Tuesday, December 17, 2013

G-Storm Announces Album Release Illuminated Displays

G-Storm Electro announces release an album project Illuminated Displays available at Soundcloud. "It has been 5 years in the making. Perhaps every detail has been over-obsessed. My passion was to make an electronic album that was absolutely unforgettable, multi-layered, and at its core something thought provoking. It is a re-imagining, re-interpretation, a new spin on what electronic music from past eras could have been. I have employed some unconventional methods including re-synthesis and authoring my own plugins. And I have programmed every sample, synth patch, and beats expressly tailored for each track. Hope you enjoy the result as much as I do." -g

Monday, December 9, 2013

VSE Synthesizer Competition

Be sure to check out the VintageSynth.com Modern Analog Mono synthesizer competition. There is some really good sounds here. One of the entries is mine, can you guess which one? Enjoy.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

ARP Solina Restoration Work

I don't mind a little wear and character on my synths but this project came to me looking like it was in a barfight as seen in the original photo.
Fabricating the cabinet was a much bigger project than I anticipated, but all the hard work has definitely paid off with a fantastic looking piece. The devil is in all those little details - things that make a Solina what it is. Sure I considered something extreme or unique. But I absolutely love the original design, and wanted something faithful to that.

It has been dressed in solid Poplar hardwood with Candlelight stain color from Woodcraft.

I imagined a Solina logo would look spiffy on the back although they were never made that way on this particular version. A graphic in the service manual probably, subconsciously, gave me the idea.

So I trimmed out the logo reveal on a self-adhesive transparency, and painted the area gold.

To finish out the project other work was done:
- Pulled all the keys, cleaned them and inspected the bushings which seem ok.
- I needed two replacement keys, but none were to be found. I explored old school casting methods to fabricate a couple of keys from scratch, no 3-D printers around here. First I had to remove the damaged plastic from the metal frames and glue the new plastics on. The fabricated keys are at C4 and F4, not the raised keys which I should have resolved but maybe later. It was time-consuming and a bit expensive, but in the end I had fun and learned something all new to me. You probably wouldn't know the difference between the way the original keys look or play unless I told you which ones they were.
- Some dead and hanging notes were resolved
- Replaced the big electrolytic capacitors I ordered from Mouser in the power supply and main oscillator board.
- Replaceed slider cap ordered from Syntaur.
- Added a square pilot light from radio shack I fabricated a hole mount adapter for the existing bulb/housing.
This restoration is far from what I would call complete, but this Solina looks, plays and sounds charming again.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Synth Meet 2013 Grand Prairie, Solina Project

Some sights and sounds from Oct 2013 Synth Meet. I left my audio recorder at home so I overdubbed some MS-20 mini during some parts.
The Solina Restoration should be completed this week. More details to follow.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Grand Prairie Synth Meet, Solaris and Solina

Still nothing to report on a title and artwork for the finished album. Soon hopefully.

The Synth Meet this past weekend in Grand Prairie was fantastic. Video to come soon, still editing. Got to test drive the John Bowen Solaris, I'm very impressed. It's got some of the dna of the more mind-expanding wavetable digital synths like the PPG stuff and the classic Roland D-50. It has the classic analog waveforms and Moog filters too. With features like Rotary it can transcend the usual sounds. More on the synth meet coming soon.

Also, I just had to snap-up Brandon's ARP Solina project. I'm a real sucker for string synthesizers, and just realized I had sellers remorse for parting ways with the Solina back in 2010. The synth is complete, chorus circuit is working properly, and the electronics issues of droning notes and a couple of dead keys should be something I can handle. But 75% of the work is likely to be cosmetics.

There are broken keys and the sides and back of the cabinet have been replaced with oak. The refurb job is not high quality and will need to be done right. After taking the case apart, the original bottom and tops are particle board and chipped badly. So a trip to the lumber warehouse and full cabinet rebuild is in order.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Final Touches

Preparing the album for release. Then I'll reveal the title and artwork, and drop the promo video for Spin Down. Remixing and remastering a few tracks for small improvements:
- Miranda, shaving a minute off and improving the clarity of the mix
- Spaced Out Beauty, re-recorded the flat mono bass to stereo
- Cerulean, removing sub-frequency distortion at intro and bass clipping throughout
- and Polar Shift, improve drum clarity.

And then after the album release maybe an EP with remixes from the album tracks.

Other things happening. Restored my Juno-106 by reviving the original voice chips and replaced battery, sounds great. Also, next synth patches/video demo will focus on the Akai AX-80.

Friday, August 23, 2013

It's all happening

The 12th and final track Spin Down will be released very soon.

Peep the track artwork and some stills from the forthcoming promo video.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Studio Update

Quite a few irons in the fire...

Found some good deals on a couple of synths.
I'm a complete sucker for the Juno-106. This is the fourth one I've owned as I have flipped the others. It is complete and everything is stock, so the voice chips and coin battery will need attention asap. I haven't decided whether to restore the chips or replace them with the Analog Renaissance replacements.
Juno106 photo Juno-106_zps8010426f.jpg
And an Akai AX-80 (not pictured). Just finished some work on it restoring function to some of the membrane buttons. It's common to this model because some internal board connections are rigid and often vibrate loose. For those interested I opted to remove the rigid connectors and solder individual wires in place. It worked very well. Later I will be programming some sounds and host a demo in the near future.
Also downloaded the G-Force M-Tron plugin and it sounds absolutely phenomenal.

