Loscil: Sea Island (Ambient Goodness)

I have been playing this all day. Sea Island sounds fantastic coming out of my KRK monitors. This is a great soundtrack to this odd weather we’re having here in Vancouver. Scattered showers & sporadic patches of Sun never had it so good. Future Music gave this album a 9 out of 10 and I think they got it spot on this time. This ambient Vancouver native delivers all the goods and more with this Kranky Records release-Sea Island.

cover_art_Loscil_Sea Island


Leafcutter John Talks Maria In The Forest (Pro-Tools & Field Recordings)

Leafcutter John has been involved with so many wonderful projects over the years. I first became an admirer of his music after listening to his agoraphobia inspired album-The Housebound Spirit. However, it was The Forest and the Sea where I think he started coming into his own with a unique blend of experimental sounds and electro-acoustic soundscapes.

There are a few other videos related to this one below (not posted here). In one of the other videos he discusses one of his Cycling 74-Max/MSP patches. In the other video he shows us his gaming controllers MIDI modified which he uses to trigger samples within MAX/MSP. He has used lots of his controllers with the jazz quintet-Polar Bear.

I’m posting this 2006 video for some of my friends and colleagues. I’ve referenced it several times. I haven’t seen it online, so, I figured it needed to be shared.

In this video he gives us a track by track breakdown of his song entitled, Maria In The Forest. Using field recordings and modified instruments, the track is filled with beautiful sounds throughout.


For more on Leafcutter John visit his website here.

NOTE: This video is for educational purposes only. Any replication is prohibited.

Kilpatrick Audio’s Phenol Modular Synthesizer Overview and Update (NAMM 2015)

It looks like all of us original Kickstarter backers will have to wait till at least June 2015 to get our hands on the Phenol modular synthesizer. The makers of Phenol anticipate a February production timeline. Now we all have something to look forward to in the heart of Summer.

What is it?
Phenol is a new synthesizer designed by Kilpatrick Audio. It brings the fun and creative potential of a modular analog synthesizer to more people by offering an attractive and approachable musical instrument that is small, portable and sounds amazing!

Phenol is 100% compatible with modular systems because it uses the same voltages and banana connectors as the Kilpatrick Format and similar modular synthesizers.

Whether you already love modular synthesizers and want a smaller instrument for portability, or whether you’ve heard about modular synths and want to get your feet wet, Phenol offers an amazing instrument at a great price. (Phenol will retail for $849 in stores.)

Banana patch system with colour-coded jacks and voltages compatible with Kilpatrick Format and other modular systems
Two analog VCOs – triangle, ramp and pulse outputs
Two analog filters (low pass and high pass)
Two analog VCAs with level control
Two envelope generator / LFO combos with many unique features
An LFO with sine and random output
Internal MIDI to CV converter with DIN and USB MIDI interfaces
Compact mixer with digital delay with over 330ms of delay time
Digital pulse divider – divide MIDI clock or LFO output to create 4 musical time divisions
Buffered mixer / mult / inverter with level control
External audio input allows a stereo input to be patched like an oscillator signal – process your drum machine or other source through the system
Rear panel connections / controls:
USB-B port for USB MIDI connection to a PC / Mac
Headphone and line outputs (1/4″ jacks)
Power button
DC power input – 2.1mm coax – centre positive 24VDC
Ground banana jack
External input (1/4″ jacks)
Designed and made in Canada using high quality parts
Universal input power supply (100-240V) included (shipped with North American plug)
Approx. dimensions: 15.8″W x 9.0″L x 2.5″H (including feet and knobs)
Warranty: 1 year

For more on the Phenol visit Kilpatrick Audio.

Kilpatrick Audio Phenol Modular Synthesizer

Dave Smith Relaunches the Sequential Brand and the Prophet 6 Synthesizer (2015)

Dave Smith has regained the rights to the Sequential name brand. This occurred after a kind gesture not typically seen from giant manufactures or corporations. For more details on that story visit Synthtopia.

