The 8th B-Day party concert was really fun and loaded with great performances. Special thanks to Christoph for being our virtual stage manager.
This is recording of my 10 minute set from the Rocky Mountain Synthesizer Meet 8th birthday party concert. Music and visuals are performed in real-time.
I start by playing a song called “Light Runner” performed on an Elektron Digitone playing notes via MIDI from a Novation Launchpad Pro MK3. I then improvise and mangle a sample from the 50’s using an Elektron Octatrack. This is followed by followed by an improv jam with core patterns on Digitone with lead synth and arpeggios from an Elektron Analog Four MKII being played via MIDI from a Novation Luaunchkey Mini MK3.
Here is the full concert performance (including the video above) with all 7 artists.
I composed the music first. It was an improvisation recorded in one pass. Then I shot the footage over a series of a few days. Then a half-day tranquil video editing session letting music inspire the edits and visual effects in 5 or 6 editing passes. A narrative and vibe emerged.
If you enjoyed this piece and have a moment please leave a comment :^)
If you missed my live stream a few weeks back here is an unedited YouTube live replay of my solo multimedia concert. The performance is a combination of live arrangement and live playing that features original electronic music with real-time visuals.
16:50 “Light Runner” live performance of song from a forthcoming album
22:34 End Program with audio excerpt from the song “They Walk Among Us” from album Reboot
As you can see some of these tracks will be released in the future. Follow or subscribe on my Bandcamp site to get notified of an album or single release.
All the music and sound is from Elektron Analog Four MKI, Octatrack MKII, and Digitone. The machines are not synced. I mostly play directly from the machines, but also play notes on the Analog Four via the Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 keyboard and on the Digitone via the Launchpad Pro MK3 grid. I also use the Launchkey Mini MK3 along with a Logidy UM3 pedal to control Resolume Arena 7 in real-time. Visual sources are from live camera input and other various sources.
The performance got some nice mentions by synth publications.
I got an amazingly kind mention on the Synth and Software Facebook page.
Synth & Software is an online publication and social media community for electronic music enthusiasts—anyone who enjoys listening or who plays, programs, or aspires to make music with synthesizers, samplers, DAWs, audio processors, and other instruments and software…
I view this entire rig as a multimedia “instrument”. One goal in designing this “instrument” was to accommodate the following use cases while being air locked in a performance cockpit where my performance flow would not change whether I’m performing:
Music sets in-person
Music + visuals sets in person
Music + visual sets via live stream
Music + visuals sets in person simulcast via live stream
When I’m performing in person I don’t normally use headphones and don’t look at the monitor on my laptop. Instead listen I to the P.A. or monitors. I look at the screen or wall/screen/scrim where the visuals are being projected. This incorporates the performance space as part of the vibe of the performance.
My streaming equivalent of this is to us a big screen right in front of me and perform with reference monitors at near concert volumes. Performing this way is much closer to performing on stage in front of an audience which puts more positive energy into the performance.
Conceptual Overview of 2020 Rig
Performance Cockpit – The region outlined with aqua highlighter is my performance cockpit where I play, perform, control live arrangements, and visuals.
Music Machines – All sound and music is produced via the following Elektron machines:
Analog Four – Analog synth with 4 synths and effects
Octatrack – Performance sampler, mixer, looper, effects processor, live arrangement of playback when needed
Digitone – Digital FM synth with 4 synth and effects
Live Camera for Visual Synthesis – I compose the camera shots in real-time by moving a Logitech HD Webcam which is a source for my visual software Resolume
Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 – Keys are used to play the Analog Four through hardware MIDI. RGB pads use custom MIDI modes to control Resolume through USB MIDI.
Novation Launchpad Pro MK3 – Velocity and pressure sensitive pads are used to play the Digitone through hardware MIDI. I have custom control modes that I can also use to control Resolume via USB MIDI.
Audio to the house / Audio interface with Loopback for Streaming – Yamaha AG06
Laptop for Visuals and Streaming – Microsoft Surface Laptop 3, Windows 10
Visual Software – Resolume Arena 7 software
Streaming Software – OBS Studio software for streaming
Streaming Endpoint – YouTube…
Using Midi Controllers to Decouple Visual Arrangements from Song Arrangement
In past incarnations of my multimedia show I controlled the arrangement and automation of visual effects for Resolume with Ableton Live “dummy clips” and automation envelopes. This meant the arrangement for visuals were implicitly locked with musical arrangement. For this new rig I wanted to decouple the visuals from the audio arrangement. This would allow me to perform the arrangement of the visuals manually making the experience more variable and unique with repeat performances.
