We’re Not Pretending is another full version of one of my experimental all hardware synth jams. The Arturia Microfreak kicks off the beginning of the jam with that off-kilter lead that underlines the jam. Once the Arturia Drumbute kicks in , the Korg Volca FM starts to play it’s dreamy pad sound. After the rest of the drums are unmuted, the Behringer Deepmind starts to punctuate the space between the lead with it’s own complementary synth stabs. You’ll also here some effects on the drums which are a combination of the EHX Grand Canyon and the EHX Ocean’s 11 pedals.
Suddenly, you’ll here the short stabs that the Microfreak were playing to creat the lead becomes long and drawn out. I’m changing that sound by using the Amp Mod button on the Microfreak which manipulates the envelope generator to completely change the sound. The final piece of the puzzle is yet another sequence that pops in from the Korg Monologue.
If you have any questions about the jam, just comment below. Make sure to subscribe on YouTube and keep visiting for more gear demos, synthesizer jams, and artist highlights.
Within the first few seconds of the song ‘Home is Where You Hang Yrself’ off of the album ‘Ghostnotes’, the slow burn sets in and you can feel your body start to drag through the muck and mud towards the Cemetery Gates.
Cemetery Gates are musicians Gene Priest and Derek Jones hailing from Knoxville, Tennessee. Aside from their love of 70s and 80s horror, they are both accomplished solo musicians that continually deliver heavy synth-laden projects continuously, seeming to never rest. The idea behind their collaborative project is to combine the feel of a horror film score mixed with the vocals and instrumentation of dark electronic pop and it works perfectly.
Ghostnotes is a deliberate, churning, ride filled with haunting melodies that stick with you for days after just one listen. Lyrically, we are dealing with some dark and heavy subject matter. Their words are meant to invoke a strong feeling and may open the door to a dark place in your heart. While still sounding very much like the darkest version of pop music available the feelings that Ghostnotes brought upon me felt almost pardoxical, I felt hopeful dread, ecstatic sadness, and thought-provoking nothingness. To feel so extreme, I knew that ‘Ghostnotes’ was something special.
From a production standpoint, the album is mastered and crafted perfectly featuring booming live drums and the heaviest of heavy synth lines, that chug and churn, guiding you through the basement of every tune. I’d recommend listening with headphones to really hear every deliberate note that is delivered. Ghostnotes is available for streaming on all the major sites and on Bandcamp.
One thing that Cemetery Gates are doing that I am very excited about is they are now offering a subscription service through their Bandcamp and their record label Grief Thief Records. For the low price of $25 per year you get unlimited streaming of everything they put out. This is a very intriguing service and you don’t see a lot of musicians using this format. The amount of music they are offering is huge and varied. They deliver new music monthly including rescored original horror soundtracks, bonus tracks for subscribers only, a fan community, and their entire back catalog. A truly great deal considering you get a years access for the cost of maybe 3 albums. For more information about their subscription service, head over to their bandcamp page linked below.
Gene makes music under the solo moniker Skeleton Beach. Derek performs under the name Circadian Rhythm Section. On top of the fantastic ‘Ghostnotes’ both musicians have amazing solo albums out as well. Click their names to check out their Instagram pages.
This is a jam I put together with my usual suspects of gear. I started by building a solid drum groove with the Arturia Drumbrute Impact. I wanted a warbly and disconnected type lead coming from the Monologue. So i went with a simple 16 step lead that was sequenced using the real time recording feature. In order to add that disjointed and unstable sound to the lead, I’m running it through the EHX Grand Canyon Pedal.
The Grand Canyon is one of my favorite pedals to use with any and all synth gear. It’s a reverb and delay pedal that offers up to 3 seconds of delay time, tap tempo and nine tap divide settings, stereo output, 13 presets, programmable EXP pedal settings, high quality analog bypass with soft switching and more. On False Visions, I’m using the ‘Tape’ setting on the EHX which is a simulated tape delay sound that is fully customizable and one of my favorite settings.
Stay tuned for a future gear demo of the EHX Grand Canyon and I’ll show you some pretty cool things you can do with it with synthesizers and drum machines.
If you aren’t familiar with Welcome To Space Lounge on Instagram you are definitely missing out on one of the best collections of talented artists making music on the Internet. They use the tag line “Keep your head in the clouds” and when you hear the atmosphere and layers that these artists create, it’s incredibly easy to feel yourself start floating up, up, and away. There is no denying that Welcome To Space Lounge is an absolute juggernaut of Instagram.
When I first started making music on Instagram, I couldn’t help but see that most of my favorite accounts were constantly tagging Space Lounge in their posts. Naturally, I combed through their posts and was blown away by jams that populated the submissions. I made it a goal of mine to try and be featured on their account.
It actually helped me branch out and change the way I made some of my songs. I started experimenting with lower BPM’s. It absolutely pushed me to take some steps and leaps into sounds and vibes that I had never created before. It made me experiment with drumless tracks and even pushed me to try and make some ambient jams. It took a lot of submissions and a lot of experimentation but eventually I was featured on the page. I couldn’t believe it. It was, at that time, a huge goal achieved for me. After that, I began to converse more with the Space Lounge founder and learned that his passion and excitement for music was beyond inspiring.
A few months after I was first featured, I was approached by Space Lounge and extended an invitation to provide a song for their second cassette release entitled “Welcome To Space Lounge Volume II” I was beyond excited and immediately accepted the invite . This is definitely a dream come true and I couldn’t be happier with my submission entitled “Andromeda’s Brain” The cassette will be released for sale on Monday 11/11/2019. You will be able to order it from their official website and I will update this article with the link once it goes live.
These cassette releases are extremely limited and usually are only offered in one shot. If you are interested in getting one, I suggest trying to buy it the second it goes live. Otherwise, it may be out of touch and float slowly away from your grasp, into the atmosphere and beyond.
This is a bit more on the experimental side for me. I wanted a very guttural and intense main line. I looked no further than my workhorse synth, the Korg Monologue. I tweaked and manipulated the Korg line to make the synth sound like it was fighting and screaming and clawing it’s way through the track. The rest of the track features the usual suspects, the Behringer Deepmind, the Arturia Drumbrute Impact. I also used the Korg Kaosspad 3 for some of the scratchy sounding effects on the Monologue.
As always, to see and hear more original music just check out my YouTube page and subscribe. I upload a few songs per week. If you’re reading this and you are putting together a compilation album and you’d like a shelfblack track exclusively, just reach out!
I’ll do a demo video of the Korg Kaosspad 3 in the coming weeks.
Every month on Instagram, the Electronic Curiosity Collective runs a musical challenge that is open to the public. On top of at least one guaranteed prize each contest, we also offer spots to the top five finishers on our curated Spotify playlist. Aside from the fun and prizes we also aim to develop an atmosphere of friendly, supportive competition and offer ways for other musicians to network and make connections.
For the month of November we have introduced the Noisevember Challenge. This challenge pushes entrants to find a way to create a piece of music that creatively mixes noise into the jam. While the definition of noise can be quite subjective we encourage participants to use as much or as little noise as they want but to remember that each entry will be judged on creativity, musicality, and utilization of noise!
The rules are:
One entry per person
Use the hashtag #ECC_Noisevember
Deadline to upload your entry is November 27th at 8pm Eastern.
Winner will be picked on IG Live on November 27 at 9pm Eastern
Top 5 will be chosen. 2nd place through 5th place will receive 2 spots each on the Electronic Curiosity Collective Spotify Playlist. The winner will receive 5 spots on the Spotify playlist plus a $25 Amazon gift card!
Everyone is free to join, so come find us on Instagram, browse the hashtag and get creating!
In this article I’m going to tell you about the absolute best synthesizer you can buy for under $100. You know what? I’m actually going to tell you the absolute best synthesizer you can buy for under $50!
The world of hardware synths is a high-end world of flashy nostalgia mixed with bank breaking pieces of sought after must-have gear. Within the community of hardware synths we actually have a term for it, it’s called GAS. Gear acquisition syndrome. It is definitely real, and it is very easy to fall victim to.
However, there are a lot of pieces that are fun to use, cost friendly, and easy on the wallet. In my opinion, a piece of gear that checks all those boxes for me is the Korg Monotron Delay!
The Korg Monotron Delay, in it’s simplest description, is an analog synth mixed with a spacey chaotic delay. The notes can be played through a simple ribbon keyboard and you can modify that sound through the five knobs located on the front of the unit. Inside this tiny box is where the magic really lies. The Monotron actually uses the same VCF circuit from the original Korg MS-10 and MS-20.
My favorite part of the Korg Monotron is how easy it is to hook it up to other instruments and manipulate them in crazy and huge ways. The Monotron has a headphone out and auxiliary in on the top of the unit. With the headphone out, you can hook it up into your sound board or mixer if you are using a dawless structure like I am. This thing really shines with the auxiliary in. Through the input you can run other instruments, tape decks, samplers, and more through the unit and manipulate their output in real time with all of the nuances and craziness that the Monotron provides. One thing that I really like to do is to use the Arturia Drumbrute Impact’s individual drum outputs and run them through the Monotron Delay to take the drums into Outer Space.
Without further delay, I’ve compiled a video that really just scratches the surface with the amount of fun and creativity that you can harness with the Monotron Delay. In this demo I’ve paired the Monotron with a modded tape deck made by the incredible Kryptic Species Mutations. I’ve included the links to check him out below, he creates a wide variety of modded and circuit-bent instruments. Do you have one of these? Think there’s something that offers a better value than the Monotron Delay? Want me to demo another device? Let me know in the comments below!
This is a new all hardware dawless jam. I started this by experimenting with the Zoom Microtrak drum loop that you hear . I slowed it down to 70 bpm and started layering the Deepmind and Microfreak. I also added in a non confrontational rhythm backing with the Korg Monologue. From there I just let different parts ride and subtracted other parts allowing myself to get lost in the song. I believe the woozy, dreamy Microfreak part makes me feel like disappearing into the world that this music creates.
If you enjoyed this jam, feel free to subscribe on youtube and continue to check this site for more updates as I create more songs and review more gear!
This is a jam I put together starting with a slowed down 40 bpm minimal beat on the Arturia Drumbrute Impact. From there I layered in the Deepmind 6 with a weird, plonky key sequence, and some shimmery pad sounds from the Korg Volca FM. I also used a preset from the Microfreak to offset the Deepmind sequence and kicked it into overdrive with a blistering fireball bass line from the Korg Monologue. I made a 60 second version on Instagram and I have embedded the full version here from Youtube.