Free Music Friday: “Control Zone” Electronica Track and Video by Mark Mosher Performed on Theremin and AudioCube

Watch embedded video

One Man, One Theremin, One AudioCube :^) In this video I perform the original instrumental electronic music song "Control Zone" off of my album I HEAR YOUR SIGNALS which you can download name your price (enter $0 for FREE) on
http://markmosher.bandcamp.com/album/i-hear-your-signals. You can of course also buy my songs/albums on iTunes, Amazon MP3, LastFM, ReverbNation, Zune, and as Physical CDs.

Listener/Viewer Notes
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This video is in HD and I captured the audio full fidelity right from my sound card so listen with some good headphones or on a good system and select HD for full-screen viewing. The video and audio were captured in one continuous take with no content edits.

Composer Notes
To fit the back-story of my album, I set out to compose a song that sounded a bit alien in origin. To liberate myself from my typical compositional instrument of the keyboard, I decided to compose and perform the textures and melodies using only spatial controllers. I this case I used a Moog Etherwave Theremin, and a Percussa AudioCube. Once I got going with this notion I really got using 6 dimension of spatial control to go “Hendrix” with the Theremin. The title of the song has many meanings, one of which should be obvious to Theremin fans.

Producer Notes 
I'm routing the Theremin analog signal into Ableton Live and then I convert the the signal from pitch-to-MIDI in real-time. This signal is routed to various virtual instruments hosted in Live. I then use a Percussa AudioCube in Sensor mode to add 4 additional dimensions of modulate in real-time. So 6 dimensions of spatial control. I'm changing the signal routing of the Theremin to route MIDI to different virtual instruments on the fly using the Novation Launchpad.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder, CO
www.ModulateThis.com
www.MarkMosherMusic.com

Free Music Friday: "Dark Signals" Electronica Track and Video by Mark Mosher

Watch Embedded Video (I recommend watching in HD!)

 

"Dark Signals" is a song from my album I Hear Your Signals. This is an original dark electronica song with driving big beats, bit-crushed high-hats, a dash of ambient texture, and distorted synth leads. It's one of my favorite songs off the album and is becoming a crowd favorite at live shows.

In the spirit of Free Music Friday you can get this song, or the entire album over at http://markmosher.bandcamp.com name your price (enter $0 for FREE).

The song and video are Copyright 2010 Mark J. Mosher and are under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

Listener/Viewer Notes
markmosher_dark_signals_01

This video is in HD and I captured the audio full fidelity right from my sound card.  So I recommend you listen with some good headphones or on a good system. You can play full screen, and or stream to your home theater via Tivo, Apple TV.

The video and audio were captured in one continuous take with no content edits so you can here a few artifacts and – dare I say it – teeny mistakes here and there which I left in as it’s part of the “character” of live performance. The only editing is on the video side where I added camera movement, camera mixing and visual effects.

Composer/Producer Notes
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The song is original and was composed and produced entirely Ableton Live 8 with virtual instruments and lots of native Live effects. I either played all the notes, hand programmed the notes, or played them live.

The song is peformed in Session view. I have all the scenes laid out so I can control the arrangement on the fly in session view. I’ve mapped a foot controller plugged into my Novation Remote SL MIDI mapped to “Scene Launch” leaving my hands free to play and configure the Tenori-On function on the fly while advancing the arrangement. This also means I’m not locked in and can change the arrangement or extend scenes if I like.

It’s a little hard to see, but when I’m playing keys, I’m riding the modulation wheel to add grit. I’ve also use after touch to add distortion like effects.

The Moog Etherwave Theremin signal is converted from pitch-to-MIDI using a VSTand is driving a textural pad from a virtual synth.

At the 1:42 mark I’m playing lead using Tenori-On matrix controller sending MIDI notes to a virtual synth running in Live. I also use a different “layer” in the Tenori-On to play the nasty metalic pad sound.

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The blinking cubes are Percuss AudioCubes. Normally I use these as controllers, but in this song they are light sources which I programed and control using RGB MIDI clips from live.

I created a copy of this set for performance and then froze and flattened tracks with virtual instruments that were either not being played live or were not being modulated live. As a result, I got my set load time down to about 6 seconds and my CPU load down to around 10-20% peaking at around 25% even though I’m playing some VSTs live.

Enjoy,

Mark Mosher, Electronic Musician, Boulder, CO
www.ModulateThis.com
www.MarkMosherMusic.com

I Join the Moog & Theremin Communities with My New Moog Etherwave

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Yesterday, I received the last instrumental element of my rig – the Moog Etherwave Theremin. It was actually a gift from my wife and extended family which makes it even more special! I’ve included a few pictures in this post and you can see more over on my Facebook Fan page.

If you’ve been following along, you know that I’ve been slowly building out my live rig to add all sorts of interesting visual, tangible, and now spatial controllers. The real power of my rig is that when you combine all the pieces with Ableton Live at the center you can do some amazing things – after lots of practice of course ;^)

The Theremin is amazing and I’ve always wanted one – for many reasons really. First I feel that through the Theremin I’m connecting to the history of electronic music, and to Bob Moog in a way. Second, I’ve always loved the classic use of Theremin in science fiction films. I used a Theremin patch from a virtual synth in the song “They Walk Among Us” and I’m quite excited to use a real Theremin to perform this live. Third, I’ve always been curious about composing using spatial movements of the body. Lastly, I think it will also add an interesting visual aspect to my performances.

I plan to both learn classic Theremin technique, plus go well beyond the classic use of the Theremin by using it’s signal to control other elements in my rig and to heavily process it’s signal. I’ve already started working with it running through Ableton Live and using Percussa AudioCubes to modulate digital parameters that are effecting the analog signal. Very exciting!

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The instrument itself is very solid and beautiful and is quite a contrast to commodity plastic controllers in build quality. I like Moog’s form factor with the Etherwave as well. They’ve done a nice job creating a small but solid enclosure that is lean and functional.

If you’ve not played a Theremin, it’s actually quite challenging. I’m very pleased that Moog included a DVD with two video tutorials by  Clara Rockmore, “the Greatest Theremin Virtuosa” and “Mastering the Theremin, by Lydia Kavina”. Bob Moog also makes an appearance in the video.

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Many, many, many hours of practice in my future with the Thremin. More to come on this including videos of performance and rehearsals. Stay tuned.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician (and now Thereminist)
Boulder, CO
www.ModulateThis.com
www.MarkMosherMusic.com
www.RebootAlbum.com