Sunday, December 9, 2012

End of year listening

Another amazing year of listening and re-listening to reissues.

Keith Fullerton Whitman and VICMOD ENS - Live improv set
Laurie Spiegel - The Expanding Universe 2CD expanded version (Unseen Worlds)
The Putney - The Putney (Fax)
Namlook I - III (Fax)
Yeast Culture - IYS reissue (Art of Life)
Eleh - Retreat, Return, Repose 3 CD reissue (Important)
Hecker - Triadex Muse Treks
Suzanne Ciani- Voices Of Packaged Souls - (Dead- Cert)
Roland Kayn - Marko I-III (Colosseum)
Public Image Ltd - Metal Box (Virgin)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

New release on VICMOD Records

Warren Burt - Six Preludes and Six Postludes to a Meeting with the Giant Murray Cod

Notes for “Six Preludes and Six Postludes to A Meeting With the Giant Murray Cod” by Warren Burt
This series of pieces was requested by Ross Healy for release on his VicMod label late in 2011. Since VicMod is a group that builds their own analogue synthesizers, I thought it would be only appropriate if I similarly restricted myself to one particular set of resources, as happens when one works with an analogue synthesizer, and try to get the most I could out of it. For the project I chose Martin Fay’s Vaz Modular softsynth, which I was very familiar with, and which Martin has recently expanded to include a number of new modules, some of which are modelled on older Serge and Buchla analogue modules. I decided I would only work with Vaz, if possible, returning to my many years of working with analogue synthesizers, both composing with them, and building them.
Starting in 1968, when I began working with the Moog, I subsequently went on to work with Buchla, EMS, and Serge analogue synthesizers, among others, as well as building my own machines. Some of these can be seen on my website. I hadn’t worked exclusively in the analogue realm (or only in the virtual analogue realm) in many years. Since Vaz allows unlimited microtonal possibilities, I thought I should also return to an interest of mine, which I’d been ignoring of late, microtonality. In 2007, I’d completed a PhD on the subject, and had developed a catalogue of about 167 new microtonal scales based on the work of the microtonal theorist Ervin Wilson. PhD burnout must have set in, because I had hardly used any of those scales since. Obviously, after 5 years, it was time to start working seriously with them. Additionally, working with bare analogue timbres once more gave me the challenge of developing pleasing timbres, and a sensible progression of timbres with which to play these scales.
After all these years, the question still was: What is the compositional potential of these modules, and how can they be combined together to make interesting structure, interesting patterns. So my quest in these pieces was threefold: 1) to develop interesting musical structures using the resources supplied by Vaz Modular (all of them automated and algorithmic, none of them using a keyboard in any way); 2) using some of the microtonal scales from my “Triangle Scales Microtonal Catalogue” of 2007; 3) with electronic timbres that had some amount of life and interest to them.
The first six pieces (the Preludes) use the Vaz sequencer, which is modelled on old analogue Moog or Buchla style sequencers, but with a lot more possibilities for layering and structuring. It was my self-set challenge to see how far I could push those sequencers, especially using them for playing different sub-sets of the six just-intonation scales which were used for these pieces, one scale per Prelude. Dividing the just-intonation scales up into subsets and alternating between them gives a sense of harmonic progression to the pieces.
