Category Archives: MUSIC

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

Korg Monotribe Review

korg_monotribe_top_1_2
Just a quickie review of the wonderful Korg Monotribe that has been in my hands for a month now.
I LOVE IT!
I got rid of the heavyweight Korg Electribe ESX six months ago, and have been missing SOME kind of drum-machine. Where the Electribe was a STUFFED FULL of features, FX, loads of samples, sounds and lots of tweaking possibilities, I found it slow to use, annoying with menus and some serious irritating lack of functionality (having to stop to enter certain menus, sample start points being impossible to tweak..)the Monotribe is the opposite. Its fun iand intuative from the moment you turn it on.

Firstly the sounds, the drum section is just hi hat bass drum and snare, as it should be in an analog kit the snare is VERY SIMILAR to the hi hat, and the bass drum is punchy and cool.

The Synth is fantastic, with the ms20 filter and various LFO shapes (including the slightly hidden S+H that came in the version 2.0 update) Its sounds totally fantastic! The Q peaks as it should with no distortion as you go into oscillation, the square wave is my favorite, but with the saw you can really WANG it out with a dubsteppy wobble.

Construction
TANK.. Metal.. hear me? METAL!!!!

Cool hidden features:
The flux thing is interesting, turning the keyboard into a continuous slide, for theremin effects.
The fact that there are “in between notes” resulting in a double resolution effectively 16 steps.
Audio in to the filter.
A nifty shortcut to half speed the whole machine. (nice when you are sending clock to it from a looper and don’t know what speed the drums will come out)
And the killer… ALL sounds can have beats removed… not just muted, but SKIPPED, so you can start a track with totally poly rhythmic mayhem, making no sense.. but then add back in the beats you are skipping, till suddenly it all gels. fantastic. Plus being able to make really long sequences, by skipping ONE beat, on the synth, it effectively only comes BACK INTO sync with the drums once every 4 bars, which gives a really cool and lazy feel.
Rolls.. not VERY realistic, but can be cool, but tends to be good by accident, so an UNDO feature here would have been nice, as you have potential to fuck up your cool groove.
Gate time on the synth can be adjusted by a weird key combo and sliding on the keyboard.

Programming is real simple, just add in notes on the grid. plus they can be “played” on the keyboard.

Slight Gripes:

Whereas the Electribe have MASSES of programs where you could save stuff (but almost never did) The Monotribe is NOT meant to be a “programming tool” its a live tool. BUT I would have liked a way to save (you can save ONE rhythm, that it wil start-up with) not many, maybe 16 or 32 spaces… but something.
No Midi, was fine for me, cos I have a midi to trigger box that I dug out. Plus there are some add-ons available that are highly recommended. I MAY get that later.
No separate outputs for the drums and synth. COME ON.. thsi ones basic.. HAVE to be able to process the drums and synth separately!!! Luckily there is a simple circuit bend I may attempt. Just to take outs from the volume pots of the two sections. YOu gotta have delay on the synth (maybe distortion too for the techno thing).
But my MAIN gripe is… THE 9VOLT ADAPTOR MUST BE A KORG ONE!!!! Doesnt come supplied, BUT even though it takes completely regular 9v DC. They have a socket on the back that is not the standard Boss style Center negative. So I ordered an adaptor from Diago, I thin Center Positive, but that didnt fit either. Nowhere in Norwat can I just BUY a korg PSU. There is absolutely NO NEED to have a special PSU, so why they do that I HAVE NO IDEA. On the upside, the thing goes to sleep after 15 mins on inactivity and I have only changed the batteries once, so they last quite well.

POLYFØKT!!!

On Thursday Jens and I played at the Polyføkt festival in Torshov, and it went pretty well. Ill be posting video and sound of our “show” soon. There was many cameras all over the place, (Noise nerds like to document) so I may even be able to do a multi camera edit, we´ll see if the music/recording was really any good!
Heres the poster!
polyføkt postwr
And here are the videos:
PART ONE

PART TWO

Trento Gig Report

Last weekend I played in Trento, Northern Italy.
volantino Mondiali in Fiemme_rif.pdf (page 2 of 2)
HERES THE RECORDING OF THE GIG.

Our performance was part of an Italian/Norwegian exchange. As such we played in an exhibition space about skiing and winter sports, through the ages. Trento is high in the Italian Austrian mountains, and is surrounded by wonderful mountains.
I had a absolutely fantastic time, and the gig was great! The original plan was that Massimo and I would be backed up by a trio of Trento musicians. Carlo La Manna, Corrado Bungaro and (insert name here). But after having some laptop/keyboard problems, we decided that we would all just play together. And what a great decision. It was a fantastic blend of their ethnic virtuosity and me and Massimos electronic noises.

The Players:

Massimo Barberi
Massimo played loops and manipulated my videos live, including one with Hilde singing (The Spykkeskjaenhytte film)
Carlo La Manna
Fretless Bass
Corrado Bungaro
Played Violin, Nyckelharpa, Steeldrum, percussion
Giordano Angeli
Saxophones, percussion
Mark Francombe
Baritone guitar, electronics


Heres some articles about the event

Articolo adige Mark-15.pdf (1 page)
Sulle scie di Fridtjof Nansen (concerto e performance video) - Crushsite.it.pdf (page 1 of 2)

Damo Suzuki Gig Report

Damo in Oslo from Wajid Malik on Vimeo.

