Monday, 31 May 2010

Hackney Road

This is Hackney Road, where I've been rehearsing all week. The picture doesn't do it justice - it was beautiful. Driving round these old London streets in the Saab listening to this music, it's like being in an episode of The Sweeney

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Sonor Mahem

Here is a gratuitous post about the Sonor drum kit I bought a while ago, which I have set up at home [it's too precious to have it at the studio where it will be hit repeatedly with wooden sticks by unruly visitors]

First up are some scans from a Sonor catalog that I used to have [in 1979 when I was 11]. I used to stare at every page endlessly re-reading every word and drawing pictures of the pictures and generally dreaming of owning one of these amazing instruments. Thanks to the great sonormuseum website where you will find the rest of this catalog and tons more Sonor stuff

Now what is interesting about these pictures [apart from the fact there is one of the Acryl kits exactly like the one here] is that the smallest kit featured was the one I longed for the most, namely the rosewood in picture 2, because that was my favorite finish

Well, two years ago my dream came true and I stumbled across the ultimate drum kit, bearing in mind what I've just said and also how obsessed I am with anything from the late 70s. Below is the post I put on the sonormuseum forum in August 2008 explaining what happened

Hi everyone
I have lucked-out massively this week. I wanted to fulfill a life long dream and get a vintage Sonor Phonic rosewood kit [ever since I got hold of a copy of the sonor catalog when I was 11 in 1979 - which I still drool over]

So I started looking on the bay, and put in a few enquiries on this board. I realised it wasn't going to be an easy task. Then I called a Sonor dealer here in the UK who put me in touch with a music shop in manchester who he thought had a Sonor kit knocking about. They sent me a picture of it and the next minute I was driving the 300 mile journey in a van trembling with excitement

The guy in the shop had told me it was in good condition. But in fact it was like walking into a drum shop in 1980 and buying a BRAND NEW SONOR DRUM KIT [except that it was cheaper, even in 1980 pounds]. It still had the red cardboard tags hanging on it and the original grease on the stands!!!!! The most it had been played was while it had been in the shop over the last few weeks. There is not a single scratch or mark on it anywhere. The chrome is perfect. It also had its original [Sonor?] cases. So I bought it and here it is set up in my front room. I would be interested to know its exact date. I guess the silver badges date it after 1980, and the hardware before 1983? The snare is a bit odd - its a 505 with a parallel snare - is that normal? Is there a way of dating them form the serial numbers on the badges? It sounds beautiful, amazing, like going back in time......

You can check out the thread here 

and also here

Below are lowres pics I took at the time, and below them is a video featuring the great Bernard Purdie, on his Sonorlite kit [a contemporary of the Sonorphonics that I have]

Warp Speed Nine

Sent my way by Paul - forget the Aeron, this would make the perfect chair for studio one....

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Thomas Clausen-Telegame

In my ongoing search for lost musical treasures that I make on the various Library Music blogs and websites I very occasionally stumble upon a true gem. This short album on the Capitol Production Music label by Thomas Clausen represents everything I love about old music. Thanks to the fantastic Dusty Shelf for doing the hard work. It is so simple and beautiful, and conjures such a strong feeling of a bygone age with about as few ingredients as is theoretically possible. I made a short compilation below, but be assured that the whole album [all 16 mins] is like this, with the exception of a brief detour into more baroque territory. I think the whole album only uses a Fender Rhodes and Minimoog, that's my best guess

Ebay Day

Its Flu time again, so I'm watching a donkey-kong documentory on TV and browsing the bay a lot

Check this out, '70s Sonor Phonic Acryl in Germany for £1000 [he's selling a matching snare separately for £300]

Telefunky Console

Here is a very interesting console I just saw on ebay. Its essentially a Telefunken, well sort of because it was made by Hans Becker. See the text below. It was originally made in 1974 for film composer Klaus Doldinger, check out the clip below for some early-80s synth soundtrack work done on this very desk


This auction is for a very cool vintage ABE custom recording console. This was designed and built in 1974 by Ex head designer of Telefunken Hans Becker after the close of the company. Hans tells me that this was one of only two recording consoles that he built and was made to the highest specification. This one was made for the award winning film composer and Jazz musician ‘Klaus Doldinger’ (Das Boot, Never Ending Story, Air Force One). It was then sold to WEA Germany and spent some time at their studios before coming to the UK.

