Catching Up With Sonic Encounters Podcast - Episodes 005-007

It's been a while since I mentioned my soundscape podcast Sonic Encounters so I thought I'd catch you up on a few episodes. FYI - you can subscribe to the Podcast in iTunes, or use this RSS Feed for your favorite podcatcherDetailed show notes for each episode including notes on synths I used and production techniques at

Episode 005 - "Irreversible Transcription Errors During Consciousness Transfer"

005 Irreversible Transcription Errors During Consciousness Transfer v2

 “Welcome to transfer station 11203. Your consciousness transfer is about to begin and soon you will enjoy immortality in your new custom body. The process is 100% foolproof thanks to your personal technician who will be actively monitoring the process for transcription errors. In the unlikely event of a transcription error, your technician will be manually executing corrective rewrites well before the 6 minute margin where these anomalies would become part of your permanent consciousness in the target vessel. This “human touch” is just another way Transfer-Con goes the extra mile for our clients...[more story background and notes on production using an Octatrack with field recordings]"

Episode 006 - "When the Whales Take Back the Ocean"

006 When the Whales Take Back the Ocean

As humans and their technology have evolved, they have encroached more and more on the domain of the whale and other sea life. Of course the whales have been evolving as well – and – unbeknownst to us, they have been patiently plotting and waiting for the right time put things back in balance. Listen as a group of humpback whales execute phase 1 of their plan to take back the ocean...[more notes on background and production using an Octatrack with public domain recordings of humbpack whales].

Episode 007 - "Descent Into Ancient Ice Cave"

007 Descent into Ancient Ice Cave Cover

This is the soundtrack of an expedition to an ancient ice cave. As you descend deep into the cavern hear surreal sound of the wind blended with your own scanning equipment reverberating through massive cave system. At around the 7:00 minute mark, your systems start picking up some movement in the cave. You’ve got a bad fielding about this – so you initiate emergency ascent at 8:20.

Recorded in a single pass with no edits using a single custom U-HE Bazille Patch...[more show notes on background and production].

Patching U-HE Bazille - Initiating Transmission

Watch embedded video.

I'm working on some new original presets from INIT with U-HE Bazille. I'll be adding these drones as sources for Ableton Sampler and NI Absynth for for my upcoming set at the Miss American Vampire -- The Night Before Halloween show on Oct 30th at the Walnut Room in Denver.

My set will be mostly techno with some dark ambient.

This patch is a mishmash of FM synthesis. factilization. The fun part for me is using LFO2 to modulate the rotation of Bazille's morphing sequencer using Mod Wheel. Later in the video "shake" the spring reverb (and yes you can MIDI learn that slider).

Mark Mosher


Nick Rhodes Tour Rig for Duran Duran's Paper Gods + Red Rocks Photos

2015-09-20 21.16.14

I caught Duran Druan at Red Rocks on Sunday. It was an incredible night with perfect weather. The played to a packed house with an incredible audience vibe. It was one of the best Red Rocks concerts I've been to. The band was in top form and seemed sincerely in awe of playing such an amazing venue.  

2015-09-20 21.48.32

In fact, Simon Le Bond wrote a note about on their web site.


 He also mentions in the note...

Just before we made our stage entrance, we learned that PAPER GODS entered the USA album chart at no.10. That, my friends, is the highest US chart position a DD album has achieved in 22 years. You can imagine the euphoria that we took onto the stage with us.

Nile Rogers was there (his band Chic was the warm up) and he sat in on two songs he co-wrote with Duran Duran "Notorious" and the new song "Power Off". 


During one of the slower songs, the crowd used their phone flashlights in lieu of lighters which was quite surreal when you looked towards the back of the venue.

2015-09-20 22.09.00


Hey Reverb posted some great photos of the show…


including this photo of Nick Rhodes's stage rig.

image from
I had a monocular there and could spy:

  • 4 Roland JD-XA's
  • 1 Roland JD-Xi (seemed to be mostly for vocoding and in the photo you can see a mic cable patching into the vocoder mic slot)
  • An iPad

 You can catch a glimpse of the iPad in a recent video of "Pressure Off" at the Today Show  at the 3m41s mark. Seems like he's just using it as a set list and for patch notes related to a song. Dig the A/B switch :^)



Earlier in the tour he was using a rig similar to the one mentioned in this Keyboard Magazine Interview:

  • 2 Roland V-Synth GTs
  • Alesis Andromeda A6
  • Korg MicroKorg for vocoding
  • Kurzweil K2000
  • Laptop with mainstage…

This recent keyboard magazine "Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran on the guts and gear behind Paper Gods" he mentions he was moving towards JD-XA's with Mainstage. I guess he made the leap :^)

Anyway, if you’re a Duran Duran fan, your going to dig the show.

Mark Mosher <<< Artist Site <<< Podcast

Video: Roland System-100 Plug-out + Absynth Aetherizer

My explorations with the free trial of the Roland System-100 Plug-out continue. I made this evolving machine-like patch from scratch on the System-100 then routed it through Absynth FX using Aetherizer with params modulate by LFOs.

Watch embedded video.


Video: Real-Time Automation of Roland System-100 Plug-out with Ableton Live


I was hanging out on Facebook yesterday listening to the Electro-Music live streaming September Equinox 2015 Concert. My friends Robert Dosrchel (audio) and Jacob Watters (video) both did fun sets and I noticed they were both using Roland System-1(m)s

I started poking around on the Roland site and found there were free trials for all the Plug-outs and they now support VST 2 32-bit (in addition to 64-bit) so I could now give them a spin with Ableton Live.

Jacob had also posted a note on FB that the System-100 plugout had released  - I ran out and grabbed it and immediately started noodling with it. In this video, I'm experiment with "wrenching" it around using real-time automation and automation envelopes in Live. Love this thing - woot!

Channeling the EMS Synthi, the System-100 plug-out has a pin matrix which is 14x15. I REALLY love the implementation . It makes short work out of patching cables. You can still drag cables from socket to socket, but the matrix is super fast. You can see this around 1:40 in the video.


Just hover over the matrix, a set of white lines appearing showing you the routing. You can see red dots where other pins have been dropped. Click and the cables appear on the interface - bam. This is a very nice touch for my old eyes. Speaking of this, you can scale the interface up to 200%. The interface isn't higher resolution pixel-wise so it's a little blurry, but still a nice touch on a big monitor.

Another nice touch in the interface is the "Signal Flow" view which shows some of the under-the-hood default patching as well as highlight in's and out's of patch points which is super handy for understanding factory presets. 


You can buy the System-100 as a stand-alone software plug-in. You get a discounted price if you have the hardware - and if you have the hardware you can dump the System-100 and it's patches as a plug-out into the hardware and play without a computer.


I don't own a System-1 (yet) but the System-100 plug-out may tip me over. To be able to work with this versatile and fun semi-modular in Live, then then dump patches and presets into the System-1 or System-1m and take it on the road (with expressive hardware to control) seems pretty great. Obviously if you have the hardware, you also have a dedicated controller for the plug-out with a 1-1- mapping of a majority of it's controls. This seems like a real time saver when working in your DAW as well. 

Mark Mosher <<< Artist Site <<< Podcast

Check Out Reaktor 6 Blocks User Library + Waldorf Microwave Oscillator


There are already 30 user Blocks in the Reaktor 6 User Library - bam. Check out the user library here

A big thanks to Sandy Small for the Microwave Oscillator (with modulatable table index, table selector and more). This Block already has 800+ downloads.


Happy patching!


Mark Mosher <<< Artist Site <<< Podcast

Reaktor 6 First Impressions + Video of First Blocks Patch

Krell 001 mm b

Last year I picked up Reaktor 5 on sale for $99 bucks - normally $399. Well Reaktor 6 is here and Native Instruments dropped the price to $199 with the upgrade at $99. I went ahead and swung for the upgrade.

I have to say I  ended up NOT using Reaktor 5 much. "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" comes to mind as I was using it. Ensemble programming was a little too complex (I was too busy making music to put the time into learning the platform), and using other peoples super-polished ensembles just felt I was using someone else's dream synth.

Reaktor 6 introduces the notion of "Blocks" - which for me  - is just right.

Blocks is a new framework that turns REAKTOR 6 into a fully-equipped, rack-style modular synth. Over 30 Blocks – including oscillators, filters, effects, modulators, and sequencers – come with REAKTOR 6. Among these Blocks are components from acclaimed NI synths such as ROUNDS and MONARK – all you need to start creating elaborate modular synth patches.

Within minutes of firing up Reaktor 6 I was leveraging my sound design chops I used on other instruments to making new patches out of blocks. If you have a basic understanding of signal flow with modulars you'll have no trouble getting going. I watched a handful of videos from this very nice tutorial series on patching with blocks and looked at an example patch and was off to the races. In another words, I'm already actually using and creating with Reaktor 6 after having Reaktor 5 collect dust for a year.

The interface is quite straight forward. When you add blocks (which are standardized in height) they get bolted into your virtual rack in your "Panel" view.  You can drag them around in rows of rails. If you click the  "Panel | Structure" view a split view is created with your rack up top and the wiring down below allowing you to patch.

Krell 001 mm

The "Bento Box" blocks which come with it are nuts and bolts modules. A nice touch is Native Instruments included modularaized components of their Monark minimoog emulation and two effects processor from their Rounds instrument. The sound quality of modules is excellent. Also, As of this writing, there are already 30 blocks in the user library Of course blocks can integrate into existing Reaktor Ensembles. 

My First Patch

Here is a video Reaktor 6 of my first patch in action. My goal was to show how just a few modules with a few notes could create something rather sonically complex to show the potential of the system - and for those not familiar with modulars - the kind of sonic mayhem you can create. So please enjoy this simple but fun patch inspired - of course - by the Krell in the film Forbidden Planet.



Patch Notes

Krell 001 mm c

I'm using the Monark oscillator (now available in Block form) to frequency modulating a a factory Bento box oscillator. I've got an LFO modulating an LFO which modulates the pitch of Monark OSC + delay time of a Rounds Delay (also now available in Blocks form). If you are familiar at all with modular synthesis, you'll find Blocks to be very intuitive and inspiring - and much easier to make instruments from from than using only the techniques possible in Reaktor 5.

Bottom Line

I think this is a no-brainer upgrade for existing Reaktor users, especially if you want to get into modular patching. This is also a pretty great value at $199 for new users who want to dip their toe into the modular world and perhaps learn a platform for making instruments.Blocks are useful right away, plus are a nice entry point (perhaps a gateway drug) into the world of instrument building with Reaktor.

Mark Mosher <<< Artist Site <<< Podcast