The Taming of The CPU Excerpt

The Taming of the CPU

I recorded this track while rehearsing for an upcoming solo performance. It’ll give you an idea of what to expect at the show. Everything was recorded in one take with no overdubs. The instruments include the DSI Tempest, Elektron Analog Four, and Moog Sub 37. I plugged it all into a Mackie 1202 including patching the sends to the external inputs on the Analog Four. I configured the left external input to route to the Analog Four internal reverb and the right to go to the delay. This gives me a knob on the mixer for delay and reverb on each channel. It’s ideal for live performance because I can instantly or momentarily add the Analog Four effects to any instrument without any menu diving.

Zeitgeist Arts: The Taming of the CPU

The Taming of the CPU

I’m am very excited to announce an upcoming concert at Zeitgeist Arts this Friday, January 23, 2014 in Duluth, Minnesota. I’ll be performing a set of brand new material using the DSI Tempest, Elektron Analog Four, and Moog Sub 37. Live coding artist, Mike Hodnick (Kindohm), and Ableton guru, Lucas Melchior (MKR) are also on the bill. All three of us are recipients of the Minnesota Emerging Composers Award (MECA) for electronic music.

Photo by Chris LeBlanc

In addition to the music Chris LeBlanc will be performing live visuals at the event. I’ve had the privilege of working with Chris on several occasions and I’m really looking forward to experiencing his latest concoction of analog video, circuit bent NES, and vintage video mixers. At this event he’s bringing four gorgeous CRT monitors from a vintage 9 x 9 video wall. You can see a still of them in action above.

Facebook Event Page
Zeitgeist Arts Event Page

Rule Based Electronic Music: Whistle While You Work


My rules for this piece were to compose, arrange, and produce music in real-time (edited for length, but no overdubbing) using only the three instruments discussed. The track starts with a sequence I programmed into the Moog Sub 37. Next an arpeggio is introduced from the Elektron Analog Four (A4). Soon afterward we hear the high hats from the DSI Tempest and a long sustained melodic chord progression also from the A4. Finally the rest of the percussion is supplied by the Tempest along with a bass line. From there on out it’s a matter arranging the existing parts (muting and un-muting) with a little real-time knob tweaking.

What makes this piece different for me was sending the output of the Tempest into the A4’s external inputs. This allows for processing external signals through the reverb and delay built into the A4. So when performing a roll on the Tempest, for example, I can turn up the reverb or delay on the A4 external input to add some additional character to the sound. This is going to be really nice for upcoming performances. Since the A4 has two inputs I may just run sends into each then apply reverb to one and the delay (perhaps with a touch of chorus) to the other. This would give me a reverb and delay send for everything plugged into the mixer. Expect to hear more experiments exploiting these and other techniques in upcoming posts.

Elektron Analog Four, Moog Sub 37, and DSI Tempest

From Left to Right: Tempest, Analog Four, Moog Sub 37

You may have noticed that my contributions to ACB have been sparse as of late, so I really appreciate Tom Player’s fascinating articles comparing electronic orchestration to the real thing. I have been busy teaching interactive media at two institutions and just finished an artist residency at Metropolitan State University working with students in the Experimental Music and Intermedia Arts program headed by professor David Means (I’ll be sharing more about that later).

In addition to teaching and other academics I have performing regularly and maintaining a studio practice when my schedule allows. Recently this involved the addition of two new instruments: the Moog Sub 37 and the Elektron Analog Four (A4). The Sub 37 arrived back in September and the A4 in November.

This weekend I had a couple of hours to interface these new additions with my DSI Tempest analog drum machine. These three instruments seem to complement each other really well. The Tempest is gritty and a little unpredictable, the Sub 37 is instantly gratifying and expressive, while the A4 is precise, clean, and technical. Here’s an excerpt from one of my experiments last weekend.

AVGM: Rheology

Here’s another movement from my composition Vocalise Sintetica that I performed at Echofluxx in Prague and later during Northern Spark 2014. I named the movement Rheology after the study of the flow of matter in the liquid state. The audiovisual content was created with a Max patch I developed called AVGM (AV Grain Machine). The instruments that I used to create the accompaniment include: DSI Tempest, Bass Station II, Korg Volca Keys, and Memory Man Delay.