I’m pleased to announce that I will be giving two workshops at Moogfest 2016. Audiovisual Scores for Electronic Music is on May 19 from 5 to 7pm and Sound Art and Sonification is on Friday from 2 to 4pm. The location for both workshops is 21c Museum Hotel, Gallery 6 111 N. Corcoran St, Durham, NC 27701. Details are on the Moogfest schedule site.
There will be volumes written about the icon known as Prince, AKA the artist formerly known as Prince, and originally Prince Rodgers Nelson in the next few days. I am just one of hundreds of humble musicians who have lived their careers in the shadow of this physically diminutive yet metaphorically giant monarch of Minneapolis. Prince’s influence is inescapable in this town. Virtually every artist here owes some fraction of their success, vision, and motivation to his legacy. Prince put Minneapolis on the map maintaining his presence here despite his celebrity. Wherever I have travelled, anywhere around the world, and told people I live in Minneapolis the first words out of their mouths are, “Ah! Prince!” Whether or not you’re a fan there’s no denying the enormous talent of this man. Although few artists from Minneapolis sound quite like him, he helped define the music scenes in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Working as a musician in the town that Prince built leaves no room for slouches. Regardless of style or genre we have had the impeccable musicianship, virtuosity, creativity, and showmanship of Prince to live up to. The Twin Cities, Minnesota, and the world at large are simultaneously mourning and celebrating Prince’s life and music for good reason. Every show of his I experienced was unforgettable. My heart goes out to everyone he touched. He was “dearly beloved” and will be dearly missed. Thank you, Prince.
J. Anthony Allen is a fascinating artist with whom I have the honor being a colleague and collaborator. J was recently interviewed by Darwin Grosse for his podcast Art + Music + Technology. Give it a listen to learn more about J’s background, artistic direction, and projects at large.
In addition to the podcast J also will be releasing a remix album titled Conic Arias of which I played a part by remixing the track Time Givers from Aniscorcia. The album comes out April 5th, but you can hear it now on SoundCloud:
The Tempest from Dave Smith Instruments is a monstrous drum machine designed in collaboration between Dave Smith and Roger Linn. The feature set that DSI took on for this beast is beyond ambitious and five years since its release it is still missing some features and suffers from a few significant bugs.
By no means does this make the Tempest unuseable. I constantly use my Tempest for live performances and in the studio and I love its capabilities. The problems arise under specific circumstances. For example, a legato mode with glide for monosynth sounds has yet to be implemented, so I can’t use it play bendy lead lines with portamento as I am wont to do. For me this isn’t so bad because I can play those lines on another synth and focus on using the Tempest as a very flexible drum machine.
However, we all use the Tempest in different ways. Because I have many approaches to it I often have to jump through hoops or find alternatives. Other users have found that it doesn’t live up to its potential and either sell the machine or shelve it in hope for an update. A community of users at DSI Forums have created a petition to DSI for an update. If you own a Tempest please follow the link below to participate in the petition. The Tempest is a great machine that’s still in production, so it makes sense for DSI to invest in a little bit of fine tuning.
On March 12, 2016 the third edition of The Taming of the CPU will commence at The Nicollet (now called Reverie), 1931 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis. Music will begin at 9:00pm. The Taming of the CPU is a series of live electronic music sets paired with live video performances. Chris LeBlanc who was interviewed here recently will provide the visuals for all three musical segments. The musical artists include John Keston (that’s me), Mike Hodnick who recently wrote an article here about his experiments with the Roland System-1m, and Lucas Melchior with whom I produced Dueling Tempests and four Dueling Monotribe videos.
Each time we organize one of these events we perform new material or new versions of our material. Chris is continually evolving his techniques and refining his approach to the visuals. For this event he’ll be bringing in Michael Lund as a collaborator. Be prepared for a pyramid of gorgeous, vintage CRT displays driven by Machael’s liquid light show and Chris’ state-of-the-art, modular, analog, video gear. I always look forward to these shows, not just for the opportunity to perform, but to see and hear what Chris, Luke, and Mike have up their sleeves. What’s more is that we are planning a short collaborative set at the end of the night. More information about the event is available on the on the Facebook event page. Have a listen to Luke’s (MKR) exceptional set from last time to whet your appetite: