Sunday, 25 December 2016

Emu & Serge for Xmas

A Christmas patch on the Emu and Serge modulars. This was not an easy sequence to set up due to the extremely quirky nature of the early Emu digital logic implementation, but I wanted to test the step sequencer which is capable of generating 32 control voltages if you set it up correctly. There is very little info out there on these modules, and what I could find (the 1978 Emu Systems Catalog, and a more detailed manual called the Emu Modular Synthesiser Operation Manual Retrospective) only had some fairly oblique references to the patch required. Suffice it to say that it took me about 3 days to work it out and plenty of phone calls to Big Al (who knows a lot about early digital logic). It goes something like this: take a clock source and patch it out to the 8 Position Address Generator taking the 'Carry' output trigger (which happens at the end of the 8th step) and mult it out to the 3 clock inputs of a Triple Latch which needs to act as a ring counter. So use the 3 'Q' outputs to feed into the next Data input of each latch with Q3 feeding back into Data 1 to make it cycle. That gives you 3 steps. The clever bit is making the 4th step which means taking the 3 '-Q' outputs and multing them together to generate a clock on every 4th cycle (whenever an "all zero" state occurs). Patch the 4 outputs of the Voltage Source Unit into the 4 ins of the Analog Switch and use the newly created 4 stage ring counter to step through them. PHEW! The rest of this patch uses the Serge to generate some percussive sounds including the Wilson Analog Delay and Spring Reverbs. Its a live single-take jam-up

Wednesday, 26 October 2016


Here is a completely automated patch on 2 Buchla systems - a 200 series Easel (clone) and an original 100 series modular. The famous Low Pass Gates weren't introduced until the 200 series in the early 1970s, and there are two of them in the Easel. They are doing the percussive noises here. The rest is sustained tones from the 100 but it is all connected together using one randomised clock and the 8 step sequencer from the 100 and the 5 step sequencer from the 200. I added a very long delay from the Bel AD80 (around 3 seconds) and some EMT Plate reverb for good measure

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Barbican Birthday Bashes

We had a marvellous time on Saturday playing at the Barbican in London as part of the Rough Trade 40th Birthday bash. It was a year ago that I played on that great stage for the Brian Eno Discrete Music Birthday bash! See this post

However, this time we (Wrangler) teamed up with John Grant and performed a brand new set of music for our headline show - which was pretty scary for us but A LOT OF FUN. Thanks to John, Ben Eyes, Dancon, Gary and the whole team it was an epic adventure!

Photo: Antonio Pagano

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Music School

This is how we did it back in the day...

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Good Company

Speaking of John Foxx, here is a list of his favourite ambient albums - and it features ME! Thanks John!!

Click below for the full text

Oscar Men

Ooh look here are some vintage Oscar owners. Via Chris Paynter

Friday, 7 October 2016

More Oscars

More Oscar sounds - and this time more trippy! I figured out how to use the internal sequencer (not easy, but fun once you get used to it) and how to lock it to a clock from my computer. All sounds from the Oscar, a bit of delay from the Bel BD80

Tuesday, 4 October 2016


An exploration into additive synthesis on the 1983 OSC Oscar duophonic synth. I created a few simple harmonics and played two layers in duo mode, so there are 4 voices with each pair going through a digital delay line (BEL BD80). I then added a long reverb using the Lexicon 224

The video is made by me filming the sound going through an oscilloscope then messing it up with a vintage video mixer

Here is lovely little Oscar:

Saturday, 1 October 2016


This is a demonstration of the Emu Modular doing something unique. It has a module called the Triple Latch which if patched in a certain way will divide down the pitch of an audio input by one octave. As there are 3 latches available it can create 3 downward octaves. So I patched an oscillator into latch one, then into 2 and 3, and the original signal and the divided ones into an Emu mixer to get 4 octaves from one VCO. Pretty cool! I used the ARP2500 sequencer to send the Emu a pattern, and used the Emu Voltage Controlled Transient Generator to vary the envelopes (using other outputs from the ARP Sequencer as CV sources, which locks it into rhythm). There is also an LFO'd notch filter and a very early Ibanez digital delay mixed in

Here is a description of how the Triple Latch works:

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Wradio Six Music

Check out our show on Marc Riley's programme on Tuesday. Its here - Thanks Marc!