Electronic Music

::: Larry Fast Synergy Reprise :::

Another dollar store find from my friend Alvan of this Linndrum fame.  I wrote up some background on Larry Fast previously here but today I am listening to another LP by Synergy called Sequencer.  Here's a youtube video for one of the pieces on this rather enjoyable electro symphonic treat!  There's some good synth spotting in the gallery, there's an Emulator II, Prophet 5, Memorymoog, Moog modular, Roland MSQ 700 Sequencer.  I'm not sure what Moog that is under the mixer at knee level... :::

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There's a great wealth of info regarding Synergy and Larry Fast Here

::: IF :::

::: To Oberheim DSX or not to Roland MSQ :::

Today i will compare two old but very useful hardware sequencers.  The Oberheim DSX and the Roland MSQ - 700.  I've posted a lot of ASCII about the DSX before so this post will focus mainly the Roland MSQ - 700. Previous Reading on the Oberheim DSX:

In or around 1983 while Oberheim was refining and updating the DSX Roland released the MSQ-700  It was the world's first MIDI-compatible sequencer!

This is not to say it's better.  The DSX kicked the MSQ - 700's bottom in the features department.  But the MSQ - 700 offered some great features in it's own right.  Here's a run down:

1, 8 tracks of full MIDI Data or DCB recording and playback. ( only one or the other sadly not both simultaneously! )

In MIDI mode Each track could have a full 16 channels of data and all associated controllers.  Very inclusive and very cool.  You could have a full multipart song sequence on each track for live performance purposes. You could also mix or merge from one track to another and quantize tracks after they are recorded non destructively via quantizing while bouncing them to an open track.

2, The MSQ - 700 can sync internally or externally via MIDI, DIN Sync, or from time code on a tape.

3, It's built like a tank, solid steel all but for the side panels which are plastic but painted silver!

Roland fails is in a few serious ways, and these are where i prefer the DSX in all it's non MIDI glory.  There is no facility on the MSQ for real time sequence manipulation so you can't play and mute tracks while a sequence is playing.  Nor can you transpose or edit on the fly like the DSX can.  This is a total bummer for those who like to let the basic structure loop and drop things in and out and transpose the whole thing for fun on the fly.  The MSQ- 700 also lacks CV Gate compatibility in lieu of Roland's proprietary DCB.  The problem with DCB, besides it only being implemented on a few Roland instruments like the Jupiter 8 and Juno 60, is that it is so limited in comparison to MIDI that it's not worth the effort to use it since Jupiter 8's and Juno's can be easily Midified to a level where you can transmit via MIDI all the front panel controls for each like the Juno 106 ( which doesn't sound nearly as good ).

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[slideshow]

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References:

Roland MSQ700   ( This is a great article about the MSQ - 700 )

MSQ - 700 FAQ 1

MSQ - 700 FAQ 2

::: IF :::

::: Welcome to the Summer-Dome :::

XBS has been busy... jammin... fixin... jammin' n fixin'... Still totally obsessed with some of the Midnight Starr, Deele, etc etc...

::: Thanks Don :::

So, this is what came out this week when we fired up the synth army.  The original idea was to get some David Frank style bleep bloops a la Beat Street going:

http://youtu.be/9pMzUcB-QoU

...But it ended up being slower and more groovy which is still fun by me.  It's more summery and less on the John Carpenter tip we've been on too.  Usual suspects include Oberheim DSX Sequencer, Arp 2600, SCI Pro One, Mirage sampler ( OB-DPX-1), Linndrum LM2, Oberheim DX Stretch, Simmons SDSV, Roland JP-8...

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[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/51223006" iframe="true" /]

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One of these days i'm going to just get a talk box and become Roger Troutman and drop some really beautifully vapid loves jams all over the ground. Zapp is great in the summer time.  I love running to some Roger jams.

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PS, D.F. has content on his site now:

David Frank | music production

COOL!