I now control arrangement with the RBG pads on the Novation Launchkey MINI MK3.
Alternatively I can use the Logidy foot pedal for hands-free arrangement.
While I’m pretty busy playing and doing live arrangement, I can also use the Launchpad Pro MK3 with it’s custom MIDI modes and velocity sensitive fader grid feature to control parameters on Resolume.
FYI I’ve written past posts on these controllers in these categories:
My set list is made up of songs spread across each machine and I often perform an entire song using only one machine. In a few cases I will work across machines. For example, I perform the majority of my song “Disconnected” on the Octatrack and the leads from the Analog Four.
The machines are not synced and are not connected via MIDI. This allows for complete freedom to do live arrangement, change my set list on-the-fly. I might have corresponding patterns with matching tempos across machines but I select them and trigger them on-the-fly so I can play around with the pocket, tap tempo to shift or even change tempos or free-form play to add more tension.
Having no cross-machine dependency also means if a machine where to go down during a performance or have to be rebooted (which has never happened), the song and show can go on.
Fits in One Case and a Backpack
Another design goal for the rig was it had to fit into a Pelican 1510 case and backpack. This allows me to fly with the rig as well as load in to local shows with only one trip from the car.
I flew with an earlier version of this rig to Asheville, NC to perform at Mountain Skies in 2019 and manage to jam all this into a Pelican 1510.
With the addition of the new controllers I’m sure I could fit it all in the pelican with some overflow into my backpack.
Thanks for following along on this long read. If you’d like to get blog posts via email opt-in below.
Also swing by my Bandcamp page if you’d like to listen to some of my audio recordings, and my YouTube page to check out move videos.
All music and sound will performed live and with live arrangement using the Elektron Analog Four MKI, Octatrack MKII, and Digitone. I will be performing on the machines directly and with the Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 and Launchpad Pro MK3.
All visuals are generated in real-time with Resolume Arena 7, with live camera input from a Logitech C922X and other various sources. I control Resolume in real-time with Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 and Launchpad Pro MK3.
I’m streaming with OBS Studio with audio routed into a Yamaha AG06 audio interface with loopback. My talkback mic is a RØDE PodMic.
Mark Mosher: Music & Real-Time Visuals, Show Design, Show Producer
Chris Barr – Associate Producer, Testing, Chat Wrangler
Lizzy Mosher – Social Media
Victoria Lundy – Photoshop assist to trim the groovy speaker array image
If you enjoyed todays performance and want to show you can leave me a tip with a secure PayPal donation…
The Launhpad Pro MK3 is an incredible deep and useful controller that goes way beyond being an Ableton Live controller. It can be used as a stand-alone MIDI Controller to send notes and chords. It also has a 4 track stand-alone sequencer with advanced features such as probability and mutation. You can have 8 custom modes where you basically make 8 different custom MIDI Controllers.
Live integration also much improved with new dedicated buttons. You can also combine stand-alone with Live using features like “Print to Clip”. Additionally you can send MIDI out 2 hardware output and USB simultaneously. The pads are full RGB, velocity and pressure sensitive. They feel great. Plus this thing is light and small.
What I’ll Be Talking About
I’m still refining my talk but here is a mind map outline of what I’m planning to cover.
Launchpad Pro MK3 In Action
I just love this thing and I’m finding all sorts of uses for it. The video below is an example of using it stand-alone. I used the stand-alone sequencer to make this pattern and recorded into the Digitone. I then use the notes and chord mode to play the Digitone live.
While the video below is the sibling Launchpad X it illustrates the use of the velocity sensitive faders in a custom mode to control an effects processor.
I’m also using custom modes to control my visual software Resolume. More on this in a future post.
10 Years with Launchpad
In a related note this year marks my 10th year using Novation Launchpads. Here are a few pics
Through the years I think I’ve owned 4 different versions (all the ones in green below). When I bought the Launchpad Pro MK3 some accused me of needing some sort of intervention (Dino and Jeff) 😂.
