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Messages - Kaarinen

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Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Battery operated sound generators?
« on: November 21, 2010, 02:29:23 PM »

The Monotron looks simple enough and if I owned iPad, there'd be good stuff to choose from. And thank you for the listing, modulator_esp! The mobile cube seems like an affordable choice for a speaker for these kinds of things. I've had fun looking into some of those you mentioned by watching youtube videos of the instruments in action :). The downside is, that you really start to want all those things (and more)... In a way, in addition to the Kaossilator, the Kaoss pad mini might also be a fun toy to play with, combined with some good sound source(s) to sample from.

Thanks again to the both of you,

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Battery operated sound generators?
« on: November 20, 2010, 01:40:33 PM »

With laptops and even modern cell phones being able to do just about anything imaginable soundwise, I'm personally getting more and more interested in really simple gear. Like monophonic synthesizers with only a few knobs to turn that you're able to carry around (like, for example, this one: There's a lot of neat stuff out there but what I'm really looking for is gear that a) runs on regular batteries (meaning I don't have to have external power for it) and b) in the best scenario, has some sort of speaker of its own.

One reason for this is that I got really excited over the idea of having small improvisation gatherings, with 3-5 people singing, chanting, playing some bells and whistles - but with some additional electronic touch to it all. There's plenty of great, even inexpensive acoustic instruments to choose from but some gritty electronics would be just great alongside them.

The idea hit me one day when I bumped into this old tunnel, in the middle of a nice forest nearby. The place has a pleasant (if a bit bassy) acoustic feeling, theres the constant sound of water dropping from the ceiling into a big puddle (if it has been raining lately) and it's quite nicely shielded from outside noise. The place is big enough to make you forget your real surroundings, to have your imagination and inspiration work more effectively. I spent some time recording the clichéd water drop sounds and realised I could sing and hum a simple melody to make things more interesting. This simple thing felt and sounded surprisingly inspiring. Now, to have a few more people singing, making simple use of some instruments... That would really work in this tunnel and there's of course dozens of other places to be found. Sound improvisation with ambience and slow, harmonic motion in mind sounds like the second most interesting thing to do with a group of people, I can think of right now.

So, back to the actual question, can you recommend any interesting synths/sound boxes/other electronic instruments you think might suit a situation, where you don't want to carry big gear or there's no electricity :)? Thanks in advance for all ideas!



Just ordered Michael Stearns's Planetary Unfolding LP (continuum montage), second hand for 35$. This is simply the best space ambient release ever :). Then again, after checking whether the  maxi single version of DJ Krush's Meiso is still available somewhere, there was a dozen copies in Discogs, and I got mine for like 4$. If you haven't listened to it, the DJ Shadow mix of Meiso from this single is a track that I really, really recommend to all none hip hop oriented people as well ( ). I never thought I'd be this hyped up about a track with rap in it ;).


Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: VST / soft synth remote keyboard question
« on: September 27, 2010, 11:56:00 AM »
Ok, good to hear that it's working. By the way, you can set up an external wave editor to work with reaper. Just go to preferences-->external editors and add Audition. Then, when you double-click on an audio file, it opens up in that editor.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: VST / soft synth remote keyboard question
« on: September 27, 2010, 11:37:24 AM »

AFAIK, you should switch to Asio4all in the host program's audio device setup. I unfortunately cannot help you find that in VSThost since I have not used it myself.

In reaper, is your problem that Reaper does not show any of the VSTs or that they don't work? It could be that the VST folder has not been set (it's the one where the program searches for any VST intstruments/effects on the computer). You can find this in Reaper from Options->preferences->plugins->VST and then selecting the plug-in path*.

Regarding asio in reaper, you can find the driver and latency settings in Options->preferences->Audio-> device. Select ASIO and try what happens. There's probably a asio configuration setting in the same page, which has latencies/buffers listed for selection.