MUSIC, not forgetting to make music. Started recording a track called Spin Down. It's a bit down-tempo and subtle finish to the yet untitled album. I've been in continual practice on guitar textures which will highly featured. It's not especially difficult, but during recording it seems every sneaky note or missed rhythm is well amplified. And it will mean the five year album endeavor will be completed. Now if I could only figure out what the album title should be.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Korg MS-20 Mini Bass Excursion

Filthy analog bass sounds of all sorts. Korg MS-20 mini recorded direct to Tascam DR-05 with no further processing.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Oberheim Matrix-6 Patches (6R/1000)

Here are about 40 or so original Matrix-6 patches in SYSEX format as a single bank.  They should work on the Matrix-6R and Matrix-1000 also.  My main goal was to explore the wide range of sonic character which is akin to its big brother counterparts, the Matrix-12/Xpander.  A handful of these patches were transcribed from those made on a Matrix-12.  The video demo are some of my favorites, and were recorded direct with absolutely no other processing or effects.

Use Midi-ox program or some other midi utility program to load the bank.  Don't forget to save your own bank before doing this.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Oberheim Matrix-6 Sound Check

I am currently building a set of patches for the Oberheim Matrix-6/6R/1000. Here is a sound test of the first set of patches. A few sounds will be those translated from the Matrix-12 which has very much of the same character. It shouldn't be surprising since they seem to share the same software DNA and extreme mod routing that makes these sounds possible. I'm using an instrument editor I found on the internet in Cubase SX3. Here's the exact one I'm using and is working quite well. I still need to do the Mod Matrix routing from the synth but the editor makes the patching much easier.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Checking in

Yep it's been a while since my last post. A few things happening at the moment, but very quickly...
- Sold the Wavestation. I wanted to explore the wavetable aspect but found it a bit redundant (as I might have expected) already having the PPG Wave 2.v plugin which I highly recommend. Haven't tried the 3.v yet.
- Speaking of wavetables, for anyone skeptical of their sonics being too harsh I've been going back to the old Fixx track Deeper & Deeper. That sound is absolutely bonkers. And of course not forgetting Thomas Dolby's Windpower. Anyone who knows of more excellent examples feel free to reply!
- Finally had a chance locally to audition the Minibrute monosynth, and after three days of tinkering in the store went ahead and picked one up. Been wanting a couple of monos for a while. Also turning quite blue holding my breath for the release of the MS 20 mini on pre-order.
- Recording a bit of a different track for me called Anthem. I've been using the catchy chord progressions in some video demos for the RE-20 and the String Concerto II plugin. Throwing everything at it but the kitchen sink: Jupiter-6 leads and arpeggios, Matrix-12 bass, VP-330, Andromeda...it's all sounding very sexy.
- Speaking of plugins the String Concerto II and VSP-330r2 will be re-posted soon, more details to come on my other blog.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


5 months since my last track.  Dark.  Blues.  Mesmerizing.  Magnum features a haunting melody,  downtempo rhythms at 70 bpm, and my first turn on guitar in many years.  I had spent a month and a half going down the wrong road at 90 bpm but wasn't feeling it at all.  So I actually scrapped the whole piece starting over.  It was worth it.  The second time around textures were built up around a simple piano melody coursing with vinyl-grit.  The TX81Z FM synth part at 0:53 is a crazy patch I conjured for a demo of the synth called DrtySecret, and knew at the time I had the starting point for this track.  While the drums are basic, I had spent a great deal of time in BFD getting them to sound big but not too busy.  As always the analog synths had to be in there.  There's quite a bit of Matrix-12, VP-330, a bass part from the Jupiter-6.  Continuing to push myself outside of my comfort zone with some simple ambient guitar textures drenched in Eventide Timefactor, and a short guitar lead part going through a ProCo Rat.  I had been practicing with a Fender Strat for a while now, and starting to trust it from a songwriting standpoint more and more.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Download Links Are Back

I will be using this post to manage my download links.  As files are added or updated it will all happen right here. To open the zip archives I use WinZip for windows, and Archive Utility for macs. For help with MIDI sysex file transfer (all synths except System-1 and Venom) check out this post. For the Roland System-1 and M-Audio Venom, you will need to refer those manufacturers for their file transfer methods.

My selected synthesizer patches are ABSOLUTELY FREE to download.
Are these patches useful? Help and support my endeavors today.

Did you know I have some interesting things listed on Reverb? Check it out now.

Matrix-12 RandomPatches **NEW**
This is the bank of completely random patches from my video 'Matrix-12 Pure Noise Chaos Demo #8'. Before uploading these to your synth be sure to back up your own sounds first!
Roland Alpha Juno-1/2/MKS-50 Patches
Juno-1/2/MKS-50 note: Alphabase software is recommended, but MIDIOX works as well.
Alesis Andromeda Patch Set 2
Alesis Andromeda Patch Set 1
Kawai K5000S Patches floppy disk image
Roland System-1 Patches
Moog Sub37 Patches
Roland JX-8P Patches
Yamaha TX81Z Patches
Oberheim Matrix-12/Xpander
Oberheim Matrix-6/6R/1000
Avid/M-Audio Venom