New Album:Isikles with Lister Rossel

Isikles Artwork by Forrest Wasko

I am very excited to announce the release of the album Isikles! This is the third album released this month that I have been a part of. This one in particular is a collaboration between myself and Chilean producer, Lister Rossel. The two of us spent countless hours during the 2014–2015 winter in Minnesota composing and producing eleven movements that portray the fragility and magnificence of frigid environments. The liner notes for the album describe the concept:

Geologists propose that Earth has entered the Anthropocene. This epoch is marked by human activities that significantly impact the planet’s ecosystems. Markers include mass-extinctions that have led to a reduction in biodiversity, industrial and agricultural impacts on geology, radioactive fallout, and the most obvious marker — climate change.

As the planet warms polar regions teeter from stoic landscapes of frigid ice to rapidly evolving environments as they shed their ancient layers. Isikles is a portrait of nature and its transitions. It is a soundscape — a window to the coldest environments on earth; from the microscopic (Ice Mutation) to the macroscopic (Scattered Disk). Isikles reflects the undergoing global transitions of which we are all participants.

This album, produced by John Keston and Lister Rossel, combines composition with sound design techniques to present soundscapes inspired by these transitions. The sound sources include their own field recordings from frigid environments mixed with sonic interpretations uncovered through sound synthesis and processing during the brittle Minnesota winter.

Please have a listen to the album and consider purchasing the lossless download for the ultimate listening experience. The album was produced by John Keston and Lister Rossel, mastered by Tom Garneau, art direction by Luisa Rivera, and cover art by Forrest Wasko. Aside from a smattering of Rhodes playing, everything I produced on the record was designed using the Elektron Analog 4 and the Moog Sub 37.

Video: DKO Debut Album Absinthe Referent

SuBTR4CT1V3 is track five on the debut DKO album Absinthe Referent, now available for download or streaming at bandcamp or via the player embedded below:

Here’s how video artist Chris LeBlanc describes his work on this project:

I used VHS source material of sci fi movies from the 1990s that never made it to DVD running through Tachyons + processors, a homemade video feedback processor, and a modular video synthesizer mostly for colorization. I love scenes with virtual reality and the song brings out a pretty sinister feeling in some of this and lets you make up a story pieced together from 10 or so movies.

We are celebrating the release by performing at the Turf Club in St. Paul, Minnesota tomorrow night (Wednesday, May 20, 2015) with Dosh, A Love Electric, and Batteryboy sharing the bill. Please read on to check out some amazing stills from Chris’ video: Continue reading

Moog Sub 37 1.10 Firmware Demo Part 2

Now that I have had some more time to experiment with the new Moog Sub 37 1.10 firmware I made a new video that is more in-depth than the last one. In this video demo I show seven new features within the sequencer and arpeggiator sections of the instrument. Although I did edit the video for length, each feature was demonstrated without having to stop the sequence at any point.

First I review how to turn steps on and off while in step edit mode. This is simply done by pressing the step buttons (patch button 1 through 16) while in step edit mode (bank + latch).

Secondly I show how to set the start and end positions of the sequence while it continues to run. This is really great for repeating any number of consecutive steps in the sequence.

Thirdly I show how to create or disable ties between two or more notes on the fly. This is much faster and accurate than the original way of apply ties while the sequencer continues to run.

Fourth I demonstrate how to turn on/off step ratcheting and how to modify the number of ratchets. Ratcheting is an interesting new feature that repeats a step from 1 to 8 times.

For the fifth feature I adjust the swing amount. Having swing as a feature for the sequencer is fantastic, but it can also be applied to the arpeggiator and the LFOs when they are synched to the clock! I haven’t tried this yet, but I love the idea of manipulating the LFO waveshapes this way.

The sixth feature is modulation sequencing that I applied to the filter envelope amount. The mod sequencing can be applied to a huge list of parameters. Unfortunately is it one destination per patch/sequence, but never-the-less a welcome and useful addition.

Finally for the seventh feature I demonstrate how to shift the sequence back or ahead of the first step using bank + arp range (+ or -).

There’s a lot more still in this release that I have yet to explore. A huge THANK YOU goes out to Moog Music and especially Amos Gaynes for making an already great synth greater!

Moog Sub 37 1.10 Firmware Demo

Yesterday I got a note from Moog that the long anticipated 1.10 firmware for the Moog Sub 37, announced in January at NAMM, was now available. Today I scheduled time in my studio to install it and test out some of the new features. This release is significant because the bulk of the updates are new features! In this video I demonstrate step edit mode and quick mapping of modulation destinations.

Each of the sixteen preset buttons can now be used to turn on and off steps while playing a sequence. One problem I found is that you can only turn on or off one step at a time. I imagine this is something that they’ll fix because we do have ten fingers after all. [UPDATE: Pressing two steps at a time is for turning on/off ties.] Other than that it works beautifully! If your sequence is longer than 16 steps the buttons jump to the second, third, and fourth pages automatically as the sequence is playing.

The quick mapping of modulation destinations is a treat. Simply hold down the MOD 1 or MOD 2 DEST button while turning a parameter. I do this in the video at 0:47 applying MOD 1 to OSC 2 frequency. You can also press a button. For example to modulate the filter slope setting press SLOPE while holding one of the MOD buttons. This works for the octave switch knob, pattern switch, pattern range buttons, and so on. Here’s a list of all the new features:

  • Step Edit Mode – Allows visual display and editing of individual sequence steps on preset buttons 1-16, with easy real-time control over rests, ties, and more.
  • Quick Mapping of Programmable Mod Destinations – Simply hold the Mod (1/2) Dest button and turn a parameter knob to assign modulation to that parameter.
  • Skip and Ratchet Steps – Sequences can now include Skipped steps (which can be toggled On and Off on-the-fly) and Ratchet steps (1 to 8 repeats per step).
  • Arpeggiator and Sequencer Swing Control – Adjust the ratio of on-beat vs. off-beat duration from 0% to 100%. Swing can also apply to Synced LFOs.
  • Sequencer Mod Destination – Sequence any one parameter directly, using the per-step Sequence Mod Value (mod wheel position is recorded per-step).
  • Sequencer Mod Only – Use the sequencer purely as a sequenced modulation-generator, without playing a sequence of notes (the keyboard plays normally).
  • CV Mapping – Use the external Pitch CV, Volume CV, and KB Gate inputs to control almost any parameter on the Sub 37. Step Advance and Step1 Reset functions allow you to clock the Sub 37 sequencer using analog gate/trigger signals, and the Gate input can now function as a Sustain pedal input.
  • Variance – Use this parameter to specify a subtle amount of random detuning to the oscillators. (For when perfect tuning is too perfect)
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