Saturday, 30 July 2011


I was listening to Gary Numans 6th album (made in 1982) and realised that all the intros are really good. I mean the whole album is good, but theres something particularly atmospheric and cool about all the intros, before the band kicks in. I would love to make an album that just sounds like this (below is an edit I made)

Assassination mix by zackdagoba

Friday, 29 July 2011

Digital Meanderings

Heres a quick vid of a Doepfer patch using the digital sampler module

Ever Ready

I used to have this sitting on a shelf above all my modular synths. It was surprising how many people would come in and go straight up to it and say 'wow this things amazing!' and completely ignore all the vintage Moogs, Arps and Serges. I threw it out in the end

Home Recording

I'm away at the moment in france, but before I left I took delivery of my new mixer which I am going to use at home. More on the mixer later, but here it is beside my fourtrack

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Face Time

Look at what someone called Jacob has made - a very interesting and clever video which uses some of my music from Twenty Systems. I really like it, its like Francis Bacon became a VJ. This is what Jacob says:

"Spike Solutions is an ongoing series of screen tests based on generative compositing techniques. This one features yours truly, rocking a bit of a hangover

In this screen test, the video in any zone of the left half is sampled (from that same zone) from the video in the same location on the right half. All the clips start at a random point in the same source footage

Made with Processing. Props to Lee Byron for his Mesh Library. Music is a vintage 1969 EMS VCS3, from Twenty Systems by Benge"

Spike Solutions #1 from Jacob Niedzwiecki on Vimeo.

"In this screen test, the video in any zone of the left half is sampled (from that same zone) from the video in the same location on the right half. All the videos start almost in sync, with a slight offset, so you can see movements 'ripple' from the bottom right to the top left in the grid.

As they play, a stochastic (fancy word for 'random') process gradually jumps individual clips forward in time.

Made with Processing. Props to Lee Byron for his Mesh Library. Music is a 1972 Serge Modular synth, from Twenty Systems by Benge"

Spike Solutions #2 from Jacob Niedzwiecki on Vimeo.

Synch Feeling

John Foxx lent me his Korg Monotribe. I was very impressed with it - huge sounds from a tiny little box. Its a really fun machine and costs about £150 - you do the maths! One great feature is that you can synchronise other equipment to and fro. So I thought it would be fun to hook it up with the Big Moog Modular, then I turned the lights off

Word of the Week #19

Monday, 25 July 2011

Future Retro

Heres another take on The Maths. Someone thought our music needed more Sax and Bongo

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Its Full of Chips

This is what is inside the Emu Emulator. Rows and rows of chips. No wires, just chips. Its exactly what Arthur C Clarke was referring to:

Yellow Magic

Saw this great lo-fi clip over on Matrixsynth. I met these guys when I played in Japan way back in 2004. Heres a pic of me and some other people who played at Sonarsound. I would love to go back to Tokyo one day

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Live Room


Tour Dates

Here a a beautiful Johnathon Barnbrook design for our tour


I made a new vid of the Moog Modular going through the scope. I love doing these

Monday, 18 July 2011

Driving Along a Highway Between Large Buildings Then Going Through a Tunnel

This is Mute's first single from 1978. Recorded by Daniel Miller as The Normal on a Korg 700s and a Teac 3440

Sunday, 17 July 2011


I saw this over on the rather brilliant Rockets&Rayguns blog. Its a copy of Smash Hits from 1980. Nuff said. Except that theres a mind-blowing archive of them here

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Massive Violin

Had another day recording some acoustic stuff in the studio, with Dave and Sid

Thursday, 14 July 2011


I took a picture of Sefa sitting at the synthesizers today...

Monday, 11 July 2011

Two Emulations

I was playing around on the Emu Emulator 2 yesterday, as I just got it back from being fixed (dead power supply). This was actually one of the first vintage synths that I bought, way back in 1993/4. Its all over my first few albums. It's a lovely sounding synth, a lot more than just a sampler, and has beautiful analog filters inside which you don't get in any of the other big-boy samplers such as the Fairlight, Synclavier, Akai or Rolands. The exception is The PPG Wave (see previous post). Anyway, here are a couple of sketches I did, the first is just a sampled single waveform from an ARP 2600. The second is my favorite harp sample from the original E2 library. I recorded a randomish sequence into memory then played on top...

