Workspace and Environment: I, Parasite

I was born in New York City and have lived there my entire life. Since I moved I've been staying in Pennsylvania, but I plan to move back to NY or possibly LA when I can. I have a lot of contacts and friends in LA, so it could be interesting to try that out for a few years, until the big one washes everyone away.
I've been in bands since I was about 12 or 13. My father is a musician and there were always instruments around the house that I would mess around with. By the time I hit my teens I had several Casio and Yamaha home keyboards and drum machines, acoustic drum set, acoustic guitar, and a Portastudio 4-track to make noise with. Around 15 I discovered MIDI and got a couple sound modules to mess around with, running EZ Vision on my Macintosh LC. Next came samplers (Roland S-550 and Akai S2800), ROMplers (Roland JV-90 and Korg X5), and my first "real" synth, a Roland Juno-6. In 1998 we did the first I, Parasite album (Turin) using this stuff and recording to a Fostex 4-track cassette. The next release (Horseslayer) we upgraded to ADAT, and added an Access Virus B. I moved over to recording on my first Mac G4 after that and started work on my last album, On This Cold Floor. Having artistic parents, I just kind of fell into music and I haven't looked back since.
My band is I, Parasite, and I also do additional work under my name, Christopher Jon. You can find everything I, Parasite at our website: www.iparasite.net. The last session work I did was synth programming and noises for the Cradle of Filth album Thornography. I'm doing synth programming on another project now with some metally people that hopefully I can talk about soon.

Favorite Hardware
In synth land that's easy: my modular. It's like Legos and synthesizers at the same time. How can I resist? Following closely after that are the Evolver and Juno-6. The Juno is so simple, but I love the sound of it. You can go from weird electric piano to great pads very quickly. The Evolver is aggressive and evil. Sequencing with feedback is an awesome thing. Studio wise I love the Shadow Hills Gama mic preamp. Switchable transformers provide some nice subtle coloration differences.

Favorite Software
The only software synths I really use these days are MetaSynth, M-Tron, and Reaktor. I really like Reaktor for granular type manipulations. I use M-Tron to get my Mellotron fix until the day I can afford a real one. MetaSynth is great for drones and additive ambience. Software manglers I enjoy are Argeïphontes Lyre, Sound Hack, and Pluggo. Pluggo gets me my Max/MSP fix until I can afford the full software package. Some of my favorite plugins and manglers are still only pre-Mac OS X: Turbosynth, Marcohack, Syd, Th0nk, MacPod, GrainWave, BubuScratch... I keep an OS 9 machine around just so I can fly audio in there to FSU. Studio wise I pretty much only use the Universal Audio UAD plugins these days. I'm psyched to try out MOTU's Volta as well.

Workspace and Environment
I'm very affected by my surroundings. I need the mood of my studio to match the mood of the music I'm trying to create. I really liked the vibe I had set up in my last studio. It felt like a studio, and not a room in my apartment. I need my work environment to take me out of my everyday living. Where I'm staying right now feels like a messy living space, and I've found it's a lot harder to get motivated to create something new. It's been a bit of a bummer. Ideally, I'd like someplace with a great sounding room to put drums in. That would make me very happy.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining? The last?
I kinda remember my first synth - a red keytar type Yamaha or Casio thing. It was extremely cheesy, but I used it a lot as a kid. The first instrument which I said "this must be mine" was this beat up mutt drum kit my father had at his office in NYC. I found it in his closet and took it home that day. It's a mix of Ludwig and Gretsch drums and I still have it. The most recent thing I picked up was a Flight of Harmony Plague Bearer module. Ugly sickness in a svelte package.

What is on your current 'Wish List'?
The fully featured CV controlled hardware granular synthesis module. Oh yes. Also someone needs to come up with an OSC to CV solution, although Volta looks like an excellent substitute.

Do you have a mobile studio setup?
I'm actually working on putting that together now. I moved at the end of the summer 2008 and I haven't re-set up my studio in the place I've been temporarily staying since then. I'd like to put together a mobile rig based around my laptop: Small rack with my Cranesong HEDD and MOTU Ultralite / Microlite (although I'm getting away from MIDI these days), API Lunchbox, and some microphones.

