For the second year in a row I was invited to show a few pieces of gear at the Outsound New Music Summit event ‘Touch the Gear” where a space is open free to the public, who have the unique opportunity to play with uncommon instruments and ask questions etc. Represented is a cross section of electronic, as well as acoustic instruments, some manufactured by small companies such as the Eurorack modular gear and tabletop synths. There were also one of a kind DIY custom instruments (the tabletop resonating deconstructed banjo was a highlight) and devices utilising open source programming to design custom interfaces and/or sound sources as well as processing.
This event has a great community vibe and it’s always fun to see young kids get excited about these strange inventions. Look up the artists for more info, some have been deeply involved in the underground avante garde music scene for a long time.
Artists included this year:
• L.J. Altvater – tape-loop/effects-pedals
• Hugh Behm-Steinberg – CD turntable and effects
• Amanda Chaudhary – analog modular synthesizer, theremin
• Andrew of Chopstick – Pro One, modular and homemade synthesizers
• Tom Djll – small electronic devices including mixers, filters, effects, pickups, etc.
• R Duck – synthesizer
• Tom Duff – surprises
• Tammy Duplantis – game boys
• Bart Hopkin – invented instruments
• Jeff Klukowski (Alphastare)- modular synthesizers etc.
• David Leikam – Moog Rogue analog synthesizer
• Dania Luck – laptop with midi-controller running super-collider
• Collette McCaslin – percussion, small instruments
• Andy Puls – homemade synthesizer
• Jess Rowland – cell phones and controller
• Gabby Wen – electronics
• Peter Whitehead – invented instruments
Enjoy these 2 brief videos, which, together give a good sense of the diverse items on hand as well as the creativity and innovation of these artists. The first video was created by Amanda Chaudhary of Catsynth : who did some short interviews:
The second video was compiled from a few clips I took. Some walkthrough footage and a couple of brief demos by a few of this years participants:
We woke up the next morning, still jet lagged in a small town near Pescara or it may have still been Pescara. The architectue around there was a taste of what was to be a constant througout the entire trip, old crumbling buildings, with overgrown vines that really gave you a sense of being somewhere with deep history.
The photos were taken right across from where we stayed and the short video below gives you a sense of the old roads.
We had a short drive to Castel Fidardo which was very pretty, mostly farmland.
We passed Loreto where the Basilica Santa Casa sat shrouded in mist. We didn’t have time to stop but what a sight! Read about the legend of the Black Madonna if you’re not familiar. This is one of the biggest pilgramage sites in the world with nearly 4 million visitors per year! We blazed right by it though, we had to bring the spacerock to the people, no time for infamous pilgramage sites!
We got to the venue which was also in a really cool area on a hill. We eventually found out that we were in a very special place regarding the history of the accordian. It turns out that the Stratovarius of accordians are manufactured here, and people travel far and wide to obtain one. Furthermore, and perhaps even more interesting is that the club owner, Giampiero, has an uncle who was the guy who travelled to Houston in the 60’s and set up an accordian shop, which directly fed the Tex-Mex and Tejano scene in a major way. Again, the history of this place was pretty special.
The building the club was in was also a music shop, Casa della Musica which was built by the founder of the accordian in the early 1900’s.
Aside from the heavy music history here, Giampiero was a gracious host, really excited to have us and treated us like family almost! The food was also amazing, we had a nice spread backstage as well as a bar full of prosciutto and cheese plates to pick at.
Also adding to the family atmosphere…family! I’m guessing from the ‘Shaolin’ gear, these were the bands kids, or friends of the bands kids, or maybe they just really attract a young fanbase. Either way, It was a cool experience to see kids hanging out in a bar scene without it being weird or dangerous. These kids knew their way around a pool table as well as a can of silly string!
One of the first observations I made being in Europe was this openeness of culture. We generally wouldn’t dare bring our kids out to a little dive bar like this, I very rarely ever see bands bring their families out to shows, unless it’s a festival or giant tour scenario, but never little dive bar gigs. These kids were so well behaved around pool cues and pint glasses, and these early social experiences are sure to form them into well adjusted adults, actually. they were better behaved than most adults I’ve encounter in bars!
In The U.S., we have such a different stigma around our bar scene. These are dark places where only dark things happen. Aside from rampant alcoholism being an obvious element, these are places where drugs are obtained and consumed, the focus is usually a search for random sex, and gun violence is a frequent occurence. The club scene often has an intimidating gang element, or a vibe of machismo, groups of “bro’s” out looking for girls, which can easily create a predatory environment. Rock and Roll, punk and indie/DIY shows can seem intimidating from the outside, and there is a real lack of all ages venues everywhere which makes it difficult to expose our youth to more diversity in culture and locally generated creativity.
I’m not saying all of Europe is like this, but this one isolated experience was an eye opener, and made me question if this could ever occur in the US where we fear even sending our kids to school these days.
Let me also add that this was a small humble venue, I say ‘dive bar’ but it was a really clean, well decorated venue with a decent sound system and competent sound guy. The bathrooms were also really clean and everyone kept up on that, another phenomenon I would observe throughout our trip.
Here, it was all about good food, music, family and strong coffee! People were drinking alcohol of course but with a different sort of approach that wasn’t so much to escape from something as it was to enhance an already great atmosphere and experience.
here’s a couple of minutes of the opener that night. Shaolin were a great bunch of young musicians.
Here’s an excerpt from Maharishi from our set that night:
We had a great set, packed up the gear and drove 15 minutes to our digs for the night in Osimo. Stay tuned for more…
All pics by Jeff K.
“Action Shot” by Imanuele Pirani
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Vinyl for our current release ‘Heavy Metal Mothership’ and select copies of the back catalog are available via our Bandcamp
I haven’t posted in a few weeks because I was on tour in parts of Europe with TMODM. I just wanted to get a brief post up here and mention how eye opening of a trip it was. I’ll go into more detail in time. I plan to share a series of posts covering our journey. I shot a lot of street art and architecture. Look to alphastarephotography for a recent post on some graffiti. There will be some video clips and photos, there will also be links to exclusive content which will only be available to our Patreon supporters. The next step is to record the next album, which should be happening in the next few months and any support for our Patreon will help with production costs, so check that out.
Below is an excerpt from Jagerklause in Berlin. This was an amazing show and we hope to return again! This is just the last few parts of “Cassiopeia”, an epic song which will be on the next album. The photos in this post are by Andreas Steckmann.
There were modular rigs as well as custom instruments, though I suppose the nature of modular is also largely customizable. Specifically, outside there were acoustic instruments presented by Pet the Tiger. They had a pretty sizable Kalimba and this giant set up (a metallophone) with metallic plates and a lovely low tone produced by the largest plate. We had an impromptu jam on that and I sampled a bit of it for fun, maybe I’ll use some in a future collage.
There was some visual stuff
I brought a few things including a Mother 32, Moogerfooger MF104M Delay, Tascam 414 cassette 4 track, ipad with various sound apps. Easily the most popular item was the Monoscillatron which I’ve posted about before on Youtube
By total coincidence my friends at Wondersound Industries just released The Monoscillatron for purchase at Reverb.com with a special that runs from today July 28th until July 31st!
Hear it in action in the video below, as well as a few other sounds from my table. I also did a brief walkthrough. For more coverage visit Catsynth