Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More with Less...

There are many ways to make music. Sometimes you can use a $15,000+ modular synthesizer. Sometimes you can use an abandoned yamaha dx21 and a delay pedal.

Both methods have their place.

When you combine an evening of good company, drink, and Kent Williams and I playing whatever we picked up off the floor of his son's room in Iowa City you sometimes get a pretty cool acoustic and ambient collage EP.

Like this: http://chaircrusher.bandcamp.com/album/memoriam
Truthfully, I had as much fun making weird noises using three presets on the 4op synth as I have at times with my wall'o'modular synths. The spark was there and the need to explore was brought out and into focus. It also felt good to pick up a few odds and ends and make music without a second thought.

I hope you enjoy listening to this as much as we did making it.

Plink on!

UPDATE - 9/5/11:
A few folks have taken the creative common license and made some great work out of our original tracks. The EP now officially includes a fourth track by Michael Crooker with live drums and other instruments mixed in, out, and all around the original recording.

Check it out here:

Monday, August 22, 2011

On location...

I've been able to do at least one post a week since starting this blog. Alas I have been traveling for work in the midwest and will be on the move until early Sept so posts will be a bit more sporadic until then. Still lots of synthandi stuff to share Buchla and otherwise.

To be on topic a bit before I left I mailed two of the 200e modules to B&A for repair. Just got an email from Karl they were received and hopefully will be waiting for me when I return. I'll do a follow-up post then.

In the meantime here is an action shot of me and a new friend I met at the Iowa State Fair on my day off this week.

Bleat on...

Friday, August 12, 2011

225e and IPad Midi (part two)

In my last post I mentioned how the 200e is actually easier to use with midi than most other instruments. I'm specifically referring to the use of Midi control change messages (CCs) and the inherent modular capabilities of the 225e which bring these programming features into the old fashioned plug-and-play realm of modular synthesis.

Unlike a lot of other software or controllers, you don't even have to know what does what in midi cc for the 225e to do it's magic. Much like patching a cable from point A to point B you simply need to dial in the number of the controller you want to use, tell it what jack to come out of, and then you are free to go back to CV patching with banana cables just like every thing else on the 200e but with the added feature of being able to use any midi controller pad, sequencer, bit of computer software, etc.

Given the wide variety of freeware programs and affordable Apps this opens up a brave new world to interface with or control the 200e. There are VST or midi sequencers, dedicated LFOs, and even things like hardware midi delays and arpeggiators that can trigger, sync, or modulate the 200e on it's own terms.

Last post I used an IPad to send note and gate info as well as tweak the volume and filter sweeps. Here's a short video showing how easy it is to set this up in the 225e.

If you've never wanted to use midi or felt it wasn't worth your time (I've been in both camps and am still not a huge fan of midi) this might be a good starting place to add to your 200e in a powerful and very affordable way. Given the fact that Buchla and Assoc made the 225e such an integral part of their 200e design and philosophy ignoring this is missing out on a large part of owning a new Buchla. The good part is you don't need to learn a lot of tech stuff or have binary computer programming skills to take advantage of the great features the 200e offers. Back in the day you used to have to know sysex commands and language to send start and stop strings of code to do anything. Thanks to the mix of modern and classic (a common Buchla way of looking at things) all you need to know is how to use a patch cable and a programmer than is as easy as the 200e preset manager.

Tweak on.