Monday, 25 September 2017

Regional Arts Fellowship - Field Report 2 [Moog Sound Lab UK Residency]

This is the second post on my overseas field trips, part of my Regional Arts Fellowship, you can check out the first post on a week spent with Chris Watson here. During the trips I posted up a whole bunch of pictures/tweets live through my twitter account, so you can also have a look back through those tweets too :) 

On Jan 23 - 29 I held an Artist Residency at Moog Sound Lab UK which is currently located at the Institute of Sound Recording, University of Surrey. This was a great week, I got to check out and record with a whole bunch of Moog gear, and a few other choice pieces as well! 


During the week I was ably assisted by resident Moog studio engineer/wizard Finlay Shakespeare. Finlay is a Tonmeister Graduate of the Institute of Sound Recording as well as running his own Eurorack modular synth company Future Sound Systems. Here's Finlay at the Ace Hotel giving a lowdown on the Moog Sound Lab =>



Here is the studio kit list =>

Moog synthesizers/processors:



System 55 modular synthesizer

4x Voyager Rack synthesizers (configured as 4-voice

polyphonic/multitimbral system)
1x Sub Phatty synthesizer
1x Sub 37 synthesizer
1x Little Phatty synthesizer
5x Slim Phatty synthesizers (configured as 6-voice polyphonic system
with Little Phatty above)
1x Taurus III bass pedal synthesizer
2x Theremini
2x MF-101 Low Pass Filter Moogerfooger pedals
4x MF-107 FreqBox Moogerfooger pedals
4x MF-102 Ring Modulator Moogerfooger pedals
4x MF-105M MuRF Moogerfooger pedals
4x MF-108M Cluster Flux Moogerfooger pedals
4x MF-103 12-Stage Phaser Moogerfooger pedals
4x MF-104M Analog Delay Moogerfooger pedals
4x Minitaur monophonic synthesizer modules

Future Sound Systems "Plank" eurorack modular synthesizer
Kenton Pro-2000 mk2 MIDI->CV converter
Elektron Machinedrum SPS-1UW+ mk2 drum machine/sampler
Elektron TurboMidi TM-1 USB MIDI interface
Roland Space Echo RE-201
EMS VCS3
& some sundry other clobber scattered about..

Prism Atlas 8-in 8-out USB audio and MIDI interface
Neve 8816 audio summing mixer

2x Bowers & Wilkins 802 Diamond loudspeakers
Rotel power amplifier
Bowers & Wilkins P7 headphones


I also had my Eurorack modular with Intellijel Shapeshifter, Cyclebox II + Expander, Tiptop Z-DSP & Numberz, as well as my uMANIAC and MANIAC cellular automata sequencers and a MacBook Pro + MOTU MicroBookII. For the creative outcomes I spent the week working mainly with modulation synthesis such as FM, RM, PWM and AM, wavetable synthesis via audio rate sequencing, and processing sounds from my Rainwire recordings.

Here is a patch sheet I made up for the Moog System 55 for an AM patch =>



Selection of pictures from the residency below =>







My old 'one hand to tune 2 oscillators' trick on the studios vintage EMS VCS3 =>




FM patch with the System 55 =>



This was the original 2 oscillator carrier/modulator sketch that Finlay and I made for the FM setup, indicating also the CV/Gate inputs from my cellular automata sequencer =>



Some close-ups of the mammoth System 55 FM patch, which quickly morphed into 3 oscillators to give an extra FM operator.. =>















More close-ups after some slight adjustments and addition of a pitch envelope =>













It should be noted that the FM patching here is exponential and not linear, which is not the same as found on the DX7 type of synths. Here is a very useful video on linear vs exponential FM =>




Some of my equipment hooked up, uMANIAC in the Eurorack top right, MANIAC is the black box with the blue LEDs. Also setup in this patch are a pair of Mutable Instruments Braids modules, custom built by Finlay =>





Also of special note, the studio's Roland Space Echo RE-201 =>



Professor Tony Myatt dropped in to say hi! =>



Finlay Shakespeare in front of the Moog before we unpatched it all.. =>




Keep your eye out for more posts + twitter updates on my upcoming Fellowship workshops in NSW and creative outcomes, or sign-up for Noyzelab News and get an email update.

A big thanks to Paul Smith (Creative Director & Producer at Moog Sound Lab UK), Moog Music Inc., Prof Tony Myatt and Chris Watson. Special thanks to Finlay Shakespeare for being an amazing engineer, and for dropping me off at Gatwick Airport on the last day! Also thanks to Create NSW, and Sarah Last at The Wired Lab.


This Regional Arts Fellowship is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.