Love

::: XBS - Don't Believe :::

Hello peeps! Here's a new song that is complete! Activities to be accompanied by this material include, but are not limited to: driving, fishing, grilling, sports, baggo, drugs etc.

We want to be on topping you.

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/48990208" iframe="true" /]

Nick Zampiello - Drums/Synth/Programmerification/Mixing/Additional Adding

James Towlson - Vocals/Keys/Guitar/Bridgerizer

Ed McNamara -Vocals/Lyrics/Bleep Bloops/His Guitar

Eddie Llerena - Engineer/General Helper/Clapper

Rob Gonnella - For being there...no matter when......what?

::: Fully Upgraded and Updated Roland Jupiter 6 Europa :::

This is an exciting post!  I have been working on this project for months in baby steps and it's finally ready!  So here's the deal, I bought out a guy's analog collection basically to get a Roland Jupiter 8.  Included in the deal were a Roland TR-909 which i already posted about here: (  ) and a Roland Jupiter 6 which is todays post! This is quite a specimen!  When i received the JP-6 it was mostly working and very updated.  It has the Europa mod which brings it's brains up to 21st century MIDI capabilities.  The previous owner made wood sides to replace the stock metal ones, which i'm glad he also held on to.  The body went to  customsynth.co.uk  and was totally repainted and re-screened.  There was one large knob missing.  I tracked one down and did a course of the Retr0Bright process to get them all back to the original grey as some had yellowed due to sun damage.  The 2 prong power receptacle was replaced with a 3 prong IEC style one.  All of the sliders and pots have been replaced.  All the voices tune and STAY TUNED ( I burned this JP-6 in for 5 days in the studio and it was still in perfect tune at the end ).

In fact, when i looked under the hood the only functionality issues were in the Bender Board where the LFO 2 was non functional.  There were just some bunk components that were in need of replacement.  It's sweet to look at and is probably the most pimped out JP-6 i've ever encountered.  On a side note, the previous owner painted the bender board caps blue which is cool but i tracked down some of the original white ones to see if they looked better.  I actually settled on a mix where the 'Wide' and 'LFO 2' buttons are blue and the 'VCO' buttons are white but still have the others just in case.

::: Have a look at the pics :::

:::

I promised myself i would sell this piece and i'm sticking to it!  I have an identical O.G. JP-6 ( this earlier version MIDI In and Out/Thru only ) that this originally was and i'm too emotionally attached to it to sell it. :-D...

It will be offered up soon on the AH list.

and or Ebay!

Analogue Heaven

eBay

THANKS!

::: IF  :::

::: Computer World ::: Computer Love :::

I (james) being one of 3 members to post on this blog have a problem. The problem consists of listening to suggested music and treating it with the same respect as the music I already love. Respect is probably not the best word choice, but the point remains the same. I love what I love and anything that comes into my field of hearing usually ends up being scrutinized too heavily and never given the chance it deserves.

Kraftwerk managed to bob and weave their way past the Wilco, Stereo Lab, Talking Heads, fortress and plant themselves into an unexpected place apparently reserved for them already. Computer World is the first record I had a chance to sit down with. I love it. It has all the things that make me feel as though I should be on a highway driving towards some unknown destination. Ambient electronic pop, whatever description you apply it's great. There are people who can describe them much better than I (Nick Z, XBS Blog master) but that wasn't really the purpose of this post (sorry, feeling lazy). More than anything it's a suggestion to go out and give them a listen. They are assuredly not for everyone, but if you've never listened than it's well worth it. "Computer Love" is one of my favorite tracks. If it sounds oddly familiar there's a reason. Listen and find out.

::: 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 :::

::: I Are Dream Robotic :::

I don't know a lot about these peeps.  They are awesomely cut from the same material that Attitude and other robot funk music between 1980-1983 were cut.

::: At I Tudinal ::::

They are more difficult to research than most.  With a name like Gift Of Dreams there's no easy way to google them!

Band : Gift Of Dreams

LP : Mandroid

::: this one holds down the italo line fantastically :::

http://youtu.be/2R-M6kEy-3g

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love the arpeggios!!  it's sooooo italo...

::: and this song is so funky! :::

http://youtu.be/YUfMbOJ7zNs

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::: IF :::

::: Thanks Don :::

I know we've mentioned Don Cornelius before:

He was a visionary dude who brought a lot of great music to a higher place.  From the dance moves and 70's soul of James Brown and Marvin Gaye to the amazing crossover into elecro and funk that was S.O.L.A.R. records.  Don Cornelius and Soul Train did MTV first.

SOLAR Records

Soul Train maker 'kills himself'

We've been meaning to do more so lets have one more awesome track from our fave time period :::

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http://youtu.be/P0M0OzVs8-g

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http://youtu.be/gomCkCbKHA4

:::

C U In Outta Space DON !!!!

::: I.F.:::

::: Cold Wave Cold Gaze :::

We've been listening to a lot of old Talk Talk records lately.  The earlier stuff is straight british new wave while the later stuff is so outside and minimal yet super complex and evolving.  It can take years to parce the development of a band and or artist, especially Mark Hollis' descent into an erie drug induced madness and isolation on the later Talk Talk and then his one solo record. The reversed synth lines in this track remind me of the strange soundscapes that Mark Hollis would use on his more experimental records.  Tucked into an A Ha-esque British synth pop shell.  It's uplifting somehow, Like the Simple Minds and Tears for Fears stuff of that era always is...

somehow...

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[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/35143601" iframe="true" /]

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The usual suspects too! Oberheim DSX, Oberheim DMX, Simmons SDS V, Linn LM2, Roland - JP 8, Arp...

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This one is dedicated to Mr. Knapp...

Can i call u that?

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::: IF :::

::: Løøkn frra Raynbow :::

It's particularly rainy here for January!  In lieu of snow XBS is stuck inside staying dry, which is fine by ME! We are still lovin' synth-funk-electro-crossover longtime and we can take this opportunity to post another 'XBS of the week'...

This week brought to you by : Atlantic Star, Midnight Star, Calloway, and all the other post Zap purveyors of robo awesomeness

Let's call it a miami disco tribute to Midnight Star and their song Midas Touch!

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[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/34750316" iframe="true" /]

 

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All the usual suspects!  (( Jupiter 8 ( still in the shop ) Simmons SDSV, Oberheim DX Stretch, OB-8, Mirage Sampler ( love the mirage sampler )))

I borrowed the a capella for Midas Touch by Midnight Star and threw it on for fun.  I just used the first few verses and chorus...

The vocal version is here:

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[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/34748010" iframe="true" /]

 

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Happy Friday...

::: I.F. :::

::: Happy Jam of the Week :::

Well, we spent a few days cleaning out the cave and finishing up some repairs ( i almost got a JP6 done this week to post pics of but it's being petulant so that will have to wait until it is 100 % happy functional ) so we figured we'd heat up the troops and make some celebratory saturday music. TGIS!

This one consists of the usual compliment of suspects: DSX, OB-8, Mirage, SDS-V, Linndrum, OB-DX Stretch,

but the bonus is a JP-8 that we've been fixing up! ( it's doing the little chorus line and the sliding fast arpeggio at the end... )

sweet.....

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/34821284" iframe="true" /]

:::

::: IF :::

::: TR **DR** [[ 909 ]] :::

XBS has been making an effort to do more tech related stuff this month.  In for repair today is a Roland TR-909 in messed up shape.  Someone had tried to refurbish it and made most of it's age and design  related problems worse! 1, The main drum switches were replaced which is nice but they were installed sloppily and so out of true that the buttons don't fit in properly.  On further investigation the problem was often the fact that too much silicone was used to glue in the drum switch LED's so that the switch didn't fit flush to the switch board PCB.

2, The ribbon cables were re-soldered and rendered non functional because the ribbon cable ends were not trimmed evenly prior to soldering ( anyone familiar with multiconductor cable work knows that the trimmed end lengths of all parts must be exactly correct or else they break off immediately due to imbalanced strain distribution ).

3,  One of the new drum switches was actually bad so it was replaced with one of the original ones that was removed.

