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Posts from February 2012

9 Box AudioCube Casual Music Instrument Turns 1


One year ago I announced the 9 Box on Modulate This. The long name for the system is “9 Box is a Method for performance, improvisation, and spontaneous tribal jams with music, sound, and light”. In short, the 9 Box is a casual music instrument based a method and set of template patches for Percussa AudioCubes and Ableton Live.

Below is a photo of the system featuring one of my cats sitting in “Player 4” position. The FX Audio Cube is detecting his position and translating this to “Bit Crushing” strength. As you can see the the system can easily fit in a backpack as it’s basically a computer, a powered hub and 6 AudioCubes (minimum of three cubes is required).DSC02822

More details here…

Highlights From the Last Year


Here are a few videos showing the system in action.

Video from a jam at Electro-Music 2011

The system is also being used as the basis for music and science labs in schools. Here is a video the system at the STEM Magnet Lab School at Metro Denver. The Lab is mentioned at 8:13. It’s so exciting for me to see the 9 Box being used to inspire students – especially k-6! Watch embedded video.

9 Box AudioCube Drone Jam at Skyline High School in Longmont, CO


Plans for the Next Year

  • AudioCube workshop and jam featuring the 9 Box at the Mountain-Skies festival in Asheville, NC
  • More videos showing the system used as a DJ system and for coordinated performances
  • More videos on how to setup, play, and refill the system
  • More refills
  • More templates with more FX options for sensor cubes
  • More schools, more jams, more music and sound…


Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Official Web Site:
Listen/Download Albums:

Thomas Dolby Video: Tipitina's,Time Capsule, and Belly Dancing

Thomas Dolby just posted a promotional video for his upcoming show at Tipitina’s in New Orleans. Sometime last year I saw a post on his Facebook page where he was bemoaning the fact that nonsense are videos getting more traffic than produced music videos.

I think this motivated him to create a very fun promo video to explain the “Time Capsule” trailer and promote a song with a belly dancer. More study might be required, but my guess is sex still sells - Rock on Thomas! Checkout his new album Map of the Floating City  on iTunes.


Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Official Web Site:
Listen/Download Albums:

What Was That Instrument The Beach Boys Played During "Good Vibrations" at the 2012 Grammy Awards?

What Was That Instrument The Beach Boys Played on During “Good Vibrations” at the 2012 Grammy’s? It’s called an Electro-Theremin – also known as a Tannerin. Wikipedia has a nice summary:

… developed by trombonist Paul Tanner and amateur inventor Bob Whitsell in the late 1950s to produce a sound to mimic that of the theremin. The instrument features a tone and portamento similar to that of the theremin (or thereminvox), but with a different control mechanism. It consisted of a sine wave generator with a knob that controlled the pitch, placed inside a wooden box. The pitch knob was attached to a slider on the outside of the box with some string. The player would move the slider, thus turning the knob to the desired frequency, with the help of markings drawn on the box.

Differences Between Theremin and Electro-Theremin


In a nutshell, Theremin’s determine pitch based on proximity of your hand to a pitch antenna.  Because the Electro-Theremin uses this slider system which has visual reference points along the slider, it’s much easier to consistently hit the note your going for – while still sounding theremin-like.


Here are two good articles I found that dig even deeper into the differences.

First is this page by Tom Polk.


Next is this page by Theremin World.


Brian Wilson on Theremin and Tannerin

Tom Polk has two page you might be interested in:

Here is a recent interview with Brian Wilson on Theremin.

Anyone Still Making These?


After a quick search I found a Synthtopia Post on custom music instruments. Swing by their site to watch a video.

Want to Hear Some Theremin-Like Music?

More Links Related to Electro-Theremin


Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Official Web Site:
Listen/Download Albums:

New Video by James Jaret Kojac (Syndicate Synthetique) "Beat flipping" on the DSI Tempest


Back in October I did a post called A First Look at the DSI Tempest Drum Machine with Sound Designer James Kojac (Syndicate Synthetique). James is fellow Denver artist and pinged me on Facebook the other night to let me know he finished another video using Tempest. Checkout  Syndicate Synthetique on the DSI Tempest - Live Improv Sound Design and BeatFlipping Demo 01.

What’s going on here? Checkout his notes:

My name is James Jaret Kojac / Syndicate Synthetique. I'm a Sound Designer and one of my latest projects has been w,’orking with DSI on the Tempest Drum Machine.

