visual_Output: Motion Graphics Festival, Chicago

Two weeks ago I was invited to play at the Motion Graphics festival in Chicago. Some of the video work and video installations I saw were both mind blowing and inspiring. The festival lasted an entire week with various events and lectures scheduled. I was asked to perform some live ambient music in a huge loft that was covered in amazing artwork. The photo set above shows the whole weeks worth of activities, but if you look closely you should be able to spot a tall figure playing a Virus TI and Peter Kirn from Create Digital Music, who normally blogs from a submarine in an undisclosed location thought to be somewhere in the Atlantic.

Flight of Harmony: Plague Bearer Quad

Flight of Harmony is reintroducing only 3 more quad Plague Bearers for sale. These things sold relatively quick because of the great price and the quality of total destruction it wreaks. While this is tempting on my side, I already have a army of distortions that would be a formidable match for the quad Plague Bearer. I can vouch for Flight of Harmony’s quick, professional and friendly transaction. The demo below is annoying but it shows the power of a single Plague Bearer.

Hey everyone,
I’m trying to get the cash together to release some modules, so I’m offering three more original quad Plague Bearers.

Details:
Web page: Flight of Harmony
$240 each + S&H (U.S. default, $9.50 USPS Priority)
Lead time: 4-6 weeks
Contact: flight(at)flightofharmony(dot)com


Flight of Harmony: Plague Bearer Demo from surachai on Vimeo.

Video_Output – Josh Kay: Smother

“I just finished a soundtrack for a 26 minute film called Smother. I used my monster-case housed Euro-Rack modular and an Arp 2600 as the primary sound sources. These analogue synths were made for drones. There was plenty of post-processing involved, but not a single vsti.”

Regarding the image:
“This is my system (the monster case on the left) mixed with Richard Devine’s setup. That’s the Arp I used on the soundtrack, it used to be mine. Actuality, Rich sold it to me many years ago and eventually I sold it back to him. Since then he’s had Phil Cirocco (CMS) thoroughly baptize it (all options except the Moog ladder filter).

In my system, I’d have to say my favorites are the 2 Livewire AFG’s the Frequensteiner, the Zeroscillator, the Bananlogue Serge VCS (I wish I had 3 of them), The Plan B model 10 and 24, the Doepfer BBD’s (I do have 3 of them), and without a doubt, the MakeNoise QMMG. “

Find much more information from: Matrixsynth!

video_Output: Stretta Demos the Z3000 Oscillator…

Here’s a nice video of Stretta doing sound design for the light cycles in Tron 2 a demo of Tip Top Audio’s Z3000 Oscillator. This also shows some nice views inside Stretta’s studio.

Tip Top Audio’s Z3000 Oscillator
Workspace and Environment: Stretta

Are you in the right job?

– via Unidentified Sound Object

Workspace and Environment: Stretta

After another trip to L.A., I’m still not seeing it’s charm. I’m beginning to think that there is none and the people that have moved there are semi-masochistic, voyeuristic, apathetic or all of the above – particularly the ones around the Hollywood area. Someone did bring up a good point which is that Californians get more out of the year than us Midwesterners. We’re confined to our holes for 3-5 months out of the year while they’re scalawaging out in t-shirts in January. While the idea of having more time outdoors is somewhat enticing and the fact that my L.A. people are some of the most endearing folks, I just think about how I saw Ron Jeremy and Donald Trump at an event I was a part of and that just kills my boner. That place is nuts. Enough with the rant here is Stretta.

