Trash_Audio & Xart: Synth Meet 5

The Trash_Audio team and Xart Studios are planning to have the synth meet on Sunday, November 15th starting at 4pm going to 9pm. While bringing your modular/synth/ keyboard/ drum machine/ whatever-makes-noise is not necessary, we highly encourage it. BYOB but if you spill it on someone’s synth, Rob lives on the second floor and has many windows you can ‘fall’ out of. These meets have been extremely resourceful, informative and invaluable to the midwest community by providing a mass of equipment for users to try first hand. If you’re a manufacturer I recommend you send an e-mail to have your gear featured at our events.

We will supply mixers for you to plug into, electricity, tables and a couple monitors – other than that, bring what you need including headphones, controllers, patch cables and the like. Please let me know if you decide to bring people, they are completely welcome – Just have to prepare for the arrival of additional people.

If you’re interested, have questions, comments or bullshit opinions, send an e-mail to and I’ll be sending out information (addresses, secret handshakes) on the meet next week.

Venetian Snares & Wisp w/Surachai

Alright, a few things. I haven’t been posting here lately because of the tour and this past show, I don’t know what Justin’s excuse is but we’re working on a few things for november including the Trash_Audio and Xart Studios Synth Meet 5 on the 15th. If you’re interested in coming, start sending me e-mails at with your name, what you’re bringing and who you’re bringing. You’ll receive a reply around the first week of November. Anyways, if Venetian Snares and Wisp run through your town on their tour, check them out!

Necrophagy Tour: Evidence

This video serves its purpose of archiving some things that have happened over the past 3 weeks – but admittedly is kind of boring since I was more interested in landscapes and pets than humans. The more I watch this, the less sense it makes which is fine because this tour was a blur of laughter and I’m over editing the footage. Have fun trying to figure out what the hell I’ve been doing for the past 3 weeks.

More importantly than this video is the fact that Trash_Audio is 2 years old! I’d like to steal some space to thank you all for e-mails of support, encouragement, corrections and questions. The only benefit of running a blog with Justin is connecting with people and I believe we’re in the process of doing that on larger scales soon. Thanks for reading.

Tonight, 303% (Chicago)

Tonight @ Around The Coyote (Chicago) and The Smell (LA)

Tonight in Chicago I’ll be playing an extended dark-ambient set at the opening party for Around the Coyote. Full details here. Also, I got my Drone Commander in the mail and I am pretty happy/impressed by it, I am going to bring it out tonight for the good old ‘live show’ test and early next week I’ll have a full review with some sound examples.

I have three other shows in Chicago coming up soon, including a full on Acid event on Wednesday, details @

Also, if you’re the LA area, Surachai is playing an excellent show tonight @ The Smell with Captain Ahab, DJ Skull Vomit (Tony of Eustachian) and Basek. Details/flyer here.

Necrophagy Tour: This Week!

If you’re on the West Coast, Dj Skull Vomit (Tony from Eustachian), Baseck and Surachai are coming this week.

Monday, tonight, we’ll be melting Seattle at Rebar, Portland at Plan B on Tuesday, San Francisco at 5lowershop on Thursday, LA at The Smell on Friday, LA with Droid Behavior Saturday and Creative Space on Sunday.

We’ll be playing alongside Captain Ahab at The Smell in LA, Kid606 at the Droid Behavior 7 year anniversary party, and at Creative Space. If you think three dates back to back in L.A. is a lot, you’re right but each night we’re doing something different. At the Smell we’ll be doing our standard tour style. At Droid, Tony and I have a joint set where we’ll merge sets. At Creative Space we’ll be more focused on metal as the venue will have other metal acts that night!

A few days after the tour I’ll be playing with Venetian Snares and Wisp at Reggie’s in Chicago. Then I’ll go into hibernation. You’re welcome to join.

Workspace and Environment: Sasu Ripatti

Stuck in Sacramento for another four days before we drive up to Seattle to start the Necrophagy Tour. I was supposed to move here earlier this year and glad that didn’t work out. If there is something worthwhile to do or see, let me know. Though I must say watching Tony of Eustachian spend 20 bucks on candy in Old Sacramento and scarfing down a funnel cake was entertaining enough. But I digress, onto Sasu Ripatti of Vladislav Delay and Luomo.

I was born north of Finland. I ended up close to where I was born after years spent in Helsinki and Berlin. I’ve been making music since I was 5 years old, for 28 years then. I began with drums and percussion. I’ve been involved in electronic / studio stuff for 10+ years.

