Monday, 30 December 2013

Box Of Music

Look I made a complete track just using the Buchla 100 Music Box. Everything is playing at once in real time. What a cool machine it is

This mega-patch uses the 191 filter module which I fed back on itself using the 106 mixer to make it more resonant. It also uses the separate gate outputs of the 123 sequencer to trigger the various drum sounds

Word of the Week #55


Hannah Peel's latest song, the wonderful Silk Road, recorded here at Memetune where she rents part of the studio. The video is by Karbon (John Foxx'x son). Silky!

Friday, 27 December 2013

Imaginary TV

This is an imaginary title sequence from an imaginary 1970s TV play that I made just now, to accompany my latest release Forms 3

I shot the footage in Iceland in the summer, and processed it to make it look even more spacey, and it reminded me of EXACTLY the type of program I was thinking of when I made the album

I've put a link to it on the album download page here

Friday, 20 December 2013

Sequence On

So after much fiddling about and reading of dusty schematics me and Big Al (mostly Big Al) got the EMS TKS up and running. It had a dead LM7400N chip inside it (a quadruple positive NAND gate if you must know) but luckily this is something Al could replace quite easily. There are some impossibly hard to find components in the TKS circuit (BBD shift registers that haven't been around since the mid 1970s) that are very fragile and prone to being destroyed by static or just looking at them funnily, but somehow they had survived all these years. There is still some work to be done on this little beauty, such as the tuning spread ratios need tweaking, but as you can see from the video it really opens up the functionality of the VCS3, making it one of the nicest self-contained systems around

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Forms Series Three

Here is a new album in the Forms series - just in time for christmas! Every sound on this record was made on the EMS Polysynthi. Hope you like it

Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Wild Buchla

Here is a video of the Buchla 100 being tortured. If you send the outputs of the filter back into itself via a mixer it creates some interesting feedback options. This patch also uses a CV analog delay (from the Roland 100M) to augment the the feedback into the filter, and the result is quite agonising to the ear

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Cupboard Love

Something amazing just happened that normally only happens in daydreams you know where you walk past a charity shop and imagine seeing a Moog modular in the window for £20

Well I got an email from a friend (thanks Phil J!!!) who has a friend who works at a London university in the music department one day a week. This chap was clearing out a cupboard and found a load of old gear that hadn't been used for years and wanted it to go to a good home, rather than it just being neglected or even worse chucked out. So I got passed this email saying there was a load of EMS gear from the 1970s and did I know of anyone who might want it!?!? So rather excitedly I replied that yes I am someone who is an avid fan of EMS equipment and that I own the rest of the matching series!! I had to pay a nominal fee to keep the bursar happy, but the amazing thing is I have now got the full set of EMS modules and keyboards and they are an exact match of my EMS VCS3 and DK1 (one of the first synths I bought 20+ years ago)

Here is a picture, my existing Putney and Cricklewood, and the new TKS touch keyboard and sequencer, 8 octave filter bank, pitch to voltage converter and random voltage generator. This is a very powerful system! Lucky me!!!!

I am working on getting them all up and running - the rack modules need the Bulgin power connectors and the TKS needs a power supply (my VCS3 Mk1 won't power it) but luckily Robin from EMS is helping out with supplying the manuals and info I need to get it all working nicely together. Watch this space!

Urth Mutha

I did the sound design and music to this short film with Sefa, do you remember this post? it was all done on the Moog. Yesterday it was on Channel Four as part of the Random Acts series. Hello Sam Steer!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Pet Sounds

A studio dog is sometimes a very good thing to have around. I often have Biba down in the basement with me, helping with a patch or perhaps a mix. Dogs can hear things we can't hear you know. Anyway, it was nice to hear from Joe McGinty who I met in Brooklyn a while ago (see this post) who also has a studio dog. Here is Mitzi with a Casio, and below is Biba trying to copy:

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Omega, Man

If anyone knows what the music is staring at 1.43 I would be most grateful. Thats all for now

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Off The Wall

Theres a great set of pictures taken at the Moog factory in 1977 over on I noticed a couple of pics taken of some sketches pinned to the wall, and it reminded me of this previous post I did about Minimoog concept art. So I tried to clean up the pics a bit:

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The Americans

I had a bit of a change around in the studio today and suddenly there were all these Americans in the corner

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Wrangler Mixing

(photo - Phil Jones)

We've been very busy in the studio mixing our debut EP (with Mal).YEAH!

Word of the Week #54

Arp Arp

Here is Biba, helping me out with a patch on the ARP 2500. The VCOs, envelopes and filters sound so clear and crisp on this thing. This simple sequence is going through my new toy (bought on Vemia), an Ibanez stereo analog delay unit DD1000

biba arp photo biba-arp-ani.gif

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Horny Two

Here is another self-playing horn patch thing on the Buchla 100. This ones got a bit more space in it... Its a tweak of the same patch as this one

Friday, 29 November 2013

One Man Band

My Fairlight is currently being fixed... I will report back to you on this as and when, so in the mean time here is the original CMI IIx Demo Cassette (side a):

I found the mp3 here

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Friday, 22 November 2013

Invisible Moments

Look at this amazing video made for us by Macoto Tezka. ILOVEIT!!

UPDATE: Here is his second video for us, Talk:

Here is the story:
November 7, 2013 Macoto Tezka. One day, I came across a very old, classic western-style building in a corner of Ginza-town in central Tokyo. A building stood at the location well over 80 years. It's one of a Tokyo's relics of the past that survived war-fire and many earthquakes. In the building, there are a couple of stairs around an old mechanical elevator. It used be an apartment but no one lives there anymore. Now galleries and antique stores occupy the building. Walking through a narrow passage, I thought about the past and imagined how people lived here. Imagery of old silent films flashed into my imagination. A few months later, I visited there again with my actor friends and a cinematographer. Because I couldn't think of a better location for John Foxx And The Maths videos. John's music has a feeling of "déjà vu". It's always fresh but somehow nostalgic. Silhouette of a figure that walks through an old avenue; vague, indistinctive face . . That is the image created by his music. But some images of my own memories also came up. Our cinematographer shot this film with a Canon camera. Before editing, it had sharply-defined shapes and vivid color, so I removed it all. Next, I adjusted the speed to express an eternal moment. Then I synchronized the music to the image and I found something was still missing. By watching the film for many weeks I kept asking myself, 'whats' missing'? Then an idea came up to my mind to bring the film to perfection. The gaps of 'scattered memories and missing time' need to be added. So I decided to attach these 'invisible moments' to fill the gap. The film was finished by these invisible moments

Thursday, 21 November 2013


Buchla 100 patch, utilising proto-horn type sounds, about 4 layers of them. HORNY!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Simple Instrumental

Finally our (JF&TM) Simple Minds remix is out and I am posting about it - check out the full version here. And also there is a thing about it on the Quietus here. It was great fun doing this remix - we started from scratch on the modular synths (Roland 100M and Serge Modular - see this post I did a while ago about creating the percussion sounds on the Serge) and Foxxy added some vocals too. However, below is a video I just made for the instrumental version of the track - EXCLUSIVE!! I filmed the song being played through an old oscilloscope (green lights) and a modular synth (red lights) by pointing the camera through a cut-glass diamond shaped thing and a glass vase!

Lowland Three

And then yesterday the Lowland Hundred (hi Paul and Tim) came round to listen to their 3rd album on my big speakers. They brought Jony Mugwump along too as he is releasing it on his label Exotic Pylon. I really like their mixture of abstract noises and melodic vocals, a very unique combination indeed

Sweet Lord

I'm doing a bit of mastering at the mo, for example I'm working on Simon Lord's new album, which is a pleasure. He came round to have a look round the studio because as it turns out he's a bit of a synth-head - in fact his dad designed the mythical english analog synth the Skywave. He bought in cool vintage flyer he found in the loft:

Here is a video of him demoing it from a while ago:

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Being John Carpenter

Sometimes I get the urge to pretend I am in the studio in 1980 making a horror movie soundtrack. Luckily I have a studio full of old equipment so this is not a problem. Here I am on the Moog Modular, Linn LM1, Oberheim 4-Voice (via Moog Phaser), all going through the MCI 416b console, with a bit of EMT plate reverb for good measure

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Dukes of Analog

I've been mixing the Duke St Workshop's new single - giving it the fully analog treatment on the MCI

Word of the Week #53

Friday, 8 November 2013

Friday, 1 November 2013

Prog Volume

Phil came round the other day and noticed the 'Prog Volume' knob on the Prophet T8 polysynth. Heres what happens when you turn it up to max:

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Bend Your Ear Radio Show No 8

I've put up a new mix of lovely vintage electro-pop! Its all really obscure stuff from the 80s, mostly ripped from 7 inch records by vanilla face over on his blog, but not all of it! Hope you have fun dancing round your bedroom to this lot

Bend Your Ear Radio Programme, Programme Eight: Pop Plastique by Zagoba on Mixcloud

Sunday, 27 October 2013

University Challenge

Last week I went to Norfolk for the day and I popped in to the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts to have a look round. Its a very impressive art/artefact collection which used to be in Mr Sainsbury's bedroom (according to one of the museum's staff I spoke to). He liked Frances Bacon a lot. The building is an early Norman Foster, and it is in the grounds of the University of East Anglia. It really is an amazing campus and well worth a visit if you want to see a fantastic 1960s example of British futuristic utopia. The halls of residence are the crowning glory - crazy ziggurats designed by Denys Lasdun who also designed the National Theatre in London. What a beautiful place to spend as a student, sleeping all day long (thanks to Lyn for that joke)

