Category Archives: MUSIC

The Cranes Philadelphia,Pa 3.10.97

Well here’s a gig Id totally forgotten! I was obviously enjoying this one alot, judging by the playing Lilies from the audience and pretty much trashing my guitar during Adrift! It always happened that if I loved a show, you can be sure that Jim hated it, as can be proven when Ali says “this is the last song”, Jim can be clearly heard muttering “…ever!”

And heres the “trashing bit” from Adrift… what a fucking guitar hero!

God I miss it…

Vectr Solstice

Here I am demonstrating the time quantising on the Vectr. Recorded live on the night of the Summer Solstice. Not that I care two hoots about that.

Patch Info
Roland D2 (drums) sending midi to Futurelabs Mobius, which is sending clock to Mutable Instruments Grids. 2 channels are sending triggers to a Frequency Central SystemX ADSR and a Frac rack Paia ADSR. A Doepfer A110 VCO and a Blacet F350 Morphing terranium have their pitch affected by the X and Y outs from Vectr, which is synched via its REC in socket to a Deopfer Clock Divider, which is receiving clock from Mobius.
The out from the A110 is going thru a Frequency Central Raging Bull Filter/VCA, which is modulated by the aforementioned SysX ADSR. That out is sent to desk. The F350 out is going through the PAIA ADSR and sent to desk. One more thing, the Morph X input of the F350 is receiving stepped voltages from the very wonderful Blacet Binary Zone, that is also clocked from Mobius.
Pretty simple really…

Vectr firmware version 2.0 soon…

vectrIve been working with Matt from HackMe electronics… OK “working with is a bit arrogant”… bugging him is more like it, about neat features I wanted in the Vektr firmware, and I got a beta copy last night, and it seems totally fantastic!
The version 1.0 software which was a bit more than a tri-ophonic theremin thingy, or synth controller and frankly a bit tricky to use in a real world situation (but still lots of fun). But now with 2.0 the sequencer is tightly locked to the incoming clock, and I suggested other ways for it to synch up, such as auto punchout of record, so you can specify how long your recording with be, 16 bars 8 bars etc. You can also “round up” you recording, so when you punch out manually, it will wait for a multiple of 2,4,8,16 etc whatever you have specified, before closing the loop. All this was inspired by the EDP looper.
In addition, although theres aways been pitch quantise, so the note will not slide all over the place, now you can link the pitch to the clock, so will force changes in pitch on beats.
And more… I got him to change the major scale to minor… and scale the octaves from C to C (rather than C to B as it was before).

The combinations of these new features with some of the old are quite interesting too. For example, the old “twirl you hand to speed up a sequence” gesture, is now linked, very tightly I might add, to multiples of the clock timebase, so you can record, and then your hand twirl left will speed up your sequence to double speed (right will halve the speed) further hand twirling will quadruple the speed and so on… I think the clock out reflects the altered clock so in affect you can use it as a gesture controlled divider (although I haven’t checked this yet, just thought of it… Im sure it works like that).

I think Im going to have to make some videos of this, get some sales for poor Matt, who has been working his arse off for a month now, I think hes getting pretty jaded now, might stop development to become a monk.. who knows?

Mark Francombe albums now playable in the car!

Covers for sale
The previous decades CDs will not be sold in the physical dimension anymore, but you may continue to purchase ethereal versions via the International Web of woe.
If you wished to bring again the audio back from the dark side and into the real world, you can, by burning your own copy and wrapping it in real, warm, and strong cardboard, still ever so slightly smelling of ink.
Or, in other words.. I have hundreds of covers left… want one? Either think of it as buying a cover, with a free download album thrown in, Or as a download album where you get sent a cover…
Here are the albums that now offer this.




New Album! Sme Sngs

sme_sngs
Before the debut album by Electricity comes out I wanted to clear out the hard drive of some dust and cam across a few tracks that had never been put anywhere. Most are unique, most are old, but all of them were still pretty good.
Anyway.. seeing as you are here you can listen for free, but please go to bandcamp and buy it… hell you can buy some other stuff.. up to NINE albums of weird from your delectation there now…

Modular Madness

For a few months now I have been soldering and building like crazy to add to my modular synth. It all started when my friend David sent me links to some module DIY site, and I ordered a few. I have been less interested in buying finished modules for a while due to the price, but suddenly, I found out that there are literally THOUSANDS of kit manufacturers out there, since I last built stuff (the Blacet modules).
And its not really all that expensive. most kits come with a faceplate an a PCB and any interesting chips, but you have to get all the other components yourself. Of course you dont just buy 1x 100k resistor you buy 50, and soon you have a little repository of components so you dont have to even order that much.

Roland D2 (Vintage) Review

I saw this box for sale cheap a few months ago and snapped it up. I had been looking for some kind of master clock sequencer, actually to replace my Mobius CV sequencer. Nothing wrong with that, except its only 1 voice, and take up 3 U. Would have like a Sequentix Circlon.. but.. way out of my price range Im afraid!

