Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Top 12 of 2010

Top 12 releases of 2010

Autechre - Oversteps (Warp)

Mark Fell - Ul8 (Mego)

Marcus Schmickler - Palace of Marvels - Queered Pitch (Mego)

Night Slugs - Night Slugs All stars Vol 1 (Night Slugs)

Mount Kimbie - Crooks and Lovers (Hotflush Recordings)

Hecker – 3 Track (Mego)

Robin Fox – Handful of Automation (Mego)

Sam Prekop – Old Punch Card (Thrill Jockey)

Charanjit Singh – 10 Ragas to a disco beat(Bombay Connection)

Atom TM – Mole C (Rather Interesting)

Ben Vida - Patchwork (Autumn Records)

Merzbow _ Merzbient 12 CD box ( Solimoon)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


VICMOD RECORDS have free tracks of future releases and a live recording here for your listening pleasure.

If you love avant electronics old and new you will love our label.

Keep an eye out for future releases by:

and many more

Friday, June 25, 2010

Bubblesound cvWS

Steven Hayes of VICMOD did a great demo if the Bubblesound cvWS ( control voltage Wave Shaper)


Wednesday, April 21, 2010


2 new releases. Steve Law and Rod Cooper.

Steve Law's CD is great spikey release of transient synthesis created on ARP 2600 and other tasty vintage gear.

Rod Cooper has created an album of electronic equipment around the world.

Do check them out. (click on image to take you to the VICMOD Records site)

Many more amazing releases to come by the likes of Warren Burt, Greg Long, Cray, Jeffrey Ulhmann, Ryou Oonishi , Roland Oberheim and many more

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday 30 March VICMOD Records label launch

Melbourne's VICMOD RECORDS will be showcasing some of its releases with a record launch this Tuesday night 30 March @ Make It Up Club, Fitzroy.
The first 6 releases will be for sale. VICMOD RECORDS release "Avant Electronics".

On the night you will see/ hear

VICMOD ENS ( The worlds only modular synthesiser improv group)
Steve Law will perform live electro-acoustics
Rod Cooper will perform music for electric appliances
Cray will create a live mix of all the 20 releases the label will release.

CDs will be available for sale as well as samplers especially created for the night. So come along and support a great new label.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


The first 3 releases are now for sale.
Purchase limited edition professionally printed CDR or download. Physical purchase includes bonus sampler mixed by Cray that includes recordings from current and future releases.

File under Avant Electronics

Richard Lainhart - The Wave Sounding Sea.
An amazing early Moog modular recording from the seventies.
First time release. We will release another Lainhart album later in the year!

Cray - Water Computing.
Cray's second computer music album. Extreme sculptured computer music? Keep an eye out for the Cray - Digest series comprising of 7 years of modular synthesis exploration recordings. 40 - 50 CDs release over the coming years.

Don Hassler - No Subsequent Interference. (USA)
Self playing EMS Synthi AKS madness.

VICMOD RECORD label launch, 30 March, Make it Up club. will include future releases buy Rod Cooper, Steve Law , VICMOD ENS who will all be performing on the launch night. There will also be giveaways.

Future releases by
Rod Cooper - Music for electronic appliances
Steve Law - electro acoustic works
VICMOD ENS - Studio recordings from the worlds only modular synthesiser improv group.
Roland Oberheim - Deconstructed drum machine with Zen
Ryou Oonishi - abstract Japanese recordings.
Cray - Digest series
Don Hassler -
No Subsequent Interference 2
and much much more.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Modular Planner

Such a great idea and it is now adding video!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tiptop Audio Z8000 Review

Tiptop Audio Z8000 Review
by Steven Hayes


Tiptop Audio's Z8000 is a CV sequencer/programmer module. It differs from most analog sequencers in that provides ten individual sequencer tracks, eight of which are 4-step, and two that are 16-step. Programming the sequencer tracks is done via a 4x4 matrix of potentiometres, each with an associated LED.

The clever thing about the Z8000 is that the sequencers share the CV values specified by the pot matrix. More specifically, four of the 4-step sequencers produce CV sequences specified by columns of pots, the other four 4-step sequencers determine their CV values from rows of pots. The two 16-step sequencers take their programmed values from left-to-right, top-to-bottom order, and top-to-bottom, left-to-right order, respectively. A natural consequence of the programming pot sharing is that moving a single pot may affect the programming of up to ten sequencers.

Each sequence can respond to a individual clock, direction and reset inputs. Additionally, the clock inputs on the 4-step sequencers are "normalized" by row and column. For example, if you plug a clock source into the top-most row of the 4-step sequencers, the other three 4-step sequencers below it will also receive the same clock - sneaky! Ditto for the column sequences.


The build quality of the Z8000 is up there with the best. Two PCB's sandwiched in plane with the front panel means shallow chassis are fine with this module. I've been running the module on ±15V rails without issue.

The front panel design (28HP) is clearly set out. Although it is quite a dense layout, getting access to the sixteen programming pots isn't too awkward, even when there is a plug in every jack. The sixteen LED's associated with each programming pot are tri-colour, the intent being to give you some idea of which sequence is doing what according to LED colour.

Ins & Outs:

Each of the ten sequencers have separate clock, direction and reset input jacks. Naturally there are ten CV output jacks. Note that the Z8000 does not provide any kind of gate output.

In Use:

By itself, the Z8000 can do very little. It requires an external clock source for starters. A clock divider would be very handy. Maybe a quantizer too...

If you want to accurately program notes on the CV outputs, I'd recommend using a manually gated source (instead of a clock) so you can step through each segement of a sequence at leisure, fine-tuning the CV outputs as you go. The CV output range is 10V peak, so accurately tuning each CV amount requires a very light touch on the pots.

Of course, it's far more fun to just plug a few clock sources into the Z8000, modulate a few things with the CV outputs and explore what results from mindless knob-tweaking. Having no plan means having no expectation, which invariably will lead to a wonderful surprise ;)


The Z8000 sequencer/programmer is fine addition to any Eurorack Modular. It is well focused on sequencing CV's, and provides simple mechanisims that can lead to the creation of complex grooves and modulations without much effort. If you are after a note-based sequencer, then there are better options out there, but if you are after a sequencer where modularity is paramount, then the Z8000 comes highly recommended.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Tip Top Audio - Stackables review

Stackables (Banana patch cords for euro format!)
By Steven Hayes

Along with my Z-DSP came 20 of the Tiptop Stackable patch leads. That is, the plugs on these leads allow you to stack plugs together, much like banana plugs do. The quality of the cables feels excellent, the plugs provide good grip, and stacking one on top of the other gives a reassuring click and feels solid. The cable itself is fairly stiff, so it wants to keep itself away from the front panel - a good thing.

Oddly enough, my biggest concern about using Stackables has to do with the quality of the jacks on the module you're plugging in to. For example, the Bubblesound uLFO has very nice quality jacks, and I wouldn't think twice about using three Stackables high with it's jacks - the connection feels so solid. At the other end of the spectrum, the Elby kits use cheaper jacks that feel relativily loose when you plug into them. Stacking three or four high into these jacks may lead to excessive force on the jacks internal connectors, bending them to a degree where they may need to be replaced. Simple answer is to continue stacking from the other end of one of the cables, that is why there are 2 stacking points per each cable. No need for mults (:

Synthwerks Touch controllers


Following on from our previous touch controller post. We now have the Synthwerks MG-1 and FSR-4.

The MG-1 is a manual gate SPDT arcade style pushbutton (fast action - built like a tank) that has one jack normalized to the +12v bus and switches it between the two other jacks (Up and Down). The switch is mechanical so is bi-directional. Any positive voltages present will light the LEDs when present. It is an 8HP module.

The FSR-4 has four separate circuits that produce a scalable CV out that changes depending on the pressure applied to the sensor pads at the bottom of the module (scalable from a very light touch to lean on it hard). The pads respond to pressure of any kind. The pressure CV is also read by a Gate output section and the gate goes high when the Pressure level crosses the front panel Threshold adjustment level. It is a 16HP module.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tiptop Audio Z-DSP

Tiptop Audio Z-DSP Review: Part I
by Steven Hayes

The Hardware:

The Z-DSP is 28HP wide, with a sandwich of PCB's stacked in plane with the front panel, so it's not very deep in the chassis. It looks fantastic. The display is bright and clear. The knobs are the same as what Elby ships (not yellow thank god). The knob spacing is about as tight as I'd like, but the knobs don't have any jacks above them, so nothing gets too obscured by your lovely spagetti.The jacks feel solid and tight as one plugs and unplugs. The build quality is better than average (average = Plan B headphone amp I once inspected).

