On this 28th day of Jamuary things are starting to wind down but I’m trying to keep the jams on fire. This jam kicks off with the fun little loop coming from the Behringer DeepMind6. The Arturia Microfreak is playing a four note chord rhythm right from the start as well . The bass line is provided by the Korg Volca FM. After a few bars, the Alesis SR18 drums kick in. The main part of the jam comes from the Korg Monologue and the LFO and envelope generator are manipulated throughout the tune. From there, I switch between the DeepMind and Monologue to create a three verse jam and change the way I manipulate the main sequence to add some variety. The main sequence also has some tape delay effect added by the EHX Grand Canyon.
If you enjoyed this jam, make sure to check out the rest. I have a lot of full jams available on YouTube and multiple albums available on all major streaming sites.
In a few days, I’ll be updating the Electronic Curiosity Collective Playlist on Spotify and we will be announcing the next ECC challenge very soon!
Big thanks for all the support and comments coming from everyone this Jamuary. I appreciate all the new followers and I am looking forward to keep going! I’m working on an album as well and hope to be doing a cassette release sometime in February. Stay Tuned!
In this jam I started with some basic percussive elements from the Volca Drum and then added a child-like innocent sounding sequence from the Behringer Deepmind. To me this part of the jam has a lullaby type feel that maybe has more sinister undertones. I used the Volca FM to play a simple bass progression with a touch of reverb from the ElectroHarmonix Ocean’s 11 pedal. The Arturia Microfreak is playing another rhythm type pad that kind of glues everything together. Later on, the Monologue plays an electrified rhythm partner to the Microfreak.
The main drums that kick in are a slowed down 80’s hiphop type beat that I made on the Alesis Sr18 drum machine. I orginally sequenced those drums at a much higher BPM and I was surprised how well they worked with this track at about half the intended speed. There area also some additional percussive elements coming from the Volca Beats.
Thanks for checking it out, this is part of my Jamuary series on IG. If you’re interested to hear more make sure to follow me on IG and YouTube. The goal right now is to put out an album at the end of Jamuary. I’m working on a concept that I think you all will like. I’ve added an amazon link for some ElectroHarmonix pedals below. If you decide to purchase something through my Amazon link, even if it’s not that particular item, it costs you nothing and will help me fund future projects! I appreciate any support you can give!
Quick brush fire in Australia update, we were able to raise $250! We made the donation on Thursday Jan 9, and a copy of the receipt has been uploaded to Instagram. Thanks so much to everyone that reposted, retweeted, bought a copy of an album or donated money directly. It was a fantastic effort and I’m beyond happy with how it turned out. I truly love how supportive and positive this community is!
Today’s jam is entitled Ice Water Ways. I started with a simple rhythmic beep from the Aturia Microfreak. The Behringer Deepmind is playing the ethereal sounding pad and I created a simple loop that the Volca FM plays during the chorus of the song. On drum duty is the trusty Alesis SR18 playing a sequence of my own programming.
Lots of more jams coming this month on IG, Youtube, and Twitter as part of the Jamuary event. Make sure you follow me on those platforms if you want to see and hear more synth and experimental jams.
Australian Fires Update – Don’t forget my current discography is on sale on BandCamp. You can get any album for $1. You can get the entire discography for $3.50. Thats 4 full length albums and 3 EPs. 63 Songs! Any money raised until Friday January 10th will be donated to the Australian Red Cross. Hit the link below to open a new tab with my BandCamp. Keep reading below for my best effort of trying to describe what I did to make this jam.
In this jam I started by building a strange, almost modular, sounding drum groove with the Volca Drum. I utilized the slice feature to get a stutter effect and do not have any drum parts being choked at all. I used some of the motion recording options as well. The whole jam is on the tube engine.
I followed that “modular” feel by recreating some modular type sounds on the rest of my gear. I tried very hard to explain what each piece of gear was doing but I couldn’t find a way to make it at all educational. I’m not a technical or theory based student of music. I know what a lot of the functions and knobs do but I don’t know why they do it or how. So the major players in this jam are the Korg Volca Drum, Korg Monologue, Behringer DeepMind6, and the Arturia Microfreak. In the background, the ElectroHarmonix Oceans 11 reverb pedal is pushing effects at varying degrees to some of the instruments.
Today is the first day of Jamuary! For those of you who don’t know Jamuary is a challenge that originated from Cuckoo on Instagram that pushes you to create 31 days of jams and post them on Instagram. It’s not about being perfect, it can be any attempt at music whatsoever. I absolutely love this time of year. As a musician, when I started making music, my goal was to create and post, to share what I love doing regardless of whether it was proper, complete, perfect. I enjoy creating flawed music. I love the responsiveness and flexibility that performing jams in real-time without a digital workstation provides.
For this jam, I started with a poppy blast of drums from the Alesis SR18 and kicked off the intro of the song with the Volca FM. Next, the Behringer Deepmind is utilizing it’s arpeggiator to create a dreamy synthscape. The Microfreak is playing the rhythm stabs and the Monologue is playing the glitched out lead. Funko figure is somebody from Mad Max Fury Road.
Hope you like the song, if you are digging it make sure you follow me on Instagram. I’ll be posting a new jam every single day for the month of January. Not every song will have a full version, so I only make these posts on this site when there’s a full version to be had. Thanks for the support and a happy 2020 to you all!!!
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!
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.
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.