Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sound Sculpting : New Envelope Generators

In the world of modular synthesis, it seems the introduction of some new ADRS's would not seem like cause for celebration, but these two new modules from WMD and Tiptop are quite special. The WMD Multimode Envelope (w/expander) offers 9 modes of operation and numerous CV inputs that make this  module very powerful indeed! The Tiptop Z4000 envelope generator offers CV inputs and something called a DEVIATOR that sounds promising as a means of sonic sculpting and manipulation. I've found that these envelopes used in concert with almost any module can make for the creation of wonderful and varied mayhem. As This Second Sleep has stated "this is how we deform."

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Scott Walker : Bish Bosch

All shadowplay mixed with discordant jabs of odd instrumentation and noise, Scott Walker's latest opus, Bish Bosch(4AD), ranks as one of the finest releases of the year. Scott's sound pictures are dark indeed, the bastard son of Ad Reinhardt's black paintings woven through with Cy Twombly psycho-squiggles, along with healthy doses of black humor. Unlike his last release The Drift that was populated with deep architectural drones, Bish Bosch is an angular tapestry sounding not unlike modernist serial music where silence provides a backdrop for the sounds of metal guitar, clanging swords, gargantuan drums and actual flatulence. All of this is recorded with pristine detail that further enhances its immediacy, its  almost sickening expressiveness. This is beautiful brutality. Francis Bacon would be proud.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Resounding...

NO...the only viable response to an over-reaching monoculture intent on imprisoning its inhabitants in a world of breath-takingly mundane sameness. The only free man is one who says NO to the "choices" foisted upon us...choices so lacking in compelling richness and so imbued with corporate talking points hoping to separate us from our money and our individuality that the only positive response can  be NO, NO, NO, NO!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Moskwa Bipolar Rotosequencer

Given my eastern european roots, I am more than a little proud and elated to see the XAOC line of euro-rack modules make it to the U.S. AND quite please to see them now available from the fine gentlemen at CONTROL Brooklyn. The Moskwa has a prominent place in my new Goike mothership!
Get "em while you can at CONTROL on Lorimer Street...take the Moskwa for a spin!

174hp Goike Case

After hours of detaching, attaching, and making choices regarding the placement of modules(what Matthew Goike termed "moving in."), I am nearing the moment I can power this king of euro-cases up. It should provide a wonderfully dystopian light-show and quite a racket!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bo Diddley vs Oscillator

The 1967 Rolling Stones album Flowers, mostly a collection of singles, odd and sods, does contain a few numbers of worth(PLEASE skip right over My Girl though!). What really impressed me after not listening to it for many years was Please Go Home, a cacophonous  mixture of Bo Diddley guitar, Charlie Watts' pounding drums, Jagger's vocals pushed into an echo-smeared universe, AND, lurking in the mix, a trippy oscillator! I remember digging this alien sound in my teens and not knowing what it was. Was this my introduction to electronic music, other than the joyful activity of tuning in white noise, jarring static and ghost voices on my father's car radio? Who knows...but it's wandering electronic tone still makes me smile.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Headless Potential

After quite a few years lost in the wilderness of Buchla, Serge and euro-rack explorations, I find myself once again drawn to six strings. Starting as a blues player I branched out in to what can only be termed exploratory guitar noise without completely losing my tonal center. Sort of, to use a painting analogy, Cy Twombly meets Robert Ryman in a darkened room...quiet corners erupt into mayhem!

The grey Teuffel guitar and the pink Klein appeal to my need for non-conformity. Perhaps the headless guitars can function as an metaphor for my romantic need for unfettered creative "frequency painting" a la Duchamp. The Teuffel is the first industrial guitar; its controls produce a cacophonous outpouring, grey blasts of sonic detrius and smears. Both instruments can produce an acceptable traditional guitar sound, but as function may well be suggested by form, they beg to explore and experiment.

With all this synth obsessiveness as part of my recent history, we'll see where this takes me?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

New Goike Case

Spalted maple, made from a drawing I sent to Matthew, this is a beauty!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Quantum Rainbow

This rainbow produces 5 shades of noise and should prove handy, adding veils of cloudy noise mirages and filth. SSF makes these in the Bronx (along with the great ProModular devices) and are available at CONTROL in Brooklyn. The SSF Quantum Rainbow...handy noise when you need it!

Saturday, October 27, 2012


A recent visit with Daren and Jonas at CONTROL in Brooklyn yielded the a surprise purchase, a Koma Elektronik Kommander, a simple but very effective CV/gate motion controller much like a therimin that responds to hand motions. Check YouTube for a demo...this thing is going to be a blast!

Friday, October 19, 2012

SAMPLE & HOLD : yellow swans

I met Pete Swanson, part of the now defunct noise duo YELLOW SWANS at CONTROL in Brooklyn a few weeks ago; I was taken with his smile, his engaging sense of humor and his stories. Simply put, a nice guy...who makes NOISE...torrents of noise, dystopian, crunching industrial beats, and drones that swallow huge expanses of space. While Yellow Swans is no more, their releases are worth searching out.

Bring The Neon War Home, a 2004 release, is composed of 5 pieces that evolve, morphing from Merzbow-ian tumult to cascading drones. Unlike many noise artists, Yellow Swans create music that engages through creative layered sonic variation meant to be listened to...NOT simply exercises in earplug use!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Blue Lantern Asteroid VCF

In spite of all the euro-forum noise that accompanied the introduction of BL's thru-zero oscillator recently, BL keeps producing a startling array of modules. The most recent monster is the ASTEROID VCF, a stunning jumble of knobs, outputs and modulation choices. It really is BUSY and visually over-powering!...But, what really counts is the sound.

The Asteroid VCF  can be aggressive, an in-your-face sound, that while brutal, exhibits an evolving layered sonic palette that can be easily morphed beyond recognition utilizing the myriad of ins/outs, knobs and switches. With all this, the Asteroid VCF begs to be "played," almost an instrument unto itself...quite an achievement in a euro-modular world glutted with the mundane disguised as epiphany.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Beast Perhaps?

Ah, the lure of glowing tubes...warm and fuzzy, filled with the promise of analogue wonder. The Metasonix R-54 SUPERMODULE VCO/VCF promises the arcane, the unimaginable and, well, the "super" that surpasses the "prosaic" out-moded sonics of Serge and Buchla modules.The gentlemen of Brooklyn's CONTROL offered me the opportunity to "play" this Metasonix beast; Jonas and I coaxed some wonderful dystopian COLOR and MORE...but more demented than Serge & Buchla masterpieces...that remains to be seen.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sample & Hold : the soft machine vol. 1

The new Sundazed re-issue/remaster of The Soft Machine's first classic bit of psycho-dada featuring Mike Ratledge, Kevin Ayers and Robert Wyatt had me re-living the two times I witnessed their greatness on tour with Jimi Hendrix in 1968. Ayer's We Did it Again, which lasts 3:48 on the album went on for 15-30 minutes at Stonybrook University causing the desired dada confrontational effect-boos, catcalls and audible moaning...GREAT success!!! brother and I seemingly the only audience members who were enjoying the spectacle of unremitting repetition!...we did it again...the war in Vietnam...we did it again...I would have thought this hotbed of countercultural ideals would have embraced this sentiment?

 The Soft Machine went on to morph into an expanded jazz outfit, the only element remaining from the original group sound was Ratledge's fuzz organ. Volume 1 remains a definitive statement-Wyatt's crazed drumming and and inviting vocals, Ayer's loopy bass playing and baritone (VERY british!) vocals, and Ratledge's  fuzzy organ explorations all come together to form a late 60's brand of challenging dada pop art that remains a playful, transgressive listen.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sample & Hold : andrew chalk

Using only processed electric guitar and piano, the veteran sound artist Andrew Chalk has produced sound objects of profoundly compelling beauty. Lilting melodic snippets provide soft protrusions, organic still-ness and the possibility of the infinite and the intimate. These works all unfold from tightly budded to the fully flowered. Little information is given; cover art suggests visually the primacy of the small event, the chanced moment of an epiphany filled with wonder...deeply emotional and liminal.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

ether^ra Studio Views

Arp Odyssey, Tiptop Happy Ending & Goike Cases
Buchla 200e and Serge Modular
Tiptop and Goike Eurorack Cases