The last six pieces (the Postludes) use some of the many chaotic and quasi-random information generating modules in Vaz to provide structure and melodies, putting them through the Quantizer module which renders them into a selected microtonal scale. In this case, the 6 quasi-Pythagorean scales are also derived from Wilson’s work. That may sound complicated, but what it basically means is that these scales are the prototypes, or templates upon which all of the other just intonation scales in my catalogue are based.
The use of these scales produced a much more harmonious sounding music than I’ve been composing lately, where I’ve been working with noisebands, or found object timbres based on extreme electronic modifications of real-world sounds, or graphics to sound conversions of complex images. It was fun thinking harmonically again, and discovering just how consonant many of the scales in my catalogue were.
Sitting between these two sets of six pieces, like a large fish, is A Meeting with the Giant Murray Cod.
Shortly after I finished the first set of six pieces, we visited the Giant Murray Cod in Swan Hill, Victoria. And after we visited the Cod, I realised that I could make a second set of six pieces, so these pieces really ARE preludes and postludes to the meeting itself.
The score to A Meeting with the Giant Murray Cod is indeed a photo of me meeting the Murray Cod turned into sound with Nicolas Fournel’s AudioPaint. The photo was just processed a bit (mostly colour scaling), and then used straight. The scale for the timbre of the piece is another Erv Wilson just intonation scale, but it’s played using a sample of a harp arpeggio in 11 tone equal temperament. The intersection of these 2 scales gives the piece its piquancy. Plus, the vocal phrase in the exact centre of the piece is in 12-tone equal temperament, the only time in the entire CD that that tuning is used.
All the pieces consist of algorithmic automated processes. I composed by a patient process of setting up self-performing patches and testing how they behaved in combination with other patches. The only other program used was John Dunn's SoftStep, which was used to make a simple chord selection switch for the Preludes, and a single on-off switch for all the voices in the Postludes. The composing mostly happened on V/Line, Victorian Regional Trains (how appropriate for preludes and postludes to a visit to Swan Hill) using an ASUS Netbook and a pair of Sony noise-cancelling headphones. My work and teaching schedule was so crowded during the first half of 2012 that the only time I could actually compose, undisturbed, in private, was during morning and evening commutes on Victorian regional trains. Post production of the pieces only involved editing the beginning and ending of the pieces in Cool Edit, and deciding which take of a piece to use. For the most part, the pieces are heard in the same form that they were generated by the computer, straight off the machine.
For my hearing, the final result is more melodious and harmonious than much of my usual recent work, and I hope this produces an interesting experience for the listener, especially the VicMod listener; exploring what kinds of structures and harmonies are inherent in these materials and this analogue - or virtual analogue – technology, and finding what kind of music I could extract from these processes. Also, another factor which is interesting for me, but which may not be hearable by the listener, is the exploring of what kinds of music result from working in the very contained, private, yet totally public world of a crowded commuter train. In my listening, I can hear this most clearly in the very first Prelude, which to me has the feel of a very rushed commuter. It was only later in the process that I managed to slow myself down, and begin to compose in a more relaxed manner, sinking into a greater sense of harmony with the railway environment.
2 June 2012 Daylesford, Vic. Warren Burt