What is your motivation?
Interest and passion for music.

What Are Your Current Favorite Pieces of Hardware?
All kinds of drums and percussion instruments, cymbals. If it’s about electronics, I’d have to say I’m not too excited by anything at a moment. Something like Manley Slam is always a desert-island choice. And a good microphone. I tend to get bored with equipment easily and actually don’t have as much passion for the gear as I used to have. Slam is just super functional and beautifully built piece of equipment that allows you to do all the rest, like being a great mic pre-amp, amazing ad/da convertor, great limiter, etc etc. So it allows you to capture and process any stuff really well, be it software, hardware synth, microphone etc. I don’t have really any favorite synths or sound sources. Maybe Jomox Sunsyn is something I quite like. Or some Eventide stuff.

What About Software?
I use Logic Pro, happy with it. I don’t use too much plug-ins but some UAD ones are good, as well as URS API eq. Sometimes for demoing I use Arturia or other virtual synths but am not too crazy about them. Some Native Instruments synths are also good for what they do.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?

What Is Your Ideal Workspace?
I think I have found my ultimate location. It’s an island with lots of wildlife and not many people. Airport is relatively near-by, and a fast satellite internet. the control room was built around the dimensions that allow for great acoustics and the sound in the room is phenomenal. It’s just being finished. I’m not happy yet with the feel and the looks of the room, that will need to be improved with time, when budget allows. There’s a machine room where all the computers and hard drives etc are, so the control room is super quiet. I also record in the control room, be it drums or vocals.

What Was The First And Last Piece of Gear You Obtained?
First was Roland mc-303 groove box…
Last was a Russian drum machine named Formanta

Whats On Your Wish List?
Lots of gear that I can’t afford. GML eq, API eqs, small SSl mixer, more Benchmark DAC convertors, Buchla synth etc, etc. I try not to think too much about all that stuff I will never get.

Do you have a mobile studio setup?
Yes. Only a laptop and interface, small nanokey keyboard. And all the software I have in the studio as well. I can take it all with me via iLoks if I need to. I don’t use portable set-ups for anything serious though, some sketching sometimes.

Do you have a different setup for live performances?
Again, a laptop, running Ableton Live. Faderfox MIDI controllers, several nano kaospads, several old FX pedals.

How many different studios have you had?
This is my 5th studio. They have changed basically each time to a better sounding room. Gear has of course changed as well but that’s irrelevant.

Sasu Ripatti’s Aliases
Vladislav Delay
Moritz von Oswald Trio
Vladislav Delay Quartet

Several Free Releases On Wikipedia

Grendel Drone Commander by Eric Archer

Just a quick update…Either at the end of this week or early next week I’ll be receiving a new synthesizer I’ve ordered from Eric Archer. It’s the Grendel Drone Commander, and quite honestly, my favorite thing about it is that it is built into a military ammunition case. It also happens to be a very interesting and great sounding drone based synth. When it arrives I’ll have photos, video and a review of the one I ordered (their look is highly customizable) and soon I’ll have an interview with the creator who is also working on some other interesting projects.

The Drone Commander is now in stock at Analog Haven if you’d like to order one right away. Otherwise, the lead time is generally three weeks if you want the faceplate/knobs/text customized to your tastes.

Workspace and Environment: Somatic Responses

John and Paul Healy of Somatic Responses take a moment to answer a few questions.

I was born in Wales, UK in an old mining town (Ammanford) where I have resided most of my life. I travel a lot as part of my job and enjoy coming home as it’s a small town and everyone seems to know everyone which is quite comfortable, even if its just because you know who the real assholes and dangerous people are!
As a point of interest it’s the same place where John Cale of the Velvet Underground grew up (and fingered the priest’s daughter), no real link but there you go. It was around 1994, we were heavily into club music around at that time (R&S RECORDS, ACID PCP, LEO ANIBALDI, LORY D, APHEX TWIN AND INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH) J was DJing alot and we just wanted to create or own take on the elements of music we liked, we also wanted to push music in a harder noisier direction.