A Few Videos of the LP PRO MK3 in Use
Here are some videos from my archives using previous generation Launchpads. First a video from 2010.
Here is a video from 2013 where I’m using a launchpad to move patch cables on a virtual synth.
In closing I’ll say that the Launchpad series have been transformative and fun and I look forward to working more with the Launchpad Pro MK3.
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In this post I wanted offer a brief summary of subscriber-exclusives since I launched the subscription in mid-December to give those who haven’t subscribed a sense for what’s happening over on the subscribers page 😀.
First off, thanks to all who have subscribed so far. I really appreciate it 🙏.
Subscribe-Exclusive Music Releases
In addition to the 12 releases in my back-catalog, subscribers are getting early access to the forthcoming soundscapes album Sonic Encounters Volume 03. Since the subscription went live I’ve posted 2 new soundscapes “Ancient Savanna (A Post Modern Ambient Bossa Nova Ice Cream Sandwich)” and “Antarctic Night” both over 5 minutes long.
Early Access to Videos and Deeper Notes
I posted many of my #Jamuary videos early to the subscribe page and offered more detailed composer and producer’s notes. In come cases I provided early access to extended versions of the videos.
I’ve offered around a dozen BTS updates.
Subscriber Access to “Electronic Musician’s Guide to Making Music with the iPad”
I’m writing a guide on making music with the iPad. It’s a work in progress but already has a lot of useful and time-saving info. I’m up to about 2,000 words. Subscribers have access to my draft. I’ll be updating this from time-to-time.
If you want to learn more about the subscription which is only $15 a year (and you get to keep all releases you had access to after your subscription ends) visit https://markmosher.bandcamp.com/subscribe. Take a moment to watch the video which also doubles as a nice look back at my discography spanning back 10 years.
Last month I participated in #jamuary and created 7 new songs which I’ve posted as videos to this YouTube playlist. . It was really inspiring and freeing to just go for it and finish these short musical themes.
Via @truecuckoo … “The idea with Jamuary is to get going with what you have, and to help get comfortable sharing and performing little jams, and to get to know each other and appreciate what everyone is doing in the electronic music independent scene. Post a little music snippet every day of jamuary, or for as many of the days that you have the energy to. Browse the hashtag and get inspired. Get to know musicians you had never heard about, and perhaps even make some friends along the way.”
Below are the individual vids below (click on the pics of vids if you are reading this via email). The are numbered based on the day in January in which they were released.
Let me know if you have a favorite in the comments.
Day 04 Featuring the iPad and Resolume
I created the song from scratch in Korg Gadget. I’m still amazed at how fantastic these virtual Korg synths sound!
In this piece I used Korg’s emulations of the Arp Odyssey (Arp ODYESEi aka Lexington) and Korg Mono/Poly (MonoPoly aka Montpellier) for the leads. The bells from the gadget synth Helsinki which are bit-crushed. Drums are from various drum gadgets. The earth shaking smooth bass is from an emulation of the Korg MS20 (iMS-20 aka Memphis). I performed, arranged and mixed the piece in Gadget then rendered it out to AudioShare.
From there I normalized the audio and then exported to dropbox. To create the video I took a screen recording of the audio running in the AudioShare player on the iPad. I then trimmed that and used it as a source for Resolume. I then performed real-time synthesis using that video as a source.
Day 05 Featuring the iPad and Edradour 10 Year Single Malt Scotch
My #jamurary2020 Day 05 is improvised piano with Frippertonics looping with additional live sampling powered by Edradour 10 Year single malt scotch 🥃 😋.
I’m using a gorgeous virtual grand piano from the Korg Module app. I’m feeding that into the fantastic Audio Damage Enzo looper to do Frippertronics looping. Once I get some music rolling I live sample the looper plus live playing into the Samplr app. All this is being run through the gorgeous Eventide Blackhole reverb.
Day 06 on iPad and Launchpad Under the Watchful Eye of Gort
My #jamurary2020 Day 06 – under the watchful eye of Gort – is once again made all on one @Apple iPad Air with no external synths or audio processing. #aum is the host and the musical bed is a string part improvised with lovely @sugarbytesofficial Factory synth into an instance of the most amazing @audio.damage Enzo looper and a beat I created with most groovy @olympianoiseco Patterning 2.
