Thursday, December 27, 2012

Samplr for iPad

A very interesting sampling and performance applicaton just released for iPad. Not yet available for iPhone - but honestly seems better suited for a larger screen (as most do).

This app shows a LOT of promise for audio-mangling fun.

Samplr official site.
Samplr on iTunes App Store

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Vinyl - Again!

My dear and talented friend, Tanya Seeman, recently sent me a small gift app: Vinyl - the Real Record Player for iDevices makes all your music 'analog' again. Thanks to Tanya for buying this for me! What a cool gift. Check out this hot video and relive the golden age(s) of turntable goodness with your MP3 collection! Making all those crispy new recordings (even your own!) sound like they did when I listened to my record collection as a kid/young adult.

Extra Bonus: Flipping through virtual 'records' as one used to when going record shopping or DJing. Thanks Tanya - You Rock!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Air Liquide

There's few 'dance projects' I can think of that impressed, amazed and surprised me more than Air Liquide. This incredible duo from Germany represented qualities in music production in general and dance music in particular that took me places few have. Unabashedly electronic, dark/eerie, acidy, GROOVY and psychedelic. One can practically see the machines 'thinking' in their crazy studio - percolating, twisting, and grinding out sexy, smart and smokin' tracks which still make me wanna move today like little else. Their tracks embody the souls of the machines they used.

Thank you Dr. Walker and Jammin' Unit - for opening my ears again and again...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Construction Time Again...? (!!)

I grew up in New York City's East Village. Every year it seemed, they would ritualistically rip open the avenue(s) and patch them up again. I hated it. But I knew the sounds well. For the past few weeks there's been gobs of noisy construction inside and outside my building complex.

Depeche Mode is one of my favorite bands, and one of my very favorite albums of their's is Construction Time Again.

Here's a very cool documentary on the making of that album. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Going Modular

Ever since I first got interested in electronic music, I have always wanted a modular synthesizer. Though still a bit pricey, they are extremely flexible, fun, very educational, and inspiring to work/play with. I've played with/programmed many, and even borrowed some at various times.

I would still like one. Perhaps a small system like this from BugBrand.

The good news is: they are probably more affordable, well sized, and powerful than ever. This great Sound on Sound guide to buying modular synths inspired me yet again to scratch a long-running itch. In time, I will have one for sure.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Back to Arturia...

For $500 it's unlikely you'll do better for an fully analog keyboard enabled synth. This thing sounds/looks great! Had to mention again with full video review... Reminds me of the 101 in some ways, but with some really nifty features. This thing kinda rocks - and would make a GREAT first synthesizer. NO PRESETS = GOOD!!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How to Start?

Every now and again someone will write to me asking a simple question: How do I start making (electronic) music? And I am oft dumbfounded to respond. A better questions is Where and When - and the answer is Here and Immediately.

Honestly... Any synth or sound-altering device will do - hardware or software. Generally I would recommend something hardware-based inexpensive(!) simple to program, and FUN to play with. Check this out, for example. So fun and cheap... I'm gonna get one!

For me, half the fun of music is exploration. We must all find our own path(s) and musical language with these machines. It wasn't until I bought my first synth and actually played with it that I began to develop a real vocabulary. I learned most every basic thing I needed to from that relatively basic machine. Also... listen to bands you like that make sounds you like - then learn to mimic those sounds somehow on whatever gear you have. I guarantee you will learn a LOT in the process.

I would also recommend checking out Oliver Chesler's great blog: WireToTheEar - lots of fun and informative stuff there. Enjoy - and START NOW!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Things NOT to do at 1am.

Sometimes I gotta laugh at myself - and this time I've elected to write about it as well. It's now 1:33am... and when I should have been heading to sleep, I decided to review a track I was close to finishing. The first "real" track I'd done entirely on the iPad using a great app called NanoStudio.

The reason I'm still up is not because I'm so thrilled at my creation as I'm astonished at mine own idiocy. As I was looking through the various project files in the app's directory, instead of just listening to the intended track, I decided to do some 'housecleaning'. You see, I start lots of little 'tracklets' - and sometimes you gotta clean house.

