October 29, 2013

Taking A Step Into The Future

If you've been following this blog for any amount of time you'll probably know that taking any step into the future (even a very small one) is very hard for me to do. But after years of touring with a Roland ProMars, RS-09 and synthesizers.com modular system (for bass -- eventually switched to a Moog Minitaur), I've made the switch to current equipment! Still all analog: 2 Moog Slimphattys and a Moog Subphatty. My main reason for this is that the old Roland gear was constantly breaking down, I had it in the shop between almost every tour, what a pain! The other season is that all of these pieces have patch memory and midi - two things I avoid like the plague while working in the studio - but in a live setting they can be quite useful. So, rather than me having to constantly twiddle knobs on the Moog Minitaur every time the Decay of a bass sound needs to change (which is quite often!), I can program those changes and they can happen automatically. But, because the front panel of all these machines stay active (a step up from the ProMars!) I can still reach over and adjust any sound at any point. 

And speaking of programing, I'm doing all the sequencing from an MPC-1000 and it is a nightmare. If anyone knows any tips or shortcuts for that thing, please let me know in the comments of this post. But I suspect it's just as awful and difficult as it seems. 

Anyway, I suppose I'm somewhat excited about this new set up but also a little scared. Onward and upward!

October 25, 2013

Burning Hearts - Various Lives

This is a little more rockin' than I usually talk about here, but I've been listening to this band a lot lately (they're perfect listening for this sort of weather), and look there, she's even playing a Roland Juno-60. How nice! I do strongly recommend their record Aboa Sleeping, it's full of lush synthesizers and little CR-78 drums. 

you can get all their music from shelflife.com

October 20, 2013

Brynjulf Blix with Roland S-50 Live Norwegian Broadcasting

This is from a later era than I normally post about here, but I am interested in these samplers. I think being able to hook up the computer monitors to them is really terrific. There may be one of them in my future... not exactly sure how I'd incorporate it into my own music (or if I would at all). Anyway, this video is all Roland S-50 sampler with the internal sequencer - no other instruments. With Roland GP-16 processor and Lexicon 480 reverb.

October 9, 2013

Roland 184 Four Voice Polyphonic Keyboard Controller

So, I bought a 184 CV keyboard controller. It came in the mail today and I am loving it! I have a modest synthesizers.com system with three VCO's that I'm controlling those with it. It sounds very.... synthesizer-y. It's hard to describe. I sometimes hear people say that true, analog polyphony sounds like a VHS tape. I think this is true, because you can get the oscillators to not be perfectly in tune with one another and it gives the pitch that sort of warble that one often hears on a VHS tape.

My plan is to build up my modular system to have a VCO, VCF, Envelope Generator and Amp for each of the four CV outputs of the 184. I'll keep you updated on the progress. It will probably be very slow moving!

October 5, 2013

The Hammond Novachord

I only just found out about this thing. It's considered by some to be the word's very first synthesizer, from 1939. It's fully polyphonic and it sound incredible! It has 146 tubes in it! My favorite sounds in the video happen at 1:25 and 4:20. It almost has a vocal quality about it.  I also like when the guys are talking about how simple the design is on the outside but how complex it is on the inside, then one of them says something along the lines of "It's like a swan, gliding gracefully across the water, but below the surface it's paddling like crazy."

October 3, 2013

The Last Unicorn

A couple nights ago I went to a screening of The Last Unicorn. It was one of my favorite movies as a kid and continues to be interesting and strange for me to this day. The film is "on tour" right now with the Author of the book and screenplay, Peter S. Beagle. Before the movie there was a question and answer session with Peter. There were a lot of people there who were way bigger fans than me (costumes and all), so I didn't ask any questions. Peter also wrote the screenplays for the animated Lord of the Rings movies that came out around the same time as The Last Unicorn and both were produced by Rankin / Bass who are most famous for their Christmas specials (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Twas the Night Before Christmas...)

It was really neat to be there with the author and feel sort of connected to the past. If you've never seen the move I highly suggest it. There's something really off about it, but that's what makes it special and different from Disney animated movies. You can watch the trailer bellow or if you'd like to catch it while it's on tour (for the next two years!) stay tuned to the website  www.lastunicorntour.com