The Roland D2 came out over 10 years ago, and almost immediately died. I suspect because of it biggest flaw.
Its orange… ORANGE I TELL YA! What were they thinking?
d2
It being a low end Roland, they have gone with an annoying segment display, and therefore you have to get used to the fact that h is 4 and s is 5 etc.. and everything is shortened to 3 letters so ntr means metronome, and Ocr is Octave Range.

But.. the good side… its sounds great! masses of patches (256 user) and many many sounds, haven’t counted but maybe 1024?
Most (ok all) of the pre made patterns are horrible, as this is definitely meant as a dance oriented machine, and (again, being Roland) you must scroll thru them to get to the user editable patches… so you end up hearing the 1st, horrible patch many time.. YIKES!
Plus it has a Pre conceieved but useful External Midi config. In that the 7 tracks all send out midi on midi channels 1-7, and the rhythm track send out on channel 10 (as per the GM standard) Per track you can use sound from the internal G2 voice, the External sound module or both! The only stupid thing is that in order to program a part on an external sound module, you wil hear the internal sound, too WHILE you play. On playback, if you have the internal sound muted only the external will sound. This if obviously a bug.

Programming is a tad funky, they expect you to input notes by using the “D-field”, which is their attempt at a kaos pad type controller. Its not however, no feel at all and very unresponsive, often doesn’t trigger at all. However you can plug in a midi keyboard and suddenly it all becomes easy.

You have 2 ways, Real time and Step Time.
Realtime works for me, as you can play in from your external keyboard and delete by pressing the erase combo when you want to remove mistakes. Its fine.. There is quantise that you can apply on the way in, forcing your playing to 8th 16 32s etc.. or apply afterwards… Careful though.. NO UNDO!!!
The problem with this method is that its impossible to edit one note, say you hit a G instead of an F. Only way I have found is to delete that one note and try to drop it in again.
Step recording however, is a right old palaver, but probably no worse than most drum-machines. You know, you scan to the beat you want to add, press a button to audition the note you will add, change it till its correct and hit enter… more to new location for next note. Slow, but precise. The good thing is that all notes are shown on the LED display, so you can go back and edit them after they have been edited. No such luck with the notes you added via Real Time mode… no way to see them buggers.
So its strange that the 2 input methods are not really mix and match…

However, its in performance that this thing has so many amazing options. Things Ive never even thought of, and have NEVER seen on other sequencers, hardware OR software.
On the D2 you can: Drop the track to half speed or up to double speed. Instantly, you can drop the pitch of all instruments an octave, or up an octave, you can play it backwards.. Did you hear that? You can instantly mute all parts apart from the bass drum and bass instrument, You can use the D field to remove notes from a track, Just randomly… You can perform improv snare rolls, with kinda good control, and apply 3 levels of effects. Delay, Reverb and a multi effect (that is mostly distortion and modulation effects, but also has a cool reverse reverb and some ok filters.. These effects can be tweaked live,

There are some other things that I haven’t really gotten to the bottom of yet, more DJ style things, particularly the so called and DJ named “MEGAMIX” function.. Cant see myself using this, but still. Its where you can grab a track from other patterns and try them on the current pattern. I guess if you have lots of variations, you can switch between them. But I haven’t tried this yet.

I am using it to send clock to my analog sequencers (the Doepfer and the Mobius) Im using to sequence my ancient Proteus Orchestral and and my Korg MS2000. My parts on the upcoming Electricity Album are all being done from this.
Incidentally… We have a special PRE-ORDER offer on the new Album.
The album is going to be called PLANT, and as such we have an album on Bandcamp called SEED: This is Pre-mixes and experiments or the Plant album, and Purchase of this album will entitle you to the Plant Album absolutely free, when it is released on CD. (A vinyl version is also in the pipeline, but maybe subjected to a different deal for now)
Head over and get it from https://electricityplant.bandcamp.com/

ELECTRICITY (New band)

Martin and me have made a new band, called Electricity. And it the first band I have ever been in where Im not playing guitar!
I have loved synths all my life, and have got a small but well functioning Modular system (Out of date info here) But Ive always been a bit afraid to play live with it. Now I will! With the slight (ever so slight, he’s a loose cannon) safety net of Martins mono-synth drones and tapes and theramin wibbles, Ill be able to do what I enjoy the most, analog sequencing, and subtle tweaking, for hours if ness!
https://www.facebook.com/electricityelectricity
Who knows what it will sound like? Not me for starters… but the basic idea at the strat was early Cabaret Voltaire meets early Human League, but with a bit of up to date, noisey droney glitchy stuff. But that could mean anything really… so..

World…

Oyster.. etc!photo_martin_edit