CatSynth video: shadow cat (modular synth)

From Ebotronix on YouTube, via matrixsynth. Quite the modular synth collection in this recording, plus one cool cat.

4ms Peg, QCD /Expander² ,QPLFO, RCD, VCA Matrix
Analogue Systems RS 100², RS110²², RS 360²
Bananalogue Serge VCS
Cyndustries Zeroscillator²
Doepfer R2m, A101-2, A114, A118,A134²², A143-2,A151²²
A152, A175²²,A185-2, A138abc, A192-1( 4Vox midi CC )
Flame 4 Vox ,Chord Machine², FX 16, Talking Synth Module²
flight of harmony choices
Make Noise Brains ,PP²,Maths²,Moddemix²²,QMMG,
Optomix, Wogglebug²
Malekko Anti²², Unkle²²,Jag
Moog FreqBox²², MP201
Roland SVC-350 Vocoder, System 104 Sequencer
SSL Modulation Orgy
Tip Top Audio Z8000 manual voltage source
Toppobrillo Quantimator²(min pentatonic),Sportmodulator,TWF
Logic masterclock to Kenton Pro 2000
Rocktron Rack Interface²
FX : Alesis 3630,Philtre,Boss VF-1,Lexicon PCM 80
Line 6 Echopro ,Red Federation BPM FX Pro
TC M one XL, M3000
mackie the mixer²
drums Ultrabeat
vid # 1284

NAMM: New and odd modules at Muff Wiggler

The Muff Wiggler Store was onsite at NAMM this year, hosting quite a few module makers whose work I had not encountered before.

Minigorille

These eye-catching modules from Minigorille have graphic screens (an unusual feature for a Eurorack module) for manipulating control voltage. It includes several programs such as a pong-like game and an XY freehand drawing unit, and has an expander for input from a handheld controller.

Next was the rather psychedelic Circuit Shaman, featuring modules with purple knobs and colorful LEDs, all to be viewed through distorting rainbow glasses.

Circuit Shaman

The flagship module was the Spectra Mirror, a resonant down-sampler with a variety of controllable parameters allowing it to sound like a clean VCA, a bit-crusher and various things in between such as downsampling the signal with a high-pass filter. It would be interesting to run the shape controls through an LFO, or through the Minigorille module.

While not in Eurorack format, this complete system in Moog format from Synthetic Sound Labs was quite playable, and included a newly released Steiner filter.

Synthetic Sound Labs

There was a lot more at the booth, some old some new, but more than I am able to cover in this article. Visit the Muff Wiggler Store to find more, including some you may have never heard of before.

Outsound New Music Summit: PoetryFreqs

The concert series of the Pitta of the Mind, my duo with Maw Shein Win got things going with a set of poetry and electronic music on the themes of abstract art and cinematic distance. Our color theme for the evening was red and black.

Pitta of the Mind at Outsound Music Summit
[Photo by Annabelle Port.]

It was our longest set to date, but also our best so far, with a variety of sounds to match the words and tight transitions between poems. It was also the most complex technically, with the Prophet 12, analog modular, Moog Theremini, iPad, and Nord Stage EX all running at once.

Amanda Chaudhary
[Photo: PeterBKaars.com.]

Maw Shein Win
[Photo by Annabelle Port.]

We performed confidently and playfully and we got a great audience response. And the color theme went well with the blue set and lighting courtesy Travin McKain.

We were followed by first-ever performance by Ruth Weiss, one of the original Beat poets, with master analog synthesizer artist Doug Lynner as well as Hal Davis on log.

Doug Lynner, Ruth Weiss, Hal Davis
[Photo: PeterBKaars.com.]

Log may seem like an odd instrumentation, but Davis made it work well with Ruth Weiss’ recitations, and Lynner managed to create sounds on the Mystery Serge modular that sometimes mimicked the percussive resonance of the log and at other times complimented it with more lush tones. He was also able to hit loud or noisy moments in between the words. Ruth Weiss was sharp and witty in her readings, moving from her work in the 1950s and 1960s to more recent compositions. Although the trio had only met once before, they seemed very comfortable performing together and it made for a fun and exciting set. This was something that will likely never be repeated, so we were privileged to have witnessed it.

The final set brought together Zachary James Watkins on electronics and Marshall Trammell on percussion with poet and voice artist Amber McZeal.

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[Photos: PeterBKaars.com.]

The music began slowly, with calm but textured percussion and electronic sounds combined with McZeal on didgeridoo. The drone built up to more intense textures, with noise and thick electronics, Trammell’s intense drumming, and McZeal’s voice, which was at times beautiful and melodic singing, and other times dramatic and confident speech. The text for this set was very sparse compared to the previous sets, more like a third instrument than poetry set to music.