The DSP software cards are actually PCBs with two SMDs covered in "stuff". The socket for the cards holds tightly, so you shouldn't expect anything to drop out mid-performance. It wouldn't matter - you can remove a card while the current program continues to run. Not sure it was such a good idea to colour the cards black though…

I've got the Z-DSP running on ±15V rails with no issues (I did check with Gur first ;) .

Ins & Outs:

The Z-DSP has two audio inputs (you can select between guitar and "synth" level inputs via jumpers), four outputs (two for feedback), plus the ability to insert other modules into the feedback chain via two extra inputs.

The Z-DSP has three CV inputs that are assigned to the current software program, as well as dedicated CV control for left and right channel feeback amounts. There's also CV control on wet/dry mix, program selection, program direction. Last, but not least, is the clock input, so you can control the speed that the program executes at.

In use:

I only been using the Z-DSP for a few hours, and have been concentrating on the "Dragonfly Delay". I am already amazed at some of the sounds and complex drones I've been able to get out of it with the CV control of feedback and DSP assigned controls.

It's pretty easy to let the sound run away when modulating the feedback via CV, which will result in clipping and a red LED doing a dance. Oddly enough, I actually like the way Z-DSP's clipping sounds…

There are two facets of the Z-DSP that I'm particularly enjoying at the moment:

1. CV control of feedback. This is so much fun! It is so easy to discover rythmic patterns by modulating the feedback to a delay program via CV, for example.

2. External clock input. It's impossible to describe the plethora of sounds that can be created when you plug a VCO into the Z-DSP's clock input, grab the VCO's tune knob and slowly sweep it. One second you're hearing raw FM, the next a massive bass note, the next is a high pitched squeal, and lots of amazing artifacts in between. It's completely unpredicatable in a wonderful way. The Z-DSP will function with a low frequecy input to the clock, but the lower the frequency the riskier things become, and it may crash. Having said that, I understand that there is a clock multiplier in the clock input circuit. Right this second I'm sending a 22Hz signal to the Z-DSP's clock input - and it hasn't crashed - and it's making an interesting sound - cool.

Bat Filter

I've finally been able to unplug the "Dragonfly Delay" card and put the
"Bat Filter" through it's paces. 8 different filter programs are available, and they're not simple filters. Often there are two (even three) filters implemented in a program, some organised in series, others in parallel. Many of the filters are 8-pole too.

The filters sound pretty good, but I can tell they are DSP-based. There's a hardness, or at higher frequencies, a glassiness to the sound, that says "digital" to me. I'm not complaining however - I've got plenty of warm analog filters. The Z-DSP is all about flexibility after all, and that's definitely what we've got here.

Like the "Dragonfly Delay", the "Bat Filter" really got interesting for
me when I started messing with the feedback facilities of the Z-DSP. For example, take a CV from a sequencer and feed it to both a VCO and the "feedback" parameter in one of the Z-DSP's filter programs. Feed the VCO into the inputs of the Z-DSP too. The resulting distortion can sound really musical and really add character to the sound if you don't over do it. I like it!


I'm really impressed by the Z-DSP. It's a great concept, very well implemented. While it is easy to "get lost" with the Z-DSP, espcially when your CV usage is excessive, I've found that it can be incredibily musical when you don't ask it to do too much at once. I'm particularly fond of the "Dragonfly Delay" - It's just nuts! (in the best possible way)

Thursday, January 28, 2010


VICMOD RECORDS will have a label launch 30 March at Make It Up Club, Melbourne Australia.

Some of the label artists will be performing live.

CRAY ( live mix of all the labels releases and future releases)
and more.

We will have on sale the first 6 releases by.....

RICHARD LAINDART ( early Moog recordings)
DON HASSLER ( Self playing Buchla and EMS SYnthi)
CRAY ( Digital machine soundscapes)
WHITE NOISE CAROUSEL ( Electro Acoustic chill)
ROD COOPER ( Electric appliances performance)
STEVE LAW ( Electro Acoustic recordings)

Doors open at 8.30.

watch this space.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Make Noise Pressure Points

YouTube via dkimcg
Newer info on the Make Noise Pressure Points.

Pressure Points is a controller in which 1 of 4 sets of 3 tuned voltages are selected by touching the corresponding printed copper wire at the bottom of the instrument. Touching Pressure Points, you become part of the circuit. In addition to the tuned voltages, a gate signal (Gate OUT) and a control voltage proportional to the amount of pressure applied (Press OUT), are generated when the module is touched. Up to 4 of these modules may be Chained together to create controllers of varying size and complexity. Each of the Gate and Press OUTS are normalized to their respective SUM BUS which is output at the last Gate and Press OUT in the Chain.

2 potentiometers allow the circuit to be adjusted for desired playing response. One is an internal trimmer which may be adjusted to compensate for size of your digits, and moisture of your skin. The other is adjustable from the front-side of the module, and sets overall system sensitivity.

An expansion port on the backside will allow for sequential control via the forthcoming Points Expander, bringing all of the typical functionalities of the analog sequencer to this system.

The Pressure Points operates from a single supply and may thus be powered with a wall-wart or even a 9V battery. Pressure Points will, of course, operate perfectly powered from the dual supplies found in euro rack format cases from Doepfer, MonoRocket, MW. Having the single supply operation allows for greater ease in building of custom enclosures.

The faceplate for the Pressure Points is actualy a printed circuit board. Therefore it will be black, with white and gold graphics.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Best Free IPhone app ever made. Instand Mego (Hecker etc)


This free iPhone app is a random noise generator and a puzzle all in one. If you like Heckers work or any of the Mego ( Editions Mego) artists work you will love this.

TOPLAPapp is a sonic puzzle based around a virtual machine for sound synthesis. This machine only accepts a few valid instructions, and you control it by placing each command letter within a grid, along with setting some associated parameter sliders. The machine runs through the grid, following the instructions to create the output sounds, which are usually of a somewhat noisy character, hopefully interestingly so. The historical antecedents include instruction synthesis as pionneered at the Institute of Sonology in the 1970s, and the live coding movement, of modifying a running program as it acts. This app is intended for those interested in more experimental sound art, and is in no way a traditional diatonic melody generator. Don't download this unless you are open to stranger computer music sounds.

Be careful of your ears, this app can produce wild sounds at high volume. Program this sound synthesis puzzle machine by dragging letters TOPLAp to the grid; you can also set a parameter for each position via the slider at each slot. The audio engine whizzes through the states many times per second. Press ! to clear the grid, and ? to randomise. No save or load is allowed, to promote improvisation. Live coding engineered by Click Nilson.

TOPLAP is the Transnational Organisation for the Promotion of Live Algorithm Programming, or somesuch abbreviation (TOPLAP website).

2010 the year of TOUCH

by Ross Healy
In the ever expanding world that is the euro modular format we will see a minimum of 3 companies delivering their take on the touch plates or sensor plates in 2010.

Touch keyboards are not a new deal for the analog synth market with the Buchla and Serge touch panels being in existence since the 70's, but since then there hasnt really been anything like it.

First up is the news from the largest euro manufacturer Doepfer with their take on the Touch keyboard A100 TKB. No further information at this time. We are told it will make an appearance at next weeks NAMM.

Next up is the MakeNoise Pressure Points

Then we have the newest company to the modular world Synthwerks with their FSR-4.

The computer world is also wanting us to touch more with the not too far away Apple iPhone slates that will have multi touch and I wouldn't be surprised if all the amazing iPhone apps will be ported to the iSlate? Think a cheaper and more expansive Lemur.

The one thing all of these have in common, other than the touching, is none of them are for sale as yet, but that wont be the case soon.
All in all we will spend more time triggering sounds via analog and digital instruments than we have in the past!.