Wrapping 2017 in Bullets

  • I’ve moved back to Japan! It soothes the heart and soul. It’s also been a great boost to creativity. Don’t get me wrong. Sweden has a lot going for it as well, but the darkness and the cold was like a wet blanket on my musical energy level. Tokyo has a ton more venues, stores and events to inspire. Probably also makes a big difference. :)
  • I’m building a new modular. I sold off all my old modules and cases about 2 years ago in a confused and misguided phase where I thought I was through with synths. Not going to happen again. It’s going to take a while to rebuild to the point where I left off, but it’s already great great fun to be back patching.
  • On that note, the world of modular has changed a lot since I bought my first LC9 case back in 2013. It’s amazing to see the breadth and width of modules and tools available these days, not least the forays into digital modules that where so frowned upon back then. :)
  • The Elektron Digitakt is awesome. I don’t care that the detractors and forum commenters say. I haven’t had this much fun with a box since I built a cardboard house in the basement 35 years ago! (And no, I haven’t experienced a single crash or bug yet.)
  • Don’t buy a lot of tiny synths. Spend the money on modules instead. They will make you happier and more creative. If you have to spend outside of modular, go for the big and powerful stuff, or boxes that completely complement the modular domain (e.g. the Digitakt).
  • I actually did perform a tiny live this year. We had friends over for dinner and I set up the instruments in the living room for an improvised techno session. Good fun and goofing around!
  • I have found a fantastic teacher who will start teaching me melody and song composition at the start of 2018. Look forward to more and hopefully better releases!
  • Linn is getting frighteningly good at the piano. Go Linn!!
  • My goal for 2018 is to release a follow up to Cumulus. Stretch is to perform it live… Scary to think it’s already been 4 years since I recorded it almost by accident in the bedroom in San Francisco…

The one thing I will take with me into 2018 is stop making excuses and just get down to making more music! I might not update the blog more frequently, but I WILL make more music in 2018.

What is the one bullet YOU will take with you into the next year?

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The road to a simple DIY Pedal, pt 9

Last night I got around to desolder and replace the transistor in my simple Bazz Fuss circuit.

Getting it off the board proved every little bit as frustrating as I had imagined, and I ended up demolishing it to a point where it could not be tested for functional errors.

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Either way, I soldered in a new one and tried it out.

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Unfortunately it made not difference. The clean, bypassed signal sounds normal, but as soon as I engage the effect I get this oddly clipped, blorring and ‘farting’ sound which increases in awfulness as I turn up the volume.

It is a distorted signal, but somewhere something is still way off….

If you have any tips or thoughts, please share in the comments.

Der Angel from Musikding

I got a package in the mail today containing a DIY pedal kit, Der Angel from Musikding.

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This is the first time I order from them, but based on the service and the quality of the packaging I suspect it wont be the last.

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Let’s see when I can carve out some time to actually solder it together :).

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.

The road to a simple DIY Pedal, pt 8

Ok, so mechanically all should be connected and soldered properly, but for some reason I’m not getting anything but farting noises out of the effect signal. The clean, bypassed signal sounds great (at least the footswitch and status LED seems to be working :) ).

Given the simplicity of the circuit that leaves only two suspects.

Either the diode is fried, or the transistor has given up its ghost.

Thus, today I removed the diode and tested it with the multimeter, only to confirm that there was no problems with it. I tested a new one and soldered it into the circuit, confirming that there are no shorts.

So, back to square 2. Tomorrow I will test the transistor as well. If you have any tips on how to remove a soldered in transistor please share :)