort of thing. My studio is situated in the garage, where there’s lots of mold and dust, and the lighting is just absolute shit. The room itself sounds really bad too, lots of slapback & ringing echoes. I recently made a curtain over the garage door out of packing blankets. This has improved the reflections & isolation somewhat, but I need to get more blankets and do up the rest of the walls too. These things being said, this is the first time I’ve had space to spread out, which is really great. In previous apartments my studio has always been just a corner of my bedroom, doing vocal recordings in the closet. Having a separate building allows me to be really messy without getting in the way of the rest of my life (which, of course is also really messy, but in a different way). That’s good. Whoever lived in this house before us clearly also used the garage as a recording studio, because they had built a vocal both in it. Very recently I’ve torn it out (because the walls were moldy and the door didn’t shut) and now I’m rebuilding it better, trying to make it deader & give it more isolation.

Are you involved in any music/sound work?
Yes – I’ve been working with composer Bear McCreary (Battlestar Galactica) on making synth sounds & loops for some of his scores. We did Wrong Turn 2 (direct-to-DVD horror movie starring Henry Rollins) together, and currently we’re working on The Sarah Connor Chronicles (Terminator spin-off show on Fox this January). I also do quite a bit of composition & sound design for live theater. More and more live theater performances involve me bringing the modular out & making soundscapes live.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember buying?
I got a Kurzweil K2000 in 2001, which was pretty much all I used for a few years. The first couple of Captain Ahab releases are pretty much 100% K2000, sequenced in Cakewalk, then later in Logic. Before that I just had a computer with cakewalk 5 and a Yamaha PSR of some variety. I also had a Mackie 1402-VLZ pro and a Digitech S100 effects box.

What is on your current wish list?
Metasonix Wretch Machine, Yamaha FS1R, Hartmann Neuron, Cynthia Zeroscillator, Millenia HV-3D, Oberheim OBMX, Sound Devices 722, SSL Duende, Meyer HD1s, Max 5, Buchla 200e, Metric Halo 2d card, Yamaha GX1, that new Livewire oscillator, the Cjweman compressor, etc etc etc

Do you have a mobile studio setup?
I have a Marantz CF recorder & AT-825 for making field recordings, but if I really need high-quality recordings, I bring out my MacBook Pro, Metric Halo ULN-2, and Neumann TLM-103.

Do you have a setup for live performances? What does it include?
MacBook Pro, MOTU Ultralite, Shure SM58, Max/MSP, Faderfox LD2 & DJ2

How many physical locations have you had your studio setup in over time and how have they changed?
I’ve had my studio in five different places over the years. My mom’s house, my dorm room, two apartments, and this current house. I suppose a dorm room studio doesn’t really count – I couldn’t really do any real work/recording there, and I didn’t start making records until the next apartment, where I was doing all my vocal recordings in the bathroom. Yeesh. The next apartment at least had a closet (acoustically treated by my hanging clothes, of course) for vocals, but I was still set up in my bedroom. Now, this is the first place I’ve not had my setup in the same room that I sleep in. Now I’m not even connected to my living space. This has its advantages & disadvantages. I don’t keep my roommates up all night by playing the same loop over and over and over again, but I also don’t have as easy access to everything – when my setup’s in my bedroom, I can just leave a song open, then go make dinner and run in and work on it for 2 minutes while the water is boiling or whatever, but with everything in a separate building, I have to divide my time more specifically. I’ve been struggling with
that, as I have a pretty short attention span and like doing 100 things at once in little 2 minute bursts.

Jonathan Snipes was born in Riverside, CA and resides in Los Angeles, CA. He is a part of Captain Ahab and Unnecessary Surgery. They can be found on Deathbomb Arc, Irritant Records and Experimental Music Research.
myspace.com/captainahab
Captain Ahab Music

Please note that all pictures belong to the artists and that they have given us permission to post them. If you want to use any of the material you read here, please contact the artists.

Workspace and Environment: Jeswa

Greetings! I am opening up a communication line where you can get in touch if you have any suggestions or comments. trash(at)thedeepelement.com. Also, Justin will be performing on Sunday at Subterranean in Chicago. I will be helping out with processing and might do a quick grind Surachai set. Flyer Here. So if you’re in the area, stop by, it’s even free with RSVP. We hope you’ve been enjoying our series and blog and judging by the amount of hits we get, apparently you are! To finish off the week, we have an elegant studio from Jeswa. Promise me you’ll have a good weekend or I’ll make it Tuesday tomorrow, it’s a new feature in Logic 8.

Background
I was born just outside of Philadelphia and moved to Florida when I was 7, from there I moved to Cape Cod and lived there for 5 years, then in Texas for 8 years, then in Miami for 13, and now I hang my hat in Western North Carolina.
I got here in a pickup truck with a cargo bed full of cacti. No kidding. No really, Florida’s going to go underwater, so I moved to the Mountains.
I have been making songs for as long as I can remember, I used to record songs to this old variable pitch tape recorder on the family piano when I was 8 or 9. I got really good at editing, knowing exactly when to pause and punch in again. Looking back it’s not much different than what I do now. I kept up with the piano until I heard about MIDI, the piano keys got dusty after that. I’ve been releasing records for 16 years or so (since 1991), Romulo Del Castillo and I started Schematic 11 years ago and it’s all gone downhill ever since. :)

What is your favorite piece of hardware?
The personal computer is my favorite piece of hardware, it’s my favorite because it can be anything. I would say the Doepfer/Euro-rack modular but I’m secretly fond of another younger and sexier model. Also, the Lavry DA10 has changed my life and no studio is complete without a fuzzy logic rice cooker.

Favorite Software?
Give me a good sequencer & sampler, a bunch of lush effects, and a plugin chainer and I’m content. Kontakt, Battery, Reaktor, FM8, Doppelmangler, DtBlkFx, SpectrumWorx, GRM Tools ST, Michael Norris FX, Xlutop Chainer. Chainer is amazing, Logic is getting wise to the game of plug-in re-ordering (in the mixer section), but there’s still a long way to go. Parameter randomization, layering multiple instruments with multiple effects and being able to change the order on the fly and map all the automation on one track is too easy. I have Chainer patches that I can make entire songs with a single snare drum sample. I use Nuendo on the PC, Logic on the Mac. I love using Max/Msp and Reaktor to gut other people’s patches. I must say that last year I made tons of music with tons of free & open-source software, lots of plug-ins and free little apps. The kids are catching up.

How do your surroundings influence your work?
My last studio was an old cigar humidor. It was great, but there were no windows and I was working with a Genelec surround system with a massive subwoofer. It sounded amazing in there, but it was claustrophobic by comparison to my current workspace. The space I’m in has far more natural sunlight than any other space I’ve worked in.
I knew I needed a change but I thought all the widows would be a distraction. Surprisingly I’m able to get to work writing right away. I used to have to wait until the sun went down and the dogs stopped barking until it felt right,
maybe it was because my other workspaces weren’t as appealing as the one I’m in now. Regardless of the space, I’ve always been one to keep it minimal. My setup for the last 10+ years has been more or less the same – A bunch of computers, out of sight & earshot and as clean & minimal a setup as possible. I’ve always had one modular or semi-modular (Roland System 100, Arp 2600, Doepfer A100) through the years to get out of the box with. There are a very few VSTi synths I love, IMHO there are no mediocre ones, sorry.

Are you involved in any sound work outside of your own projects?
I’ve done two films scores as Phonecia (with Romulo Del Castillo), along with a lot of commissioned works for exhibitions and gallery events over the years. That kind of work has become even more common than remix requests for us, so it’s become part of what we’re about as Phoenecia. Rom and I are art fags anyway, we’re both artists and art collectors & we’ve curated our share of events under the guise of being a record label. We started Schematic to satisfy our musical and artistic conquests, so we’re right where we want to be as far as extra-curricular activities are concerned, I recently started working with Richard Devine on a commercial music venture. I’m excited to finally be working with him. He’s been breaking a lot of ground in that field for a while now. It seem like all of the good car commercials and video game intros these days have been scored by Rich or someone who sounds like him :)

Do you remember your first piece of gear?>
My first real piece of gear was an Ensoniq EPS sampler. From there I started collecting analog gear in pawn shops. It was the late 80’s/early 90’s in North Texas and the shelves were stocked full of dusty synths. After a year or two I had so much gear I had to move my chair out of the room and work sitting at the edge of my bed. I would have completely abandoned MIDI because I was using so much din sync and triggered patterns, but I’ve never strayed too far from my sampler. It’s my sonic camera, and reality still has so much to offer. Besides, contorting reality is equally as enjoyable as creating new realities, for me at least. For some reason I have this need to fuse things synthetic in nature with organic ones, like in my dreams, the unknown always being thrust upon the familiar in a controlled environment. Once again, not much has changed.

Whats on your wishlist?
A Buchla 200e, Holophone H2 Pro, Dangerous Music Monitor ST, and a Yamaha DM-1000V2. Livewire Chaos Computer & Audio Frequency Generator, a Plan B Model 21 Milton Grande and a Model 21B Rhythm Box with the touch strip controller. Oh, and a Rhodes AM Series with 73 keys. And while we’re at it, I’d like a Baschet Piano, a Moondog Dragon’s Tooth, a Harry Partch Marimba Eroica, and a couple of Harry Bertoia sculptures. If I only had one wish it would be for the computer industry to stop making cute little computers for my mom & make the CPU quantum leap already.

What does your mobile setup consist of?
A MacBook Pro 2.4 (with a 25 GB boot camp partition), an RME FireFace 400, and a pair of Ultimate Ears UE-10 Pro in-ear monitors. For mobile recording I use a Sound Devices MixPre, two Byer MC 930’s, a K-Tek carbon pistol grip, a Zoom H4, and my trusty Buck Strider 880T

What do you use live?
The Phoenecia live set is 2 laptops running Logic with 16 instances of Battery 3, 4 instances of Kontakt, 2 instances of Reaktor, 2 instances of FM8,
and a bunch of bussed & chained effect plugins.
Besides the samples being triggered by battery and Kontakt, there are no audio files used. Oh, and we also use an Eventide Harmonizer and a contact microphone.

How many physical locations have you had your studio setup in over time and how have they changed?
Answering this question makes my back hurt. I ran out of fingers when I added them up. This is my 11th studio setup, hence the minimal setup. Regardless, I would walk my gear over hot coals and through pirhanna-infested waters to get to a better spot, but I think I’m good for now :)

Jeswa can be found with Phoenecia, Soul Oddity, Schematic, Bleep, iTunes, Forced Exposure
schematic.net/jeswa/
myspace.com/jeswa
schematic.net/phoenecia

Please note that all pictures belong to the artists and that they have given us permission to post them. If you want to use any of the material you read here, please contact the artists.

Workspace and Environment: Jonbro


Happy Halloween all. I’d like to steal this space to tell everyone that the answers to the questions we ask are unaltered and that the only changes we do to the pictures is simple web compression. All material submitted to us is kept intact and posted with minimal interference by us. We are aiming to show the personality of the artists through their pictures and words. I think we’ve succeeded! Also, we’re in the middle of getting a logo, look for that soon. We’re getting a killer response from all over the world, so thanks to all the new and returning visitors and artists. We have so much more to go, so here is Jonbro!

Background
I was born in Maryland, lived around DC, moved to Pittsburgh for school, started getting shows here with my band, stayed around because I had so many connections.
I have been doing the computer music for about 8 years. Before that, I took a few drum and cello lessons, and did quite a bit of choral singing, but it didn’t really grab me in the same way.

First Hardware
My first piece of hardware was an EG101, part of the Roland MC 303 Groovebox series. It really sucked. Sucked hard. But at that point I was already into buzz, so it wasn’t a big deal, I had a better studio on my computer then I could ever hope to afford. This is pretty much the way things have gone sense.

Wishlist
I am really excited to finish up the monome kit that I am building. The monome itself I am super pumped about, and it has also gotten me really into microcontrollers, so now I am looking forward to a whole pile of robotic/chip instruments that I am looking forward to building. Also the fact that this company was able to be sustainable making short run, high end, very simple computer interfaces is really inspiring. So my wish list is basically all of the things that I am dreaming up to build. Ah well, money can’t buy you everything I guess.

