Friday, 18 April 2014

Gear Acquisition Syndrome strikes yet again!!!

Yep, some more stuff has found it’s way into the GTK Studio.

I’ve been wanting a hardware low pass filter for some time and then a couple of weeks ago, I managed to acquire just such an item from good old eBay, and for a very good price I might add.

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It’s quite obviously a “home brew” jobbie (as in D.I.Y.), but it has a good solid sound and is a very beefy, screamy, dirty, filthy filter. I put one of my Monotrons through it and it made the walls rattle!!! Here’s a bit of a test video:


Plenty of uses for live performance as well as in the studio.

I took delivery this morning of a rather nice little synth/sequencer – the Korg ElecTribe EA-1 analogue modelling synthesizer, as bought from Facebook friend, Martin Powell.

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Not had much of a chance to play with it properly yet, but what I have found already is that it really is a very cool little piece of kit. It can go from being quite mellow and very ambient to downright dirty. I like that in a synth.

It’s a basic synthesizer with a 2 track sequencer and real-time parameter controls. In my book, that makes it VERY usable for live performance. I’m planning to hook it up to my Korg 01/W FD workstation over the coming weekend as it would rather cool to be able to program sequences that I can not only play along with, but also change on the fly. It’s incredibly easy to use and in no time at all I had created a very basic sequence with a synth kick that was quite tweakable with the on-board controls.

Here’s a very poor sound quality video I threw together this afternoon, putting the EA-1 through some effects pedals:


I've just closed a trade of my Novation ReMOTE ZeRO SL MIDI controller (which I just could not get on with sadly - should never have sold the Novation ReMOTE 61 SL MIDI keyboard!!!) for another piece of Korg ElecTribe equipment - more details whe it's delivered ;-)

Thursday, 17 April 2014

A productive day......

The days of late really do seem to have flown by. I have a very full and active life, so it doesn't take much for a week or two to suddenly have passed by. And for that reason, I don't always get the things done that I want to do, and I don't always keep in touch with people as perhaps I should. But I think we all have that happen in these modern times - never enough hours in the day, as it were.

So, when I have day like today, my sense of achievement is greater.

I set out to spend some time this morning messing about with my Korg Monotrons and hardware effects, deciding to not use any software, other than my DAW, Reaper. And that's just what I did. It was fun triggering delays with the Monotrons and pushing them to the limit, effectively using them as instruments in their own right. To many, it would sound nothing than a cacophony of noise, but I attempted to be subtle in my tweaking of the controls and to me they brought forth a fascinating electronic soundscape.

I recorded a 30 minute piece which I called "Dark Passenger", and you can stream it here:


One of my reasons for spending a morning making strange cacophonous noises was to see if I could create something improvised, using the few bits and pieces that I have in my possession, for live performance. I really enjoyed the set that my son Callum and I did at the Awakenings Evening of Ambient and Electronic Music in July of last year, but I have also enjoyed the improvised electronic music performances I had seen at previous events, notably those of Jez Creek, aka Modulator ESP. And my achievement this morning was that an improvised electronic set is something I now have the confidence to do with a small set up.

This afternoon I had planned to work on the "Structures of Paradise" album, but the events of the morning inspired me revisit the hardware synthesizers I own, in particular the Korg 01/W FD workstation keyboard and it's onboard sequencer. I made great progress and for reason, found it far easier to get to grips with it than the last time I tried whilst preparing for Awakenings. Using a good old-fashioned MIDI set up, I had the 01\W FD sequencer controlling not just it's own synthesiser, but also the Roland SH-201 synth and the Alexis DM5 drum module. This greatly widens my scope for performing the different aspects of my music completely live. I also like that I can trigger the SH-201 and adjust its' settings as part of the performance. Now I know that musicians have been doing this for years, but this is new stuff to me, and I have say, I'm finding it a little exciting :-)

And this evening, I worked on "Structures of Paradise", mainly the middle section. I'm planning to spend as much time as I can on this album now as I really want to get it finished and "out there". I've talking with my son Callum about artwork and this is what we are thinking of using as the cover:

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I like it as it's bright and has a kind of retro-futuristic feel to it. I also feel that captures the essence of the studio version of the performance we did last year. But it's not finalised and as with all things, could possibly change.

And now, it's the end of the day and the wonders of modern technology mean that I can write this blog entry on my little Hudl from the comfort of my bed.

Nite nite.