Here is some new cold wave, synthpop created in California with Eurorack modules and analog drum machines. Kline Coma Xero is Tony Williams. I think the song Fanatic is my favorite so far. I’m definitely looking forward to more.
“Kline Coma Xero is a minimal wave/synth project produced by Tony Williams from California. The distinctive sound of Kline Coma Xero is produced solely from analogue instruments, producing a cold yet beautifully crafted melodies and rhythms. Such inspiration could only be found in the early European minimal wave/synth groups from the 1980’s. The project gained inception in June of 2012 and offer…s an alternative to the arbitrary use of the laptop as an instrument which has become indicative of modern electronic music. The minimal melodies are layered with melancholy vocals with lyrical content and philosophical outlook inspired from the authors like JG Ballard and Thomas Pynchon.” – SoundIndieMusic
I think the Analogue Solutions Telemark is a really killer synth. It’s based off an Oberheim SEM them pumped up with some added features. It’s new and has MIDI yet has a vintage sound and has CV too. I own one and use it on most of my songs. There is now a V2.0 Telemark with a Ring Modulator and Sub Oscillator/Divider. Check out the video above to see the additions in action.
“Here’s a first look at the Analogue Solutions Telemark V2.0 synthesizer. The new release features the addition of a SUB OSC / DIVIDER as well as a RING MOD. The inclusion of these two sound sculpting elements have a vast and powerful effect on the overall sound of the TM.” – Rezfilter
I decided to stay home this weekend. I stopped by Control in Williamsburg and picked up a new module for my Eurorack system. I bought a Toppobrillo Multifilter. You can hear it in the above videos filtering a Wiard Oscillator, Make Noise Echophon and a iPad Police Scanner. The clock and drums are from a Korg Rhythm 55. An Analog Solutions Telemark is providing some LFO modulated white noise snares and a Korg Monotribe is joining in with some resonant rides and a synth line. Both the Telemark and Monotribe are being pinged by an Intellijel uStep. There’s also an Intellijel uVCA and Pittsburgh Modular ASDR doing some utility work. There’s won’t end up as songs as sometimes it good to just play around.
“The so-called state-variable filter has a long history in electronic music- traditionally the most versatile voltage-controlled filter at any analog synthesist’s disposal. there were several classic design examples and variants produced throughout the heyday of analog synthesis, such as those implemented in the Oberheim SEM, the EDP Wasp, and the fabled,albeit lesser known filters such as the famous Serge filters and Arp 1047; the classic SVF configuration is simple and versatile- with several different filter responses available simultaneously ‘for free’ by nature of it’s design with no elaborate mixing schemes. traditionally there have been some considerations when designing a wide-range filter with variable Q using this topology, for instance, relative instability/ generally poor sound and behaviour at very high Q, many designs get around this by limiting the maximum Q available, among other things. those that are designed to allow for self-oscillation will often become unstable at the threshold and have inconsistencies initiating or mantaining oscillation across the entire audio range. The Toppobrillo Multifilter is a new/ traditional state-variable design based on a great modern quad VCA chip, the SSM2164. this, in part, helps make the Multiflter what it is, a clean, quiet, stable and very controllable filter at it’s core, without limiting its palette, well suited for processing anything you can run through it.” – toppobrillo.com
Today I thought I would give you a quick look at some of my workflow. Here’s how I often start creating an EBM (Electronic Body Music) style track. I’ve started a Eurorack modular system and you can see my first two pieces in action here. I have recorded a 5V Pulse into Ableton from the Korg SyncKontrol iOS app. I loaded the click into Simpler and use MIDI to create a pattern. In this example it’s a straight 16th note. I use Ableton Live to route the 5V click out of my Motu 828 MKIII into a Doepfer Dark Time analog sequencer. The Dark Time is not in sync with my Ableton MIDI set up. The Dark Time controls an Analog Solutions Telemark (SEM clone). 8 steps of CV variation and CV filter variation loop the bassline. I also have the Dark Time send a clock out to a Korg Monotribe. On the Monotribe I have muted the drums and just have it playing some lazer zap type sounds typically where you would find a snare drum. Using MIDI I have a Vermona DRM1 MKIII playing a kick and snare. The Monotribe’s clock out goes into an Intellijel uStep which sends a 16th note clock to a Make Noise Echophone. I have a MFB-522 drum machine in sync with Ableton via MIDI playing a clap. This clap is sent into the Echophon where it’s delay shimmers in 16 synced steps because of the uStep control. I can play with the Echophon’s pitch knob for a wicked nice analog clap delay effect. Is it worth all this effort? In my opinion yes. You can’t really get a sound like this without going analog. This part would make a good verse. Because I can pitch the bassline on a MIDI keyboard the next step is to make a Chorus, maybe change the Dark Time sequence length or patter slightly, add some pads from an Ensoniq ESQ-1 and add vocals. I hope you enjoyed the peek into a world where control is everything.
“CV/Gate (an abbreviation of Control Voltage/Gate) is an analog method of controlling synthesizers, drum machines and other similar equipment with external sequencers. The Control Voltage typically controls pitch and the Gate signal controls note on/off. This method was widely used in the epoch of analog modular synthesizers, beginning in the 1960s and up to the early 1980s. It was mostly superseded by the MIDI protocol, which is more feature-rich, easier to configure reliably, and more easily supports polyphony.” – wikipedia.org/wiki/Control_voltage
As I am about three fourths of the way done with my next album and my studio is a mass of wires. I’ve become obsessed with syncing my old drum machines and analog synthesizers using various methods. I’m not looking for perfectly quantized MIDI. I’m looking for some Control Voltage madness. Last night’s experiment will definitely make it to a full song. I haven’t shared anything with you in a while with regards to my upcoming music but it’s time I start breaking the ice. The audio sample may not be your cup of tea but the method can be used to create all sorts of nonsense in many music styles.
I have an old Korg Rythm 55 drum machine. I go out of it’s Trig Out to a Doepfer Dark Time analog sequencer’s Click In. On the Korg you can set the sequencer to trigger in various times. If you select a 16th note you will get your typical Giorgio Moroder type of thing. This time I have it set to follow the Korg’s kick drum (blue arrow above). The Doepfer is hooked up to one of the oscillators on an Analogue Solutions Telemark synth (both pitch and filter). This time around I don’t want the Dark Time telling the synth to play different notes. I only want it to Trigger a very slight pitch change and that’s why (see the green arrow) I have the pitch line stop after the second step. The two steps are just slightly detuned. The filter does change open and closed over 8 steps (which you can only hear when the filter is partial closed at the beginning). If you notice there is a grey Midi cable plugged into the top of the Dark Time. If I wanted I could play different notes on my attached MIDI controller and the entire sequencing line would change pitch.
Hit play on the Korg and off we go. I turn up the filter, bring in the Korg’s snare and you have something from a different decade. To add to the whole vintage feel the Korg has some Boss DM-100 on it. You can hear when I hit the fills on the Korg the synth follows and it’s really magic. One last thing to note is if you look at the Analogue Solutions Telemark photo above you see that orange arrow? That points to the other oscillator that’s not being controlled by the Doepfer. Its another reason you hear a detuned sound. I can bring it and the noise knob in and out for great effect (or verse/chorus parts). Time to add the vocals.
“At its most basic, an analog sequencer is nothing but a bank of potentiometers and a “clock” that steps through these potentiometers one at a time and then cycles back to the beginning. The output of the sequencer is fed (as a control voltage and gate pulse) to a synthesizer. By “tuning” the potentiometers, a short repetitive rhythmic motif or riff can be set up.” – Wikipedia
I received a delivery from Noisebug yesterday and made the above unboxing video for you. I was also inspired to add the Analogue Solutions Telemark to an EBM song I am working on for my next album. You can hear the song in the video above. It still needs plenty of work and of course vocals. You’re also hearing a Jomox Brane 11 and the sequences are being fired off by a Doepfer Dark Time. The Telemark is created in the UK by Tom J Carpenter. He recently repaired some of Alan Wilder’s (Depeche Mode) equipment for an auction. The Telemark starts off as an Oberheim SEM clone but adds Noise (to me VERY important) and some other goodies. It’s a large beautiful synth and it sounds incredible.
