Jun 26, 2009 Uncategorized
You know, most of the time I just kind of shrug at the deaths of famous people. I mean, it’s sad, especially when they die young, but I have never felt connected enough to a famous people to feel strongly affected by it, even if I enjoyed their work. Like, if a great musician dies, it’s not really that different for me than if they just quit music. Sure, it sucks that they won’t be releasing new albums, and it’s sad in an abstract way.
However, I must admit that I’m feeling really weirded out by Michael Jackson’s death. Perhaps it’s in part that he never really felt like a *person* to me. He was just an icon, a part of the music business. It never felt like he was someone who *could* die. And it feels like this changes the world in some way. I’m not even a fan of Michael Jackson, but he was a defining element in the world, and it’s just so weird to think of him not being in it.
Jun 24, 2009 Gear
Despite my lack of a multiples module, a mixer or anywhere near a normal number of cables, it’s entirely possible to sit there for an hour building crazy patches and playing with them now.
I just have to be careful to not become one of those people who spends the rest of their life playing with modular patches and never writes another song.
Jun 24, 2009 Gear
Okay, so obviously I wasn’t going to be able to let that sit for long. I looked at the oscillator’s spec sheet, and the cables that I have seem to represent two of the four cables required to attach an oscillator helper module. I’m a little confused by that. I’m not yet sure what else they’re for.
On the other hand, while I had the specs out, I was able to check and set the jumper that allows me to route the incoming pitch signal in the oscillator out to another oscillator, so now I can do some detuned mixing without waiting for a multiples module. (The “mixing” here being in the very loose sense of just plugging both outputs into the amplifier, or plugging both into their own amps and mixing them on the computer.)
I’m still curious about these, “Time Cables!” I suppose I could ask the guy I bought the modules from, but that seems like less fun somehow.
Jun 24, 2009 Gear
Well, this is mostly just a follow-up. The second-hand modules that I posted about a little while ago arrived today in good condition and are installed in the modular. It does look fancier! I’d be doing the photos-and-video thing, but I made a critical error in planning.
You see, since I’m getting my modules as part of the Synthesizers.com entry level plan, the part that I don’t usually bother mentioning is that each installment comes with one or more cables as well, of various lengths more or less plotted out so that you’ll have everything you need at any given time. These modules, having been bought a la carte, did not come with any cabling*, nor did I purchase any. As such, I’ve got them installed, but lack the required cables to make them *do* much of anything. Whoops! I’ll be popping out to Long & McQuade on Friday to get some assorted cables to rectify the situation, but until then, I’ve performed some basic tests and did make one patch with both oscillators included (one acting as a “drone”), but otherwise they’re not really active.
(It will also help to get the Multiples module and the Mixer, which is going to be a little while yet.)
That said, 9 of the 22 front-facing spaces are full, so I’m a little less than halfway there. :) (My current plan only has me filling 21 of the 22 spots immediately, actually.)
* It’s not strictly true that it didn’t come with cabling — it came with two small cables in a baggie from Mouser labelled in Sharpie, “Time Cables!” I have no idea what these are for. They seem to be three-pin female connectors on both end, and there are some male connectors of that sort on the circuit boards of the modules, but without going and flipping through the specs sheets, I don’t even know what those connectors do, much less why I’d connect them to anything. I guess it’s time to go look at specs! If any of you have any idea, feel free to drop me a comment. :)
Jun 23, 2009 Gear
It’s one of the synths that everybody dreams of, and now it’s mine!
Okay, okay, it’s made of paper and it doesn’t make any sound, but it really perks up my desk at work. And the panel lifts and lowers!
As you can see from my photos, the seams aren’t staying together very well. If I have one recommendation about this fun, 15-minute project, it’s to use a good liquid paper glue! I only had one of those cheap glue sticks available. I still think it looks pretty nifty anyway.
Jun 18, 2009 Gear
I spent about an hour learning how to get the Synthesizers.com analog modular working with my workflow tonight. It’s not as easy as working with the softsynths that I’m used to, but it’s doable, and it has a lovely sound.
Once I had the hang of it, I spent a short while tossing together this little loopy thing so that you could all hear it. The small amounts of percussion are actually being provided by Battery, but otherwise it’s being done with the Modular (and a small amount of effects).
Dotcom Test 1:
I’m sure I’ll learn to do more interesting things with it in the long run, but I had fun tossing that together. I may hang on to it to maybe use in something later.
Jun 16, 2009 Gear
I just got my first Q106 Oscillator, Q108 Amplifier and Q109 Envelope Generator. Together with the Q104 MIDI Interface, the Q137 Power Control Module and the QPS1 Power Supply that I already had, I now have a functioning noise-maker thingy!
I patched it all up and, after only a couple of minutes of fits and starts (really, I thought I should use the trigger output from the MIDI interface to control the EG rather than the gate, but that was it), I did indeed get sound out of it! There’s some drift and a really weird bump at the beginning of the notes when using the pulse wave, but I’ll have more time to play with that tomorrow.
I wasn’t able to lay things out in my planned arrangement because I don’t have enough long cables, but I can move them later.
Photos, audio and video to come tomorrow, no doubt.
In the meantime… w00t! (Of course, now I have to figure out if I have a MIDI cable long enough to use for actual sequencing.)
Jun 16, 2009 Uncategorized
For those of you who aren’t familiar with impostor syndrome, it’s the idea that you’re in a situation or position that you don’t really deserve, that people see someone more qualified and competent than you really are, and often it comes with the fear that either you won’t be able to continue fulfilling your duties that you’ve been sort of luckily blundering through thus far or that you’ll be discovered as the fraud you are, possibly through the former.
None of you who know me well will be at all surprised to hear that I deal with impostor syndrome a lot. I’ve written about it elsewhere with respect to my day job. I’ve also written about what a revelation it is to read that even very well-known, successful musicians get a hefty dose of this and often approach every album feeling like they’ve somehow lucked through the last several albums and this is going to be the one where the wellspring runs dry and they won’t be able to do it again.
The aspect of this that I’ve been thinking about today, though, is the strongly disassociative aspect.
Today I’ve been listening to Ramp tracks on shuffle at work. I do that every once in a while. I’m really enjoying it.
The odd part is that the parts of the songs that I really like, where I listen to a segment and think, “Wow, that was really brilliant,” I completely disassociate from. I strongly identify with the bits that I hear as broken and remember exactly what was going through my head and why I made those choices, and all the mistakes feel very “me”. But the good bits I really do process as if they were done by someone else or came from somewhere else. And I think that that’s a big part of the impostor syndrome feeling — feeling like your successes weren’t your own doing (especially while your mistakes were). Some strange fugue came over you in which you channelled someone else entirely (or your software did it all for you), and what’s the likelihood that that’s going to happen again?
It’s been really strange listening today and realizing just how strongly I do process the parts that I like as having come from someone or something or somewhere else, and don’t at all recognize my own hand in them at all, while the mistakes just feel so personal.