Hope this helps,

*vsts are .dll files, and they're often installed to the same folder, like Reaper\plugins, or the like. In this case, it could be that they are in separate folders created by the VSTs you have installed. You can add all of them separately as plug-in paths in reaper if you want to.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: VST / soft synth remote keyboard question
« on: September 27, 2010, 10:45:57 AM »
I don't know anything about the Radium's possible own midi interface but here's a general tip that might help if the problem persists. If you're using the internal sound card that came with the computer, you could try replacing the driver you're using with a universal asio driver called asio4all: Then you'll just have to define Asio4all as the driver in your host program and try to put the latency down (smaller ms or buffer number).

Also, you might want to give a more powerful host program a try in the future. Reaper ( is one worth recommending, especially since you can try the fully functioning program for free as long as you like before deciding to purchase it (60 bucks, I think) or ditching it.



Interesting post - thank you jkn - and some good replies here on the forum as well. I basically agree with mgriffin and others on the release treshold raising effect of a physical copy but I have doubts on the size of the effect. Since, as jkn also said, making a CDR release isn't really that difficult or expensive these days (in terms of producing the physical disc, not the whole process of making the release ;)). This is especially true if the releasing label does not put too much effort in the artwork of the album.

I personally find it hard to value a  CDR with an unoriginal, basic one page booklet  more than a properly documented web release with decent artwork. That's of course a black-and-white exaggeration but maybe makes my point clearer. And, well, I've also come to question why I hold a real CD in so much higher acclaim than a CDR*. Maybe it's just because I know that it costs more to make so I make the unconscious evaluation that it must be better in musical quality as well. Heavy vinyls raise this effect to the upper limit for me... Which is silly.

Releasing some interesting bits of music in the future has been on my personal agenda as well, which is why the question of format is also of practical interest to me. I know I personally would not want to take the route of releasing a CD/vinyl just to guarantee more serious attention. But releasing an album on an unknown netlabel probably goes easily unnoticed if I don't come up with any royal ideas on making a name for the artist/musician in question (myself or some other).

So far I've enjoyed the idea that a limited special release, for example a CDR in a handmade neat-looking recycled-material sheet (maybe in collaboration with some artist capable of realising this really well), would go in combination with a high-quality download option. The limited run - maybe just 50 copies - serves as a well-crafted physical item for the few initial fans and maybe creates more interest in the music in general. This would clear the way, so to speak, for people to take the mp3/flac files more seriously.

Best wishes,

* I understand there are some technical issues with CDRs not working in some audio systems or that they might physically deteriorate more quickly. I haven't run into these problems personally but I understand that some of you might have.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: show us your field recorders-
« on: September 04, 2010, 05:55:44 AM »
Here's my Maranz PMD-620 in action, recording a summer night soundscape with some really nice clinging sounds from a flock of sheep and an adjacent herd of cattle. All the animals had bells around their necks but the sheep and cows had different ones, which fit together nicely :). I even found a use for the recording in a dark ambient track...

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Interesting 2010 releases?
« on: September 02, 2010, 02:43:35 PM »
Alio Die - Horas Tibi Serenas. His best work since Aura Seminalis. Solemn, melodic, organic ambient.

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now reading
« on: August 20, 2010, 03:56:03 PM »
A good autobiographical take on religion(s) from the experiental (in contrast to, say, theological/dogmatic) perspective:

Huston Smith: Tales of Wonder. Adventures Chasing the Divine, an Autobiography.

Good insights to a mystical mindset, yet written lightly, very personally and in an amusing, positive fashion from this lively 90 year old seeker.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: bvdub - the art of dying alone
« on: August 20, 2010, 03:42:36 PM »
I agree, it's great! And it's definitely something new under the sun. A combination of vivid, fresh sound and serene movement. I actually played some takes from this in a bar some time ago and boy did it flow nicely, in between some more pumping tecnoish/whatnot tracks...

Hypnos News and Announcements / Re: Hypnos In Vital Weekly
« on: August 03, 2010, 06:44:17 AM »
That Aningan review sure is awful.

