Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Reality is Free

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

My band Kether just made a record.  Now, we’re giving the whole thing away for free.  Please go download it and share it with anyone you think might like it.  It’s available in MP3, Ogg Vorbis, and Ogg FLAC (lossless) formats.  If you like the record, please donate.  It’s as simple as that.  The whole thing is licensed under a Creative Commons attribution license, so that means NO DRM and (pretty much) no restrictions on what you can do with it.  We make music because we want to make music and we release it because we want people to listen to it.


Studio 17h, version 2.0

Saturday, March 1st, 2008

I thought I would post an update about all of the things that have been happening with me musically. I’m still working out the details on the Kether live show, but I think it will be much different than I was anticipating. Like many busy musicians, I have several pieces of gear, in various states of (dis)repair. Some of my gear, like my M-Audio Delta44 audio interface, have been well taken care of due to their being absolutely indispensable to my recording setup. Other things I, like my Yamaha DX7s and my Ensoniq SQR, are both things I got second-hand (the DX7s was made in 1987 and the SQR was made in 1990!) and need some love. Then there is my Arp Omni II, which was made in 1977 with paper capacitors (with a 10 year life span!). Alas, that is currently in need of a LOT of love.. (more…)

Long Mobile Post, v2

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

So as I sit on hold with the tech support from the company who makes our finance database, I’m taking another stab at making a longer news post. There are three things

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that overshadow everything else in my life right now, and I’ll go through them in order of importance/insanity.

First, there’s the fact that my wife Jill is due with our son on December 12th! She and the baby are doing well, but this means a LOT of planning and preparation and thinking about all sorts of baby/family stuff I’ve otherwise never really payed attention to. I’m excited for the baby to come out and meet us, and don’t feel as nervous as Jill seems to feel, but I can’t say I blame her – I don’t have to actually give birth… (more…)

Much Music

Thursday, November 16th, 2006

I have apparently been too busy to post for over a month… In that time I have worked a LOT, not only at my job as a Database Administrator,

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but at my house and on my various musical projects. Currently I have three musical projects that I

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am working on: First, there is this site’s namesake, my solo project 17hex. I am currently still working on my debut album, “The Roots of Coincidence”, which is about half-done. Second, there is my longest standing music project, “genome“. We are currently in the process of finishing our debut album, the “Reality” EP, and expect to release it shortly after New Year’s. Please see that project’s web site for more info. Third, there is a new project I have been working on with my friend James. It is a more “traditional” rock project with a twist. It consists of James singing and playing guitar, and me providing the rest of the “band”

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on my computer. We’re working on an album, and will post more info when we have it. I’m sure there is more info, but I’m still at work (its 8:09pm), so I should keep this “short”…

All sorts of new…

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

So many new things to talk about. Obviously the theme looks pretty new, especially if you haven’t been here in a while. We also got a new digital camera, which was a very nice investment. This will be especially nice for our trip to Ireland this summer! Expect a flickr site very soon.

Also new this week is the new Tool CD, “10,000 Days”. I am buying a copy tonight, and will post a review of it once I’ve gotten to let it sink in. So far though, what I’ve heard has been “typical Tool”, which is to say “amazing!”.

There was more, but I’m sure many of you will be shocked to discover that I don’t remember it. More when I do.

VST Support in Linux

Friday, April 28th, 2006

So after much trial and error, I got VST support (think Cubase, or Fruityloops, or Ableton) to work in Linux. I have since installed MANY free VSTi’s (a great list can be found at . Some of the more interesting ones on that list are made by ArcDev noise Industries (, and after some emailing back and forth with him, he asked me to write a short synopsis on how to get VST Support to work in Linux. I accepted his challenge.

Here is an “alpha” version of my “Short Synopsis on how to get VST support to work in Linux“. Enjoy and feel free to contact me with questions!