Normally I'd open the track, then decide on deletion. This time I just frackin' deleted it. DON'T DO THAT.

Yup - I deleted the one track that was close to completion. And apparently, my pad had not done an iCloud backup in several days(?!). Fortunately, I'd already exported a rough mix of that version the other day... AND I have the sequence it was based on. I just have to alter some parts and improvise a few things. Not terrible - but this will take time I'd rather spend on better things.

Controller data, improvised solo, etc... all to be re-done. D'oh!

In summation: if one is at all tired, it's NOT the best time to start 'blindly' deleting things. Save that option for mid-afternoonish or so.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Embracing Pandora

When Pandora first hit the net-waves I was skeptical. It lacked the breadth I was looking for. Honestly, aside from my pre-to-early High School days and then a college-radio stint post-facto, I had fallen mostly out of love with radio. Too many commercials, too little music of interest... and I was going out to clubs, parties, and friend's places - while also keeping quite busy working on my own material.

These days things are different. Working a full time job, and not socializing as I used to has somewhat limited my new music experiences. Most bars I find myself at play crap - with a capital "C" - and making music is something I'm reaching for in moments between exhaustion and being bombarded with pop music at work all day.

Somewhere in all this I have revisited Pandora - and found that their palette has expanded into bands and territories I enjoy more. It's... not so bad*.

As I don't really make time to watch TV these days - this seems like a nice alternative. I'm finally diggin' it. Good work, Pandora. Here's my ever-expanding stations/channel:

*one caveat: if I can just train Pandora from sneaking in so much "new age" pap I'd be ever so much happier with it!

Monday, April 9, 2012

antfactor video by Blair Neal.

Cool video done a few years back. Thanks Blair.

Test output from my sound to video max/msp patch for antfactor's song "first of one"..source footage from

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ode to A Dream

On a beautiful autumn day somewhere around '82, I took a walk with friends to the park close to our high school. Upon arrival I met Christopher, who had a boom box that was playing some of the most hauntingly beautiful textures and rhythms I'd heard in a while. He told me that it was "Ricochet" - a live album by a band called Tangerine Dream. Christopher and I went on to become very close friends, a connection of which was key around music... and what he turned me on to literally changed my life and musical perspective forever.

Tangerine Dream's music spoke to me in a unique way. I was already into electronic music... but their organic synth textures and woven sequences took hold of me like nothing before. There was also a particularly haunting quality that drew me toward them.

Many electronic musicians and an incredible number of dance music producers have sighted them as a major influence - for good reason. The textures they used - and perhaps even more-so - their sequenced rhythms pre-dated their dance music equivalents by decades.

Much of the next few years were spent scouring record-stores sniffing out their albums in the "import" bins. First was Tangram... but soon after I acquired "70-80" - a seminal collection of great tracks, some previously unreleased gems, and a picture book that I got lost in over and over again... filled with loads of concert pics and gear. Their music brought me to beautiful and alien places. I wanted to learn about all the gear - how to make such wondrous textures. Many nights were filled with dreams about gear - and ultimately learning to mimic those textures on my own primitive studio setup.

Music has an incredible ability to do that - a stronger force than anything I've experienced otherwise. To instantly inspire and tap into a part of the soul nothing else seemed to relate to. They will always be a major influence on me - because, "The dream is still the same..."

If you think and of this sounds or looks interesting - wait 'til you hear the actual recordings. Sublimely rich oceans of organic synth textures.

Monday, March 5, 2012


is a Notion. is an oCean. a long time.

we can't catch it - hold it - see it - feel it - taste it - contain it - escape it - or stop it. yet we all experience the Effects of it. nearly 365 earth-days ago I recorded a simple track about IT.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

New Compact Synth from Arturia

Every now and again I have my synth-gear-slut moments, and this may be one of them. Gotta say: The Arturia MiniBrute looks intriguing. It's great to see manufacturers coming out with new instruments that push the boundaries of architecture in a compact space. Their website had this to offer on the subject of presets:

"MiniBrute comes with no electronic presets. You build yourself every sound you hear. Believe us, this is fun, this is creative and this helps make better music (and honestly, this is not harder than browsing sub-menus)."

