Today is September 9 so it’s 9/09 day! Here I am on the left in the early 1990s inside the base of the Brooklyn Bridge playing live using my Roland TR-909. To the right of me is John Selway. Interestingly I bought the machine in Yonkers and when I got to the apartment there were gold records on the wall. My 909 was once owned by one of Chaka Khan’s producers. Never mind my hair just don’t look closely at my pupils! And yes my hand is on the tempo knob.
“The Roland TR-909 Rhythm Composer is a partially analog, partially sample-based, drum machine introduced by the Japanese Roland Corporation in 1984. The brainchild of Tadao Kikumoto, the engineer behind the Roland TB-303, it features a 16-step step sequencer and a drum kit that aimed for realism and cost-effectiveness. It is fully programmable, and like its predecessor, the TR-808, it can store entire songs with multiple sections, as opposed to simply storing patterns. It was the first MIDI-equipped drum machine. Around 10,000 units were produced.” – Wikipedia
For more info: wikipedia.org/wiki/Roland_TR-909
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
German magazine Partysan has mentioned the upcoming EBM DJ night I am throwing in Berlin, Germany with Petra Flurr, Denard Henry Aka Sonic Architect, Dj Death B. And Dj Andi called EBM BLITZLICHT! If you’re in Berlin that Wednesday you must come and hang out!
“A NIGHT OF OLD SCHOOL EBM, NEW BEAT, INDUSTRIAL & SYNTHPUNK!!”
For more info: facebook.com/events/764871263569278
I think we all hoped to have full featured comfortable sequencers on our iPads. That reality as not quite happened (yet). As a sound source that goes into a desktop DAW the iPad is amazing. One of the best music apps to come out is Korg’s Gadget. An update this week brings export to Ableton Live. I’ve actually made a few small sketches on Gadget I really liked so today I will update and give this a try.
“KORG has collaborated with Ableton to offer a new music production workflow that lets you move seamlessly from mobile to desktop. KORG Gadget can export your project in an Ableton Live format, via iTunes or Dropbox. The phrases of each track and scene you create are internally converted into audio files. You can then use Live’s powerful Session and Arrangement workflows to edit and and refine your ideas, perform or record new parts, arrange your ideas, and mix your song. If you don’t already have Ableton Live, sign up in app to receive Ableton Live Lite for free.” – korg.com
For more info: korg.com/korg_gadget_for_ipad
Korg is really making products I like these days. There is a new Volca and it’s a sampler. It’s called the Volca Sample. Being an old Akai S950 guy I love that they made the new box white! It has a eleven parameter motion sequencer, reverb per part, analog eq, active step and jump functions, reverse and the very important sync jack in the back. It holds 100 samples but actually doesn’t sample on it’s own. You need iOS to load in new samples. That said since I use iOS devices I am happy but I can see this as an issue for some. Price TBA.
“The volca sample is a sample sequencer that lets you edit and sequence up to 100 sample sounds in real time for powerful live performances. It’s a powerful addition to any existing volca setup, or simply on its own. The new volca lets you recapture the excitement of the first generation of samplers, in which any sound — vocals, spoken words, ambient sound, or glitches — becomes material for your creations!” – korg.com
For more info: korg.com/us/products/dj/volca_sample
FREAKSHOW 2014 – Zapping Live Report from David Basso on Vimeo.
When I get booked to perform at an event I’ve never played before I obviously don’t know what to expect. After accepting a booking in Gigors, France called the Freakshow Festival I was initially confused. You see the event which takes place basically in the woods about two hours away from Lyon is essentially a “rock concert”. What I mean is all the bands that performed this year used well drums and/or guitars. I was wondering if they meant to book the “Horrors” instead. But after a trip to their website I noticed they posted some of my videos so they clearly knew what they were doing.
The journey from NY to the venue is a long one. There are no direct flights and no airport that lands that deep in the woods. So to remind you that playing a show while an honor is not all fun listen to this. One hour traffic to JFK Airport from Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This is a 15 mile drive by the way but traffic is insane. At JFK even with Sky Priority Gold status the wait through check-in and security is another hour. Wait another hour before the flight to Paris takes off. Seven hours in the air. I have missed so many connections and have had luggage not make it on time at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport that you have to take a minimum two hour layover. In fact it costs more to take a long layover so that proves everyone knows that airport has issues. So two hour layover there. The flight from Paris to Lyon is an hour and a half. Add thirty more minutes to get my luggage and then a two hour drive to the venue at Gigors. That’s fourteen and a half hours traveling and I have to do the same thing back. Keep in mind I left Friday and returned Sunday. I’m not complaining but it does amaze me. In fact, it is always worth the trip!
The area around the festival is beautiful. Mountains, valleys, farms and a few stone homes are all in view. There are no hotels so I was staying at of the promoters house. While the house looked like it had been there for a century it was perfectly kept. Inside the old walls held modern appliances, and stone and wood flooring. There was a gorgeous deck you could sit out and look down at the valley. I could have spent a month just there. At the venue there was a team setting up two large tents, making food and having a good time already. I got some rest and returned at darkness and the place was alive. The way it worked was a band would play in one tent then when done another band would start in the other. There was also a large middle area with a strange tall light sculpture. DJs and one man bands played there when neither of the large tents were making noise. There was a backstage area on a hill with a private bar. The parking lot was filled with campers. There were tents around the hills too.