Reviewing huge amounts of music, and not having enought time to get to know a release before reviewing sounds detrimental, especially in case of ambient/dronish stuff. Small, subtle things in the structure of the album can make a huge difference and at least I tend to miss a lot of those details on the first listen. Then again, it's difficult to say when you've listened to something enough to feel that your opinion is a well founded one...

I'd personally like to see more critical reviews of ambient/experimental electronic/etc. since, thanks to modern technology, there's dozens of albums released every week if we're counting all the netlabels/web releases as well. Not every piece of music is a good one and it might benefit the artist as well to know why some listeners don't enjoy their release. Very often all you (or, at least I) see is positive reviews or reviews that are really politely trying to evade saying anything actually critical.

Saying that a particular album is, for example, "nothing new under the sun" is of course all too easy but in some cases there's actual grounds for demanding something novel. That doesn't have to mean reinventing the whole genre but there's just so much ambient that sounds unambitious, and plain nice at best, and it feels there's nothing more to it. If this is what a reviewer feels like after giving the album enough time, I think that's what she should write, then. (This is not meant as a comment on this particular FDW case but just picking up from here...)


Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Rural Colours Netlabel
« on: July 18, 2010, 04:11:47 PM »
Thanks for this new, interesting netlabel. The idea of just releasing EPs feels fresh and good, since I personally don't like listening to just a track or two from an album, yet every now and then don't feel like going through a whole 74 minutes...

Judging by listening to all three just once, Listening Mirror works nicely and has a sound of its own. Beginnings was nice, yet didn't do anything special for me (on this first impression), until the last track which I enjoyed a lot more than the first two. I'm hoping to hear a Beginnings EP more in this vein in the future :). The Finglebone release, however, sounds really good. The combination of beautiful guitar work, environmental sounds and lo-fi'ish production is a balanced one, but not to a boring, dimensionless extent.


Dye? Are you sure :)?

My latin isn't very good, but I'd think it would be closer to d-eh (the di part, as you'd pronounce letter D and e with the e audible, unlike in dye/die, like in the first sound of 'ale').

I could of course be wrong, and latin is/has been pronounced in a variety of ways.

Also for a fair price from our small Finnish ambient webshop,

(Sorry about advertising ;))

Since Pärt is mentioned, I think this Estonian composer might also do the trick for some of you. A friend of mine  recently recommended Urmas Sisask and I've now really taken a liking to his Magnificat. Haven't heard anything else from him yet, but I think I'll have to look for more soon.

Veijo Tormis has some interesting stuff as well, check it out!

Great to hear (hadn't heard about this before)! I really like both Mantram and Wachuma's Wave so I'm confident this one won't be a disappointment either! Judging quickly by the samples, this one's most likely going to the shopping cart (and our humble mail order's sales catalogue) :).

Sounds a bit more "hi-fi" in comparison with the previous ones, but I hope this still maintains the "authenticity" (stupid word but you might get my drift) and doesn't sound like a documentary soundtrack that's on the move the whole time. The previous ones had a good balance of hypnotic quality and progression to keep the listener intrigued.


Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: September 09, 2008, 02:57:45 PM »
From immersive ambient - through perversely captivating contemporary classical - to magnificient, more percussive soundworlds:

Thom Brennan -  Mist
Charles Ives - Sonata no. 2
Byron Metcalf, Mark Seelig (& Roach) - Wachuma's Wave

Since it's most likely named after one of the best films ever made, it can't be too bad ;). The samples sounded really good, especially the 5th & 6th one...

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now reading
« on: August 08, 2008, 06:00:14 PM »
Spaces Speak, Are You Listening? Experiencing Aural Architecture (by Barry Blesser & Linda-Ruth Salter). This is a book that should be of interest to quite a few people here as well, since it's got a lot to do with reverbation and the way we experience space around us. Ambient is, after all, music that often takes place in a quite unique, virtual acoustic environment (e.g. a lush reverb a gazillion seconds long!). The book's been very good so far, although the sharpness of analysis seems far duller on the historical/cultural studies side of the equation (the opposite being that of acoustics) More about it here:

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