Friday, 15 October 2010

Schneiders London Testsalon Opening

Some pictures from the opening event at Rough Trade East last Sunday.

It's been a while since I've been down Brick Lane and I was amazed at the buzz on the streets. Rough Trade East is a great location for the Testsalon and I wish Andreas and the lads every success with the venture. Thanks to everyone who came along - it was great to meet you!

TOP: Cwejman RES-4, MMF-1, Toppobrillo TWF, A-132 VCA, Harvestman Hertz Donut, VCA-4MX; BOTTOM: A-147 VCLFO, A-160/1 clock divider/ sequencer, Fonitronik Attenuverting Mixer, Analogue Solutions SH-NZ, Make Noise Wogglebug & Maths, Bananalogue/ Serge VCS.

Above is a picture of the 6U case I took with me. I can happily confirm that it met Easyjet's carry-on luggage regulations. There was a sharp intake of breath from the passengers behind me as I opened the case at security in Berlin - the people at Luton didn't even bat an eyelid. I asked Easyjet about taking a 9U as carry-on: unfortunately, it's too big.

Putting together a 6U performance case was a real challenge. My normal approach is to ensure that I have all eventualities covered e.g. VCAs, polarizers, mixers etc., but this time the solution was to think in terms of the set I wanted to play and populate the case accordingly. Anything I hadn't used in rehearsal (mults, logic, sound-shaping filters, complex envelopes etc.) was easily left out.

My set comprised of three sections and relied on re-patching & repurposing the modules e.g. filter as oscillator, envelope as trigger delay etc. Rather than using LFOs, a joystick or keyboard/ Pressure Points, I made all changes manually.

Section one: white noise tuned by the RES-4 to provide a pad, the MMF-1 randomly pinged by the Wogglebug (the Allen Strange 'tail-chasing' patch); section two: my faux binary zone patch (MMF-1 through TWF as bassline), RES-4 pinged by clock divider for 'Berlin-style' stabs, high-pitched waveform discontinuity sound from Hertz Donut principal as high hat, modulator as kick drum and, section three, the RES-4 excited by the VCS and run through the TWF for some distorted klonks, with the HD providing some 'stupid' accompaniment and the MMF-1 rumbling the subs.

Part workshop, part gig, this was an interesting experience - despite rehearsing, the one thing I wasn't prepared for was shaky patch-hands. On more than one occasion, I missed the jack and hit the face-plate! Self-contained instruments like Maths, the Wogglebug & Hertz Donut are perfect for small systems (although the latter's secondary CV inputs, which need to be activated, are hardly performance-friendly!). The biggest lesson, though, was to bring your own monitoring: if you can't hear your music properly, you can't respond. Next time, I'll be wearing headphones!

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