Live Setup
My live performance setup is my drums (pretty stripped down kit, kick, snare, 1 rack tom, hi hat, crash/ride) GP2X running LGPT, and a mic and a monitor, because it is hard to find people that will hook me up with adequate monitoring at shows.

Environment and Workspace
My studio setup has been insane! I have been exclusively in the bedroom, then had it in a closet for a while, then moved back into the bedroom, now spread out all over the house. At this point it is kind of hard to remember where I left any particular piece of gear, especially if it is something important like a cable that I only have one of. Jonbro Music

You can find JonBro at:
jonbro.tk
Please note that all pictures belong to the artists and that they have given us permission to post them. If you want to use any of the material you read here, please contact the artists.

Plan B and Livewire: Modular Synth Reviews

One reason we’re not doing too many reviews of equipment at the moment, is primarily because of James Cigler. James has several reviews of current modules from Livewire and Plan B and I must say, they are the most informative and easy to follow reviews I have seen for modular synths. I have also managed to trick him into joining our Workspaces and Environment series.

If you’re considering buying modules but are halfway confused on their true functions, here are some examples of his reviews:

Livewire: Vulcan Modulator


Plan B: Model 24 Heisenberg Generator

Livewire: Dual Cyclotron

Workspace and Environment: Aaron Spectre

Hello people. We hope you had a great weekend. We have a killer lineup for this week, so check back regularly. I’m slightly burnt from the weekend, so I’ll expand on a relevant topic later.

Background:
I was born + raised in Massachusetts, Moved to New York City for a bit… moved to Berlin because NYC was too stifling and distracting, and expensive, not at all conducive to making music. Really great for inspiration, but you don’t have the time and space to focus. Berlin was perfect, and I’ve been able to build things from the ground up here.

How long have you been involved with music?
Drums, bass guitar: 18 years
Electronic music: 11 years

What is your current favorite piece of hardware?
Guitar. After years of struggling with synths, it’s refreshing to pick up a guitar and it JUST WORKS. No wasting time drawing fader curves or noodling about w/ plugins, ahh I think I’m going to go play right now… Nowadays it’s easier to get the guitar directly into the computer, high quality, with no fuss… and even if you don’t want a guitar type of sound, you can use the guitar as a controller for a lot of other sounds. You don’t need to use those weird midi guitar pickups which were hokey anyway… just the normal sound can have a lot of nuance and expressiveness which can do strange and cool things when run through fx / plugins / instruments. Vestax faderboard is a close second. It’s stupidly crippled in the sampling department (why did they make it MONO?!?), but it allows you to get expressive in a different way standard piano keyboards don’t allow – live hands-on control of the envelope. Does anyone out there know how to mod it in a useful way? get in touch.

What is your current favorite software?
Ableton Live. Everything is fluid in this program – lots of room to be expressive but still keep everything flowing together.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
Physical space is everything! After working in a few sterile windowless studios I quickly learned that a room’s vibe is more important than its sound, for the kind of music I’m doing. I’m willing to sacrifice a little bit of audio quality for a healthy environment. I want to be able to hear the birds outside, sense the mood on the street, feel the winter chill – not be isolated in a weird sensationless chamber. If that means getting a little bit of street noise in my recordings, so be it, chock that up to added character. The city you live in, your friends in close proximity, nice diversions and distractions, nice parks / walking streets / restaurants in the area, that’s all important!! It’s been great these past few years, the gear has improved so much you can make high quality recordings under minimal conditions – put more effort into vibe. Get that great performance out of you – the rest is details, and can be cleaned up in a high-end studio later if need be. Make no mistake you need high quality gear where it counts – but a little effort into a nice space goes a long way. Add some potted plants, too…

Ergonomics is huge. Monitor height, desk height, easy placement of the gear you use the most. Arrange your gear based on your workflow, rather than how it all looks sitting pretty. I like a lot of open space around me when i work – I can’t stand being boxed in by gear all around… so I take care to choose a minimal setup.

