The Album Tracks Part 1: Orchestrion

This is a combination of atmospheres and sounds from the 1870s and the 1970s. The Orchestion of the title is an Imhof & Mukle Orchestrion Music Machine. It uses a wooden barrel with pins on it to open valves in over 100 pipes that are built like woodwind instruments such as clarinets and flutes. Basically, a large version of the barrel you would see in a music box. To run it, you wind a weight up to the top of the machine, and as it runs down it drives the barrel and pumps the air through the pipes. This one was located in Dunkathel House, where I worked in the recording studio. Here’s a picture of the actual machine in the house, courtesy of the RTÉ archive.

Orchestrion featured on Treasure Ireland (1993)

Orchestrion featured on Treasure Ireland (1993)

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New album release

It’s finally here!

madtheory-electrickery I’m very pleased to get this released. It’s been a long time brewing. Many thanks to my friends who helped with feedback and encouragement:

 

Aidan O’Driscoll
Brian Dunlea
Dominic Murphy
Eoin O’Sullivan
Enda Grennan
Gary McKee
Mike Gavin
Mike Lyons
Michael O’Sullivan
Ralf Kleeman
Ronan O’Dea
Rupert MacCarthy-Morrogh

And my lovely wife Sally O’Reilly for encouragement both musical and emotional 🙂

Some of these ideas go back to 1990 when I first started to compose. I think it’s important to keep an archive of ideas and stuff to play with- play being the key word. I really enjoyed the process, with all the help and support. I hope you all can feel the same joy I felt in making this music. 🙂

 

 

[bandcamp width=350 height=786 album=519834530 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5]

Also available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify etc. etc.

BBC Radiophonics live at the National Concert Hall

I recently had the pleasure of the Radiophonic Workshop at the National Concert Hall in Dublin. This was a dream come true. When I was about 10 years old my father joined the Rory Gallagher Music Library. This holds a massive collection of recorded music and spoken word. First it was Goon Show tapes, and later the full BBC sound effects library. Essential Science Fiction Sound Effects Volumes 1 and 2 became some of my favourite albums and a major influence. 🙂 Continue reading

Why vote yes? (Irish Marriage Equality Referendum)

So there’s this gay guy Keith Mills who is voting no.  As we get nearer to voting day, some of the no side are (ironically) rolling him out to bolster their claims. I read the article and I was amazed and angered at the doublethink and obfuscation. So I decided to take his argument apart.

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1. He believes that civil partnerships are a better way of legally recognising same-sex relationships. This is a misunderstanding of the legal principles involved. Believing something is better doesn’t make you right. You have to have evidence, and he provides none. He’s wrong because a married couple enjoy constitutional as well as legal protection. A civil partnership couple only enjoy legal protection. Legal protection can be taken away, amended or reduced by an Act of the Oireachtas. Constitutional protection can only be taken away by a vote of the people.

Mr. Justice Kevin Kearns explains that, and more in this very clear article which explains what the referendum is all about in layman’s terms. I recommend you read it before you make up your mind.

2. Marriage is not so clearly defined in the constitution that it allows for marriage equality. He claims that “Successive Attorneys General have told their government colleagues that same-sex marriage is in conflict with this”. Well d’uh, that’s what the referendum is about. He’s making a very sneaky obfuscation there.

3. He states that “Obviously other family units exist, and children can be raised successfully outside of traditional marriage” then goes on to contradict himself “The result of allowing same-sex couples to marry is that agencies that are entrusted with finding parents to adopt and foster children cannot legally favour families that can provide a mother and a father, which all evidence suggests is the best environment for children”. The poor man is suffering from doublethink, and in fact the evidence is that there is no difference in outcomes for children. Here is a list of long term studies that prove that there is no difference.

He makes some other points too, but they’re diversionary and unimportant compared to the clangers above. He seems to be just adding points for the sake of it, rather than being honest with a clear and concise argument. But he has to be unclear, because he has no evidence for his claims.

So I encourage you to vote Yes for Equality.

Sounds for Virtual CZ, and the real CZ

The new sounds: VCZ
You can buy my new collection of patches in the Soundware Shop here. 66 patches specially tweaked for VCZ, culled from my extensive and well worked collection created over a period of 25 years. Showcases both the gentle, ambient and atmospheric qualities of the CZ and its punchy hard hitting bass sound. They are saved in vst3 format so you can use VCZs brilliant vst3 patch browser in any DAW, and move patches between them.

 

The old sounds: CZ-1
Having received a few requests from CZ users who liked my CZ demos, Here are the top 64 of the 102 patches used to create my “Authentic Casio CZ” Kontakt set. Check out the included OPMEMs where patches are mixed and detuned in various ways. It’s a simple and fun way to make new sounds. For example pick two different bass patches and experiment with the OCTAVE and LEVEL settings. The CZ-1 is made for bass. Another classic trick is to layer the CZ with an analogue (or virtual analogue) synth. That way you get digital bite and analogue depth in your bass. Saved in .syx format so you will need a MIDI sysex app to load them into your CZ-1.

Note that this bank is for the CZ-1 only, it is not directly compatible with other CZ synths.

Some background
As a result of my CZ article I was asked by Oli Larkin to beta test his virtual version. I spent some time tweaking my old patches to take advantage of some of the features of VCZ, in particular the better velocity response and the chorus options. I really preferred Chorus A the Roland Dimension D model, having always had a love/ hate relationship with the Casio chorus.

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The two chorus options in VCZ

 

The CZ envelopes are very flexible and one of its great strengths, but let’s face it, they’re not easy to adjust on the original. With a computer based editor, there was always a short lag and an interruption to the sound while the sysex was sent. Oli’s implementation is much smoother to work with than the original, so some of the patches benefitted from that with tweaks.

Much improved UI for envelopes

Much improved UI for envelopes

He has also implemented a Unison mode which is great sounding. Currently it’s monophonic so I’ve implement it on only a few patches. I can’t wait for the update with polyphonic unison! 🙂

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