Vapor Wave

My plastic kettle provided the boiling water, which was recorded using a Barcus Berry Planar Wave contact mic into a Zoom H4.

There were nice tones throughout the process of heating water but I restricted myself to the couple of seconds when the water was boiling. Missed that lovely rumble when the switch first went on.

Using Ableton Live I created four parts using two takes of a couple of seconds of boiling.

The first rotated through four loops pitched differently, which were gated using a couple of instances of Beat Repeat.

The second used Beat Repeat to create a percussive hit, hyped and massaged through various EQs and compression and then Beat Repeated again for variation every two bars.

The third was a bass loop, pitched down and reverbed before being Beat Repeated.

While the fourth was pitched up and followed a similar effects chain for the spray can-like noises.

This is my 36th Disquiet Junto I think. I've been revisiting the pieces recently with a view to compiling an album of the better tracks.

Reimagining the Murrumbidgee

Reimagining website is now up. So is the catalogue, which I desktop designed for Western Riverina Arts. Download a copy with my soundtrack via Bandcamp, see below.

This pic shows Sarah McEwan's artwork, which is really beautiful to behold.

The soundtrack for the exhibition is an ambient remixed landscape including birdsong, creaking branches and passing traffic.

"At one point you can hear a train crossing over the river near Wagga," Mr Richardson said. "I wanted to raise the idea of how far the water travels in produce exported from the Riverina.

"You can also hear the hum of Leeton's rice co-operative among the sounds of passing water. It was a challenge not to make a piece that would make people want to pass water."

Disquiet Junto video game music

My Junto piece this week took a bit of a leap from the instructions:

This morning I wasn't sure I'd get to the Junto. There's a CD I'm mastering and an article I'm trying to finish before an interview for another piece, as well as the catalogue mentioned last week. Anyway, when the opportunity presented itself to to work on a tune my instrument died. I'd planned to use my circuit bent omnichord but it seemed to short-circuit, which really sucks.

So I was kinda down and sulked for a bit before playing with the notes in Ableton Live. I picked a Phosphor preset that reminded me of what I'd heard of the X-Box. It didn't sound very 8-bit but I thought I'd use tape delay to reference the magnetic memory of the computer games of my youth.

Amon Tobin made a cool soundtrack for a video game and I was fascinated with how it manipulates the dynamics of the track to accomodate action (or the lack thereof) in a level setting. My track uses loops and automates the compression, channels, delay, EQ and tempo to create dynamics. It'd be cool if computers had delay artefacts in their noises I think.

Ended up enjoying myself and let the track run overtime. The tempo changes I imagined as processing problems in my hardware. Like how games would slow down when there was a lot of action onscreen.

Invisible drum kit

Mixes of 2013

Still got a bit over a month to decide on a list of the best mixes of 2013. There's a list for 2012 I put together last year here.

Anyway, as I've been looking through my downloads to share recommendations for a dinner party I thought I'd start a list here;

Suppose I better think about the best Solid Steel mixes because there have been many good ones, including this week. And Laurent Garnier's is good too.

It's not a mix but I really adore Jared Brickman's longplay ambient piano piece Every Day We Are Dying and Outer Space Does Not Give One Single Fuck. I was introduced to it via this Disquiet Junto.

circuit bent roland jv 1010 by spunkytoofers

circuit bent and used by seller for approximately 2 years.  item is a multitimbral synth.  due to the unit easily driven into distortion with bends the item is only recommended for single voice (polyphony is okay) instruments rather than full 16 channel mixes.  the variable results with the bends can lead to very imbalanced mixes and with only two outputs available i would only recommend this as a single timbral synth when circuit bent.  the item has occasionaly crashed on me and requires a power cycle in order to restore normal operation.  item has the spectrasonics sfx card permanently installed in the device.
the item will come with a power supply for north american countries only.
-36 point freely assignable patchbay via color wheel
-6 rotary knobs with 12 positions assigned to each
-6 color wheel knobs patches a rotary knob to one of three colors: RGB or off
-color wheels allow free matrixing of all knobs in up to 3 independant pairs of circuit bends or up to 6 stack of bends
-every point to bend has been addressed and available in the most complex interface while retaining ease of use and intuitiveness.
-binding posts suspend a contoured painted blue metallic duraplex interface for all modifications
-new memory battery installed

sound sample:

Squidfanny Trance Gate

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Circuit Bent
By Dave Bradbury - SQUIDFANNY
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Hacked, Modded & Circuit Bent AMSTRAD CKX100 Synthesizer.

