Mark Mosher is a Boulder based electronic musician and technologist who evolved over the decades to become a synthesist, composer, sound designer, producer, improvisor, multimedia artist and an expert on a technology and technique in the digital arts.
He is known for his deep custom sound design work and real-time psychedelic visuals based on live camera input and use of alternative controllers such as AudioCubes. These days he mainly makes music with Ableton Live / Push 2 and Elektron gear.
His discography of 13 original electronic, experimental, and ambient music with cinematic arcs spans back 10 years and is available on Bandcamp. Since 2015 he has also been releasing music on the Sonic Encounters podcast.
In addition to performing solo he is also a member of the Carbon Dioxide Ensemble and founder of the Synth Patrol which is an improvisational multimedia performance troupe. He has done interactive installations for the City of Denver and the Bob Moog Foundation.
He has had the honor of being recognized in multiple Westword magazine “Best of Denver” editions.
To give back to the synth community Mark has been blogging on synth tech and technique since 2005 under the name Modulate This!. He has also written for Recording Magazine. Since 2012 he has hosted 90+ free events for the Rocky Mountain Synthesizer Meet.
Please scroll down to the page to see what I’m up to right now and see some highlights of my work.
Sonic Encounters: An Original Music Podcast
Sonic Encounters began as a podcast in 2015 and is in it’s fourth season. Theses songs are improvisational soundscape with a narrative arc. They are a combination of electronic tonalities derived from pure synthesis from my original sound design work, and musique concrète using original sounds and field recordings. In other words, great for focused listens on headphones or background ambience as you go about your day.
“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.
Read each premise before you listen. [Example notes from Metamorphosis Under the Chatham Light”] Or not. No matter, the pieces will creep into your consciousness and take up residence.” – BlindFlyTheater.com
Past Seasons are Available As Albums
You can buy and download past seasons on albums on Bandcamp. Click covers to visit album pages.
I’m reworking this section for the first time listener I’ve organized my recording according music themes. The full catalog is on MarkMosher.Bandcamp.com including album versions of my past seasons of my podcast Sonic Encounters.
Cinematic Science Fiction Themes
The three albums in this section are part of a series of alien invasion concept albums containing original cinematic techno, dark ambient, and experimental tracks. Each song stands on it’s own but tells a story if you listen to in track and album order. Think of these as musical cues for epic sci-fi movie yet to be filmed.
- Part 1: Reboot – alien invasion as told from the human point of view –
- Part 2: I Hear Your Signals – same story as part 1 but told from the alien point of view with inverted emotional curves
- Part 3: Fear Cannot Save Us – Picks up after the first two parts and tells the story of the transformation of a human to an alien hybrid being
Part 1: Reboot
This is album #1 in a series of alien invasion concept albums and tells the tale of an alien invasion from the human point of view.
This album was recorded entirely in the digital realm using virtual synthesizers and Ableton Live. I worked on the album for an elapsed two years before release. Prior to the release of the album, the first three tracks were released as singles. “Midnight” and “Stealth” went to #1 and “They Walk Among Us” went to #2 on the SoundClick electronica charts.
Part 2: I Hear Your Signals
This is album #2 in a series of alien invasion concept albums containing original electronica, dark ambient, and experimental tracks. This second album in the series, released in 2010, is a retelling of Album #1 – but – from the alien point of view inverted emotional curves!
This album was recorded entirely in the digital realm using virtual synthesizers and Ableton Live. The songs on this album were created using keyboards, grid controllers, theremin (as a controller), and unique visual and tangible controllers such as the Tenori-On and Percussa AudioCubes. This album is filled with a variety of songs from downtempo, EBM, to experimental tracks with electronic tonalities, to songs with melodies that live between keys of well-tempered keyboards. The song “Dark Signals” went to #1 on the SoundClick electronica charts.
Part 3: Fear Cannot Save Us
This third album, released in 2014, tells the story of the transformation of a human to an alien hybrid being. The album takes you through our hero’s journey as they rapidly coevolve and become self-aware and aware of their mission for revolution. Assuming evolution does not imply direction, could the change benefit mankind?
On another level this album is also allegorical. It’s about tolerance for people who seem different and strange to us. It’s also about people accepting change in themselves. On a third level, the album and the series are a nod to my love for classic Sci-fi films.
