Monday, March 29, 2010

Assemblage 23 Tour Diary #2: Eve of the Tour

Assemblage 23 US "Compass" Tour Starts

My band starts our 6 week US tour today. Below are the dates. Come see us if you get the chance!

March 29th, 2010 – Seattle, WA @ El Corazon 
March 30th, 2010 – Portland, OR @ 
The Fez Ballroom 
April 1st, 2010 – San Francisco, CA @ 
The DNA Lounge 
April 2nd, 2010 – Los Angeles, CA @
Das Bunker 
April 3rd, 2010 – Tucson, AZ @
 The Surly Wench
April 5th, 2010 – Santa Fe, NM @ Corazon
April 7th, 2010 – Tulsa, OK @ 
The Marquee 
April 8th, 2010 – Dallas, TX @ The Prophet Bar
April 9th, 2010 – Austin, TX @ 
The Elysium
April 10th, 2010 – San Antonio, TX @ Club Atomix 
April 12th, 2010 – New Orleans, LA @ The Howlin’ Wolf 
April 14th, 2010 – Nashville, TN @ The Rutledge 
April 16th, 2010 – Orlando, FL @
 The Social 
April 17th, 2010 – West Palm, FL @
 Respectable Street 
April 18th, 2010 – Jacksonville, FL @ Eclipse Nightclub 
April 19th, 2010 – Raleigh, NC @
 Legends Nightclub 
April 21st, 2010 – Washington, DC (Springfield, VA) @ 
Jaxx Nightclub 
April 23rd, 2010 – Philadelphia, PA @
April 24th, 2010 – New York City, NY @
 Santos Party House
April 25th, 2010 – Providence, RI @ 
Club Hell 
April 28th, 2010 – Pittsburgh, PA @ The Rex Theatre
April 29th, 2010 – Indianapolis, IN @ 
Talbott Street 
April 30th, 2010 – Chicago, IL @
 The Abbey
May 1st, 2010 – Detroit, MI @
May 5th, 2010 - Minneapolis, MN @The Varsity Theatre 
May 6th, 2010 – Louisville, KY @ Uncle Pleasant’s 
May 7th, 2010 – Columbus, OH @ 
Skully’s Music Diner 
May 8th, 2010 – Madison, WI @ Inferno 
May 11th, 2010 – Denver, CO @ 
May 12th, 2010 – Salt Lake City, UT @
 Club Vegas

Beyonce Accused of Infringing Copyright for Uploading Own Video

Boingboing has a story on the latest of many cases of a record label taking down You Tube videos by its own artists.  This time, it was Sony who removed music videos BeyoncĂ© had uploaded to her YouTube channel.

I don't know what more to say about this that I haven't already.  This is pure and utter idiocy on the part of record labels.  It like they want to fail.

Roland MKS-7 on Ebay

Moog Liberation on Ebay

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

Open Thread Friday: Your First Gig

So on Monday, my band is embarking on a six week tour of the U.S.  We've been playing since 1996, so it's not a new experience by any means, but it always makes me look back on those early days with a mixture of fondness, laughter, dread, and embarrassment.  

Our first gig was a mini-festival of mostly unknown bands in Indianapolis, Indiana called "CircuitFest" (perhaps appropriately misprinted as "CircusFest" on the tickets).  The venue was an old theatre that looked like no one had done much upkeep on it in decades.  Paint chips hung from the walls, exposed wires dangled from the ceiling, and the room was pretty much a giant, concrete echo chamber.  A terrible venue for live music.  But we didn't know any better.  I don't know that I can give an accurate count of how many people were there.  I want to say 75, but I'm sure the fog of nostalgia has artificially inflated that number.  Not a bad showing for 5 bands no one had ever heard of, at any rate.  Speaking of which, that's what the marquee on the venue read: "5 Bands".  Even the venue knew no one knew who we were.  

After the show, we decided to get some booze and have a party back at the hotel.  Being that this was the first time we'd all met, we didn't really know who was with who.  So when we climbed in the van and this excitable, long-haired guy got in the van next to me, I thought nothing of it.  As we drove out of the venue parking lot, it became clear that this guy was blasted out of his mind.  This wasn't just drunk, this was that extra something special that makes it clear as day that someone has been hitting the drugs pretty hard.  I don't remember what it was specifically that he said, but it was all loud, odd, and not the sort of conversation you have with a van full of strangers.  I think he asked us if we were 'cyberpunks'.  All the while, all of the rest of us in the van were completely silent, uncomfortable, and thinking to ourselves, "who the hell brought this asshole?"

