This was fun to make. I love lying on the ground, looking straight up into the trees on bright summer days.
My second full length album, Phthalo Blue, is now available for streaming on Spotify and streaming/download on Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon and a few other online services. Take a look, take a listen, and please let me know what you think.
This release was my first real venture into using modular synthesizers as a tool to create music. For those who don't know, modular synths are much like regular, pre-built synthesizers, except that the artist is allowed to pick and choose the collection of modules and sound shaping devices, allowing for a much larger degree of customization and specialization. Indeed, each one is unique.
How does this make for a different experience as an artist, and to you as a listener? Great question. As an artist, interacting with a modular synth is very different from a regular synth or a guitar or a violin or any other instrument, with the exception maybe of a computer. Because of the interchangeability of the modules themselves, they allow for much more interconnectedness, by which I mean, you can plug the output voltages into different inputs that you might not otherwise be able to in a traditional synth. In doing so, the synth itself sort of takes on a life of it's own. When you sit down with a guitar, you get what you put into it--no more, no less. While this is an incredibly honest and straightforward process that I have enjoyed since I started playing music 25+ years ago, with a modular synth, compositions tend to take on a life of their own. It's an incredibly enjoyable process.
Using a modular synthesizer to make music is the closest thing to collaborative composing with a machine that I've ever experienced. What you put into it, is NOT necessarily what you get out of it. You plug in some wires, dial in a sequence of notes, and a few seconds later, you could find yourself in VERY different musical territory. The nature of the tool lends itself to generative music--music that can take on a life of it's own, feeding off the voltages and signals the tool itself is creating.
In any case, these 8 songs are the product of experimenting with the tool that I have built over the past year, and can honestly say I love and am closer to than any other musical tool i've ever used. Plus, it's an enormous amount of fun to play with. I think that comes through in this album.
I can already feel myself moving in a new direction. It's a direction that will certainly incorporate the modular synth, but I find myself longing for organic textures more and more. Integrating those organic textures with these generative synth textures is surely where my heart lies.
All the best and thank you for all your support!
This patch was created using the Monome Grid and Kria app to sequence a series of oscillators.
One channel was routed through Shifty to spread the sequence across an Intellijel Dixie 2 and a Mutable Tides in VCO mode. Another channel sequenced Rings at a 1/2 speed rate.
A few video snippets spliced together from a recent performance in San Francisco for Powwow SF No. 3. Amazing backdrop!
This is a live rehearsal / improv session in prep for my POWWOW show next week. Still working out the kinks on this ambient modular exploration, but I’m pretty happy with the direction this is headed for one of the sections.
Tune in Sat, Sep 30, 2017 at 5pm PST for the live broadcast on Facebook: http://bit.ly/2xjKYv6
The main thrust of this piece is a meditative base using Tides and Rings, alternated with a movement of violent frequency modulation with Whimsical Raps Mangrove and Three Sisters.