Video shot by Wajid Malik

So we did the gig with Damo Suzuki, and it was totally fab!
We all somehow gelled and played for 1 hour 40 minutes nearly non-stop!
The band was great, all fantastic musicians and all coming from slightly different approaches, that somehow really worked well together!

Ted Parsons (ex-Swans, Keith Levene, Killing Joke, drums) myspace.com/tparsons23 http://www.facebook.com/tikited23
Ted is a real pro, I may have seen him play 20 odd years ago when he was in Prong, he held us all together, and kept the beat groovy and intense.

Mark Francombe (ex Cranes, guitar/electronics)
I did my thang, was quite unusual for me to be “playing” the whole time, Im so used to looping, recording, listening, adding. It was quite an ordeal to play the whole time, but somehow very cathartic!

Ådne Meisford (120 days, electronics) www.facebook.com/120days
Had some great weird tones, that I tried to play off when I was also doing more noise stuff, some cool boxes, that I must investigate…

Daniel Meyer Grønvold (Moon Relay, Now We Got Members, guitar) soundcloud.com/moon-relay
Very cool guitarist, with a strong sense of rhythm and noise, got a nice crunchy distortion. A very different guitarist than me, very aggressive and tight to my cleaner sound, really played well with the drums.

Leon Muraglia (Radio 9, bass) www.facebook.com/radio9
Just like Ted, he held us together, with a deep slightly gritty dub sound, the king of kraut!

Christian Næss (Radio 9, drums) www.facebook.com/radio9
I have never heard 2 drummers play so tight together, it always tends towards an Adam Ant tribal thing, but Christians cool percussion and drumming was so tight with Teds, that it was impossible to hear that it wasn’t from one source, I love this guys drumming i Radio 9 too…

Juan Diaz (keyboards) soundcloud.com/mojomalo Juan is a real pro pianist, and had the 60´s electric blues piano down, groovy and melodic, he stopped us gpoing into too much weird noise drones, by always bringing it back to be a song.. a great musician!
and…

Damo Suzuki vocals What can I say, no hanging about here, he got up on stage and within 20 seconds was singing. Its so obvious that this is his thing, no hesitancy, no shortcuts, alwasy gave his most… A real honour to play with my idol. Thanks so much Damo!

MORE iPhone Videos from Kai Mauseth


Doing a gig with Damo Suzuki

damo3-001_medJust thought I’d better post something about this… gonna do a gig with the Ex Singer of CAN.. on Feb 7th..
DID YOU FUCKING HEAR ME? THE SINGER OF FUCKING CAN!!!!
For a few years now Damo Suzuki (How old can he be now? 65-70ish?) has been touring, with NO band, relying on the fact that pretty much ever city in the world has at least one band who like Can. Last time he played Oslo, Hilde an I went to see him, backed by Salvatore. It was good, if a little long. We lefts after and hour and a half when he said “Lets have a 15 minute break?”
Anyway Salvatore are no more, but now Leon, formaly of that band has put together a band to accompany Mr Suzuki when he comes…
AND THAT MEANS ME!!!

Anyway, heres the teaser to the documentary film!

Neverendin Movie teaser from FDiLoretoF38F on Vimeo.

Missing Link + TouchOSC = HAPPY!!!

I just got the Missing Link from Jabrudian Industries. What a wonderful and incredible bit of brilliance!
It just worked, right out of the box.. (after following the destructions on the site). I had made a very cool interface for my Repeater using TouchOSC Editor within 20 minutes, uploaded it to my iPhone and it just worked!!! So heres the stuff..
First a pic…

So It looks very cool!
First you have to get TouchOSC onto your iPhone:
http://itunes.apple.com/app/touchosc/id288120394?mt=8
Then you get TouchOSC editor:
http://hexler.net/software/touchosc
Then you get your manual and look up the CCs or PGM CHGs, or Midi Notes you need:
Then you open TouchOSC editor and make your design for elements you need:
Then you go to Bernards little program here:
http://wifimidi.com/midi-message-generator/
Add the “string” to your design elements.
Press Sync on the editor
Open Touch OSC on the iPhone, go where you can choose layouts and click ADD, your iphone must be on the same wifi net as your data machine, and you will see it… click it and Voila! Its on your iphone…

So heres a demo, done on the Repeater, 4 rhythm tracks completely operated from across the room, all the fades, pans and all the pitching is done using Touch>>missing link, OK I do manipulate the Tempo knob in the middle, to get that nice Repeater artifact stuff happening, OH.. and I admit I got carried away and did some Kaos Padding on top… but the rest was totally TouchOSC… Oh and the aquaduct, and the roads… and peace!

RepeatTouch by markfrancombe

Anyway, if you want it, heres the TouchOSC Repeater layout but its pretty minimal right now, just a one page mixer and one page for pitch shifting…