March 29, 2015

And One More Thing About the Roland CSQ-600...

This is just a fun little tip, but if you're having trouble playing a line by hand (maybe it's just a little too complicated for your intermediate keyboarding skills), you can program the notes into a CSQ sequencer and then all you have to worry about it playing the gate, and not the notes. You could do this by hooking your keyboard gate output to the CSQ step input and then just hit the keys in whatever rhythm you like. Or just press the forward step button on the CSQ. I guess this is an electronic music studio "life hack".

March 28, 2015

Sonic Maps

Years ago when I started Mild Slopes I felt like there weren't any blogs about old fashion (or, shall we say classic?) electronic music that also had much of a personal touch. They all seemed like they were written by computer programs - characterless explanations of gear, links to auctions, or just pages and pages of photos. I thought it would be nice to add a human element to the thing. Well, I'm happy to say that there is now one other that I know of. Sonic Maps definitely has my vote for the best new blog award. I actually think of Sonic Maps as a sort of sister blog to Mild Slopes. But make no mistake, it is not just more of the same. Sonic Maps has a personality and spirit that is all it's own! 

So check it out for yourself, subscribe! It is frequently updated and delightful:

March 20, 2015

First Day of Spring

I woke up this morning at the Quaker meeting house in Manhattan to the sound of bagpipes. What a nice way to start one's day! It's the first day of spring and suddenly it is snowing here, seems like that's always how these things go. Anyway, I've decided to start working on a "switched-on" version of Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty ballet. I actually started it a little yesterday. Today I'm trying to make some real progress with it so that I'll continue on with it. Who knows what will happen, but it's a fine project for me right now. 

March 16, 2015

Moog Sticker

This Moog sticker arrived in the mail today with no explanation, there was nothing in the envelope except the sticker. I guess Moog Music Inc just thought it was important that I have this sticker.  It's a nice sticker and I'm glad they sent it to me. Thanks Moog!

Walt Dinsey's Fantasia - Deleted Scene: Clair de Lune

March 14, 2015

Different Covers

When I was a kid and I'd go to a library or book store I'd never been to before, the first thing I would always do was see what different covers they had for the Chronicles of Narnia. There were so may different covers (especially back in those days) and they all fascinated me. I came across this cover that I've never seen before today and it reminded me of this.

March 13, 2015

Korg 770

This little guy came into my studio a couple weeks ago. I actually traded a Roland MC-202 for it. I've never really been too excited about Korg products. I had an EX-800 and a DW-8000 when I was a kid but nether of them are much fun to play with (though I did think the EX-800 was somewhat interesting and sometimes imagine getting another). Anyway, I'm really loving this 770. The shape and size of it are just perfect. I mean, this is really what you see when you close your eyes and imagine an analog monosynth. And then the way things are labeled, there are controls called "traveler", "singing level", "scale noise". It's actually a little confusing at first, and I've played tons of different synthesizers. But it's that bewilderment that makes it so exciting. It makes it seem more experimental than most synthesizers, more radiophonic perhaps. 

And it sounds great! I mean really great. It's strange because the controls are somewhat limited: just a switch with two setting for the resonance level on the filter, same with LFO and envelope amount. All sort of really strange things that should be limiting, but somehow don't seem to matter so much. I don't use this expresion much (because it's kind of stupid) but this synthesizer truly is more than the sum of it's parts. 

Here is a great little piece from S.O.S about this era of Korg:

And here is a song that I suspect must be using the 770, if not... it's channeling it's spirit for sure.

March 12, 2015

Scotch "Living Letters" Magnetic Tape

These living letters were meant to be sent in the mail and even came in plastic, mailable cases. How wonderful! I wonder if something like this is what the "Abominatron" explanation was recorded on that Bob Moog sent to Herbert Deutsch?

I was trying to find a clip of that to play for you here, but I can't seem to find one online. Well, you can listen to one on the iTunes website here:

It's track number two. I do suggest buying the track though, it is well worth the 99¢.

March 10, 2015

A Petition to Publish Delia Derbyshire's music from the BBC Sound Archive

Someone has started a petition to have Delia's unreleased work published. I can certainly get on board with that! Looks like they're still a ways off from their goal, so please sign and spread this around however you can. 

March 5, 2015

Sir Ian McKellen in Narnian Attire Designed by Pauline Baynes 1957

Just kidding. But in another universe where Pauline did designed costumes for Narnia stage productions, couldn't you imagine?

This is actually a photo of Ian Mckellen in 1957, but as Henry V. You can follow him on instagram for more like this:

I think Ian is the all time winner of best use of the TBT "throw back thursday" hash tag.