December Rush

December is always the craziest month of the year for me. This December I've been painting and making music.

Above is one of the three paintings I've done. I'll upload high-quality photos once the others are fully finished.

I've also been drumming for Diomedes; and last night we recorded at Jack Straw Productions in Seattle. I'll put up some of the audio sometime next week.


Furby, Orca-Powered-StudioFactory, Noise in the Streets

Video 1 is one of my first circuit-bent creations that I made years ago but never filmed; the classic furby bend:

Video 2 is a sort of proof-of-concept of using my orcasynth to clock StudioFactory:

Video 3 is an ANCIENT video of me doing an outdoor noise set with a friend. I'm in the first set but the whole thing was great:



(My apologies; this post is one day late).
I recently visited my family in Argentina.
Half of my Argentine family lives in Buenos Aires, the other half in Posadas. I didn't get a chance to visit Posadas; but I did stay in Bariloche for the first time, and then Buenos Aires.
In most Argentine cities there are many healthy, stray dogs. They know how to navigate streets and avoid traffic, and since they are socially accepted, they typically get scraps from homes and restaurants. They were the sweetest strays I've ever encountered, and were definitely healthier than many shelter-dogs in the US.Bariloche is in the province of Patagonia, which is known for its abundance of paleontological sites. I visited a Paleontology Museum run by the incredible yet humble Rodolfo Corsolini (above right). I cannot do justice to his collection, skills, achievements, and personality in a simple blog post. I strongly recommend visiting his museum if you ever have the chance.
Barbara Fabregas is a woman I met in a market in Bariloche. She makes incredible jewelry by hand. Most of it from silver and beautiful local stones. She hand-braids silver strands for some details, and also makes the chains for each piece link-by-link.
Everything about being back home (for the first time in 10 years) was incredible. In a few months I might even go back.
Expect a return to electronics-related posts soon (I just finished vastly improving a crybaby wah). Side-Note: If you are into metal (sludge or doom, specifically) you NEED to check out Thou. They have over 4 hours of their music free on their site.



(still using my older camera, sorry for the crappy pictures)

This is an amplified microphone-mask with volume and gain controls. I use it while drumming in a noise trio called Dos Honchos.

It contains 7 identical headphone speakers, two pots, a switch, an output jack, an IC and a battery clip; surprisingly without being cumbersome.

Screaming my face off while drumming has never been easier.



Apologies on the late update and crappy photos, my camera hasn't been working (stuck using my old one for now).
Be it for nostalgia or just for fun, I wear a patch vest pretty often. All of my patches are hand-made using one of my two methods. For the first method I take black canvas fabric, draw a general idea with whiteout pens, add detail with clear acrylic, and use black sharpie paint-pens to clean up any mistakes. Finally, I add a few coats of matte, clear acrylic spray paint. Method two is a little more detailed and better for the more complex patches (Nylithia, Dethklok, etc).

Method two involves Canvas Paper, Clear Matte Acrylic Spray, Ultra-Fine Micron Pens, Sharpie Paint Pens, Acrylic Paint, an inkjet printer, and other various tools. First, cut some canvas paper as long as you want, but only 8.5 inches wide (unless your printer can print wider). Then start a PSD, with a width of 8" and a length .5" less than the sheet. Add the logos you want to the PSD with proper spacing. Tell it to print at the bottom of the sheet; feeding thick canvas paper can cause issues, it's best to have more room for error at the start of the sheet. Also, be sure to print on the softer, absorbent side of the paper; the back is typically glossy. Let the printed sheet absorb/dry for 15min, then take it outside and apply a coat of clear acrylic spray. After this dries, you can start filling in the black details with your pens, and larger areas with paint. I use different balances of pen and paint for different patches. Let the paint dry, and then coat with a few more layers of clear acrylic spray.

Above is my favorite patch. The amazing artist Lara Hilgemann drew this for me (freehand in about 2 minutes).

As an apology for nearly missing my (self-appointed) deadline on this post, here are some doodles:



Lately I've been playing around with a pirated copy of VirtualDJ and it is awesome! It's incredibly fun and surprisingly easy to use.
Here's a mix of some stuff I made while messing around in it:
VDJ Megamix by Subbs

PS: This track uses a TON of copyrighted material:
Jurassic 5 - Break
Karen O & Peaches - Backass
Massive Attack - Teardrop (feat. Portishead)
Prefuse 73 - Busy Signal
King Bee - Must Be The Music (Frisco Disco Mix)
Vampire Weekend - The Kids Don't Stand a Chance
Sarai - Ladies - Viro & Rob Analyze Remix
Tim & Eric - Beaver Boys
Tim & Eric - Big Ben 2 (A to Z)
2Pac - Stay True
Nintendo - Tetris Theme
Three Six Mafia - Stay Fly
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Y Control
Vampire Weekend - A-Punk
Drumsound & Bassline Smith - Cold Turkey (G Dub, Beat City VIP)
Liz Phair - Flower
Machine Drum - Def In It


Ungodly Hybrid

Like I said, I will hold myself to posting at least once a month! Here is something I made for a friend's birthday.

All I did was take an existing toy, add a better speaker, bypassing output jack, and in place of the pitch resistor, I put a 10m pot with a 10uF cap parallel, with a cutoff switch and touch points as well. I also did some cosmetic modifications. The result is pretty bizzarre and I have to say, I'm quite pleased with it. Enjoy:

PS: Here is a preview of the official schematic for Digisynth v3. I still have to draw the 16-step sequencer, labels for everything, and the LFO cutoff switches.


Inverter-Based Synths

I have mentioned before that my synths are inverter-based. Now this makes them "digital" rather than "analog" op-amp based synths. The great thing about inverter synths is how easy it is for beginners to mod them and bend them. They are low voltage, and incredibly versatile. In all my bending and re-wiring of inverters, I still haven't managed to ruin any parts like I used to with basic circuit-bending.

[super-secret song at the end]
Beavis Audio Research has a great page on these types of synths here: beavisaudio.com/Projects/CMOS_Synthesizers The above video involves my digisynth v1, beavis audio's Heterodyne Space Explorer (a quad-oscillator with starve), and a "Mr Rogers in my Pocket." The starve and quad-osc combined with an input patched in makes some great digital, squeaky distortion. Almost akin to a high-gain bitcrusher.

I'm currently working on some Jar Monsters, a few songs, updating my recording studio, transcribing the full digisynth schematic to photoshop, and a commissioned digisynth v3 for a friend. Recap: v0 was the OrcaSynth, v1 was the DigiSynth, v2 was the SynthZilla, and v3 is in the works with many improvements over v2.

Also, here is something I drew on harmony:
By the way, I will hold myself to posting at least once a month!


Odds & Ends

Lately I've been working on a few projects, but I have been spending a large amount of time drawing and playing/editing music.
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Here are some electronic happenings:
I replaced the jack, switch, and pots in my friend's Telecaster. It was informative and eliminated a ton of scratchy interference. I bought a parts kit here for the job. It's a little pricey, but the parts are all matched exactly.

I also got a daisy chain and searched through my stash of wall-warts so that now all my music gear (10 items) is powered by 3 power blocks! consequentially, it's all insanely lighter.

I managed to mod this design to make a 16-step sequencer. With help from Michael Una and Bill Bowden.
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Works in progress:
- 4-channel, 16-step Circuit-Bent Drum Toy
- JWJ's Monster
- Thingamahands
- "The Perfect Clock Unit"
- A few StudioFactory projects


SynthZilla Is Complete!

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It started as the OrcaSynth (a mod of a HackADay project), turned into the DigiSynth, and now has finished off as SynthZilla!

The final build includes control over pitch, duty, portamento, 2 LFOs, tone, body, gain, vol, 8-step voltage sequencer, and more!

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Below is the schematic I used. Not all the components are labelled and I didn't draw in the bypass jacks for all the knobs, but you get the idea. Let me know if you'd like a cleaner, complete schematic and I will happily oblige.

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A couple notes: I used a quad-amp simply because I was out of single amp ICs. Also, the tone/body filter only works well through headphones or an external amp, not the onboard speaker.


Video-Making Time

I finished Synthzilla! I will post that asap; but for now, enjoy these videos I made just for you.


Monsters in Jars & WIP Panels

Well every time I promise something is "upcoming" I get side-tracked. So today I have something completely different to appease you.

These are two monsters I sculpted as gifts for a couple friends. More info in the set.

Here are some incomplete projects:

Top two are my Digisynth panel being built. Bottom left is a WIP Circuit-Bent Casio CZ-101. Bottom right is a MysteryMonster; any ideas as to what it does?