Dienstag, 27. März 2012

My new Buchla Box!

I recently bought a two panel powered box and put my two modules in it. I am constantly amazed by the sounds it makes. I hope I can uprgade too a bigger case soon. The new Skylab by Buchla&Asocciates looks very promising and will cover my needs for a transportable case.

As I said before, I love the 259e.

Buchla, Buchla 200e

Buchla, Buchla 200e

Buchla, Buchla 200e

Mittwoch, 21. März 2012

Buchla 158 Front Panel

I was always fascinated by the first system Buchla ever build, the Buchla 100. There have been a lot of DIY projects recently exploring the vaste amount of Buchla schemetics. And some people did  wonderful jobs cloning entire systems for themselves. As the 258 is alredy available from someone else I thought I make a panel for the 158 from the Buchla 100 and see where people take it from there. I loved the sound of it when Morton Subotnick brought his Buchla 100 system to Vienna that also included a 158. I went for the same font as on the Eardrill modules which is extremly close to the font on the 200e panels as I thought that nowadays people will use it primarily with original Buchla 200e modules.So I hope they will be a very close match. The lines are a bit thicker than on Buchla 200e modules as I felt that the panel would otherwise look a bit empty. I put San Francisco Tape Music Center on it as a tribute to those times  I have no idea when I can make them available as I have a lot of other stuff going on but if you are interested in one send me mail (or pm on muff's) so I can roughly estimate how many I should order. If you are looking for some sounds of the original check out monopoly's blog: mono-poly.blogspot.com The panel is not finished yet.

Dienstag, 20. März 2012

Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II

The drone band Earth is coming to Vienna  next week (28.3. Arena Wien) to promote there seventh full-length studio album Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II. It was just released on the experimental heavy metal label Southern Lord Records.

Short update: the concert was wonderful, even better than I had imagined it. So if you ever have the chance to see them live don't miss it.

Sonntag, 18. März 2012

Protofields and the Buchla 200

 This is my favorite Buchla 200 video. So inspiring. I think this is the Buchla that now belongs too former NIN member Alessandro Cortini but correct me if I am wrong.

An extremely rare version of Protofields piece made in one take with the Buchla 200 System. This is just a memory of these days not a finished work.

Music by Antonio Isaac, camera by Gerardo Pellicer.


The knob of insanity

A while back I wanted too buy a 294 Infinite Phase Shifter. As it is not part of the "e" series I wanted to use the old red and blue Rogen knobs for it. At that time I took part in a group buy for the small blue unskirted Rogan Knobs. So after scoring those I was trying to find the big red knob which is also used on the 218. I knew that this specific knob is as rare as hen's teeth. So I asked around for quite a while and already wanted too give up when I found a guy who was willing to sell one to me.
As I feard that he might back out I offerd him a crazy amount of money for it. And he gladly took it (who wouldn`t).  Till that day my girlfriend still shakes her head in disbelief. So what. Even if I will never use it, it's an wonderful piece of plastic.

Samstag, 17. März 2012

Man as Art

I made a discovery today. My mother's husband showed me a book that totally blew my mind.
Its's about tribes from Papua New Guinea. Originally published as a $45 hardcover in 1981, this book is essentially a collection of photographs of New Guinea natives decked out in their finest paint, feathers, and jewelry. It is made by the photographer Malcolm Kirk. The German title is "Menschen und Masken". The photographer is using a Nikon camera and a 55-mm-Micro-Nikkor. No Buchlas in Papua New Guinea I guess but I will be thinking about this amazing pictures the next time I'll patch something. If you find this book anywhere check it out.

Freitag, 16. März 2012

Suzanne Ciani: Lixiviation

Labeled the “American Delia Derbyshire (Delia Ann Derbyshire (5 May 1937 – 3 July 2001) was an English musician and composer of electronic music and musique concrète) of the Atari generation,” Finders Keepers Record has released a compilation that features early compositions by the synth pioneer Suzanne Ciani who was one of the few women around that timethat made a career as a synthesist. This new album heavily features the Buchla 200.

In the 60's sculptor Harold Paris first introduced her to Don Buchla, whose studio building was next door to the UC Berkeley in the industrial waterfront section of Oakland. She worked for Don Buchla in his factory and by doing so got her first Buchla 200.

For me she is not just making music but creates landscapes that unfold in front of you as
you listen to the record. And it takes you to places where you have never been before.

Suzanne Ciani says about one of the pieces included on this compilation:
“This is an exampleof a Buchla piece where the music is generated by the machine itself, after lots of careful programming. I would spend weeks just living with the machine, always on, and tweak the parameters that were interacting to create this “automatic” composition. The idea was that you worked with the machine, setting up sequences and envelopes and filter modulations that interacted  in an organic way. The composition then infolded infinitely, going for weeks.”

Suzanne Ciani has a very detailed but also in my eyes, joyful approche in a way that I realy like and I would say that this record is definitely a piece of electronic music history.

Eardrill's new module: the Morphun

Eardrill, a company that is making Buchla compatible modules has just anounced that they will be releasing a new ModuleModule in the next couple of weeks. Chris Muir introduced the ModuleModule format a while back and is continuing to come up with great designs that compliment the 200e or old 200 systems. Finally also some other manufacturer have dicovered that the ModuleModule is a great platform for some of there designs. For example the Eurorack manufacturer Intelijel will be releasing their uStep module which is a 8-step (or 16 step) stepsequencer.

The new ModuleModule is called Morphun. With the Morphun it you can easily reshape control voltages making it a playable CV processor. The interesting part for me is that it can also be used as a simple eight step sequenzer.