While I like all music including stuff using guitars, bass and drums when I do listen to that stuff is usually Leonard Cohen, Willie Nelson and it’s usually slow sad songs. So to see a ton of bands really “rocking out” I guess you could say when interesting for me. Let me say I enjoyed every band a lot. In fact I was really surprised how great every act was. I think the people who chose the bands are real music lovers and chose carefully because I definitely got the idea I was among some of the best modern day bands. There was one band who stood out to me called Black Bug. They really blew me away. It was a drummer and synth. They reminded me of the first time I saw Nitzer Ebb at the Ritz in Manhattan. Pure loud loud synth arpeggiating to a military drummer and very strong lead vocals. I was not expecting to see something so great so yes I was blown away. While I was watching I was very pleased to know that after the show I would have a chance to meet them and I did exactly that. They are based in Bordeaux and the lead singer is from Sweden. In talking with them they didn’t seem to think they fit in the EBM/Industrial world at all and listening to their recorded music I do agree somewhat. However, live… oh boy they are so “it”. I encouraged them to try and get that sound as their recorded sound. Nevertheless I was thrilled to find myself a fan of something new to me.
I performed last on the first night. I played a few new songs and the show went about an hour. After my show I had a nice evening and full day to just relax and meet people. All the organizers were stellar. The Freakshow crew are a friendly and very fun group who put on an amazing event. I don’t have a lot of photos from my show but the video above has a short clip and it’s worth watching the entire thing to get a feel of the weekend. There are multiple photos sets you can take a look it. My own personal set: click here. The official Freakshow blog set: click here and photographer RA²’s set: click here.
“Please leave your dogs and hippies at home.” – freakshow-festival.com
For more info: freakshow-festival.com
photo credit: François Guyon
Here is a new techno/EBM DJ set from Bogota’s Delectro. This mix is called Dark Dense Electronic Waves. There’s no tracklisting yet. After 500 plays they will be posted on Soundcloud. I do hear my track with Radical G “Here Comes the Storm”! It’s Wednesday so stomp your feet while your at work to this.
“Diego Diaz influenced by the sounds of Electro Techno , EBM and Industrial began his artistic career in 2007 as Delectro experiencing in his sound creations with strong bass lines accompanied by loud drums and atmospheric pads. In 2010 he began his career as a DJ playing alongside the greatest national exponents positioning itself as one of the few most representative artists of Electro Techno EBM in Bogota and Colombia. Delectro has shared the stage with important international artists such as Alec Empire, The Horrorist , Al Ferox, Equitant and Stamba among others. Delectro currently directs the promoter group “Complejo Industrial” promoting national and international artists in the city of Bogota and Colombia.” – Tracklistings 2.0
For more info: facebook.com/Delectrodj
I hope to see some collaborations between DM and New Order. Mute really is such a great label.
“This is an exciting new chapter for both Mute and New Order and I feel privileged to be working with artists with such a long, creative and successful history. When the possibility of us working together first came up, I was invited to hear some of the new material and immediately had no doubts whatsoever that Mute would be the right home for New Order. We’ve already had a number of creative conversations, and I am looking towards an exciting future” – Daniel Miller
For more info: mute.com/new-order/announce-they-have-signed-to-mute
I mentioned through social media a very exciting music project that is going to be released in November. It is a 500 copy tribute CD Digipack containing cover versions of songs from the iconic band Suicide. Artists doing covers include Gabi Delgado (DAF), Radical G, Absolute Body Control, members of Front 242, Alan Vega himself and many others including myself (The Horrorist). You can hear my full cover version of Rocket USA now! It took me about a full week to redo the track.
I used a lot of hardware on this. The drums are from a vintage Kawai R-100. The main bassline is a Noise Engineering Basimiuls Iteritas Eurorack module through a Synthesis Technology E440 Filter. Both the filter and bassline are sequenced using a Make Noise Pressure Points quantized by a Flame Tame Machine. There is a high pitched resonant sort of high hat and that is a Korg Monotron which is also clocked with the Eurorack. Some of the more moody effects were created using a Make Noise Echophon. The pads and second bassline are from a Roland JV-2080. The vocals were recorded using a Shure SM58 into a TC Helicon Voicelive Play. A few of the vocals in the breakdown were manipulated using Fabfilter’s Timeless. Some reverb was used from a ValhallaVintageVerb and Audio Damage ADVerb. Everything was recording using Ableton Live.
“These days music has become a disposable consumer product or a functional and virtual background to dancing masses on ecstasy. The strength and durability of SUICIDE was to take them beyond the punk movement they had initiated playing their legendary concerts at CBGB’s in the 70?s. The sound of SUICIDE has never been as relevant as today, it’s a primal scream ! We tried to perpetuate it and keep the flame alive.” – Unknown Pleasures Records
To pre-order and see the full tracklist: bandcamp.com/suicide-tribute
I used to own and use a Roland SBX-10 to get my 909 and 303s all in moving along nicely with my Atari ST. Today Roland has released the SBX-1. Not only will it sync MIDI and DIN devices but also CV. This is going to a very useful box for live or in the studio.
“The SBX-1 lets computers and electronic instruments communicate and synchronize with each other. It supports a vast array of both analog and digital devices through DIN SYNC, MIDI and USB, and any of these can be the master clock source. You can use the SBX-1 itself as the master sync and control your external devices with its rock-steady internal clock. With hands-on control over timing and groove, and support for CV/GATE, the SBX-1 is far from just an ordinary sync box.” – roland.com
For more info: roland.com/products/en/SBX-1