NIN Tour Visuals: A Massive x0x Style Sequencer, FTW!

So Nine Inch Nails has just started their summer tour in North America, and someone sent me along this link to a preview of what their live visuals are looking like this time around. Of course there are plenty of analog synthesiers rocking the stage too, I'll try to find some more about that later.

Anyway, check out this video. The sound is horrible, but you'll get the idea. There seems to be a lot of touch response visual stuff going on that you'll see. The reason for this post however, starts at 4:55 in the video. Is this the biggest step sequencer currently in existence? I think so, I also think that whoever uses it will undoubtedly look like Vanna White.

Live Setup and Stalking

A quick picture of my setup from this weekend. It's nothing extravagant just two pedals (Deluxe Memory Man and ThingmamaKIT) larger than my European setup. I should draw in heat wave squiggles to emphasize how hot that room was but you'd probably mistake them for stink squiggles. Though I have to admit that screaming is a bit easier with sweat in my eye.

More importantly (as you can tell by the size [it matters]), there always is Shannyn Sossamon. You know something is wrong when you're looking at the picture to the left longer than below. Get your priorities straight!


Eliot Lipp on XLR8RTV

One of our past Workspace and Environment buddies, Eliot Lipp, was interviewed by XLR8R. If you're too lazy to watch the video, it follows him to his studio in New York and runs through his typical day which, not surprisingly, reminds me a day of mine. You can check out his interview with us: Here!!

XLR8R TV Episode 70: Eliot Lipp from XLR8RTV on Vimeo.


Jonathan Snipes Custom Eurorack Case

I received an e-mail from Jonathan Snipes of Captain Ahab and after I asked if I could share this with the world, he agreed. I'm sending out a word of caution before you read this: Understand that you're potentially blowing out your power supply and all of your modules. If you try modding your power supply, we will not be held accountable for you being an idiot. But we will give you a high five (and miss) if you succeed. Enjoy your week! We'll be broadcasting a live show with Richard Devine on Sunday. We'll announce the time later.

Here are some pictures of the Eurorack modular case I built into a Pelican 1520 suitcase with the help of their panel mount insert. Everything is gorilla glued in place - mounted everything to sheets of plexiglass glued into the bottom. Rather ugly I know, but functional. I think eventually I'll add a panel along the bottom (under the modules) for multiples & attenuators. I'd feel a lot better if the IEC input & power switch were secured by more than just gorilla glue too :-) Worked out pretty well, I think. The coolest part of course being the switch I added to the power supply to switch between 115/230v (sort of visible in the second picture) ... very cool, and pretty easy - just used a DPDT switch (already labeled properly!) and followed this diagram on the Doepfer website: Here

So, yeah - cheaper than a Doepfer portable case, switchable voltage, more durable, AND if I get another panel mount insert, I bet I can mount thinner modules (Cwejman, Harvestman) in the lid, doubling the amount of modules I can cram in here. HOORAY. The last photo is of my mobile studio set up in my hotel room in Bulgaria. Shockingly, I received little to no hassle trying to get this through airport security. Only had to open it once. Weird. - Jonathan

The switch for the voltage switching was super easy ... all you need is a DPDT switch, preferably one that's labeled 115/230 and that's difficult to switch ('cause you can really blow up everything if it switches accidentally, or you plug a 115 power supply into 230, etc etc). The picture below is of the power supply defaulted by Doepfer.

This last picture below is of Jonathan's modification.


Livewire: AFG Shipping Now

I talked to Steve Rightnour this morning who is finishing up the AFG for Mike and informed me that he's pumping out the pre-orders. Expect yours soon!
Here is the previous post about the AFG's with proper links to some handy info: Here!
*more details in a bit, I gotta pretend I'm working.....


Fuck it! We'll do it live! - Surachai

Strangely after the European tours and shows around the states, this will be my first Surachai gig in Chicago. I'm not sure what to expect other than not fitting in but I'll be bringing my modular, freshly constructed ThingmamaKIT and a bunch of delays. You can prepare yourself here: Programmed Cell Death

HITODAMA (members of DOSES)
SURACHAI (Fathme Records / shade:red)
LING LING (ex Elders and Tales Of Genji)
2101 N. California ave. (Logan Square) Chicago,IL
Sat. Jul. 26 - 9PM - 21+ -


ThingmamaKIT Construction

I couldn't believe the shite quality on youtube and as a result I'm converting some videos to Vimeo. As always, I have made a timelapse video but this time: the assembly of my Dr. Bleep's ThingmamaKIT. I had to go to Justin's and Byonic's to drill holes into the case because I'm a vagrant and don't own normal things. The directions asked for strange drill bit sizes that no one seemed to have and because of that I spent 2 days cursing it. Either way, it's done. You can make yours all cute and bloopity but mine will serve darker purposes. Pictures of the final product inside the post...

