I suck at it, and that’s great!

It’s really odd to switch like this from being heavily into electronica and synthesisers to going 100% into the guitar again.

But there’s something very immediate about it that really appeals to me right now. No cables to connect, no software to update, no keyboard shortcuts to remember or midi timing issues to worry about. Just pick up the guitar and play.

If I’m feeling adventurous I might just turn the amp on… Maybe even a pedal or two.

IMG_4985And, almost out of sight, in the corner of my eye sits the one piece I couldn’t let go of. My Native Instruments Maschine. Actually the piece that started me down the electronica path back in 2012.

I’m holding off for the moment. Savouring in my mind the moment I’ll start playing with it again…

Another great thing about the guitar is that I suck at it.

It’s great because it means there is no pressure to be creative yet. No stress to create actual music or publish polished tracks. For now it’s all about learning the basic handling.

Chords, scales, picking and strumming…

Kind of meditative in a way.

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The road to a simple DIY Pedal, pt 6

The short is gone.

But!

I’m still not getting the signal I expect. The clean is coming through nicely, but the effected signal sounds extremely muddy and gritty. To the point where its really unusable.

IMG_4946

A bit unsure where to go from here to be honest.

On the bright side, I’ve added the status LED to the circuit, and it lights up just fine :)

IMG_4947

Keyboard Abstinence…

It’s now been almost 3 months since I packed up all my gear and left San Francisco. Since then my entire studio has been placed in custom wooden boxes, stuffed in a container, placed on a ship, crossed the atlantic and is now sitting in a harbor somewhere along the Swedish coast.

I knew I would be away from my gear for a long time which is why I put together my portable little setup (more here), but I did not foresee how much I would miss having access to my modular and my keyboards.

I packed an LPK25 but I just don’t gel with it, also the build quality is poor and the thing is already starting to fail on me. To replace it I’ve been fiddling with the laptop keyboard and the built in Analog Four keys, but It’s going to be at least another 45 days before my studio is back up, and as a result I’ve started to long for a good key bed.

I’m really tempted to grab one of the new, interesting ‘mini-synths’ like a BassStation 2, a MiniBrute or an MS-20 Mini, and with Arturia announcing the MicroBrute the availability of portable, analog, mono synths have never been better! While not the cheapest option it would add a lot of extra value over a Midi controller.

On the other had I’m also curious about the new KeyLab series from Arturia. While dependent on a computer to run the KeyLab software, the quality of the Arturia emulations are just killer.

What’s your portable keyboard solution? Computer and MIDI controller or an actual synth?

Echigoya, another synth power-spot in Tokyo

In January this year I presented the FiveG store in Harajuku, Tokyo, but the city is home to many other fantastic gems for synth heads. Today I’ll post some pictures from the Echigoya Music (えちごやミュージック) store in Shibuya.

Along with FiveG, I would list Echigoya as probably one of the best spots in Tokyo to go searching for vintage or just used synthesizers and other studio gear. It’s a small shop but filled floor to ceiling with some really fantastic gear. Prices are reasonable too, and the manager is more than happy to assist with shipping to just about any region of the world.

To get to this store you get off at the Shibuya station and walk towards Harajuku along the JR (Yamanote) line tracks. You’ll bump into Tower Records on your right side.

TowerRecords

Echigoya will be across the street.

EchigoyaExt

You have to take the elevator up to the 9th floor.

EchigoyaElevator

Inside you’ll find keyboards, synth modules, rack gear, accessories and tons of other gear.

E_Keyboards

Look at that, a used Korg Volca Beats makes a surprise appearance. I would have bought it but my mind is set on a Elektron Machinedrum now…

E_VolcaBeats

Lots and lots of gear.

E_Keyboards2

If I had the means I would have picked up a SEM or two…

E_SEMmodules

Lot’s of MPC goodness. With some custom skins too…

E_MPCs

On a side note, when I was walking back to Harajuku I spotted this charming sign near the Yoyogi park:

Sign

It basically says that all unauthorized live music performances using amps are forbidden in the park. The background is most likely that this has traditionally been one of the most popular spots for amateur bands and performers to do impromptu shows. Thus, today the area was entirely devoid of any music and mostly desolated. Sad to see such a nice ‘tradition’ go, but I’m sure they will find other spots across the city.

Check out the Echigoya Music website here!

A new XYZ control scheme for modular synths

Here’s a thing I’ve wanted to try for a while:

I’d like to put a goldfish in a large bowl, point 2-3 cameras at it and write a small script that tracks it’s movements in 3 dimensions. The movements would then be translated into CV to be passed via an X-out, Y-out, Z-out on a custom built eurorack module.

Behold the ‘Goldie module’! It would become the centerpiece of my stage performance…

Thoughts?