I improvise a lead on @cmepro Xkey Air keys over the bed with the killer @korgofficial iMono/Poly synth and start fading in parts with the LaunchpadX. My lead and the musical bed start to fill up effects buffers in @sugarbytesofficial Turnado and I then improvize and control slicing in real-time with Launchpad X. The @Eventideaudio Blackhole appears throughout the signal flow to give the piece some sense of space.
Day 07 Performed on iPad at a Local Coffee Shop
I recorded my Jamuary2020 Day 07 synth improv video from Bittersweet Cafe in n Louisville, CO while enjoying a cappuccino ☺. One again this is on an @Apple iPad Air with no external synths or audio processing. #AUM is the host.
I started off by improvising a loop with a bell pad sound using @sugarbytesofficial Factory synth performed with GeoShred Pro as a MIDI controller using @audio.damage Enzo looper. I then used @audio.damage granular synth Quantum to make a textural bed underneath. The source is from an original field recording I made New Years Eve 2018 in a tube station in London. It’s about 200 people singing the same song as they jam into a tight tunnel to access tracks below ground. I build a loop using @audio.damage Enzo. The @Eventideaudio Blackhole appears throughout the signal flow to give the piece some sense of space.
I then live programmed the drums and bass elements using @olympianoiseco Patterning 2 with the circular grid and with real-time recording with pads on the glass. I finish off with a little distorted lead using GeoShred Pro with Factory synth.
A tech note – this was all battery-powered and also wireless as I used AirPod Pros to monitor the iPad and used AUM to record digitally record the session. GoPro Hero 7 was used for the video. It all fit into a small sling bag 😎.
Jamuary 2020 Day 13 – Nord Lead 4 Morph Mania
For my #jamuary2020 Day 13 I’m using only my trusty @nordkeyboards Nord Lead 4 with 3 custom presets from “init” arranged into a “performance” with a split.
For those not familiar with the Nord Lead 4, it has 4 complete synthesizers each with their own FX each. Presets called “programs” can be placed into one of four “slots”. Slots can be combined into “performances” where you can perform with all four slots in concert.
For EACH synth instance you create both impulse and continuous morphs which allow you to save states for pretty much any parameter in for the preset in a slot without changing presets 😮. You can save and trigger 7 impulse morphs per slot with impulse morph buttons on the left next to the wooden pitch stick. Morph buttons are momentary switches but you can latch them as I do 26 second mark. Continuous morphs are mapped to the groovy pumice mod wheel (or map this to an expression pedal).
I used this custom set of presets and “performance” when I performed as a special guest for the Boulder Laptop Orchestra (BLOrK) at the @cu_atlas Atlas Black Box at @cuboulder back in 2017. For this performance I used only the Nord Lead 4 with 14 programs each with a large number of morph states. Video here https://youtu.be/ScpItttfGlY.
My Day 29 #Jamuary is a #MusiqueConcrète piece I improvised using ONLY samples I recorded at my favorite barber shop @rockbarbers (http://www.rockbarbers.com/). A big thanks to Rock Barbers for allowing me bring my @zoomsoundlab H1n recorder to do a field recording session at their place 😀.
I made this using a @microsoft Surface Laptop 3 on Windows 10 with @Ableton Live, #Push 2, Wavetable, one drum rack and 3 instances of @audio.damage Quanta. This play-by-play below applies to the long version which is on YouTube here.
I start off playing an instance of Ableton Wavetable. I made a custom preset by importing the sound of a barber shaving cream hot lather dispenser to make a custom wavetable. The right waveform is barber shears. Further #SoundDesign from there to make it all an instrument. I play this on an Ableton #Push2 controller and record the notes I’m playing on-the-fly to create a MIDI loop. A bit of Echo and Reverb on this.
Once I get that going I move on the 2nd track which uses the most amazing @audio.damage Quanta granular synthesizer where I use a sample of barber shears. I improvise and record notes into a loop. I sweeten this using the Amazing Noises Outer Spaces @c74connect Max for Live reverb.
I move on to a 3rd track. Again I’m using Quanta. This time I’m doing granular synthesis using a field recording of the cash register drawer opening. The ding bell sound played across the keyboard and stretched with granular synthesis sounds a bit like chimes. Once again I use Outer Spaces as my reverb.
I move on to the 4th track, use Quanta yet again and this time the sample is the sound of a comb being banged inside a barber comb jar with Ableton Echo for effects.
I move on to the 5th track and bring things to a crescendo using an Ableton Drum rack loaded with samples of the footrest being dropped on an old barber chair, the sound of the razor strap on that old chair being jiggled, the din of the shop, shears, an electric clipper, the comb banging on the jar, and a blow dryer. I then start to fade dial back the energy and eventually return back where I started at Ableton Wavetable with a bit of barber shears.
I first launched the Sonic Encounters podcast in almost 5 years ago in June of 2015. In June of 2017 I also started releasing podcast seasons as albums on Bandcamp.
Today I’m writing to let you now that I’ve decided to retire the podcast and continue forward with Sonic Encounters exclusively as an album series on Bandcamp.
So a big thanks all of you out there who listened to and subscribed to the past episodes. Below is more info on how to continue to stream or download past episodes plus get new songs as I release them.
Streaming and Downloading Past Episodes
You can still stream all past episodes that were released as albums for free via Bandcamp. The advantage of having these as Bandcamp releases is that you can also buy and then download high resolution audio versions of the songs and in some cases get bonus tracks.
Active subscribers to my bandcamp subscription (learn more here) get access to all my new music plus my entire back catalog of 12 releases which includes Volume 01 and Volume 02 of Sonic Encounters. Subscribers also get early access to Volume 03 which is in the works.
Subscribers get access to tracks of Volume 03 as I’m creating the album. As of this post, the album has 2 tracks from the podcast before I shut it down, plus a brand new track called…
First off, reminder that I’ll performing visuals for a show tonight (January 26th, 2020). Here is the official Facebook event.
Studio Album Update
In case you missed it, I’ve been working for over a year on my first studio album in over 5 years.
The songs have been composed and recorded. I’m in final mixdown and mastering.
I’m redesigning my studio space to make mixing and mastering more comfortable. I was originally going to get a bigger monitor speaker setup than my current 5″ but after doing some reviews I decided to go with smaller powered micro monitors so I can mix longer with less fatigue. I’m going to give iLoud Micro Monitors a try https://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/iloudmm/.
I’m also reworking my desk solution to get a sit/stand desk. Until I get this all worked out I’m taking a break on album production. Should have all this sorted in a week or two.
I changed my event pages work. I used to maintain a table with events in it. It was difficult to edit and keep up with. Inspired by my friend Victoria’s site https://www.victorialundymusic.com/, I decided to simply create a menu that links to posts categorized as “Events”. It took me a few hours, but I went back through every post spanning back to 2008 and to categorize events. So new upcoming and past events are simply here…
I’m happy to announce a special event at Little Horse Books, Vintage & Vinyl in downtown Louisville. I’ve arranged with the owner to do a record store takeover with the Synth Patrol. It’s a perfect chance to do some holiday shopping and listen to some experimental music.
On this mission, the Synth Patrol squad will be meetup members The Aefonic (aka Brian Horsfield), Cold Future (aka Victor John), monoscene (aka Christoph Scholtes) and Newecho (aka me). We will be live sampling random needle drops on random or shopper-selected vinyl to improvise a live soundscape. I’ll accompany all this with psychedelic visuals. Here are some sample visuals.
This is an improvisational session and we’ll be performing from 1-3 continuously so feel free to come late or wander in and out.
There is free parking downtown on the streets and at the Library. Within a two block radius you can grab lunch or drinks at one of many restaurants, shop for vinyl and vintage at Little Horse, listen to the performance, grab a beer at 12 Degree Brewing (which is in the same building), stroll about and buy local, wander over to Tilt Arcade, and/or finish off your afternoon at the amazing ice cream at Sweet Cow.
I’ve launched a new Bandcamp subscription. Watch the video 4 minute video herehttps://markmosher.bandcamp.com/subscribe. Watch till the end as there is an Easter egg for those familiar with my alien invasion sci-fi themes albums :^)
Below is a live recording of the Mosher-Deane duo improvising with two MicroFreak synthesizers as their primary tonal source. This live session was recorded at the Rocky Mountain Synthesizer Meetup on October 8th, 2019 in the Renaissance Room at La Vita Bell in Longmont, CO.