Favorite Hardware
P: At the moment the hardware I use is an Mac, Korg nanokontrol and midi keyboard. I like these because studio space is limited these days due to family life and I can still do everything I want, and more!
J: As with Paul, I’ve miminalised the studio set up down to the basics – PC, Korg Nanokontrol, Evolution Midi Keyboard, Alesis 8 channel mixer & a vestax pmc06 pro mixer. All the work now goes on in the PC J

I have recently switched from Cubase to Logic, which I think is a superb DAW. The work flow is fantastically smooth and quick. The sound quality is better, maybe because its better suited to the Mac architecture. As for plugins I’m learning all the built Logic stuff which are remarkably powerful and flexible, they also are like getting a whole load of new plugins which sound fresh and different. Other software includes the usual Native Instruments stuff: Massive, FM8, Absynth, Reaktor, Battery…Arturia ARP2600, and recently I got the Sugar Bytes plugins Effectrix, Artillery 2 etc which are brilliant for mashing up sounds and sequences.
I always get Computer Music on a monthly basis for all the free plugins, TAL stuff is especially good!
We’ve also come across Glitch, a FREE plugin – just check it out (PC Only). We’re big advocates for free plugins, there’s a massive community out there & some weird & very wonderful synths / efx – just look for them!

Workspace and Environment
I don’t think the enviroment particularly does influence my workflow too much other than making me more disciplined as I only have specific times I can write music. Having a prescribed time makes me really strive to knock out what I want as quickly as possible and stops me being too much of a perfectionist. I’m kind of the opinion that once something is done fuck it, leave it alone and move on. I occasionally re-listen to stuff and think I would re-sequence or change the mix but then I realise that creative time precious and leave things as they are in favour of doing something new.

Ideal Workspace
Firstly I love my current location and setup! But, whatever my perfect location would be it would still be with my family directly around me as it feels right and I like the odd interruption in what I am doing. I’m not one for locking myself away as I have a short attention span. I always remember hearing stories (unsure whether true or not) about Vangelis having a studio made of glass so he could absorb his surroundings, I love this idea but I am torn what landscape I would like to view; I suppose my favourites and obvious choices would be:
a) Snow capped French Alps
b) Stormy sea peninsula
c) Overlooking a fantastic city skyline like New York or Chicago.
Can have one of each? :)

First and Last Piece of Gear
First piece was a Yamaha CS15, which is still in my house! Last was probably a Nord modular which I felt I had to get rid of because it was like a hobby in itself and didn’t really help me to be productive, I’d just end up wanking off over mad sounds for hours on end.

Wish List
New(er) Mac Pro/New Macbook Pro and Cinema display, other than that I would stay as I am for a while, less is more sometimes and I think I can do pretty much anything with what I have.

Live Setup
P:Yes, I take a Macbook with me, I have Albeton and Logic on it so I use this for Live PA’s and writing stuff on the go.
J: Acer laptop using Torq – it’s much more hands on, stable & VERY user friendly.

Studio Evolution
Several locations, one trend the gear got smaller each time!

Involvement With Sound Design
Unfortunately not, but this kind of thing would be a dream job for me!

Somatic Responses Myspace

Workspace and Environment: Alessandro Cortini

It’s been a while…

I was born in Bologna, Emilia Romagna, Italy and moved to the US of A in 1999 to study guitar. All of a sudden it’s 10 years later and I don’t understand what the fuck happened. My dad played an old acoustic from time to time and taught me some chords but it wasn’t until I was 11 that I started taking guitar lessons. Guitar was my main instrument until I started working with a local musician in my hometown, Franco Naddei that I started getting into synthesizers. I still play guitar but electronic instruments became more attractive to me, especially modular ones because of their possibilities and hands on interface.
I have two main outlets: modwheelmood has been my more band related project for a while. I started it before I joined Nine Inch Nails and continue to write, record and release songs. We just recently released an album, Pearls To Pigs, in both digital and physical (Vinyl, CD) format. We have played some shows on the West Coast and East Coast and plan on touring more extensively in the future.
Blindoldfreak is simply whatever comes out of me and my machines, without thinking too much about it.
I believe there is always some sort of statement or musical value in the compositions, but i would say it’s less linked to a song structure, and more related to moods and simple emotions.
I am really attracted to drones and evolving sound textures, and find myself listening to a lot of that kind of music in my spare time, so it’s normal that some of this finds an outlet in my own creative process.

What keeps you motivated?
The need to solve problems.

Favorite Hardware?
Buchla Music Boxes. I haven’t been using anything else for composition in a while. Out of all the modular world I find them being more attractive to me for some reason: either the way they sound, the way they look or the way they are operated…it’s difficult to pinpoint it and kind of useless I believe. To each his own! I have owned several different modulars in my life and still own some other pieces but none of them get as much use as the Buchla.

