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

Archives: 2005

December 23, 2005

New stuff from JoMox comin'

by Chris Randall

Shawn Cleary from our favorite synth store informs us, the unwashed masses, that some cool new shit is coming from JoMoX. First up, and pictured above, is the M-Resonator, which is, as far as I can tell, the filters from the Resonator Neuronium, the unit which holds the official Analog Industries award for World's Most Esoteric Gear.

The main thing, of course, is the XBase999. According to the JoMoX site, "it's up to develop a drum machine that continues and improves a living cult." I don't know what that means, but it sounds like I need one. No, seriously. I need one. Judging from the specs, it's pretty much everything you could ever want in an analog drum machine. Analog Haven will have both units for sale shortly. They'll cost an arm and a leg, but it'll be worth it.

December 22, 2005

Hard-Core Gear Porn Friday!!!

by Chris Randall

Something a bit different this week. If you haven't seen this, you really need to check out Delta Lab, a studio in Copenhagen. Imagine, if you will, a coke dealer in the mid 70s. Imagine that coke dealer spending his hard-earned money on a recording studio. The image you get in your mind's eye would be an accurate description of Delta Lab.

From the c. 72 Neve console to the Farfisa Red Line to the Ludwig Vistalite drum set, this place screams Mod Squad. (And if you're too young to get the reference, well, more's the pity.) Check the gallery for the outstanding live room, which is to black and white what the control room is to red and orange. Let's get this straight from the git-go: Delta Lab is no Chung King Gold Room. But it makes up in vibe what it lacks in gear. I, for one, would be happy doing an album there.

December 21, 2005

Good tidings we bring...

by Chris Randall

Schism sent me a link to this story, knowing it would incite me to rant, while small flecks of spittle formed in the corners of my mouth, and my eyes rolled back in my head. (I know that's why all of you visit this site; that, and gear pr0n.)

However, I think you'll be surprised at how I'm going to take something like this. First, you'll need to read the article, then come back here. [Go ahead. I'll wait.]

BoingBoing is, by far, the worst offender, but the Interweb At Large simply doesn't understand what performing rights societies are all about. To most of the self-styled intelligentsia, ASCAP == RIAA. This is fueled by various reports you see that read like the following: "John Doe has a really cool little store, that sells cool things we like, and he recently got a visit from [performing rights society], saying that since he plays cool music in his cool store, thus contributing to the overall vibe of coolness, he has to cough up $300 a year or some such. The OUTRAGE!!!"

I'll explain it in simple terms for those of you (and I'm talking to you, Cory Doctorow) that don't have the faintest idea what the fuck you're talking about. It's like this: I'm a musician that (barely) eeks out a living writing songs. It is a proven fact that people buy more shit in a store if there's music playing. They're playing my music so people will buy more shit in the store. Their profits go up as a result. I am (justly) entitled to a piece of that, because I helped sell more cheap-ass Chinese clothing.

That, in a nutshell, is what performance rights societies are all about. They make sure that if music is used to sell a product, the musician gets a piece of the action. Nightclubs bitch the most about this, because they have to pay the largest licenses. But you have to realize that a nightclub is simply a fiscal mechanism for turning beer in to money. It has nothing to do with music at all. Customers come to hear the music, and during the course of this, buy beer. In almost every nightclub in the country, the entertainment, be it Superstar DJ Blowme or Bob's Local Cover Band, is a loss-leader for the alcohol sales.

Which brings us to this fellow. (Or bloke, rather. He is British, after all.) Now, if there was a loophole by which a store that sold musical instruments didn't have to pay a license, well, then all Wal-Mart would have to do would be to have a musical instrument section. Sorry, dude, but it's for the greater good. Pay your fucking hundred and fifty quid, and get off your high horse.

December 21, 2005

Customer Service Woes, Episode 199,343

by Chris Randall

As I've often metioned, I do most of the support for Audio Damage. Mainly, this involves getting people correctly sorted out on the Windows side, or figuring out what the fuck is wrong with the operating system on the OSX side. However, once in a while, a true gem comes down the pipeline. I wouldn't normally post someone's question here, but (a) it is incredibly unlikely that the person in question will see it, and (b) it's so endearing.

So, in the Holiday Spirit, I give you a letter from [name withheld]:

First I have to admit that I know nothing about music recording. I ordered an audiodamage substation for my son for Christmas thinking I was going to get the instrument that was pictured, but I guess the it's just a download. Am I right about that? And if so, where do I get the piece of equipment pictured? I know this may be a very naive question but as I said, I know nothing about this. Thanks for your response.

This definitely takes the cake for the best support email I've ever received, hands down. I definitely give the guy points for trying, and it is understandable that someone that has no idea of what a DAW is would be flabergasted by plugins that look like hardware.


December 20, 2005

All hail the mighty Variophone...

by Chris Randall

Check this shit out. The Variophone was an early-80s analog synth masquerading as a wind instrument rather than a keyboard. The synthesis method was a rudimentary physical modelling, using what I assume is a Schmitt Trigger kind of oscillator. The main unit could have several modules, and each one was optimized for a particular kind of windy synthesis (viz. fagott, klein klarinette, panfl?tte, etc.). Check the Variophone & Martinetta Enthusiasts Page for samples, descriptions and photos, and best of all, a Virtual Variophone flash presentation.

This is not to be confused with the optical-based Variophone invented by Yevgeny Alexandrovitch Sholpo in Russia in 1932, which lives on in the audio waveforms you see striped on the side of a piece of 35mm movie film.


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