Overall, this was a great start to the Summit concerts with three strong performances (I admit I am biased about the first one). We had a great turnout as well, filling all the seats in the concert hall at the Community Music Center. It set a high bar for the next nights.

CatSynth pic: Peek-a-boo (Eurorack Modular)

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Via matrixsynth.

Whenever I see a Eurorack modular, I am curious about the modules I have never seen before.  I certainly don’t have the “cat head” module yet!

CatSynth pic: Klee Cats

Klee cats

Via Paul Appliancide on The MATRIXSYNTH Lounge.

I only know “Klee” to refer to the artist Paul Klee, whose work I admire. I was not familiar with the Klee sequencer module until now. It looks pretty intense.

APAture 2013 Opening Night

After a four year hiatus, Kearny Street Workshop’s APAture festival is back. The previous APAture in 2009 was my first look into the Bay Area’s vibrant scene of emerging Asian Pacific American artists. This time around, I not only attended the festival and gallery exhibition opening, but participated as well as one of the featured musicians. I created a set that featured the dotara, a South Asian folk instrument, as well as a sketch box, DSI Evolver, and analog modular.

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The presence of blue and purple in the setup is not an accident, as the color blue was central to this performance. It was part of my costume and the lighting as well.

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[© 2013 Susa Cortez/Kearny Street Workshop.]

The piece unfolded with the usual black-cat-blue-light opening, followed by a gradual swelling and fading of sounds from the modular. The dotata and sketch box were fed into the Make Noise echophon for effects reminiscent of old studio tape delays, alongside more modern noisy elements from the other modules. Overall, the performance was well received. For some, it was their first experience with electro-acoustic improvisation, and expressed to me their curiosity about it afterwards.

The opening night also included an opportunity to see the work of the visual artists participating in APAture. There was quite a range of work, and several pieces were quite strong both technically and conceptually. Jessica Tang covered an entire wall with panels connected by strands of red string. A closer look revealed that the panels were successive runs of Google translator on a block of text. The view can observe the decay of meaning and language through her piece:

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Yuki Maruyama’s wooden blocks function as 3D versions of manga (comic) frames. The blocks can be assembled into new comic narratives, i.e., an “exquisite corpse”. Having three dimensions, however, allows for more combinations and interpretations of the assembled comic.

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More traditional artistic media were represented as well. Wenxin Zhang’s presented stark versions of portraiture and architectural photography.

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One of the more amusing pieces was an interactive conceptual work by Alison Ho, in which she invited visitors to stick gold stars with various Asian stereotypes on a blown up image of her face. Her piece was intended to challenge the notion of Asian American’s as a model minority. Clearly, many people were having fun with it.

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[© 2013 Susa Cortez/Kearny Street Workshop.]

Other works that piqued my interest was Mido Lee’s starkly beautiful photographs of dead/forlorn trees, including some from desert landscapes; and a minimalist ring of light presented by featured artist Michael Namkung.

APAture has continued throughout October with events focus on different media, including writing, performance, and comics/zines.   The next event will be music night on Friday, October 25, at SUB/Mission (2183 Mission Street, San Francisco). If you are in San Francisco, do check it out.

CatSynth video: Make Noise MMG Jam with Kitten

From grillobeats on YouTube via matrixsynth.

“Now that I have a kitten, it’s become basically impossible to jam on my modular synthesizer. featuring mfb triple osc, peg, doepfer 132, make noise rene and my new mn MMG”

Lots of familiar modules in this one. The kitten seems particularly interested in the Make Noise Rene. I actually haven’t tried out the MMG yet but now I’m curious.

CatSynth video: Creepy Space Cat

From kj6bbs on YouTube, via matrixsynth.

“Discovered something new tonite.” [sic]

That is indeed part of the fun of modulars, of electronic music in general. Did you spot the cat in the video?

CatSynth pic: Modular cat #modular #eurorack #cats #synthesizers

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From Larry Kleinke on flickr.

“Modular Cat. #modular #eurorack #cats #synthesizers”

Robotspeak Adapter Build Workshop in San Fransisco 8/17/13

Robotspeak AdapterTest

via matrixsynth:

“Adapter build workshop.

This is a simple passive universal adapter allowing interfacing of a Eurorack or Serge with other gear.

“What do I get ?”

You get the pedal box with holes in it, all the jacks, some wire, directions, help building & a place to build it for 3 hours. (it really shouldn’t take more than 2 hours).
Free modular synth performance @2pm

PS: Yes you can use it to interface your eurorack with your Moog or Serge , or even your home stereo or VCR! Yes its a pocket mult, Yes its a pocket adapter a banana stacking mult/adapter.

To sign up contact steve.t at robotspeak dot com”

It’s in San Francisco, it helps with Eurorack and other gear, and their ad has a cat in it! How could I not attend?