Category Archives: Electronic Music

Synths for Lunch 11/28/17 (Words of Wisdom from Jean-Michel Jarre)

Jean-Michel speaks on musical creativity and technology from his studio in Paris. This is from a recent Erica Synths Garage Series and includes a short modular jam as well.

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Simply Saucer (live at Entropy Studios 2016)

Simply Saucer are a legendary proto-punk band from Hamilton, Ontario. Lo-fi Garage and Krautrock influences are prevalent in their unique sound, which they very much make their own. If you’ve never heard or heard of them, check out the 1989 release Cyborgs Revisited which contains material from 1974 and some live stuff from 1975, though it sounds like it’s from another time.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable set to watch. At least 2 of the original members are playing in the current line up, featuring Edgar Breau, and I’m glad to say, it looks as if they’ve been quite active as of late. It’s cool to see these weird toons kept alive and I’d love to see them if they ever make it out of the Rust Belt.

For some further exploration, check out this recent interview with Jesse Locke (he also plays drums in the above set) who wrote a bio on the band called “Heavy Metalloid Music: The Story of Simply Saucer.


 

Synths for Lunch (11.20.2017)

 

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Just a quick light on some recent Bay Area Synth happenings.

The first clip is from Franck Martin. a few minutes from Church of Thee Super Serge at Robotspeak 11_18_17

Following is a set from Gabie Wen from a local Powwow live streaming series. Her set had a minimal glitch and noise flavor. you can view the entire vidcast here which includes another nicely done set by Normalien as well as sets by  Yoann Resmond and  Jerod Rivera.

Nor Cal Synth Meet 2017

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I actually had a free Saturday afternoon for once and was really excited to be able to attend the 15th annual Nor Cal Synth Meet, held at Robotspeak with performances next door at Vinyl Dreams in The Lower Haight SF.  This event was hosted by Binary Society.

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This was the first time I attended the meet and actually the first time I’ve ever stepped foot into Robotspeak. I’ve had a love of synth music for a long time and this place is where it’s at! They have been the local go to spot for anything synth related, and especially now with Eurorack and modular synths hitting new levels of exposure, I’m sure they will continue to grow. I’m sure to be a patron as I slowly develop a system of my own over time.

Here’s a list of the companies represented:

Elektron (Sweden) – The much anticipated Octatrack MKII, Analog 4 MKII, Analog Heat, and Digitakt.
Moog Music (N. Carolina) – Mother 32 Rig, Model 15, Minimoog Model D
Dreadbox (Athens, Greece) – Abyss, NYX, and Erebus desktop synths and couple of White Line Eurorack Modules.
Dave Smith Instruments (SF)
SOMA (Russia) – Lyra-8 Analog Synthesizer
Expressivee – TOUCHÉ controller

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WMD – Chimera and Arpitecht as well as a prototype of the Trigger Sequencer.
Pittsburgh Modular
Make Noise Music (N. Carolina) – Check out their latest modules: the Morphagene, Contour, and DynaMix
Noise Engineering (LA) – the soon-to-be-released Manis Iteritas and Integra Solum and the recently released Loquelic Iteritas Percido and Cursus Iteritas.
1010music (LA) – The new SynthBox will be on hand.
Zetaohm (SF) – FLXS1 Sequencer
Analogue Solutions (UK) – FuseBox

I met up with a friend who has been studying and building modular set ups for awhile now, so it was nice to have a bit of a guide through the myriad bits of gear and their functions. I learned a lot just listening. In the video posted below there is a solid 5 minutes or so of the Pittsburgh Modular rep demoing the Trigger Sequencer prototype.

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Pittsburgh Modular Trigger Sequencer Prototype

I got my hands on some of the WMD stuff and really liked the sounds coming out of those, there is nothing like interacting with the gear after having seen many demos in videos.

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Checking out WMD gear
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Haptic Synapses

Everyone bounced back and forth between Robotspeak and Vinyl Dreams which are side by side in The Lower Haight. There were live sets going on all day so if you needed a break from the cacophony of multiple synths being tested and tweaked, you could go next door for a more focused sound experience. I’m not sure who I saw performing earlier in the day but there was everything from banging Techno to Drones to abstract sounds represented throughout the day. I caught some of Haptic Synapses set, and took some guerrilla video of Normalien, who I had the pleasure to finally meet in person after having been Instagram buddies for awhile.

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I had a really good time, met some excellent folks, and everyone was really into it. The guys at Vinyl Dreams were really nice, and being a vinyl junkie, I look forward to going back there as well.

Enjoy the videos!