Workspace and Environment: Trash_Audio Original Series

Currently, Justin and I are working on a series about artists and their workspaces. This is not a standard ‘what gear do you own’, rather more of an in depth voyeuristic look into personality through configuration. I expect both elegance and mayhem as the music we all create falls into all categories. I think I speak for some of the artists when I say this is more of a lifestyle than anything else. Sacrificing living space for working space, then eventually confusing the two. We have to find a way to live, travel and work with equipment we have chosen. The gear will be diverse but the configuration and the layout, I expect, will be as dramatic as the music we create.

We plan to have a series, releasing three artists at a time. Though we will interview them and post their responses, the idea is to have the pictures do most of the talking.

The sidebar on the left contains all Workspace and Environment articles to date.

Justin McGrath – The Persistent | The Unobtainable

Because Justin is the worst promoter for his own tunes and makes music worth promoting, I’ll do it for him: Preview his album here.

Also, he’s performing at the end of this month at: Fierce. I’ll be opening with a dj set and helping him with processing. RAWK! magazine is throwing the thing and its going to be out of control. I suggest you buy tickets soon.

Cwejman + Livewire Modules Arrive!


Background:
After playing with Justin McGrath’s Cwejman S1 semi modular synth for months, I had to find a way to get those deadly envelopes into my modular setup. Daily, I tortured myself by going to Analoghaven and through some soul searching, decided to sell some gear. Things I weren’t using were piling up and I didn’t want my modular setup to become out of control. I already have so many modules laying around (so sad) and I travel way too much to have an insane modular setup. Richard Devine convinced me to grab the Livewire Dalek on our retarded talks about metal and modular gear. We seem to go for the most aggressive and violent sounding modules with some sort of intelligence.
I check Analoghavens used section like a crack habit and have never seen Livewire or Cwejman modules there. When I saw them on the page, I didn’t think, I just started clicking. Afterwards I realized what I’ve done to my financial situation though I didn’t care too much. My priorities are a bit backwards.


First Impressions:
The Cwejman VM-1 has a nice weight to it and it’s constructed beautifully. There is a plate on the back for protection and its incredibly thin/shallow (like its big brother, the S1) compared to doepfer modules. I believe it is safe to say that the Cwejman modules are among the best constructed modules on the market. The back plate has some holes where you can calibrate the oscillator. The knobs themselves are easier to turn than Doepfer pots.

The Livewire Dalek is like any standard Euro rack module but at first glance, the knobs and layout are different. There is some strange dark adhesive on the sides of the boards, I decided I’m not going to bother cleaning as i dont have to look at it in two minutes ayhow. The module is deeper than Doepfer modules and probably 3 times as deep as the Cwejman and it barely squeezes in the case.

The Video:
I thought I knew how I wanted the setup to be. I mean, I thought about it day in and out for months but when it finally gets down to it, I crumble. I hate taking out modules i will use and my other g6 case is in another state.
I unplugged the power cord from the back of the case and unscrewed all the modules I would be replacing.

After reading about the Cwejman modules power supplies I had to be sure of the correct way to install it before turning it on. so i called Analoghaven and got in touch with Antonio who is always helpful. There is a red stripe on the power cord and it has to be facing up. You can see me finding a bent knob on one of my modules and I keep fingering it. I have never seen that knob bent before but realized I took this box around with me Europe and its had its share of abuse. Airplanes, trains, cars, drunks, drug addicts, and worst of all, other musicians. Some asshole even spilled beer on it in Madrid, but thankfully the lid was closed and it didn’t get through. Either way, I don’t recommend you even try.
I always get confused with how to hook up the A-155 sequencer to the A-154 controller, so you can see me fiddling with that for a while. trial and error for a good 10 minutes. Which I don’t recommend. You should probably read the manual that has diagrams. Eventually things start working and you can see me breaking in the new modules.

Afterthoughts:
After playing for 5 minutes, I’ll share some thoughts.
The Cwejman VM-1 is exactly what i thought it would be, a self contained synthesizer with great thick oscillator with 7 waveforms, a standard multimode filter, and an envelope generator/vca to kill for. the envelopes are the sickest I’ve ever played with, creating a extremely aggressive and sharp synth. the multimode filter is white bread, but the q-peak adds extra grime to the mix and having all the parameters cv-able makes it versatile. There is one downfall with the layout, which happens to be 3 switches caught between the knobs. It’s a strange place to put them, but I couldn’t really think of a better location on the face.
The Livewire Dalek modulator is sick as hell. I can’t even explain what it does right now, but I can tell its used mostly to mangle your sound through two vco’s that can be used to ring modulate your sound into oblivion. The vco outputs are interesting to listen to alone as they don’t simply rise and fall, but I’m not quite sure how I will use them yet. Cosmetically its very similar to Doepfer gear, but I prefer Livewire layouts as they are a bit more interesting to look at, and a major plus is different sized knobs.
All in all, I’ll be starving this month for these two modules and of course its worth it.
If you have any hard questions, dont ask me. Check out Felix Inferious’s review of the Dalek Modulator! Read the proper review on the Cwejman VM-1 here.