I was born in Des Moines, Iowa. I left for Berklee in Boston when I was 18. I moved around a lot since then, but returned to the Boston area to work at MOTU in 1997, and I’ve lived in Cambridge ever since. My Dad was a fairly serious photographer. A side project of his photography habit was composing sophisticated presentations using multiple synchronized slide projectors controlled by a huge dedicated hardware ‘computer’. Some of this multimedia gear was audio, so I had access to some interesting recording equipment growing up. From a documentary standpoint, I have compositions dating back to 1984 because that is when I started saving files from MusicWorks. With computers, everything clicked into place and I haven’t stopped composing since. I’m a compulsive creator. I get irritable and unpleasant if I haven’t made something recently. I love existing in the work-trance state, focused on an idea, and forgetting everything else. If I don’t have time to execute an idea, I describe it as well as I can in words and save it in my ideas file for future use. It bothers me tremendously that I don’t have the time or resources to realize 95% of what I wish to create. So, my output consists almost entirely of very simple and easily-accomplished projects. I like to think that someday, upon retirement, I’ll have the time to dedicate to the realization of serious, large-scale works.
‘Archetribe’ is a world/electronic collective I had. I create compositional outlines and send the tracks to friends around the country to add overdubs. Then I merge the disparate contributions into a cohesive composition, add some more overdubs and mix. There are two Archetribe releases, ‘Waterworks’ and ‘Earthtones’, both available from Amazon and the iTunes music store. ‘Escape Philosophy’ is an alias I use for solo Creative Commons releases, and is freely downloadable. Escape Philosophy releases can be found at stretta.com, bandcamp.mu and jamendo.com.

On Hardware and Software
There are few reasons for hardware outside of controllers anymore. All new advances in synthesis and sound processing will occur in software. That said, I haven’t found anything in software that can replicate the experience of working with a hardware modular. I enjoy working with my hands and I find using a modular is, well… fun. The modular keeps me honest; software instruments are outstanding, but it gets to a point where I feel like the result is more of a showcase of a talented sound designer than a unique musical statement that I created. Software instruments, in an effort to out-sell the competition, are becoming very rich and layered, providing instant music at the touch of a single key. I feel complex sounds such as this, ‘crowd out’ personal musical expression. A simpler sound, powered by human performance and expression will stand the test of time.
I like software and I see useful and innovative ideas from all corners of the industry. I don’t hold a religious attachment to my chosen platform because if you look past the latest wizz-bang-feature-leap-frog game, you’ll understand that, at its core, every offering is an extraordinarily powerful tool. It wasn’t that long ago I was delighted with a cassette four-track. What we have access to today is staggering.

Workspace and Environment?
I strive for an uncluttered workspace, but the busier I get, the more disorganized it becomes. I try to put seldom-used objects out of sight in an accessible storage area. Ergonomics is an issue I’ve continually struggled with. The move from 19″ rack frames to a monstercase completely transformed how I relate to my modular for the better. The addition of the monsterbase gave me more room for modules, but it also pushed the monstercase further away. I recently brought my monsterbase to work and sat it on a keyboard stand to my left and I immediately noticed an improvement. Later I brought in the monsterbase, and that few inches became quite noticeable again. Isn’t that weird? I’ve tried numerous arrangements over the years. The more gear you try to shoehorn into your work space, the less pleasant the result will be. Thank goodness for software. I still have an absurd collection of various stringed instruments and hand percussion.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining?
My first keyboard was a Casio MT-40, which I dearly loved. My first MIDI keyboard was a Casio CZ-101. My most recent purchase was a second used Doepfer joystick.

What is on your current wish list?
I’m very interested in the Plan B model 30 triple digital oscillator when it becomes available. In the realm of the reasonable and achievable, that is about the extent of my wish list. In my dreams, I’d also have a Buchla 200e.

How many studio setups have you found yourself in?
Heh. Many. http://www.stretta.com/~matthew/resources/studio/history.html

Visit Stretta’s Blog: Here

Handing Off

While we drag our asses for a little bit, let me refer you to an excellent blog called VICMOD who have been conducting very informative and personal interviews with relevant synthesizer peoples including authors and manufacturers. The latest interview posted is of our friend Mike Brown of Livewire Electronics who kicks all ass, though he’d be the last person to admit it – which makes it all the more killer. Check out the post Here

A Friend Passes

Our friend Charlie Cooper from Telefon Tel Aviv has passed away. An unstable time caused by concrete facts and when it is decided that things have settled – it is we who have changed.

