Vintage '82

My Virtual Life in a Nutshell

I wont even start about how long it’s been since I posted in this blog. You already know. But in brief explanation, I went from being seriously unemployed and broke for a few months to working 60 hours a week. Needless to say, I’ve had little time work on projects. But I did do quite a bit of work on the ASM-2 (plus CGS and Yusynth modules) build while unemployed.

_MG_6553

Drilling holes in the front panel

I decided to work on the housing since I had no money for components and needed to further clarify how certain modules needed to be modified before they’d work properly. I did a super ghetto job of applying a paper mask over a sheet of aluminum that will serve as the front panel for the modular synth.The holes near the center had to be drilled by hand as my drill press did not have sufficient reach. Most all the wholes are aligned well accept those drilled with the hand drill. Frustrating, but I knew this would not be perfect.

_MG_6562

Drilled however imperfectly

I decided to make a singular unit (as the ASM-2 was intended to be) and not break it out into a truly modular format (i.e. individual panels for each module) in attempts to quell the feared modularitus! In other words, I didn’t want to get into building or purchasing more and more synth modules. It can become a costly and endless obsession. I have enough obsessions, thank you.

I then primed and painted the panel. It will be white and set in a wooden case covered in yellow upholstery.

ASM-Plus_box

Handmade everything

Next I need UPS to drop off this power supply I bought and hook this thing up! I also need to illustrate the front panel, label the controls, etc. I’m still not sure how I want to do this. I want it to look neat, but artistic as well… hmmm. The saga continues.

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France, Flicker, and More: An Update

I know I haven’t made good use of this blog at all this year. This is my first Vintage ’82 post in 2012 actually!

I have yet to complete any of the projects I have started. No excuses, I find myself coming up with many reasons NOT to complete things that are painfully close to completion. The digital synthis all but completed; needing only to be wired together and boxed up.

The ASM-2 is much closer to being done. I am currently building by hand (from found materials) the box it will be housed in. Hopefully my briefcase-style idea will see fruition, but I will settle for a desktop case if all else fails.

Drilling holes in one of the home-etched circuit boards

I have started a soundcloud account for my more experimental works in audio under the blog name as well, but have added only one track so far:

Vintage ’82 Soundcloud

The forthcoming album in the Automatic Thoughts project is indeed still forthcoming, but I have settled on the tracks that it will consist of as well as the artwork that will accompany it. It is a collection of pieces ranging from somber and dreamy to romantic and reminiscent. It will be released on cassette (I secured a small lot of whit shell blank tapes on ebay for cheap) and of course digital.

In the mean time my endeavor into photography has been active and educational. A few months ago I didn’t know the difference between ISO, Exposure, and Aperture which made for some pretty useless images with the occasional lucky shot. Now with this knowledge, a decent digital camera in the Canon T3i, and a handful of vintage manual prime and zoom lenses to work with, I feel I’m really learning the art of photography (though I am still quite armature).

The  wife and I just got back yesterday from a week in her hometown of Aix en Provence, France and while posting a couple pictures online, I realized I hadn’t yet introduced my Flicker account here.

Vintage ’82 Flicker

Barrage de Bimont

That is all for now. More updates as I get my lazy butt in motion.

Project Update: 12-27-11

OK. So since my last post on the Automatic Thoughts tab (pertaining to the first live show I did here in Portland, OR [my new home]) I have done nothing productive except work on sourcing materials for my synths and other projects/distractions. I’ve put some work into designing front panals for my Rockit 8-Bit synth/Where’s The Party At? 8-Bit sampler that I’ve decided to build together and into a small briefcase I found free at a recycling center.

I purchased a sheet of what seems to be black polycarbonate  for a dollar at the local ReStore and was somewhat saddened to find that it was too thick to attach the components  to properly once drilled. So what did I do? I sanded the hell out of it with a drywall sander and commenced to get un-vacuumable plastic dust all over my studio/workshop/office/bedroom. I almost have it down to a usable thickness and started fitting some components just for S’s and G’s.

The 8-Bit Box v0.001

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The Rockit Has Arrived!

Rockit 8bit digital synth circuit board!

The circuit board for my Rockit 8-bit digital synth arrived in the mail today from HackMe Electronics. Can’t wait to start soldering this thing together and making some noise, but first things first. I have a gig in a couple weeks and I need to get my sh!t together before anything else.

Also, my latest (and hopefully short-lived) obsession with vintage cameras has yielded two lofi beauties in the Honeywell Electric Eye 35 (known by many other names in many other brands) and a 126 film shooter the Yashica EZ-Matic. The one found cheap on shopgoodwill.com and the other at a local thrift store, respectively. I just bought a lot of 126 film off of ebay  and plan on refilling with regular 35mm once those all run out as it was discontinued as a format by the last makers makers in 2007.

Heavy things. If they don't yeild good photos they can at least be used as weapons.

Well that’s all for now. Next installment will be the journey of a thousand solder joints. It starts with one…

FB-01 and Other FM Synths

Well it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted here. I’m well enough employed here in Portland, OR as is the wife, so the money pressure is off for the time being. Thus, I have returned to my habit of window shopping for gear.

One of my latest obsessions has been FM (Frequency Modulation) synthesizers. FM synthesis was a technology patented by Yamaha in 1977. I bought a Yamaha FB-01 4 synth module a few months ago for about $40 on ebay. It’s a neat little device, though presently I can only create my own synth patches for it by hooking it up to my old PC laptop (I can brew a pot of coffee and drink a cup in the time it takes to boot-up). There is no editor software for Mac OS, but the free PC editor app is here.

I have found there to be many beautifully useful patch banks written by others and posted here and there on the interwebs for all FB-01 owners to enjoy (see the bottom of this post for links). I used a few for tracks I’ve been working on for my next self-release. Really going after that neo-dated, melty, washed-out sound the kids are diggin’ these days.

Here’s a track I threw together in an evening using a monome max patch called Accord and the FB-01 module recorded into Ableton Live. The drums are FB-01 as well, but sampled from a YouTube demo vid and reduxed, effected, etc.

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Oregon My Oregon

Oregon after three days of corn fields

We’re here. Arrived in Portland a week ago. Still learning the town, still looking for a job.

Got the studio set back up, though:

I have a thing for cassette decks and old audio electronics in general. The receiver at the bottom of the stack was handed down from a friend and sounds pretty bad (and not in a good way). I’ve had my eye on a Marantz receiver/amp at the Salvation Army. Might have to cop that and chuck this one. Not shown is a Yamaha FB-01 I just received. Yeah, I could probably produce very similar sounds with vst and you need a virtual editor to edit the sounds anyway, but I think this is more fun.

I also have a small, but eclectic collection of instruments and noise-makers I use for sound sources (also not shown). My favorites as of right now are my Hal-Leonard “Piano-Fun” kid’s keyboard (sampled heavily on my forthcoming EP release) and my xylophone.

The projects will continue after I find a job and have a little bit of money and legitimately “free” time to put into them. Until then wish us luck. We will do our best to “keep Portland weird”.

Moving!

Almost done packing up for our move from sunny Bloomington, IN to Portland, OR. We have a three day (more or less) journey by Penske® ahead of us with wagon in toe. Not looking forward to the actual move itself as that I don’t travel well, but Portland sounds like an exciting, if not overly popular, change of venue.

Also, they seem to have an active electronic music scene (see Nueva Forma post) that I am eager to investigate. Anyway, more on that and other things of interest once I’m settled in…

Nueva Forma

A Chill/IDM/Glitch label I’m enjoying right now.

 

http://nuevaforma.bandcamp.com/

8 Bits of Fun

This looks/ sounds cool. I think I might toss $25 in there to get a bare kit. One more thing to collect dust till I settle in in Portland…

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/790206393/rockit-8-bit-synth-kit?ref=video

A matching sound module for a WTPA? 8 bit sampler 🙂

http://narrat1ve.com/

ASM-2 Analog Synth

Here, I will be showcasing the creation of my ASM-2 synth build. I purchased the circuit board containing all the modules from Elby Designs quite some time… over a year ago… you know, life just gets in the way some times.

Anyways, I will be noting my progress here for all to see. I have only heard of a few of these being completed. See Sneak Thief‘s. It’s kind of an intense build for a beginner such as myself, but the samples I’ve heard of these sound wonderful.

A demo of Brazada Lui Novak’s ASM-2 built by Strat-1: