Listen to or download AEJOTZ albums, free, at aejotz.bandcamp.com

Monday, January 2, 2017

Satellite 5

A couple of years ago I hosted Satellite 5, a synthesizer music show on ScrubRadio.com. After a couple of seasons I became too busy to continue the show. Later, ScrubRadio went off the air.

Since then, ScrubRadio has returned and I began to host another show. But times have changed. You can't expect listeners to "tune in" to a scheduled show anymore. People want to listen to shows when they want to listen to shows.

Podcasts are not the answer. Podcasts are recordings that are downloaded. That's fine for listeners but not so fine for musicians. Musicians are generally agreeable to having their music streamed, but they want to keep control of recordings of their music.

The answer is Streaming On Demand programming.

I have re-launched Satellite 5 as a music show that I can record whenever I feel like it and that listeners can stream whenever they feel like it. Contributing artists don't have to worry about recordings of their music being downloaded because the show is streaming-only.

As of this writing I have recorded six shows already and plan to record a new show each week.

Visit sat-5.com for playlists, show info and a link to the show archive, or go straight to the archive at mixlr.com/sat-5/showreel.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Korg has a not-very-good idea

My favorite synth is my original version Microkorg. One of my least favorite synths was the poorly-named "Microkorg XL." I think the XL stood for eXtra Lite, both for its weight and its wimpy sonic capabilities. Korg tried to boost sales of the XL by creating a "new" version with a few more things on it, the XL+. Yawn.

Korg has now tried that weary sales tactic with the original Microkorg by adding the Microkorg S to the lineup. This time the yawn factor is provided by a bit more patch storage and a batch of new presets. Add to this the "WTF" factor of invisible built-in speakers.

"The MK doesn't need speakers and the speakers will cause problems." - prophecy by AEJOTZ

After awhile, the MK S is going to rattle and buzz like a bumblesnake. Every part that isn't solidly cemented in place will vibrate to its resonant frequencies. Even worse, these vibrations will stress solder points and the internal integrity of components.

I has spoken.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

pic o the rig



A pic of my current synth rig. Click pic to enlarge.

I modded a moog, and I liked it

You can read the whole moogibrute review and even hear some MP3 sound samples HERE if you feel so inclined.

But for the sake of bloggal (?) brevity let me just say that I'm having a swell time with my new moog.

Here's its baby picture:



Just click the pic to enlarge.

You'll notice that it has two large knobs. These are not standard equipment but they should be. It sucks trying to adjust frequency range and cutoff with those little bitty 6 mm pot shafts. I notice in the photo in my previous post that the owner of that Werkstatt also added knobs; but his are stupid. Mine are cool.

If you want cool knobs like mine, just go HERE for the story of this breathtaking mod, and much much more.

Excelsior and stuff.

Monday, August 15, 2016

moogibrute

The way I say "moogibrute," it rhymes with "Juicy Fruit." I know, I know, synth nerds will correct me and tell me that "moog" ryhmes with "rogue" and not with "fugue." But that's only because Robert Moog said in an interview that he preferred his last name rhymed with "rogue" some 30 years after the "fugue" rhyming pronunciation became standard. So I rhyme the man's name with "rogue" but I rhyme the instrument's name with "fugue." It's easy to remember because the instrument name isn't capitalized but the man's name is. And if you don't like it, then "fugue" with two syllables.

But that's not why I called.

It's August and I have SSL. That's Seasonal Synth Lust for you uninitiated types. As often happens this time of year, I want a new synth. And for the almost first time, I want a moog. I've had my eye on the Slim Phatty off and on but whenever one is available for a good price I talk myself out of it.

Tonight that all changed.

Lately, when I search online for SP's I also see recommendations for the Werkstatt-01. Tonight I thoroughly researched that device and a little light went on.

The Werkstatt is a cheap little kit synth that doesn't even have a real keyboard but it has a moog oscillator and a moog ladder filter. In other words, it has moog sound. And it has a CV patch port!

Why does that last statement deserve an exclamation point? Because the CV port means I can connect it to my Microbrute in any of a dozen ways, sharing filters and stuff and providing the moog with a keyboard and a step sequencer. And the Microbrute can translate MIDI signals to CV, so I can play the Werkstatt from any of my MIDI keyboards and even play it with the Microkorg arpeggiator or the Microsampler quantizing pattern sequencer.