Software of Choice?
I use the Monome with MLR a lot, especially with Modwheelmood, live. I can’t program in Max MSP to save my life, but MLR is simple enough to allow me to approach the monome as an instrument and forget about the computer side of things.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
The longer you have been music, the harder it is to keep it interesting for yourself…. An ergonomic setup where everything is within reach is key, while it’s also important to have different corners that allow you to switch from one instrument to another (i.e. from “computer mode” to “modular mode” to “drum machine mode” etc..()

What would your ideal workspace look like?
Somewhere in the middle of nowhere, with a lot of cats.

What was the first piece of gear you remember obtaining?
Crumar BitOne!

The last?
Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor

What Is On Your Current Wishlist?
A Buchla time based effect (delay or similar)

Do you have a mobile studio setup?
I try to use new tools to compose while on the road now. In the past, I have tried to bring whole recording rigs with me, guitars, synths, etc. Now, spending more time in the studio, I get the chance to try new things when I am traveling – like with the monome, or Reaktor … I always get something interesting out of them. Recently I have been spending more and more time with Jasuto on the iPhone/Ipod Touch. Truly awesome application for coming up with new ideas. Really inspiring.

Do you have a setup for live performances?
For modwheelmood it’s been really interesting: most of the songs were composed with the aid of modular and analog synthesizers, and when it came time to adapt them for live, I didn’t want to use a computer for playback or sound generation. Whether because I did it for so long with NIN or simply out of laziness, I felt like it would have been great to try and recreate some of the songs in a different way, as a trio, with no computer aid. So a lot of the textures, pads, effects are now coming from my bass rig and Pelle’s guitar rig, while Jepser is triggering samples from his drumkit, live.
So far we think it’s been working really well. I personally have been using a combination of Empress Super delay, EH Micro Pog and Malekko ASSMaster on the bass, in order to create stacks of octaves that allow me to fill up the space missing from the recordings. I feed that signal to a dedicated guitar amp, as opposed to my bass amp, in order to make the mixing job easier.
I also use an EH voicebox, fed by pelle’s guitar on some songs to recreate the vocoded parts. Vocals run through a Line 6 delay pedal, which allows me to tap the specific tempo for each song.
For the songs that were all written on a modular (i.e. Problem Me, Madrid Changes), I switch to a Monome where I control both the click that goes to the drummer and the different parts of the song, while Pelle adds the guitar parts live. It’s a more fun, active way to use and integrate a computer in a live environment, I believe, but it’s still just two songs out of a set.

For blindoldfreak, I usually just bring my 12 panel Buchla 200e cabinet and either 2 x Line 6 delays (for quad speaker setups) or an Eventide H8000FW. The 200e allows me to have a specific setlist saved as presets, leaving me with a basic patch for each composition, where I can change knob settings on the fly and play with the delays in order to build my drones. There is no other instrument that gives you this amount of flexibility in the modular world at the moment, period. On top of it, each show is different form the other, as I tend to build a specific set for a specific concert/tour. It makes it really interesting and satisfying from a compositional point of view too.

How many physical locations have you had your studio?
Several locations…maybe 6 or 7? It was easier in the beginning when I was doing everything with the laptop. It’s funny, because i feel I am going backwards: I remember being stoked by the fact that I could record a whole album with my laptop but now I find myself coming up with more ideas in front of a single synth module rather than using all the programs I have available on my mac… I think I am deeply crippled by not being able of taking advantages of tools as much as others.
I crave limitations:I hope for problems and walls to pop up during my creative process. That’s what keeps me going and gives me a reason to come u
p with something.

Are You Involved With Sound Design Or Composition?
I have done some work with local composers who were looking for a different approach in sound design but I have yet to find somebody who wants me to do a score. I am definitely interested in trying, if the right opportunity arises.

Can you discuss generally 3 benefits and 3 drawbacks of the Buchla system?
Unique interface.
Feature dense modules.

While portable, still not carry on size.
Initial monetary investment.

Which module do you find being used the most?
Voltage control processors are the least used modules in my systems, if I have any (Buchla 255, 257, Plan B M14).
Somehow I get stuff done without having to consult them, most of the time. I am determined to learn to implement them more in my patches in the future!

What About Delays?
All delays fit everywhere, to be honest. I haven’t spent too much time A/Bing different kinds of delays and instruments together. However I do have some favorites: The Empress Super Delay is getting used a lot, both live and in the studio, the Diamond Memory lane is one of the best sounding analog delays I have tried.
Plug in wise, SoundToys Echoboy is the one which gets most use around here, followed by Logic’s stereo and Tape delay: simple but effective.