November 5, 2011


by Chris Randall

One visit to my studio/office/Hellmouth, and you'll rapidly realize that my preferred form-factor for both effects and instruments is the desktop box. I couldn't justify this in any particular way except to say that I just like 'em. I like that I can move 'em around easily, and that they don't take up much room, and that they're easy to store. I don't like all the wall warts I end up dealing with, but we take the good with the bad.

November is turning in to a banner month for desktop units. I've been eyeballing the OTO Biscuit for some time, but frankly I just thought the price was a little high for what it did. However, I think OTO may have solved that problem. On Nov. 11th, they're releasing a new version of the Biscuit that adds a feature to flip the Biscuit in to a synth mode. The synth is designed by the creator of the Shruti-1/Shruthi-1, and apparently follows its general topology.

The best part? The update is free for existing Biscuit users, and the Biscuit will remain the same price. Info here.

And you already know about the new monotrons, the monotron delay and the monotron duo. The former is like the original monotron, but loses the filter and adds a digital delay. The latter loses the LFO and replaces it with a second VCO and a cross-mod knob. Frankly, these don't do much for me. I think I may be all monotronned out by this point.

For those of you holding off on getting an Alesis iO Dock because I told you to, go ahead and get one. The other one I was referring to was apparently cancelled. I will note once again that this is in no way Cthulhu's Gift To The Music-Making Masses, but it vastly improves the iPad's usefulness in a musical context. (Or, rather, it allows a musical context for the iPad at all, since IMO the iPad is essentially useless to a musician without it.) As long as you cover up the Alesis logo with a little piece of black electrical tape like I did, your pride doesn't even have to take too much of a hit.

In other news, I've been sick as a dawg all week. At first I thought it was just allergies, then I thought it was the flu, then I thought it was allergies again, but now I'm fairly convinced it's something that people in the PHX metroplexus get called "Valley Fever," or coccidioidomycosis. It's not as bad as it sounds, basically feels like a really bad cold or a really mild case of pneumonia. I'll survive.

Kombinat Dva is coming along nicely. Despite my dilapidated state, the UI is mostly done, and Adam has been adding new distortion methods at a punk rock clip. (Hah! See what I did there?) Gonna be a pretty slick unit when it is done. So how is your day going?


Page 2 of 4

Nov.06.2011 @ 8:30 AM
Chris Randall
I'm not entirely clear how it is possible to hate the Talking Heads. Sure, their later stuff is pretty iffy, but in general?


Nov.06.2011 @ 1:28 PM
Hate is a strong word, but...a little. What's to like? It is interesting about how the people around you influence your view of the rest of the world. I don't think I know, or have ever known personally, anyone who was a Talking Heads fan. It's like you know there are obviously people who like Kenny G or Nickelback, but you don't actually know any.

There are individual TH songs I don't totally hate, but none that I love, would actually listen to on purpose. For me, they're stored over in the corner with Primus.


Nov.06.2011 @ 2:10 PM
Remain In Light and its "companion work", Life In The Bush Of Ghosts, were seriously ground breaking and unique records in their time, 'remaining' highly relevant imho and two I still turn to periodically for inspiration.

Nov.06.2011 @ 3:59 PM
My mind's been officially blown for the week. I don't even know how to put into words how odd that was to read. "What's to like?" I think I need to lie down (or is that lay down. I'm a little woozy right now, so I'm not sure). The Talking Heads are one of those bands that you don't ask people if they like or not, because everybody does. I have been all over the place and talked to all sorts of people, and nobody hates the Heads. I know guys who play and listen to a diet of 99%Black Metal that will slip in a TH record every now and again. But, to each his own and whatnot. Still, so weird...


Nov.06.2011 @ 5:10 PM
beauty pill
It *is* curious.

The Kenny G, Nickelback and Primus references are particularly galling, but I feel like we're being punk'd or something.

- c

Nov.06.2011 @ 5:37 PM
i'd be happy in Primus corner. i still listen to a couple of their records all the time.

re: Nickelback.. you guys see there is a petition to keep them from playing at halftime of a Detroit Lions game

link []

Nov.06.2011 @ 5:39 PM
Chris Randall
I know. I was like "he's having us on." I mean, up until now as far as I knew people are in two camps: those that like the Talking Heads all right, and those that _really_ like the Talking Heads. I wasn't aware of a third category.

I mean, Tom Tom Club you can take or leave, of course, and I personally can't stand most of David Byrne's "solo" material or the last two Talking Heads records, but... well, to each his own, I guess. The amazing thing about music is that every song is something different to every person that hears it. That's why I don't editorialize about music itself here.


Nov.06.2011 @ 8:13 PM
>I mean, up until now as far as I knew people are in two camps: those that like the Talking Heads all right, and those that _really_ like the Talking Heads. I wasn't aware of a third category.<

I honestly had no idea there was anyone in the world who would make a statement like that. I would bet a large sum that I don't know anyone who has ever listened to one of their albums. (Just for the record, I didn't actually compare them to Nickelback or Kenny G, just that you know there are mythical fans out there, you just don't know any)

I've spent the last 20 years working in music recording, and before that worked in music distribution, so it's not like I live in a cave...wait, maybe it is. It's a funny world.

I wasn't trying to run down anyone's band, I'm too old for that, just making a joke with Mr. Pill. I'm glad we weren't talking about the Beatles...


Nov.06.2011 @ 8:19 PM
beauty pill
I understand those sentiments.

"True Stories" was an abomination, but "Naked" is dope. Well, it is to me anyway. Recorded in Paris, based on edited improv jams with an extended ensemble. Lots of African percussion. Horns. Great words and textures. And Johnny Marr is in the band(!). I'm pro-"Naked." But, yeah, "True Stories" just... shouldn't have happened. Otherwise, they'd have a pretty unassailable catalogue.

I'd also go to bat for quite a bit of Byrne solo work --- particularly at the lyrical level --- but that's even OT from the OT.

Also: his blog merits a characterization as actual, legitimate non-fiction literature. He's a smart guy.

link []

And yeah, music is subjective and that's what makes the world interesting.

- c

p.s. To bongo_x: I don't know enough about your music tastes to know whether it's futile, but I suggest you give Talking Heads another chance. Start near the beginning and trace the development from CBGB's days to the later experimentation with Eno, Worrell, Belew, Sadkin, etc. The music takes leaps from album to album in a fairly dramatic fashion.

You may still hate it, but... you'll hate it educatedly, I guess.

Nov.06.2011 @ 8:43 PM
Dare I even bring up the Violent Fems?


Page 2 of 4



Sorry, commenting is closed for this blog entry.