Weekend Cat Blogging #231: at home in the studio

A day when I was feeling mildly ill turned into an incredibly creative and productive day, including lots of time in the office/studio.

Here we see Luna sitting on the ledge that borders the studio area. In the background one of our main workstations, with Pro Tools running on the computer, and the trusty E-MU Proteus 2000 module off to the side (it’s back in its rack after the recent Reconnaissance Fly performance). One of several photographs by our friend Luxe hangs in the back.

The studio ledge is the highest point in CatSynth HQ, which makes it attractive to cats. There is also another workspace against the ledge where I often sit, so she likes to be nearby.

Note that the duck is actually musical instrument that I have used in several live shows :).

I do sometimes feel a little nervous when Luna gets up the ledge, given how high it is above the floor below. But I am putting my faith in her feline balance and dexterity. Eventually she comes done into the space itself to curl up for a nap, often on her favorite beanbag chair:


Weekend Cat Blogging #231 is being hosted by Diamond and Tristan over at digicats. Do check out their cool graphic featuring another black cat with green eyes and a human “cat woman” companion.

The Carnival of the Cats will be going to Nikita’s Place this Sunday.

And of course the Friday Ark is at the modulator.

CatSynth pic: Chat et MPC 3000

Submitted by Vince Noog via facebook:

Originally from the French-language version of Audiofanzine. The cat is napping atop an Akai MPC 3000. The MPC 2500 was “represented” in Nomadik Messenger’s performance at the APAture Festival” back in September.

I also noticed an E-MU SP-12 in one of the other photos from this set (sans chat).

Midnight Monday CatSynth pic: More Luna in the Studio

A follow-up of sorts to Weekend Cat Blogging. Luna paused in front of this rack and of course I had to grab the nearest camera and snap a picture of her posing.

If Luna represents the present, the gear represents the past. The Yamaha TX81Z has a long personal history, but the other E-MU and Yamaha modules are just there, filling up space. I can remember when these were coveted items and each came with a large price tag. But they do make a nice backdrop for a “CatSynth pic.”

Flip Quartet performance at Book Zoo, July 17

Last Friday, I performed at Book Zoo in Oakland. To start off the evening, I did a solo set, which was followed by a performance of Polly Moller’s The Flip Quartet.

Book Zoo itself was an interesting space, with high ceilings and bookshelves. For a space of this size, we had a decent turn-out as well.

This was the first time in quite a while that I did not use any software components as part of a solo set. The performance centered around the Line6 DL4 for looping and various delay effects. I made extensive use of the analog-delay simulation for echoes and feedback, with various wood blocks, gongs and the ektar as source material.


[Photograph by Jennifer Chu. Click to enlarge]

Of course, the Kaos Pad, DSI Evolver and E-MU Proteus 2000 were also used as electronic sound sources. I also included several beat-based elements, both from hand-drumming and from the sequences are the Evolver and the Proteus 2K, which were matched both rhythmically and arhythmically against the delay lines. Overall, it was not the tightest solo set I have done, but it worked and seemed to be well received by the audience, and stylistically it was a good lead-in to the Flip Quartet.

I had seen a recent performance of the Flip Quartet, and this performance followed the same structure and format, but with different performers. In addition to myself, there was Moe! Staiano, Suki O’Kane and Travis Johns.


[Photographs by Jennifer Chu.]

Basically, the Flip Quartet is a composition for four improvisers who move between four stations representing the cardinal directions (north, east, south, west) and the four medieval elements: earth, air, fire, water. Each station had a variety of instruments and sound-making objects to represent elements. Each performer has a three minute timer. The timers are synchronized, and when the three minutes are up, everyone moves to the next station. We rotate around all four stations twice.

The “fire” table, which included metal and electronic items, was the most populated, with the water table (liquids, strings) having the fewest items. However, Moe! did bring an interesting old string instrument. It was wooden, had four strings and piano-like keys for striking the strings. It was not an auto-harp, it was definitely something else – and it was the main instrument I played during my trips to the water station.

Another interesting addition was the box of worms that Travis Johns contributed to the earth station – the earth station mostly features drums and wooden objects. The worms, were in a box with dirt and vegetable manner, and the box was equipped with a contact microphone that could pick up audible signals from the worms that could then be interpreted musically by the performer.

Musically, this was very different from the previous interpretation of the Flip Quartet, a combination of the musicians involved, the objects available, and the setting. There were some cool moments, where two or more performers together make a musical phrase or pattern emerge from within the overall improvisation – that is something I am always looking for.

CatSynth pic: Luna snoozing in the studio

Luna enjoys a snooze in the studio this past Sunday. We had quite a warm weekend, close to 90F in our neighborhood.

CatSynth pic: Midnight Monday

This is another photo featuring our neighbor. During one of his visits, I found him hiding behind this equipment rack.

Although barely visible from this angle, this rack features some of the older E-MU Proteus and Yamaha FM modules.

CatSynth pic: Cat In The Rack

From Soyuz7 on Flickr.

I see an E-MU Extreme Lead on the rack.

Weekend Cat Blogging and more: Studio

Luna looks out the window, as the new studio starts to take shape.

We see a side rack here, with a couple of colorful E-MU modules, and a couple of classic Yamaha FM modules. Near the window is a non-electronic instrument, a large bell made from a spent CO2 cartridge.

Of course, the main attraction is Luna with her perfectly groomed fur and sharp pose. This might be one of my favorite photos of her to date in our new home.


We saw Luna playing hide-and-seek in the studio last weekend. And that is the theme of this weekend's Bad Kitty Cats Festival of Chaos, hosted this weekend by Chandra & Samantha at New Tuxedo Gang Hideout.

Weekend Cat Blogging #143 is being hosted this weekend Meowza at Mind of Mog.

The Carnival of the Cats is happening this Sunday at Grace & Kittens. And of course the Friday Ark #180 is at the modulator.

CatSynth pics: Niki Fried Rice

Remember Niki? Well, she has some more gear photos:

Looks like a Nord micromodular in the first pic. And in the second, is that an E-MU Xmidi? Well, at least someone bought one. I wonder if that is a standalone unit, or the one that comes with Emulator/Proteus X2? (The fact that it's not connected to any MIDI cables suggests the latter)

sigh

"Trailer" for Obama NYC Rally

Watch this “movie trailer” for Barack Obama’s rally last week in New York:

The rally may have come and gone, but the video is still quite funny, as the viewer comments suggest – and in that dry sort of way I appreciate most.

But the real reason I’m posting this is to shamelessly but honestly take credit for the music. Yes, I cranked out this orchestral “film score” piece using E-MU Emulator X2 and Modern Symphonic Orchestra in just a couple of days. Most of the effort is in the back and forth that always happens when working on film or video, but I’m very pleased with the result.

With almost 7000 views as of this writing, it might be my most “heard” piece of music. And it joins a small collection of pieces I have done for (other people’s) film and video, including the East Bloc Call To Prayer, and Neptune: Prelude to Xi. You can hear some other of my film or film-ready music here or at myspace.

And if you need music for your film or video project, drop me a line. . 😉