Parochial Dissonance by John C.S. Keston

Parochial Dissonance (Æther Sound, Dec. 4, 2020) – The title of this release describes the tragedy, loss, and suffering experienced when we narrow the scope of our worldviews. The album is a series of solo pieces captured from three streaming performances during the COVID-19 pandemic, and two live performances just before. Each piece was improvised within sets of rules applied to process, time, texture, and tonality. The pieces were performed on various synthesizers and Rhodes electric piano with occasional use of looping, arpeggiation, and signal processing. Continue reading for a look at the liner notes. Continue reading

Video: REV2 Patch Degrader Demo & Sounds

This video describes and demonstrates the device I designed to create most of the patches in the REV2 Experimental Sound Set available here on

I am hoping to make it available sometime in the next few months if I can gage enough interest for a release. To hear five minutes of just the patches (no talking) please skip to 9:56. Also a complete playlist of all 128 patches is available on SoundCloud:

Playlist Started for Rev2 Experimental Patch Set

This incomplete playlist will eventually feature all 128 presets from the Experimental Patch set for the Prophet Rev2. This collection includes experimental, glitch, special effects, and a few conventional patches. All the patches are entirely original creations built from the ground up or through custom morphing software developed in Max for Live for the Rev2. I’ll post more tracks to the playlist soon. Let me know if you have questions or if you’re interested in the set. Thanks!

Experimental Sound Set for the Prophet Rev2

Although I haven’t mentioned it here, I have had a 16 voice Sequential Prophet Rev2 since November 23, 2018. In the last two months I have programmed a full bank of 128 patches for the instrument. This isn’t something I would normally do for any instrument. For most instruments I program a handful of patches that I need, or simply create or modify the patches as I work in the studio.

So why spend two months creating 128 patches? One reason why is because the scope of timbral possibilities is vast. One can create glistening, glassy, and bright tones or contrasting warm and dark sounds just as easily as one another. Secondly the process of creating patches is fun with minimal menu diving. Thirdly, if the patches are received well I’ll offer them for sale as a downloadable set.

Lastly, I have designed a Max for Live device (see image above) that morphs, interpolates, and/or randomized specified parameters on the synth. This software, titled Rev2 Patch Degrader, is similar to the what I created for the PreenFM2 and for the Yamaha TX81Z. It has allowed me to discover and tweak dozens of experimental soundscapes with many more to come. Developing the software took over a month, but I was able to get some excellent features packed into it. For example, there are four ways to initialize new patches: init 0s, init pad, init perc, and init random. The degrading process will then change parameters over time (clocked or in milliseconds) to new values.

In the next few weeks I’ll share some more examples of patches I have made on the Rev2. In the meantime, please let me know if you’re interested in what I’m tentatively calling the AudioCookbook Experimental Sound Set. Also, let me know if you’re interested in the Rev2 Patch Degrader for Max for Live. Thanks!

Video: Panic by Proxy Live at the Walker

On August 23, 2018 I debuted a new piece in remote collaboration with Syrian artist and filmmaker Khaled Alwarea. PANIC BY PROXY is an audiovisual translation of clips from Alwarea’s award winning film Panic Attack. The piece was commissioned by MN Artists for their MN Artists Presents series at the Walker Art Center, curated by Essma Imady.

The performance featured audiovisual objects projected and amplified while being granulated using Audiovisual Grain Machine (AVGM) — software I developed that performs audiovisual granular synthesis in realtime using a touch controller. Other instruments included Rhodes, Moog Sub 37, Novation Circuit, Korg KP3+, and an Electro-Harmonix Memory Man Delay. The dissonance, distortion, and uncanny synchronization in the sound and visuals illicit feelings of disturbance and confusion as an expression of the artist’s anxiety.

This video includes most of the performance and has only been edited for length. Thanks to Esmaa Imady for inviting me to participate in the event, Khaled Alwarea for his amazing film work, and Emily Gastineau at MN Artists for organizing the event. Read more about Esmaa Imady and the other artists who participated in this event on Hyperallergic.