Thursday, 31 December 2009

Rather common name

The problem with having this name for a blog is that other people have used it as well. Check out one namesake here. Its pretty cool actually - just pictures related to space stuff

Patching Between

Decided to concentrate on TW now until it's done, at least as a mini-album. I was working on BTT today and came up with the above patch. Now all mixing desks are up and running, I've got flavours from two eras: MCI 416b from 1973, Studer 902 from 1982. They sound completely different to each other. The idea is to mix them up on this record, and have fun doing it, then hopefully the album will be a snapshot of Coronet Street circa 2010. I'm getting obsessed with the date of equipment and using the correct effects with synths and suchlike! For example on the track today:

Logan Strings - 1975
Korg 770s - 1975
Arp Odyssey - 1974
EMT 140 Reverb - 1970
Watkins Copycat - 1970
Roland CR78 - 1978
Roland TR808 - 1980
Simmons SDS5 - 1981
Roland Juno 60 - 1982
Sequential T8 - 1983
Lexicon 224 - 1978
Ursa Major Delay - 1978
Pedals - delay, flanger, chorus, phaser, distortion, all really old

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Visual crack for the ocular fiend

I love this blog, and guess what, my synths turned up on it......

Synapse Magazines

Where can you find interviews with all your favorite synthesists and producers, reviews of recent equipment like the Yamaha CS80 and Polymoog and discussions with all the top manufacturers such as Bob Moog and Cameron Jones from NED? Here. Now you have no excuse to put off building that Seven Stage Frequency Divider

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Its Full of Knobs

So I finally got the MCI desk into the main studio, and here it is alongside some friends. Amazingly this desk has some Moog-type knobs on it, not all of them are the original MCI ones, so I guess it's feeling right at home. Initial tests suggest it has the same MASSIVE SOUND as the Moog as well

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Visitors and Friends

Well another year is nearly over, so here is a little gallery of visitors and friends who have been around in 2009. For example, below is a picture of Big Al doing his thing. There are a few people missing of course but that's because the iPhone ran out of power that day or something. Hope to see you all again soon!!

Pile of Polysynths

Started changing round the studio today, and ended up with a pile of polysynths...

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Transparent Plastic Suits

Wierdly, John Foxx influenced this scene from Blade Runner. He's been working with filmmaker Macoto Tezuka, the son of Osamu Tezuka, the "Godfather of Anime", who told of his father's admiration for the transparent suit Foxxy used to wear on stage in the late 70s. Tezuka was an art consultant on the film. Good work also from Vangelis on the CS80 Brass2 preset in this clip

Love 8078 for sale

There is a Neve 8078 console on ebay today. This certainly is one of the best desks ever made. Here is the wiki page. Actually it's been on the bay for a while now, and keeps going down in price by a few thousand dollars every couple of months. So maybe in 16 years it will be free to anyone who will be prepared to pick it up....

"This is a rare opportunity for somebody, as an 8078 like this does not come on the market often. Reduced in price since last listed, it is being sold by the owner. It is in EXCELLENT CONDITION, perfect running order and is currently in use. IMMACULATE inside and out and maintained meticulously for it's entire life. It has been used to create MANY classic and great sounding records. Considered to be one of the finest consoles that NEVE ever made, some of the top mixing and recording engineers in the world have used this one and many would say it's one of the best sounding 8078's ever. 40 channels of 31105 mic pre's, 4 band EQ. 32 ch. monitor section. Right side patchbay. Flying Faders NOT included. The desk will have original NEVE P&G faders when sold. Serious inquiries only. Email- Arrangements can be made for viewing in the Los Angeles area"

Monday, 14 December 2009

Synths and Supercars

Giorgio Moroder is very cool. Not only did he produce some of the best electronic pop music ever (eg Donna Summer) and some of the best electronic film soundtracks ever (Cat People, Midnight Express, Scarface) he also built a supercar - the Cizeta. I think it's up there with some of the best cars ever designed yes?

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Postmodernist Moment

I was walking to Liverpool St station last night on my way home from the studio listening to John Foxx's Metamatic album when I found myself in the above coridoor. Suddenly I had a Postmodernist Moment, which was pretty cool

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Why I love Matrixsynth

Matrixsynth is the best website on the internet [if you like synths]. He posts about 50 synth-related posts on his blog every five minutes, 24-7. For example, this is my all time favorite MS post because it is so crazy....

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Early Korgs

These would make a nice christmas present [both on ebay today]

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Amek M3000 is better than Neve, API, SSL, Trident shock

Quote from ebayer: "This listing is for a vintage (1979) Amek M3000 mixer. In my opinion, this is the best sounding analog mixer that I've ever recorded on, including Neve's, SSL's, API's and Tridents. It was designed by Rupert Neve and it sold new for $249,000.00"

A very interesting looking console from 1979. I don't know anything about it other than from the description in the ebay auction. It's IC-based, but who knows, it might have some magic [although I don't think Neve had a hand in it....]. I love high-end items like this coming up on ebay - even at £10k part of me wants to think it's a bargain

PDF brochure here

Sunday, 29 November 2009

The Maths

John Foxx is one of the most innovative and pioneering electronic musicians ever to come out of Shoreditch (actually Chorley, actually anywhere). Check out this clip of Gary Numan talking about his influences.

That was shot here! Foxxy worked with Brian Eno (with Ultravox!) before he became uber-producer (ie swanned about looking cool) to the likes of Bowie, Talking Heads and U2. Foxx told me he was working in the studio with Eno when he actually got the call call from Bowie. John Foxx's album Metamatics was recorded up the road at Pathway Studios in 1980. It's an amazing early synth-pop record. A year later he opened his own studio The Garden round the corner from here and it was an important node for the whole synth-pop era with bands like Depeche Mode, The Cure, Souxie and the Banshees making albums there. We're working on a new album project here together called The Maths.....

OK, so here's the link to the new single

Ghost Dance

I saw this film when it came out in 1983 and then forgot all about it. Then I bought a Sonor drum kit from a second-hand music shop in Manchester and suddenly I remembered this crazy scene from the film where Robbie Coltrane was playing exactly the same drum kit on the roof of a building while listening to the shipping forecast. So I spent ages trying to track the film down. I recommend it to anyone into hyper-pretentious 80s art movies. The best thing about it is actually the soundtrack by David Cunningham, Michael Giles and Jamie Muir, which is a beautiful mixture of studio processes and live performances. Check the main theme. I'm getting very exotic flavors with notes of chorus and phaser, and a hint of tape compression and tape delay. [I love this disclaimer from the record label website, which sums it all up for me really: 'the recording contains analogue tape distortion, noise and hiss which, besides being unavoidable, at times form an integral part of the music.']

Great Guns

Here's a current project made at the studio called Great Guns, which involves Benge and Jean-Gabriel Becker and no plugins. Everythings done on real synths and outboard and even an analogue mixer. Check out this show on diesel radio. Its a mixture of live tracks and some vinyl selections, all 70s and 80s synth stuff. The live tracks were made with a Roland 100M modular, Roland TR808, Roland SH101, Roland JX3P which were all connected together via cv/gate. Yes crazy I know in this age of laptops. Also there were Linn LM1 and Simmons SDS5 drum sounds trigered from a set of Roland pads. Jeanga played live bass on some of it

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Antique Cabinets

Here is a buchla 100 system

Below is a piece of music made on a similar system by Morton Subotnick from his amazing 1967 album "Silver Apples of the Moon". What a joyous racket

Check out this amazing gallery of his Bleeker Street Studios. Yesss

Weirding Modulars

The Dune Soundtrack was mostly made by the band Toto, and that picture is of Steve Porcaro working their huge Polyfusion Modular Synth. In 1984 Dune was the most expensive film ever made. And thats what makes it so amazing that they put David Lynch in charge of proceedings, being such an experimental and weird director. The result is a delicious slice of 80s exotica, and the fact that Brian Eno also made some of the music makes it v special. Apparently he made a version of the whole soundtrack but the only track to make it on to the final cut was the Prophecy Theme. The track uses an aeolian harp-inspired musical theme, the concept being that dunes are also formed by the wind. Pretty clever stuff. And it has a beautiful string sound that I think might be a DX7, which had just come out 1984.....

