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