This console is the centre point of my studio. It has been fully refurbished and is fully functional. It has a very punchy API sound and is extremely versatile. Fat drums, bass and punchy guitars.

This desk has allowed me to track to protools or to my 16 track analogue tape machine or bounce between the two without patching which is very handy if you are using tape to warm up your DAW.

The console has a very comprehensive list of features:
28 main inputs
24 monitor inputs
4 groups
Mix Bus Compressor/Limiter x2
RTW Plasma meter (L/R)
Ernest Turner PPM Meters (L/R) (ex BBC added by myself)
Full jack patchbay (left side of console)
Talkback (beyer)
24 multitrack/tape sends
Stereo master out
Monitor out
Group outx4 with inserts

28 of each of the main inputs feature:
Mic input 80db stepped with 10db fine adjust pot (very punchy API sound) Beyer transformer balanced.
Line input
Mix input (from tape/protools)
Tone input (direct from tone generator for line up)
3 band EQ :
3k-16k with 20db cut/boost Pull up the freq sweep knob for tight Q
500hz-8k with 20db cut/boost Pull up the freq sweep knob for tight Q
40hz-600hz with 20db cut/boost Pull up the freq sweep knob for tight Q
80hz/120hz low cut filter
L /R send
4 group sends
4 Aux (aux 3+4 selectable AFL/PFL)
Phase reverse
Direct out
Direct to tape (on ch 1-24)

24 of each of the tape monitor (right hand side) section inputs feature:

I have been using the monitor mixer for protools summing and is the best sounding summing mixer I have heard. Extremely rich and punchy sound-almost like tracking to tape.

The Studio monitoring section:
Speaker1-4 select/phones
Mono/Stereo switch
Phase 180 switch
L/R R/L switch
Talkback select

The console will come literally ‘plug and play’ with every loom (all OFC cable) to connect to your outboard fx/tape machines and protools converters etc!

Circuit diagrams and big box of spares included. You should also note that Hans Becker still holds some spares for this console.

Very compact - Dimentions are: 62 (long) 46 (to top meterbridge) x 35 inches deep
Removes from the stand for transport.

Please note that my telephone and 3m autolocator next to the talkback mic is not included in the sale as belongs to my m79 tape machine. I have the blank panel to go where it currently sits.

Examples of songs recorded and mixed on this console here:
Or listen to the ‘Das Boot’ or ‘Never Ending’ story soundtracks!

Located in Southsea UK

Friday, 28 May 2010

Nedco Synclavier One

And here's another amazing post from Matrixsynth with a video of the NEDCO Synclavier which came out in 1976. It's totally beautiful, like a digital Modular Moog. Click on the images below for two hi res scans of the original brochure. Below that are some grabs I took from the video and below that the video. Nice music BTW

The NEDCO is the grandfather of the PSMT, and here is something I recorded on it, an edit of track 19 from Twenty Systems

Matrix Synths

Browsing through Matrixsynth is always rewarding, in particular if you are looking for a classic and beautiful new [old] synthesiser. Here are a few examples that caught my eye which are all currently on the bay. They ain't cheap, but nothing ever is these days, right?

ARP Quadra
Yamaha DX1
Roland Jupiter 8
Rhodes Chroma

I'll try and update in the comms when they are over

Cell Blocks

Like me you probably remember staying up late at night watching re-runs of the classic aussie/lessie-fest Prisoner Cell Block H. What I didin't realise at the time was that all the music was taken from library music albums which were also used on The Professionals / Sweeney etc soundtracks which I have now become such a fan of. Check out this super geeky website which lists every music cue in P:CBH, and bear in mind there were nearly 700 episodes. And for some audio check out this great post on the retro-teque blog


Speaking of JF et al, preps have been underway all week at the premises, and here are some small and rather lo-fi pics of some of our rigs so you can do some synth-spotting.....


