Art + Music + Technology

NOTE: This podcast is presented as a collaboration with for the presentation of people working with and creating expressive MIDI controllers. You can listen to the podcast here, on the synthtopia website (in an embedded player) or on iTunes. But you can also read the article as well as search for information by viewing the transcription available here:

Roger Linn is one of my Music Tech heroes. His development of the sampling drum machine has defined a significant portion of my musical life, and I still surround myself with tools that he designed or helped develop.

In this podcast, Roger and I get to chat a little about how he got started (including his design process for the MPC, which is a little mind-blowing!), his current mission to replace on/off switches and how he perceives his own future. He also gives us some real-life example of the value of expressiveness in MIDI controllers, and talks about the musical implications of this effort.

I was blown away by Roger's relaxed attitude about these incredibly genre-altering creations, but he's the first to admit that it's the musicians, not the gear-builders, that make the difference. But in the meantime, he's out there obsessing for the good of us artists, and I couldn't be more excited.


Direct download: podcast_153_RLinn.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 12:00pm CDT

I'll admit it: one of the reasons I moved over to Eurorack systems was because of Make Noise music. I found the Maths module a remarkably musical combination of utility and fun, and the Optomix has the right bump for the money. It also had a kooky look that screamed "fun" instead of "study more"! So yeah, it was a pretty easy transition...

I was pleased to get a little of Tony's time for the podcast, and he didn't disappoint - not only did we dive into the development of his modules and systems, but I also got him to talk a bunch about how he got started in electronics, and what were the influences that drove him forward. We also talk a bit about his manufacturing process, and how he things about running a modular synth business. It's a great interview, and really reveals a lot about how great a person Tony really is.

I hope you enjoy this, and if you aren't familiar with Make Noise, you should check out their work. But in any case, enjoy my chat with Tony!

Direct download: podcast_152_TRolando.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 7:21am CDT

Tim Place is one of those amazing guys that, at a fairly young age, has already accomplished so much. He is one of the main designer/programmers behind the Jamoma project, developed the Teabox sensor system (as well as designing and building the best sensors in the business...), created the Hipno plug-in package and has been developing objects and systems for Cycling '74 for almost a decade.

I was anxious to talk to Tim for many reasons, but one of them was to talk about his efforts in getting his doctorate in music, why he sort of stalled out on that process, but how he was also able to leverage that experience into a useful career. And his discussions about career are somewhat familiar to me as I surf the variety of people that make it in music tech: he puts out a lot of feelers, works really hard on a lot of things, and one of them happens to 'hit'.

In Tim's case, a number of these things are still on-going concerns, with the Jamoma package at the forefront. But it's interesting to talk to Tim about his continued interest in C++ coding, his re-entrance into math (a subject he abandoned in high school) and his approach to trying many things in search of The Right Thing.


Direct download: podcast_151_TPlace.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 8:38am CDT

Here's one of the great ones.

Tom Erbe is an amazing cat. He's been on my radar for almost as long as I've been serious about electronic music; his early work with Soundhack (subsequently expanded into plug-in and app form) was inspirational, and opened my ears for computer music outside the realm of standard sequencing. He's a serious experimental music engineer and producer, and has implemented a Williams Mix performance and recording (available on his personal website). Most recently, he's garnered a following for his work with Make Noise on the Echophon, Phonogene and Erbe-Verb.

I watch amazed as Tom float from hardware to software, all the while creating head-bending, fun results. With all of that, it's amazing to find that he's the most laid back, easy going person you'll ever talk to. What a great talk!



Direct download: podcast_150_TErbe.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 1:04pm CDT