Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Podcast #212 - Tom Whitwell!!!


Not often that you get to talk to people that you consider your personal heroes. I've been in the lucky position to do this fairly often as part of the Art + Music + Technology podcasts. Whether it is Brian Crabtree or Christoph Cox, I always am in pig-heaven when I get to talk to these folks.

This week's podcast was coordinated by the people at synthtopia.com, and features one of the people I consider to be at the head of my hero pack: Tom Whitwell. As the dude behind the Music Thing blog and Music Thing Modular, he has been responsible for bringing us such hits as the Turing Machine, Radio Music and the Chord Organ. It sound like he's got a lot of other goodies up his sleeve, too.

Check it out here:


Enjoy!

[ddg]

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Honoring a Mentor


Last night, I had the honor of attending a memorial service for my teacher, mentor and friend: Jimmy LaVita. Jimmy was instrumental in getting me out of the basement and into active artwork as a co-director of the 3rd Law Dance Theater; with Katie Elliott, the company was as innovative and artistic a group as I have ever seen, and I was immensely proud that they chose me to work with them. He passed on October 25, 2017, and a memorial was held for him at the Dairy Arts Center in Boulder.

My memories of working with Jimmy on the development of the massive Botanical Gardens performance, creation of the Authentic Reproduction show, planning the surprise visit in North Carolina or talking about DU - it makes me realize how influential he has been throughout my late-in-live development. He also pushed for the best, but was also always thoughtful about what was possible and what would be interesting to the audience.

One of the most interesting remembrances of the evening was by Deborah Malden, a board member with 3rd Law and supporter of Boulder Arts organizations. She was able to extend our understanding of Jimmy's work beyond the dance company by helping us to understand his full-throated advocacy for arts in Boulder, his calls for high-quality and lasting work and his desire to take on authority when he thought it was getting in the way of artistic expression.

I will miss Jimmy - maybe more than makes sense. We spent time together, but the differences in our life circumstances meant we could spend as much time together as I would have liked. Still, we kept in touch, visited when we could, and had enjoyable monthly calls. Now that he is gone, I realize that he has been one of the two or three most influential people in my life - not by demanding attention, but by modeling a way of thinking and focus on excellence that gives me something to strive for.

Thank you Jimmy.

Friday, January 12, 2018

It's the Little Bits That Count


Two trigger/gate buttons, only one button cap. These things aren't secured in any way?

I purchased this from some place called Rock'n'Roll Vintage in Chicago; when I contacted them about the missing button cover, they said a) this was the only one they have, b) they got the module through their distributor (?), who didn't carry FoH devices any more, and c) there is no way to contact the manufacturer, so I'm out of luck with that button cover - unless I want to return the module. It feels like I waited forever to get this damned thing into the house, so I'm not that high on a return...

Maybe you can help? If you know how to get a button cap, or how to contact FoH, drop me at line at ddg@cycling74.com or ddg@darwingrosse.com; I'll owe you one (or two)...

[ddg]

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Why So Late To The Parade?

(Image from synthtopia.com)

For obvious reasons, I've been a fan of Mutable Instruments' work since their beginnings. I loved the early builder-focused machines, but really got on board with the Braids, Peaks and Branches. But for some reason, I never thought I wanted a Clouds - despite the fact that everyone that I knew had one in their systems. My reasoning was that a) I didn't want to deal with more [virtual] menus in my modular, b) I could do things better with external effects, and c) I'm running out of space anyway.

I ended up with one in a trade deal, and decided to spend a little time learning it. I ran directly into a few things: I couldn't get anything interesting outside of a reverb wash, some of the seemingly useful options didn't have much sound for me, and there seemed to be a lack of immediacy to the module. I took it out of the rig, put it on the shelf and kind of forgot about it.

When I was putting together a test rig for some Cycling work, I pulled it out again and started messing. Still not much love - until I ran into the Rabid Elephant Wiki Space, which contained a collection of notes and information on uses (both novel and common) that one should consider. It was then that I realized the missing piece: modulation. I went on a tear with modulating things, and found a lot of joy in both controlled and uncontrolled modulation of all the parameters, using the ArdCore to cause very specific functional changes over time, and VCA controlling both the mix and the modulations to implement more-better behaviors.

Of course, about the time I experience this, Olivier decided to discontinue the module - and I can understand why. Technical debt is a bitch, and in his mind, there's a bunch of design and implementation decisions that he regrets. Luckily for the universe, he's open-source the work, and others will step in to provide Clouds for those that need 'em. But I have to say that, in using Clouds, I'm again reminded that great work sometimes takes time to germinate and grow; I'm glad that the Clouds is doing that for me now - it's a great addition to my module set, and something that's hard for me to imagine doing without!

[ddg]

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Podcast #211 is up - Andrew Belt from VCV Rack


I, like everyone, am blown away by VCV Rack (www.vcvrack.com); it is super-high quality, features an amazing set of core modules, but is also already supported by a ton of third-party developers. And it is an open source project to boot!

This system is about as advanced a virtual modular as we've seen since the Nord Modular, but it has a great set of design goals, and is firmly driven by chief developer Andrew Belt. I got a chance to interview him for my latest podcast:

http://artmusictech.libsyn.com/podcast-211-andrew-belt-vcv-rack

Take a listen and enjoy!

[ddg]

Friday, January 5, 2018

A new series is OUT!



As many of you know, I've been a long-time contributor to Recording Magazine. This opportunity first came as a result of my close friend, Mike Metlay, becoming an editor at the magazine, and has continued through the years. I've gotten to know many of the people at the magazine, and publishers Tom Hawley and Brent Heintz have done an amazing job keeping the magazine flying high while other publishing companies struggle.

While I've done almost 150 articles for the magazine, I'm especially proud to have gotten the thumbs-up to do a new series: Studio 101. This is the beginner's series that the magazine produces, and this is an opportunity for me to put my specific slant on the core knowledge needed to become a strong recording enthusiast. The first article in the series is now out, and I'm proud as punch to be involved.

Thanks to Recording, Mike, Tom, Brent and all the readers for this great opportunity!

[ddg]

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

... and I did a thing...


It's about time, right? I finally launched the Bandcamp site (darwingrosse.bandcamp.com), and uploaded my first release: The Means Of Production, a composition and performance from 2010. This was originally done for a concert on some sheet metal 'speakers' that my friend Dave Fodel produced, and was performed at a garage/loft in downtown Denver.

I did another performance that was recorded, and was originally provided to Gregory Taylor to be played on his WORT-FM radio show, RTQE. That is the performance that is provided in this release, and I hope you enjoy. You can buy a download for two bucks, but it is free to listen to on the site.

Fun to release this, and I'm going to be pulling some more archival content out for release over the next few months. Thanks!

[ddg]