Z3 Audiolabs’ Repeat X – I had beta, you can win one…

A friend of mine from Vienna recently started his own Audio Software company, Z3 Audiolabs who now present their first vst plugins, Repeat-X, Dizztroy and the free! scratch it.

repeat_x2I had the pleasure to do some beta-testing for Repeat-X – their current flag-ship, so to say – and, boy, can this plugin do some interesting things to your sounds! Its different effects (Filter, Ringmodulation, BitCrush/Sample Rate reduction, Pan, Delay and, of course, the Repeater) can be arranged in various routing configurations. They are all controllable via your standard (or not so standard) midi-controller and switched on/off via midi keys.

So far so good, but that’s not all – there’s two sequencers on board as well – one is a modulation sequencer with its own window/sequence per parameter (and you can record & store/recall up to 8 patterns). Use the “smooth” slider (and the right tempo) and you got yourself an LFO with a draw-able waveform… The second sequencer is used to switch on/off the single effects – if you don’t want to play them via the keyboard.

As I said, I’ve been (beta-) testing this effect and managed to get some great mangled audio out of it. It excells at beats and other rhythmic sounds, but – as always – I’d encourage some “soft abuse”* like, for example, trying it out on drones, vocals or whatever you fancy-recordings…. Since the tomoroh hidari tracks I’ve used it on so far, are far from finished and will probably not see the light of day too soon, you may want to watch this demonstration video of Repeat-X instead:

And for the quick ones – if you sign up to the Z3 Audiolabs newsletter before April 5th a free copy of repeat-x can be yours. Details here!
Yet that’s not all – admittedly I’ve copied most of the info here straight from the z3 labs site, but you may be able to spot my annotations…

dizztroy2Dizztroy is a bitcrush / overdrive / distortion plugin which is made for soft and heavy audiodistortion.

It has a bitcrusher, decimator, 7 overdrive algorithms,  a draw waveshape distortion, 2 envelope followers for overdrive and distortion, a highpass filter and to round-up the perfect dizztroying machine a filter with 4 filtertypes.

there’s also a video showing you some “hardcore kick design” with Dizztroy.

All FX can be placed to your preferred place in the signal chain easily via drag and drop.

One of the big deals Dizztroy offers to you is that you can draw the waveshape of the distortion by yourself…

… and believe me, I’m using this feature heavily on a few “industrial-esque” his Namelessness Is Legion tracks I’m working on, and it is a perfect tool for shaping your distortions to just the right degree (over go totally overboard with them, whichever way you please!)

And then there is the freebie!

scratch it!scratch-it2 follows the footsteps of… well, you know:

Scratch it! is a free scratch / tapestop vst plugin for windows, it is specially created for live scratching and tapestop effects.

With the envelope you can define how the stop button works on the audiosignal, it allows you to define up to 16 points in a synchronized beat grid, like this the stop button can act as “scratch sequence”.

haven’t tried this one yet, tbh, but anyway, if, like me you lack the 1210 and/or the skills… or (see above) you can always try the route of the “soft abuse”*…

Well, I’m back to making Musick…

*Ivory Bunker and Ivory Bonkers strongly condemn the abuse of any living being as well as sentient software. “soft abuse” only applies to the willful misuse of technology for creative means and should only take place between consenting systems.

The Hamlet 2000 – a DIY Skulldrone-Synthesizer

Hamlet2000-1I’ve already introduced the Hamlet 2000 Skulldrone-Synthesizer in my last post, so now it’s time for the promised detailed introduction:

Basically the Hamlet 2000 is a little Lunetta box, similar in spirit to the nand synth I built a while ago or my little blue lunchetta box which is based on the Heterodyne Space Explorer.

Housed in a novelty plastic skull (the size of a shrunken head), the Hamlet 2000 has two Audio- and two Control-Oscillators (LFOs, if you wish). The control oscillators each drive an LED which is coupled to an LDR to form a simple vactrol. These vactrols, in combination with a 100k Pot, each, set the frequencies of the audio oscillators and, unless the control oscs run at “full speed”, rhythmically switch the audio oscillators on and off.

For some additional visual effects the LEDs are “mirrored” by a pair of additional LEDs placed in the eye sockets of the Skull. The signal is summed via fixed transistors (an “on board” trimmer can be used to set the level). Well, for those he read those, the Schematics are further down. Everyone else: here’s the picture show:

 

Hamlet2000-2 Hamlet2000Inside Hamlet2000-eyes Hamlet2000Inside2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, that’s all looking great, you may say, but what the hell (yes, given the shape of the skull, I feel that’s appropriate lingo,) does this thing sound like?

Well, I’m glad you asked, because here is some video evidence. The first video shows an early prototype of the circuit on breadboard, done already ages ago:

You can even see one of the “vactrols” at work there. I should mention, that this test version was based around a 40106 chip, while the finished Hamlet 2000 makes use of a 4093. This is because, at some point, I had considered to implement a cross-modulation of kinds between the oscillators.

This second video shows the almost finished Hamlet 2000 (I had not yet had found the red-eye goggles I hot-glued into the sockets, but everything else is complete…)

As I mentioned, I had tried a somewhat more complex circuit, but ultimately realised that, given the shape of the housing and all, the Hamlet 2000 is better with less, rather than more control options. And as you can hear in the clip, combining it with some FX, like, in this case, a little delay, can do worlds of awesome…

Meanwhile this little Skulldrone-Synth has already had its baptism of fire at last Thursday’s live performance of the “Alas, Poor Yorick” piece by me as his Namelessness Is Legion, although, (un-) fortunately there exists no recording.

So if you want to hear it in musical context your best chance, at the moment, is to check out the album I did together with raxil4, which features the Hamlet 2000 on a couple of tracks. (also see this! post).

Well, last not least, here’s the schematics. I’m still only finding my way in eagle, so excuse the way they look… if you have any questions, I’m happy to discuss DIY electronics anytime. Just hit me up at hidari [at] gmx [dot] net

hamlet2000 schem

eXperimental electronics (20.3.14) – Poor Yorick, his Namelessness Is Legion

experimElecFlyerA quick announcement: My next live performance as his Namelessness Is Legion will take place exactly a week from today, on Thursday 20th. March 2.014 e.V. at 44 Commercial Road Whitechapel London E1 1LN United Kingdom. (The Castle).

This will be the first evening of the eXperimental electronics series and will feature performances by

his Namelessness Is Legion
dahu mumagi
jake williams

(Start 8:00 PM)

I will be performing a new piece called “Alas, poor Yorick!” which is based around my latest self-built “skulldronesynth”, the Hamlet 2000. This experimental 2 oscillator cmos (4093) synth/sound generator is housed in a small, novelty-plastic skull I found at a charity shop.

I made a short demo video of the almost finished Hamlet 2000. (And plan to publish a detailed documentation, incl. schematics here soon). Meanwhile, near Elsinore:
)
 

NoiseHamlet1curating sound present . . .

eXperimental electronics. a commissioned project for 6 months . it will show emergent, established and well-know artist from london scene. it will invite to participate international artists from abroad. the project born from the experience of curating music in festivals, art galleries and non-commercial places. the sessions will take place @ 44 commercial road. a black box found in east london, next to aldgate and whitechapel art gallery. we expect the good location will inspire to welcome creation, experimention and art emotion.

electronic music, computer music, techno, ambient, dark ambient, algorithmic music, pure data, supercollider, live coding, noise, harshnoise, psicodelic trance synthesizers in an electronic noise ambient and cybernetic experimental wired soundsss

http://www.facebook.com/events/1400396266880934/

thursday 20th march:  hNIL – dahu mumagi – jake williams
thursday 10th april: adam parkinson – ryan jay tweddie – b.regina/s.beresford
thursday 15th may: SCHULTZ+VDREY – esther bourdages
thursday 19th june: dave procter – marie rose aka moon ra
thursday 10th july: tba

Dronestrikes – raxil4 & his Namelessness Is Legion with Saturn on a Saturday

Last Saturday was a lovely, sunny day so it made complete sense that, after a short walk along the nearby canal, I retreated to the Ivory Bunker for a jam session with Andrew Page aka raxil4 (soundcloud 1 & 2). I’ve been a fan of his reverb-laden drones ever since I first saw him perform live, a bit over a year ago. I’ve since had the pleasure to share a stage/venue with him on more than one occasion (see the last post, for example!). And while the original plan had seen for a jam-session with an unnamed third party, in preparation for a planned live performance (which is still planned), a last-minute bail-out left the two of us to our own devices and thus coming up with a fine collaborative album, which you can listen to and download from raxil4′s bandcamp:

Talking of (being left to) our devices: While raxil4 brought along a plethora of reverb pedals, sine generators, a fourtrack with loop-tapes (with some fine recordings/sonifications of, among other celestial bodies, Saturn) and more, I used a relatively modest setup consisting of the Pod, Moogerfooger & a few pedals with either the Les Paul (mostly played with the E-Bow) or the Hamlet 2000*.