Friday, August 10, 2012

WIP : new painting progress

Initial State
Second State

Even with its obvious phallic significance, the snake remains a highly charged symbol.  Inspired by Caravaggio's Head of Medusa, a work pregnant with sexual content and German Anselm Kiefer's more ambiguous use of the serpent in a number of large paintings, this work in progress reflects my interest in the collision of transgressive imagery and text. With a snippet of text borrowed from William Burroughs discussing the american "dream," the snake suggests the temptation inherent in this collective illusion and its potential suffocating result...and it all began with entrails.
Caravaggio Head of Medusa (detail)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

MACHINATIONS : pulp logic monotron-e

Based on the Korg Monotron disposable mini-synth, the Pulp Logic Monotron-E, a eurorack version of said synth, far exceeds my somewhat stunted expectations. With CV inputs and a reset input, this device can be modulated beyond recognition!...and it's FUN. The filter section sounds great and the oscillator is fat! Available at Control in Brooklyn, NY.

Friday, August 3, 2012

LIBRARY : fire in the belly

Fire in the Belly : The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz by Cynthia Carr goes to great lengths to  provide the reader with a gritty picture of New York City in the 80's, a city in the harsh grip of poverty, drugs, violence and AIDS. Before gentrification and the lock-step conformity of Disney, the city portrayed here is SCARY, but the creative spirit of the players in this drama is inspiring, born of a blighted city...and DW's art, both sexual and political AND poetic was a forceful reminder for those who would rather forget about the rights and pain of those persons who inhabit a nether world outside the experience of the nuclear family, perhaps the result of that unit.  I could not help but smile, reading about the city and artists that informed my artistic development, Ms. Carr painting a vibrant picture of a time before Facebook when the time's energy was palpable, not simply a cyber-illusion.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

MACHINATIONS : rebel technology stoicheia

In the hope of creating evolving noises, that is, compelling sounds that offer a myriad of expressive potentials, my credit cards quickly makes an appearance. The Rebel Technology sequencer sends out triggers that can be utilized in concert with almost any other module, creating patterns OR anti-patterns!
...Gee, what fun!!! Drum modules, oscillators, and filters BEWARE!

Στοιχεῖα is a dual Euclidean Sequencer. It algorithmically generates rhythmic sequences from an input trigger signal. The name (Στοιχεῖα, Stoicheia, or Elements) comes from the title of Euclid’s book Elements in which the algorithm was first described. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Getting Chaotic

Received the Elby Designs CHAOTICA yesterday. This is a very deep module, both literally and in terms of its sonic usage. Threatening to devour my system with wild loopy organic sputtering, the CHAOTICA certainly means business!
Elby Chaotica

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Good Bad Art vs. Bad VERY Bad Art

As a visual artist who passionately engages in the process, both conceptual and physical, of art-making meant to be TRANSFORMATIVE and poetic, my eyes where drawn to an article in a local newspaper celebrating the "work" of a local artist. To the casual observer, that is, just about everyone, the drawings reproduced and described in the article as "exhibit-ready were ART. It is curious that even unintentionally very poorly drawn work can be celebrated as ART. In the case of the Madonna and Child above, awkward execution and mark-making that is obviously without expressive intention is simply the product of a sensibility NEVER held to any critical analysis. Are those "hot-dog" fingers the result of a meaningful conceptual strategy? Does this "artist" deserve the moniker?...perhaps in sunday painting groups that serve as groups of mutual self-service and therapy!

Peter Saul, on the other hand, is a very fine artist whose work is transformative, conceptually questioning and UGLY AS HELL! The Last Judgement(1993) can be read as offensive diatribe that takes on the the equally ugly aspects of the Roman Catholic Church and shoves them in our collective denying faces. Saul, a impulsive moralist, gives us a cyclops God and Virgin Mary painted in garish colors describes in cartoon-like form that is not beatific but are MONSTROUS CREATURES purged of any spiritual allusions. They are rightfully scary! Saul's work is purposeful and expressive, not the product of an amateur sensibility that serves a stunted idea of the beautiful that is vapid and insulting to those seeking art that provides the potential for epiphany.

