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Posts from August 2009

Modulate This! Show Report: Depeche Mode Live at Red Rocks 2009


I went to the Depeche Mode concert at Red Rocks a few nights back. This is my report including iPHone pictures and some behind-the-scenes info I’ve dug up.

In the lineup were Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, Andrew Fletcher, along with supporting players Peter Gordeno (Keys), Christian Eigner (Drums).

I read that Dave Gahan lost his voice and the band cancelled shows a few weeks back. He definitely was a little rough the first few songs but after he got really warmed up he sounded great.

They played probably half of the songs off the new album. They did a nice job working in old songs as well and played the big hits and a few lesser known songs as well. I really was happy that they played “Walking in My Shows” from Songs of Faith and Devotion, “It’s No Good” off of Ultra and “Precious” off of Playing the Angel which are some of my favorite songs. They didn’t play some iconic old hits like “People are People”, but with only 2 hours and such a massive catalog I can see why. Of course they played the killer tracks from Violator such as “Enjoy the Silence”, “Personal Jesus”.

They did a great job translating the songs to the stage and the core synth sounds that make the songs great were all in the mix. They also did some fun remixes as well. I especially liked some of arrangements that were really stripped down and sung by Martin Gore. They provided a nice contrast and his vocals were extremely strong.

One the best songs in the whole show was the last song when Dave Gahan and Martin Gore sang “Waiting for the Night to Come” accompanied only by minimal arpeggiated synth.

Continue reading "Modulate This! Show Report: Depeche Mode Live at Red Rocks 2009" »

SonicCharge Synplant = Great Synth for Boosting Creativity


I’m late to the Synplant party. In case you are too I thought I’d write about it. I saw coverage of SonicCharge Synplant on various blogs last fall. When I saw the interface I have to admit I just assumed it was an iPhone app and for some reason just skipped over it – doh.


Then the other day Ramin Sakurai of the Supreme Beings of Leisure dropped me a note asking what I thought of Synplant. So I swung over to the Synplant page downloaded the demo and have been obsessed with this Synth since. Thanks Ramin!!!

Synthplant was developed by Magnus Lidström’s who also deveoped Propellerhead’s Malström. SonicCharge describes Synplant in the following way:

“Instead of creating patches the conventional way by turning dials and knobs, Synplant lets you explore a world of organic sounds by planting seeds that grow into synth patches.”

Once you get your mind around the the extremely unique and interesting interface, Synplant really excels at creating sounds with “motion”  - especially when you get into modulating and automating the synth. I’m using it in Ableton Live 8 and the CPU drag is extremely low.

It’s also great if you into experimental composition as you sometimes get unexpected results which can lead to creative compositional leaps. I actually created two almost complete tracks in one night using lot so Synplant as ideas just kept flowing.

The bottom line is that the approach and interface could help break you out of the standard synth programming metaphore in a good way. For me, Synplant is boosting my creativity.

I’m considering producing a video of how I’m using Synplant within Live on my YouTube Channel, but for now I’m so excited about it I wanted to share so below are some videos on links to get you started.

 View Synplant Showcase Video


Mark Mosher

Experimenting with Waldorf Largo


I downloaded the 30-day trial to Waldorf Largo. A few first impressions.

  • It has a massive dynamic range
  • You can really push the filters and FM synthesis to get some really interesting sounds
  • I like it's single page interface.
  • I really like how waveforms and filter envelopes are displayed and move in real-time as you tweak.
  • Love the large modulation matrix
  • It's a bit hard on the old CPU but I think this will most likely improve through time as I'm sure Waldorf will update. Of course freezing a track will take the load off your CPU.
  • Some of the factory patches don't do it justice. Get in there and start tweaking.
  • It uses Syncrosoft licensing. Not my fav. I also wish I could buy this as a digital download rather than a boxed item from a music store.

I just recorded some AudioBoos while messing with Largo. These were recorded through my iPhone mic so it doesn't represent the real sonic range but you'll definitely get the idea of how the character of the sound changes through time and you'll get a bit of a feel for sonic range. When I have more time I'll upload some sounds at higher fidelity.

Waldorf Largo Synth tweaking cutoff filter 2
This first sound is the factor patch "Stepping Out T". All the variance in sound comes from me tweaking one knob - Filter 2 cuttoff. I love this sound. It's like something out of the move "Andromeda Strain"

Heavily modified Walforf Largo Patch
I made various tweaks to the factory patch "Play It Low".


Mark Mosher