Parochial Dissonance by John C.S. Keston

Parochial Dissonance (Æther Sound, Dec. 4, 2020) – The title of this release describes the tragedy, loss, and suffering experienced when we narrow the scope of our worldviews. The album is a series of solo pieces captured from three streaming performances during the COVID-19 pandemic, and two live performances just before. Each piece was improvised within sets of rules applied to process, time, texture, and tonality. The pieces were performed on various synthesizers and Rhodes electric piano with occasional use of looping, arpeggiation, and signal processing. Continue reading for a look at the liner notes. Continue reading

Introducing Hydramorph 1.3.0

A major update to Hydramorph, version 1.3.0 is now available. It now supports morphing up to six-hundred-seventy-four parameters on the ASM Hydrasynth. This includes all of the parameters in the MACRO Editor. The MACRO assignments have also been added to the Send menu in Hydramorph, so that it is possible to send a predefined MACRO setup to any patch on the Hydrasynth. Here are some of the other features new to v1.3.0:

New File menu options have been added to “Select All Params” and “Deselect All Params.” This allows for including all of the parameters in the morphing process with one menu option. “Deselect All Params” instantly unchecks all the checked parameters. It is now possible to edit and randomize all 64 steps in the LFOs. The interface allows users to draw in the step as numbers or pitches and edit the steps numerically or as note values. Support has been added for updates and bug fixes in the Hydrasynth 1.5.2 firmware including several other features and enhancements. Please visit Hydramorph for more details.

A Sound / Simulacra Album Available

One of the last concerts I played before the COVID-19 pandemic and the horrific murder of George Floyd was a sound/simulacra with an amazing group of artists including: Cody McKinney (electric bass, voice, electronics), myself (Rhodes, synth, electronics), Aby Wolf (voice, electronics), Kaleena Miller (amplified tap dancing), and Nathan Hanson (saxophones). The venue made a multitrack recording of our show, so since have been unable to continue with our monthly series, Cody Mckinney and I decided to release a live album of music from the evening. Cody wrote an elegant essay (below) about the night, and I mixed and mastered the recordings which are now available on Bandcamp (above). All sales will be directed to advance the Black Lives Matter movement. Please read on to learn more about the album and the artists who made it possible.

sound/simulacra started as a monthly experiment, conceived by myself (Cody McKinney) and my dear friend and collaborator, John C.S. Keston. The name comes from the writings of Jean Baudrillard, the great French, post structuralist philosopher.

The basic idea was to bring sound artists / musicians together from varying disciplines, and see if we could find some universal truths within the framework of improvisation. Many differing sound disciplines seem to have their own language and systems of improvisation. Many of these take a lifetime of study to master, but that is usually based on that discipline’s improvisatory syntax as opposed to the purer language of sound. There was no attempt to try to learn or master other artists’ vocabulary, but rather to seek the commonalities between performers and their systems. Many times, these improvisations revealed certain formal structures; for example, western music theory influence, with our scales and triads and harmonic rules. While other times, they revealed behaviors from the natural world such as bird songs, or moaning, or machinery. [In recent times, we’ve begun to align our lives with many machines, and with that alignment comes a whole host of familiar sounds, structures, forms etc.] Continue reading

REV2 Degrader Update Introduces Preset Morphing and Gated Sequencer Editor

REV2 Degrader (R2DG) version 1.2.1 is available today and introduces three entirely new features along with a host of other improvements. Notibly the tool now includes a morphing editor for the gated sequencer. This feature allows users to graphically edit and “degrade” the steps and parameters for all four gated sequencer layers.

Secondly, a new preset morphing feature has been added to the interface. This allows users to morph between two R2DG presets. In combination with GET PATCH FROM REV2 users are able to morph between any two patches on Layer A. Use the drop downs to choose preset A and preset B, then update the number box between in increments of 0.01 to morph between the two presets. For example if you set the value to 0.75 then your REV2 will contain a new patch that is interpolated 75% of the way from preset A to preset B.

The R2DG interface can now be scaled based on screen resolution to maximum, default, or custom dimensions. All of these capabilities are also included in a Windows 10 version of the software which will be available soon. Checkout for details.

HYDRAMORPH™ Morphing Editor for the ASM Hydrasynth

During self-isolation due to COVID-19 my teaching has moved online affording me more time toward individual projects. I had already started a building a morphing editor for the Ashun Sound Machines Hydrasynth, so this is where I have been directing my energy. I expected to release this software closer to mid-summer, but now it’s looking like early to mid-May. In this short video I illustrate one of the ways I use HYDRAMORPH to tease incredible sounds out of this very special instrument. I have also made discounted pre-orders available at 20% off the full release price until the release. From the Purchase page:

HYDRAMORPH™ is a generative sound design tool for the Ashun Sound Machines Hydrasynth polyphonic synthesizer. The application is designed to algorithmically morph parameters on the instrument in realtime. Keep playing or record the results as up to 366 (so far) parameters are manipulated! Use HYDRAMORPH to create anything from chaotic, rapidly-changing textures to slow, evolving drones. HYDRAMORPH will help you navigate the expansive sound design possibilities of the Hyrdasynth through realtime morphing of customized parameter sets. Explore endless, unique soundscapes, illustrating how diverse and powerful the Hydrasynth is. This tool will help you uncover new territory hidden within the sonic depths of your instrument.