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…
I just released a Bandcamp subscriber preview of a new soundscape called “Replican’ts Dream” obviously inspired by Bladerunner. Music and visuals improvised and recorded in one real-time pass. Music is performed on Elektron Analog Four MKI using 4 tracks with no sequencing. Visual synthesis in Resolume Arena.
This video will also give you a sense of new visuals I’m working on for my live set for online streaming (and eventually for in-person performances). I make use of visual synthesis on various sources including live camera input and control the set in real-time with a LaunchPad PRO MK3 custom mode.
Here is the video from a session where I improvised a new soundscape called “. This was improvised on Ableton Live 10 with Push 2.
While I mostly do my own sound design I’ve been enjoying using libraries from others to introduce pleasant surprises (“chance operations”) into some of my improvisational pieces. All the source samples for this song are from the Ghosts sound pack which I bought from my friend and independent New Zealand based sound designer Greg Cole (aka Empty Vessel https://store.emptyvessel.co.nz ).
This was originally released as a samples and presets for the TAL sampler, but I brought these into Ableton (notes on this below).
Greg takes such great care in producing and mastering his source samples I’m happy to report he also just provided these samples as a stand-alone WAV edition here https://store.emptyvessel.co.nz/p/cl3h5w.
Track 1 – Drum rack filled with almost 64 samples + Echo Track 2 – The sample “Piano String 2” loaded into Audio Damage Quanta granular synth + Echo Track 3 – The sample “Sinister Piano Strike EB3” loaded into Ableton Wavetable which analyzes it and converts into a wavetable + Echo Track 4 – The sample “Wonky Movement C2” loaded into a Simpler + Echo + Reverb Track 5 – The sample “Sandmand D4” loaded into Simpler + Echo
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 :^)
I Hear Your Signals 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!
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
As you can imagine articles of this nature take a long time to create. If you'd like to support the effort consider leaving a little something in the tip jar :^)
Here is To Another Year!
I have a lots of ideas on new topics to cover and I’m also excited to report on the Denver / Boulder synthesizer scene (which is exploding) as well as spread the news about some cool projects by my synth friends.
Mark Mosher Experimental Musician and Multimedia Artist Boulder, CO
Yesterday I did an improv session with my good friend and mentor Dino J.A. Deane. This session was recorded live at the Dino’s studio (The Bohemian Lounge) using ambient room mics. We recorded 4 songs which came out to 54 minutes of music. I uploaded to this Soundcloud playlist for your enjoyment.
Mark Mosher Instruments: Elektron Octatrack, Elektron Digitone, & Tablet (Samplr)
Dino J.A. Deane Instruments: MicroFreak & Tablet (AUM-SpaceCraft-ENSO-NOIR-Samplr)
I’m happy to announce the release of the album Sonic Encounters Volume 02 on Bandcamp. The album contains 8 improvisational soundscapes with over 40 minutes of original music from season 2 of my Sonic Encounters podcast. The album is available now for $5.
The songs are a
combination of electronic tonalities derived from pure synthesis from original
sound design work, and musique concrète using original sounds and field
The bandcamp edition allows you to choose from CD Quality FLAC, high-def MP3-320 as well as other formats allowing you to hear even more sonic detail within these works.
Podcast Review & Concept + Season 03
“Goosebumps and Deep Breaths… 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. ” – BlindFlyTheater.com
In related news, Season 03 of Sonic Encounters Podcast is coming soon. To tune in to past and future episodes visit SonicEncounters.com.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 7 years since I founded the Rocky Mountain Synthesizer Meetup. Since then we’ve grown to over 800 members all along the Front Range surrounding the Boulder and Denver area, won “Best Music Meetup in 2017 by Westword Magazine, and have hosted 70 events!
The Rocky Mountain Synthesizer Meetup is where synth enthusiasts of all levels meet to share there passion for synths, network, get inspired, get hands-on with gear, tell people about projects, and find collaborators. It is synth technology agnostic and features broad variety of rotating presentation topics and experiences each meetup – most presentations given by members themselves. Many meetups feature a performance by a meetup member.