Are you involved in any music/sound work outside of your own projects?
I do remixes from time to time, but it’s always something related to my own projects or creative goals, something I can learn from, or something I just enjoy doing.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining?
Yamaha A3000 sampler. 30 seconds of sampling time seemed like such a luxury. I made everything w/ that sampler, and tricked it out with a whopping huge 128 meg of RAM and internal 128 meg hard drive. Wooooo. AKG K240 headphones. I still use them to monitor and check my mixes. PC with a basic midi sequencer. I used to work with my school’s Mac Classic, using Encore notation software to make drum tracks….

What is on your current ‘wish list’ for new hardware or software?
I wish someone would design some more expressive + intuitive midi controllers. But as far as things that exist:
– Gibson Les Paul for the studio – so i can use my current guitar solely on the road.
– Fender P-Bass
– 2nd big screen

Do you have a mobile studio setup?
My live gig setup IS my mobile studio setup… but when I’m on the road I tend to relax, read a book, give myself some time and space to not think about music for once. When I’m back in the studio, then it’s time to jam out. Sometimes I make music w/ my live setup when I’m away for an extended period of time… but generally when I’m on the go I want to experience life, not get back into a studio mindset.

What does it include?
Apple Powerbook G4 12″ – i like this one because it’s so small and portable. ram & hd maxed out, it’s still good for live sets.
Ableton Live
2x Edirol PCR-M1 2 octave MIDI controllers. Simple, portable, USB powered.
Kontrol DJ USB DJ MIDI controller http://kontrolprodj.com/
Epiphone Les Paul electric guitar + various stompboxes.
Marshall JCM 800 + 4×12. Usually the promoter rents this if I’m doing a fly-in.

Many of my gigs around Europe involve taking public transport, so it’s good to be relatively compact. Though I do use a fair amount of gear, most of it is easily broken down and packed into small bags.

How many physical locations have you had your studio setup in over time and how have they changed?
5 locations, but two of them were during my headphones and Yamaha sampler days.

My two most current Berlin studio setups – in 2006

a few changes. I mounted the monitor on the wall to free up that vital front desk space, a bit of new gear, a few mic stands.

The most significant change, though not visible in this photo, is moving the computer FAR away. I got some monitor extender cables and various usb / firewire / midi hubs, and i moved the computer from under the desk to the other side of the room. This made a HUGE difference. Now that I no longer have this roaring jet engine under my desk, I can hear subtleties in the music more easily, and I’m no longer worrying about kicking the computer by accident. Just having the empty space under the desk to stretch my feet improves my flow immensely. I can just rock out and not worry about damaging anything, stomp and thrash and run around. Remove the physical boundaries and the mental ones follow.

The desk itself is homemade. I couldn’t find anything long enough and not hideous, so i went down to the supermarket, got some beer crates. A few planks of heavy natural wood from the hardware store on top, gravity holding it all together nicely. I lined the underside of the desk with screw-in hooks, which hold all the cables up off the ground, so the entire footspace underneath is free. I hate feeling cautious with my feet like I’m about to snag a cable. For years I worked with monstrous rats’ nests of cables snaking all over my room… Now I barely see
any cables at all, and it’s a wonderful feeling. A clean work area frees up the mental space. The beer crates also make nice holding spaces for external HDs, cables, drumsticks, mics, stompboxes, tuners etc. I’ll get a proper studio desk / cable management system and all that when I’m more settled, as Berlin is still a temporary home for now.

Aaron Spectre has two main projects and can be found at:
drumcorps.cc
aaronspectre.com
Aaron Spectre as Drumcorps Music

Please note that all pictures belong to the artists and that they have given us permission to post them. If you want to use any of the material you read here, please contact the artists.

Logic 8 Tip: Remove the previously unremovable Transport!


More than a few people have been unreceptive to the fact that the transport bar at the bottom of new arrange window in Logic 8 can not be removed. Well, now there is a way to remove it thanks to someone smart on the Sonikmatter Logic forums.

So, if you’d like more space on your arrange page, try this:

Open Key Commands (Option + K)

Search for “Open Trash” command

Set command to a key or key combination (Mine is Control + Shift + =)

Once that is done, try the new key command while you have an arrange page open. Now a new arrange page will open on top WITHOUT the transport bar stuck to the bottom. It will even work with screen sets!

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