“More features than the original SEM such as Sample and Hold, LFO Square wave, Noise, extra inputs, many more signal modulation options via rotary switches.” – analoguesolutions.org.uk
French company Arturia will release a software recreation of the Oberheim SEM on October 25th. The original SEM’s trick was a 2-pole multimode filter which along with low-pass had high-pass, band-pass and band-reject settings. This gave the unit some wicked sharp sounds. For a while the SEM sound could only be had if you hit eBay. Then Tom Oberheim followed in Bob Moog and Dave Smith’s footsteps and got things going again. I have to mention my favorite SEM sounding synth the Analogue Solutions Telemark which I had a chance to play with recently. It adds a few tricks to the mix including in my opinion a very important feature: noise. It’s good to see Arturia back in the game emulating classic synths because I think it’s what they do best. It’s going to be tough for them to get the sharp filters right on the SEM. That said, the plug-ins are a good stepping stone to get people into hardware or for when you need SEM on an airplane, beach, hotel room, etc… They sure look very pretty too!
“After years without any addition to their Synthesizer Anthology series, Arturia has announced that it will soon bring back to life in software format one of the world’s most sough-after synthesizers. The Oberheim SEM V accurately emulates the famous sound and interface of the original Synthesizer Expander Module introduced by Oberheim Electronics in 1974. Faithfully reproducing the tone, waveshapes, multi-mode 12dB/octave filter and other detailed characteristics, the Oberheim SEM V also brings the benefits of polyphony, MIDI control, arpeggiation and some innovative functionalities such as the 8-voice programmer, or the advanced keyboard follow.” –kvraudio.com
Every time I see an Analogue Solutions Europa Sequencer demo I know I have to get one soon. It’s a good time machine especially here set up with Depeche Mode’s People are People drum kit. By the way if you haven’t heard the B-Side “In Your Memory” and your a DM fan go find it… it’s good.
“The beat was created using Europa’s Internal mode (not synced to MIDI clock or using outside sequencers). An Ensoniq ASR-10 was providing the drum samples in this case. The Europa was also used to sequence the AS Telemark synthesizer at the end of the video and uses the Europa’s velocity controls (per step key) to control the Telemark’s filter (velocity to filter). At the end of the vid, Europa is put into External clock mode and synced to MIDI clock (DAW sequencer). At this point, Europa will start/stop when the computer sequencer starts/stops. Europa also is sending sync to the AS Oberkorn MK3 sequencer, which is controlling the SE ObieRack.” – rezfilter
Here we have an Analogue Solutions Oberkorn sequencer getting down with a Telemark SEM clone and Leipzig monosynth. I like the Analogue Solutions stuff because it sounds aged out of the box. Most new analog gear sticks on perfect pitch missing the point.
“CVM module. Sequencer is an analogue Oberkorn. Playing two MIDI synths; Telemark (making the crazy sound) and Leipzig-r (warm synth sound). Oberkorn is also controlling velocity (in turn changing the filter cut-off). Joystick just adding a little transpose. Also here you can glimpse my white Red Square.” – ASUKLTD
If you’re looking for a very good sound analog synthesizer you may want to check out the new Analogue Solutions SEM clone Telemark. I can think of a long list of main brand synthesizers that cost around the same price ($1250) or higher than the Telemark that don’t have 1/10th of it’s character. Check out the video and audio sample below:
For a history lesson concerning Oberheim’s SEM (Synthesizer Expander Module) head over to vintagesynth.com: click here If your about to go shopping keep in mind Tom Oberheim is also preparing to release a new version of his own classic. Read about the new SEM and check out a video over at Matrixsynth: click here