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Messages - ffcal

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Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Serafini's Codex Seraphinianus
« on: January 25, 2014, 12:33:26 PM »
I finally got the book, and it's as wonderful as I had hoped it would be.  Larger than earlier editions and with more drawings, too.  There's a nice explanation in a back booklet about Serafini's inspiration for creating it and how he was a struggling architect at the time.


Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 24, 2014, 11:40:00 PM »
Forrest: Good points. But, given that fans can be discriminating with respect to what they choose to buy, I assume everything balances out in the end.

Hi Chris,

Well, yes and no.  Listeners can learn to be more discriminating once they've been burned, but I think both artist and label have an obligation not to flood the market with subpar material just because they can.  It can have a slowly corrosive effect on the genre as a whole, and people could come to view the music as largely disposible.


Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Mixing tips.
« on: January 24, 2014, 08:01:03 PM »
I think some compression can be okay in ambient music. I've tried it recently to get one of my really low drones under control and it worked for that. I wouldn't apply it to a whole mix though.

That's true.  Subtle compression can help keep a low drone under control, and I think it also can help with lead instruments like guitar or violin, too.


Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 24, 2014, 07:58:32 PM »
Margins - Fragile Existence
This is a late 2013 collaborative project between Dan Crossley (Facture/Fluid Audio) and Craig Tattersall (The Boats). Once again, this is an amazing product from Facture in which the packaging/art is as central to the release as the music. The music itself is decent, but not remarkable. It largely combines field recordings and tape loops to create a fractured but ambient atmosphere. The Crossley nature prints that accompany the release are absolutely beautiful, however, and are worth checking out on the Fluid Audio site regardless of how you feel about Tattersall.

Sound samples:
Images samples:

This does give me a little pause.  Maybe Tattersall should be a little more discriminating in what he chooses to release?  These luxury packages are nice, but when the music falls a little short, you can feel a little burned.  I liked Light Folds, though I'll admit that there are a few parts I haven't heard yet out of the 10 hours or so on that release.

I liked the Orla Wren/Aaron Martin/Isnaj Dui "The Blizzard That Birthed Her" release, though the packaging seemed kind of elaborate for what was essentially an extended remix CD.


Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Mixing tips.
« on: January 24, 2014, 05:20:10 PM »
Hi Julio,

Like Tomas, I had a tough time getting past that Disney channel music.  At least the embarrassment was tempered by my listening through phones.  I got through the first video and most of the third.  The mixing tips on the third video were almost too subjective for me.  I could hear what balance issue he was raising about the guitar and the lead vocal, but couldn't hear the differences he was attempting to point out with the other instrument combinations.  The whole mix also sounded too compressed to me.  At least for me, mixing for ambient differs quite a bit from what he was doing.  I prefer a more open approach to the overall soundscape.  That scape might eventually build to a sound wall or a crescendo, but the mix ebbs and flows and is rarely a static thing for me.  Because of that, I prefer not to have my instruments "sit in the mix" as they might in a pop song.

The videos are good food for thought, though!  My first reaction to those lava lamps in the background was, "stoner alert!"


Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Constance Demby
« on: January 14, 2014, 08:16:53 AM »
Constance with her Space Bass ...

Cool.  It looks like a large scale version of Robert Rutman's steel cello:

Bob Rutman Steel Cello


Forum Member Projects News and Promotion / Re: Relaxed Machinery News
« on: January 13, 2014, 12:18:03 PM »
Sounds like you have a really nice line-up teed up, John.  Congratulations.  I've been enjoying Zero Ohms' 369 release on rM recently.


Finally on "Calibration", an entire track was taken from the previously released album "Perfume" by Klaus Wiese.

Oh geez.  That's really disappointing to read.  :(

This is very disappointing to hear.  I like what I've heard of his more recent releases.  I remember that on an early album ("In Search of Sanity," I think) he used an extended sample from one of Steve Roach's early 90s albums without getting clearance first.


Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: The Buchla Music Easel Ships
« on: December 21, 2013, 05:01:25 PM »
I'm not an expert on the Buchla stuff, but from my understanding the Electronic Music Box was Don's 200 system while it was being sold through CBS. This box we are talking about here was the portable performance version call the Music Easel, basically his version of the Mini Moog. I think its based on three different 200 modules.

Thanks, that's explains it.  Good to see that Subotnick is still active.  His "Touch," "Silver Apples of the Moon," "4 Butterflies" and "Until Spring" releases were favorites of mine in the 70s.  I also remember seeing a metallic Buchla synth prototype at the Exploratorium when I went to see an Eno installation there in the early 90s.

In googling suitcase synthesizers on Google, I came across this interesting page of DIY analog synths from Brazil:

The "Phonedrone" synth, which uses a telephone dial from a rotary phone, looks especially fun:


Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: The Buchla Music Easel Ships
« on: December 19, 2013, 05:39:42 PM »
Wow.  Almost looks more to me like a Serge than a Buchla.  I interviewed Morton Subotnick in the 70s and the Buchla he was using then looked more metallic and darker than this (though I remember him being credited on his albums as playing an Electronic Music Box, so I'm now confused).


