Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Robert Henke Describing Monodeck & Ableton


COSM has films a great video presentation by Robert Henke describing the Monodeck along with Ableton live. The presentation is a little long and dry for a net-video, but well worth it if you are into this sort of academic or conceptual sort of thing.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

iBand: Showing the Power of the iPhone


Here is another great video sent in via reader Kevin that shows a trio of artists who are jamming away on two iPhones and a Nintendo DS. This is a great demonstration the power of some of these new devices and a great example of some of the amazing shareware that is also being developed outside the main software streams.

If you are looking for more great information on handheld of palm related music production tools, check out the excellent blog The Palm Sounds

via reader Kevin

Laser + Harp + Synthesizer = Awesome!!!


Everyone loves lasers right? Sure you do. You are probably not really into harps however are you now. Now what if those harp strings were lasers? I would bet that you are a little more interested. In the video above we have a great laser harp constructed by Stephen Hobley.


Stephen Hobley just perfected his laser harp. The audio is adjusted by breaking the beam between the source and mirror array above. No, you can't buy it, but we expect it to appear with a Ukrainian dressed in animal skins at Eurovision 2008.

via reader Kevin

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Circuit Bending Documentary


BENT 2004 from Derek Sajbel on Vimeo.

The nice folks at Absurdity.Biz, who are responsible for the famous Bent Festivals, have been kind enough to host a video documentary on everyone's favourite glitchtastic pastime: circuit bending. From the tried and true Speak and Spells and SK-1s to more radical things like optical glitch synthesizers and art installations that gallery visitors can tweak themselves, everything about circuit bending seems to have been covered. The above video is the product of an ongoing documentary about circuit bending, other parts of which are sold on DVD at Bent festivals. It is truly worth watching even with the long running time. It is actually an entire DVD worth of film, so popcorn is recommended.

Video link via

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

808 State Liveset from Benicassim Festival, Spain, 8-08-2003


.:808 State Liveset from Benicassim Festival, Spain, 08-08-2003:.

This week's liveset is a full gig from the guys of 808 State. 808 State has been doing live electronic music since the late eighties and it is great to hear their blend of that oldschool sound along with all of the other flavors that the years have added on.

808 State has tons of more band information as well as a bunch of music over at their website  Be sure to head on over there and check out one of the longest running acts in electronic music still performing.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Micro Laptop Roundup


Well it looks like we are out of the convention season and from that we have seen quite the round of micro-laptops coming out from different manufacturers.  Everything from the Asus eeePC to the OLPC it looks like micro-laptops are here to stay, and for the better I say.  Since we have there seems to be quite a few of these little laptops coming out on the market I think it might bet worthwhile to perhaps provide everyone with an overview of the features and specs between the laptops.  I have whipped up a little chart above comparing some of the features for each of the laptops. Some have better values over others, but overall I think they all have a unique perspective that they could bring to the table for Live artists.

As I have mentioned before, you are probably not going to be running Ableton Live on this platform, but some other software such as music programming languages, trackers or midi software might be perfect for them and since I am mentioning it I think I might as well list some of the software out there that I think could be useful for for performing or general music production

Music Programming Languages
Pure Data

Jeskola Buzz
Modplug Tracker
Goattracker (8-bit Emulator)
Raster Music Tracker (8-bit Emulator)

Midi Software
IXI Software
[ttrk] TekTracker

Well that is just a small taste of some of the software I think these machines might be useful for. I am sure all of the readers could come up with much more creative ideas themselves and I am sure you are all aware of software I have never heard of.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Tupperware DIY Synths



These are absolutely great. There are plenty of people out there who are DIY'ers for synths. Some may do something as simple as a PAIA kit, but others get as deep as doing it all yourself. ADACHI Tomomi, a composer and self-proclaimed DIY'er has these brilliant little DIY synths that he has made, using tupperware as the casing for the devices. Beautiful? No. Practical and Cheap? Yes!!!!

ADACHI's self-made instruments are consists of simple electronic circuit, almost case built in tupperware. They never can make precise pitch, but have good sound and noise, easy to operate and carry and worked by battery. Of course the funny and pretty looks are important aspects. In this page, you can see the images from them (more sound files come soon...)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Daft Punk Rocks the JazzMutant Lemur Controller at the 2008 Grammy's


Hope everyone had an opportunity to catch the Grammy's last night. I have to admit there seemed like there were more performance than usual this year and there were some good ones. Now I am no fan of Kanye West myself, Daft Punk was rocking the JazzMutant Lemur's for a very impressive visual experience. Would have loved to have seen them light up their helmets.

Anyways check out the video for a nice performance.

via MusicThing

Friday, February 08, 2008

Tomphonic Live at SyncTank


.:Tomphonic Live at SyncTank:.

Well it has been a little while since we have had a liveset to feature on the blog. This week's liveset comes from Tom Phone who has a very nice performance from SyncTank.


I have been waiting since october to get this one. I did bring my minidisc to it, but the guy running the show said he'd record it. Cool dude for sure, he ended up mastering it for me and giving me the original and mastered version back, I was getting very anxious. Anyway, its a really chill set, I've got some of my opinions about length of songs, but over all I'm really excited about the set. I don't know what type of pary this would work at tho, so cool that it was at a bar of interested people. Sync Tank is the name of the night, if any of you are in NYC, you should check it out, its really fun, crowded, and good people to talk to all around.