The result is…Sequential is back with a new synthesizer! 100% analog signal path with discrete voltage controlled oscillators, filters, and amplifiers. More info at www.sequential.com

Vintage with a Modern Twist
The Prophet-6 is Dave Smith’s tribute to the poly synth that started it all—the Sequential Prophet-5. But it’s not simply a reissue of a classic. Rather, as Dave puts it, “It’s the result of our effort to build the most awesome-sounding, modern analog poly synth possible.” The Prophet-6 takes the best qualities of the original Prophet-5—true voltage-controlled oscillators, filters, and amplifiers—and adds enhancements such as studio-quality effects, a polyphonic sequencer, an arpeggiator, and more. The result is pure, unadulterated analog tone with the stability and reliability of a state-of-the-art modern synth.

Classic Tone, Classic Vibe
Central to the warm, punchy sound of the Prophet-6 are its two newly-designed, discrete voltage-controlled oscillators (plus sub-oscillator) per voice. Continuously variable waveshapes provide the tonal palette with triangle, sawtooth, and variable-width pulse waves. There are two discrete filters per voice—a four-pole, resonant, low-pass inspired by the original Prophet-5 filter, and a two-pole, resonant, high-pass filter. Voltage-controlled amplifiers complete the all-analog signal path.

Dual Effects
The dual effects section provides studio-quality reverbs, delays (standard and BBD), chorus and phase shifter. While the effects themselves are digital, with 24-bit, 48 kHz resolution, a true bypass maintains a full analog signal path. There’s also an independent stereo distortion effect, which is 100% analog.

Poly Mod and Poly Step Sequencing
Also present from its classic predecessor is a Poly Mod section, with enhancements. True to the original, modulation sources are filter envelope and oscillator 2 (both with bi-polar control). Destinations include oscillator 1 frequency, oscillator 1 shape, oscillator 1 pulse width, low-pass filter cutoff, and high-pass filter cutoff. Another welcome reprise is Unison mode, which features configurable voice count (1-6 voices) and key modes. The polyphonic step sequencer allows up to 64 steps and up to 6 notes per step. You can create sequences polyphonically, with rests and sync to an external MIDI clock. The full-featured arpeggiator can be synced to external MIDI clock as well.

Easy to Program
The knob-per-function front panel offers instant access to virtually all Prophet-6 functions. Included are 500 permanent factory programs in 10 banks of 100 programs. In addition to these, you can create and save up to 500 user programs of your own. Toggling off the Preset button enables live panel mode, in which the sound of the Prophet-6 switches to the current settings of its knobs and switches. In this state, what you see is what you hear.

Easy to Play
All of this awe-inspiring sound is packed into a four octave, semi-weighted keyboard with velocity and channel aftertouch that’s an ideal combination portability and power for the project studio or the gigging musician.

Prophet-6 Specifications
Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 1.14.33 PM

Two newly designed, discrete VCOs per voice
Continuously variable wave shape (triangle, sawtooth, pulse, square) per oscillator
Pulse width per oscillator
Hard sync: oscillator 1 syncs to oscillator 2
Triangle sub-octave generator (oscillator 1) per voice
Low frequency mode (oscillator 2)
Keyboard tracking on/off (oscillator 2)
Oscillator slop amount for increased tuning instability, from subtle to extreme

Oscillator 1 amount
Oscillator 1 sub-octave amount
Oscillator 2 amount
White noise amount

Two-pole, resonant, high-pass filter per voice
Bi-polar filter envelope amount
Velocity modulation of envelope amount
Keyboard tracking: off, half, full

Four-pole, resonant, low-pass filter per voice, inspired by the original Prophet 5 filter
Filter can be driven into self-oscillation with the Resonance control
Bi-polar filter envelope amount
Velocity modulation of envelope amount
Keyboard tracking: off, half, full

Four-stage (ADSR) envelope generator

Four-stage (ADSR) envelope generator
Velocity modulation of envelope amount

Five wave shapes: triangle, sawtooth, reverse sawtooth, square, and random (sample and hold)
Clock sync (internal or external MIDI clock)
Initial amount
Mod destinations: oscillator 1 frequency, oscillator 2 frequency, oscillator 1 and 2 pulse width, low-pass filter cutoff, high-pass filter cutoff

