Moog Music has announced that a small batch of new MF-104M Analog Delays has been created at the Moog Factory in Asheville, NC. Based on Bob Moog’s Moogerfooger MF-104 Analog Delay design, the MF-104M uses the same vintage analog Bucket Brigade Delay (BBD) chips as the original, which provide 800ms of the richest analog delay […]
Miami-born Uchi is a fresh face as LA collective BL_K NOISE meet up with Berlin’s Raster – and that’s a perfect time to catch up with her and reflect.
Dive in, commit. It’s that moment when the mixer fader is up and you start your live set, the let’s-screw-up-our-lives risk-taking bigger moments we make sometimes for musical passion. It’s the willingness to screw up live and screw up life, maybe.
That sums up why a lot of us are here as well as anything. And so that makes Uchi’s approach refreshing. Just as your email promo inbox is full of drab, sound-alike techno and washes of disinterested distorted ambience, Uchi kind of doesn’t follow any rules. Her DJ sets are diverse and daring, her live sets going deep and abstract and back again. And she talks to us a bit here about that abandon.
It’s also paying off. Uchi has gone from being known in Miami to becoming a regular at Berlin’s most sought-after slots – including Berghain’s upstairs Panorama Bar and its darker, weirder new ground floor Säule. But the best part is, I think we don’t know quite what she’ll do next. There’s a couple of EPs, a full-length album, and various podcasts coming and … well, the hell with predictability. The artists you want to watch are the ones that will surprise you.
January is definitely when we celebrate new music gear, thanks to Anaheim, California’s massive NAMM convention show. But then why not celebrate new noises, too? BLK_NOISE has assembled for Saturday a party made up of artists willing to push their electronic instruments until they hurt. From team USA, you’ve got Richard Devine, Surachai. From Germany, label Raster – the imprint formerly known as Raster Noton – Grischa Lichtenberger, and label co-founder Byetone. (Carsten Nicolai aka Raster Noton is going solo again, reverting his label to Noton.) And then there’s secretive BLK_NOISE anchor Belief Defect, who have feet in both Berlin and LA.
PK: What’s the set you’re preparing for LA? I loved this noise set that just streamed from Halcyon [in New York].
Uchi: I don’t know what happened there! It’s so weird! I have the recording of it myself; I gotta hear it and see!
I think for this show I’m going to use somewhat similar setup I’ve been using for most noise shows these days, a narrow selection of stuff, and complete improvisation — or zero preliminary sequencing. It’s the first time I’ll try an AV setup, which is exciting!
It seems like you’ve had some pretty significant shifts in your life, your musical direction … especially as some of the folks who will be hearing you in LA as well as our readers may not know you yet, what’s the trajectory been from Miami to Berlin? How did you get where you are currently?
Yeah, I guess there’s been a lot of changes the last couple of years. I lived in Miami since age 10, up until college. After I finished a degree in Computer Science, I took DJing (obtained from radio hosting at University) more seriously, as well as actually working on something I used to do for fun — (Ableton fiddling) making music.
The Boiler Room set came about from Juan Del Valle, now a friend. His influence was to convince me to make a live set. That being said, it was my first live set ever, and it was on Boiler Room – lol! BUT it was a great way to learn how to use hardware! Then Berlin came after the release on Plangent Records, which made the first gig in Panorama Bar happen. That made me decide not to get a flight home, basically.
The interesting thing is that just before I left Miami, everything had already started changing. I was pretty active in the noise scene, which was a whole different level of exploration in music, the exact opposite of composition and programming or what I used to make the Boiler Room set. Noise changed also the way I record, too. It seems I find single takes, and master out mixes more interesting than spending hours on a single detail or mixing down. I guess trying to finish ideas in one day if the case has a lot of details, otherwise just simple pressing record (mistakes included) and room recordings.