Saturday, 21 November 2009

The Sorcerers of Moog

Tangerine dream are one of those bands who make some of the best and also some of the worst music ever. Phaedra is one of my favorite albums and I recently discovered the Sorcerer horror movie soundtrack where they got it right too. It's their first film soundtrack, recorded in 1977. In this picture they have caused Chris Franke to go small. I'm getting Moog Modular, Mellotron, touches of tape delay and subtle spring reverbs

Sunday, 15 November 2009

EMS Synthi 100 for sale

OK, so here is another chance to buy an EMS Synthi 100. This one is £25K and was owned by Bruno Spoerri

This track used one. Its by Dick Mills, recorded at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in the early '70s. The original album came out in 1975, and according to the liner notes was made on the following equipment, which is sublime: EMS Synthi 100 'Delaware', Studer A80 8 track, ARP Odyssey EMS VCS3, Countryman Phaser, Glen Sound Mixing Console, EMT Stereo Echo Plate. Check out the picture below. It looks like the dude is actually smoking a roll-up on the Synthi. Those were the days.....

UPDATE: It finally sold for £21K to force35 [who also bought the CEMS moog last year]

Monday, 9 November 2009

KPM music library

The Manipulator is a piece of music from the KPM music album 'Breath of Danger', recorded in the 70s by various seminal soundtrack composers, in this case Alan Hawkshaw and Brian Bennett.


Here is a mix of music from the KPM library, all of which was used in the TV series The Sweeney. Originally the tracks were from a Sweeney tribute site here, but most of them are available from the KPM website, which is worth checking out as it has every single album they ever released available to listen to. The ones to try are the 1000 Series [102 albums] and Themes International [27 albums]. Say goodbye to trudging round charity shops and car boot sales forever. On this mix there are a few links I made at home on old synths and fx....

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Fairlight CMI 2X

Abstract sounds created on the Fairlight CMI 2X. Three layers of samples [mode 4] played from the keyboard, with real-time control of loop length from sliders, recorded in Page R and mixed through Studer 902 console [also from 1982]

Seventies MCI mixing console JH-416B

416B full brochure

"1972 was the year when we started building our first "production" console series, JH-400's. This design evolved from some of Dave Harrison's ideas. I had known Dave from the days when he had worked at Criteria, and he also played in Wayne Cochran's band in Miami. Then he did studio maintenance for Sid Nathan at King Records, and worked his way up to become studio engineer and manager. Sid also owned part of a recording operation in Nashville and transferred Dave there. When Sid died, the studio was wound down and went out of business, leaving Dave to start his own company, The Studio Supply Company.

"At this time our dealer in Nashville was Dan Flickinger, but we dissolved our relationship after his accident. I then made Harrison's Studio Supply Company the Nashville dealer for MCI tape machines and he did quite well at it. Shortly thereafter Dave approached me about designing a new kind of console. He had some ideas, and I told him that if he design it, MCI would build it. Dave came down to Florida and started drawing and laying tape, and we built a run of six consoles. These boards were quite unusual for their time - the track assigns were in-line with the monitor and main channel fader. The console was similar to Flickinger's earlier concept except that his boards had the track assignments off to the right of the channel area. After the first run of six, I decided to do some additional work on the design - changing some of the metal work and adding other circuitry. We also incorporated the Harris 911 IC op-amps which lowered costs and made the product more manufacturable. All in all, I think we built about two hundred of those 'Series 400' consoles between 1972 and 1977" Jeep Harned from this interview

Saturday, 7 November 2009


benge modulars-small2

Moog 3C [1968]
ARP 2500 [1970]
Serge Modular [1973]
Roland 100M [1978]
Formant Modular [1979] [2000]

Halloween Three 1982

Halloween Three was not a proper Halloween film because it had a completely different storyline and new characters some of whom were robots. The only thing connecting it to the other films is that it's got pumpkins in it, and John Carpenter did the soundtrack (with Alan Howarth). It's one of my favorites because it's so simple and consistent. I can hear moog modular, yamaha CS80, Linn LM1, fragrant tape hiss and I'm picking up a hint of plate reverb. I can listen to this all night long...

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