Sources: filter envelope (bi-polar) and oscillator 2 (bi-polar)
Destinations: oscillator 1 frequency, oscillator 1 shape, oscillator 1 pulse width, low-pass filter cutoff, high-pass filter cutoff

Source: channel (mono) aftertouch with bi-polar amount
Destinations: oscillator 1 frequency, oscillator 2 frequency, LFO amount, amplifier envelope amount, low-pass filter envelope amount, high-pass filter envelope amount

Master clock with tap tempo
BPM control and display
MIDI clock sync

Selectable note value: 16th note, 8th note triplet, 8th note, dotted 8th note, quarter note
One, two, or three octave range
Up, down, up/down, random, and assign modes
Polyphonic step sequencer with up to 64 steps and rests

Stereo analog distortion
Dual, 24-bit, 48 kHz digital effects, including: reverb (room, hall, plate, spring), delay (full bandwidth digital delay and emulated bucket brigade and tape delays), chorus, and phase shifter
Delay sync
True bypass maintains fully analog signal path when digital effects are off

Full-sized, semi-weighted, 4-octave keyboard with velocity and aftertouch
Backlit pitch and mod wheels
Spring-loaded pitch wheel with selectable range per program (1 to 12 semitones up and down)
Transpose controls for an 8-octave range
Hold switch latches held notes on
Polyphonic glide (portamento)
Unison (monophonic) mode with configurable voice count, from one to all six voices, and key modes
Preset switch: when off, the front panel is live; what you see is what you hear

500 user and 500 factory programs in 10 banks of 100 programs each
Direct program access, including Prophet 5-style single-button access to the current set of 10 programs

Left/mono and right audio outputs (2 x 1/4” phone jack)
Headphone output (stereo, 1/4” phone jack)
MIDI in, out, and thru ports
USB for bidirectional MIDI communication
Low-pass filter cutoff expression pedal input
Volume expression pedal input
Sustain footswitch input
Sequencer start/stop footswitch input

IEC AC power inlet for internal power supply
Operates worldwide on voltages between 100 and 240 volts at 50 to 60 Hz; 30 watts maximum power consumption

32” L x 12.7” W x 4.6″ H (81.3 cm x 32.3 cm x 11.7 cm)
20.0 lbs (9.5 kg)
Walnut end panels and trim

Coolicon by Carter Tutti: A Must For Your Vinyl Collection!

Coolicon by @Carter_Tutti @chris_carter_ @coseyfannitutti

This has been on repeat all morning.

Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti have always been at the top of my list of artist I most admire (search synthesizerbook.com for more).

As always, the drones, electronic beats, & synthesizer goodness is plentiful. Sigh!…I needed this today.

Download it from the Carter Tutti Greedbag store or check out @greedbag (twitter) for more.

The 10 inch vinyl is en route and I can’t wait to spin this for others and shake the walls with all this goodness. Enjoy.


NOTE: If you order from Greedbag and have a download coming with your order don’t panic. It takes a couple/few days to process your order. Though waiting for music from Carter Tutti is always worth the wait.

Tarwater – The Evening Pilgrims (Video) & New LP-Adrift

Tarwater – The Evening Pilgrims. From the album “Adrift”, released on Bureau B in fall 2014!

Video by Robert Lippok.

Robert Lippok: “My brothers band Tarwater just released a new record on bureau b. I grabbed a Canon XF100 and made this video. Some shots are made at the beautiful and haunted Villa Arconati near Milano. Enjoy!”

CD/LP available at: https://shop.tapeterecords.com/record…

Tarwater is a German music duo comprising Bernd Jestram and Ronald Lippok. Tarwater have recorded several albums of mostly instrumental music usually tagged as post-rock.

Some History
Jestram and Lippok met in an East German punk rock band, and began recording together even while Lippok recorded with To Rococo Rot and Jestram worked in his Bleibeil studio. The first Tarwater album debuted with 1996’s 11/6 12/10, released around the same time first album came about. Tarwater’s second album, Silur, followed in 1998. The critical praise attendant on the latter earned Tarwater American distribution, with Animals Suns & Atoms appearing in 2000 and Dwellers on the Threshold in 2004. In 2005, the album The Needle Was Traveling appeared. It was their first album for the Morr label.