It’s busy times here: Last month, I was one of a set of musicians who performed an ambient gig at Currents 826 gallery; that’s the subject of this month’s main article, as well as a few recent Patreon posts. On April 1 (no joke) I premiered a new performance for SynthFest France, and right now I am composing another new piece/set for a performance at Mountain Skies next month. Once that’s done, I’ll have material for three new albums sitting on the hard drive waiting for me to edit them! But no rest for the wicked; I have more performances planned for the second half of this year as well.

In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been up to this past month:

  • featured articleHow five us played simultaneous two-hour ambient music sets in an art gallery.
  • Alias Zone updatesMy performance at SynthFest France 2022.
  • Learning Modular updatesI’m finally adding closed captioning to more movies in my courses. Plus, I publicly shared a pair of former Patreon-only posts on patching your own chaotic envelope generator and on my infamous three-module delay chain.
  • Patreon updatesTwo track breakdowns, a review of generating notes and triggers in my Monster studio synth, and more details on my recent ambient performance.
  • upcoming eventsLive performances in May at Mountain Skies near Asheville, North Carolina, and in June at the Currents New Media Festival in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
  • one more thingLooking for a particular color or length of patch cables, in a brand I happen to like?

Alias Zone Updates

In addition to the Sound for Art ambient gig discussed above, I also premiered a new piece – The Cave – for SynthFest France 2022. The video of that is above. This will be one of the pieces on the next Alias Zone album, coming out on Bandcamp later this year.

Learning Modular Updates

I took two of my previous for-pay posts and made them free to everyone:

  • Patching a Chaotic Envelope Generator: In general, I think this is an idea some manufacturers might want to take a look at for their own modules or synths, as it can create an envelope with subtle differences every time the musician plays a new note.
  • My Three-Module Delay Chain: I like to include a CV-able filter in my delay chain, plus have ping-pong stereo delays. Here’s the delays I went through in search of this goal, and how I ended up with a three-module patch to do everything I wanted.

Also, after a long break, I am back to work creating closed captions for a few of my online modular synth courses. The free Basic Concepts of Synthesis course already has English subtitles. I am in the process of adding them to Learning Modular Synthesis Level 1: The Comprehensive Starter Course; I hope to finish that course in the next couple of months, and then move on to the Moog Mother-32 course.

All of the movies I’ve finished so far have English subtitles that I’ve edited by hand; the movies in the first two chapters of the main Learning Modular Synthesis course also have mostly machine-generated subtitles in Spanish, Italian, German, French, and Dutch (volunteers have helped me with editing a few of those). I am very curious to hear your feedback if the machine-generated titles are helpful, or have too many errors in them to be useful.

Patreon Updates

During March, I filled in my Patrons on my progress rehearsing and performing at the ambient event mentioned above. This included a recording of one of my rehearsals (with patch notes), a detailed breakdown of the event itself (the article above is a greatly edited-down version of this post), and a sneak preview + Patch Breakdown of my submission for the Colorado Modular Synth Society’s Drones for Peace compilation. The first is available to all subscribers; the latter two are for +5v and above subscribers.

I also wrote up a detailed Track Breakdown and background on The Cave – my performance at the recent SynthFest France show. Finally, I went over changes in the Monster studio modular to its note sequencing, trigger pattern generation, and live performance section. Both of those posts are for +5v and above subscribers.

Upcoming Events

May 6-8: Mountain Skies (White Horse Black Mountain, near Asheville, North Carolina)

There will be a total of 30(!) acts those two days, plus a less formal hang and jam on Sunday the 8th. I am tentatively scheduled to appear Friday the 6th during the noon-3 PM EDT slot, as the fourth of five acts in that slot. Click here to purchase either in-person or streaming tickets. I’ll be hanging around Asheville before and after to visit the Moogseum, take the public Moog factory tour (which I am told will be operating again by then), and more – if you’re going to be in the area that week, get in touch and we’ll see if we can connect.

June 24: Currents New Media Festival (Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico)

I – along with James Coker (Meridian Alpha), Sine Mountain (David Soto), and Jill Fraser – will be performing in quad during a special electronic music night during the festival. There will be no live stream of this event, and seating is limited; when ticketing for the festival appears on the Currents New Media site, you can RSVP to make sure you get in. Tickets are pay-what-you-can, with a recommended donation of $10; all proceeds go directly to the artists.

One More Thing…

My older brother Ronald is the one who got me into music (and electronics, and video). He runs a site called Starving Students Music Supplies where he tries to source good deals on a wide range of music accessories to pass on to his fellow musicians.

One of those he hooked up with was Chris Cardone of Luigi’s Modular. Chris made and sold his own line of patch cables, and when he had to get out of the selling end of the business, he sold his remaining stock to Ronald.

Now – with Chris’ permission – Ronald has been manufacturing the Luigi’s Spaghetti cables and making them available for sale. He just got a huge new shipment in, so this is the best time to shop; ask for the colors and lengths you need if you don’t see them online (he’s just a one-person operation, and it takes time to create listings for so many products).

Luigi’s Spaghetti cables are among the best choices out there. They have a softer barrel and sleeve than most, making them more pleasing to handle. They drape very nicely, and straighten out without kinks almost instantly. Here is a video I created demonstrating why I like them, and here is a beginner article I wrote about selecting patch cables.

You can buy them through Starving Students through a few different outlets, depending on your shopping preference:

keeping busy