Friday, June 29, 2012

MACHINATIONS : trogotronic m676

With the addition of the Trogotronic m676 to my noise system I can now send waves of dystopian voltage overload into the aether! Thanks WT!...FURY indeed!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

SAMPLE & HOLD : rhk / the war against terror

From the totalitarian point of view history is something to be created rather than learned.
-George Orwell, 1946

Thousand have died in the so-called "War against Terror," an american president's response to the attack of 9/11.  Manufactured with unquestioning theocratic zeal in the hope of creating a new "democratic" Middle East AND procuring a limitless cheap supply of America's drug of choice, oil, this particular construct or rationale or FOLLY continues to this day...mission accomplished?

Richard H. Kirk's  The War Against Terror is a particularly corrosive response. Like the war that seems  to have produced a myriad of brutal acts this 6 track work is one of Kirk's most Merzbowian, ranging from sickening blasts of repeated noise motifs to insistent beats that harken marching orders. Kirk knows only too well the deceptively murky political jargon insistent on the creation of America's imperial history, and also the disinclination of the american populace to allow unpleasantness of any kind to sully the beautiful lie. 

Kirk's NOISE gets right in your face in an attempt to generate a wake-up call...ah, but ignorance is indeed bliss...and we suffer the consequences ultimately.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

ether^ra KAOSS noise

MORE Noise!

With the addition of some 104hp rails I now have room for most of my NOISE devices...enjoy the noise!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

SAMPLE & HOLD : cabaret voltaire CODE

Code, Cabaret Voltaire's 1987 release is in dire need of reconsideration. While this release is another of Cabaret Voltaire's mark ll dance-oriented albums without Chris Watson, it does contain a number of gems that reaffirm CV's importance as a trail-blazing electronic band. There is no explosive garage-electronica as typified by their classic early "Nag Nag Nag" or the open dystopian noise space of "Voice of America"...BUT the first three cuts are classic jabs of noise, Burroughian voice cut-up samples, and suggestions of paranoia.  Don't Argue, Sex, Money, Freaks, and Thank You America are breath-taking AND thought-provoking, the result of Brits taking an outsider's media-eye's view of  American cultural obsessions and psycho-glitches. The title track is prophetic; 2012 seen from afar, everyone reduced to digital zeros and ones. Thank you America ends with a sampled voice screaming "We don't believe in no God, we don't believe in no Jesus, we don't believe in no bible! a shouting match that continues today as the religious-right attempts a Taliban-like take-over of America's vital cultural  heterogeneous mix.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mini Noise System Completion

With the addition of the 4MS Pingable Envelope Generator, the system is now complete...until the 126hp z-rails arrive!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Mini Noise System

The Tiptop Happy Ending now contains two very cacophonous modules, the Elby Designs ChaQuo random noise generator and the Trogotronic 666 M, both capable of extreme dystopian noise assaults...great for ridding yourself of unwanted company!

Monday, June 4, 2012

MACHINATIONS : Cyclebox ll Expander

The expander offers numerous options that make the Cyclebox an even more formidable sound- mangling device...sounds to come on Soundcloud!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cyclonix Cyclebox ll

Thanks Danjel for making this incredible device available. With two oscillators, a sub-oscillator and a myriad of wave-form combinations, the Cyclebox offers the user almost endless sonic permutation options. Get them directly from Intellijel while you can!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Eurorack Evolution

The system as it stands presently!

Friday, May 25, 2012

MORE New Eurorack Modules

Analogue Haven has been keeping me supplied with new sonic devices; my Goike 6u case is filling up if only my Cyclonix Cyclebox ll would get here!

Ad Infinitum Cables

Modular users always need more cables to satisfy their patching needs. Ad Infinitum offers a fantastic AND very nicely priced selection of 3.5 mm mono cables in various colors and lengths. This is the ONLY place on the net to get cables for your euro-system!...and they usually comp you a cable with each order!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

MACHINATIONS : malekko noisering

Arriving from MeMeAntenna in Brooklyn today, the Noisering fills another space in my Goike 6u case.  
From what I've read, this module is, no doubt, sonically deeper than it appears and certainly adds to my arsenal of random-ness producing modules. There is no manual; I'll simply dive in and see what happens.

"...I'm a primitive and I only know how to do what I did."  -Allen Ravenstine

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Goike 6u Walnut Case

Matthew Goike has created a wonderful 6u euro-rack case to complement my Tiptop 252 Station case. Powered by Tiptop , this beauty awaits the arrival of more euro-modules. I can't wait to have both cases inter-breed producing a pulsing cacophony.