This is an original 8-bit synthesizer from the late 80's. The machine has been heavily modified and upgraded with an array of new custom circuitry to expand it's features and sounds well beyond it's original specs.
It is now capable of producing a range of unique sounds and modulations, many of which are well beyond the capabilities of conventional synthesizers and often beyond description....

Please scroll down to see a demo vid, and details of the mods and features -

The Amstrad CKX100 is an original 8-Bit artifact from the late 1980's. It has a distinctive lo-fi sound and uses WAVETABLE synthesis to produce a warm, pleasing and ultra-harmonic tones from a bank of very grainy 8-Bit waveforms. It has a distinctive sound, which is quirky and unique.
The CKX100 has grainy Digital Drums with preset Rhythms & Accompaniment, Bleepy Electronic Instruments (presets only) & Lush Chord with a very cool 'Computer Aided Harmony' Feature (similar to the OMNICHORD).

It also has a MIDI output, so that you can use the 'Computer Aided Harmony' feature to play other MIDI synths, VST's, etc.

More info on the CKX100 HERE.

Click photo's for full screen and full album.
  • This machine works perfectly and can be used 'as stock' when required.
  • This machine comes with a new set of Patch-Leads, a suitable power supply (for UK plug), and printed Quick-Start guide with instructions.
Metallic Keys are nicely painted in various shades and multiple colours of Metallic Paint, and sealed with lacquer to protect the finnish.


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Click Play below for a DEMO VID showing this machine in action -

The various New Mods and features are briefly described below.

This machine comes with a printed DIY manual & Quick Start guide, with more details on the mods and features.-------------------------
Left Panel contains 'Trance-Gate' Analog Step-Sequencer -
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This machine contains an integrated Step-Sequencer, which performs three distinct functions, and can be synced to other suitable gear such as Monotribe's, Volca's or other suitable vintage or DIY gear.
  • TRANCE-GATE - A programmable GATE, with with controls for GATE LENGTH, an INVERT switch, a master ON/OFF switch & LED lights to indicate the status and GATE length.
  • PITCH-MOD - Programmable pitch modulation, with a DECAY knob, AMOUNT knob, master ON/OFF switch & LED lights to indicate the status and DECAY shape.
  • BOLT-BAY ARPEGGIATOR - Use the included Patch-leads to connect the bolts together and generate unique Arpeggiator effects made from different tones of Ring-Mods and disrupted distortion effects. This mod has a master ON/OFF switch and LED light to indicate the status.
The STEP-SEQUENCER has controls for SPEED, and a large chrome Rotary knob to change from 8-Steps, to 7, 6, 5, etc. 
In 2-Step mode, the Step-Sequencer will act as a standard LFO, with the DECAY knob changing the waveform from Square to Triangle & something closely approximating a Sine wave.
On the back of the machine are 3.5mm jack sockets, which provide Sync Input, Output and Reset. They will respond to a standard +5volt pulse from any suitable device (such as Monotribe, Volca, vintage drum machines, DIY gear or a MIDI-TRIGGER converter.
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-------------------------Right Panel contains Digital Glitch mods.

The real power of the Amstrad comes from these Digital mods, which are able to completely transform the Instruments, Chord, Accompaniment and Drums into unique sonic forms, many of which are beyond what can be achieved with conventional synthesizers.
Expect to find Lush Chords, Complex and Harmonic Arpeggios, Strange Delays / Echos, De-tuned Effects, Extended Envelope Effects, Digital Filtering, Ring Mods and an array of Modulating Compression, Strained Distortion and Bleepy modulating Sub-Tones.....

The CKX100 is able to produce some excellent 'Aphex' style Granular Effects and Dramatic Glitch Sounds which often defy description.... Use the GLITCH BUTTONS to generate Chorded Drones, Screaming Digital Noise and Granular Drum Rolls. Use the RESET BUTTON to Instantly reset the sound to normal again.

Right Panel Contains Digital & Glitch Mods -
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The new Knobs / Switches / Buttons & Lights are mounted on Thick Green PCB (circuit board), and the Flashing LED Lights above are mounted on Chrome LED Holders.

