Sound / Simulacra: Leah Ottman (LOTT) with Keston and McKinney

On March 22nd, 2017 Sound / Simulacra featured Leah Ottman aka LOTT. These recordings were captured by Dave Kunath during the second set and add John C.S. Keston on Rhodes / electronics and Cody McKinney on bass / electronics.

The core inspiration for LOTT’s compositions is the Romantic Period of classical music. The chordal structures, intervals, and melodies heard throughout her songs are reminiscent of those used by Antonin Dvorak, Alexander Borodin, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, French Impressionist composer, Maurice Ravel, and then condensed into pop songs. She explores the range on her violin by utilizing a looping pedal and similar techniques employed by looping violinist pioneers, Andrew Bird, Kishi Bashi, and Owen Pallet.

LOTT has been likened to a modern day torch singer of indie music – both in her lyrical themes and vocal styling. She has been greatly influenced by Patsy Cline’s catalogue of songs about unrequited love and heartbreak.

LOTT was awarded “Best Vocalist” in 2016 and “Best Acoustic Performer” in City Pages Best Of the Twin Cities 2015.
“…With a looping pedal hooked up to her instrument, Ottman layers intricate melodies that combine classical beauty with an adventurous ear for contemporary experimentation not unlike Andrew Bird. Her voice, loaded with attitude and a penchant for flowing leaps, sweetens the deal…”

Fake Fir Debut at the Icehouse Tonight!

Tonight at the Icehouse in Minneapolis, FAKE FIR! This new project involves Adam Svec (vocals), Robert Mulrennan (guitar), Peter Hennig (drums), Cody McKinney (bass), and myself on Rhodes and synths. Check it out!

Jenn Kirby at ISSTA 2017

Attending ISSTA last month was a fantastic experience. The conference brought together an intimate group of like-minded composers, sound designers, and developers all dedicated to uncovering and exploring new sonic territories. I immensely enjoyed all that ISSTA had on offer, especially the concerts. One of the performers this year was Jenn Kirby who composes and performs electroacoustic works that apply processing through the use of unconventional, gestural, controllers like the Gametrak golf swing tether controller. In Phonetics she uses the Gametrak to control the signal processing of her vocalizations.

Upcoming Concert at ISSTA September 8, 2017

I’m pleased to announce that I will be performing a version of my piece Vocalise Sintetica at the ISSTA Festival and Conference on Sound. The conference will be held on September 7th and 8th, 2017 at the Dundalk Institute of Technology in Dundalk, Ireland. Please check the website for details.

I have developed new content and features for the AVGM (Audiovisual Grain Machine) which I’ll be using during the performance. I also be triggering samples and playing patches with a hardware synthesizer to accompany the audiovisual content. Here’s a video that demonstrates some of the new media:

A post shared by John Keston (@jkeston) on


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The Taming of the CPU 4.0

This Friday, April 21, 2017 will mark the 4th event we’ve affectionately titled, The Taming of the CPU. This time we have the privilege of being hosted by the Icehouse Minneapolis. Tickets are on sale now and available at the doors (opening at 10:30pm). The performers include myself, Mike Hodnick (Kindohm), Lucas Melchior (MKR), and Chris Leblanc with Michael Lund doing their famous modular-analog-video-liquid-light show. Expect to hear a broad range of electronic music from Kindohm’s virtuosic live coding to MKR’s Ableton prowess. I’ll be towing an all hardware rig including Rhodes electric piano, Moog Sub 37, a Pyramid Sequencer, and several other bits and pieces. Here’s the official spiel:

Taming of the CPU 4.0 brings together three award winning electronic musicians with two like minded visual artist to create a futuristic, immersive multi-media experience. Huge sounding hardware synthesis is combined with intricate live coding, and lush laptop arrangements while modular video synthesis and liquid light shows are displayed and synchronized to the music.

Read on for more information about the artists including bios and video examples: Continue reading