Day 36, 37 in Japan

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Packing packing packing…

San Francisco, see you soon!

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Last 2 Weeks in Japan (Day 20 – 35)

After the post on fiveG in Harajuku, which was technically Day 19 in Japan, I spent one week working in Tokyo. During this time there wasn’t much music being made of course, but I did sample a lot of nice environments, including busy streets, trains, stations and airports.

46313_3651148857833_152942227_nI spent most of my after work hours studying modular synth design and patch techniques, and reading through the excellent book “Power tools for synthesizer programming” (check it out in the Library section).

After a week in Tokyo I returned to Ishikawa Ken (on the other side of Japan) and resumed work on the new track (“The Mystery Club“), as well as a couple of other tracks for the Hakusan Project. I hope I will have the time to complete those before the end of February.

My last update is again related to modulars. My good friend NOR in Sweden has designed an LFO module for the Eurorack format which he is currently testing. If all goes well he will share the schematics and component requirements with me and I’ll build one as well :)

There’s just a couple of days left of this journey, which has so far been incredibly productive, but I will try to make the most of the time remaining as well. More to follow on that.

New Song (The Mystery Club)

This is an Electro inspired track that I’ve been doodling with lately. It’s not really Electro in the stricter sense, but somewhere in the border lands between Electro , Pop and some kind of Daft Punk-envy?

Most of the sounds are custom Massive patches, including the percussion which is a mix of Maschine expansion samples and some layered Massive patches…

Anyways, I hope you like this slightly different excursion from the usual Glitzerstrahl sound… (if there is such a sound yet?) :D

FiveG, the Vintage and Used Synth Mecca in Tokyo

This post could also be called Day 19 in Japan, but on this day I had a very specific goal so I’ll talk mostly about that.

Since I was heading out to Tokyo, I decided to check online if there were any particularly interesting stores or other spots that a synth head should check out while in the city. I have lived in Tokyo for many years but when I did I wasn’t very interested in synthesizers or electronica beyond listening to it.

A quick search turned up a place called FiveG, close to Harajuku station on the Yamanote line. Online reviews talked about it as a place where you might find interesting used synths, and it looked like they had a selection on used Doepfer modules for sale too.

At this day, my friends Adam and Frederic were also arriving in Tokyo for the same business reasons as I, and since Adam is as much of a synth nerd as I am I decided to invite them to come with me.

fiveg1FiveG is located on the fourth floor of an anonymous looking building just outside Harajuku station. You have to walk in to the back of the entrance were you’ll find a dress up store for Japanese maid costumes. Next to this store is an elevator, which you ride to the fourth floor. Once there, you have to look around the corner of a very narrow hallway and you’ll find the store entrance.

Inside though the store is actually quite big, and stuffed from floor to ceiling, in multiple rows, with the most amazing vintage and used synths and other hardware you could ever imagine. At the time they had everything from Memory Moogs to the keyboard version of the Elektron Monomachine and several Korg MS 10, 20, and vocoders. I even spotted a used Elektron Analog 4!?

On the modular side they had hundreds of Eurorack modules and a whole section dedicated to Moog modular gear. I can’t even begin to list them all, but you can’t help but asking yourself where all that gear came from…

fiveg2The prices were reasonable too. And they offered to ship anything back to the states as well if needed. If you are in Tokyo looking for some interesting, unusual gear, and you have some space in your bags, I highly recommend checking out this store. Even if you can’t afford some of the more esoteric instruments and accessories its still a great way to spend time in the company of some of the most famous electronic instruments ever. I do recommend that you bring a friend who can speak Japanese since that makes the visit even better!

Check out the photos and the link below if you want to know more.

FiveG, Harajuku – Tokyo

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Day 14 – 17 in Japan

Lots of new material being worked on right now, but the most exciting piece for me is in the more dance oriented bucket. I can’t say too much at the moment but I’m working on something that I think you will find quite different from what I’ve put out so far. As always, expanding into new territories is extremely exciting and full or learnings.

I’ve sampled some new environments as well, including a really nice airport atmosphere that I hope to be able to use at some point. I have some ideas. As I’ve said before, all the environment sampling that I do now will be made available for download and free use once I’ve polished it up and cut it to appropriate format.

I found two great books at amazon that I’ve begun to sink my teeth into. The first is called ‘The Audio Expert’, a thick tome on most of the common engineering aspects of sound and audio. I have only flipped through it so far but it looks really interesting.

PowerToolsCoverThe second is called ‘Power tools for Synthesizer Programming’. This is an older book (2004) but it is a great introduction to sound programming and design with synthesizers. I have read through most of it and have to say I really recommend it as a starting point for learning the fundamentals of synthesis (including both styles such as additive, subtractive, granular, … and the components such as Oscillators, LFO, Filters, …). If you are like me mostly self taught, you’ll be surprised at all the little stuff in the knowledge gaps that really make things ‘click’ when you understand them.

RIght now I’m back in Tokyo for work for a week, during which there probably won’t be much music made, but I hope to find the time to stop by some interesting instrument/music stores. More on that in later posts.