Here’s a few pictures from the session.

P1020696 P1020703 P1020694 P1020697

 
And here a preview of track 2:

 
I strongly recommend you head over to the raxil4 bandcamp and check out more of his music. And then to mine. Or vice versa.

 

So while I don’t want to keep you any longer from listening, let me just quickly finish this post with an announcement:

The next his Namelessness Is Legion gig will be in Whitechapel on March 20th.

The next planned his Namelessness Is Legion release will be the 42 minute long “fortytwo” on the hNIL Ur-Label Mahorka Records.

- detailed info to come in the form of separate blog updates soon**.

*More on the Hamlet 2000 in one of the next posts. Promise/threat!

** Well, yes, I need content for future posts, don’t I. Can’t be giving away all at once… Anyway, are you still reading?

 

 

In a Boat within a Church: hNIL’s “raw mood” – live & more from the sound.art event.

CoverWebAlmost a year to the day after my London debut (a Tomoroh Hidari live-act that was already leaning more towards the sound of his Namelessness Is Legion) I had the pleasure to perform in a boat within a church – the Tin Tabernacle – in Kilburn (or Kill/Burn, as I like to call it for whatever reason…), West London.

Having been asked to create a site-specific piece, I developed “raw mood” which, in its reverse, alludes to the militaristic flair of the space and, by including the sounds of waves I recorded in Mallorca, referenced the nautical theme.

Maybe a surrealist aural painting of a sea-battle, maybe the droning noises within a large manowar, maybe Neptune’s wrath-fuelled heart beat… In any case, an industrial/drone track created with mostly self-built (lunetta/cmos) oscillators and various effect processors and recorded to 4 tracks (in-line & room mics) and mastered at the Ivory Bunker of London. See a picture of the setup below!

I have decided to also record a studio version of “raw mood” which will hopefully surface in the near future. Meanwhile you can stream/buy the live version from the Tomoroh Hidari Bandcamp page:

During the preparation/practice sessions for “raw mood” I, by mere coincidence, also recorded a little accidental “techno” jam. The track, now named: “‘patAccidental Technojam” could do with a few edits and proper post-production, but I think sometimes it is nice to share something raw to let the listeners be part of the creative process. So make sure you head over to the hNIL soundcloud and have a listen to what’s there.

P1020456But back to the boat (within a church):

The sound.art event was superbly curated by Lara Pearl and met with a great audience response. There were five live performances happening in the main nave, while the side rooms along the back and at the front hosted ongoing installations.

A sound installation with video projection along most of the length of the outer wall provided a great backdrop for those freezing outside to nourish their nicotine habit.

Another video installation around the large gun which is placed where in most churches the altar tends to be, provided eerie illumination on the inside.

The completely acoustic performance of Robbie Judkins and Tasos Stamou, while unnerving at parts, suffered in other parts from a relatively low volume to people chatting ratio, as did Mark Wagner‘s sombre performance on the church’s own pedal organ. These were followed by a great performance by St’art moveS who used processed voice over soundscapes, a cathartic noise improvisation by Luke Jordan and ultimately my “raw mood” performance.

As for the installations -

Starting at the front, clockwise,:

 

In a small alcove Bioni Samp had set up his Hive-Synthesis or Bee’s frequency electronics, complete with honeycombs and self-built oscillators. He did perform a short live-act on these as well, but sadly the set was so quiet, only a few select listeners cramming around the door to his space were able to hear him.

Charles Wheatley had set up his Doppler-Effect based sound installation where, in the almost darkness of a small tv set to a dead channel, the high-pitched whirring of continuous sonic movement filled the room.

Moving on the the back-rooms, raxil4 had occupied the rope-room with a plethora of gear to create his evolving drone-scapes, which you can listen to/download via his Bandcamp.

Then, in a very tiny room at the back James Shermann had found his abode where a continuous soundscape was playing when not interrupted by one of the two live performances, a drone improvisation as well as a reading over sound. Some of the material from the preparation sessions is available via his Bandcamp.

As for the rest of the installations – with due apologies to the artists – I unfortunately did not find the time/opportunity to take them in long enough to honestly write about them now. Dear reader may want to read the concepts in the previous blogpost.

There were many photos and some video taken – which will certainly find their way into a full documentation on curator Lara Pearl’s blog. Meanwhile, here are a few impressions:

P1020260 P1020267 P1020275 P1020447 P1020463 P1020460 P1020472 P1020474 P1020484 P1020487 P1020499 P1020505 P1020504 P1020509 P1020528  P1020537 P1020539