On another note, the previous owner did manage to get the Roland TR-909 OS v4.0 chip in and it works which is a huge relief as that would be hard for me to troubleshoot.  Also, the pots and small switches were done well when they were replaced and all seem to be working. =D

So, I have to say that this is one of the most annoying designs ever conceived by man from a standpoint of repair and maintenance.  The boards barely fit in on top of each other inside the case with some long shaft pots going through the switch board from the voice board.  Everything needs to be taken apart to get to the switch board and that's the one that gets the most abuse!  The switch board is also where the CPU and OS live, right next to the buttons all the 'house music' dudes are banging on.  The ribbon cables are soldered to the PCB on one end and have connectors on the other.  I wish they were connectors on both ends so you could replace a cable or work on a board without having an octopus of cables to be mindful of.  They also barely fit in the case around the boards that are barely in there to begin with.  The drum switch caps are so flimsy i don't know how they were ever on there solidly in the first place.  And the OS is pretty clunky and unintuitive to make music with.  Nothing like the OB or Linn ideas in language or execution.  It does sound Great though.  I just wonder how this was designed when all the Roland synths of that era that i've been inside are immaculately designed and completely modular for maintenance purposes!  Who knows!

::: IF :::

::: Future :: NOW NOW NOW!!! :::

Happy Nu Year! XBS figured we could end on a nice up note with the universally known center of awesomeness, Carl Sagan...

...yummmmmmmy BRAINS!!!

Love the Quincy Jones, Love the Chaka Kahn!!

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/32067358"]

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This one is DSX/OB-8, Mirage, Roland Jupiter 6, Arp-2600, Simmons SDS-V and Linndrum...

Oh yeah, Vocoder by Korg VC-10. A prelude to more fun!

Thanks and C U Next Year!

::: IF :::

::: DSX :::

Well, XBS was thinking about it and realized that we have our first ever sequence made on the DSX.  This was done right after we did the Electron Gate upgrade.  This replaces the old volatile RAM system witha a Static MRAM system to negate the need for a battery... I later figured out how to calibrate the DAC system for the CV Gate outs on the back.  They have a polarity switch for +/- gates and a simple trim that adjusts the scale for all 8 CVs simultaneously.  pretty simple actually provided no components are bad.  There is supposedly an Oberheim calibration cassette that you can load into the DSX memory that has programs instead of sequences to test the functionality of the unit.  I haven't found a copy yet but it must exist somewhere!

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/31929260"]

The Poly parts are the Oberheim OB-8 ( of course ) and the JP 6 via midi...

The bass is ARP 2600 and the mono synth lines are on a SCI P-1 I believe ( it was a while ago ).

Its got a LinnDrum and the Simmons SDS-V chasing it!

I was surprised when i got the DSX going and it actually worked!  I figured i'd make a song right away before something went wrong!  The scaling on the CV outs was a little out of cal so i didn't do ant real leads or move too far out of 'in tune' range!

::: IF :::

::: It's Passion :::

XBS loves getting new Vinyl.  Especially if its really old and was never played!  We just scored an original Mirage Records copy of It's Passion by The System  for one dollar and it RULES!  This reminded me that there have been no XBS posts on The System yet.  It's a travesty!!  XBS will do more we promise!  XBS will post that performance from MIAMI VICE at some point as well...

XBS owes a lot of art time inspiration to this band.  More than making some fun jams back in the day, they also inspired our love of Oberheim and the pre midi sequencing capabilities of  'The System'.

So, The DSX is the sequencer and it can control a DX or DMX drum machine and one Oberheim poly at the same time.  It can do 10 tracks of polyphonic ( 16 voices ) to an OB X, Xa, SX, or 8  via 'computer interface' and 8 CV / Gates on the back panel for mono synths simultaneously ( US scaling and polarity ( invertible! )).  It could record up to 6000 notes, record patch and controller type changes on a dedicated data track, and do real time transposition and track track muting!

So much fun!

Our OB-8 has midi so the DSX can actually control anything in the studio!  We upgraded the brains with some help from, you guessed it, Paul at Electron Gate!

http://www.electrongate.com/dmxfiles/products.html

::: [[START]] NERDY DANCING ZONE :::

::: [[END]] NERDY DANCING ZONE :::

We've been saving that dry hump macintosh gif for ever, now it has a raison d'etre...