In this post I’m going to offer some info on our upcoming 7th Anniversary event.
I’m working on a follow-up post on the origins of the meetup. So if you want to know how first Denver Ableton User Group, a Synthtopia Post, a Laurie Anderson commencement speech, and a Tom Hodgkinson book lead to the creation of the meetup stay tuned or subscribe to my blog to get email notification for future posts :^)
7th Anniversary Party Tuesday July 9th at Tilt Pinball Arcade in Louisville
In celebration of the 7th anniversary of the meetup I’m very excited to announce we’ll be meeting at the amazing Tilt Pinball on July 9th from 7-10PM. Yes that’s right it’s the return to the city of Louisville where it all began 7 years ago!
This event format is a party focusing on mingling in the main arcade and bar with some giveaways and some short synth performances featuring arcade and video game sounds by Dino J.A. Deane, Mike Metlay, J.L. Kane, and yours truly.
We’ll be doing some drawings for giveaways at next Tuesday’s meetup. A Huge thanks to Isotonik Studios for providing 3 copies of Arcade Series Ultimate Max for Live sequencer Packs for drawings.
In early May 2019 I flew out to attend and perform an original electronic music set at the Mountain Skies festival near Asheville, NC. It was a really fun weekend and I had a great time performing one track from 2014 album Fear Cannot Save Us, plus 4 brand new songs. Checkout a video of the entire set below plus a brand new live album from this same show.
Live Performance Video
My full performance is available on YouTube. It’s a 1080p video with live album audio mixed with live room audio so if you have a chance play it on a big screen with headphones or a home theater system :^)
You can jump to individual songs within this video using links below.
00:00– “Gonna Rise Up” (Octatrack MKII, Analog Four for leads)
3:13– “The Strange Case of the Dancing Automatons” (Intro is field recordings in Octatrack MKII, rest of the song is ALL Digitone)
09:11– “Disconnected” (Octatrack MKII, Analog Four MKI)
I’ve also released live audio recordings of the songs from this set as a “name your price” album on Bandcamp. These 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 song album with minimal gaps.
The music was performed using only Elektron Analog Four MKI, Octatrack MKII, and Digitone with no external gear other than a CME Xkey Air 25 MIDI controller which I used with the Analog Four. Original field recordings made on location in Boulder; Denver; Bath & London England. I vocoded my voice in the studio using Ableton Live and Tone2 Electra2.
Visuals provided by Michael O’Bannon.
Photos from Event
A big thanks to Tony Gerber and Mike Metlay for organizing the event. Also a big thanks to all the volunteers at the festival, Radio Spiral, the venue White Horse at Black Mountain, and all the other artists for making it such a fantastic weekend. Also thanks to Geary Yelton and Paul A Vnuk Jr for sharing pics. Lastly thanks to Michael O’Bannon for providing my visuals.
I had a great conversation with Brian Funk (aka AfroDJMac) for episode #99 of his Music Production Podcast. You can listen oniTunesor Stitcheror Google Play or on YouTube (which also includes video footage). There are lots of detailed show notes and links from the conversation on the episode landing page
Mark and I had an excellent conversation about his work as a synthesist, composer, and live performer. We discussed his musical workflows and use of visuals in his performances. Mark also deconstructs and takes us behind the creative process of his newest single “Disconnected.” This episode is loaded with both practical and philosophical wisdom from Mark’s diverse and extensive experience as an artist.
I also discuss the local scene such as Rocky Mountain Synthesizer Meetup, Beat Cypher, and my work with (no)poem, the Carbon Dioxide Ensemble, A.I. Winter and more. Again, links to all that in the detailed show notes and links from the conversation on the episode landing page
Also, my cat also video bombed the conversation at 35m27s. Brian was kind enough to render an excerpt so I could crate this short clip :^)