Here is my review of the new Depeche Mode single Heaven. There is clearly now two Depeche Mode’s. The old New Wave band that gave us Black Celebration and Strangelove and the post Violator DM. All the molecules in a humans body change in about 10 years and Dave, Martin and Fletch are clearly not the same people they once were. When they first changed to the new DM it was hard to understand, disappointing and I don’t think anyone knew what they were going for. A few albums went by and here we are. What if I judge this new single as if it were not the old Depeche Mode? Wipe my memory of Shake the Disease for a minute and press play on Heaven. The new single sounds like a gospel rock song but with an analog drum machine, sharp eq’s and 60s style panning. I actually think it’s a good song. In fact I enjoy the slow folding pace of it and I think the lyrics are good. The lyrics can even speak to me personally. I can imagine myself on a sad rainy night walking slowly under city lights just escaping some sin. However there are three problems I have with this song. First, if I choose to listen to music I’m going to want a song about love, sex, pain or danger. The overall theme of this song Heaven and much new DM is well just too past the fight. I guess these guys all have kids and are looking for redemption or justification for some bad stuff they must have done along the star road. Next, Dave sings this song well and I love following his voice along each pitch except for one line which is repeated a few times, “I’m In Heaven” and later “Up to Heaven”. The main line which to the song builds to is somehow blundered and sounds weak. It really ruins the song from ever going to be on major repeat. The last problem is the band’s name is still Depeche Mode and all their old songs ARE still on repeat at my house. So I can’t forget the perfection that once was and the disappointment Heaven is. 6/10
The new Depeche Mode single is now available to listen to online: click here.
“I stand in golden rays radiantly. I burn a fire of love, over and over. It sets in endless light, relentlessly. I have embraced the flame forever and ever.” – Depeche Mode
Belgians Walter Verdin, Hilde van Roy and Dett Peyskens released this song Wavin in 1983. Search Pas De Deux as they have some other interesting songs.
“Pas De Deux represented Belgium for the 1983 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. The mainstream audience did not understand this unconventional song (a simple tune and just one line of text: ‘Rendez-vous. Maar de maat is vol, en mijn kop is toe’). The band ended third from last. Nonetheless ‘Rendez-Vous’ became a big summer hit in Belgium that year. Pas De Deux released one mini-album and a couple of singles.” – discogs.com
When I saw the new Korg MS20 Mini I should have out $600 aside for it. There was one problem though. My heart now belongs to my Eurorack modular. But wait The Harvestman has come to the rescue! Scott has announced the English Tear which is an attenuverter and Eurorack interface for the Korg. He says it will be available in April and be inexpensive. Spend. Spend more now!
“I announce with great satisfaction ENGLISH TEAR, the first in a line of small utility modules. This module features the expected “voltage processor” attenuverter and big offset knobs, but also includes a full set of functions for interfacing to an MS-20. Easy conversion from exponential volt-per-octave to linear hertz-per-volt and back, as well as V-trigger to S-trigger conversion. Jack normalling fixes the voltage processors to these converter circuits, so you may scale the input voltages as desired. The log/expo converter ciruits also have many other uses in your modular system beyond the conversion of pitched voltages.” – The Harvestman
The Trigger Riot is one of three new sequencers from Gur at Tiptop Audio. If you read this blog you know I am really enjoying the TTA drum modules. Very simply you hook some modules to the Riot and as you change knob positions you get different patterns of all sorts. I’ll be getting this one for sure.