Be sure to check out more of his music over at

YouTube - Zendrum Zap Midi Percussion Controller


Onne of the best finger drumming I have ever seen. The performer here is playing on the Zendrum Zap midi percussion controller. Zendrum makes some crazy midi controller devices all beautifully made out of wood. There is some complete information over at the companies website:

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Sequential Circus 2: All livePA event review


Show Review: Sequential Circus 2

Sequential Circus 2 was a show at Open Studios, Vancouver BC, on January 19th of this year, put on by East Van techno guru Mux of the Listening Room Collective, which has previously been responsible for a popular series of shows at the Vancouver Planetarium. The show featured a sound system that was actually two systems put together, a total of four double-18" Yorkville bins and four Yorkville tops plus an extra system to help flush the sound out (two Mackie SRM450s and a pair of Mackie 1501 powered subs) that delivered perfectly balanced highs, a crisp, appealingly crunchy midrange and very, very visceral bass. Also utlized was Open Studios' large video wall, upon which mixed psychedelic visuals were projected during the performances.

The night opened with a performance by Haagen (aka Dasz), a factory preset designer for the popular Clavia Nord Modular G2 synthesizers, who delivered a smashing first-ever livePA performance that mixed minimal and hard techno with a truly energetic progressive house flourish. Naturally, a pair of red Nords were utilized for the show, as well as a Yamaha RS7000, among other things. Dasz prepared his innagural set with care, and only after borrowing my headphones several times did he deem his instruments ready. During sound check, his music exploded to life, possibly larger and louder than he had ever imagined. It filled him with giddy adrenaline and pride, which resulted in a very well executed and highly energetic set that seemed to have a style all its own. If this first-ever set is any indication, "Haagen" Dasz is someone to keep an eye on in the future.

Next was yours truly, J. Wells (aka God In The Machine) with a set of stripped down breakbeats underpinned with amp crushing bass. Overall, the set was described by many as "heavy metal dubstep", and drew comparisons also to hip-hop, DnB, trip-hop, and of course industrial music. Though the sound system cut to silence very abruptly a couple of times during the set, possibly from too much bass tripping the main mixer's internal failsafe, the overall result still made many heads nod.

Following closely was Vancouver livePA staple Transgress, who dropped an absolutely flawless set that drew heavily from old skool techno, breaks, trance, and even psychedelic dub-like textures. Having worked under many different names and in several bands, Transgress, aka Peter "Fish" Fisera earned his stripes by performing techno and trance live, with no sequencing or automation on stage, playing everything by hand. He has since entered the MIDI age, using a pair of Alesis MMT-8 sequencers and an array of old school hardware so complex and well coordinated, it requires a handwritten manual in order to play-- which made an remained in Fish's lap during most of the set. To describe this old school angle is somewhat misleading, however, as there is nothing stale or overplayed about Transgress' music; on the contrary, it is a more refined sound than one might expect, a clear progression of electronic music that seems wholly separate from the long succession of unimaginative dj music which has dragged electronica down over the last decade. It seems to spring from something older than the fatal popularity of the so-called techno sound, and springs straight past those lowered expectations to present itself for what it really is: extremely well crafted, unpretentious, and futuristic electronic music.

Next came San Francisco's Komega, who used a minimal setup of an iBook, two control surfaces and his colourfully lit home made wireless controller, the keytar-like Live Pad, to drop an Ableton Live-fueled set of what he terms "tech breaks". Resembling a cross between cutting edge tech house and west coast chemical breaks, Komega's glitching IDM leaves other Live-based performers in the dust without a clue. Unlike many Ableton Live performers, his set was anything but repetitive and predictable, proving once again that software performance is only limited by the creativity of the performer.

The final performance of the night came from the duo John Tennant and Ricardo Almeida, whose brilliant set of 100% improvised music went well beyond the scheduled cutoff point of 3:15 am. With a setup that could only be manned by two master technicians like themselves, John and Ricardo's sound took shape right before our eyes as an ever-changing yet entirely cohesive continuous mix that was as engaging as it was creative. Particularly interesting was the duo's use of Nintento DS handheld game systems running custom sampling software, which they used to record, warp and playback samples on the fly. Truly defiant of categorization, their set was a feat of true artistry fused seamlessly with remarkable engineering.

The above photo, courtesy of Matthew Trentacoste, gives a limited view of the geargasmic chaos from the back of the stage. Setups for five of the six performing artists can be seen (although not in their entirety), with John Tennant and Ricardo Almeida's gear resting in the foreground (John to the left of the mixer, with the Electribe and Akai sampler, Ricardo on the right with one of the three red Nords visible); above and to the left are Komega's shiny silver boxes, the iBook and controllers (Live Pad not shown); on the right, just behind Ricardo's vintage Roland JX-3p analogue synth is my own setup, identifiable by the trusty livePA hallmarks that are the Juno 106, Yamaha RM1X, and another Electribe sampler, and a bottle of water, among other things; finally, at twelve o'clock is Haagen's dual Nord and RS7k setup. Transgress' old skool gear wonderland not pictured.

It was the kind of show where it is hard to pick a favourite performer because everyone brought their best to the table. Differences in style, gear and aesthetic brought a lot of variety to the show, with each act having something significant and genuine to offer the crowd. All in all it was a rare chance to see a truly diverse group of artists from near and far throw down their best, brightest, or in my case heaviest sounds, the sort of show that could never happen twice. There isn't the remotest possibility of an exact repeat, in fact; the venerable Mux tells me that each Sequential Circus event includes an entirely new lineup, with no repeat artists, in order to ensure the most variety from show to show.

Recordings are due out soon. Until then, be sure to check out the Sequential Circus website for news about the next Sequential Circus, tentatively slated to happen every six months, plus recordings from the previous show on July 7 of last year. When the recordings for the Jan. 19 show finally escape the post-production blackness, they will be there too.