Friday 16 April 2010

Dark Dub dub dub dub...dub.....dub.....dub

As time and samples wait for no man we had no sooner packed all those fab little boxes away before we moved onto our next little sound adventure - some dark dub samples for Computer Music.

As you can see from the pics we broke out the hardware effects to inject the right amount of analogue dirt into these samples. The drainpipe at the top is a Great British Spring reverb unit, we've mentioned it before in this blog and it's perfect for that honky verb sound.

Underneath is a new addition of our moogerfooger armoury (infact we only now are missing the new midi murf) - the analogue delay. An absolutely fantastic unit, we were blown away by it to be honest, just inserting an expression pedal to control the feedback made us smile for ages, we're a bit sad like that.

Another great feature is the ability to run the delay feedback through an external effect unit and back into the delay so the echoes get processed. We used a moogerfooger phaser to add some nice grimey shimmer and phatness to the repeats. Nice

Of course this little beauty has graced this blog before as well, our much loved Roland Space Echo tape delay. We'd be lying if part of why we love it so much wasn't to do with hope cheap we got it (and in such good nick). But mostly it's just how great it sounds.opicak
We also rinsed our other couple of spring verbs, a battered and crappy (in a good way) bucket brigade Frontline rack delay and out other tape unit, the bad boy of the two, a Watkins Copicat.
If you can't/don't want to wait for the mag we've uploaded a taster here

Those Bleeping boxes

Hi all, just a quick post to let you know that some preview examples of the FM 226 little boxes sample set are now up for you to download and abuse at our soundcloud page here.

Friday 2 April 2010

Lil' Boxes Part 05

Here's a couple of 'Buddha boxes', very low-fi playback boxes that contain various low bit-rate looped recordings of chants, mantras or music to aid meditation. How such crackly, hissy samples can aid any ones peaceful meditation is beyond us but they are an interesting starting point for some sound mangling. The packaging is really nice as well...

And rounding things of with some more shocking pink styling is this Korg Kaossilator. A really nifty little box of tricks, we really like the gate and arp options as well as the poke, stroke, tap and touch interface. For this set of samples we ran the Kaossilator through the Highly flammable filter to rough up the sound a bit.

Thursday 1 April 2010

'Lil Boxes Part 04

Here's a real treat, a trio of handmade marvels put together for us by our mate (and component/solder and all round audio genius) Andy Lemon. As well as making these little beauties together for us we also persuaded him to scribble down a few words about each , so over to you Andy...

Tupperware Party Synth
"This ones my own oddball combination of a few different experiments generating audio via monostable osc's using feedback, osc drain and stable oscillation to generate more interesting tones out of a very simple circuit. nice thing about this design is you could chain lots of these together to make monstrous drones :) plus it's insanely cheap to build! I've popped the guts of this one into a tupperware box bought in a multipack in poundland - who needs project boxes when you can get 3 for a pound."

Highly Flammable Filter
"This is loosely based on a Forrest M Mimms circuit from his lovely book "Op Amps IC Circuits" - the filter itself is a 'sallen key' lowpass filter. It has a lovely warm analog sound to it, with proper cutoff and resonance control based as it is off the 741 amp. the design allows you to plug in any sound source and give it a little filtering joy - instant grit and fatness. It's built into a ex rental video cassette case I had laying around for one of the old tapes that got eaten by my trusty VCR (great for building these things in). I'm currently working on a filter +overdrive combo unit based on this same design soon with clipping control..."

Punktastic Synth
"the punktastic synth is a bit of a hacky job of Forrest M Mims 'stepped tone generator' circuit ( which got renamed to the Atari Punk Console on the Internet as these things do).
My mods are really simple and involve just messing with the default capacitor types and values to produce a more interesting and warm sound. I used very high value pots to give to give a little more control to the user when making the beep beeps and trying to eliminate the total randomness of the sound generation. I built it into a little mint tin I had laying around - you have o remember to shield the innards of any metal box you use or otherwise you'll have all sorts of wonderful electronic grounding issues..."

Are we chuffed, oh yeah.......;)

Lil' boxes part 03

Carrying on the 'white box' theme, here is a Monotoniclabs N37 seq/synth that combines a simple 4 step sequencer with a voltage controlled oscillator for your noise making pleasure. With the clock rate low you get some fab 4 note sequences, turn it up fast and you get into computer game FX-type territory.
Check the guys website here.

From crisp while lines to our favourite yellow box of peril - the Bug Brand ICONweevil. A few years old now I'll leave it to the man behind it's truly chaotic audio madness to explain what goes on under its hood (as taken from the Bug Brand website).
"The sonic-heart of the Weevil is a bank of simple squarewave oscillators that are ring-modulated together to give a large range of sounds from drone to crackle. A range of circuit-bend techniques are then added - power starvation to make the oscillator section spin into chaos modes and body contacts which allow the player to touch parts of the circuit and directly alter the electronic flow."
A much more eloquent way of saying lick your fingers, touch the metal front plate and make it go bllleeepzzzywahhhhhwhhoooosshhhhhzzzzttt!

Lil' boxes part 02

This cheeky little devil is a Bleep Labs Thingamagoop. A rather fab sound/FX generator, the Thingamagoop contains an oscillator that is controlled by a light sensing photocell (the little buddys 'nose').

As well as reacting to ambient light the 'goop' has it's own 'LEDicle' sticking out of the top of its bonce. This LED blinks at different speeds to make the little metal dude spew forth all sorts of bleeps, burps and odd noises. Of course there's a little more to how the 'goop works but we're not going to go into too much tech spec here (as long as it works were happy :).

Now discontinued (Bleep labs have moved onto the Mk 2 'Goop) there's plenty of videos knocking around internetwebby land, of these boxes doing their thang - there's a good one here.

Next up is our Chimera BC8 synth, a mini marvel in white plastic that we've already had a quick look at last year (check a video of it in action here).

We love the BC8, it's truly one of those bits of kit that you're never quite sure what it's going to come up with each time it gets switched on. A trait we bloody love in a bit of kit.
Check out Chimeras website here for more great stuff

Lil' Boxes Part 01

One of the projects we had to get done before MR Hoodee headed stateside was the sample set for Future Music issue 226 - out later this month. The theme was sounds from out collection of little boxes that make noises (bleeps, bloops, squeekz, phartz ect and hardly a recognisable note in sight ;) and as we had limited space within the issue to go over what small but perfectly formed delights we used (and abused), we thought this might be a good place to into a bit of detail.
We went for a mix of commercially available boxes (although some are quite limited run units) and some one-off hand made boxes made for us by some of the talented audio-alchemists we've been lucky enough to meet/bother/stalk.

Okay then first up we have........

Gakken SX-150
Little Japanese lo-fi mono synth that comes in a simple kit and screws together (it also ships with a fab looking Japanese synth mag). The SX-150 has a choice of eithe square or sine waveform which is triggered by running the pen along the ribbon strip. Although it's pretty limited, the Gakken can make some great noises and fx and there are plenty of hacks/mods for it online.