the deep element – currents

the deep element – currents album is available on itunes. it is released through shade:red recordings. you can find it: here but youre probably better off here

i have been meaning to share some information on the album for some time because it took a many of years, countries, people and pieces of equipment to help me put it all together. im not sure how to do this efficiently, so instead of going through it track by track, ill do it by the list i mentioned earlier in the paragraph.

the album doesnt have a definitive starting period as most things are written out of necessity from everyday life opposed to a dedicated label requested timeline. how i like to think of it is a culmination of emotions and ideas/thoughts from an abstract period of time. in this case, this album took about 2.5 – 3 years to release.

the countries i lived in during these past years were numerous and i am glad i had a means to capture some of it through music. i worked in a studio in malmo, sweden. living rooms in copenhagen, denmark. every imaginable landscape in vienna, austria. apartments in hamburg, germany. a beautiful home in nurnburg, germany. in my own studio in washington, d.c. and orlando, florida.

naturally i am influenced by the people i surround myself with. be it friends, artists, or simply acquaintances, they all affect my life. the first person id like to mention is nathanja westerheide who was with me through most of this album mostly physically but always mentally. patrik wulff let me flesh out his ideas in slysis during my time in sweden. birgit schmidt was directly behind me when i was trying to find myself on a destroyed piano in copenhagen on the track esin mire. rebecca pedro from florida let me finish her idea in smoothed before we became heartstring canvas. the gentlemen in karmakanic let me destroy their song on eternally. jonathan brodsky let me brutalize his track heavylifta while i was in d.c. sarah wielusz in chicago designed the cover. and bjork has no idea i roughed up her new world track.

and now the most exciting part: the gear. you might notice that i mustve worked in a high end recording studio to be able to play with such gear. you must also notice that i was constantly on the move to be able to use such improvised crap.

consoles/mixers: saje odyssey, mackie onyx series, various behringers
interfaces: protools hd/le systems, m-audio 410, minidisc players, ipod, teac tape machines
synths/keys: roland juno 106, doepfer a-100 modular synth, korg ms2000, kawai k3m, rhodes mkii, ehrbar grand piano, destroyed pianos,
outboard: focusrite voicemaster pre-amp, roland re-301/201 space echos, sanford and sonny bluebeard, sherman filterbank 2, sp808ex
microphones: ibook crap, schoeps mk2s/4, neumann u87/47, royer 121, sony minidisc crap, ipod crap
software: logic, reason, live, ni komplete, smartelectronix plugs
there is more, but ill leave it at that.

ive been meaning to explain this album mostly for my own sake, but also to anyone who cares to know something about my process.
if there is something i didnt answer, or something you would like to ask, please dont hesitate to send me an e-mail. it can be found at my website: here
or you can just leave a comment.

Juno 106 Voice Chip Replacement


After having a brief freak out about my Juno 106’s ‘hanging notes’, I thought something was wrong with the envelope section but with very little investigation, it seems like its something more common: a bad voice chip.
Apparently Juno 106’s blow their chips regularly/inevitably and this guy took the time to clone the Roland chips as they don’t make them anymore. Hes on the second generation of clones and they’re only 40 euros.
Visit this guy as well if you want some additional information on the clones and replacement procedures.
Also, if anyone has bought a space echo replacement tape loop from these guys or if you have any alternatives, let me know. seems like a few sites have their own spin on it, so if you know of something reliable, comment away.

Buchla Nights

We stopped by a friends house who sold all his old gear for a killer Buchla system.
Team Trash, go!

“It is important to note that Don Buchla and Robert Moog simultaneously invented the modular synthesizer in 1963, Moog in New York and Buchla in San Francisco. While there had been previous synthesizer experiments, Moog and Buchla’s major developments that made the synthesizer portable and flexible was that of using control voltage to manipulate the various elements of the circuits.” – Wikipedia

NAMM demonstration of the new modules here

Cwejman and Doepfer Sitting in a Tree


New modules from Analog Haven. Installing the Doepfer A-188b and A-154.
Also Justin’s old studio! Cwejman + Doepfer = geargasm. Props to anyone that can spot the Alesis Andromeda A6.



Surachai in Europe

I’ve never been to Spain or France. I have never released anything under this Surachai name. I cant say I even know too many people there either. What is going on?! Who cares! I’m off!
Update: Both of these shows were amazing and in Paris I was essentially paid in cheese, I’ll expand on that a little later when I have some time, but everyone who housed/drove/fed me, thank you so much.
You can catch an interview I did with some friends while in Paris, France.
Here.

Track Listing
(00:00 – 5:10) Vytear – Digital
(5:10 – 13:00) Interview w/ Eustachian and Surachai
(13:00 – 19:30) Surachai Set
(19:30 – 24:05) More talking/End of Surachai Set
(25:05 – 46:02) Eustachian Set
(46:03 – 53:24) Sgure Set
(53:25 – 54:01) DuranX3 – Vytear remix


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