First up just under a minute of some live footage from the show.
Full Audio Recording of the Set
Here is a 12 minute audio recording of the full performance.
All tonal elements are from one of the two MicroFreaks which were being performed live as well as processed and live sampled with further mlusical mainpulations. Samples were used for percussive elements.
MicroFreak: (synth), audio out to Octatrack MKII
Track 1 – Flex machine for live sampling
Track 2 – Thru Machine to route input in from MicroFreak plus add FX
Track 3 – Pickup Machine with Filter and Delay
Track 4 – Pickup Machine with Filter and Reverb
Track 5 – Static machine for percussive samples
Track 6 – Static machine for percussive samples
Track 7 – Not used
Track 8 – Master FX – LoFi, Reverb
MicroFreak: (synth), audio out to UCA202, usb to HUB
UCA202: (audio i/o) audio out – main output usb to HUB
QUNEXUS: (keyboard) usb to HUB
HUB: (usb hub) usb to iPad
I’m a big fan of design of Microsoft Surface computers and have a Surface Laptop and Surface Pro 4 that I use for every day computing and for music applications like Ableton Live and virtual synthesizers. I literally have trouble using computers that don’t support touch displays and pen – haha.
Here are just a few videos where I took advantage of the pen in synthesis.
I also use my Surface Laptop for my live Ableton Performances like this one.
Of course while the devices are super light and the designs are quite fantastic as a live musician we can always use more oomph and connectivity. So I was excited to hear that Microsoft held an event today announcing the new Microsoft Surface line updates plus a look into products they will be releasing all the way out to the holiday season of 2020.
Official Product Videos
There are some great new updates coming to the line. Here are the official product videos.
Surface Laptop 3
Yah, removable hard drive!
Make a more powerful statement with new Surface Laptop 3. Sleek and light, it travels with ease and delivers improved speed and performance, all-day battery life, and outstanding graphics. Now in two sizes and two elegant keyboard finishes. Fuel your ideas with Surface Laptop 3.
At the office, at home or en route, new Surface Pro 7 adapts to the way you work with laptop-to-tablet versatility. And now, it delivers more power than ever, with a laptop-class Intel® Core™ processor, all-day battery, and improved graphics — plus more multitasking connections, including both USB-C™ and USB-A ports. More power from the Pro you know. Surface Pro 7.
Featuring blazing-fast LTE connectivity,3 our thinnest Surface stands out with industry-leading performance and a stunning, virtually edge-to-edge 13” touchscreen. The Pen stores securely and recharges in the luxurious, Alcantara® covered keyboard, complete with backlit keys and large multi-touch glass trackpad.
New – Surface Neo
Ok, now for some very new designs starting with the Surface Neo. I see some incredible potential for electronic and multimedia creation and performance.
Coming Holiday 2020. A groundbreaking new dual-screen device that redefines how you get things done. With two 9” screens, a revolutionary 360° hinge, touch, pen, keyboard, and incredible new Windows experiences, Surface Neo enables you to do more, anywhere.
Quite some time ago an alien child instantiated our reality using some silly game they found on their parent’s hand-me-down computer. As time went on they noticed the rainforests were being destroyed for a variety of reasons which would soon end the simulation. The child was quite attached to some of the people in the simulation and of course didn’t want to have restart the simulation all over again from beginning. So, without their parent’s permission, the child opted to buy the in-app purchase to heal the rainforests by turning back the rainforest clocks. Play now continues.
Improvised using original field recordings as sources from Australia including the city of Melbourne, and The Healesville Sanctuary (www.zoo.org.au/healesville/).
Cover Art Notes:
I manipulated a photo I took while walking to through the rainforest of Great Otway National Park on the way to Henderson Falls. Some of the trees are estimated to be over 200 years old.
Story, Music, Cover Art by Mark Mosher Copyright Mark Mosher 2019 My artist site is here MarkMosherMusic.com
About / Subscribe:
Sonic Encounters is a soundscapes podcast started in 2015. Each episode contains a story-driven original improvisational soundscape created with synthesis and sampling to capture, disassemble, reassemble, and shape the sounds around us. I also make all the episode covers.
Now in season 3, there are 22 past episodes with over 2 hours and 45 minutes of music. Show notes are in the description section within each episode on Soundcloud.