Chris Randall: Musician, Writer, User Interface Designer, Inventor, Photographer, Complainer. Not necessarily in that order.
Archives: June 2013
June 29, 2013
by Chris Randall
Okay, here's the deal: I'm not a millionaire. Or even a ten-thousandaire. But I was always told "dream big!" And I do have a big dream. I've had this dream for a while, but I've only told two people about it, because I thought it sounded kind of stupid. They didn't laugh in my face when I told them, so maybe it's not a stupid dream after all.
Here's the thing: I would like to (re)create a late-50s / early-60s tape-based electronic music studio (of the sort used by Stockhausen, Varese, Schaeffer, Dissevelt, Dockstader, et al) that was completely free for interested parties to use. My thinking here is that a facility like that is not a whole lot of use to a single person, but wouldn't it be interesting if, say, Richard Devine or Alessandro Cortini or other current experimental electronic musicians had access to a vintage electronic music studio? What would they make, bringing today's musical vernacular to that context? I think that's music worth hearing, honestly.
I have a firm idea of what equipment such a studio would have, and I have a good working knowledge of how that equipment is used. But I have no idea how to bring it about other than throwing a shit ton of money at it. My dream precludes financial renumeration (it would be fiscally impossible to make such a facility actually turn a profit, of course) so I would operate it on the following basis: if you have musical credibility in our peer group (and since it's not a terribly large group, that isn't even really a judgement call) and you can get yourself here and put yourself up and pay the expenses (tape ain't cheap), schedule permitting, it's yours to use as you see fit.
Okay, maybe it isn't silly. It would be tough to pull off, though. Go ahead. Have at it. Laugh and laugh. In the meantime, here's some vintage e-music studio porn:
TAGS: Kickin It Old School
June 21, 2013
by Chris Randall
As anyone that follows me on Twitter knows, I'm currently in Hood River, Oregon at my family reunion. I spent a chunk of time earlier in the week at J-Hi's studio recording the rhythm parts for what will be the next RT60 release (which, as it happens, will be a double A-side 7" only, no digital. Sue me.)
While there, I became a convert vis-a-vis the SEM module. While I appreciate the power of Oberheim synths, their general sound has never done anything for me. I had not, however, ever used a real SEM. The original one in the picture above (run via CV/Gate outs from the A4) changed my mind in a hurry. I don't know how close the new ones sound to this vintage one, but jesus fuck, what a cool sounding synth. I think I'd need to do a side-by-each comparison, but I may break my moratorium on GAS if the new ones are even in the ballpark.
Speaking of GAS-moratorium-breaking, I recently got a Craigslist score in the form of a like-new DK Synergy II+ with all the Wendy Carlos cartridges, which will get a video and "review" as soon as I get back. Suffice it to say, mind: blown by this thing. I've been trying to coax an emulated Kaypro II in to being able to program it, and I feel I'm not far from success in that regard, but honestly, there are only so many hours I can dedicate to that task that would be better spent doing, you know, my job and stuff.
Anyhow, that's it for now from the Great White North(west). Back to our favorite family sport, trying to belittle each other to the point of tears.
June 9, 2013
by Chris Randall
I typed up a fairly lengthy rant on the current state of Kickstarter that was largely triggered by this article. I think the author, while perhaps not exactly clear on how capitalism works, makes some very good points. Then I realized what I was really building up to was some rather delicious schadenfreude about The Cabin Sisters. All that by way of saying that 00tz 00tz, the band pictured above, shouldn't feel that bad. You're in the same boat as David Mamet's kids. There are worse boats to be in, mostly operated by Carnival Cruise Lines, where you'll apparently be stuck on the Promenade Deck with David Foster Wallace footnoting the experience as he tosses off another cynical rant about people from flyover states that don't buy his books.
Anyhow, I deleted that tirade. Why? Because it's so fucking obvious. Yeah, Kickstarter have demonstrated that they have malleable morals. Yeah, Amanda fucking Palmer. Yeah, Penny Arcade, whatever. Veronica Mars? There's a stretch goal for the people that give a shit. David Mamet? Sorry girls. Sins of the father, and all that jazz. Plus, it helps to be able to play an instrument before you go off making records. And seriously, music video? 1993 called. They want their marketing (and their joke) back.
Also, I don't want people to confuse me with DFW. (I generally expound parenthetically.)
Basically, it comes to this: there was a brief time from the 1970s to the mid 1990s, where being a musician didn't also mean being a panhandler. That time is gone. Which brings me to the actual subject of our conversation: Flattr. Go peruse that site, then come back here and we'll discuss. I'm intrigued with the idea, personally. Interested to hear the thoughts of the AI readership.
June 2, 2013
by Chris Randall
One of my major failings is that I assume everybody else is as fluent with music software as I am. That's a bad assumption, given that I live, eat, breath, and sleep music software, and have for a decade. But there you have it. I'm not saying I'm smarter than everybody else. Far from it. But what you're doing to escape from your day job _is_ my day job. I mean, do anything for 10 years and you'll probably get pretty good at it, right? Anyhow, I try to design the UIs of our products to be as self-apparent as possible, but at the end of the day, I've discovered, not everybody knows what every feature does just because of the name of said feature.
This assumption I make accounts for a lot of my support email bitchiness, and when I'm pissing and moaning on Twitter, I'm doing it for the benefit of the 50-odd people I have daily conversations with who are generally as fluent as I am, not the other few thousand that are just observers.
Anyhow, all this by way of saying I've been slacking off on the video overview chores the last few months, but I just updated my Workflow to the latest and greatest, and put up another one of my droll, rambling explanations of a new product.
I'm in the process of making a second one that only shows how to use the sidechain input in various DAWs. That should be up this afternoon.