Art + Music + Technology

Often, when we think of art/music technology, we imagine that people get into it by watching YouTube videos, or seeing things in concerts, or through some other indirect method. But often, a hands-on experience is what lights people off in a new direction, and Jason Kramer is at the heart of that process. He is the co-owner and in-store manager of Control Voltage, one of the few US stores that carry modular and analog synth gear, and on a daily basis he has the opportunity to introduce people to the gear of their future.

It was fun to talk to Jason - an incredibly personable guy - about how a community develops around art/tech, what it's like to run a store filled with dreamy gear, and what he thinks needs to happen in the music world. This was an in-store interview, so it is a little echo-y, but the interview is well worth it!

Direct download: podcast_028_JKramer.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 11:24am CDT

I first met Mark Verbos when I was selling a Roland MC-202, and he was looking for analog gear. Soon thereafter, we ran into each other in the basement of Grant Richter's house, where we both were hanging out and talking smart about the upcoming Wiard modular system. We continued to see each other over the years (often at trade shows - especially AES when it was in New York), and kept in touch. I watch him grow from analog-gearhead to repairman of the Buchla Stars to a great designer in his own right. But neither I nor anyone else was prepared for the storm that occurred early this year, when he announced the Verbos modular system for Eurorack.

In this interview, we dive into his background (from live PA guy through industry engineer/producer), hear how he learned electronics (from Grant), got advice (from Don Buchla) and came to be one of the most exciting designers in analog music electronics. We also take the time to chuckle at how we each got to where we are. This provided a great chance to get caught up with Mark, and to understand the education of a synth designer.


Direct download: podcast_027_MVerbos.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 10:46am CDT

Sorry about the missing podcast last week - I was working up in Portland, and was a little network challenged. Now I'm snuggled at home in the middle of a mid-spring snow storm, and am remembering the Pacific Northwest quite fondly.

This week we talk to Ben Bracken. I wanted to talk to Ben for a number of reasons: he's a graduate of Mills' MFA program (which has an incredible history in the electronic music sphere), he has done almost every type of art and music imaginable, and he is an active collaborator. Currently, he is working with Ashley Bellouin on installations and performances that feature handmade instruments, and the work is quite compelling.

So I take the chance to quiz Ben on his Mills experience, how he manages working in so many environment, and how he is able to manage collaboration. A great and informative talk, and one that is sure to teach you something!

Direct download: podcast_026_BBracken.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 3:33pm CDT