I vaguely recalled that the UEA had a very important electronic music studio in the 1970s and wondered if it was still going. To my great horror I discovered that it has just closed down and the current students are the last ones to attend! It was set up in the early 1970s by Tristram Carey who purchased one of the first EMS Synthi 100s for the students to use. That machine eventually ended up in the collection of Mute records founder Daniel Miller, here he is being interviewed about it by Tara Busch:

On doing some google research on the history of the UEA studio I came across this very interesting thesis by Nicola Candlish on UK electronic music studios and the pioneering people behind them:

Nicola Candlish PhD 2012.pdf by Zack Dagoba

Tuesday, 22 October 2013


Hannah had a video shoot in the studio last week and Hiro took some pics whilst setting up. Nice aren't they?

Pictures: Hiro Hirata @

Monday, 21 October 2013

Candelight Serenade

Patching on a little rig because I can't sleep - a Roland 100m and Doepfer piece by candlelight. Its 4 in the morning! This is polyphonic modular synthesis - 6 vcos, 6 envelopes, and some of the notes are being switched with the ALM Beasts Chalkboard to give the pattern some variation

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Bombay Moog Club



Decaying Modular Moogs, Le Corbusier houses and Experimental Music - I found this story over on the Moog Music Forum and no wonder it caught my eye. However, I am feeling poorly today and slightly disorientated with a fever, and therefore I am struggling to get it straight in my head. But it goes something like this: Rich family live in a Le Corbusier house in India sponsor very cool arts projects in the 1960s, one of them befriends John Cage and David Tudor in New York, invites them back to their Art Institute, David Tudor brings over a brand new Moog Modular 3P, David Tudor doesn't like Moogs, Art Institute gets flooded, David Tudor is more into eating than music, Moog Modular gets left in a wet basement

Here are some pictures of the amazing house and interiors designed by LeC-B

Saturday, 19 October 2013


Tara and Maff this looks / sounds amazing - wish I could be there to see the premiere! Damn!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Polysynthi Viddi

Here I bring you a couple of videos featuring the EMS Polysynthi. Its one of the rarest synths and some people bash it as being awful, but I really love it and all its quirks. Here are some of the reasons its mental: 1] all the knobs are backwards; 2] to implement the aftertouch you press the whole keyboard down about an inch; 3] its got a built in digital delay; 4] look at it?

Its quirks make it a very unique thing and thats why I think it is so cool. In the first video I am using the aftertouch to control the filter frequency. Its very responsive and touchy-feely! In the second vid I am using the VCS3 alongside it - going into the Polysynthi input and using its filter and envelopes and also the delay. I am going to do more of these so viddi well little brother, viddi well!

So 70s

Do you like my new sofa? Its very me

I got it from a midcentury sale that was on at the weekend in the amazing Goldfinger-designed Haggerston School

See more about our day out on Lyns blog: zeitgeist

Ebay Of The Day

Check this out, Martin Hannett's actual very own International 4600 Synthesiser. It sold pretty quickly...

"Martin Hannett's ( Joy Division producer and many Manchester and Factory bands producer, he played synths on many Factory records) actual International 4600 analog patchable synth . Not much needed to restore as cosmetically it is all there and the keyboard was triggering synth sounds recently, but sold as complete restoration project. comes with Martin Hannett's build and instruction manual from 1977/78/79/80 and copy of his patch notes. A much tattier one of these recently sold non working for around £1000 without it having any Martin Hannett its a snip at £1400 with all the Hannett related historyThis one has metal protective edging. If you are in the UK would still ship in foam and a crate or you can collect. Will ship anywhere in the word but would crate it up to ship"
Via Matrixsynth

UPDATE: And now they have listed Hannett's Transcendant synth and Revox tape machine! at £6K its not cheap though

"Working Transcendent analog synth 1978/79(with documentation) used and owned by Martin Hannett ( he owned two of these) Transcendents were actually used on Joy Division, Durutti Column and lots of Factory and Manchester band recordings and Hannett often had one in the control room as well as the band having one in the studio area. This includes his instruction manual and handwritten mods he did to the synth. We know the Transcendent was used as a straight synth sound and also used to feed triggers from sound sources into it on many Hannett recordings. There are several photos of Hannett using Transcendents around 78/79. Also included is one of four of Hannett's Revox mastering machines that he would take one to studios to make copies of his mixes each day and he had them at home too to listen to his studio work on his home hi fi system. This Hannett RevoxB77 powers up but needs attention. these are important Hannett and Joy Division related artefacts and will climb in value as fascination with Martin Hannett continues to grow"