The Mods are activated and controlled by an assortment of Rotary Switches, Metal Toggle Switches and Push buttons -
  • Large Rotary Knob -  On the right of the panel is a large Silver Rotary Knob, with a toggle Switch below it and a Purple UV LED Light in a chrome bezel. This knob contains Bleepy squarewave tones, which modulate along with the rhythms, and can be used as a Sub-Oscillator along with the instruments. Use the Toggle Switch to activate & de-activate the tones. The LED light will Glow to indicate that the mod is active.
  • Small Rotary Knob - In the center of the panel is a small silver Rotary Knob, along with a Toggle Switch and a Purple UV LED Light in a Chrome Bezel. This knob contains 6 x Instrument / Chord Glitches which provide Beautiful Complex Arpeggios, Strange Echos, Lush Chords and Extended Envelope Effects. Use the Toggle Switch to activate the mod. The LED Light will Glow to indicate the mod being active.
  • 6 x Glitch Switches on the left of the panel - Use these switches on the Rhythms / Chord / Accompaniment for Dark Electronic Techno-esque rhythm Accompaniment and de-tuned chords. Use with the drums for weird pitch shifting and drum shifting Rhythmic effects.

  • Glitch Buttons - Scramble the Digital Circuits with dramatic sonic results. . . Use with the drums for Granular Effects and Grinding 'Aphex' Style Rolls. Use with the Chord / Instrument to generate Chorded Drones, Digital Noise, Instrument/Drum Cross Modulation & General Havok and Glitch Chaos.....
  • RESET BUTTON - Small Green Button below the right corner of the panel is used to Instantly reset Glitched sound back to it's normal state. This button allows the user to completely Scramble, Mangle & Corrupt the audio beyond recognition, and then instantly return the sound again.

  • Flashing Lights - 3 x Flashing LED Lights above the panel will pulse and flash along with the sound. The lights are housed in chrome bezels. The Blue LED will flash to indicate the Vibrate (when active).
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When the various modification switches are turned 'Off', the machine will function exactly like a standard CKX100.

I don't have a manual for this machine, but operation is very simple and you'll most likely not need one. Give me a shout if you've got any probs.

And so it is...........

Things to know before bidding -
  • This machine is 100% stable and reliable, however you will encounter random oscillation when switching between the Glitch Switches. Simply tap the RESET Button to instantly return the sound to normal.
  • This machine comes with a suitable 12 volt PSU for UK plug. It can also be powered with 6 x 'C' Type Batteries (not included). I've added a Polarity Diode, which will protect the circuits from in-correct power supply.
  • A new set of Patch-Leads are included with the synth.
  • This machine functions perfectly and can be used 'as stock' if required. Simply turn all Glitch Switches to the 'off' position.
  • This machine is sold with a 12 Month 'Repair or Replace' guarantee.

Thanks for looking, be sure to read usual Terms & Conditions below.
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Woven Audiobiography

The Junto this week caught a bizarre moment in my life:
The steps for this week’s project are as follows:

Step A: Choose a number from 1 through 6. You can roll a die or use an online number generator, or come to a decision on your own.

Step B: Write a 100-word text beginning with one of the following phrases, depending on the number you selected. Where there are brackets fill them in with the appropriate information.

“I was born in [ ] and I like …”
“My name is [ ] and I was thinking …”
“This morning I had a sense that …”
“Try as I might, the same thing …”
“The last book I read was and …”
“On a Sunday morning I usually …”
Step C: Write a 90-word text beginning with the same phrase.

Step D: Write an 80-word text beginning with the same phrase.

Step E: Record yourself reading the three texts as three separate tracks. Record each at the same pace. Speak slowly and take an extended pause after any period.

Step F: Layer the three tracks into one track. They should all begin at the same point and the first few words should, more or less, overlap to the point of being indistinguishable.

Step G: Take a couple passed through audio, lightly balancing relative volume levels to emphasize key phrases or, for that matter, to enhance the low-key cacophony.

Step H: If you desire to, weave in one tonal element, though not so loud as to overpower the speaking.

Deadline: Monday, November 18, 2013, at 11:59pm wherever you are.

Length: Your track’s length will be determined by the longest of your three recordings.

Background: This week’s project originated as part of the Oulipo Sound Workshop that was included in the Subtle Channels series of events held in San Francisco earlier this month (November 2013). The three-hour workshop provided an opportunity to explore the role that Oulipo literary constraints play in the restricted rules of the weekly Disquiet Junto projects. There were four projects that day, including a listening exercise, a word-based one based similar to last week’s Junto project, and a subtractive one along the lines of the 7th Disquiet Junto project from back in February 2012. The fourth was a simpler version of this week’s Junto.

Information: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto.

Title/Tag: Include the term “disquiet0098-wovenaudiobio” in the title of your track, and as a tag for your track.