ThingmamaKIT Assembly from surachai on Vimeo.

Longmont Potion Castle

Ever listen to a CD full of prank calls? I hope not, they are usually horrible (Jerky Boys, yikes). Here's someone doing prank calls right, and by right I mean the perfect use of an effects processor to reach maximum confusion with his victims. There's a few more recordings floating around, I'll add more as I find them...

Longmont Potion Castle Official Site


Africa Loves T_A

Well well well, look who finally came crawling to our website proclaiming their love? That would be you Africa! Johannesburg, South Africa to be exact. Even though you stayed for exactly 0 seconds and probably came here by accident I know you still love us. Nothing you can say will change my mind. NOTHING!

Next on the list: Siberia. Only cause your dogs are the coolest.


Create Digital Trash: Real Knobs on an LCD screen, what?

Ok, so I think this is something that Create Digital Music would normally cover, but I thought it was weird/interesting enough for us to bring up. So what we have here is something called Sense Surface, which basically allows you to place REAL knobs right on top of a virtual interface on an LCD screen. So essentially, this would allow you to place a real control knob on the virtual cutoff knob of that one Minimoog plug-in that you have that sounds amazing. Let's check out this video:

It actually seems pretty cool to be able to just throw a real physical knob anywhere you'd like on a screen. Although I think this would become a little bit sloppy when switching plug-in windows or switching to other apps in the background. It WOULD be excellent for alternative controllers like the Lemur, where you could completely remake your Minimoog front panel and then add real knobs on top of it. Just like a real Minimoog....

Check out more info from Gizmodo and Girton Labs

I would love to see this for the iPhone and iPod Touch too.


Trash_ Universe: Live Webcast - Volume 1

Ok, we are going to give it another try. If everything works, we'll have live Acid/Something/Improv for you. Here's the skinny:

Surachai, Benn Jordan and I. Kit includes: TR-808, Moog Prodigy, x0xb0x, Abletone Live, Virus TI, Cwejman S1, Korg KP3, a guitar and Logic recording it all on separate tracks. Lots of MIDI cables.... Hope it works...

Click here to join the chat.

Well, that seemed to go pretty well. We played for almost two hours or so, there are two video recordings (one an hour long, one 2 min long) and some photos of what went down ahead...

Hour Long Recording:

Two Minute Recording:


Trash_ Universe: Live Webcast - Beta

We ran a beta test of our upcoming streaming web show and strangely around 50 people stopped by. Familiar faces like Axiom, James Cigler, Richard Devine, Machinedrum, Trifonic some other friends from our Workspace Series somehow got a hold of our spam and joined in! For those who came, thanks and you can look forward to more. Those who didn't come, we'll announce a date and time for our next broadcast. Until then....

Workspace and Environment: On Holiday

I just watched the aftermath of someone getting stabbed in the face tonight. There's been a lot of knife action in Chicago as of late.... Anyways! Justin and I are toying around with the idea of doing a bi-weekly streaming web show right here! I'm not sure what to expect or what we will even cover but I'm sure everyone's mothers will come up. We'll set a date/time later and see what happens but for now I got Marianne Williams from On Holiday to spill her guts

I was born into sweet Iowa then moved to awful Kansas when I was in 7th grade. I knew college was my chance to escape, and since my mom was a hippie who lived in LA during the late 60s and early 70s, I grew up hearing stories and seeing photos of California in those days. I really romanticized this city as a child and still do. I love it here, but the people get pretty intense. I find myself subletting my apartment out every once in a while to travel, explore and take a break from LA. We always had a piano in our house growing up. As a child I would sneak into the music room after my sisters piano practice to try to imitate the Chopin and Bach she would endlessly loop. I still can't read music or play by ear, but I always felt elated by my simplified Romantic/Baroque improv approximations. When I was 15, I met an opera singer that adored my voice, and in the following 3 years he taught me all of the mezzo parts in great operas like Carmen, Aida, and Cavalleria Rusticana. I came to LA/USC to continue to study, but learning about jazz, rave and hip hop, conceptual art, performance art and film distracted me from classical training. Now, music is just a personal joy for me. The compulsion to write, play and record seems endless, and the emotional release that comes after completing some new song that has lots of ticking/tocking/interlocking layers is too strong and good to quit all together. Performing is an offshoot of writing and recording at home. When I spend 6 months or 2 years writing one song, eventually I need to play it for someone besides my bunny rabbit.