Hello, Everyone.
It breaks my heart to inform you all that Charlie Cooper, my better half in Telefon Tel Aviv, passed away on January 22nd. We have been friends since high school, and began making records together a decade ago. We have been so fortunate to tour the world together, while at the same time having a massive amount of laughs at one another’s expense. Aside from Charlie’s singular genius and musical gifts, I can tell you that he was a total sweetheart of a guy, and a loving friend and confidant to people everywhere. His musicianship was surpassed only by his greater gift to the world – his warmth, his generosity, his unquenchable humor, and his undying loyalty to those whom he loved. In the spirit of honorable mention, however, I should mention that he had a shoe collection that was marvelous, knowledge of hip-hop that was profound, and knowledge of wine that was subtle.

He is survived by a sister, a neice, a nephew, his mother, his stepfather, me, and more adoring friends than the Universe has dark matter. As such, his family and I ask for your discretion and consideration of our privacy during these extremely turbulent waters.

Yours in Music,

Joshua Eustis

Send your love

Workspace and Environment: Melt Banana

Hello world,
I’m starting to send out signals to artists again and in return have generated a lot of interest. Hopefully when I get back from L.A. and finish with Arlovski I will have some free time to really sit down and get the series going again. In the meantime, I was fortunate enough to play e-mail tag with Agata from Melt Banana! Enjoy your weekend!

agata1

Agata of Melt Banana

How long have you been involved with making music/sound?
I was born in Japan. I moved many times in Japan because of my father’s job and also lived in Thailand when I was a kid. I moved to Tokyo because I entered university. I’ve been making music for more than 20 years. I started doing this because I liked making over dubs using 2 cassette recorders when I was a kid.I still make music because I feel that it is not necessarily the case that I must be a super technical guitar player to make music or sound. Now, I play guitar in Melt-Banana.
You can find my work on Melt-Banana records and concerts. Also I did a solo album on Tzadik records called Spike.

What are your current favorite pieces of hardware?
Lightfoot lab’s goat keeper. I got this a few years ago, and I still like it. I also checked boss slicer which is a similar thing, but goat keeper makes me feel more natural when I use it for guitars. Also I can change patterns by myself.

What are some softwares or plugins you prefer?
I currently do not have favorite softwares or plugins. Maybe I had fun iZotope’s Trash plug in a little bit.

agata2

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
I haven’t thought about it before. I live in the same place for more than 10 years now. I’ve changed arrangement of furniture in the room many times. And I have less and less stuff in my room. Doing these things makes me feel different even when staying at a same place. At band practice studio, for me, if the room is bigger, it is better. If the room is small and there are many room reverb, it is hard to recognize the real sound from cabinet.

Could you describe what you might think your ideal location would be?
I think the best location to write music is in a train during a peak rush hour with a paper and a pen. Melt-Banana singer Yako wrote many songs with a paper and a pen when she was working for a company and needed to take a train to go to work. Private big studios with our favorite equipment is nice, but I’m not sure if I can write music which I really like.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining? The last?
The first one was a handmade guitar which I made with cardboards and duct tape when I was a kid. I used rubber bands for strings. The last one is Korg Nano Pad.

What is on your current wish list?
Electro Harmonix Hog. Guitar made by Yuri Landman from Holland.

What does your live setup consist of?
It includes gibson SG guitars, pedal boards, sunn beta lead head, mesa boogie head, 2 marshall cabinets.

How has your setup changed over time?
When I was using Adat, there were some outboards, and many cables and also a mixer but I’m not using them now. Now there are only computers and a few amps and effects.

Agata4

Have you ever heard your music being played at a random/public place?
Only a few times. We went to change oil of the van during the tour, they were playing our music during we were waiting..

Are you involved in any music/sound work outside of your own projects?
When I was at school, I recorded sound effects for amusement place where people shoot each other using fake laser guns. But the place went bankrupt before they replaced sounds from old ones to the version I recorded. So after all, they did not use it.
I also wrote demo’s for pop singer, but I don’t know what it was for. These days I’m not doing these kind of things.

Melt Banana Official Website
Melt Banana Myspace

agata3

Feeling….depressed?

Then you just need some good old positive encouragement!!! This set of CDs will change your life, I promise. If it doesn’t, I am sure there are other discs made by the same company that will help you out with the wrist cutting routine.