Mastered by Gannon Kashiwa. Cover photo and design by Mark Mosher with art direction assistance from Dave Weed (Adwerks) and Victoria Lundy (Cuttlefish Arts).
Released March 12, 2014
I currently have one horror soundscape album and hope to release another for Halloween 2020.
No Ghosts. Just Fear.
This album contains five original instrumental horror soundscapes. Listen in the dark on a great sound system with a sub-woofer or with good headphones (not ear buds) and let your imagination run wild! Then remember, it’s all in your head :^)
The dark ambient sounds and music within these arrangements was created and performed on various virtual instruments. In some cases original audio recordings were used as sources then re-shaped with granular synthesis to turn these recordings into playable expressive instruments with huge sonic range and motion.
Mastered by Gannon Kashiwa
Cover Design by Dave Weed
Cover Photo by Mark Mosher
Released October 27, 2012
Live at Mountain Skies 2019
This is a live concert recording from my original electronic music set performed on May 4th, 2019 at the Mountain Skies 2019 festival near Asheville, NC. These are the songs are presented as I performed them to 2-track during the show with no edits other than trimming and fading to break the continuous set up into this 5 songs album with minimal gaps.
Released May 31, 2019
“Disconnected” is a new electro single and science fiction theme. It contains lots of synth ear candy dancing around in the stereo field for your headphones, big glitchy beats from classic drum machines, and some chiptune sprinkled on top to make your day a little brighter.
It Doesn’t Have To Hate Us To Use Our Molecules
This dark cinematic electronica song was inspired by James Barrat’s book “Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era” (www.jamesbarrat.com ).
This is really a live version of the song recorded in two sessions – the first on June 4th, 2014, the second on July 19th, 2014. I first sequenced the underpinnings of the songs then rehearsed controlling the arrangement on-the-fly and playing the lead lines as well as some sound manipulation in real-time. Once I felt good about my performance, I recorded the song directly to a digital recorder (Zoom H2n). I then picked my favorite takes from each session and combined them using Ableton Live and only used light mastering FX to sweeten the mix. I made a video recording of the first session as a teaser for the release of this single which you can watch here youtu.be/IN6p9QhScKw.
Space-Time Distortion Near Track Number 8
I discovered a space-time distortion while visiting Chicago. The location of the anomaly is at track 8 at Union Station. Made from field recordings from a visit to Chicago with Octatrack and Nord Lead 4.
A.I. Winter is a self-appointed harbinger of the progress of Artificial Intelligence toward world domination. It imposes its musical interpretations of cosmic machine consciousness on the world at large.
Michael O’Bannon (Atlanta, GA) and Mark Mosher (Boulder, CO) first met at Electro-Music 2010. Throughout the years they’ve collaborated loosely with Mark on the music side and Michael on visuals. For the first time, Michael and Mark will be joining forces as a musical duo to offer the soundtrack of a cautionary tale considering the risks of super-human artificial intelligence. Michael is a psychologist who explores sound design, the interplay of visual and sound stimuli in performance, and multimedia programming with Max6. Mark, who’s been going deep with Octatrack and Absynth, will be exploring sonic expression via dynamic sampling, real-time morphing and complex granular manipulations.
”From the barren nanoscapes inside our personal devices come furtive anthems hummed by those digital servants who will one day be our overlords…”.
“Instantiate” is an experimental ambient EP containing a piece with four movements composed for two Octatracks. It was first performed live at Electro-Music NY Festival on September 7th, 2014. This is a recording of that performance with each movement as its own track.
Track 1: Stasis – A still, slow moving “present time”. Drones and melodies with an occasional perturbation to foreshadow what is coming.
Track 2: Stirrings – Bursts of brief intelligence and control come and go. Perturbations of a minimal but ominous atmosphere. These are simple at first, but evolve toward short periods of chaos that quickly burn out.
Track 3: Birth – The A.I. begins to build and grow recursively. Structures surface and are repeated and elaborated. While the programmer looks for signs of intelligence from the A.I., the the A.I. is rapidly learning by reviewing and attempting to emulate recordings of a child speaking.