When we arrived at the hotel and got out of the van, some of us managed to whisper to one another, "Who is this guy?"  Before long, it became clear none of us knew this guy.  He was just some random wasteoid who climbed in our van.  I think we later learned he was a friend of the boyfriend of one of the singers, but at the time no one knew him.  Immediately, the mission became to ditch this guy.  I don't remember who came up with this brilliant scheme, but someone suggested that he go buy some more beer (because clearly he needed to be more wrecked).  He did so cheerfully, but forgot to ask what room we'd be in.  Mission accomplished.  I often wonder what happened to that guy after he realized he had no idea where he was supposed to go. I bet he had some adventures that night.

So what was your first gig like?  Did weird things happen, or was it totally unremarkable?  Do you remember the show itself (I don't)?  Spill the beans!

Cwejman 51 mk-II Modulat Synth on Ebay

Info at the listing...

Electrocomp Model 101 on Ebay

Info at the listing...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Elektron Demos Prototype of Octatrack

Via gear4music1:

Korg Introduces Tiny New ANALOG Synth

Video via Moogulator

Musikmesse is already looking a bit more interesting than NAMM was.  Check this out, for example.  The first new analog synth from Korg since... well, a really long time.  Called the Monotron, it actually contains the same filter as Korg's famous MS-10/MS-20.  There's not much control as far as programming goes, but the fact that it's about the size of an iPhone and is kind of an odd product almost ensures this will become a mandatory part of indie hipster bands everywhere.

And be sure to check out Synthtopia's excellent coverage of Musicmesse for more news...

A Short Tour of Hansa Studios with Alan Wilder

via recoilofficial

The latest installment of Recoil's video updates from the currently ongoing "Selections" tour includes a short look at Hansa studios, the place many of Depeche Mode's best known material was recorded.

Electrix Warp Factory Vocoder on Ebay

Info at the listing...

Technosaurus Micron on Ebay

Info at the listing...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

ToneBuilder Driven Machine Drums On Sale Until April 15th

ToneBuilder's excellent Driven Machine Drums library (which I reviewed here) is on sale until April 15th, 2010.  Driven Machine Drums is now only $37, while Driven Machine Drums Deluxe (which includes more formats) weighs in at $47.

Review: Sounds of Revolution FX Revolution Vol. 1

Product: FX Revolution Vol. 1
Format: Digital download of 24-bit WAV and AIF/Apple Loops, Rex Loops, EXS/Kontakt Instrument files
Genre: Just about any genre of Electronic Dance Music, Sound Design, Radio Production
Distributed by: Sounds of Revolution
Price: €67.22
Demo: Audio demos on product page.

I like to mess around and make crazy sounds as much as the next guy, but when I'm in the middle of making music, especially under a deadline, it can be really disruptive to the process. The best types of effects are usually the results of lots of experimenting and fooling around. Sometimes you just don't have that kind of time, but you need a slick transition or a jaw-dropping effect to put that break down over the top. If you've found yourself in that position before, you might consider giving this collection a look.

As you might expect, FX Revolution consists of sounds in the somewhat vague 'effects' category. These are the types of sounds you bring out when you want to add that extra sparkle of interest to your arrangements - dramatic reverses, booming impacts, whooshing noise sweeps - that sort of thing. That description doesn't really do this collection justice, though, as the production quality is extremely slick and the effects themselves are often quite layered and complex.

The selection is broadly varied and is helpfully organized into the following categories:

• Impacts
• LFO Madness
• Loops
• Percussive
• Processed
• REX Loops (Same material as "Loops" in REX format)
• Sweeps
• Transmissions
• Apple Loops (same material as "Loops", but in Apple Loops format)

There is a nicely balanced mix here of rhythmic material, one shot impacts, synthy percussion sounds, and spacier squiggles, rises, and whooshes. The sound quality is beautiful and the sound design is creative and tasteful. Most of the sounds are actually several layers of sounds mixed and processed together for some very complex and high-tech effects (although low-tech is present here too if that's your bag). Many of the sounds also have very wide stereo images and epic reverb applied to up the "wow" factor. In other words, these are not subtle sounds. These are for when you want to get the listeners attention and take your track to that proverbial next level.

The only thing that keeps this from being a full 10/10 is the price. There was a time when about $90 or more was pretty much standard for a sample collection, but I think the days of that are numbered. There are more sample producers on the market than ever and especially in recent years, many are offering truly impressive bang for your buck ratios. I'm not saying there isn't a lot of great material here, I'm just saying that especially for a digital download, the asking price might seem a bit steep. But if that doesn't scare you off, you will probably be extremely happy with this collection. [9/10]

Moog Source on Ebay

Info at the listing...

