Chris Randall: Musician, Writer, User Interface Designer, Inventor, Photographer, Complainer. Not necessarily in that order.

Archives: January 2007

January 12, 2007

Open Thread: An experiment...

by Chris Randall

One of the blogs I read on a daily basis has an Open Thread every day (several, actually) where people can just discuss what's on their mind. I thought I'd give that a whirl here. It remains to be seen whether or not it'll work, but here 'tis. Obviously, we should stay within the general realm of topics normally discussed here. Have at it.

January 10, 2007


by Chris Randall

So I've been using these whack-ass HOSA MIDI cables for years and years. There are a couple reasons for this, and they are as follows: (a) on tour most of your gear attrition comes in the form of loss of accessories, and (b) you're lucky to find a MIDI cable at all in Fayetteville, North Carolina, never mind one that isn't HOSA.

So, after 12 years of touring, comprising a couple thousand shows, I have stacks and stacks of cables of all flavors, and most of them are HOSA. I plugged up a MIDI cable the other day, and it didn't work, and I was like "fuck it. I'm buying some nice MIDI cables." So today the UPS man left a box from Analog Haven on my porch, and in it were some Mogami MIDI cables. These little bitches are _nice_, and that's about all I have to say on the matter. HOSA and Mogami both make MIDI cables the same way that Seiko and Breitling both make watches. They both tell time, but the Seiko is essentially disposable, while the Breitling is an heirloom.

January 8, 2007

Bogdon Box Bass In The Hizzle...

by Chris Randall

Got home from snowboarding today to find a gigantic box waiting for me. Inside that box was another box, in the form of the Bogdon Box Bass kit. Clickies for a larger image if you're curious as to the contents. The yellow bubble-pak envelope is the pickup, I assume. It has a little Radio Shack piezo in it. It was taped to the inside of the box, and I think I shouldn't have either removed or opened it. However, no instructions came, so I thought they might be in there.

As you can plainly see, Pablo is helping with the assembly process. He's really a helpful cat, as cats go. We have two other cats that couldn't care less, but Pablo is a different story. He takes an interest in anything.

In any case, to the Bogdon web site, where I will hopefully find some assembly instructions. This shouldn't be too hard to puzzle out if there aren't any, but it'd be handy.

UPDATE: Well, that wasn't so hard. No instructions in the box, no instructions on the website, but quite frankly there's not a lot to it. A little bit of experimentation was required to understand (a) how the fuck the "tuning pegs" were supposed to work, and (b) where the pickup should be placed. But once I figured those two things out, the rest was gravy. Here is a pic of the finished object. Sound-wise, it's no Albert Jakstadt, but then again, it does't suck, either. I'll record some samples tomorrow.

It took about an hour total to put it together. If I made another one, I'd spend some more time on details, but quite frankly, I'm fairly certain I don't need more than one of these.

January 8, 2007

Oh, please, no...

by Chris Randall

Apparently, the Rhodes remake will actually be at NAMM this year, only like 5 years after that dude bought the name and started threatening to make one. There is actually a web site up and everything, and since it's on the interwebs, you know it's true.

I have to say that the technical data on the preview page isn't exactly inspiring. I can't for the life of me figure out why a simple mechanical instrument would need a USB port and an LCD screen, so it makes me think that they may have tried to improve on an already good thing. The words "state of the art" appear twice in three bullet points, and since the original Rhodes was created in 1946, I'm wondering how much "state of the art" technology should really be applied.

However, I don't think it's a ROMpler. If it is, I swear to christ I'm gonna start fashioning a shiv.

Any other rumors we should all be aware of? I do know a certain effects maker is supposed to debut a new flagship, but other than that, I haven't heard about anything that would really qualify as "interesting."

January 5, 2007

Some Fun with Replicant and procedural programming...

by Chris Randall

Since it has some bearing on not one, but two currently discussed topics here on AI, I thought I'd put up a little snippit of what I'm working on right now. If you listen to this, you can hear Replicant chopping up some procedural drum programming. This piece is entirely synthesized and played on the fly by Bidule; there are no samples. I built groups for the foot, snare, and hat sounds using Bidule's built in oscs, filters, and envelopes. The drum part itself is sequenced using the StepSequencer modules, with some random gating after the fact.

(For what it's worth, I orignally had the drum part sequenced entirely with the Stochastic modules, but unfortunately, they can't be synced, so I had to back up a step, no pun intended.)

In any case, the drum stuff goes to Replicant, and then to an iteration of my mixer which I posted about previously. Sends on Reverence and Dubstation. The moaning "bass" sound you hear, plus some of the high-end percussion, are courtesy of more drum synth stuff run through Bidule's FFT and SpectralFreeze modules.

In any case, this is more or less what I was talking about. It isn't entirely procedural, because of the use of the two step sequencers. However, I may assemble a Stochastic sequencer that can be synced to tempo in order to facilitate the events in a less linear manner.


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