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post-holiday kitchen-table rockout mind-clearing NOISE JAM.
with flower electronics little boy blue & jealous heart analog synths.
for instant pop/noise mashup, stream together with:
Source: SoundCloud / analogtara
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Jomox XBase09 drum machine (ca. 1999) with standard alder wood panels, on red Formica table. Photo accompanies my recent blog post on the history of wood paneling in synthesizer design.
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grendel drone commander in action with electro-harmonix memory man, little lanilei spring reverb.
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at last making music after a hiatus for academic work. (to the right of the mixer LEDs in the photo, you’ll notice two champagne corks cluttering up the desk; those were popped at the dissertation defense in january.) newest addition in the studio is a grendel drone commander, elegantly designed for creating analog drone music from 2 manually-tuned oscillators, 2 LFOs, and a filter. it is housed in a military ammunition case. my protestations of militarism in audio-technical language notwithstanding, it is a lovely synth. as others have pointed out, electronic musical instrument developers have long drawn from military-industrial castoff materials to build their machines (like artists at the San Francisco Tape Music Center in the 1960s raiding the Radiation Lab at Berkeley). and contrary to the command-and-control connotations of its name, i quite like the drone commander’s soothing sounds and the impossibility of precisely lining up the oscillators in tune. adding some spring reverb and analog delay for atmosphere…
still editing audio files, i found this excerpt of the ARP 2600 (also recorded at mills) sounding quite like a bird. in recent weeks, national geographic published news on the sound design of 1100-year-old mayan architecture, suggesting that mayan pyramids were designed to respond to a handclap with the sound of the sacred quetzal bird. (national geographic is also known for trotting out that old canard [sorry] that animals should be credited for composing aesthetically-pleasing music - though you can count on comparisons to mozart and not rap.) the mayan report adds another episode to a long history of efforts to emulate birdsong with musical instruments & composition: from sound-producing automata, to messiaen and his spectrograms and transcriptions of birdcalls, to ARP itself and its instructions for synthesizing a “terned-on seagull.” perhaps my favorite example in this lineage is david dunn’s composition mimus polyglottos, discussed in this interview, a duet between an oscillator and mockingbird in which the bird seems curious to emulate the electronic sounds… terning the tables, so to speak.
starting to work up a sound palette for a new project, a cassette release with a label in sweden. setting up various duets of instruments, e.g., the little boy blue synth from flower electronics + the mfb-522 drum machine. both of these form part of my quest in recent years to use very small + portable instruments with all-analog sound generation. i like how analog sounds have a particular depth + texture, especially when played through a big sound system. i’m also appreciating the design + philosophy behind jessica rylan’s synths, which she talks about in her pink noises interview: instruments that are fun to hold + spend time with, and that strive for the possibility of doing chaotic sounds in a repeatable way. like in this beat i can set up nutty squiggles in the breaks, but the way they turn out is always a surprise.