What are your current favorite pieces of hardware?
I love my upright piano- the tone is incredible. It's 600 pounds and 106 years old, and I found it in a basement in Inglewood. Also, my Ibanez Rock and Play drum machine which I found in Guangzhou, my dead grampas accordion, the autoharp which Tlr gave me for Christmas... I'm very sentimental about instruments and can not pick a "favorite", how unfair! I used to love my Oberheim Matrix 6 because it transports you to a magical place of cheesy 80s horror films, but Qrixs broke a bunch
of the keys and it's been dropped a lot, so now it's starting to program its own not-good sounds. I'm pretty sure none of that is actually "hardware," but ah, well.

What are some softwares or plugins you prefer?
A friend just hooked me up with ProTools 7 and one of those fancy M-Audio firewire sound card things. That is probably pretty basic for most of you all, but it's a huge step for me as I only had garageband before. I still don't understand plugins. When I record, I get all of my sounds with mics or from instruments with line outs. I like to cut and edit on the computer though.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
My "studio" is in one of my living rooms. I can usually only focus on a song or practice for an hour at the most, because of all the other daily crap I have to do which is staring me in the face.

Could you describe what you might think your ideal location would be?
A huge house with huge windows on a cliff outside of Rio, with a white baby grand piano on the balcony overlooking the ocean. The amazing studio and amazing chef would lure all of my amazing music friends there to live with me and record amazing albums together.

What is on your current 'wish list'?
Rhodes, Moog Voyager, Whirly... a really warm tone keyboard. Analog echo and reverb boxes, a (working) portable turntable, and a whole collection of vintage mics, especially an old radio announcer mic. I never buy gear on ebay, it just feels wrong, so I have to wait until I discover it in some dusty thrift store or tiny music shop.

Do you have a setup for live performances?
My tiny size toy grand piano, the Rock N Play handheld drum machine, distortion pedal, toy mic, regular mic, microcube or other small amp, whatever keyboard I can borrow from one of my friends (if there's not a piano at the venue), and the few toys I've wired with outputs. That's the basic stuff, but each show is different. I love to collaborate with all kinds of people- noise artists, performance artists, puppets, and beat makers, and have happily never made the same show twice.

Are you involved in any other projects?
I'm singing in an amazing psychedelic/western band called Crooked Cowboy and the Freshwater Indians. I love it- the sound is so full and intense, and I sing these wordless rhythms and harmonies with a few other singers. Also, I am helping to coordinate the soundtrack for an indie feature film called Trilby. I don't think I'm going to contribute to the soundtrack, just organize other musicians. For me, it's nice and necessary to step out of the role of creator sometimes, and it's easy for me to recognize talent and innovation in the people
around me.

On Holiday can be found here: myspace.com/holidaymusic



Being into noise and all things inspiring I've wanted a thingamagoop for a while. I have always loved the playful design and level of customization offered and it has always reminded me of some friends who create designer toys. Even though I realized it was primarily supposed to be fun, I always wanted a few more controls. BEHOLD! the thingmamaKIT! Assuming that you build it correctly it adds a few more features over the thingamagoop like a second photocell arm and square and Triangle wave outputs. Er, I should've reported this earlier cause now you suckers have to pay 65 bucks instead of 55 from the sale this weekend. At least now you have a neat video to convince you to buy one which the impulsive buyers didn't have.

Live audio_Output: The Great Mundane and POLYFUSE

An interesting Wednesday night show is happening this week, Surachai and I (as POLYFUSE) are playing at The Butterfly Social in Chicago. The show is free, if you can make it out there, come give us a high five or a punch in the gut, whichever you feel is most appropriate. The show is being put on by a local group known as Psymbolic who brings out an interesting mix of not only musicians and DJs but video, visual and spoken word artists. It should be an interesting mix.

All details here.

Flight Of Harmony: Parasite (Limited Edition VCRBPF)

The Parasite is a brand new limited edition (only 10!!!) Single Voltage-Controlled Resonant Bandpass filter (VCRBPF) with dual Low-Frequency Oscillators (LFOs) and is being made and sold by a new company called Flight Of Harmony. They also just recently released The Plague Bearer, which was only limited to FOUR units, they sold out fast. The Parasite is for sale now, and at the time of this post, there are only EIGHT left for $230. Get your hands on one before this is posted to matrixsynth! Because when that happens, they'll be gone!


video_Output: Four Analog Delays

Happy America Fuck Yeah Day....

I got my Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man pedal today and decided to break it in with my other delays. I'm not sure why I don't see more feedback in delay demos as that's one of the primary reasons I buy analog delays. Can I get another economic stimulus check? Fanx.
The signal flow is as follows: Cwejman VM-1 (source) into Doepfer A-188-2 Tapped BBD Module into Ibanez AD9 into Moog MF104z into Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man into your brain.


Live audio_Output: Sanctum

Coming up this Sunday in Chicago is a pretty interesting experimental/electric group known as Sanctum. Their official description mentions "combining harsh sounds with the more beautiful and light" but you can hear for yourself on their myspace page and the official site here.