Do you have a setup for live performances?
Yes live we have a fairly conventional rock/metal setup: Drums, bass, guitar, amps, etc. We bring out the modular and Juno-6, a bunch of noise makers, and some electronic drums hooked up to a Roland TD-10. Any backing tracks are run off of a laptop, although they tend to be minimal.

How many studios have you had in your career?
I've recorded every I, Parasite album to date in the same apartment in the Bronx. The only thing that has changed is which room it was in. It'll be weird working on the next album in a different space – check back with me in a year and I'll let you know what it feels like!

Have you ever heard your music being played publicly?
I've heard stuff in clubs before, which is always surreal – "don't I know this song? oh shit!" Weirder than that was hearing songs from my last album played on MTV reality shows like The Real World or Road Rules. That's a brain fuck for sure.

Are you involved in any music/sound work outside of your own projects?
I've done remixes for other bands, including Android Lust, Rosetta, and Schuldt, as well as freelance synth/sound design work like the Cradle of Filth album. I hope to do more synths-for-metal-bands type work, 'cause that's fun and very different from working on I, Parasite.

- I, Parasite album page
- Works of Christopher Jon
- iparasite.net


VOLTA is shipping

MOTU's Volta is now shipping. I am not going to say anything about it until we obtain the godlike software. Check out the write up on Create Digital Music about the release and for some new, shocking, info.

Inside Steve Jobs' Abandoned Jackling Mansion

Well, this isn't audio/synth/music related at all really (besides the organ), but cool its nonetheless. Check out the full article for some pretty insane looking photos of this huge abandon dump.

Jobs has been petitioning for the right to raze the 14-room, 17,250-square-foot structure in California's Woodside woods for eight years so that he can erect a smaller, contemporary style home for his family.

- Inside Steve Jobs' abandoned Jackling mansion

Workspace and Environment: John Mayer

Well, of course I am not completely serious, only half serious as John wouldn't really fit in with our on-going list of weirdos and hermits that make up the typical Workspace and Environment article. However, some mysterious and evil force tossed me directly onto a blog John is running right now that is actually kind of interesting and relevant to OUR interests. It's a blog that is all about the construction of a new studio called 'Battle Studies' and, as he puts it...

It's a house, in a clandestine location,
that's being converted into a music studio.
No, not a music studio.
An entire music experience.
A living, breathing, ever-evolving organic space that contains every part of the record making process.
Everybody involved has left their comfort zone. Including myself.
I need to be disoriented again.

I'm going to share as much as I can with you throughout the entire process. Notes, lyrics, sounds, pictures, ideas, videos.

Check it out and be sure to catch the video of John doing computer music on an MPC...

- John Mayer: Battle Studies Blog


Trash_Audio: Gathering

We changed the date! Come hang out! Justin and I are planning to have a Chicago Synth Meet at his place on Saturday, May 16th starting at 5pm.

This is a perfect opportunity to network within the electronic instrument Chicago crew. We encourage you to bring out your friends, even if they have no idea what we're talking about. While bringing your modular/ synth/ keyboard/ drum machine/ whatever-makes-noise is not necessary, we highly encourage it. BYOB but if you spill it on someone's synth, Justin has a fireplace and you'll never be found...

We will supply mixers for you to plug into, electricity, some headphones, tables and a pair of monitors - other than that, bring what you need including controllers, patch cables and the like.

E-mail me at trash(at)thedeepelement(dot)com and I'll pass you the essential information to have a killer time!


Muxtape: Polyfuse & Surachai

Muxtape has relaunched and somehow we were invited.
Justin (Polyfuse) and I have setup profiles and provided previews for a 4 album release happening here on May 11th. Justin will have two Polyfuse albums and I will have a Surachai release along with a final release from the deep element. The range of music is polar extremes ranging from ambient to metal. And while I don't owe you anything, I feel like I've been not as aggressive with pursuing interviews, so hopefully this'll make up for it. Hope you hear something you like...