I love this statement - as I have always been a firm believer that if one if forced to program new sounds from scratch whenever using a device, it pushes one's brain to (a) learn the machine that much better, and (b) always come up with novel ways of using it, and (c) adapt its sound/function to what you are making at that moment. My first synthesizer was a Roland Juno 6, and it had no presets - and I am so grateful for that fact! It taught me to program my new toy very quickly, and really get the most out of it - an experience I wouldn't trade for all the presets in the world.

The specs on this little gem are truly impressive - if your'e into that kinda stuff. Extensive mod section, great LFO options, and arpeggiator (thank goodness!!!)... and Aftertouch Modulation? Thank you!

Here's a cool video which highlights it's features.

More info here: Arturia MiniBrute

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Toilet Talk

One of my newer projects is something I call Toilet Talk - where I basically give brief video reviews of restrooms I come across. I was often amazed at the discrepancy between a nice dining experience and the "less than great" conditions of their restrooms. So using that as a spring-board I thought it would be fun to look behind the scenes - as it were - and review various restrooms in all different kinds of settings.

If you find them entertaining, please "like" them and repost/send them to friends or your own blog or Facebook page. I have a LOT of them and will be posting more soon.

Let me know what you think, and (please!) post fun comments. Thanks for checkin' them out!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

DM1 The Drum Machine V2.0 - Music app for iPad

So - they've updated a rather nifty piece of drum machine software I've been exploring on my iPad - gotta say: overall it's quite impressive... new updates make it even more-so. I really appreciate the fact that nearly all software updates on APPs are free(!). On my budget, that's the right price.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Dextro (demo)

Previously unreleased vocal/house collaboration with Craig Mitchell - Check it out!

Dextro (demo)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Anthony AntFacter-Charles Cohen-Julius Masri

When visiting my friend Charles in Philly - he invited me to improvise a brief opener for his set with Julius Masri. It was a magical weekend with Charles as he's one of my favorite musicians and a dear friend. I had a total blast! Thank you Charles - for encouraging me to make more music - again.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Losing the Moment

Fact: All moments arrive and pass. I think, generally as humans, we learn the meaning of this more-so as we get older. For the past few years I have been coming to realize this more and more in a variety of ways. Today I had another poignant reminder:

As stated in an earlier post I have very much gotten into photography - and am currently working on several particular studies to showcase in the near future. Some of these require specific conditions. On my way to to the gym I decided to get some (decent) coffee and took a route I normally don't. It was raining, but not too hard. In crossing the street, at just the right angle and lighting conditions, I found an incredible example of one of my studies... but I had dallied to get to the gym and really wanted to get some coffee another block away. I figured: I'll just snap some pics on the way back.

Well - coffee took longer than I thought it would, as I waited for the caffeine to hit, and generally lost track of time. The lighting changed, and it started raining harder. Heading back toward the gym, I carefully looked in the spots where I'd found my subject. Gone. All gone. Washed away in the muck of NYC streets and drainage. I became annoyed at myself, as this was not the first time I'd experienced this lesson.

I realize we all do this from to time: not recording a quick 'demo', not writing down an idea, inspiration, or quote that wafted through our busy heads... or, perhaps worse(?) not expressing an honest emotion we've been feeling for a special friend or loved one.

The moment passes - the rain gets harder and the drainage of time carries it all away. No use in crying over it, nor beating ourselves up... but those moments will never happen in the same way again.

Lesson: take that moment... steal it as you can, express yourself and know that even if it wasn't perfect you know that you took advantage of something that may never come 'round again.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Wire to the Ear is one of my absolute favorite blog-spots. Oliver writes concise and interesting entries about music, technology, life, art, and personal experiences as a performer/producer. A recent entry concerning depression and art was of particular interest and so I am re-posting a link to it below. Leonard Cohen has written some great, deep and very moving material. Hope you dig this!

Victory Over Suffering