So you wanna control buttons?

Since I first started manipulating live samples, I’ve always wanted some kind of trigger surface that’s nothing but a bunch of dumb buttons that trigger samples via internal bank or MIDI.

For a long time I’ve been using loopers and other devices to gather and playback samples. But nowadays I’m looking at changing around my live setup, and think I’d really like to add a ‘sample bank’ to the config so I can work with pre-made samples as well as live-sampled sounds.

There’s a few interesting companies I’ve found, one of course I’ve looked at for several years for some kind of modular setup of my own: the Doepfer CTM series is along the lines of what I’ve been wanting. And now they have a cool ‘Mini’ enclosure to bring down the cost, cool huh?

A similar device, specific to MIDI button control is being produced by Monome, though they have a limited product line with not so comparable prices to the Doepfer DIY method. But they still look quite cool and extremely usable, not to mention sturdy.

Then there’s the brand new one by Yamaha. The Tenori-On allows both MIDI control and on-board audio, so it’s a bit of a different beast, and looks like it’s probably meant more for the mass-produce market than DIY’ers.

mmmm, think it’s time to get a doepfer?

Listening on

some recent releases on digital i’m enjoying. some brand new, some not so new, but they keep me coming back:

  • Kim Cascone has a special way of writing music like the sound of crumpling paper, here stratified by field recordings on The Astrum Argentum. I’m especially drawn to the sounds in this recording, especially how conscious-close they are to escaping all original form; the experienced listener expertly removes themselves from reality with kim’s music.

  • Two recent items of the Xymogen imprint are very enjoyable: Progress Report is the definition of a great compilation, with brilliance in each example of wide ranging styles and approaches. Mercury Effect also recently impressed with Ataxia, a crunchrubbery fractured hike down a trail of broken beats.

  • Boulder, CO’s Ten and Tracer has two recent large ominous blobs of fine output, one on Archipel : L-Msaria B-Lglass, and another on Zymogen : Baker’s Blood. Here is a sound with a special way of slicing its incongruence into your expectations, equal parts textured noise, equal parts thumping bass beat madness, equal parts bizarre.

  • From mates Audiobulb the spring begat an Ultre album wrapped as All The Darkness Has Gone To Details, a work of collage and contrast that has grown into my ear like a mercuric fuzz, creaking at the edges of fragile electro-acoustic balance.

Some vinyl jibber jabber coming soon, I figure this is as good of a place as any to express my views of some great music.

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Networking ideas at Ramp

Liz Revision, aka Quantazelle has a new DJ residency at Ramp Chicago, a monthly night at Sonotheque featuring “ambient, IDM, electro and quirky, glitchy techno.” Yes, good music remains alive in Chi-town!!!

Congrats first off to Liz for the residency! If you know her music but don’t know her jewelry design, check out the goods at Fractalspin. I like them because she does similar things with jewelry that I’ve applied so some of my sculpture.

untitled, side

This is also interesting because they’re hosting a ‘demo swap meet’ as their July installment. I think this is a great way to build community and get the people who really care about music into the same room!

The Demo Swap edition of Ramp Chicago is July 17.

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Brian Eno’s 77 million and the Mac

If you’re in San Fran, do not miss the North American premiere of Brian Eno’s 77 Million Paintings exhibit at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts the weekend of June 29th.

This looks like a fantastic thing, what’s even cooler is that it’s all done with Macs!

You can also buy the work on DVD, but obviously it was meant for a grand space. Details of the event are on the Long Now Foundation website.

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