::: IF :::

::: Moog Rogue Power Upgrade :::

It's a tech kinda week.  We have a few communal instruments that we have bought as a band over the years.  This is one that has been all over the place.  It's seen many US shows, East and West Coast, and even to the UK ( TWICE! ).  You should have seen the insanely ugly power adapter from European to US power duct taped to the awful moog wall wart.  We probably went through 3 of those crap power supplies over the years as they always get munched on stage.  I guess thats why everyone eventually does the internal power supply mod for the Moog Rogue. Here's the breakdown:

1, This mod adds a standard IEC jack so that you can just PLUG IT IN!

2, We are adding a 120VAC to 24VAC transformer ( BONUS: the DC rectifiers and other power supply elements are actually in the Rogue already )

3, We are adding a fuse to protect the peeps and the circuit as there will now be 120VAC in the box ( i settled on a 200ma slow blow or mdl fuse ).

4, The transformer is wired to the place on the board where the power input jack was so you can still turn it on and off.

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All Photos by J-Poo!

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Here's a little background and some other resources i referenced while doing this mod:

Basics:

Moog Rogue - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This site posted a wealth of info in the mod:

Moog Rogue Power Supply

And once that is done this is an interesting resource for getting your Rogue up to speed again:

Moog Rogue Trim Pots

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::: IF :::

::: Oberheim OB-8 Innards :::

I've been meaning to post these for a while!  The OB 8 is the main instrument i play when making music in the cave.  It is interfaced with the DSX and they together form the basis for all my sequences.  The OB is usually pretty happy but once in a while it goes haywire and loses it's mind for a minute.  I've found that if i change the keyboard mode from whole to split to double and then retune the voice boards it comes back on line pretty swiftly.  It's definitely an electrical connection or solder joint somewhere.  I did a bunch of touching up when we took these pics and it's been much happier since.  i never did locate one ' bad spot ' but i poked and prodded until i was pretty sure it is somewhere on the top voice board in the control section to the left.  Pics mostly by J-poo!

Other Info:

The OB-8 ( much like the previous Oberheims ) was a work in progress.  Many didn't have factory midi or were retrofitted ( often midi I/O was cut into the left wooden side panel.  Later versions had a different silk screen on the front that denoted two sets of control features referred to as 'page two'.  This one has factory midi but no page two screen.  The voice two boards were configured with 4 voices each and communicated to one central CPU.  The boards were designated in an upper and lower fashion much like Roland's polys of the era. Each board could have a unique patch for sophisticated layering and more dense tonalities!

The left side wood panel had 8 pots that were used to pan each voice left to right.  This seems strange at first but can be very useful.  It allows you to have two patches at one time mapped to different outputs or lets the two cards be moderately panned or hard panned for a wide thick stereo spread with one or two patches.

More on the web:

Oberheim OB-8

Electrongate Products

I'll do pics of the DSX in the next post...

::: IF :::

::: I Feel So Logical :::

Well, it's early but i may have found my personal fave ' album of the year ' already! and it's only february!

these guys are great ( the first album is anyway )...

They do for Doris Norton what Kraftwerk did for Germany.  taking all the robot angularity, quirk, and synth pomp and focusing it into a perfectly honed  soundtrack to my life.

Background:

This album was produced by Hideki Matsutake.  He was a computer programmer and considered the '4th Beatle' for YMO ( Yellow Magic Orchestra ) in the 70's - 80's.

Hideki Matsutake

Yellow Magic Orchestra

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http://youtu.be/yTpmSK_FPaI

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this track is another fine example of Kraftwerkian quirktopia

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http://youtu.be/vuLqhfFbyKI

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Alien space mouth says " OOOOOOHHHHHH   YEEEEEAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!! "

::: IF :::

::: Peace be a Computer :::

Well, XBS can't wash the Doris Norton out of our brain.  It started with  Artificial Intelligence,  That Meth Tetris love child of a Casio SK-1 and an Apple II. It's just litered with dog bark samples, Roland J-106 arpeggios, time code leaks, and Sysex tape dumps.  Doris Norton is what XBS describes as a great Litmus Test artist.  People either love it or hate it.  And both for all the right reasons!  ;-D This track has been a fave of mine this fall and it seems to not be leaving rotation any time soon!

http://youtu.be/7TirKpk7V3o

::: Love the vocoder. Love the crazy future NOW! :::