Track 4: Childhood – The A.I. recognizes its own existence. Consciousness leads to experimentation, gentle but awkward at first, with a growing edginess and over-sensitivity that suggests intrusiveness, lack of predictability and danger. The countdown to Super Artificial Intelligence has begun.
Recorded September 4th, 2014
View and shop on Bandcamp
Testimonials and Press
“Every note is finely crafted, and not one is wasted, yet it evokes a sense of freedom. Mark’s music is a celebration of possibilities.”
“The first time I heard Mark Mosher play an electronic music festival, he was the standout of the entire weekend. His music was awesome, and I’ve been a fan ever since. This guy has music technology down!”
“Mark, your performances exceeded every expectation. The videos don’t hold a candle to the awesome experience of your live show. MUST be seen in person to be believed.“
“Your music is amazing and your performance blew me away. Incredible!”
“Mark’s music is so innovative – simultaneously thought-provoking, intelligent, creative… One could hardly envision a more wonderful application of electronic technology.”
Runner up for “2016 Best of Denver – Best Visuals for Experimental Music 2016”
“Twelve of Colorado’s Greatest Synthesizer Artists” in 2017
“Best Experimental Mix Denver 2014 – Watt? Amplified and Supercharged Music Expression… Kramer, Lundy and Mosher presented a tour de force on the current state of electronic music and its future.”
“Some of Denver’s Most Challenging Music Finds a New Audience at DU…Perhaps out of this performance, a new crop of adventurous musicians will take root in Denver or at least a greater awareness of the existence of an experimental scene in Denver spread to people who might be completely ignorant of it.”… [full article]
Fear Cannot Save Us, which is a continuation of the science fiction themes from his earlier albums Reboot and I Hear Your Signals, but is also one of the finest classic electronic music albums I’ve heard in a while.
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 […]
Rocky Mountain Synthesizer Meet
Since 2012 I’ve organized and hosted over 90 free events to build a community of synth enthusiasts. The events help members discover new possibilities, showcase member projects and performances, and make the most of their gear.
We rotate topics for each event. Past events featured Synth Petting Zoos and Modular Synth Lightning Patch Walk-throughs. This is often followed by socializing and performances by members.
Synth Patrol is a multimedia performance troupe organized by Mark Mosher. They produce pop-up improvisational electronic music & multimedia performances with rotating squads of players. Performances are based on a growing repertoire of creative missions. Synth Patrol HQ is in Boulder, CO.
Carbon Dioxide Ensemble
The Carbon Dioxide Ensemble is a collaboration with Thomas Lundy, Victoria Lundy, and Mark Mosher. We focus on live improvisational performance of Musique concrète. In this unique act Mark uses the Elektron Octatrack dynamic performance sampler to live sample Thomas Lundy as he manipulates a Copper Heart and other objects with dry ice. Victoria Lundy accompanies on Theremin. The only audio source for Octatrack other than drum samples is the input from the contact mic on the Copper Heart. We then support the show with interactive visuals with live camera input.
Installations with AudioCubes
The Bob Moog Foundation invited me to bring my “9 Box” installation / instrument to the Mountain Oasis Festival 2013 to be part of Dr. Bob’s Interactive Sonic Experience. The 9 Box ran for 18 hours over 3 days and was played by 100s of festival goers of all ages. It was so rewarding see people’s reactions to the 9 Box and to hear their creations throughout the weekend.
Part collaborative instrument, part interactive installation — the 9 Box allows up to six casual players to instantly make music and shape sound by manipulating blocks called AudioCubes.
AudioCubes, made by California based Percussa (http://www.percussa.com), are smart wireless cubes capable of sensing each other’s location and orientation as well as distance to your hands, fingers and other objects. They also emit feedback in the form of light as you interact with them.
Sound Design & Sound Pack Publishing
I’ve been programming synthesizers for over 30 years. My passion is programming very expressive patches and presets for use in the studio and in live performance. I’ve released a few free sound sets which are out of publication but will I hope to bring back soon…
- Sounds from a Distant Outpost Ableton Live Pack
- Outpost Airlock sound pack for U-HE Zebra
While I mostly make sounds for my own project I occasionally so sounds for commercial synthesizers such as.
- Rob Papen’s Blade Synthesizer – Contributed to factory presets
- Collaborations with Brian Funk
Below are select videos of some of my original sounds.