I skipped around a bit, but one thing I noticed is that you tend to favor drones that occupy most of the soundspace.  I would try to dial some of those drones back into the mix so that other voices can poke out a little more clearly.  The high end seems a bit harsh in places.  Was most of this recorded as a realtime improv?  I would also vary the effects settings for each sound you introduce (eg, don't pan all of the echoed sounds from left to right), so that each one sits in a different part of the mix.  Some of the fatter drones seem a little preset-ish; I would try to dial down the LFO-wooshing, but that's just my stylistic preference.

Good luck.


Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: December 12, 2013, 09:49:34 PM »
Hakobune - Nebulous Sequences ( a nice one released this fall on Voxxov that some may have overlooked--a double manufactured CD, too)
Aube - Metal De Metal (placed this one for the first time in a while after hearing that the man behind Aube, Akifumi Nakajima, had passed away a few months ago; textural and unique--using only sounds made from metal.  Aube was one of the pioneers of the industrial scene.)


Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Vangelis
« on: December 12, 2013, 03:57:17 PM »
Im still trying to figure out what all the hieroglyphic type symbols refer to.....a musical language of some sort.

Or maybe a language for varying parameters within a given program??  Or maybe touch pads that activate events in varying degrees, like a Buchla touchpad??


Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: effects - old and new
« on: December 10, 2013, 11:02:59 AM »
One possibility opened up by all this processing power we have now is the use of complex multi-effects configurations built by the user. You can build all kinds of crazy sound processing machinery using systems designed for this purpose like Max or Pure Data, or systems designed to be synthesizers with audio input options, such as Reaktor or the Nord Modular.

It's nice to see more options in this area, though I could see how difficult it would be to troubleshoot an increasingly configuration like this, especially in a live setting.

Something I've enjoyed doing from time to time for experimental purposes is wiring up a crazy, complex signal chain all through my studio, creating feedback loops along the lines of the things I've seen Eno set up. You have to include compressors or limiters in the loop so the setup doesn't just feedback on itself into an ever-increasing racket. Often this just creates a hum, or a throbbing oscillation, but sometimes it can be useful.

I've done this, too.  I started with the two open reel "Frippertronics" delay approach very early on.  It was fun to do, but the real work came in having to decide on playback what small portion of it might be salvageable.  Sounds generated from internal mixer/effects-related feedback is interesting, too, but your noise floor can ramp up pretty quickly.  One of pioneers in the mixer feedback area was David Myers, who went by the name Arcane Device.  I thought he created some great industrial soundscapes with just a mixer, an occasional effect  and feedback.


Julio, physical modelling is cool, but I was thinking of something more basic--using the features of the new box to alter and mangle an acoustic instrument's signal, much like an effects device does, but with much deeper integration within the box's own architecture and processing capabilities.  Something like this can be done in Audiomulch, but it takes a lot processing and memory that might cause things to lock up.  Many years ago, I remember hearing what I thought was a synthesizer turn out to be an electric guitar processed through an ARP or a Moog.  Within the digital realm, I could see the processing possibilities being potentially greater (things like spectral processing).  It's fun to speculate.


Immersion said to Paul:  "I find this quest for mediocrity fascinating by the way, you must really like to swim in these waters... "

As you would say, Immersion, this sort of personal attack is "crap" and doesn't belong in this forum.  I've learned from my practice as a lawyer that people only resort to ad hominem attacks when they can't hold up the substantive end of their argument.

Julio, what I've love to see is in the future is more of an integration of treatment of real-time acoustic sound sources (not just loops) with synthesizers within the same box.  I guess Live does some of this, but I'd like to see some hardware synths take this on.


"I lost track of him after his 'Chariots of Fire' hit."

My thoughts too.

This sounds almost like a thread for bands that may have been cool for a while until they weren't.  A few from the prog era that would come to mind are Gentle Giant, Yes and even the venerable Soft Machine (their last, "Land of Cockayne," is pretty forgettable).


OK - I'm not a Vangelis keener - but this video of him playing his setup has some serious "wow" factor.
Wait a minute or two for him to finish his prep on whateverthehellthosemodulesare.

That's one bad-ass setup.  I remember the more prog side of Vangelis from the early to mid-70s (Earth, Heaven & Hell, Albedo 0.39, Spiral, La Fete Sauvage).  I was impressed with his ability not only to play multiple instruments but to write compositions without any standard notation.  Sure, he has a schmaltzy side, but I think his earlier efforts were more balanced and varied.  My favorites from that time were probably Heaven & Hell (especially the piece with piano and choir) and Albedo.  I lost track of him after his "Chariots of Fire" hit.  Interesting that he was one of the original choices for replacing Rick Wakeman at keyboards before they found Patrick Moraz.


Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Digital to analog converters
« on: November 27, 2013, 05:22:38 PM »
[I guess since most people are artists here they have the  need to some kind of self censorship in order to portray their own reputation. So as I said within a certain circle of people in this forum there will never ever been any arguments cause they do not want to risk to to create tension between relations.

Here's a good example of what I'm talking about.  This is just gratuitous and, frankly, speculative junk.


Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Digital to analog converters
« on: November 27, 2013, 04:47:17 PM »
I think people who have disagreed with you in this thread have said quite a bit more to you than "I have more experience," but you seem not to process what they're saying or just dismiss it out of hand.  Maybe you should re-read some of the responses, especially Paul's detailed ones.  There's no secret society here, but if I were you I wouldn't be too proud about being a contrarian for contrariness' sake.  And no, your tone throughout this thread has been offensive.  If you're seeking some help, you're going about it the wrong way.


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