Thursday, 27 March 2014

Krell Music & the Buchla

What's Krell Music ?

Is it ambient, improvisational or sci-fi?
It's been described as organic & free flowing, ....self-generating?
Maybe it's a combination of all of the above.

The term appears to have connections with the movie "Forbidden Planet" (1956) directed by Fred M. Wilcox, starring Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, and Leslie Nielsen.

The Krell are a species of highly advanced aliens that once populated the Forbidden Planet.

This is a groundbreaking movie on many levels. The film though loosely based on Shakespeare's "Tempest" is set entirely on another world in interstellar space. And the humans travel on a spaceship far from the earth.

However the most interesting aspect of the film for me is the music score.
This was composed by Louis and Bebe Barron before the invention of modular synthesizers.
They used custom built circuits which they "drove till they exploded". The sounds created where recorded on a early tape recorder (which must have been rare in the 1950s) and the results cut & spliced together to "compose" the sound track.

Below is a Krell inspired patch made on a Buchla Music Easel:


And the pic :

Below is a rare German promo poster of Robbie the Robot for the Forbidden Planet.
It measures about 33' x 25''. This type of poster had very limited runs. They were released on behalf of the cinema companies for promotion only.

Below is an earlier Krell piece made using a vintage Buchla 100 and 259 oscillator

Monday, 24 March 2014

Syria - Travel pics - 1999 - Aleppo before the War

It's upsetting when I hear all the bad news coming out of Syria these days.
More refugees, more killing, heart break & suffering.

I first visited Syria back in 1999.
I had wonderful experiences. The people were gracious, warm and friendly.

Here are some pics taken during those times. Seems like it was 1000 years ago.

Aleppo. The citadel ...  (Arabic: قلعة حلب‎) is a large medieval fortified palace in the centre of the old city. It is considered to be one of the oldest and largest castles in the world. It is listed by UNESCO World Heritage.

These pics were taken before digital panoramas. So please excuse my rather primitive attempts to paste them together (David Hockey style).

Below is a recent video of the citadel. Makes be very sad to see it's current state.

 View of the theatre ...inside of the citadel, Aleppo, Syria. 1999.

The Citadel bridge.. crosses the "moat".

Several famous crusaders were imprisoned in the citadel, among them Count of Edessa, Joscelin II & the king of Jerusalem, Baldwin II. It was never captured by the crusaders.

View from inside the citadel looking over the city of Aleppo.

The Tea Vendor, Aleppo, 1999.

Aleppo street scene.

Aleppo Grand Bazzar

For more travel postcards click here

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Korg PS 3200 - Filter workout

The Korg PS 3200 uses dynamic Low-Pass Filters (DLPF) with Cutoff Frequency and Peak controls.
(resonance or Q) - this emphasises the harmonics at the cutoff point.

It's a 12dB/octave, two-pole design.

 The Doepfer Dark Time provided the sequence.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Korg PS 3200

It's a real pleasure and indeed an honor to own this synth.

Weighing in at 37kg the 3200 was much derided due to its lack of the famous Korg triple resonators found in its brothers, the PS3300 & PS3100. Korg replaced the resonator with a graphic equaliser.

 I still love it to bits. It has much warmth & richness ....a truly unique machine.

In this first video the Doepfer Dark Time sequencer is triggering drum sounds.

 The synth is much much deeper than this first demo (I'll post more videos in the future to demonstrate).

The PS3200 is a fully polyphonic, 16 memory semi-modular system.... yes memories / presets.
The system Korg used for editing the sounds is unusual. You pull the knobs out to make your changes, then push them back in to store your new settings. You can see me do this in the video.
Above the Dark Time sequencer you can see a bank of 16 white buttons. These store the presets.

Released in 1978, it has 2 VCOs per voice. You can play all 48 notes simultaneously.
It was the last of the PS series. .... strangely the order was: PS3100,PS3300 then the PS 3200.
You can see a resemblance to the MS20 (but it sounds nothing like an MS20).