MySpace, a New Space, and my Music Space

Thursday, February 2nd, 2006

I have a MySpace page now. I mostly did it because of the embedded music player and the fact that they let you have up to 6 6mb mp3’s and they have more bandwidth than I do. As such I’ll be using it as the place where I release my new music first (though there will probably be a higher-quality Ogg Vorbis link here, it will be much slower).

In relation to that, I’m still looking at switching my site to a dedicated hosting company (bluehost?), but with the demise of GoodMorning, I feel a lot less motivation to do it. I know that at some point this server space will probably go away or change to the point that it is not as easy to use, but for right now it is free (thanks jjo!). Maybe once I get more music online I will want the increased bandwidth and it will be more worth it.

And as for my music, nearly three weeks ago now I took my Arp Omni II in to EMI and have yet to hear anything back, but even if only 2 of the 3 synth boards in it work, it will be worth my money. I have also been checking around for a new floppy drive for my ensoniq Mirage (a really-old-school Double-Sided/Quad-Density 720kb 3.5″ floppy drive). No luck so far, but I haven’t given up yet. I also currently have my Alesis MidiVerb4 taken apart on my desk waiting for me to replace the battery on it. These batteries don’t seem to be made anymore so I’m not sure exactly what I will do about that (maybe wiring in a connector for a more “normal” 3v coin-type). On top of ALL that, my Ensoniq SQR rack synth needs its mainboard replaced, and thesoniq seems to be the only Ensoniq shop left in the world (he seemed a pretty nice guy when I spoke to him too) so I’ll probably be sending that in eventually too. *sigh*

In spite of much of my equipment having issues, I have still been rather musically productive lately, and am still steadily working on the songs that will comprise the new Genome album, and still working on a 17hex debut release (tentatively titled “The Roots of Coincidence”, after the book of the same name by Arthur Koestler). The genome stuff is mostly waiting for me to have the time to record vocals, and a few are just waiting to be mastered. The 17hex stuff, while not having vocals, is waiting for me to finish it, except one track (a rough of which will be up on my myspace page in the next few days) which is just waiting to be mastered. I was going to master all of this with Tomtom (of GoodMorning/lushworkers/Garmonbozia/Death First fame) but he is currently spending a month in New Orleans helping with disaster relief mediation and attending Mardis Gras, so it will have to wait. That gives me time to fix up my equipment and finish the other two 17hex tracks anyway…

Gifts That Keep On Giving

Tuesday, December 27th, 2005

So the holidays have been good to me this year. First, Jillo and I got “Guitar Hero”, which is a slightly-cheesy-though-highly-addicting DDR-esque PS2 game wherein you play guitar on a “guitar controller” (Gibson SG-shaped plastic thing with a sort of “flipper” button where you would strum the strings and 6 buttons on the top 6 “frets”. You press the “frets” while you strum). Also, I was given a $50 Guitar Center gift card, which ought to be enough to finish up all of the connections I needed to make to take full advantage of my new audio interface. Yay. I gave and got many other things as well (and managed to avoid going broke!) so overall I feel very fortunate.

And speaking of being fortunate, hotkey has (on schedule! this guy is now my favorite software developer…) released the Public Beta of BuzzLE! This version is WAY BETTER than the Alpha was, and has ironed out many (but not all… click HERE for details of Bugs and workarounds) of the Bugs. IMHO, this program has the coolest (finally rivalling Ableton Live) interface of any music program PERIOD and is all (colors, layout, hardware settings, etc) customizable from a flat-text XML file. It ALL fits on one screen, is mousewheel-zoomable, allows you to draw smooth parameter “sweeps” with the mouse(!), has MIDI (and FT/FM and PSPKick) support, and will only keep getting better. Now THAT is the gift that keeps on giving…

