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 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 →