DKO with Douglas Ewart and Steve Goldstein

Jon Davis extracted this three minute segment from more than two hours of improvisation we recorded using my PCM D-50 at our last monthly performance at the Acadia Cafe in Minneapolis, September 25, 2012. On this occasion we had the pleasure of joining forces with multi-instrumentalist Douglas Ewart and percussionist Steve Goldstein. The original post is on

Duet for Synthesizer and Robotic Vehicles

In May 2009 I toured a newspaper facility with a group of students and a field recorder. Recently I decided to revisit the recordings and found that one of them was laden with the varied-pitched warning beeps of several robotic paper transporters moving about the printing facility. Here’s a duet study that combines the use of the Pro-One with the recording in a similar fashion to the last two examples.

Duet for Synthesizer and Freight Train

This is the second study in a series of duet recordings that I am working on. In this example I made a recording of a freight train passing from about fifteen feet away using my Sony PCM-D50. On a side note the train recording was made in December of 2008, and I had no Idea until recently that I would be using it as a test layer for this project. Next I performed along with the recording while attempting to listen and react the same way I would when improvising with a human performer. The synthesizer I used (and may use for all of these) is my Sequencial Circuits Pro-One running through the Memory Man delay. There’s quite a bit of low end in the synth for the first two thirds of the piece, so I recommend listening on a good system, or set of headphones, turned up as loud as you can manage!

Listen to the original, uncompressed train recording from December, 2008:
Winter Freight

Duet for Synthesizer and the Washing

This piece is a test recording for an upcoming project. I recorded nine minutes of sound while doing the washing. Both the dryer and the washing machine were going at once. Several of the laundry cycles were captured including the fill cycle and the spin cycle. Accidentally some coins got into the dryer (I swear it was an accident) creating some nice high-frequency, stumbling rhythms.

Afterward I tried a few sessions of Pro-One along side the laundry sounds. I wasn’t satisfied with the first few attempts that I made where I was purposefully avoiding musical results. The effects were interesting, but seemed disjointed from the ambiance. For the last attempt I decided to try a drone in fifths developing into a simple sequence in six that finally degrades into filter effects and textures. Toward the end there’s a section where it’s difficult to tell what is an environmental sound and what is the synthesizer, which signifies a success of sorts for me.

I processed the washing sounds with a little bit of compression. The Pro-One was going through the Electro-Harmonix Memory Man analog delay that I manipulated throughout the recording. I recorded the synth and delay onto separate tracks. This made it possible to run the delay through an auto-pan effect while keeping the dry synth track in mono. This produced a nice sweeping stereo effect on the synth while maintaining a thick dry synth sound in the center, something that I’ve wanted to try for a long time.

Early Ostracon Performance

Here’s an early live recording from Ostracon way back in September, 2009 that I thought would be interesting to share. We have come along way since then, but this documentation has a fragile, exploratory charm to it including hefty amounts of buzz and crackle from a bad cord.

The way I produced the recording was by putting my Sony PCM-50 near the drums, and then recording the Live set during the show. Afterward I put the drum track into the Live set and matched it up. The recorder started a little late, so it’s missing the first three minutes of drums, but there’s 34 more minutes with Graham’s spectacular drumming all over it. Enjoy!

Ostracon Live Recording, September 28, 2009 by Ostraka