Cute black kitten sits atop an Arturia MicroBrute (red edition), above Behringer Model D synthesizer and next to a theremin. From Sinclair Castro via Facebook.
We start off this week with a black cat playing the theremin.
We get a peek at some modules below, and I find myself wondering if the theremin is controlling them. She definitely sees the antenna as a toy 😸. It reminds us of our video of Merp with the photo theremin.
Pepino the one-eared cat proudly shows off his theremin. From Arnaldo M. Negro via Facebook.
The theremin appears to be a Moog Etherwave, the older and higher-end instrument that inspired the Theremini that we at CatSynth often use. We look forward to hearing Pepino’s music one day.
Kona the cat is quite excited to play the Moog Theremini. We certainly enjoy playing ours 😺
From our friend Daev Roehr via Facebook.
Today we look back at the recent Analog Ladies edition of the Church of the Superserge that took place in late June at Robotspeak in San Francisco.
The Analog Ladies show featured solo performances by five women on analog synthesizers (along with some additional items). It was a diverse cross-section of musical and performance styles, with each artist being different focus to her set. First up was series regular Elise Gargalikis performing on a Serge Modular synthesizer with along with vocal samples and loops.
Gargalikis, who often performs as part of the duo, Slope114, has a mellifluous voice that rises above some of the noise sounds from the modular synth, while blending as a high note in longer drones.
Next up was Miss Moist, an Oakland-based electronic musician who describes her music as “electro candy pop // tropical kitsch”. She combined analog electronics with a Korg Electribe and Mini-Kaoss Pad.
[Photo by Tom Djll.]
The result was a blend of rhythms and sweet tones that did indeed match the description, but also moments of harsh glitching and moderate noise hits before returning back to the main patterns.
The next set featured Jill Fraser performing on her vintage Serge modular synthesizer.
Jill Fraser’s set featured fully formed compositions ranging over different parts of her career all the way to very recent. Some were very abstract, but with intricately detailed sound design on the Serge. I’ve always been impressed with the woodwind-like sounds that some musicians have been able to get from this instrument. There were also some melodic and rhythmic pieces as well, reflective of her career in film and TV.
Next up was Mint Park, who performed with an analog modular synthesizer made composed primarily of TipTop Audio modules along with a laptop running Ableton Live!
Her performance was intense. A strong set of beats with punctuated breaks was feed through the modular with hard grating noise that worked well in context. She kept up the energy for the entire duration of the set.
Then it was time to take the stage as the final act of show.
[Photo by Dmitri SFC]
For this set, I brought the full analog modular system, including some recent acquisitions such as the Hexinverter.net Mutant-Hijats – I opened the set with the Hihats controlled by the Make Noise Rene and the Moog Theremini. The Theremini, used exclusively as a CV controller for the modular synth, was the centerpiece of the set as it enabled full embodied performance. I also brought along the Garrahand drum, which works well fed into the Make Noise Echophon.
You can here my full performance in this video.
I always try to make sure there is a variety of textures and energy-levels and weave together a narrative structure even within improvisation. Overall, I was very pleased with this set and the response from the large crowd.
[Photo by Tom Djll.]
Indeed, all the artists were well received by the overflowing crowd at Robotspeak – it’s not a large place, but it was filled with synth enthusiasts and those who enjoy more adventurous music. This was the first Analog Ladies edition of the Church of the Super Serge, but I certainly hope it won’t be the last.
[Photo courtesy of Robotspeak.]
We have covered several of the Church of the Superserge shows at Robotspeak over the past year or so. And now I will be performing in one as part of a special Analog Ladies edition. It will be an afternoon of analog synthesizer madness featuring several of instrument’s most talented women: Jill Fraser, Mint Park, Amanda Chaudhary, Miss Moist, and 7H1NG2. It’s a casual BYOB event, so if you’re in San Francisco (or anywhere on the Bay Area transit grid) and free tomorrow afternoon, please drop by Robotspeak (589 1/2 Haight Street in SF) to hear us.
I will performing on my analog modular plus Moog Theremini, and probably wearing something with a feline theme. Here is a photo of the modular as I start to set up the initial patch for tomorrow’s set.
Things will be a little less chaotic visually by show time tomorrow. Sonically, there might be some chaos, but that is completely intentional 🙂
For our set we performed several new pieces on the theme of film, with several poems evoking treatments and plots for possible (or impossible) films. The music featured a mixture of piano, Moog Theremini, modular synth and DSI Prophet 12, which made for quite an impressive setup.
As with most Pitta of the Mind shows, we had a color/pattern theme. On this evening the theme was white.
The performance overall went quite well. You can here some audio excerpts below.
We were proceeded that evening by a trio featuring Nick Obando with Rob Pumpelly and Eli Wallace. The group performed several extended-length jazz pieces layered with Obando’s hip-hop-infused poetry.
I have to admit I do not recall much of the words/poetry, but the instrumental performance was quite memorable. I am a fan of Eli Wallace’s keyboard performance style, and Pumpelly and Obando brought their own strong technical skills to the mix. I particularly liked one piece that featured a funk rhythm with complex solos and patterns on top. The rhythm cut out in a few spots for freeform improvisation that was just long enough before returning to the funk pattern.
Overall, it was a good show, though a quiet night – possibly a combination of other performances happening that evening and the fact that the Luggage Store Gallery is at a temporary location while the main building is being renovated. But we certainly look forward to performing again, and hearing more music in the meantime.
Today we look back at a memorable show I played in a couple of weeks ago at Second Act here in San Francisco. Four acts each brought a different style of performance, instrumentation and experimentation to the stage.
First up was IMA, an electro-acoustic duo featuring Nava Dunkelman and Jeanie-Aprille Tang. Their sound blends the noisier edges of percussion with a range of electronic sources, including loops, samples, and percussive hits that complement the acoustic sources. It was a loud and intense affair, but with quiet sections. Dunkelman also used her voice during the performance as another instrument.
Then it was time to take the stage. This was another set featuring Moog Theremini and analog modular synthesizer. The color theme for this performance was blue.
[Photo by Tom Djll]
As with many of these electronic improvisation sets, it starts off very structured and then moves in different directions based on the audience, room, instrument behavior and inspiration. You can see the full performance in this video.
Overall I was quite pleased with the performance and the audience reaction.
Next up was Voicehandler, a duo of Danishta Rivero and Jacob Felix Heule.
Their sound was a bit more subtle than the previous acts. It featured Rivero on extended vocal techniques with a water-based electro-acoustic instrument of her own invention, the Hydrophonium; and Heule on extended percussion techniques that were often subtle and precise before veering into more energetic territory.
The final act was a quartet led by Idris Ackamoor featuring Mark Heshima Williams on bass, Bob Marshall in drums, and David Molina on guitar and laptop with Ableton Live!
Several of the musicians and musical pieces were familiar from Ackamoor’s renowned “afro-futurist” group The Pyramids. Indeed, the performance followed a similar structure with both a rhythmic entry and recessional. The rhythm section of Williams and Marshall was solid and perfect for some of the funkier grooves; and Ackamoor managed to move effortlessly between roles as horn-player and solo tap-dancing. It was interesting to hear David Molina and his guitar+electronic work, which I have heard before as a solo project, blended into this context.
All together it was a good show from all four groups, a diverse range of music. The large audience seem drawn to all the acts even if they initially came following one. And it’s great to see spaces like Second Act continuing to host shows like this in San Francisco. I hope to play there again sometime soon.