Chris Randall: Musician, Writer, User Interface Designer, Inventor, Photographer, Complainer. Not necessarily in that order.
Tags: I Would Walk 500 Miles
February 9, 2017
by Chris Randall
Sync02 is the second in what is apparently going to be a yearly 1st-Saturday-Of-March affair. Last year's event went off well enough that we decided to do it again, despite the torential rain. As you may remember if you attended, Sync01 took place at JWZ's excellent CodeWord venue in San Francisco. Saturday, March 4th at Holocene. It is over twice as big as last year's, so we got a partner. Audio Damage is doing it in partnership with Control Voltage. The manufacturers that will be exhibiting include:
Industrial Music Electronics
S1 Synth Library
Roger Linn Design
Control Voltage will have a pop-up store at the venue, so warm up your debit card. The exhibition runs from 10:30A to 4:30P, and then we close the venue for a bit to remove the tables, and reopen at 5:30P for the show. The performers include:
The exhibition is free to attend, and all-ages. The performance is 21+ and $10. So, if you're in Portland, and you don't come to this, well... I am given to understand that Modular On The Spot will be doing a separate event the night before. The Facebook event page is here. Please hit the little button to let us know you're coming. That number is helpful.
It may be a little early to bring this up, but I'm also open to ideas for where Sync03 should be. It takes a while to put these together, so the city needs to have a good confluence of both manufacturers and customers. My initial first choice for Sync03 was Washington, DC, but I'm also open to European cities, or something I haven't thought of.
August 10, 2016
by Chris Randall
A nice trip to Oregon last week; visited my mom on the Coast, did an event at Control Voltage in Portland, and visited my 90-yr-old grandparents in Eastern Oregon. A lot of driving, but good fun overall.
Side note: while I generally do the requisite things to keep my creative batteries charged, all the usual shit that everyone does, once in a while, a good set of circumstances can give me an extra boost, and that occurred Saturday morning in Portland. I had some time to kill, and the hotel was right next to the Portland Art Museum, so I figured "fuck it, let's go have a look." The Portland Art Museum has a relatively small permanent collection, largely given to portraits of overweight Flemish bankers, like most small museums that exist due to the largess of a cattle baron or some such. So most of the museum is given over to temporary exhibits.
The combination of shows at the PDX museum last weekend was really stellar, is all I'm saying. In particular, there was an installation of material studies from Allied Works Architecture that really got my gears turning. Super inspirational. I think I caught it on its last day there, but what a great exhibit. Also, the new collection of graphic art in the basement is well worth a look if you're in Portland.
Anyhow, I'm changing the schedule on these videos a bit. I've moved The Weekly to mid-week, and Tech Time will stay in the weekends. Since those are more popular, I'm going to devote the entire weekend to their creation, and bang out The Weekly during the work week, since it is inherently easier to do.
PLEASE SUBSCRIBE!!! to the YouTube channel if you haven't already.
April 5, 2016
by Chris Randall
Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few whiles, you are perfectly aware of last week's Superbooth 16 in Berlin. Schneidersburo is one of the largest Eurorack retailers (and via their Alex4 subsidiary, the European distributor for almost all North American Euro manufacturers), and every year they've had an Analogue Superbooth at MusikMesse in Frankfurt.
The MusikMesse has, in the last few years, become a hostile environment for boutique manufacturers, and Schneidersburo/Alex4 decided, to their credit, to make their Analogue Superbooth a stand-alone event, and put it in Berlin (where it's cool) instead of Frankfurt (where it's basically Dallas Plus Schnitzel). We'd been dreading the inevitable trip to Messe, so when Schneider's announced this event, we immediately jumped on board, as did virtually everyone else. All the larger North American Euro manufacturers were in attendance, with one notable exception. Essentially all of the European manufacturers were there, as well as many other companies that ran the gamut from one-dude-in-a-basement-with-an-invention on up to U-He, Ableton, Native Instruments, Roland, Korg, Yamaha, and Moog, along with several pro-audio companies.
It was, basically, all the cool shit in the music tech business under one roof.
The venue was the splendid former state radio building of the GDR, and while it was a bit run down, having sat idle for some decades now, the Schneiders folks did an amazing job cleaning it up and running the event. I'll admit that the potential for a clusterfuck of massive proportions was a distinct possibility, given the location of the venue (on the corner of the Ass End Of Nowhere and Bumblefuck) and the high cost of attendance. I am personally of the mind that these sorts of events should be free to the attendees, and I give any event that has even a moderate fee the side-eye, but in this case, the stars aligned and all went perfectly.
Schneiders organized it so the first half of the (very long) days were for trade only and the second half were for the public. Since we don't actually have a whole lot of trade to do, being distributed exclusively by Alex4, the first parts of the days were spent hanging with old friends and meeting new ones, seeing the new stuff everyone's working on, and talking about the industry. The public half of the days was outstanding; the people that attended were the best informed I've personally come across at one of these events. I didn't talk to a single "so... what does this... do... exactly?" n00B. (I despise those conversations, as I've worked in this business so long I just assume everyone I talk to has the same knowledge base I do, and when I find myself explaining how an oscillator works, my eyes glaze over immediately.)
All in all, this was the single best event of this sort that I've ever attended. We've been discussing not doing the major trade shows any more (NAMM in particular) because the signal-to-noise ratio is so bad that there's no noticeable return on our investment. This, however, was money and time well spent, and we very much look forward to next year.
Adam was unable to attend, as he had a vacation in Japan planned for the same time period, and due to personal reasons was unable to change the dates. So I took Jeremy Highhouse to work our booth for the public parts. I've been to Frankfurt many times, and spent a couple months in Hamburg and Cologne, but I've never visited Berlin. I only had about a day and a half to explore, but what an outstanding city! I loved every minute I was there, except for the first day. (And this is my fault, not Berlin's. Like some sort of diptard, I left my one and only coat in Phoenix, and arrived to a very cold and wet Berlin at 7AM, unable to get in my rented flat until 3PM, after 21 hours of travel. That was... amusing.)
It was great to see people in real life that I've known for years online and talk to daily, and to make a whole mess of new friends. Well worth the trouble of getting there. Special shout out to the Koma Elektronik boys, who are, quite frankly, the coolest people I've ever met.
February 12, 2015
by Chris Randall
Better late than never, right? My optimism about doing this at NAMM was ill-advised, and then when I got home from NAMM, events conspired to keep me from having time. Today, I finally had the opportunity. So, blatantly disregarding the level indicator on my digital recorder, off to the desert I went. Here's your answers. Enjoy!
January 26, 2015
by Chris Randall
Okay, I know long-time readers are used to a daily NAMM round-up, wherein I make biting comments about the latest and greatest from our fine business. Long-time readers also know that I'm not, as a habit, an exhibitor at NAMM. That all changed this year.
I'm not going to apologize for not walking the floor and trying out every new thing under the sun. While I would have greatly enjoyed doing exactly that, the simple fact of the matter is that it was virtually impossible to make the time. Not only was I generally tied to the Audio Damage booth, but this NAMM was unusually crowded, at least relative to the last few I've been to. And the Eurorack format is really exploding. At this rate, we'll have an entire hall in two years.
So, as I say, I was unable to either poke or prod any new things. The only instrument I did spend a total of about 45 seconds with was the Sequential Prophet 6. That was long enough to decide it was the modern analog synth of my dreams. Keybed: great. Control surface: great. Sound: great. I saw almost nothing else during the show, I'm sorry to report.
We did get a lot of good business done, which is, I guess, the point of the operation. We discovered that both Adam and I are really shitty at giving demos and doing sales pitches. Adam gets in to the minutia of the device so quickly that the potential customer's eyes glaze over, while I take a more patronizing "well, it's shit-hot, and you should buy it, unless you're stupid or something" meta-approach. We will, in the future, be paying Jeremy Highhouse to do our pitching for us, because we suck at it, plain and simple.
I had big plans to film the 10 Questions answers on the show floor, but a raging bout of insomnia that waylaid me for virtually the entire trip kept me in this sort of strange FML zone that prevented me from being extemporaneous, at least in any intelligible fashion. I'll do the answers in the next couple days.
Anyhow, if I was able to meet you during the week, rest assured that I think you are both handsome and charming, and I'll tell anyone who asks. Don't bother posting anything like "hey, did you check out the new DeeJay EZ-Tron 5000 XS?" because I didn't.
A very special thanks to WMD for organizing the group booth, and to Stan Cotey and Fender for saving our bacon in at least two ways. When the largest American music equipment company takes time out of their ludicrously busy show schedule to help out one of the smallest, it makes you feel good about the future in general, and this business in particular.
(Side note: those in the general know of things might view the previous paragraph as an attempt to lay the blame for the noise warnings WMD received at Fender's feet. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH!!!)