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 One

Let’s start this epic story at the very beginning. Years ago, there was a studio in Boston (Davis Square, Somerville, actually) that was built around a nice large-format Soundcraft TS-24 analog console. It also included a pretty respectable arsenal of analog synths and some classic outboard. About the time I moved to Los Angeles all this equipment went into storage, a process which included completely disassembling the desk. For years it all languished in a basement in New Hampshire … such a shame! But this year Amy and I decided to do something about it: a plan was hatched to fly to Boston, unearth all this gear, and bring it all back to LA where we could build out a proper old-school analog (as well as digital-hybrid, of course) studio, here at the Brewery.  Continue reading →

In The Footsteps of the Beat Poets

Maybe it would be worthwhile to say something about why we think Beat poets are interesting? Is there a way in which their philosophy intersects with aspects of our Manifesto? What better way to investigate these ideas and celebrate Beat culture than with a proper road trip? While the Beat scene is more often associated with the East Coast and New York City in particular, there is a strong California Beat history (it’s notable that Beat poetry readings began on the West Coast), so there are plenty of landmarks within driving distance … from downtown Los Angeles heading north to Morgan Hill, San Francisco, then east to Nevada City (we originally planned to cross the mountains to Truckee, but the pass was closed by snow).  Continue reading →

Terminus Festival

The trip to Calgary to play the Terminus Festival of course included some wandering around the city in search of good Canadian beer and old vinyl.  It was great to see our friends from Agent Side Grinder again (it had been a year since we played with them at Wave Gotik Treffen) and one of our favorites Kite, too! Continue reading →

The Complete Present Moment

We produced a limited-edition 2-CD set to accompany the Indiegogo campaign for our 2015 European tour and Wave Gotik Treffen performance. This was a compilation of the complete catalog of The Present Moment material, accompanied by a booklet of lyrics and some other extras. Every package was signed by the live crew from the tour: Scott, Garey, and Simon.  Continue reading →