I’ve owned a Vermona DRM1 MKIII for a while. It’s one of my most beloved machines. It sounds so sharp and vintage it’s really incredible. I noticed the insert jacks but never realized you could use them not only as outs but to route the audio back in! Thanks to The Tuesday Night Machines for posting this. Time to find some pedals!
“The effects insert feature lets you route processed drum sounds back into the drum machine’s internal stereo mixer.” – The Tuesday Night Machines
I’m flying today to San Francisco. For a change this is a pure vacation weekend. No screaming or heavy equipment to lug around. It’s strange to be able to pack everything I need in 15 minutes. I’m visiting my brother, his wife and new baby. They are both neuroscientists but you may also know my brother as the musician Acrosome. A few years ago he bought some new music gear and he reads this blog so I suspect sooner than later there will be another Acrosome record. He has some cool stuff in his studio including a re-issue Oberheim SEM, Motu Volta, Vermona DRM, NordLead and other goodies (photo from 2010 above). I’ll try and make it to Robotspeak. If they have a Doepfer Dark Time I’m going to push him to get one because as teens we were major EBM freaks together and he needs an analog sequencer ASAP. Friday I’m going to visit one of my oldest friend Rich Lin. He works at Zynga and I’m certain he’s high on the food chain there so I will get a proper tour. I’ve known Rich since I was in 3rd Grade and we have the same birthday. He also has a young family and on Saturday we are all going to a beach on the Russian River. It’s going to be good to get away from NYC humidity. Unlike going to Europe my data plan will be intact to I’ll be Instagramming, Twittering and if I have time in the evenings posting here.
“When the night turns into day you can’t believe the things I say. And when I lie and make you cry I prefer we were high.” – Acrosome
Thomas (pulsn) sent me a message letting me know he reviewed the new Vermona PerFourMer MKIIover at Amazona. I do love the Vermona stuff and the PerFourMer looks/sounds great. The review is in German but Google can help you there plus there’s some nice photos and audio. Read the review: click here
“Keine silbernen Laborgeräte Knöpfe mehr, sondern klare schlichte Formen, elegante Farbwahl und Klasse beschreiben das neue im zeitlosen “Lancet” Pultdesign gehaltene Instrument. Vermutlich trifft das neue Erscheinungsbild nicht jedermanns Geschmack, aber auffällig und anders wirkt es auf jeden Fall.” – amazona.de
Now that I released my latest album Joyless Pleasure one thing that has me excited is that I can now talk about the songs. If you don’t mind I am going to make a post for each song going into as much detail as I can about the inspiration, influences and production. There is a reason for all the pro-audio gear lust that happens on this site. The crazy plastic and metal boxes full of buttons and dials are my secret weapons in song-writing.
I recorded a large amount of music and only picked ten songs to release. Narrowing the selection was easy because my criteria was simple. I only picked songs that were completely inspired by true events in my own life. The first song was Modern.
It’s hard for me to label my success as an musician. I don’t sell millions of albums and there are no paparazzi on my front door. However, I can make a living solely from music and I have fans pretty much in any city I go to. The music I listen to and love isn’t popular so I don’t expect my own releases to be on the billboard 100. I can’t make pop music or trance or even Minimal tracks with a purpose to chart. I can only really make my own songs. I’ve tried to conform but all that happens is I pull my hair out and stress. Music like my own had it’s day in the 80s backed by a very different kind of music industry.
As I entered my late 30s I realized I wanted more. I began to see my friends begin to purchase homes, cars and start families. I knew if I wanted to afford more than rent and drum machines I would need to get a day job. I also knew that even though I was a full time musician I only actually worked on music when I was inspired. I could easily take on more in my life. This was the point I decided to move back to NYC. I loved my time in Berlin but if you’re going after large buckets of cash my home town is where it’s at. I crossed the ocean and started looking. My only requirement is that the pay had to be high. I looked into music jobs such as cataloging sounds for Toys R Us or running a Pro-Tools rig at a small television advertising company. Too boring. I decided I needed some help so I looked for an employment agency. I walked into a place called Tomorrow’s Workplace and immediately saw a sign for a job at an Energy Services company. I knew there was green stuff in energy in both senses of the word. I have no idea why I thought I could land the job. Amazingly I got the job on the spot and quickly learned my tech savyness made be popular. I could also sell quite well. Afterall I’ve been selling music for years. A commodity most people don’t even want to buy! Fast foward to today. I left that company and started my own ESCO called ENVEN with a 78 year old ex-lawyer, mortgage broker named Charlie. In some ways we couldn’t be more different. He’s a religous concervative who thinks in numbers. Yet we have become best friends and I’ve unearthed his not so secret past as a party animal. While parts of my job are unfun I am on my way to the things I want.
As my team modernizes around Manhattan I watch the old become new. Many of the things I love about Berlin are happening here. Glass, steel and cool white futuristic lighting replace what’s left of urban decay. I’ve learned more in the past two years than the ten before it. I’ve modernized myself. That’s the inspiration behind this song.
You can hear many of my music influences in Modern such as Kraftwerk and Joy Division yet I think it has my stamp on it. Now let’s talk tech! This song is very much an analog affair. Every single synth sound and the white noise comes from a Yamaha CS-5. It took me about a week to piece the panned layers into it’s repetitive verse chorus. The drums except the kick are from my favorite piece of equipment the Vermona DRM1 MKIII. I think the DRM is so under rated under noticed. The kick is from my Jomox Mbase which is signed by Jürgen Michaelis himself. The vocals were recorded using my API 512c mic pre and Shure KSM32 microphone. There is panned Altiverb on my voice. I used a Lexicon PCM90 Impulse Response. I recorded some NYC street sounds on my iPhone which you can hear in the background throughout the song. Everything was sequenced in Ableton Live.
“All the modern. All the modern. Super Building. Super Building. Growing into a new day. Growing into a new day.”
I love that on the Buchla site they say the following statement about their Thunder product, “Making no attempt to emulate the appearance or playing techniques of existing acoustic instruments…”. Hell yeah! The Thunder is straight out of the set of Star Trek the Next Generation. The underrated Vermona PerFourMers synths are a nice match. Shall we say PerEightMer?
“16 improvisations using the Buchla Thunder MIDI-Controller on two Vermona PerFourMers. In the sixth piece (from 7:01) the Thunder plays seven internal sequences (“riffs”) I had recorded beforehand. They can be scaled in real time, which I didn’t do here though.” – Katavist
I was looking through the great collection of Musikmesse 2011 videos posted by Sonic State and came across the new Vermona PerFourmer MKII. Besides the myriad of knobs it has a polyphonic mode where the voices rotate or it can be set up as 4 individual synthesizers. We really have a wide selection of great analog hardware synthesizers to choose from these days! 1400 EUR. Available this summer.
“And here it is. We’d like to introduce you to the new PerFourMer MKII. Like its predecessor it features four individual synthesizers that can be linked and played with six different playmodes: 2x monophonic, 2x duophonic and 2x polyphonic. Each synthesizer has a VCO with sine, triangle, pulse and sawtooth wave shape as well as a noise generator. There is a lowpass filter, an ADSR envelope generator and a LFO that can be synced by an internal or external (MIDI-) clock. A whole synthesizer can be modulation source for oscillator- or filter frequency of the following one and it has got hard-sync for the oscillators and soft-sync for the LFO.” – blog.vermona.com
Here’s clip from a song I am working on. Drums are Vermona DRM1 MKIII, Synth is layers of a Yamaha CS5 no real effects except I’m running the track through Altiverb but only for a Neuman mic IR (Impulse Response) not for reverb and Izotope Ozone for widening. Eventually the song will be longer with vocals.
“Synthpop is a genre of music in which the synthesizer is the dominant musical instrument. It originated as part of the new wave movement of the early 1970s to the mid-1980s, and it has continued to exist and develop ever since. The genre has seen a resurgence in popularity in the late 2000s/early 2010s.” – Wikipedia
I can’t see why having one of these new Vermona MONO Lancet analog synths around can be a bad thing. Be sure to watch until 2:50 to hear the quality of the resonance. I like it.
“The voltage controlled lowpass filter has a slope of 24db per octave. On high resonance settings it starts to self-oscillate and produces a stable sine wave that can be played in a range of about 2 ½ octaves.” – vermona.com
The East Germans known as vermona.com have some new hardware on the horizon. First a synthesizer called the Mono Lancet: 2x VCO (triangle, sawtooth, square / sawtooth, rectangle, noise), 24dB lowpass filter, ADSR, envelope generator (VCF, VCA, VCO), LFO (triangle, square, s/h), MIDI for 449 EURO. Next, the Kick Lancet based on the KICK channel of the DRM1 MKIII Waveshaper (sine -> square), FM, trigger inputs (switch, audio, gate), MIDI for 265 EURO. Doepfer Dark Energy and DSI Mopho you have some new friends.
“The Lancets approach for landing and finally will arrive internationally in August/September 2010.” – vermona.com
Here’s a clip of a remix I just finished for Millimetric. I played it live in Stuttgart and it past the club test so it’s in his inbox. From a production standpoint your hearing Vermona DRM-1 drums through Izotope Trash, white noise crashes from a Yamaha CS5, the 90’s T99 or 80’s Vomito Negro sample is in an Ableton Simpler going through various Sugar Bytes Effectrix presets. My vocals are through a Shure KSM32 and Wavearts plug-ins.
“I’m a ELECTRONIC. ELECTROCHARGED. RUN RUN RUN RUN!!!!” – The Horrorist