Wrangler’s-LA Spark Is Out Now (Review) 2014

Wrangler_LA Spark

Cabaret Voltaire’s-Collected Works 1983-85 on Mute Records is a collection of their music from a small segment of the 1980’s. It is in those couple of years when I became a Cabaret Voltaire convert. Those were my formative years and their music was in the background often. The music of that collective is extensive (both as a group and separately), and encompasses a vast array of musical styles and disciplines.

Fast forward to 2014 and we have a new collective to talk about. A collective, or maybe I should refer to them as a group, known as Wrangler. The group is comprised of artists I greatly admire. Starting with Benge whom we know for his work John Foxx & The Maths or for his fantastic aural dreamscape- Twenty Systems. Then there is Phil Winter, whom I learned about in an article in Future Music, where he and Benge shared some pages. He is also in the group known as Tunng and a DJ. Which brings us to Stephen Mallinder, an artist I knew about at the start of my electronic obsessions. Mallinder is an original member of Cabaret Voltaire and now is in this amazing group. Between the three of these artists there is a lot to write about and listen to. Their combined output is sure to be mind-expanding and inspiring for any electronic aficionado.

First off, I’m kicking myself for not buying this on vinyl too.

So,what of LA Spark? When an album starts out with a theme it’s bound to possess large potential. Come on, it just does! Theme From Wrangler has been played in my Volkswagen CC for the past month. It was the free download you got when you pre-ordered the album. So, I was already at home with it and primed and ready for the entire album to be released. It served as the opening act if you will. And I was ready for the headliner!

The rest of the album tracks, continuing with Lava Land, LA Spark, Mus IIC, Space Ace and finishing off with Peace & Love (Edit) are divine.

This album is a sonic assault worth craving. Please give me more! It picks up where Cabaret Voltaire’s-Collected Works 1983-85 left off and finishes right here in today’s quagmire of an audio landscape. Though, it’s most definitely the type of sounds you could easily just pick out of all the dense electronic confusion.

I want to pretend it’s the type of music played in a discotheque in a Cold War Eastern Bloc setting had that war not ended and we had continued on with it in place. Yes, you could argue it hints at some type of dystopian setting. You see,sometimes we need more than graphic novels to provide us with some noir or dystopian vision. LA Spark could be just what we need.

The drum sounds are bombastic and sharp throughout.The low end frequencies on this album are monstrous. I’m talkin bout the bass, man! You could also say that about all those analog synthesizers used, and found in Benge’s studio (MemeTune Studios). The synthesizer sounds are like a slice of a good suspenseful nightmare. The strings on Lava Land are provided by a Logan string synthesizer. There are Moog’s (Modular), Roland synths and a whole array of other wonderful synthesizer goodness.

Stephen Mallinder’s effects-filled vocals are like something possessed or that of a controlled subject in a technology complex bi-polar world. Whatever it is, it works on this Wrangler album. LA Spark is a magnificent album that you owe it to yourself to listen to and obtain.

I know its only April, but so far it’s the best recording I’ve heard and the one I most anticipated. A close second would be the collaboration of John Foxx with Belbury Poly & The Advisory Circle. I’m talking about Empty Avenues by John Foxx & The Belbury Circle.

For a great interview with Wrangler be sure to also check out Electricity Club.


Elektro Moskva: A Documentary About the Soviet Electronic Age and its Legacy!

This documentary had me at this quote…

“On a western device, you push a button and get a result. On a Soviet instrument, you push a button and get something.” Benzo

I’m looking forward to seeing this somewhere soon.

SYNOPSIS From ELEKTRO MOSKVA (Electro Moscow) is an essayistic documentary about the Soviet electronic age and its legacy. The story begins with the inventor of the world’s first electronic instrument, Leon Theremin, unveiling the KGB’s huge pile of fascinating devices, some of which were musical. They all came into existence as a by-product of a rampant defense industry. Nowadays, those aged and abandoned ‘musical coffins’, as solidly made as a Kalashnikov, are being recycled and reinterpreted by the post-Soviet generations of musicians, sound collectors and circuit benders. The story of the Soviet synthesizers as an allegory to the everyday life under the Soviet system: nothing works, but you have to make the best out of it. An electronic fairy tale about the inventive spirit of the free mind inside the iron curtain- and beyond.

Documentary, 89 Min.
Austria 2013
Language: Russian

In The Studio With Robin Rimbaud aka Scanner

Get a glimpse of Robin Rimbaud aka Scanner’s studio in this interview and picture set. Robin Rimbaud is still a favourite of The Synthesizer Book! Enjoy

Headphone Commute

Scanner Studio April 2014

Among his many monikers, Robin Rimbaud is most known for his work as Scanner with releases dating back to the early 90s, and a vast discography on labels such as Ash InternationalSub Rosa, and his very own imprint, Bette. What started as a focused fascination with radio waves, mobile phone signals, and police scanners, has evolved into a full-blown production and artistry of enormous proportions, the inner workings of which we are honored to share with you today.

Lets start at the very beginning. Can you tell us how you got involved in composing, and what was your very first piece of gear?
I used to play with a cheap 1970s plastic hand-held tape recorder we had at home when I was about 8-10 years, recording tv shows, family and playing in the garden with my Action Man soldiers. I still have the original tapes where I…

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After 19 Years Of Waiting, Node Release A Modular Synthesizer Gem: Node 2

Last month I ordered the new Node 2 album from Science With Synthesizers. I think this one is even better than the first. Though, that might be simply because I waited 19 years for this one! So, was it worth the wait? Absolutely.


Songs like The Traveller and Dark Beneath the Earth in particular resonated with me. The band known as Node or the project known as Node, whichever way you slice it, is comprised of Flood, Ed Buller, Mel Wesson & Dave Bessell. Trust me, its a legendary lineup if I may say so. Did I mention this recording is most definitely worth the wait? Of course I did.

node (dragged)
Flood pictured above

I’m blogging about this now because I just finished reading a great article in the May issue of Sound On Sound magazine.

For those of you that are into modular synthesizers or these great producers/artists, this is a must for your collection.

Pye Corner Audio Live At The Boiler Room (London, April 11th, 2013)

This one has been around for a while, I know! However, I played this on my Apple TV today while I did some work and I think it’s worth sharing here. I also like the stripped down/minimal gear in his set-up. I’m really digging this artist and his music. Its a good set,not much more to say.

Published on Youtube

via Boilerroom.TV

Check Out This Live Classixx Performance on KEXP (Recorded July 29, 2013)

Check out this great performance by the Classixx lads I just came across. There is a ton of Dave Smith Instruments goodness on there. You gotta love the Mopho’s! This is a solid HD performance.

I had the good fortune of checking out one of their DJ sets at Venue in Vancouver a few years back. I remember it well. I remember the DJ before them was pushing BPM’s in the 130 range and higher. Which, kind of irritated us a bit. When Classixx hit the stage they brought it back down in tempo and it was perfect. I’ve been a fan of their music ever since.

Also, if you haven’t already, check out their last LP-Hanging Gardens. Its a great album.


From Youtube:
Published on 19 Jan 2014
http://KEXP.ORG presents CLASSIXX performing “SONG” live in the KEXP studio. Recorded July 29, 2013.

All You’re Waiting For
My Love Sees You
Holding On

Host: Cheryl Waters
Audio Engineer: Kevin Suggs
Cameras: Andrew Franks, Luke Knecht & Justin Wilmore
Editor: Justin Wilmore


Eurorack Meets Nord Drum 2, Synthesizer Goodness!

I like this! This is Eurorack LFO triggers meets Nord Drum 2 wicked awesomeness. Enjoy.

From Youtube:
Published on 11 Apr 2014
First serious session with Nord Drum 2. Using Vermona fourMulator quad LFO to trigger 4 channels with Stoichea picking up the remaining 2. Using S/H waveforms from the Vermona via attenuators (matrix mixer) for timbral variation on the Nord Drum.

This via Synthopia.

Wendy Carlos Talks Stanley Kubrick, A Clockwork Orange & the “Cir-Con.”

I just saw this video today. This appeared on my Facebook feed via Automatic Gainsay. All I can say is that she was an inspiration for many of us. Her music was always epic and seemed so out of reach for a common button pusher like me! Her scores were always noteworthy and were the perfect background for the movies they were part of. She deserves all the recognition and respect she gets.

To see her speak so candidly in this video is heartwarming and brought back so many visual and auditory memories for me. As I mostly only know her from interviews in magazines & limited segments in videos, this is a treat.

She was way more than just her Moog Modular and her Switched On Bach album.


From Youtube.com
Published on 10 Apr 2014
Wendy Carlos plays selections from the soundtracks for Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and A Clockwork Orange. She plays an instrument she helped design called the Circular Controller or “Cir-Con” and remembers Stanley Kubrick.

No infringement intended. Video uploaded with the intent to share some insight on the artist and her work.