I made the album and the last couple EPs basically playing them. Since moving to Europe, which changed literally everything about what I knew, and also playing for promoters in different cities, I’ve had the chance to do something different. Nowadays, I’m combining all influences together — noise improvisation, changing patterns, speed, writing melodies or lack thereof, depending on so many different things. For instance where, when, and for whom each show is prepared for, relative to time, and where things are for me at the moment — it’s never the same. I’m still figuring it out, but if there is something to expect, it should be to expect something new.
These Saüle appearances have been great … in this age and (city!) people can cling to a somewhat narrow and clasutrophobic view of genre, so that’s a relief. Can you talk a little bit about you’ve been playing lately?
Well, I guess Säule was a bit of the turning point. It made me realize its not far-fetched to combine everything into one presentation. Funny you say claustrophobic view of genre! That puts it a bit better in perspective actually. I think the first time was probably one of the most liberating DJ sets of my life, the first time I felt like myself. The struggle of genre has been real for a really long time, but thanks to that lately, I reeeally don’t care for dance floor “rules” too much, and follow just, whatever feels right at the time. I’m curious to what you would describe those gigs as.
Mmm, eclectic? This is why I wouldn’t really call myself a music journalist, just a musician. So to that — what are you using to play for this live set? Not just to sort of get gear-focused, but instead — what does this mean as far as instrumentation, as composition?
For sure, it will be a Moog Mother [Mother-32 synthesizer] running, pitching it sporadically, plus vocal whale sounds … maybe some screaming. Also some Koma Elektronik noises generated from the Field Kit [“electro-acoustic workstation”] and BD101 [analog gate-delay pedal] as main effects, messing with any signal sent to the aux [input] of the Field Kit.
I guess as “composition,” I suppose breaking it down by frequency – the vocal stuff is a lot of mid-range melodic, of course, with a ton of reverb and delay, the Moog for low-end and the Koma stuff for texture, high-pitch screeching, and pulsating static. These have been my favorite pieces of gear to use for noise shows. I made the last album using the Moog heavily, so it’s kind of been my main instrument for almost two years, along with Koma stuff which is heaven for noise freaks — the Moog sounds on another level! And some classic reverb and distortion pedals, Boss DS-1 [distortion pedal, since 1978] and Eventide Space.
What do those instruments mean to you; how do they impact how you play spontaneously?
They are my children!!! I supposed their user interface totally affects how they are played. For example, the large knobs of the Mother and the semi-modular part for patching and combining it with it with the BD10 light sensor (which kind of acts like a theremin), and putting that in the Field Kit mixer, which has got a life of its own. The signals kind of bounce with each other. Feed-backing is waaay fun. Also, the continuity of LFO’s makes it easy to do multiple things at once. Whatever instruments I’m using at the moment play a really large role in every live set, if not the biggest role. I hope to be switching to full-on modular this year! Wish me luck.
If you’re in LA, check out the event! I wrote about Belief Defect’s live rig here and for Native Instruments; now it’s America’s turn to get that live. Co-hosted with Decibel Festival:
Loopmasters has released Analogue Overdrive, a collection of supreme analog sounds, featuring beastly mono synths, angelic string synths and guitar-rigged synth filth. The royalty free pack offers a myriad of classic synths for your studio and future productions. Prepare yourself for Analogue Overdrive – 1GB of Loops, One Hits and Sampler Patches taken from a […]
If only that controller had encoders, instead of knobs. If only it had two more faders. You don’t need buttons. You do need buttons.
Controllers are endless challenges in combinatorics and personal use cases.
That makes the Tinami line of custom MIDI controllers one of the big news items this summer. Shown to the public at SONAR Festival in Barcelona, the gear is built to order using an online configurator. This isn’t the LEGO-style controller we’ve seen in the past: you order up what you want, and that’s what they build. But using a compact 4×4 grid, a lovely combination of tailored options is possible. Knobs, buttons, and sliders are available; hopefully they add to that (see endless encoder comment above).
These also earn points for a handsome, Moogerfooger-esque form factor, complete with wood endcaps … for some reason. They’re square, not rectangular, like the Moog boxes, but this is clearly made by a Moog lover – down to the classic knob caps.