There is an interview with John Foxx [and me] in FACT magazine today. Its really good! Whats good is it's like a chat between us and Kiran Sande and also that's pretty much what we chat about all the time, Johns got so many amazing stories and interesting ideas about stuff, it's amazing having in the studio for that reason alone let alone making music with him

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Calrec Again

Here's another really nice looking Calrec console from the seller of this one. Thanks Seb for pointing it out. From the ebay text:


No this is not a re-listing, this is the second and LAST Royal Opera House Calrec mixer we have. This one was in use until fairly recently.
This is an auction for a STUNNING

vintage custom made Calrec Q series 40 channel mixer which is in good condition for it's age and was custom made for Front of House duties for the world famous Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London at a cost of over £150,000 in late 80's / early 90's. That was a lot in those days too!
Also included (but not pictured) is a single, genuine plastic Neve knob from a 51 series mixer

From what I can gather, it is a 40 input, 40 output, 10 buss mixer with full mic pre's and 4 band eq, 8 aux sends, VCA grouping. All of this is in a very compact frame so would be good for all you bedroom users (if you have a big enough bedroom of course...

It includes a comprehensive patchbay, quite a few power supplies and the leads to hook it all up, plus the original Calrec manual/schematics. It will be professionally packed and the shipping rates indicated are APPROXIMATE only!!!! Please do not email and ask how much it is for shipping as I will not know until it is accurately weighed and boxed

Please see the many high resolution photos I have posted to see the good condition this console is in. Considering it dates from the early 90's it is not too bad at all - have a look at the photos and make your own minds up! The Royal Opera House had the budget to maintain this regardless of expense but it is untested and sold totally AS-IS with no returns whatsoever. This was in use up until recently when the ROH switched over to Studer digital mixers

This little beauty is ideal DAW front end and you will get some amazing sounds from it. It has that Calrec/Neve warmth to it and you can tell this just by running a couple of channels up with no eq, it just seems to do something to the sound which just seems so right. People who have used vintage Calrec/Neve consoles before will know exactly what I am talking about

Just as spares alone, or if it is broken and sold as modules it would be worth over £30k + VAT!!!
This is a
genuine Buy It Now sale and it may be one of the ebay bargains of the year Grab it soon!


By the way, check out the strange patchbay at the bottom, ''s a Ghielmetti and is the highest quality you can buy'


Sunday, 23 May 2010

Arrick Robotics

Here is a 5 minute video of my new Dotcom modules [state variable filter and envelope generator] which arrived today - thanks Margo! I wanted to make a standalone cabinet for using on stage, so I put all the modules in one case that I thought I would need. There are 2 COTK modules in there as well, a VCO and dual quantizer. So this patch is VCO / ring mod / VCF / distributor / 960 sequencer / envelope / quantizer, with a bit of Lexicon 224 for good measure

Monday, 17 May 2010

Benge in B&W

As an update to this post, here are some more pics taken during our set at Electronica 11 in Toulouse a few weeks ago, this time by photographer Pierre Ruiz. There's more on his flickr page. Thanks so much Pierre, I love looking at pictures of synths, even if they've got me in them...

© Pierre Ruiz -

Saturday, 15 May 2010


I accidentally typed a £ instead of a 3 in the title there, by keeping the shift key down too long. I was going to correct it but then I thought how appropriate it was, considering that this standard VCS3 mk2 and keyboard is currently £4500 on ebay with 10 bids and 2 days left... i'll update in the comms

Plucky Girl

Mike took me to see Joanna Newsom at the RFH on weds. It was spectacularly good, we had a box, and afterparty, but we didn't say hello to either Joanna or Roy Harper [who supported]. Why Mike? Was that my fault? This is a picture from our box, that's her on piano

(from her appearance on Jools Holland recently, but she started the set with this lovely song)

Studer 089

This little beauty just sold on the bay. Location Dortmund, Germany, sale price £1665, 19 bids. BARGAIN!

I have to sell one of my 089's mixing consoles
- Complete
- All original
- The 089's has the brightest analog sound

It was maded in the 60's as a joint venture of Studer/Revox & EMT.
Built like a tank, modular and all hand maded
It's in nice optical shape. I also have the original feets (not pictured). All the VU's work, all light are OK, fader go easy

I had it in stock for about 5years, before that it was working fine. Maybe you have to invest some time but there is nothing major

I'm willed to ship worldwide on a pallet, it's also fine to work with your forwarder.
Local pickup also welcome