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Keith Fullerton Whitman & VICMOD ENSemble

Keith Fullerton Whitman joined us at VICMOD. We jamed for a few hours.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The future is looking bright

The next 4 releases for VICMOD are locked in


7 October talk about Modular synths and VICMOD

SUNDAY 7th OCTOBER---->>>Open LABs (nee Patching Circle) will explore the wonderful world of creative electronics and programming. It is a space where artists, musicians, engineers, performers, and designers, hermits, freaks and geeks can come together and share their work and creative passions.

Each Open LAB will begin with talks from fellow guests that seek to share their work with the group, and then end in an all out free-form open discussion and hands on tinkering space where guests can present a finished, or unfinished, work, seek collaborations, s
eek peer review, or make a call out to the community to help troubleshoot a problem they are having.

So bring whatever current project you may be working on, or simply show up and share/teach/learn a new world of electronic art!

Featuring talks from:
Ross Healy- Modular Synth extraordinaire and one of the founding members of VICMOD Records and the Vicmod community ( See him here-
Chris Vik and Brad Hammond- What do you get when you use the interactive controls of the XBOX Kinect with audio and 3d graphical manipulation? You get the crazy brainchild of Chris Vik and Brad Hammonds Ethno Tekh ( watch this for more info-
Free Event
Date and time: Sunday 7th of October, 2-5pm
Venue: Rear entrance via carpark Media Lab Melbourne 136a Cromwell Street Collingwood- [see here:]

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Richard Lainhart - The Course Of The River

        We are very pleased to release these early electronic works from Richard Lainhart.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

July 2012 Top 10

July 2012 Top 10

Oskar T Oram - Abbey of Thelema Field Recordings (Vicmod)
Keith Fullerton Whitman- 6 hour soundcloud 
Keith Fullerton Whitman - Occlusions ( eMego)
Eric Lanham - The Sincere Interruption ( Spectrum Spools)
Robin Fox - Music For The Bionic Ear
Merzbow - Merzphysics - 10 CD box (1 Youth Inc.)
Richard Lainhart - The Course Of The River (vicmod)
Lev Kowalczwk - Tape II
Meat Beat Manifesto - Test ep (Flexidisc)
Pauline Oliverous - Reverberations: Tape & Electronic Music - 1961-1970 10CD box (Important)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Worsel Strauss Unattention Economy VMDL16

Worsel Strauss
Unattention Economy

New VICMOD release Worsel Strauss - Unattention Economy.

A mixture of Future Industrial and Avant Electronics.

Album available here.

The idea of doing Unattention Economy as a whole album of selfgenerating music with physical music machines first came to me when I did a live performance of Douglas Leedy’s classic piece ‘Entropical Paradise (with bird call)’ from the 1968 triple album by the same name”, Strauss says. Leedy’s album featured modular analog synthesizer patches that, once set, played without further intervention by the performer. Most tracks on this classic electronic album had a length of 20 minutes, which represented one side of an LP.

While wanting to follow Leedy’s tradition, given today’s short attention span Strauss was not interested in creating long evolving soundscapes. “I was more interested in seeing whether the machines were able to do something that resembled a song in conventional structures”, Strauss is quickly to remark, “There is enough synth noise already out there”. In the classical German ‘Jam and Edit’ fashion from the Krautrock days, Strauss would set up various musical devices and do straight forward live recordings without human intervention, staying away from sequencers, later on deciding whether or not a specific take was worth it. “The effort of doing these live recordings was ridiculously high”, he laughs, ”and once the results where there they certainly could have been achieved by easier means, but I wanted to capture the moment of something that is not reproducible, in a live setting and without any overdubs. All I would do in the editing stages was to take away things”, a process he calls subtractive mixing.

Unattention Economy definitely follows the west coast esthetics and while entirely electronically generated has a very organic feel to it. This may have to do with the fact that the center piece of all the recordings was a Buchla synthesizer. Of course it seems a bit of a risk to present this type of music in the format of an album. A lot of the fascination of selfgenerating music comes from watching machines do their own sometimes unpredictable thing which seems best demonstrated in a live setting. Strauss has no illusions about this.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

VICMOD ENSemble release

After a great performance in Bendigo last Saturday @ the SONIC DECADENCE
the first VICMOD ENSemble release is out on VICMOD Records.

2009 – 2012

Recorded @ locations around Melbourne, Australia.
Compiled and mix by Ross Healy.

1. Schematics On Trees 1
2. Schematics On Trees 2

VICMOD Ensemble have been
Ross Healy, Graeme Trott, Simon Birds,
Gerrard Jenner, Stephen Richards, Owen Harris,
Blake Stickland, Scott Baker and Brett Maddaford.

Machines used:
Buchla 200e, Serge Modular, Euro Modular, Frac Modular, DIY modular and various fx.
get it here

Friday, March 23, 2012

A brilliant release on VICMOD Records from Henrik N Björkk 

Music for N,N-Dimetyltryptamin

Henrik Nordvargr Björkk has since 1988 systematically explored the broad field of the post-industrial music scene, covering noise, power electronics, dark ambient, drone, metal, EBM, experimental electronics and avantgarde.
In parallel to his band activities, he has pursued a solo career with a vast amount of record releases. He is widely considered one of the most influential and productive post-industrial artists ever.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Interview with Keith Fullerton Whitman