Keyfax Omnibus Edition on Ebay

If you're a synth geek, you've probably heard of this out of print book. Gives the specs for just about every commercial synth from between the years of 1968-1996, as well as more in depth reviews of 100 of the profiled synths. Interesting reading if you're into that kind of stuff, and very useful as a buyer's guide. Pretty difficult to find these days, and the prices it fetches can be pretty over the top...

Chroma Polaris on Ebay

Info at the listing...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Apple Updates Logic to 9.1.1

In case you missed it, Apple updated both Logic Pro and Logic Express to version 9.1.1.  Nothing super exciting in this one, mostly addressing some  compatibility issues, but it's nice to see Apple still at it with the updates these days.  Maybe it's just me, but it seems like they've been a bit more on top of squashing bugs this time around.

Korg Lambda on Ebay

Info at the listing...

Korg Poly Six on Ebay

Info at the listing...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Free Sample Friday: Pro One Digi Bass

Here's a synth bass sound from my Sequential Circuits Pro-One that uses cross modulation to create a digital, almost DX-like bass sound. Works well in the upper register as a percussive synth too. 24-bit/44.1k WAVs, multisampled with the root note in the name.


This will be the last Free Sample Friday for a little while as my band is about to embark on our US tour in a week. Updates may be a bit less frequent, but I'll post whenever I get the chance and will be posting our video tour diary entries here as well for those of you interested in such things.

Yamaha DX-9 on Ebay

Info at the listing...

Oberheim OB-Mx on Ebay

Info at the listing...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Recommend Me Some iPhone Apps

So I bought an iPhone for my band's upcoming tour and have been loading it up with apps that might come in handy for keeping the tour running smoothly.  But I haven't downloaded any music apps yet.  Which ones do I absolutely NEED in your opinion?

Pearl SC-40 Percussion Synth on Ebay

Info at the listing...

Quasimidi Technox on Ebay

Info at the listing...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Completely Awesome Vince Clarke Interview

Saw this over on Synthtopia. Although I'll admit I've largely lost interest in what he's doing these days, Vince Clarke has always been one of my idols. Whether you find his music cheesy or brilliant (or both) is subjective. What is not is that he is incredibly gifted at writing pop songs. Warning: studio shots may induce gear boners.

Man Assaulted for Listening to Nitzer Ebb

Well... maybe not for listening to Nitzer Ebb so much as for listening to it too loud late at night. The Telegraph has the story...

Review: Sound System Vocals Vol. 1: Horseman

Product: Sound System Vocals Volume One - Horseman
Format: 24-bit AIF, REX2, EXS24, Kontakt, Halion, NNXT, SFZ.
Genre: Dub, Dubstep, Drum N' Bass, Reggae, World
Distributed by: Loopmasters
Price: €17.95
Demo: Audio demos on product page. 

The world is an ever-smaller place as time goes on.  As methods of communication expand and propagate, we've come closer and closer to a truly global society. Inevitably, this means that we're influenced by other cultures and they, in turn, are influenced by us.  While some may mourn the loss of the cultural 'purity'  involved in such an exchange, it is also what drives the evolution of our respective cultures and has lead to some amazing things.  No longer is art, cuisine, literature, or music restricted to the geographic borders that once bound them.  Case in point: the dub movement and the subsequent genres it has influenced.  Once strictly restricted to the reggae culture of Jamaica, dub's influence has spread around the world to the point that the latest dub hit in the clubs could just as easily have been put together by some suburban kid in the U.K. as it is could in Kingston.  The one problem these global dub enthusiasts may have trouble pulling off are the authentic vocal snippets .  Let's face it, there is nothing quite so terrible as some white, 16-year old kid from Slough trying to sound like he's Jamaican.  That's where the latest release in the excellent Dubdrops series comes in.

Sound System Vocals Volume 1 weighs in at just under half a GB with roughly half the sounds being processed and half of them completely dry for you to apply your own insane dub effects. Additionally, there are about 50 "not fixed tempo" samples in REX format.  These are simply more free-styled samples that don't fit a specific tempo that are sliced up in a REX file so you can fit them into your own production in whatever rhythm or tempo you choose.  A nice touch.  The AIF samples are mapped into ready to go sampler instruments for most of the popular soft sampler formats on the market.

The samples themselves are mostly very short phrases delivered in authentic patoi, ready to be dropped in as a hook or fed through whatever insane network of tape delays and spring reverbs you so choose.  Recording quality is great, as is the delivery of the vocals.  Processing, when applied is tasteful and super-vibey.  If you're looking for full-on toasting or complete vocal lines, this isn't for you.  These are aimed at producing classic dub vocal effects, those quick bursts of echoey goodness.  If that's what you're after, this is tour library.  Indeed, you owe it to yourself to check out the entire Dubdrops series, as they are uniformly excellent.  Very well done.  [10/10]