Tag Archives: Synth

Synth Trailblazer Steve Moore Walks Us Through His Selected Discography

Steve Moore

Although he rose to prominence with the highly influential synth prog duo Zombi, bassist/keyboardist Steve Moore has since amassed an impressive—and intimidating—catalog of releases over the last 15-plus years. Even beyond his solo material, there’s his disco project Lovelock, his film soundtracks, and his supporting role in the darksynth group Miracle and the noise-prog unit Titan. His latest non-soundtrack LP, Beloved Exile, marks the next step in his evolution; it’s a more intimate, personal-feeling project than the dark, pulsing soundscapes of his previous efforts.

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Lifetime Achievement: The Dark Worlds of Dungeon Synth Artist Aufhocker

Aufhocker

Any artist with an extensive back catalog can be intimidating upon first discovery, but dungeon synth/dark ambient artist Aufhocker—the alias of Canadian multi-instrumentalist Andru Jorj—has put out an impressive 16 releases since November 2017. This figure is even more notable when you take into account that Jorj has, in the same period, released music as the D-beat/crust project Disaxis, the drone/black metal entity Varituuk, the noise/experimental creature CHVX, and the keyboard-driven ska/reggae revivalists The Stylephonics.

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Album of the Day: Daniel Davies, “Events Score”

When the child of a famous musician decides to follow their parents’ path it can sometimes be challenging for them to establish themselves as an artist in their own right. Daniel Davies, the son of The Kinks’ Dave Davies, fell victim to that struggle on his 2011 debut EP Hidden Faces, which cast him as the lead singer and guitarist of a rock trio. In the following years, however, he found his own voice by helping another, his godfather John Carpenter, reclaim his. Davies has been essential to the horror director and composer’s late-career resurgence, touring live and working on Carpenter albums including Lost Themes and the upcoming new Halloween score. Now with the atmospheric Events Score, Davies has made a debut album that demonstrates his own considerable strength as a composer.

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The Art and Science of Synthesist David Burraston

David-Burraston-by_Finlay_Shakespeare-1244

Photo by Finlay Shakespeare

David Burraston (who also goes by Dave Noyze) may well be the only scientist and synthesist who lives five miles away from the nearest paved road. “We live on the farm where [my wife’s parents] were when they retired,” he explains. “We run a farm as well as the Wired Lab here. We’re in the middle of nowhere, and we’re not served by any amenities except electricity. We have to capture our own water, we have our own sewage and septic tank, we have to take our own rubbish to the tip. We don’t even get mail.” This is somewhat surprising for a man who obtained a Ph.D. for researching cellular automata and generative music, and famously conducted and independently released Syrobonkers!, the most technically comprehensive interview Aphex Twin ever gave.

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Eight Contemporary Artists Making the Most of Modular Synth

Modular Synth

Inset Image by Keith Fullerton Whitman

Unlike, say, the saxophone, which has an inherent range of sounds due to its shape and materials, there is no one “sound” characteristic of a modular synthesizer. This is mostly because of the building block-like nature of the instrument: sound generation, timbre-shaping, sequencing, and audio processing modules can all be freely combined, resulting in a bespoke tool that is only limited by the user’s imagination. Synthesizer, drum machine, effects unit, sampler: all can be components of the same modular system. Continue reading

Venetian Snares and Daniel Lanois on Their Unlikely Collaborative Album

Venetian Snares, Daniel Lanois

Although both of them are known for being restless innovators, few people could have anticipated a musical partnership between veteran rock producer Daniel Lanois and synth scientist Aaron Funk (otherwise known as Venetian Snares). Despite a decades-long career that includes work with high-profile names like Brian Eno, U2, Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel, Emmylou Harris, Neil Young, and many more, Lanois says that what got him interested in working with Funk was that, “I heard things I didn’t know how to do. Sometimes jealousy is good.”

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Album of the Day: Vive la Void, “Vive la Void”

As one half of Moon Duo, Sanae Yamada fuses chugging psychedelic grooves with a classic synthesizer grain and airy vocal harmonies. Her electronics give Moon Duo’s songs an otherworldly sheen, making them sound not like another nostalgic rock band, but a rock band from outer space. On her debut solo outing as Vive la Void, Yamada sinks even deeper into her signature synths, moving from Moon Duo’s Stone Roses dreamworld toward a direction more influenced by Kraftwerk. Continue reading

Album of the Day, Cucina Povera, “Hilja”

Cucina Povera—the artistic alias of Finnish born, Glasgow-based musician Maria Rossi—is a phrase taken from the austere cooking methods of the peasants in southern Italian regions after World War II. While the culinary style was, at the time, an ingenious (and somewhat desperate) adaptation to the harsh economic conditions in Europe at the time, Rossi has taken it more as a philosophical inspiration. Her ethos is doing more with less, eschewing the use of the fancy equipment normally associated with experimental electronic music production and instead creating compositions out of simple elements: found sounds she records in her home, and on walks around the Scottish metropolis; minimalist synths, sparse percussion, and layered harmonies she creates with her own voice. The results are ethereal, meditative and, upon closer listens, slightly spiritual.  Continue reading