Addicted to Soma

Thursday, December 22nd, 2005

There I said it. I’m addicted to Soma. Fortunately

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in this sense I’m not speaking of some Huxley-esque opiate, but a really really good electronic band that is a side project of the keyboard player from the bands Eden and Dead Can Dance, and the legendary/infamous David Thrussel of the band Snog. Think of it as a cross between mid-90’s industrial, modern Trance, 60’s experimental, Serggio Morroni’s Spaghetti Westerns, and early Aphex Twin, and you’ll start to get some idea of the influences that propel them to release something that is more than all of these things. I just had to vent, because I’ve been listening to it all morning. Their album “Inner Cinema” is one of a very few I can quite comfortably listen to on repeat for an indefinite amount of time, and I’m a Gemini, so that says a lot.

momentary happiness

Tuesday, December 13th, 2005

For the moment, I am happy with my studio. I actually got multitrack recording to work in Linux (I had the wrong audio device setup under jackd). I also managed to get the (once thought to be broken) onboard NIC to

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work, which means that both available PCI slots can be used for music. I have a m-audio delta44 for 4 tracks of audio i/o, and a soundblaster live! for MIDI i/o and (if i decide i need it) another track of audio i/o. This is a BIG improvement over just having the SBLive! Now I just need enough shielded, balanced patch cables to be able to patch all of it effectively

I’m also trying some different things with my blog, and I’d appreciate feedback if you like or don’t like anything I put there. During the winter I usually end up totally obsessing over my website and redoing it ~239582906 times, but then pretty much ignoring it during the summer. I guess this is a fairly normal activity cycle when you live somewhere that compels you to want to stay inside for several months of the year. Yay for Minnesota, or something…

Dogs and Cats and Chaos

Friday, July 29th, 2005

Today will hopefully be the final day in our old apartment. We’ve spent hours upon hours there gathering, organizing, throwing away, moving and cleaning up our crap. We have A LOT of crap. I find this slightly ironic, as I don’t see anyone who lives in our house as a materialistic person really. We just all like to live as comfortably as is possible (isn’t that what most people would say?). I have been too busy with all of this to really have much social interaction latley, so hopefully once things die down I can actually go out and play a little more. On the other paw, now that I have a house I have a substantial amount of upkeep/upgrade work to do, so don’t expect much. That, and Gibson is adjusting pretty well to the new place, but he has been a lot “needier” than he used to be (still freaked out I think), so I’ve been

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trying to spend time with him too, as a happy kitty is Good, and much less likely to destroy things (theoretically).

One of the things that has regrettably fallen by the wayside since the whole move started is music. In the last three weeks Good Morning has gotten together to practice once, and that consisted of playing through our songs once and then packing up our gear in preparation for the show we played in Winona last Friday (Juny 22nd) at the “deer park”. The show was really fun and it was really nice to see everyone who came out. Afterward we went to an aftershow party and that was also a ton of fun, with even my (rather reclusive/busy) brother managing to make it out to have a drink or three and socialize. Everyone in the band ended up crashing at various friends’ houses (I crashed at Xaoschild’s – thanks brand!) and then we all got up and drove back to Minneapolis to prepare for another show (this one at the Kremlin house). Due to a miscommunication between the tired members of GoodMorning, we never got to play it, but some of us hung around and watched the other bands and had fun anyway.

On a more personal musical note, during the move I not only discovered the CD (with old SwitchTechnician music on it) that I mentioned a few posts ago, but I also discovered another 4 or 5 tracks that I made and never released anywhere. Once I get the time (hah!) these will also go on my website.

And one last note about music: Those who are Skinny Puppy fans might be interested in hearing that they have a new DVD coming out featuring live footage from the recent tour and a bunch of other unreleased stuff from a 1986 Europe tour, and the Too Dark Park and Last Rights tours. No word yet (that I’ve seen) on the release date, but they are in the Process (pun intended) of doing a European tour to promote it. Yet another reason why I would love to go to Europe…

late night Guerillas

Thursday, March 10th, 2005

I’m working on setting up the GoodMorning website on this server (it will be until we get a domain name), but since that isn’t done yet, I’ll post about last night’s show here.