Here's an awesome jam from the first System record. Note they have a PPG in the video for no reason i can guess other than they are dancing in space!!!:

http://youtu.be/FqeQ_PfKMAo

David Frank  is a Special and Visionary dude.  Thanks dude!

::: IF :::

::: For the Love of the Halloweenadays :::

Hello! Well, it's almost time to start the last year evah, 2012!!!!

In celebration XBS plan to make lots of Carpenter-esque synth jams.  Here's what we made yesterday :::

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/31903174"]

Newly fixed Oberheim DMX being minimal with a Simmons SDSV and polysynth layering from OB-8, Mirage (DPX) and SCI Multitrack ( great sleeper synth )

Accompanied by some ANIGIFS as always!

...I.F.

::: How 2 B A :::

This song fits into the social and political climate today as much as it did in '85.

  1. Artist: ABC
  2. Album: How To Be A Zillionaire
  3. Song: How To Be A Millionaire

http://youtu.be/2U7O_nBQETI

I love the production.  It sounds like a Fairlight CMI to me!  Maybe it was a british thing back then as many records from over there at the time were programmed with that machine...

Much like the work of Yello, Peter Gabriel, Herbie Hancock, and others. These Fairlight produced songs have such a specific 'space' to their sound.  A nice balance of bright and forward but with a very specific soft and mushy to them.  I'm curious about their analog side voice design.  I think the style of writing on these systems was determined greatly by the limited voice count and digital architecture ( 8 bit and 8 voice ) as well as the unique and quite possibly the original implementation of graphical sequencing and musical editing.

Most images people conjure at the thought of a Fairlight CMI are of the 3D monochrome green screen waveform views.  Sorry for the low res scan ( it is from the original brochure!! )

The CMI started it's life as a Polyphonic Digital Synthesis device but that was too DSP intensive at the time.  Once they introduced previously recorded waveforms to the memory THE SAMPLER WAS BORN! Believe it or not, this is the first computer based music workstation as well.  MANY years before even the Korg M1 that made keyboard workstations famous.  the CMI truly embodies the 'design of the future' esthetic.  Light pen and all...

LOVE IT!

PS: I haven't tried the Fairlight Pro iphone ipa but it's probably fun!  Some day i will rescue an old CMI and make some music with it!

IF...

::: It'sGOINGtobeaROLANDtypeofWEEKEND :::

XBS of the day... This one features the wonderful sound of ROLAND.  lots of Juno 60 tracks arpeggiated together over a Simmons type of rhythm track and a korg MS-10 bass...

This was before the data sliders were fixed!

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/29574028"]

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Happy Weekend!

I.F.

::: Oberheim DX Stretch Demo :::

So, the Oberheim DX Stretch is working and i figured i'd do an update to the repair post from earlier.  The Clap button is still non functional but the part is in the mail and will be fixed soon. i figured i could put the machine through some testing to see if the upgrades and other bits are working ok. This file is based on one longer pattern.  The DX was synced to a Simmons SDS-V to add some fun layering and make sure the Memory, Sync I/O, and CPU  are working solidly.  The SDS-V is triggered by a sequence programmed into an internally mounted MFB SEQ-01 ( that's another post all together ). Also, i added one crash cymbal ( there is NONE natively in the DX )

This is not my SDS-V but has a similar mod for example:

http://youtu.be/236L7YftYp0

They were both clocked to a Roland SBX80. RADD!

Chekkit:

Full Track:

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/29240402"]

 

Simmons mix only ( for reference )

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/29239767"]

I.F...

::: Were #! :::

Well, i just can't stop listening to this track!  And i thought Giorgio's version of Metropolis was strange... But the seasoned blend of Disco Angularity and Cocaine Abuse embedded within this song is truly SPECIAL!

It was hard not to choose beat the clock as it's the obvious 'single' from this record.  I just prefer the John Carpenter-ness of the openning track, it also reminds me more of the Giorgio soundtrack work too ( i just wish the Freddy Mercury song from metropolis was more like this! ). And the Simmons motif is pretty sweet as well...

http://youtu.be/UjKTxrtitgc

This makes me all gooey inside:

These guys aren't making the cut!:
Will he WIN the GAME?????