Chris Muir wrote on his home page that the Morphun will have four main modes.

Morph The mode I started with is the morph mode. As a historical reference, Morph mode is sort of like the Tracking Generator found on an Oberheim Xpander, and sort of like the breakpoint generator on the 256e/257e. In this mode, a control voltage coming into the morph jack scans across the values on the sliders, interpolating between slider values as it goes. This lets you sculpt / reshape a control voltage into many curious shapes. 

Snap Then I added snap mode, which snaps between the values on the sliders. A full-scale ramp at the morph input will act as a sort of sequencer, stepping through the eight values on the slider. For example, if you drive the Morphun from an LFO with an ascending sawtooth wave, the sliders will be output in order, if from a descending saw the sliders will be output in reverse order. If you drive it with a Source of Uncertainty Quantized Random section set to 8 steps, the Morphun will randomly select among the eight sliders to output. 

Clock Clock mode is more or less a normal sequencer.

Strobe Strobe mode is sort of a cross between morph and clock mode, the value at the morph input is sampled every clock, than the interpolated value is looked up on the sliders.

Looking forward to this module and I hope I can place an order soon. Love that it has sliders like some old Buchla 200 modules.

Donnerstag, 15. März 2012


One of my favorite tracks at the moment. Mater Suspirias Vision's remix  of "Love Religion".   
The track was originaly released in October 1994 by U96. The remix is just amazing. The heavy reverb and the very low BPM rate gives this song a whole new feeling. What I realy like about the whole witch house thing is that a lot of stuff is recorded with lofi gear or at least it sounds like it. And it is more like (or was) more like a short movment rather than a style of music. For me with the long delays and reverbs it's feels like an new wave of psychedelica. 
Do not believe in everything you see - the owls are not what they seem.

My old system and the 258v

My old system before I had to sell it (Sitting on top of the Eurorack). Sadly I have never used an original 258 but the 258v by Mark Verbos is one of the most amazing oscillators I have ever heard. Outer space FM, amazing drones and bell sounds this oscillator does it all. And the great part there are two in one module. The best part is when you crossmodulate both oscillators. Mark even added a trimmed 1.2 volt/octave CV input.

From the Buchla historical homepage: "Two independent voltage-controlled oscillators, continuously tunable from 5 Hz to 20 kHz. Each has two processing inputs and a frequency modulation input. Waveshapes as well as frequency can be voltage controlled. Model 258 oscillators feature low sine wave harmonic content, negligible settling error, and high short and long-term stability, even with rapidly changing ambient temperatures."

This will be my next oscillator for sure as I miss it dearly.

Morton Subotnik's Sidewinder

 My favorite pice of music by Morton Subotnik. I actually met him in person about one year ago when he performed in Vienna and also gave a lecture, explaining his old Buchla 100 system he brought with him. He also talked about his involvment with the first modular that Don Buchla build for him and about the time when he and Ramon Sender founded the The San Francisco Tape Music Center in 1962.

He also brought his 200e with him (he told me that it was actually a loan from Don Buchla) and I talked with him, about which of the oscillators I should get first. It was interesting to see that he had two 292e in a twelve spacer. Interesting choice indeed.
What a nice evening and what a nice person. A true music legend. 

The 281e Quad Function Generator

This was actually my first real Buchla Module. But the first one I had to sell. So after I recived my 259e I picked this one up on Muffs as it was already in Europa and so I avoided the usual import taxes. It was realy nice of the seller to include a double banana plug.

The 281e is a very usefull, fun and also important modules for the Buchla system. It is basicaly four simple Attack Release transient envelope generators in one module. It is not as esoteric as some other Buchla modules but it does what it does pretty well. It can be used as a simple LFO but there is one downside to it. Without a voltage processor like the 256e or the 254v by Mark Verbos the 281e in cycling mode won't go slower than 10 seconds. But appart from that I totaly love it. Reminds me of the days when I still had my Eurorack and used my Math with the QMMG.

The 259e Complex Waveform Generator

Just before I went to  北京 for one semester to study chinese I recived my first Buchla oscillator from Buchla & Associates. I had no power supply for it after selling most of my Buchla stuff a bit earlier to finance my semester in China, so it just sat at home for six months waiting for me to get home and get a power supply again.

I went for the 259e Complex Waveform Generator. Like all the newer Buchla oscillators it is actually two oscillators in one module. The modulation oscillator of the 259e offers three basic wave shapes: square, triangle and sawtooth. The principal oscillator of the 259e offers far more waveforms. There are two wavetable banks that are driven by a digital sine wave. Because the 259e uses digital wave tables, the output waves exhibit aliasing. And I have too say I love the aliasing of the 259e. With the 259e alone one can have a lot of fun. What I realy like about this module is that three of its wave tables on each bank are reserved for memory scanning. The 259e scanns it's own memory and you can find beautiful sounds between silence.

Buchla 259e, Buchla

In the beginning there was a garden

My passion with modular gear started a few years ago. When my best friend and I where looking for some Roland keybord synths we discoverd the world of modular synthesizers. We decided, after almost a year of  planning, calculating and recalculating to start a Eurorack together. But after dicovering the Buchla 200 and after finding out that Don Buchla is not only still in business but his new 200e series sets new standards for innovative musician interfaces I knew that sooner or later I had too place an order. The idea that that the Buchla is more than just a collection of modules and feels more like an instrument is still facinating to me. The dream too sit in the garden and wove the sounds that suround me so ever tempting.