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Thomas Dolby Releases New EP 'Oceana'


Thomas Dolby is releasing his new album in EP segments to members of his fan club the Flat Earth Society. Membership is free and you can join up here.

He’s said on his blog that each segment will have different styles. The first EP was Amerkana which released in June and had a bluegrass vibe. In a recent newsletter Thomas discussed the styles of the first two segments:

I was flattered that so many people embraced it (Amerikana) without being too judgmental about the style I adopted. No 'oh god now Thomas has turned into a country singer--next he'll be doing Grand Ol' Opry wearing sheepskin chaps!' You knew it was just another musical idiom I adopted to help tell my stories, and I thank you for staying so open-minded. 'Oceanea' is a wild journey to a different time and place altogether.

I got an email from the fan club list today that Oceana is now available to members - Click here to visit the online store.

I just downloaded, and haven’t had time to listen yet. I can say the three tracks on the EP are:

  1. Oceana
  2. Simone
  3. To the Lifeboats

You also get liner notes in PDF format which are quite nice.


Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder CO

Show Report: Howard Jones & Duncan Sheik at the Boulton Centre for the Performing Arts, NY 10/22/2010


Last Friday I attended Howard Jones concert at the Boulton Center or the Performing Arts in New York. Here are a notes from the show.

Duncan Sheik
imageDuncan Sheik was the opening act. He sang and played his own accompaniment on acoustic guitar with some stories in between. Note - Duncan collaborated on Howard’s song, Someone You Need, and performed joined Howard's 25th Anniversary concert at the indigO2. Of course I enjoyed the hit “Barley Breathing”, my favorite song was “The Tale of Solomon Snell” off of his latest album Whisper House. It was  was quite fitting for the Halloween season. Sheik’s acoustic set offered an excellent contrast and complimented Howard’s show well.

Howard Jones1st song

Howard performed in an Electric 3 piece band configuration with Robbie Bronnimann playing keys, doing live arrangements and sequence playback, and live mixing with Ableton Live; and Jonathan Atkinson on electronic drums.


The set list was an excellent mix of classic Howard Jones songs with newer songs from recent albums Revolution of the Heart and Ordinary Heroes mixed in.

One thing I really liked about this show was that although a lot of the songs were from Howard’s classic catalog, the show was not a “nostalgia act”. The arrangements were fresh and the performances were tight and had a vitality to them you could really feel.

Having Robbie doing the heavy lifting with Ableton Live and live mixing imagefreed up Howard up to focus on singing, playing and interacting with the crowd. It’s clear Howard is a seasoned artist who continues to take performance seriously and really connects with the audience. Jonathan Atkinson’s drumming also brought a human groove and interesting visual element to the performance.

My favorite song of the night was “Equality”. It started off with Robbie doing a real-time jam with all sorts of beat slicing using Novation Launchpad.

Later in the show, Duncan Sheik came back on stage and he and Howard did a version of Tears for Fears “Shout”.image

Taking a Bow

Live Rig Notes
imageAfter the show I got to meet and talk with Robbie Bronnimann about the show. He’s using Ableton Live running on a Mac with a Novation Remote SL MK II which he uses to play keyboard parts. He also uses the Remote SL as a controller for Live devices. He is using two Novation Launchpads to control mix, launch clips and scenes, and to control devices.

The entire rig is mounted on a custom tube system which is strapped to a V-Stand and can be packed into a flight case. Speaking of this, he mentioned that this is the only rig the entire band transport. Howard’s Fantom G8 and Jonathan’s drum kit – I believe it was a a Roland TD-20s V-Pro™ Series – are provided locally. So they show up and load their sounds prior to the show. Now that’ s a small carbon footprint.

Howard played all his parts from the Fantom G8. Patches either sounded either spot on from album versions, or where updated and freshened up but still worked very well.