My PS3200 has a Kenton MIDI retrofit.
This old video demos this. I used a ipad running an old version of the genome sequencer app.
There is probably a much better version of the app now.

 More videos to come.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

191 Sharp Cutoff Filter - build notes

These are not official build notes Just my personal pics to help trouble shoot.

The vintage 191 is a very rare filter. I'd love to see or purchase a real one.
Maybe Buchla USA will come out with one ... lets hope.

 Anyway, I'm building this for a friend.
The PCB (LA 67) looks great. An easy build I think.

aLL through hole.

Parts are standard .. all descrete.
Some of the transistors need to be matched.

The switch is a bit confusing.

My wiring guide

These pics are the top section (its upside down in the photo)

nOW it gets confusing ... the bottom bit

tHE heatshrink seemed like a good idea at the time, however, it later made my job harder as the hole the switch fits into was too small.
got it in ,,,, but was a real mess.
My apologies to the future techo who needs to service this.

 The "Lamps" are polarized.
THey  are actually LEDs  not incandesent lamps
(Incandescent Panel Mount Indicators Panel Mount Indicator Lamps)

Monday, 10 March 2014

Future Music Festival - 2014 - Sydney - Australia

March 8, 2014
Sydney Australia.

The Future Music Festival is held every year at Royal Randwick racecourse.
I like to think of it as the reverse of Gladstonbury -
Future is electronic mainly, with the odd smattering of rock/indy bands.

The forecast was for rain but the weather gods were smiling. This turned out to be a glorious autumn day.

There are 10 stages. Each stage is a little nightclub, all with a loyal audience. I think there are too many stages and have often considered flying interstate to see the acts I missed.
It's very difficult to decide who to see .

In between we danced knee-deep in the thick white suds that pelted down from the DJ podium.
The Foamarama stage...It's a annual ritual.

 The day started with Dannic on the future soundsystem stage. From Breda in the Netherlands
– the hometown of Tiësto & Hardwell
He is famous for his amazing mashups. A DJ and producer. His star is def on the rise.
Is there something special about the water in Holland that keeps producing DJ after DJ?


We then headed to the Safari stage where we managed to catch the last 10 minutes of Martin Garrix's set,
followed by R3HAB.

The "haunted House" hosted by Knife Party looked full of promise.
I see monsters... :-)
Creepy..spiderwebs everywhere. It was a prefect place to escape the harsh sun and any possible rain.

 Back to the main stage to catch Dada Life & Pharrell.

 Pharrell Williams is a very cool dude with a reputation as a ladies man.
demonstrated when he invited a bevy of beautiful women from the front row to dance
with him. One can only imagine the jealous boyfriends.

Some guys have all the luck.

Pharrell was on at 4'15. Possibly too early.
Out he came in his hat. His interaction with the audience is wonderful.
He of course performed his massive hits 'Blurred Lines' and 'Get Lucky.

After this ... to the Green Room to see Minx.
Love this sexy gal. then back to the main stage to see Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.
Macklemore has a wonderful presence. Esp when he raps. His lyrics are full of passion,meaning
and emotion.

The night finished with Eric PRYTZ, Hardwell & Deadmau5.
I Just caught the tail of Pjanoo.... one of my fave anthems of all time.


Eric Prydz is famous for the' "Pryda Snare" (contained in his song Miami 2 Atlanta).

It is a popular in house and trance music... consisting of using a compressed and sustained snare sample at the end of a bar to cause a sudden pause. This is possibly one of the most sampled sounds in electronic dance music.

The night finished with Hardwell & Deadmau5.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Alessandro Cortini (of NIN) - Solo Perfromance on a Buchla Easel

Alessandro Cortini performs on a Buchla Easel.

4th March, 2014.
107 Projects Gallery, 107 Redfern Street, Redfern, Sydney,Australia.
Many thanks to the New Sound Waves Modular Synth group for helping to make this possible.

 OMG - I'm Gobsmacked - standing next to Alessandro Cortini. :-)
What a cool dude!!!

The great visuals are by Cobramatic/Autoglider.