Flame is a Berlin based company who manufacture’s interesting audio manipulation hardware. They are on Schönhauser Allee (my old Strasse) right near Ableton’s headquarters. I had a chance to play with their Flame Talking Synth and that piece is real joy. Basically it’s a speech synthesizer connected to a joystick and switches. Their new box has some seriously pretty yellow, green and red led glass like buttons and it fits in the Monome/Tenori-on zone. Paired with a Waldorf Blofeld above you can see how this thing can bring you into Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft territory with just a few button pushes.
Here’s a video preview of a new software modular synthesizer from Urs Heckmann called Bazille. He’s the Berliner known for the acclaimed Zebra and Filterscape plug-ins. Bazille definitely adds something new sonically to the software landscape. For an example, take a listen at 1:06 to the when he uses an Oscillator on the Filter Resonance. In case you were wondering Bazille is the German word for bacteria.
“This synth combines FM-Synthesis, Phase Distortion and subtractive in a rack-like appearance. Here are some early examples for unusual patches. Note that the sound quality here is really bad, but I guess you catch the drift. No fx used of course, just raw output of the synth.” – UrsHeckmann
A few more videos of Bazille are on the UrsHeckmann YouTube channel: click here
I love the Tenori-on. If it were a bit cheaper I would surely have bought one by now. I went to the official coming out party in Berlin and saw first hand how far creative artists can take the Lite-Bright impersonator. André Michelle is a wonderful software developer who has a website which is calls a Laboratory. On his page he has physics and music demos that run inside a browser. Some of his creations are impressive and touch on the future of software interfaces. One of his toys the ToneMatrix is a pseudo Tenori-on albeit a simple one. It doesn’t go deep as a real Tenori can but the basic grid pattern note fun part is there. You can find ToneMatrix on his Laboratory page and also as a tool inside HobNox’s awesome Audiotool website (browser based techno studio). Another place you can now find ToneMatrix is on an iPhone rebranded as SoundMatrix (iTunes link). It’s free so go make some zen bleeps.
Update: Twitter user @Candy Cane let me know there is another Tenori app for the iPhone called Melodica (iTunes link).
When someone with the last name “Ovenbröd” sends you an email you either laugh or pay attention. I did both and my prize is a nice bunch of noisey, glitchy circuit bent loops from Berlin. This gift of loop was not just created for me alone so here I share the news of this download for all to have. Head over to www.mimu.eu to grab some itchy clicky goodness.
85 x .wav-loops (124bpm) of broken, smoothly glitched, circuit-bent 4/4 idm/mnml/noize- and elektro-beatloops. Also this file is password-protected just to avoid unauthorized distribution, simply leave a comment with your correct e-mail-adress, then WAIT a bit and we’ll get back to you. your comment needs to get approved first before it gets published. comments of donators (see the donation-paypal-cloud on the menu) might be handled privileged. a happy new year, yours, maria ovenbröd & der einmeier – www.mimu.eu
Direct link to the post where you can leave a comment and get your download password: click here
I’m very good at being prepared. When I buy airline tickets I buy them way in advance and always plan my seat out. If there is no way to pick my seat online when buying a ticket I will call the airline and reserve a seat by voice. When I bought my ticket to Hamburg for this tour I logged onto KLM.com (The Royal Dutch Airline) and before hitting “confirm purchase” I chose my seat. I picked a nice bulkhead window seat toward the front of the airplane. When I printed my e-ticket reservation number it printed my seat number which was the same one I chose online. When I got to the airport I used the automated kiosks to print my boarding pass. I didn’t bother checking my seat number again because I figured I was all set. You know where my story is heading right? I get on the airplane and look at my e-ticket and surprise, I’m sitting in the last row of the entire plane in the middle seat. After sandwiching myself between to large people with giant arms already planted on my arm rests I realized this last row seat doesn’t even lean back. I don’t mind sitting upright until the person in front of me leans his seat into the furthest back position possible. Of course that’s exactly what happened just a few minutes after takeoff. I was about six inches from some guys greasy curly hair for seven hours. I knew KLM screwed me over because before the plane took off a stewardess came over and ask if I was Oliver Chesler. I said, “Yep. Why are you asking?” She said she just wanted to confirm I was on board. Huh?!
I had a short layover in The Netherlands at Schiphol airport. I was pretty thirsty to the point I was getting a headache so I bought a bottle of water. I’m my long travel delirium I didn’t flinch when the check out woman told me the water was 3.50€. To be clear that is $4.92 USD for a small bottle of water. No wonder why airlines don’t let you bring liquids over 100ml through security. What a bunch of scamming bastards. Truthfully I’m used to tour chaos and these are pretty minor pains compared to the long delays and canceled flights that could happen.
Everything got a lot more comfortable once I arrived in Hamburg. I took a free shuttle to the Marriot which like all Marriots was nice with a swimming pool, free WiFi and 24 hour room service. I had my Christmas meal alone in my room and watched some CNN. Before show time I was able to video chat with my wife and see photos of my families Lobster dinner. Are you feeling sorry for me yet?
