Wednesday Performance at the Triple Rock

This Wednesday I will be playing an improvised solo set of synth music at the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis. I produced this teaser by crossfading a few clips from my rehearsal for the show. The bill, hosted by Hardcore Crayons, also includes Clustercuss and collaborative performances from everyone. Enjoy!

My First Solo Album in Seven Years

Isosceles by Ostraka

Dear ACB readers, I am pleased to announce my first solo album in seven years, Isosceles. This one is an eighty minute long departure from my usual esoteric experiments. Instead it is full of unapologetically funky and tonal instrumental synth tracks. Many of these were shared as works-in-progress here on ACB.

Years in the making, this collection of tracks was carefully picked from dozens of compositions. Vintage and contemporary electronic instruments and processors were used alongside each other to create a unique yet familiar sound. The album is full of thick analog arpeggios, punchy bass lines, earthy beats, and ballistic leads. The anthology is interspersed with contemplative moments reminiscent of the promise of space exploration and discovery. It is a journey through light years of exploratory sound design, future thought, and galactic musical manifestations.

The gorgeous artwork is by Benjamin Montag and the impeccable mastering was handled by Tom Garneau. The album was released on Unearthed Music and is available on Bandcamp as well as the usual suspect (iTunes, et al). Tonight I’ll be performing at Acadia in Minneapolis to celebrate the release.

Composed and performed by John C. S. Keston
Ablum art by Benjamin Montag
Mastered by Tom Garneau of Audioactive

Interview: The Mind of Video Artist Chris LeBlanc


Chris LeBlanc is a video artist who I have been collaborating with frequently for the last year and a half. The body of work that he has produced in this short period is remarkable. His improvised visuals for musical performances include mash-ups from rare VHS tapes of bizarre B-movies; usually of the sci-fi, horror, or fighting genres. He augments these mix tapes with circuit-bent Nintendos and a vast collection of other analog video devices to produce uncanny, audio-responsive, visual experiences that enhance musical performances and draw in listeners. Recently he added a modular video synthesis system to his rig and salvaged a nine-by-nine CRT video wall for display.

On Thursday, October 22nd Chris produced visuals for a solo performance of mine at a club with a projector and fifty-one flat screen monitors dispersed throughout the venue. Chris managed to display his video art on the projector and all of the flat screens during my performance. This lasted for about half the set until an irate bar manager found him and made him put the hockey game back on a few of the flatscreens. In addition to his performances he creates music videos and stills using the same equipment and similar techniques. After our most recent show I thought it would be great to share a discussion with Chris here on ACB. I interviewed him on what drives his decisions as an artist and how he makes his analog imagery so engaging while using content and technology from a bygone era.

Read on for the interview with Chris LeBlanc plus more videos and still photo examples of his work. Continue reading

Audiovisual Granular Synthesis of Water Objects

This is a screen capture from a Max project I developed that does interactive, synchronized, granular synthesis of corresponding sound and video that’s tentatively titled AVGM for Audiovisual Grain Machine. I have used the software during aperformance at the Echofluxx festival in Prague and at the Katherine E. Nash gallery for the opening of The Audible Edge exhibition during Northern Spark 2014.

Duet No. 2 With The Singing Ringing Tree


This was the second take on day one of my Duets recording project with the Singing Ringing Tree (SRT), a wind activated musical panopticon in Northern England. The sculpture was designed by architects Tonkin Liu and completed in December 2006. I performed accompaniment for the SRT binaural recording simultaneously using a Novation Bass Station II connected to a USB battery. I also ran the Bass Station II through a Moog Minifooger Delay. Eventually I will be producing videos of these compositions. For now I wanted to try a quick mix to get an idea of how things will sound.

NOTE: This is a binaural recording combined with a monophonic synthesizer track. Although it sounds great through speakers, circumaural headphones must be used to experience the binaural effect.