And the Werkstatt looks like a little cheap-ass toy-like gizmo like the rest of my gear. It suits my style and budget much better than all the other moog instruments. And it makes the Microbrute, the most limited instrument in my rig, much more useful and valuable. Together, the Werkstatt and the Microbrute will be my moogibrute.

I can probably have one in about a week, which gives me some time to experiment before my annual autumnal synth frenzy kicks in.

Below is a photo of someone else's Werkstatt-Microbrute marriage.

Isn't it cute?



Update 8-16-2016:
I just ordered a Werkstatt, a Control Voltage adapter (the thing stuck to the right side of the Werkstatt with all the cables plugged into it) and a half-dozen colored cables, probably just like the ones in the photo.

I'm excited. This will be a fun rig to play with. And it's my first moog!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

how to make AEJOTZ synth music

This isn't really a how-to article. But I was just reading a how-to about electronic music and it explained how to do everything the way I don't.

I make synth music the old fashioned way... by hand!

I actually play keyboard synthesizers by putting my fingers on the keys and pushing down. And I record what I play on a multi-track recorder. Granted, it's a digital recorder, but it's a dedicated music recorder.

I don't use a computer to sequence music. I do use the on-board sequencing functions of my instruments. I'm not a Luddite. Still, every sound is the result of me playing keys by hand. And a little quantizing is no greater sin than a little auto-tune.

The computer is tangentially useful before and after music creation. It's useful beforehand as a source of interesting patches and sounds to download and there are computer "editors" that make it easier for me to program new sounds on my synths. After I complete a tune I transfer it from my recorder to my PC for distribution worldwide via the internet.

Perhaps the biggest advantage to playing everything by hand is that I'm not a very good keyboardist and I make a lot of mistakes, some of which sound better than what I meant to do. I then deliberately make the same "good" mistakes and take credit for creating them.

The end.

No, wait. There's one more thing. To play like an AEJOTZ you have to use really cheap toy-like synths. I use the CZ-101, Microkorg, Microbrute, Microsampler and now the Werkstatt-01.

OK, now it's the end.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

synth-fluence

When Switched On Bach was released in 1968 it was the first time I heard an electronic instrument without being impressed. Until then I had only heard electronic instruments on Kai Winding's "More," Del Shannon's "Runaway" and the Beatles' "Baby You're a Rich Man." Those examples were very interesting. (Later I would hear "Telstar" and wish I hadn't.) Bach music performed using funny sounds struck me as more gimmick than artistic innovation.

In 1971 Mort Garson released a hideous album of electronic noise called "Black Mass." It was shit. There are certain kinds of Moog sounds that I still despise because of this ugly album.

The guy (J.J. Perrey) who played the electronic instrument on "More" also worked with the guy (Gershon Kingsley) who wrote "Popcorn" in 1969 but I would not hear the latter composition until the 1972 cover by Hot Butter. That was an exciting piece of music. For the first time in my experience a synth tune sounded like the music was written for the synth.

In early 1974 Isao Tomita demonstrated that playing traditional music on synths can result in great beauty if appropriate sounds are used instead of just using funny noises.

In late 1974 Kraftwerk demonstrated that musically awkward people could make mildly interesting "garage" music with synths. (Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh was already brilliantly pioneering robotic nerd music at this point but would not be heard by the masses until 1978.)

Finally, in 1975, Synergy released "Electronic Realizations for Rock Orchestra." Here was quality music written for and skillfully played on synthesizers. I thought this was the beginning of a big change in direction for synthesizer music. I was wrong. Each successive Synergy album would be a step away from this masterpiece and toward the same automated mainstream as the rest of "electronic music." And no one else picked up where "Electronic Realizations" left off.

[In this spot I artfully blasted the most overrated "electronic" musicians of the boomer era, then changed my mind and deleted it. The surest way to be ostracized in today's oversensitive facade of faux-culture is to tell the truth. I will simply say that I was not as enamored of Jarre, Vangelis or Moroder as the masses were.]

When AEJOTZ was accidentally born in 1983 my main influences would have been the first Synergy album, 1970s Genesis, Devo and the B52s.

The rebirth of AEJOTZ in 2011 was catalyzed by Stereolab, whose music often reminded me of my 1983 synth experiments. I can't tell if Stereolab actually influenced my music or if we just have shared tastes and influences.

1980s synthpop has a bit of an influence on me, but not the usual kind. It influences me mostly by repulsion rather than by attraction. Sometimes I make musical choices to deliberately avoid '80s synth cliches.