Download: Please consider employing a license that allows for attributed, commerce-free remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Linking: When posting the track, be sure to include this information:

More on this 98th Disquiet Junto project, in which three original spoken texts are combined into one track, at:

More details on the Disquiet Junto at:

- end -

On Saturday morning I wrote my pieces for the Junto:
This morning I had a sense that I should've slept longer. It was still dark but the rumbling in my stomach suggested it was the right time for me to awaken. So I got up and had some diluted apple cider vinegar, which has become a favourite drink and I'm told is good for my health. Then I returned to bed with my laptop and began visiting the usual sites, news and social media. There was a mix of outrage at the government and some mirth.

This morning I had a sense that it was going to be a good day. In a large part because it's Saturday and I've had a busy week, flying to Sydney for a meeting early on and returning to multiple deadlines for a theatre show and an upcoming exhibition. A catalogue for the latter is currently in the back of my mind but it'll have to wait until Monday -- which is when I'll be bumping in the theatre show anyway. Should be another busy week but that can be a good thing.

This morning I had a sense that I wasn't alone. My daughter had snuck into my bed at some point in the night, which isn't unusual. She seems to endure nightmares frequently. I'd had a dream myself. It involved discovering someone burgling my home and when I called the police I got an answering machine message, which isn't all that uncommon as the local police station is often unattended. The really dramatic part that had awoken me was that the burglar had confronted me. When he realised the police weren't coming, he'd turned away and I saw a second face on the back of his head.

It's funny, in hindsight, because there was a strange kinda foresight in the text. I've written about the weird dreams on my ShowcaseJase blog.

When recording the pieces I took the opportunity to try different microphones:
  1. I used an Audio Technica AT2020 for the 80-word piece. It sounded a bit dull and I added the most reverb to it. 
  2. A Rode NT1 recorded the 90-word piece. I think it has a metalic-sorta edge.
  3. A Shure SM7 captured the 100-word piece, it's great on male voices and you can hear the difference in proximity as it was closer to my mouth.
When mixing I panned the second recording to the left a bit and third went a bit to the right with some widening with the EQ. The first seems more legible with the reverb. Delay was added to the third and longest part, as well as some resonator. The echo effect at the end seemed right for the dramatic ending but might be pushing the constraints of the Junto this week.

Jack Ruby's greatest hit

Nabbed this from Facebook, so I don't know who is responsible for this audacious photoshopping. I like to think it's the same wit who gave Jimi Hendrix an accordion.

Grayson Perry on the value of art

"...the person who’s getting the most out of any artistic activity is the person who makes it because they’re sort of expressing themselves and enjoying it, and they’re in the zone and you know it’s a nice thing to do."

From the Reith lectures earlier this year, so the hyperlinked quote above goes to a PDF. All four Grayson Perry lectures can be found here.

Recently I was introduced to Perry's work via this great conversation with Brian Eno.

Beastie drum machine

Joe Mansfield's forthcoming book Beat Box: A Drum Machine Obsession has been on a few sites this week. This pic was on The Wire's website. It makes me feel a lot better about owning five drum machines!

The Maestro Rhythm N Sound for Guitar G2 shown here featured on the Beastie Boys' underrated Check Your Head album and I wonder if it inspired the track below.

PS -- Really like this idea of retrofitting MIDI. It's beyond me but tickles my recent obsession with circuit bent gear. Cheers Techdef!

Disquiet Junto aluminium remix

The Disquiet Junto this week is a tribute to Lou Reed:
Using the phrase "Metal Machine Muse" as your guide, create a tribute to Metal Machine Music. Please employ at least one actual metal in your work, and note it in the title of your track.
It neatly dovetailed with my plan to remix the fence at Leeton Child Care Centre that I've previously posted about, although I had to edit it to under five minutes as per the guidelines. Hopefully the full version can also go up on, although to be blunt it still shits me this recording doesn't get the "evil double bass" tone here.

Pretty sure the fence is made of aluminium and this remix also features nickel in the strings on my Yamaha fretless bass. The rhythm reminded me of Corey's performance on this fence earlier this year. The drums are from Audio Damage's Tatttoo via Ohmforce Frohmage filter. There are a bunch of effects too.

I saw Lou Reed play at the ANU Refectory around the turn of the century. A friend of mine had won tickets but couldn't go, so I pretended to be Andrew Pippos for the night. Mr Reed picked a fight with someone in the crowd but played a good set, supported by a drummer who seemed to be giving directions to the bassist.