VS4, Part One

It’s time to revisit this realtime visual synthesis tool, and build the next iteration on a modern platform. The last version was called “VS3” (for Visual Synthesizer, 3rd iteration); over the next few weeks I’ll be banging out an “alpha” VS4. Stay tuned. In the meantime, here’s the backstory.

This visual instrument concept was developed because typical VJ software tends to be more-or-less a cross between After Effects and Ableton, and I wanted an alternative. Why? Well, certainly not because I don’t love After Effects and Ableton (I use them regularly, of course). It’s just that I found this model limiting for creating the sorts of live visuals I had in mind. Continue reading →

The Return of the Dub Rig

The whole point of the dub station rig, which lives in the upstairs studio, is doing live improvised electronics, mixing, and treatments. “Dub,” of course, refers to the early form of electronic music that developed out of reggae, the protagonists of which considered the mixing console as an instrument and that involved generous amounts of dynamic delay, reverb and other effects in a live mix.

The first iteration of this dub rig was constructed in Boston, and was not surprisingly built primarily around the use of digital delays and feedback. This was with our buddy Jim (who developed his dub chops at the Western Front in Cambridge, MA and who we recently tracked down back in Boston, incidentally). Now the dub rig lives again in Amy’s capable hands and has been expanded to include some new effects and more filtering options. And more analog synths! Continue reading →

The Studio Project, Part Three

We’ve arrived in Los Angeles and unloaded a van full of vintage studio gear into our shop … now it’s time to get down to business! This is a major project: rebuilding a Soundcraft TS-24 that has been in many pieces for years and had just been driven across the country in a van … from unpacking all the bubble-wrapped components to the first signal through the desk!

The console reassembly represents the biggest project, but there’s also the JUPITER-6 and JUNO-106, and the Kurzweil, among other pieces of fine old gear that haven’t been powered up in well over a decade. What’s going to happen? Continue reading →

The Studio Project, Part Two

We had a van full of vintage recording studio equipment; we had to get from New England to Los Angeles. This was a serious mission (failure could be very expensive!) but we were determined to have some fun and exploration (including seeking out some proper breweries) along the way.

The itinerary was as follows: from New Hampshire to Connecticut to pick up a few more items (including Amy’s grandfather’s vintage kick drum). Then a big push to Nashville, and Dallas. Next up was Marfa, Texas where we planned to stay for a day or two. Finally, Santa Fe to Monument Valley and down to LA …  Continue reading →