We (GoodMorning) played at Big V’s in St. Paul with (in order of appearance after us) Superhopper, Falcon Crest, and St. Pauli Guerilla. There was a fair turnout (Tomtom figured that there had been 100 people or so through there over the course of the night, though not that many at once) and we played first, which means that we were still sober enough to play a decent set. Along with that, we brought out our new T-Shirts for the first time and sold a bit of merchandise, which never hurts. People seemed to really like it and various members of the band heard a number of positive remarks from audience members. After our set we got to use the drink tickets we had been given and enjoy the rest of the show. Superhopper, while a bit “lighter” than GoodMorning, rocked out and played a good set. Of particular note was their keyboard player, who played like (and reminded me more than a little bit of) a good Jazz organ player. At one point during their set the lead singer of Superhopper said “yeah we probably look like pussies up here playing between GoodMorning and Falcon Crest”, which elicited more than a little laughter from those of us in GoodMorning. As for Falcon Crest, every time I’ve seen them I’ve enjoyed it. It’s heavy punk rock-esque music that has a slightly unusual (at least to my ears) almost indie rock quality to it, and everyone in the band gets really into what they’re doing. St. Pauli Guerilla is a (mostly 1 man and portable digital studio) rather funny hiphop act. He is the person who booked the whole show, which is ironic because his music almost seemed out of place amid the guitar chaos of the other bands. Having said that, however, he put on a good show and it was quite entertaining in parts.

After all was said and done we still had to pack up our gear and I had to give Tomtom a ride home. I ended up being out till 3am (i work at 7:30am) so I’m pretty groggy today, but it was a fun time, and makes me look even more forward to our next show:

March 11th
@ the Elliot House (31st street Minneapolis, behind Chicago
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This will be a house show so that means free or cheap drinks, probably no cover/no id, and I’m sure you know or can figure out what else…

Hardcore and Cider (but NOT “Hardcore Cider”)

Friday, February 4th, 2005

So my next batch of cider is done. I’m in the process of making a site about how to brew it yourself, but in the meantime I get to drink A LOT of cider (5 gallons). In order to properly “taste test” some of it that isn’t going into storage (to ferment for another week and a half and carbonate), I’m bringing some to the Good Morning Show tonight. We are playing at Tomtom’s old house (half a block off of Lake Street going the wrong way on Portland Avenue). It is a benefit show for Food Not Bombs, and there will be free vegan food and beer (and some of my cider if you ask nicely or trade something good for it). If you want to go and don’t know how to get there, email me or call someone in Good Morning for directions (I don’t know the exact address off the top of my head but I could tell you how to get there). Otherwise, we are playing a show at Porter’s Bar (2647 Nicollet Avenue) on this Monday, Feb. 2nd. The show is with Useless Wooden Toys, Zeitgeists, Unruly Bastards, and Working Classless. The show is 21+ with cheap drink specials and a $4 cover, so definitely

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come to it. If you wanna learn more you can contact anyone in Good Morning or call Porter’s at 872-0808. I hope the weather whereever you are is as nice at it’s been

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In sickness and in… my studio

Wednesday, January 26th, 2005

This week has been very tiring. I say this not to complain or whine or whatever, but as a general statement that may help clarify why I’m not posting much and not really getting anything accomplished outside of work. First off, Jillo has been quite sick with some sort of nasty virus for two weeks or so, and I’ve been trying to make life easier for her as much as possible without making myself sick (or just miserable), and I guess you’d have to ask her how that’s going.

Aside from that, both my computer and a computer I have been working on for a consulting customer have been infected with worms.. Five different ones between the two of them (and, consequently, about 200 pieces of Spyware/Malware). I generally take a fairly proactive stance on network/pc security, so this is a little alarming, but I have been both very busy and very tired/distracted lately, so it isn’t that surprising. It does suck though, and both worms have proven to be a real pain to get rid of.

After at least negating the effects of the worm on my computer, I managed to get a copy of Ableton Live 4.1 (to replace my copy of 4.01). Wow. Rather than just restate all of the raving already going on about Ableton, I’ll simply say that (IMHO) this is the best music software available for the PC hands down. Rather than stick you to the normal “linear timeline”/”song based” sequencer approach, Ableton lets you mix and match patterns (MIDI/VSTi or Audio loops) and apply effects to them in realtime, and since you can bind nearly anything in the program (especially the patterns and groups of patterns) to nearly any realtime controller you can hook up to the computer, the possible ways you can play your sequencer like an instument are quite impressive.

Needless to say, I have been hiding in my studio quite alot lately, and now that I have the newest Ableton and a whole lot more VST plugins (not to mention the Alesis S4), I apologize in advance to anyone who was hoping to see me anytime soon… But then again, if you think I’m crazy now, imagine what I’d be like if you took my music away…

“crash” as in “Hard Drive”

Sunday, January 23rd, 2005

Well, that’s what I get for using an old/used hard drive for my Linux install: the hard drive totally crashed (the bios didn’t even see the drive anymore). On one hand, it sucks to have just gotten the thing running and installed, only to have it die as soon as I’m getting excited about it. On the other hand, at least it didn’t wait till I had made a bunch of music with it and THEN die (like my install of Ableton Live 4.01 just did.. thankfully they just came out with 4.1 anyway). I guess that is the unspoken “dark” side of Computer-Based Music studios. Unlike (most) hardware synthesizers and effects, computers and their software have an annoying tendency to crash and/or die at in-opportune times. At least in a hardware studio if one of your rack synths dies you can still use the rest of your gear.

Having said that, I still think that the best approach is to use a sort of hybrid studio concept: use hardware for what hardware is good at (like analog filters, unique/rare oscillators and tape delays) and use software for what software is good at (like ease of editing/producing, ability to have real-world-impossible setups (25 stacked modular synths! 40 tracks in realtime!) and the ability to save and undo). As I see more and more musicians online saying that they are dropping all their old analog gear in favor of a laptop, audio interface, and control surface, I can’t help but think that to an extent, a musician’s collection of gear helps define their music. For example, Adam Jones from Tool plays a specific model of Gibson Les Paul “Silverburst” guitar because it was painted with an unusual kind of metallic paint that changes the tonal qualities of the guitar body in unusual ways. This would be very difficult to emulate in software, and is one of the things that gives Tool a unique sound. For him to ditch the Silverbursts in favor of a MIDI-pickup guitar and a sound plugin would dramatically change Tool’s sound.

All in all, I guess it depends on what you want. Some people want a digital studio with 500 sound generator plugins because they will have a huge and diverse pallate from which to draw. Other people prefer to have a specific set of equipment that they focus on and get to know very well so that their self-imposed limitations force them to have to be creative. I sort of go back and forth between these to poles, as I have a good enough computer to run most any music software, and just enough hardware to want to use it all the time. I assume that over time I will develop more of a system and stick to it, but then again I am a Gemini, so maybe not…

New changes and new toy

Wednesday, January 19th, 2005

Back at work. Still sneaking in a few minutes here and there to tweak the blog layout (the code looks *awful* right now, as I just mashed together two documents with very little editing), but overall it is coming along nicely.

In other news, I have recently acquired a new toy to play with. It is an Alesis S4 Sound Module, which I’m sure I will have much fun with. I’m basically just trying it out, but with any luck I’ll get to keep it. In the meantime I’ll just sample off of it as much as possible… I’ll probably end up playing this (hooked up to my Mirage DSK-1 sampler) with Good Morning, instead of the Yamaha CS1x I’m using now. I guess it’s debateable which one actually sounds better. Maybe when I come up with a good voice to use on

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the s4, I’ll post recordings of each and let others choose!