Thursday, 28 September 2017

Regional Arts Fellowship - Field Report 3 [EMS Sweden Residency]

This is the third post on my overseas field trips, part of my Create NSW Regional Arts Fellowship, you can check out the first post on a week spent with Chris Watson here and second post on my Moog Sound Lab UK Residency 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 Feb 1 - 12 I was Guest Composer at EMS Elektronmusikstudion in Stockholm, Sweden. I also had my Eurorack modular with Intellijel ShapeshifterCycleboxII + 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 my time again working mainly with modulation synthesis such as FMRMPWM, AM, and wavetable synthesis via audio rate sequencing. I was also processing sounds from my Rainwire recordings through some pretty exotic effects modules/units, ranging from spring/plate reverbs, modular systems and high end DSP boxes. Some of these recordings appeared in my Rainwire [Processed] installation at Sound+Environment 2017 at Hull University, part of the UK City of Culture 2017. 

Some of the material recorded during this residency was featured in a special episode of Graham Dunning's Fractal Meat on a Spongy Bone. This show covered a bunch of my Fellowship recordings and activities during my first overseas trip, as well previously released and unreleased material  =>


One crucial thing for everyone visiting EMS is getting used to the studio booking system, which is in Swedish, but once you get the lowdown its pretty easy. When I first logged on to book Studio 4 to get access to the Buchla 200 I find out I'm in there the day after the Diva of the Diode: Suzanne Ciani :) Its certainly a focusing experience being in a studio where you are booking time in slots.. you get super fast patching everything up from scratch and then unpatching the whole setup when your times up..

I also got the EMS tech's to help me put together a little setup so I could move it around the various studios easily. We pulled some of the gear from this big double rack that was temporarily in limbo => 

So I had some bonus extra gear: 2x Yamaha TX81Z, Evolution EVS-1, Lexicon PCM-80, TC Electronic M5000 and EMS Director Mat Lindström's old Alesis Quadraverb from the Attic.. and a nice little A&H MixWiz to mix with.

It was an amazingly inspirational and creative time at EMS, and lots of fun too! 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.

Below you will find sections on Buchla 200, Fylkingen Buchla 200, Serge, Roberta Settels ring mod, EMS attic & workshop, my artist talk + some other bits.. 

To find out more about EMS you can listen/download an in-depth interview with Mats Lindström by Radio Web MACBA here

Studio 4 / Buchla 200 photo diary =>

Studio 4 is home to the big Buchla 200, which contains an array of modules ranging from old to new e.g. 225e, as well as a couple of clone modules 277 & 288v

The mind-numbingly rare Buchla Programmable Spectral Processor Model 296, there are 2 of these in the system =>

Studio 6 / Serge photo diary =>

Studio 6 is home to a seven panel Serge modular, which has a couple of ultra-rare modules: Wilson Analog Delay and the Gentle Electric Pitch & Envelope Follower.

EMS Studio Assistant Henrik Jonsson kindly loaned me some of his Eurorack clobber to hook up to the Serge =>

Studio 3 / Fylkingen Buchla 200 photo diary =>

Tucked away in Studio 3 is a much smaller Buchla 200 system on loan from Fylkingen. Although smaller, the module setup is different, so it was well worth getting some time on it. Nice tidy little setup :)

Roberta Settels diode/transformer ring modulator =>

While I was in the EMS workshop I came across a super interesting and unassuming little box, underneath a Lee Perry & Mad Professor poster. I was told it was a ring modulator that had recently arrived from the estate of EMS composer Roberta Settels, who had passed away in 2014.

I asked if it was OK for me to use Roberta's ring modulator and got the thumbs up, they even let me whip the lid off so I could make a note of the internals  ===>

Inside we can see its a classic diode/transformer ring modulator circuit, with 2x 600ohm centre tapped audio transformers and 4x OA161 germanium diodes. Note this type of device is completely passive, requiring no power supply =>

Setup with the Fylkingen Buchla 200 et al =>

Setup with the Buchla 200 et al =>

Final setup: Roberta's original Wavetek oscillator, Mats Lindström's oscillator and an EMS workshop test oscillator. A quick last minute 3/4 hour recording session before jumping in a taxi to the airport.. =>

It was incredibly inspirational to work with Roberta's ring mod, as I have built a few over the years, but not using the diode/transformer circuit. It's a circuit I've long been meaning to try and this was a catalyst to get me started building a few.. but more on those in a later post. Interested folks can get started building their own diode/transformer ring mods pretty easy with this Ken Stone CGS circuit.

EMS attic photo diary =>

The EMS attic is home to the plate and spring reverbs that are available on the studio patch panels. For Studio 4 you actually have to operate the control unit for the AKG spring from the spiral staircase that leads to the attic. 

Naturally I got a bit curious and wanted to go and check the attic out, but its well locked up and signed "Endast Personal" which means "Staff Only". So I go and ask Henrik, and immediately get taken up there, and its quite a place =>

EMT 140 plate reverbs =>

MICMIX C3A Sound Column spring reverbs =>

AKG Spring Reverb =>

The rest of the attic tour =>

Wow, we just found Mats Lindström's old Alesis Quadraverb, lets take that back down =>

Olde Buchla boats =>

EMS workshop photo diary =>

Daniel Araya whips out the glue gun and fixes up a couple of busted bits on my MANIAC cellular automata sequencer ==>

Henrik Jonsson shows me around the original EMS FILTER/VOCODER from back in the day. That's one serious piece of clobber, its gonna take some time to get that going again =>

Workshop tour continued =>

Bonus quick setup in Studio 2 =>

Mats Lindström (Director EMS) getting ready for an overseas gig =>

And its all got to fit in this suitcase.. => 

Some of the EMS history in the foyer =>

On the last night in Stockholm I was lucky enough to get an invite from John Chantler to the European premiere of Occam Ocean by Eliane Radigue. Thanks John!! =>

Traditional EMS curry lunch in Stockholm, L-R: John Chantler, Mats Lindström, Mats Erlandsson & me :) => 

The essential EMS kitchen area =>

Just past the EMS foyer is the kitchen area, a great spot for socialising and chatting. EMS International Coordinator Gabrielle Karlsén-Beretta brought these amazing Swedish Semla for us to try and they were amazing! Here's a pic of them with Gabrielle and guest composer Maxwell August Croy before we all got started on them =>

Some of the friendly EMS staff in the kitchen L-R: Henrik Jonsson Studio AssistantGabrielle Karlsén-Beretta International Coordinator and Ylva Skog Studio Administrator, Education Officer =>

It was pretty crispy in Stockholm in Feb, this is the route to EMS I took each day =>

Oh no! It really is time to get on the plane! =>


EMS Staff:
Mats Lindström - Studio Director
Gabrielle Karlsén-Beretta - International Coordinator
Henrik Jonsson - Studio Assistant
Mats Erlandsson - Studio Assistant
Daniel Araya - Studio Engineer
Ylva Skog - Studio Administrator, Education Officer
Pär Johansson - Librarian

John Chantler, Stephen McEvoy, Maxwell August Croy, Graham Dunning, Jean-Louis Huhta.

Richard D James for extensive clobber natteringz.

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.