- Polyfuse

- Surachai

- the deep element

- Justin McGrath


Volta: Official Website Active

The Volta page on Motu's website became active today and you can see it Here! It's listed as $249 which means that most places will carry it around 200 bucks. Anyways, I'm pumped to see such a great tool for all of us modular heads to indulge and help us create but also am realistic that this is a heavy investment since you need a MOTU interface.

Double click on the video to see it in action. Actually do yourself a favor and watch the other videos they have. The one below is goofy.


VICMOD: Make Noise Interview

Since we're dragging ass over here with interviews, fellow blogger VICMOD is picking up our slack by interviewing the frontrunners manufacturers of the Eurorack format. The latest installment is Tony Rolando of Make Noise. Read it Here. I have one of his wogglebugs coming my way and have no doubt that it'll find a way into my production. Among the flurry of name droppings, he manages to hit mine up:

" Do you like Noise as a genre? Who are some of your favourite artists?

When I was 14, my friend went to California to visit his brother, who had a legendary record collection. He returned with cassette dubs of several albums, one of which he gave to me because, he said, “...it sucked.” The tape had Sonic Youth's “Confusion is Sex” on side A and their “EVOL” album on side B. To this day, I have never been so frightened by a piece of music as I was upon the initial plays of those two albums. My vision of what music could be, and the role of noise within music was forever changed. A couple years later, 1988 I think, I went to a record sale at the library in my town. I bought records like
crazy then, choosing most of them based on the cover art, just trying to find something new in a town that was consumed by classic rock format radio. Sure I came home with a lot of bummers like “Klaatu,” but on that day in 1988, I came home with Morton Subotnik's Silver Apples of the Moon and an even more amazing album called “Electronomusic” by John Pfeiffer! It took me many years to understand how those records were made, and I suppose that is also part of how I came to start Make Noise!

My favorite stage performance utilizing noise came from Keiji Haino. I was 18, visiting NYC for the first time. I read about a show hosted by Thurston Moore, at the Knitting Factory, it may have been one of the early No Fun festivals... This was when the ceiling in the bar was actually knitted! This man stepped on stage wearing all black leather, and playing an all black Gibson SG. He had on black shades too... He played that guitar the way Conan the Barbarian worked a sword! 10 years later I walked through the studio where EVOL was recorded and I screamed into the cavernous, concrete live room. It was awesome to hear the ambience of that album imparted on my own voice! I had just moved to NYC, I had no home, no job and no money. Not much changed for 2 years.

Recently I have enjoyed strange noise from Surachai, D/AA/D and Carlos Gioffoni. I am completely awestruck by Richard Devine's composition “Matvec Interior” from the album “Cautella.” It is noise as electro-acoustic brain massage therapy."


video_Output: AntiVJ & Crea Composite: Nuit Blanche Bruxelles

Performed on the 4th of October 08 at Mont des Arts in Brussels, Belgium during "Nuit Blanche".

Visuals production:
Yannick Jacquet (Lego_man)
Jérémie Peeters (Shirü)
Joanie Lemercier (crustea)

Sound Design: Thomas Vaquié


audio_Output: POLYFUSE - One Quiet Moment

This is the quiet before the storm. Nearly twenty minutes of dark ambiance, free to download and available in MP3 and Apple Lossless. It's also free to use for various non-commercial applications via creative commons license.

Three very different EPs are coming soon after this.

- POLYFUSE: One Quiet Moment


Skot Wiedmann

I'm simply taking what is on Muffwiggler and putting it in friendly blog form for you dummies who aren't on Muff. Apparently Skot is a commission based manufacturer and has a waiting list of months if not years. This is mental. Pictures after the drop.

Improvisation from Skot Wiedmann on Vimeo.

video_Output: Digg Dialog with Trent Reznor


Cwejman Zen.

Bet you can't figure out who this dark corner belongs to.


Alec Empire: Making of the album 'Shivers' + Interview

Do it Alec!

Also, previously on T_A...

- Workspace and Environment: Alec Empire

Mr. Oizo: Making Lambs Anger

Trifonic sends me the greatest random videos. This one is leading the pack. You're welcome.