And love these or not, they’re the kind of boutique innovation and experimentation we’ve seen regularly at SONAR+D, the digital offshoot of the Barcelona music fest, which I think is healthy, too. Have a look:
All those pads – it took virtuoso finger drummer Mad Zach to take advantage of them.
Mad Zach’s five free Drum Racks accompany today’s release of Ableton Live 9.2. Since he, frankly, makes most of us look bad with his agile use of the Push hardware, I wanted CDM to talk to him more about what he’s doing. He joins us to share some tips for live performance, production, DJing, and more.
Can you talk a bit about finger drumming? How do you practice / how do you stay nimble?
For me, finger drumming is a chance to truly play electronic music like an instrument. It lets me break out of the confines of linear music programming to infuse something alive into the sinews of my music. One of the things that interests me the most about it is the balance between sound design and performance technique. Because of how much power there is in great sound design and minimalism, there’s a lot of room to do something incredible which is actually quite simple.
In terms of staying nimble, I treat it just like I would guitar or drums — practice all the time. I don’t really do any special finger exercises other than jamming all the time and trying new stuff/patterns as I discover them.
You’re using Live 9.2 now. Anything you’re using in the upgrade (apart from the bits you added)?
I’m typically one of these people who never upgrades, but since they added the new 64 pad mode, it made sense. I also really appreciate the tuner. Other than that, it seems pretty much the same to me… which I like
Congrats on the pack; it’s really great work. How might people extend it in their own work?
The packs are really flexible, they can be used for finger drumming with a 64 grid, or also just loaded into a project and used for production. Additionally, all the waves have been organized so you can just sift through the one-shots and find something interesting to kick off an idea, or flesh out something you already have. Lots of sick stabs, bass noises, drums, atmospheres, etc. I often drag the waves directly into my timeline and chop them up directly, or drop them into a dedicated midi track with a sampler, and play them on the keyboard.
Okay, so that’s your pack. How might users go about organizing their own packs for performance and studio inspiration?
I usually like to start out pretty experimentally, just recording 30 minutes or so of different sounds – whether it’s synth noises, or sample manipulation, resampling, etc. I’ll set up my hardware in different ways and play around. Once I have a nice chunk of audio, I bring it into a Drum Rack and move the start point around looking for cool bits. The drums are a bit of a different story because they are more specific.
So, in my own music making, I like to use Ableton and Push alongside other drum machines, too – both hardware and software, so ranging from NI Maschine to the KORG volca sample and Jomox Xbase09. I’m curious, do you combine the Live workflow with any other tools? If so, how?
Yes, I’m a hardware freak. Mostly I just use Live for recording the audio and putting it in a Drum Rack. I’m always running MIDI out to my gear, processing the signal through a bunch of pedals, resampling it, etc. One of my favorite sounds in this selection of packs I made by chopping up an a capella, pitching it down, running it out through the Moog Moogerfooger Ring Modulator [MF-102] with some overdrive, resampling that back in, layering it with a long 808 kick and putting those together back through the Moogerfooger Cluster Flux. Then I pitched that down, reversed it, and booom, my favorite new bass sound!
And how do you go about DJing? Are you working with any hybrid live/DJ sets?
I do a hybrid live/DJ set that fuses my original productions with finger drumming sections. After much experimentation, I’ve come to that balance because I think there are certain things about DJing your tunes which are really good, and expected, while finger drumming offers something new and exciting for people. By fusing the two, I’m able to have the best time, and also give people a nice balance of what they expect, while surprising them with what they don’t.
Effective immediately, Moog Music has suspended production of the MF -104M Analog Delay, due to the lack of availability of rare Bucket Brigade Device (BBD) chips. Moog says that, if they are able to source more of the rare chips, they may resume limited … Continue reading →
Today, Moog Music released a conversation with M. Geddes Gengras as part of their new interview series, Category 5. The series derives its name from the cables used to enable modern digital communications. Via Skype, Gengras explores the motivations behind 3 … Continue reading →