Meet and Greet
Both Howard Jones and Duncan Sheik took time out after the show to do a meet and great for all attendees at the lounge at the back of the theatre which was really cool for the fans. After talking with Robbie, I did manage to get up there and was last in line and briefly met both Howard and Duncan who graciously signed my 25th Anniversary concert at the indigO2 DVD :^).

Great Show!
What a great night. The music and performances were fantastic and the crowd was really into it and often sang along. While this was the last show of this short American tour, I recommend you visit to stay informed about upcoming shows.



03_MarkMosher-Soundcheck-electromusic2010Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder, CO

DEVO Tour Postponed, Get Well Bob 1, Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale Will Still Attend Moogfest

Just saw on DEVO’s blog that DEVO has had to postpone the tour due to the fact that Bob Mothersbuagh is injured. From their site:

imageDEVO deeply regret that they have had to postpone all of their upcoming live dates for 2010 due to a serious hand injury sustained by guitarist Bob Mothersbaugh. A glass shard sliced Mothersbaugh's right thumb to the bone, severing a tendon. He underwent immediate emergency surgery and is expected to make a full recovery after proper care and therapy. Most of DEVO's upcoming November tour dates, including Solana Beach's Belly Up, , Los Angeles' Club Nokia, and San Francisco's Warfield Theater, will be rescheduled for next spring and the public will be informed once new dates have been confirmed. Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale will still attend Moogfest on October 29th, in Asheville, NC. As previously announced, DEVO have been awarded the first-ever Moog Innovation Award by Moog Music.

You can mail get well cards for Bob1 to:
Attn: Get Well Bob1!
1100 Glendon Ave., Ste. 1100
Los Angeles, CA 90024


Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder, CO

New Album by Stretta - A Funneled Stone


Stretta has released a new album called Funneled Stone on iTunes and on Bandcamp. Here is the description from the about page.

When I see a photo of a modular synthesizer, I wonder, as I believe many others do, what the thing sounds like. What possibilities lurk within this strange hardware? I want to hear something orchestrated and controlled. I want to hear someone commanding the instrument with authority, not merely floating on waves of serendipity. I want to hear something composed for the instrument, leveraging its strengths, not a orchestration of an existing composition.

'A Funneled Stone' is a pure modular synth release, tracked in the old-shool, 1970's way: one monophonic line at a time. Every sound you hear was created, patched and recorded for that moment in time. When a new sound is needed, the patch is torn down and a new one is built. Polyphony is achieved by tracking each voice individually.

A modular album is, by definition, unapologetically synthetic. I also tried to take a more minimalist approach to orchestration, so the individual sounds can be more fully isolated and appreciated. I spent much of the final month of production taking elements out, and editing for length. Sometimes this results in the remaining elements merely hinting at the underlying harmonic movement.

As you can imagine, this process is very time-consuming, but fun. I hope you enjoy the results as much as I enjoyed creating it.

I’m only a few tracks in but I’m really enjoying it so far.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder, CO

Show Report: Two Days in Denver with Robert Henke (aka Monolake)

Photo: DMNS Gates Planetarium

Robert Henke of Monolake and one of the creators of Ableton live came through Denver and performed his work "Intersection" on Monday and then delivered a lecture at Denver University on Tuesday. This invitation only event was hosted by The Digital Media Studies program at the University of Denver.

This was a real treat as this was one of only a small number Robert's performances in the US. Here is a show report.

"Intersection" is a work which incorporates “field recordings made in Hanoi in 2009, reconstructed through narrative, music and sounds”. The performance was presented in the context of the amazing full-dome digital theater of the Gates Planetarium

Before the show started the event host Trace Reddell, Ph.D. (Director, Digital Media Studies University of Denver) introduced Robert who talked a little bit about the piece and the show.


Robert described the show as a real-time collaboration between himself and Gate’s Planetarium’s own VJ / Pilot / Scientist Ka Chun Yu Ph.D. on visuals (pictured below).


They had only met a few hours before the show and the concert was almost completely improvised.

Music and Sound
On the sound side of things, Robert describes “Intersection” as follows:

Intersection is entirely created using field recordings taken in November 2009 in and around the city of Hanoi in Vietnam. The field recordings were transferred to a laptop and layered, filtered, slowed down and processed in many ways to form the composition. The idea of using recordings of day by day sounds as material for musical expression is not new. It has been pioneered shortly after the advent of tape recorders in the late 1940 by the French composer Pierre Schaeffer and others. They coined the term 'musique concrete' for these kind of works.

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DEVO To Receive MOOG INNOVATION AWARD at Moogfest 2010


Moog Music will present DEVO with a very special synthesizer, details of which will be revealed in the coming weeks. Past recipients of the previously titled Moog Award include Keith Emerson, Herb Deutsch, Gershon Kingsley, Jan Hammer and Bernie Worrell.

Update: Here is a photo from Moog's flickr page showing Mark Mothersbaugh recieving the synth. The synth picture, the Moog Voyager XL is also now available for purchase.

Mark Mothersbaugh & the Minimoog Voyager XL

 Read more details on Moog’s site…

Duty now,

Mark Mosher

Percussa AudioCube Production and Performance Notes for "I Hear Your Signals"


For my original music album "I Hear Your Signals" (download the album free) I use Percussa Audiocubes as performance controllers. In this post I’ll give you all the geeky details about how the controllers were applied in the project.

I used 4 AudioCubes plus Percussa's free MIDIbridge app on Windows to configure and route AudioCube signals to Ableton Live. I use the same MIDIbridge patch for every song which allows for consistent and predictable data mapping from the cubes to Ableton Live.

In general, I play a lot of the notes on you hear on the album via keyboards, Theremin and Tenori-On live. I tend to use the cubes as controllers, for scene launching, and for real-time modulation of effects and synth parameters and only use them for triggering notes from time to time.

The AudioCubes are configured with the in the following modes:

  • Cube 1 - Sensor (the red cube at 9:00 in the picture above): This cube sends MIDI CC information back to Live. I configure each side of  cube to give me visual feedback where each cube face is set to a different color. The closer my finger or hand is to the sensor, the brighter the light. Currently, Sensor cubes need to be wired via USB.
  • Cubes 2 & 3 Receivers (white cubes in above picture): Sends MIDI notes back to Live when a signal is received from Cube 4. image I also send RGB MIDI light sequence via MIDI clips in Ableton. The cubes then become light show elements and also offer visual feedback. These cubes are also plugged in via USB so they can receive high-speed transmissions via MIDI clips.
  • Cube 4 – Transmitter (green in the picture above): This cube is wireless. Aligning the faces of this cub with the faces on cubes 2 & 3 triggers MIDI notes back to Ableton Live.

I then MIDI map MIDI CC data and Note information coming from cubes via Ableton Live MIDI Map mode to various functions within live.
For cube 1, CC's are mapped to device parameters and macros. These in-turn are often routed to parameters within VSTs. For example, a cube face might modulate delay time with Ableton's native Ping Pong Delay FX device. Or the CC might map to filter on a VST synth. Below is a snapshot of the MIDIBridge settings for Cube 1 (click to enlarge).


For Cubes 2 & 3, notes are triggered when the face from the transmitter Cube 4 is detected. I route notes to either MIDI tracks holding Ableton instruments or VSTs and/or racks. In some cases I route MIDI notes through a dummy track back to SugarBytes Artillery II running in a send or on the master track for effects. Since effects are triggered via notes rather than CCs with Artillery II, this method allows me to control effects as well as playing notes with signals from Transmitter cubes which only send MIDI note information. In other words, by combining native Ableton effects with Artillery II, I can use any cube in the network to trigger effects.


1) “Arrival”

In this song I’m using AudioCubes as lighting and feedback elements in the live show. They were not used in composition or performance of the music. MIDI clips in Live are used to sequence the lights.

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