Twitter interview with Keith Fullerton Whitman

Q. Do you keep the same patch for a year ie when performing Generators? 
 KFW: Generators - same concept, different actual patch every night. the only constant was a quantized "note" voltage being fed into an ASR

Q: What does your current touring system comprise of?
KFW: current setup is 360hp of Euro ; 7 sub-patches. A 50s / 60s style "space station" patch, a 70s / 80s style "synth voice", a master clock , (zorlon cannon), a digital recorder/manipulation engine (phono gene / tyme sefari), effects-send/return, input/output, and assorted logic

Q: LAMPO set seemed to have pre recordings? What were they?
KFW: LAMPO set was playback of the GRM piece, then a 30 minute synth improv. 

Q: What fx are being used live, I can hear timestretching / granular sounds?
KFW: fx for the LAMPO set were a TC "hall of fame" reverb (replacing a busted vermona retroverb) - yes, granular from both phonogene & TS

(click image for LAMPO performance)

 Q: How many hours per day are spent listening to music?
KFW: Avg. 8 hours a day listening to records.

Q: How often do you record? 
KFW: recording hours - Sunday / Monday morning / afternoon

Q: Are we not men?
KFW: no, we ARE devo

Friday, March 16, 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

Melbourne Synth Meet #1

Beware the ides of March

March of the records. Listening 

Nonprivate (cylob) - catastrophic (alku)
VCMG- Sssss (mute)
Henrik N Björkk - Music for N,N-Dimetyltryptamin (vicmod)
Cray - Digest One (vicmod) 
Unattention Economy- Unattention Economy (vicmod)
Andy Ortmann - Provocative Electronics (pan)
Benge - Abstraxa 
Keith Fullerton Whitman - Generators(emego)
Suzanne Ciani - Lixiviation(finders keepers)
Acid nO!se Synthesis - Russell Haswell (emego)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Feb highly recommended listening this month.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Buchla Music Instruments the Aussie connection

I know we all knew the news but I got a surprise phone call today from Lewis Chiodo that blew my socks off.

Lewis, John Fuller, Danny Olesh are the new owners of Buchhla Electronic Instruments. These guys are Aussies and believe me they understand the needs of customers outside the US , so you can look at local support in Europe, Australia etc in the future!

Michael Marans is the CEO in the US

I have known Lewis for 12 years and believe me this guys LOVES synths/ playing synths since he was age 5.

These guys love Buchla as much as all of us and Lewis also has a great music business background.

Their intention with Buchla Electronic Instruments is to keep the brand as cool as it has been in the past allowing Don to do what he excels at ( creating/ designing).

I have no doubt this will be a brilliant future for our beloved Buchla and Don/ Ezra etc.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cray - Music for LSD

RM07 Cray - Music for Lysergic Acid Diethylamide C60
An hour of mind-melting modular synthesis from Kyneton electronics boffin, Ross Healy.

Recorded in real time using an Akai GXC-730D and a Nakamichi LX3 onto Chrome Type II cassette.

Edition of 50
listen to it here

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Alex Pearson - TWO

The first release for the year is from Canadian, Alex Pearson.

Alex Pearson, a sonorous loner living in the East Coast of Canada who has
been resonating sunken tones and decumbent pitches since 2002. Known for his plunging low-
end destructive sound, mainly created on analogue modular synthesizers, D/A A/D subjacently
weaves high notes and subtle details through his trailing pieces - descending his listeners with a satisfied feeling of ruination.

Along side D/A A/D, Alex creates sound in various projects under numerous synonyms
and runs his label Snapped in Half, specializing in odd sounds for odd people.

Two is a slimy, grimy analog treat! Click on image for link.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

RIP Richard Lainhart

We were very happy to be able to release works by Richard. 
Although we never met in person he came across as such a gentleman. 
You will be missed by us, the synth community and all lovers of your music.
Rest in peace Richard.