The event was full and my show went off without a hitch. German clubs are the easiest for me to perform at. The sound systems are usually amazing and the kids are really out to party. If you scream at Germans they scream back at you.
The next morning I took a bus to Berlin and the past few days have been nice catching up with friends. I never lived in Kruezberg and my friends apartment I am babysitting is right on Paul-Lincke-Ufe next to the canal. As you can see by the photo it’s really nice. The only thing driving me a bit nuts is that fireworks are legal in Berlin and on New Year’s they all go crazy. Unfortunately for my sleep some kids around here are celebrating early.
I’m going to start making a new tune today. Traveling alone is pretty strange so I suspect I will be inspired. Wednesday I fly to Belgium for the New Year’s eve show.
I’m playing live tonight at Tresor. It’s one of the more well known clubs in Berlin. On stage tonight I will be keeping a secret from the audience. Don’t tell anyone ok? The secret is I will have a cheat sheet with on it lyrics in front of me. In fact, I will play a song tonight where as I sit here right now typing this I can’t even remember the opening line! My lyric cheat sheet won’t be on a Textedit or Word document. It’s built right into Ableton Live. Remember when you first opened Live there are those Lessons that pop up on the right part of the interface? If you forgot about them and want to see them again just open Live and under the View menu choose Lessons. See them now? Let’s hack these Lessons and get our own text in there. Here’s how to do it:
Create and save a Project (song) in which you would like to have some of your own text in the Lesson area. Next, find the Project folder that was created when you saved your song. Inside that folder create a new folder with the exact same name as your Project followed by the word “Lessons”. Inside this folder create a plain text document and name it LessonsEN.txt
I use TextWrangler (free!) but you can use the plain old Mac TextEdit too. Type your lyrics or whatever reminders and notes you need. You can create separate pages by using the following syntax:
$Page Name of Song
If you add a: / before text it makes the text italic and bold. I like to make most of my text like this because it’s easier to read. Save the LessonsEN.txt and open Ableton and your Project to see your lyrics. Click on the screenshots in this post to view them larger.
Berlin is the undisputed center of electronic music. A few times a month friends and blog readers come to visit. I’ve decided to make a Google Map with the locations of many of the great record stores, labels, synthesizer manufacturers, audio software companies and nightclubs you can check out upon arrival.
Ableton, Tresor, Hard Wax, Native Intruments, Schneider’s Buero, Neumann, MFB, Gigolo Records, Berghain, JoMoX, Sugar Bytes, BPitch Control, SoundCloud… what more do you want?
If you do come to visit don’t forget you will be in a gorgeous city full of historic places and green parks. Don’t spend all your time dancing. See it all!
Remember Google Maps is feature rich. You can get point to point directions, zoom way in, see satellite views and create your own map of places in Berlin you want to see (click a pin and select “save to my map”).
To view the map full screen and also see the complete list of great places: click here
Yesterday I took a trip to Ikea in Berlin. To get from Prenzlauer Berg to Spandau takes about thirty minutes on the S-Bahn. I had my camera with me which also takes decent video. However, it wasn’t visual imagery I was after. I hit record but left the camera’s lens cap on. I was only after audio recordings.
There are a myriad of hot flash recorders on the market but I used what I had with me and I think the recordings sound great. Another advantage of recording this way is people aren’t really aware of what your doing. If I had a Sony PCM-D1 in my hand people may not speak naturally. I’m planning on using some of these recordings on my next album but your free to use them too. Remember it’s not the sounds, it’s how you use them!
The audio player will play each sample in succession:
One of the best ways to promote a band on your record label is to create a video interview with them. It really doesn’t take much skill, time or money. In fact, the video above was shot using the video mode on a single point and shoot cheapo camera. I used iMovie08 which uses Core Video so any image adjustments, transitions and titles all happen in real time, no rendering! This makes the entire process actually a lot of fun. Sure the video would be better if I was using a better camera, external mic and some lights but you know what? If I had to lug all that stuff to the club I probably would not have bothered. Showing up and creating something is the most important thing. I actually own quite a lot of video equipment including Final Cut Pro but workflow always wins in my book so I went for the fastest way to the finish line. I mentioned before on this blog I love Creative Commons and here’s why: See the images I cut during the interview? They are all CC licensed so I’m not stealing anyone’s art to create my own.
The style was characterized by hard and often sparse danceable electronic beats, clear undistorted vocals, shouts or growls with reverberation and echo effects, and repetitive sequencer lines. At this time important synthesizers were Korg MS-20, Emulator II, Oberheim Matrix or the Yamaha DX7. Typical EBM rhythms are based on 4/4 beats, mainly with some minor syncopation to suggest a rock music rhythm structure. – wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_body_music
Sven Lauwers and Andy de Decker are great live which is extremely important for an EBM band. Be sure to check out Ionic Vision’s release on Things to Come Records: Beatport, Junodownload, Things to Come Records