New Single & Video: “Space-Time Distortion Near Track Number 8”

Space-Time Distortion Near Track Number 8 - cover2

Sometimes when gear acquisition syndrome calls, I take a pause in the action and recommit myself to the gear I already own. I was recently kind of lusting after something bleepy and and perhaps an analogish instrument with self-contained sequencing. Then I thought, hey, I can just live sequence the Nord Lead 4 slots from the Octatrack. “Space-Time Distortion Near Track Number 8” was born.

I published the track as a single on Bandcamp https://markmosher.bandcamp.com/track/space-time-distortion-near-track-number-8.

I also made a live studio recording of the session then edited this into a super trippy video.

I’ve been working with the Octatrack for 4 years and the Nord Lead 4 for 3/12 years and they still inspire and surprise me. I’m really happy with the sonic range of the Nord Lead 4 and this track shows off that you can get both non-linearity nastiness and warmth from the instrument. Octatrack + Nord are really an amazing pairing that can give me a strong synth, sampler, sequencer, drum machine combo without a computer. Rugged as hell as well.

So once again I dodge the gear acquisition bullet – for now! #TheStruggleIsReal

More on the track…

Story:

I discovered a space-time distortion while visiting Chicago. The location of the anomaly is at track 8 at Union Station.

Artist Notes:

This audio and video was captured in one real-time pass to a Zoom Q4N. The primary source video for 90% of the visuals is from the overhead view of the live studio session. The only other footage is a video field recording from Chicago’s Union Station also recorded on the Zoom Q4N. The audio was not edited when I added video effects in post.

The audio field recording was extracted the Zoom Q4N video shot at Union Station. It’s mangled pretty heavily in this piece put if you listen closely, you can hear an automated voice informing you that you are at track 8 and 10. Interestingly, the speakers at the station are not directional and the audio is at different loop lengths – so just wandering about between these gates is a trippy polyrhythmic treat.

Instrumentation and Instrumentalities:

The piece is a combination of live sequencing and live performance. The Octatrack is used to host drum samples and recording. It is also used to MIDI sequence 3 synth slots on the Nord Lead 4 including MIDI automation. I perform live using all 4 slots on the Nord plus manipulate the Octatrack in real-time. Lots of real-time sound design and morphing. All the groovy synth sounds are exclusive to Nord Lead 4 all being created in real-time (meaning no synth audio was pre-recorded).

New Cinematic Ambient Album “Sonic Encounters Volume 01” @Bandcamp Exclusive #Ambient #CinematicAmbient #DarkAmbient #MusiqueConcrète #Synthesis

Sonic Encounters Volume 01 Album Cover B3

Sonic Encounters Volume 01 Now Available

The album contains 14 tracks and 2 hours of Cinematic Ambient Soundscapes. You can listen and buy here or from the embedded player below. I you like Krell music – you’ll love this album! If you enjoy the album consider a buy and please tell your friends.

About This Release

Sonic Encounters began as a podcast that ran from June 2015 through May 2016 and contained 13 episodes or original music racking up over 10,000 plays on just this series along. Each show had a companion post which contained original artwork made, a back story, behind-the-scenes artist notes and photos.

I’ve decided to convert the podcast into an album series. Sonic Encounters Volume 01 is the first release in the series. It contains all the past soundscape episodes. If you buy the full album you’ll get the bonus track “Tonalities from Orbit Live from the University of Colorado Atlas Institute Black Box”. This previously unreleased track is a 11:31 minute live room recording from the “Boulder Laptop Orchestra BLOrK performs with guest Mark Mosher” concert event.

Liner Notes

I converted the  podcast show notes to a single page of  liner notes here.

Premise & Buzz

“Goosebumps and Deep Breaths…I’m trying to restrain myself in writing this review as it’d be easy to come off sounding a bit hyperbolic… But these rich soundscape “stories” sincerely do thrill my senses.

The concept for Sonic Encounters (so far, and in my interpretation) is this. You read a short text (sometimes the title is enough) on the premise of the “story” before listening. Then you listen to a purely sonic piece of field recording morphed with music, electronic manipulation, and performance, and you’re immediately transported via your own imagination’s 3D projection of his premise.

Mark’s become a consummate sound artist. He creates powerful imagery and elicits surprisingly keen emotional response from the listener without being heavy-handed. His economy and value in precision is proof of his skill.

My favorite story so far is “Metamorphosis Under the Chatham Light”. I get chills just thinking about it.

My very close second is “And What Do Trees Hear When the Wind Blows”. Read each premise before you listen.  Or not. No matter, the pieces will creep into your consciousness and take up residence.”  – BlindFlyTheater.com 

Experimental Music Concert Sunday April 30th for Doors Open Denver + Synthesis Notes

Synthesizer Sunday, a Union of Architecture and Sound

The city of Denver has invited me and four other local electronic music artists to perform Sunday April 30th. This is part of the larger Door Open Denver Event.

Like architecture, which starts from basic elements – glass, sand, and stone to create a building – synthesizers start from basic sine waves modulated to produce sound into music. Join us for this open-air concert at one of Denver’s most prominent cultural facilities where five musicians taking turns playing synthesizers will dedicate their performances to the distinctive glass roof of the Galleria.

Particulars

When: Sunday April 39th 12 PM – 3 PM
Admission: Free
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1866714256917847/
Where: Denver Performing Arts Complex, Speer Boulevard and Arapahoe St, Denver, Colorado 80204.  We will be under the glass arch of the Galleria in front of the Buell Theater.

Performers

  1. Dane Terry 12:00 noon –  12.25
  2. Victoria Lundy  12:30 – 12:55
  3. Mark Mosher 1:00 – 1:25
  4. Chris Frain 1:30 – 1:55
  5. Kuxaan Sum 2:00 – 2: 25

Video from Preview Event

Last week, Kuxaan Sum and I paid an early morning visit to the Galleria with our rigs for a preview performance for CBS 4 News. Afterworld, we had an opportunity to play short improvised set with an almost empty Galleria. The natural reverb was AMAZING. Check out this video.

Show Notes for My Set

For my set, I’ll be doing structure improvisation using real-time synthesis using my favorite two hardware instruments – the Nord Lead 4 Synthesizers and the Elektron Octatrack Dynamic Performance Sampler

 

Elektron Octatrack Performance Sampler

The Elektron Octatrack Dynamic Performance Sampler is an incredibly deep instrument from Sweden that allows me to do real-time sound design with effects and morph between different instrument “states”. Prior to the performance, I’ve prepared a series of samples derived or inspired by the Galleria architecture, materials, and space.

Source 1 – Converting Images of the Galleria into Complex Audio Waveforms

I converted images of the Galleria into audio waveforms by resynthesizing the pictures using an additive synthesizer. Each pixel in the photo is converted into image planes with audio gain and pitch.

I then manipulated a play head which travels across these panes. As this happens, this additive synthesizer uses 520 oscillators produce partials of frequency, amplitude and waveform phase in real time. I programmed a series of sounds using this technique and recorded 2-29 second audio samples which I then transfer into the Octatrack for use in live performance on Sunday.

As you can see form the above spectral analysis, this process creates amazingly complex harmonic content.

Here is a video I made of the process.

Source 2 – Ambient recordings of the sound of the Galleria

My second set of sources for the Octatrack are recordings of the ambience of the this massive space as theater goers start arriving for a shows one evening.

Source 3 – Field Recordings of the Materials

Lastly, I spent some time to record a session where I played the Galleria itself. I used a drum stick, felt mallet, and drum brushes to gently play metal beams, door handles, and other parts of the Galleria bones. I’ve built a custom drum kit for the Octatrack using these elements.

Nord Lead 4 Performance Synthesizer

Part of the show concept is “like architecture, which starts from basic elements – glass, sand, and stone to create a building – synthesizers start from basic sine waves modulated to produce sound into music.” To this end I’m using custom presets on the wonderful Nord Lead 4 Performance Synthesizer (also made in Sweden) inspired by the Galleria.  I’ll be improvising and morphing these original sounds live.

I Hope To See You At the Show

As you can see this is going to be a truly amazing community event. I’m optimistic that this is the first of many such events where the city partners with local experimental music artists. If you live in the Denver or along the Front Range, I hope will be consider coming to the show to enjoy the music and sound in this wonderful space and support the concept.

Video of My Guest Solo Performance with the Boulder Laptop Orchestra Event at CU Atlas Institute

I had the incredible honor of being invited to perform with the Boulder Laptop Orchestra on March 18th (Related Blog Post). This is a live video recording from the “Boulder Laptop Orchestra BLOrK performs with guest Mark Mosher” event (Facebook Invite).

The video features my original solo improvisational piece “Tonalities from Orbit” which I was invited to perform to close out the night with the ensemble. Earlier in the program I performed interactive visuals for 7 pieces for the ensemble.

The video is live and audio from a Zoom Q4N.

Program Notes

Tonalities from Orbit” is an original structured improvisational piece inspired by the ground breaking work of Louis and Bebe Barron – who in the 1956 provided the soundtrack to the seminal Scifi film Forbidden Planet.
The hand-built circuits they used to create the “electronic tonalities” of this film pre-dated the modern synthesizer and were limited to oscillators (producing mainly square, sine, & triangle waves), ring modulators, overdriven tubes, reverb, and delay (done with tape manipulation).
Informed by these limitations, and using only a Nord Lead 4 synthesizer, Mark created 14 original and expressive “circuit states”. In this performance he will play and morph between these states as a framework for the piece as he brings his version of the Krell to life.
The performance will be complimented with Mark’s real-time visuals using only live camera input as a source with audio-responsive automation.

Photos and Program