This video is primarily a showcase of what my friends and I have been calling "beat flipping" on the DSI "Tempest". Beat Flipping is essentially an exercise in live improvisation to see how far one can take the same 4bar pattern on one device.
All Patches/Sounds and patterns are all designed from zero'd out custom patch initializations and designed by myself for DSI and/or Myself.

This video is 100% Live Tempest. It was recorded into an MBox2 into Reaper at 48/24 .wav with no pre- or post-processing except normalization.
In this video I demonstrate use of polyphonic synthesis, reverse, beat roll, pad pressure modulation routing and obviously a bunch more. As time goes on and I add them, the timed comments should go over a few things as I do them.
Enjoy! More to come...

Tempest OS 1.1

DSI has also updated Tempest since my last post on this to OS 1.1 which now allows you to play use MIDI notes to play the synth engine as assigned to pads. You can see what’s new in the 1.1 ademdum pdf here.

JamesJaret Kojac Links


Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Official Web Site:
Listen/Download Albums:

Music Monday: Your Turn. Score a Mini-Film as a Composition Exercise.

Last week Tara Bush posted a 14 second mini-film Into the Tunnel (Milk F*ck)….

The first of a few mini films from our trip across the US. Filmed by Maf Lewis, music by Tara.

Scoring to short video clips is a great exercise for composers as limiting the time allows you the opportunity to score in one session. This can be really great if your stuck on another project, or your just looking to exercise and stretch your skills. Exercises like this can also help you refine your scoring/syncing to picture skills. 

Walking in Snow

Tara’s and Maf’s film inspired me to do a one session video edit & scoring session Sunday morning. Here is my 1:30 mini-film called Walking in Snow.

Composer/Producer Notes

I shot the video while walking in a recent snow storm near dusk in Louisville, CO just outside of Boulder using a waterproof Samsung HMX-W200 (down-rezed). While it was a very pleasant walk indeed, I found a few creepy frames when I watched the footage back - natural images that looked like faces of creatures. Seeing this, I decided to edit the film and compose a score that will make it much more sinister.

I edited the film first using Sony Vegas then imported it into Ableton Live in Arrangement view. Once in Ableton, I improvised using virtual instruments including Absynth 5, Rob Papen Predator, and Waldorf Largo. I also programmed against markers as cue points on the time-line.

Almost all the patches are from INIT except for an Absynth patch near the very end. The cello is not a sample, but a synthesized cello-like patch I'm working on for Absynth which was far enough along and perfect for this piece.

I used audio from the camera mic at the beginning (footsteps) and the end (snow crystals falling on the camera housing).

Constraining Yourself

A key to this exercise is constraining your self with time. I did the video edit in 30 minutes and the score in one hour. I took about another 20 minutes to add the title cards and upload to YouTube. Constraining your time means you won’t agonize over notes, patches, or arrangement, and it will help you sharpen your skills for deadline oriented work. Just go stream of consciousness.

More Ideas

  • Score Again with a Different Emotional Tone - Another step you can take with this exercise is to re-score multiple times with completely different emotional tones.
  • Score With Background Sounds from the Video – In this video I use the footsteps and ice crystals falling on the camera as compositional elements. I encourage you to experiment with ideas on changing the emotional contexts of the ambient sound with your composition. I was reminded of this idea by tweep Lux Seeker in a recent tweet in regards to some of his work  “The foreground sound, the footsteps, now sound darker. So sounds don't exist independent of others around them.”

Your Turn

Ok, you get the idea – now give it a try sometime. It’s great way to get the juices flowing.

Rescore “Walk in Snow”

If you think you’ll find the video editing aspects of this exercise a distraction feel free to use my film to score against. I placed it  under CC-BY-NC hoping some of you will -as I’d love to hear some different emotional ideas around these images.

Report Back

I’d love to see your work so report back with comment on this post or drop me an email.


Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Official Web Site:
Listen/Download Albums:

Ableton Live 8.2.8 Released


Ableton has released Live 8.2.8. Here is what’s new.

  • Added support for the Ableton Improvement Program, an automatic usage and data reporting tool. To enable, add this line to your Options.txt file:  
    More information about the Ableton Improvement Program can be found in our forum announcement.
    (For more information about using the Options.txt file, see
  • Receiving MIDI CCs on a MIDI track’s input was causing a high CPU load on OS X Lion.
  • Fixed a bug in the "Beats" warp mode which could lead to unwanted clicks in rare cases.

You can download this update via here -

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Official Web Site:
Listen/Download Albums: