Last Saturday night I went to Long Island City to see Daren Ho perform. For this event he was doing a Eurorack Modular performance. The event which took place next to PS1 at a venue called The Print Shop was also a showcase for Generation Records. Generation was a store and record label in the East Village. Throughout the 80s they released noise artists including most famously Conrad Schnitzler’s work. Conrad who is from Berlin was also a member of Tangerine Dream. I got to meet Ken from Generation and I bought a Generation Unlimited Cassette “No Borders”. I bought 3 cassettes in 2014!
In my opinion live modular performances can be hit or miss. Usually they go on way to long as the artist gets lost in himself usually stuck on one idea for 20 minutes or more. I like a bit of structure in my music. Owning a modular myself I appreciate when I see modular live and the sounds are sculpted in a meaningful way. For example Daren kept his range of sounds very tight. The set was mostly tight pops, delay, and futuristic flanging type of effects. He relied heavily on stereo imaging. The set was all “minor” notes which is my cup of tea. If I had a crystal ball in the 80s and I could see what I would be listening to in the future this would seem about right. I really enjoyed the performance. I should mention Daren is part owner of the store Control and if you catch him there and ask him to demo a module you could get a mini private performance. To see the full set of photos: click here
“Daren Ho is a Brooklyn-based artist with releases on record labels such as NNA Tapes, In Context Music, and Root Strata. His recent release on In Context Music (2014) is a set of 7″ lathe cut records featuring music performed on a modular synthesizer.” – Generations Unlimited
For more info: facebook.com/events/1579183272313209
There has been a Eurorack module I’ve been watching develop on the Muffwiggler forums (link) that I have been watching. It’s called Stepper Acid from Transistor Sound Labs and it has just recently become available. It’s a sequencer somewhat influenced by the Roland TB-303. However the Stepper Acid has quite a lot more to offer. Watch the video above to see all it’s features. I love that it has a built in quantizer to pitch the sequenced lines. It looks amazingly intuitive with almost no menu diving and it’s beautifully designed!
“Stepper Acid is a 16-step Eurorack sequencer module designed with live performance in mind. Designed by and for musicians, Stepper Acid was born out of our need for a modern step-sequencer. Dual microcontroller design ensures tight timing: one runs the sequencer, the other the front panel interface.” – transistorsoundslabs.com
For more info: transistorsoundslabs.com/stepper-acid
Radical G is one of the absolute best EBM meets techno producers. He’s also a good friend of mine. I was excited to see Roland visited his studio to see how he liked the AIRA line. He agrees with me that Roland has produced some right hardware. Take a quick look at Glenn at work!
“Dark electronic madness by Glenn Keteleer with pounding Rave sounds and techno hooks. No excuses regarding styles, Gloomy atmosphere’s ,Wave & Elektro infuences by legendary bands as TNJ and Front 242 are part of the game” – radicalg.com
For more info: radicalg.com
I’ve had my eye on the Flame Talking Synth Eurorack module for a very long time. I just love speech synthesizers and the idea of having one in Eurorack is just well fun. When I saw the Ninstrument Speak & Read I looked for a buy now button. Luckily for my bank account Ninstrument is quite selling these yet. Watch the video above for joy.
“I have had so many of these as bent toys that I thought it was time to make a eurorack module of one. Lots of time spent trying to nail down the right registers for the best phonemes and words. Very fast response means you can use quick triggers and for longer glitches you can use longer gates. The response has been a little over whelming to this as I knew there were a few out there who loved these, but had no idea that it was this many!!” – ninstrument.com
For more info: ninstrument.com/?p=1695
I created a bank of presets for Arturia’s fantastic iSEM synthesizer. The presets are available in the latest update. I also did an interview for Arturia (link). iSEM is really one of if not the best iPAD synth app. I worked hard on making these sounds so please check them out and enjoy the preset names too.
“Discover The Horrorist, the artist behind the new iSEM presets, and what he thinks about the app.” – arturia.com
For more info: arturia.com/company/news/agenda/interviewhorrorist
Ah, two of my favorite things: Berlin and Daniel Miller. Slice (also based in Berlin) visits Daniel Miller in his home. I love seeing which Eurorack modules he has, the art on his walls and just hearing him talk all things Depeche Mode and anything else!
“Daniel Miller has earned his place among the most influential figures in the music business from the last three or four decades. Throughout his career, Miller has often showed great vision and an excellent taste in music; he founded the legendary Mute Label, discovered and produced Depeche Mode, signed classic acts like Throbbing Gristle, Fad Gadget, Erasure, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds as well as contemporary greats such as Moby, Goldfrapp, The Knife. For this Slices feature on Electronic Beats TV we had the honor of joining him in his Berlin home.” – Slices
For more info: mute.com
I was looking through some old photos last night and I came across a photo of myself in my studio in 1995. It was in this room I wrote the first Things to Come Releases including One Night in NYC and many of the early Industrial Strength Records I recorded. This studio was in my mother’s basement. Her bedroom was just above it. Looking back I realize how funny it is that I was screaming my head off down there. I do remember I was going to a wedding and thought, “OK I look cool lets take a photo in the studio.”. So hah please look past my uncool look and let’s see what gear I had!
– Atari 1040ST & SM124 High Resolution Monochrome Monitor running Cubase and Dr. T’s KCS.
– Yamaha NS10M Studio Monitor Speakers driven by a Crown Microtech 500 AMP.
– Roland TR-909 Drum Machine
– Roland TR-707 (not pictured… sat to the right of the 909)
– Roland TB-303 Bassline Synthesizer
– Roland SH-101 Synthesizer
– Roland Juno-106 Synthesizer
– Roland SH3 Synthesizer
– Electrocomp-101 Synthesizer
– Roland S-50 Sampler with external monochrome CRT
– Akai S950 Sampler
– Korg SDD-2000 Digital Delay
– Mackie 1604 Mixer
– Another large old mixer (in the photo with the record, CD and DATs on it)
– Tascam 1/4″ Patch Bay
– Tascam Dual Cassette Deck
– Tascam DA-30 DAT Machine
– Turntable for Sampling Records
– Ultimate Support Systems Desk with extra “wings”
– Ultimate Support Systems A-Frame Keyboard Stand with extra “wings”
– Ultimate Support Systems 3 Tier Keyboard Stand
– 2 SKB Rackmount Cases
– Slanted 19″ Rackmount Stand with Wheels
Today kids own a ton of gear. Back then my studio was considered “a lot of stuff”. In making this list you can see how Roland owned the techno world or at least you can see how much I love their stuff. This photo was right before Apple Macs became powerful enough to run Cubase VST with audio recording. So all the vocals I did back then had to be recorded live in one pass to DAT (digital audio tape). One night in NYC, Dark Germany, Mission Ecstacy, etc… all recorded live to DAT in one pass. Of course I would make mistakes and had to start the tape again. So what things in this photo do I still own today? I moved to Brooklyn and the TB-303 and Juno-106 were stolen. I sold the Akai S950, Dat Machines, Mackie Mixer, SH-101 and TR-909. I never regretted selling the 909 actually and until I saw this photo I forgot I even once owned a SH-101! I sold the Korg SDD-2000 digital delay and I do regret that. I will buy one again on eBay someday. I still own the Electrocomp-101. You can’t really see it in this photo (it sat above the SH-101). My father gave it to me and I’ll never part from it. It’s number 521 of 2000 ever created. I still own, love and use the Roland SH3. This is a SH3 not SH3a. The 3 has the original filter in it which was a clone of a Moog design. Moog threatened to sue Roland to they created the weaker 3A revision. While it’s fun to fetishize gear it’s very important to remember it’s not the equipment it’s the artist. Just make music, have fun and tell YOUR story.
For more info: thehorrorist.com
Jonas at Control showed me the Hexinverter.net Mutant drums. When you control the pitch CV with a sequencer it’s very excellent! The kick is doing a bassline. The clap you can also hear but it’s also changing in a really cool way… almost like filter opening and closing. We had it going by itself and I had to own it. The high hat can sound quite 808ish.
“The TR-909’s clap featured one control the user could adjust: volume. That was not okay with me!” – Stacy (hexinverter.net)
For more info: hexinverter.net
As a huge Yaz fan I have always wanted a Sequential Circuits Pro-One. The wonderful Noyzelab blog has posted some scans showing the patches that made up one of my favorite songs Only You. Looking from a window above It’s like a story of love…
“Five sets of panel layouts for the SCI Pro One synth by Vince Clarke, for the track Only You by Yazoo. Scanned from my copy of music technology magazine One.. Two.. Testing Issue No1 1982.” – noyzelab
To see the scans in full resolution: noyzelab.blogspot.com/2014/09/how-vince-clarke-made-yazoos-only-you
If you want to sound authentically very early electronic music but still buy something new Denmark’s Gotharman’s Musical Instruments is a great place to start. The video above could easily be Throbbing Gristle. I’ve been looking through the website to try and figure out exactly whats going on in the video. I am very tempted to create my own small side set up of this stuff. I noticed he has a Eurorack module too. If anyone uses some of this stuff or know more let me know what you think of it I am very curious!
“Gotharman’s Little deFormer combines a granular effects processor with special effects like TimeStretcher, StepGranulator and PitchShaper and more usual effects like Reverb, delay, distortion, compressor, filters and bit manipulation, with some special parameters, with a 100 minutes sampler, a synth and a step sequencer. A MIDI Note Randomizer is also included.” – Perfect City
For more info: gotharman.dk