“From a conceptual view, the Trigger Riot generates 16 clock streams consisting of multiple time manipulation functions (division, offsets, etc) that interact to create the trigger output, and direct access to each parameter via individual knobs allows for quick manipulation. The 8 outputs are the sum of those manipulated streams per row. The outputs of the module are arranged as either a 4×4 matrix, where each of the 16 knobs affects both row and column, or as a set of independent outputs for each row or column. This allows forming 8 complex musical interactions in a ‘Matrix’ mode or 8 independent streams in ‘Independent’ mode and is switchable from one to the other on press of a button for some unexpected results. Since each of the 16 knobs represents a real time tweakable trigger generator/modifier the Trigger Riot is extremely playable and can result very complex patterns with only few knob turns; patterns that would otherwise take much longer and in some instances be almost impossible to produce using grid based step sequencing. Patterns can have unique time signatures that can repeat or be randomized through probability, time shifted and phased, divided, multiplied and counted, it’s unbelievable how complex this module can get with minimal input.” – Gur (Tiptop Audio)
Richard Nicol’s Eurorack modular synth company Pittsburgh Modular has released some great stuff this year at NAMM. To start off there is Cell which is a very inexpensive complete synth voice. From there everything grows into multiple systems. Some 48HP some 90HP. The systems are well thought out such as the System 2 which focuses on sequencing and effects. What also has me really excited are the new cases which are inexpensive and look great with nice wood ends and can be built vertically. Every studio should have 90HP of Eurorack sitting in between their computer monitor and keyboard angled toward them!
“Two complete synthesizer product lines and a pair of desktop eurorack case and power supplies.” – pittsburghmodular.com
“Here is a demonstration of a CV controller that I built. It is a simple pendulum with a magnet at the end. The magnets on the table can be moved and can either repel or attract the pendulum.” – artoftravelogue.blogspot.com
Korg is about to release an all analog reproduction of the MS-20. It’s a little smaller but some of the same engineers that worked on the original are taking part of this project. When I was living in Berlin the 80s new wave band Camouflage had the studio next door to me and owned a MS20. I had the chance one day to play with it and it was real wild, basy and raspy. While the software Legacy version is cool and useful it didn’t come close to the original I used. I suspect that part of it’s wild and dirty nature was that it was old so we will see if the new Mini really has what it takes. It’s expected to be about $800 USD.
UPDATE: $600 USD!! Available in April.
“We can confirm now that the Korg Mini MS-20 is for real, that it’s a new analog mini-synth and that Korg’s engineers have tried to faithfully recreate the circuitry and sound of the original synth classic.” – Synthtopia
I’m finally back from my weekend in Aachen, Germany. A weekend which consisted of 6 trains, 4 flights, 7 hours of layovers and NYC traffic. It was the evening in between it all that made it worth it. Let’s jump back about 6 months. I was performing in Berlin at a very cool event and somewhere towards the end of my set I feel something in my ear. When I play live I’m actually not consciously thinking so much. I am on some sort of automatic haze with lyrics flying out of me and my arms and legs just doing what they do. When I felt something in my ear I noticed it but just kept on going. I mean it was only for a few seconds and after the violation stopped I could still hear so I kept on playing. After the show near the bar a giant punk rock type of guy comes up to me and starts up a conversation. I had a lot of trouble understanding what he was staying and he was aggressively holding me close to him. Soon I realized it wasn’t that he wasn’t speaking english he just wasn’t making too much sense. Then I picked out a few words… “acid” “sorry” “finger” “during” “show” “ear” “sorry”. I stopped him at that point and said loudly it’s ok let’s have a drink. While kind of disgusting the situation was pretty funny because I mean who the hell does something like that and then tells you he did it? Later that night or I guess morning he comes over again. He’s far more coherent now and tells me his name is Michael and he wants to book me in Aachen. I brush it aside thinking he’s not serious. Fast forward a few months and he finds me on Facebook and shows me some of the other bands he wants to book along side of me. They were all so interesting I was in. I love to play live. I really love to play live along other interesting band like acts. The other bands were all synthpunkish and weird so right up my alley. It’s all set up for October. Hurricane Sandy hits NYC all flights are cancelled and I miss the show. My day job had me very busy the end of last year so I set a new date for January 19 knowing it would be cool to spend my Birthday (the 20th) and the release of my next album in Germany.
The club was packed. It’s always important but I really didn’t want to play and half full space on my 43rd birthday right? When I walked in Sid (Knothole) was performing. His live show is amazing. Check out the video I took of him above. He’s got Eurorack modules, fluorescent light tubes, does vocals and sets up in the middle of the dance floor. To top it off the music is good. I got to spend some time with him after the show and well let’s just say he’s pretty out there. I felt in good company. So I take the stage, play new songs and absolutely enjoy myself. I did a few encore tracks and as I’m ending they take my mic the club gets quiet and Michael says some stuff in German and then I hear an acapella… “Happy Birthday to you… Happy birthday to you…” the club chimes in. So yeah the music stops and the club, mostly everyone in there sings me happy birthday. What can a guy say to that? Michael you can stick your finger in my ear anytime you want. Thanks for a night I will never forget and thanks for singing to me! To see the full set of photos: click here
“ERWISCHT! Zu Gast aus New York war nämlich Oliver Chesler, der Mann, der auch unter dem Pseudonym The Horrorist bekannt ist. Da er aus der Hardcore-Techno-Nische kommt, erinnern seine Tracks zwar immer noch stark an Produktionen dieser Art, doch sind sie Songs alltagstauglicher geworden. One Night in NYC ist eines seiner bekanntesten Stücke und führte im Jahr 1996 die deutschen Dance Charts an. Mit dabei war der Kollege David Heyer.” – klenkes.de
I will be performing live tomorrow night (Saturday, January 19) in Aachen, Germany at Autonomes Zentrum on Vereinsstr. 25. I will be celebrating the release of Fire Funmania, my 43rd birthday and checking out some of the other bands. Those bands include Knothole, Walls & Birds, Cyklop 2019, Vomit Heat (Dj Set) and Big Dada P. I met the promoter Michael Hilgers when I performed in Berlin last summer. He’s an interesting person and most importantly has a good eclectic music taste. I will try and make some posts while I am gone!
“This Is Going To Be Legendary! Ohhh Yeah! It S A Birthday Party!” – Michael Hilgers
I am extremely pleased to tell you my fourth full length album has been released and it’s called Fire Funmania. These are the ten best songs I have recorded in the past eighteen months. This album is more like my first album Manic Panic and the album cover image and colors purposely reflect that. Like Alex in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange I have returned to my evil self here.
Releasing a full length album is a huge deal for any musician. Saturday is my birthday and getting this released is my gift to myself. To celebrate I’m playing in Aachen, Germany. The event called DODT is very synthpunk and underground. I can’t wait to get on stage. Another way I’m going to celebrate the release of Fire Funmania is to write about each of the songs. A few songs are quite clear in their meanings but I love to talk about the technical side of production. I used a lot of vintage and new hardware on this release. Other songs such as Kissing Anne I think would benefit from some discussion or at least make a good read. No matter the content I believe all music is art. It should be a human right to freely express yourself without fear. Song writing is one of the most important things in my life.
If you like my music or just like reading Wire to the Ear the best way to say thank you is to buy this release. The digital release is available today on iTunes, Beatport and Amazon MP3. In the coming weeks there will be a CD a limited edition 12″ vinyl and cassette.
“The Horrorist returns in 2013 with his 4th full length album! He goes back to his roots with 10 completely evil, wild, sex filled tracks. This is really dark, sick twisted material! Will be played at many afterparties! 10/10!!!” – Beatport.com
This week’s pick comes from the electronic artist The Horrorist. His fourth album Fire Funmania is being released on Things To Come Records and it is wickedly dark and evil. There are some strange experimental type tracks on here that will make you say “hmm”, but there are also “regular” techno type tracks that many of you will expect. Especially if you are only familiar with his breakout hit “One Night In NYC“. Go into this album thinking The Horrorist is an artist first and a techno producer second, you will thank me. – Auxiliary Magazine (Mike Kieffer)
The horror show returns! From the first song to every one after this is pure sexyness. Electronic torture never sounded so good! Awesome album. – iTunes”