Gear Demo – EHX Grand Canyon with custom light expression pedal – Carabss

EHX Grand Canyon with a custom Carabss light expression pedal from Kryptic Species Mutations

Another gear demo courtesy of the musical tinkering master and creator Kryptic Species Mutations. In this video we explore the Carabss , an expression pedal that includes a light sensor that adds some crazy expressions to your pedals and music. I also brought out the modded Craig tape deck that KSM also created that features a time-bending speed wheel.

In order to showcase the Carabss you must have a pedal that has an expression input. For this demo, I have chosen one of my favorite pedals the EHX Grand Canyon. The EHX Grand Canyon is a full-featured reverb and delay pedal from Electro Harmonix. It features a ton of reverb and delay types and works amazingly well with synths and drum machines.

If you are enjoying the Kryptic Species Mutations gear be sure to check him out on Instagram, YouTube, and his Reverb Shop! Pay attention to him as he is always creating and pushing boundaries with one of a kind homemade electronic gear. He really is something special. I’ll add his links below.

IG – https://instagram.com/krypticspeciesmutations

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzaKCjuyTpOPhyJPv_XdqFw

Reverb – https://reverb.com/shop/kretchs-boutique

If you liked this video, make sure you subscribe to my YouTube. I will be making more demo videos in the future and post my original DAWless jams on there as well pretty regularly. Thanks for checking it out and be sure to share this to anyone you think may be interested.

Blank Stairs – shelfblack – experimental synth jam

Blank Stairs – shelfblack – Experimental synth jam – all hardware.

This is a full version of a track I have created entitled Blank Stairs. It’s a play on words of the saying “blank stare.” I named it that because of the slippery way that the lead gets bent in the song. In this song, I used the Alesis SR18 drum machine to make a pounding, minimal drum beat and I’m using the drumbrute as nothing more than a master clock. The Arturia Microfreak is making the strange gurgly sound and it gets manipulated a few times throughout the track. The Behringer Deepmind 6 is playing the strange ethereal sounding pad.

Just to update, I released a new EP last week entitled Just Burn It All, currently it’s only available on BandCamp for $1. It will be hitting Spotify and all other major streaming services on Christmas Eve, December 24. Keep scrolling down to see the post!

If you are a fan of this tune, make sure you subscribe on YouTube and follow me on Instagram. I will be participating in the Jamuary event on IG which is a fun exercise that challenges you to create a jam every day during the month of January. Also, be sure to check back here on shelfblack.com for more gear demos, product reviews, articles, and synth jams coming up!

Just Burn It All EP – Dec. 10, 2019

Just Burn It All EP – shelfblack – Out on December 10, 2019 on Bandcamp

I’m very excited to announce that on December 10th 2019 I will be releasing a new EP entitled Just Burn It All digitally on BandCamp!!!

Want to know the best part? You can pre-order it right now for $1. Yep, one dollar. Less than a gallon of gas, less than a Starbucks coffee, less than 2 packs of ramen noodles. For that price, you’ll get six songs when it releases, but by pre-ordering it you get 2 songs now!

Track Listing:

  1. We Found Our Way
  2. Blue Boxes (AVAILABLE NOW WITH PREORDER)
  3. King of No Things
  4. Command and Control
  5. Thrash Day
  6. Just Burn It All (AVAILABLE NOW WITH PREORDER)

As alway, I appreciate your support. Any money raised through album sales will 100% get rolled back into making music and the Electronic Curiosity Collective. Feel free to share this page far and wide!

I’ve been a little quiet on music releases since the Black Zinda album. This album will be my last release of the year. Going forward I’ll be gearing up for the famous Jamuary event on Instagram. Check out the site, if you haven’t been here before. You can sort articles by music, info, gear demos, and more. If you’re looking for the last article I wrote about inexpensive music gear to get for Christmas, check it out below.

Affordable Gifts for Synth Lovers Under $100

Music gifts that are affordable and fun

If you know anyone like me, I have a small stockpile of expensive synthesizers, drum machines, guitar pedals, and noise makers that defy description. One of the most difficult things for friends and family to do, when it comes to Christmas or birthdays, is to find gifts that interest me that don’t cost hundreds of dollars. Lucky for you, I’ve compiled a great list here of very fun synth and electronic based music gifts that are affordable, fun, and will be sure to delight any musician or synthesizer nerd like myself.

First up is a miniature ribbon synth and effects box that I have demo’d previously on this site…the Korg Monotron Delay! The Korg Monotron Delay is a very fun and compact little ribbon synthesizer that also includes an amazing delay feature. With a headphone jack and an audio in, you can use it with your existing electronics and create some truly wonderful chaos. It runs on batteries and can be used with or without other gear . The Korg Monotron Delay retails for under $50.


Next up is another amazing little piece of art called the Stylophone pocket synth. The Stylophone is a recreation of a synth from the 60’s but now in convenient pocket form! This is a fantastic little synth also runs on batteries and includes three different sounds. You use the attached stylus to play. There’s a tuning knob that allows you to play with alternate tuning and do pitch bend effects. This one also includes an audio in, so you can run additional instruments through it! The Stylophone is tons of fun and retails for under $30.


The next one is from the makers of the Stylophone, this one is called the Stylophone Beatbox. This is a unique handheld, battery-operated, synthesizer and drum machine hybrid. This one includes a beatbox, percussion, bass and a new scratch function. There is also tuning knobs and a tempo adjust control to produce endless possibilities . The Stylophone Beatbox retails for under $40.


Going down the Stylophone product line, next one up is the Gen-X1. This is another portable synth box with two ways to play and can also be used as an effects box. What I like most about the usability of this one is that you can hook any other electronic instrument into the audio in and manipulate those sounds to your hearts content. The Gen-X1 has a built-in speaker for playing around on the spot and is run off batteries. It includes an LFO and filter cutoff, tons of delay options, sub-octave switches, and Pulse Width Modulation button which can be used to create a chorus effect . This one costs a little more than the other two types of Stylophones but that’s because you can do so much more with it. The Stylophone Gen-X1 retails for under $70.


If you really want to see someone light up during a gift exchange, check out the Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator line. There’s multiple Pocket Operators, each one that specializes in different sounds, leads, and styles. There is an Arcade, Bass, Speak, Robot, Office, Rhythm and more. They are all battery operated and can be used as standalone grooveboxes , chained together to form a battery operated army, or synced up with other instruments to play a part in your next song. They all have sequencers built in that are easy to use and can create entire songs in the palm of your hands. Arguably, the most popular Pocket Operator is the PO-33 Fight. The PO-33 includes a built-in sampler which means you can sample you’re own sounds, noises, quotes, basically any sound you want into it. The PO-33 does cost a little more but you can do so much more with it! The Pocket Operators range from around $59 to $100.


Want something a little more traditional that doesn’t need a power source? One instrument that seems to be making a lot of noise on social media right now is the Kalimba. The Kalimba is a small handheld thumb piano that uses metal keys mounted to a sound board. Once you hear the sound that it creates you’ll immediately recognize it. The Kalimba has a soothing music box or lullaby type sound that you will instantly fall in love with. You will immediately be making beautiful sounding music with this device and it will be the hit of anyone’s gift giving experience. You can get an exquisite looking high-quality Kalimba for under $30.


After all this, there’s tons of other cases, cords, or additional accessories that you can add to round out these gifts. I can honestly say that any of these items will brighten up your Christmas or Birthday. Make sure you have some AAA or AA batteries on hand as most of these pocket synths require one or the other. Do you have any other additional ideas? Let me know in the comments!