Then, guess what happened? BOTH disk drives failed!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Palm Pics

Saw this awesome set of pics of Wolfgang Palm (PPG inventor) via matrixsynth

How to put an animated video gif on your blog

1] Get your video clip and open it in quicktime pro. Edit it to the right length and export it as 'movie to image'. This will create lots of single frame images so put them in a new folder. You can decide the frame rate - say 5 or 10 per sec (UPDATE: in photoshop 6+ you can simply go to FILE/IMPORT/make selection from a mov file, and it will save the film frames to layers)

2] Open the first frame in photoshop (I use CS2 on a mac) and select the animation sub window. Open the second picture, select all, copy and paste onto the first picture. This creates a new layer on picture 1. Repeat this for all the frames - i.e. create new layers of all the frames as layers in picture one. In the animation window on the right there is a menu - select 'make frames from layers'. You can select the duration of the frames but usually leave at '0 sec'. 'Save for web' from the file menu creating a gif file. It actually makes 2 files - the gif is in a folder called 'images'

3] Open your postimage account and upload the gif file which is in the 'images' folder. Make sure it is less than 1MB

4] Open your blogger editor and paste the embed code from postimage

Booth Me Up

John Foxx and the Maths' photoshoot:


Word of the Week #18


The Maths - Me John Sefa Hannah, headed up to the Lexington the other night to see Xeno & Oaklander. Below is a short film about them and also a clip that someone else shot at this gig. I love this band and they are super-cool-nice people cos we got to meet them afterwards. Their live rig is basically all vintage Korg and Roland small-synths and drum machines connected with cv/gate. I helped them pack their stuff down and put it in bubblewrap (I didn't help that much - actually not at all - I just popped some bubbles while they were busy)

Friday, 8 July 2011

Natural Habitat

Me and Foxx were in the studio yesterday working on stuff. We spent most of the day finishing ideas for the track we started with Tara Busch, adding some backing vocals and synth parts. Heres he is laying down a part on the Juno 60, with its arpeggiator synced up via a midi - cv & gate converter

Man with a Van

Its always nice to get home from a hard day at the office to find theres a surprise parcel waiting for you, especially when it has a Static Caravan sticker on it. My friend Geoff who runs it sent me a recent selection of his ever eclectic releases - the unifying factor this time being that they were all mastered by me. But what was also interesting was the other bits and bobs and trinkets that he put in the box. For a start there was a tiny reel of metallic masking tape. Then a small bag of pure metal samples, including brass, copper, bronze, zinc, aluminium, steel and silver. Geoff is a scientist. Here is a film that Hannah Peel made, it explains everything (note: me at 5.38 balancing on synths)

Static Caravan from Tim Brunsden on Vimeo.

Anyway the releases are all exemplary, including singles from Tula, Laura J Martin (who came by the studio on monday as I am about to master her debut album) and a compilation CD of the Steve Moore vinyl that Geoff has been releasing. Here is a sample from the last track track from Vaalbara

Monday, 4 July 2011

Shock Announcement

I hereby announce the existence of the upcoming Maths tour. Yes John Foxx and The Maths will be taking our album Interplay on the road in October. I don't know all the exact dates yet but will post them as soon as I do

One particular Gig that I am really looking forward to is at the Unsound Festival in Krakow Poland. The line up looks great and not the usual festival stalwarts, but people I really like like Chris & Cosey and Morton Subotnick (who has made a few appearances on this very blog). I am so happy about that

The Festival has a theme this year (a good idea) which is 'Future Shock', as in the 1970 book by Alvin Toffler. The book is a cautionary vision of the future (from a very 1970-perspective) warning against "too much change in too short a period of time". In 1972 a fantastic documentary was made based on the book, featuring a doomy Orson Welles and music by Gil Melle. You can watch it on youtube - below is the 1st 10 minute segment, there are 5 in total. Some of it is very funny because it is so out of date, like the idea, for example, of people being able to genetically change the colour of their skin. Thats mental

More info on the festival here

There is also a Future Shock tumblr page here; below are some animated gifs I found there:

Sid Has Entered The Building

I have just finished a weekend session recording some new rock and roll songs by my friend Sid. Its not my usual field, rock and roll, but we did have some fun!

It meant sorting out quite a few things at the studio such as setting up the drum kit and vintage guitar and bass amps, setting up the mics (I bought some lovely new ribbons - SE R1's) and feeding them into the Studer console preamps for tracking. We wanted to capture a really open live performance so we did it (me on drums, Dave on bass and Sid on guitar) together with no headphones and 7 mics. big Al engineered

Then on Sunday Sid's backing singers arrived and we did a day of vocals. The whole thing will end up going on to tape and I am looking at it as a big experiment, to try and capture some of the sound of my favorite records

Friday, 1 July 2011

Space Jumper

See previous post