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And now:  The Tunes! 
Playing instructions are available by clicking on the Help link above.
Note: Occasionally you will have trouble listening to the streaming audio samples.  This is most likely due to network traffic or the speed of your connection.  When possible, try downloading the smaller file or the MP3 file if you cannot hear the streaming audio.

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Bartlett Inn Weekend
Video Trip Report

YouTube Video A video trip report for the Bartlett Inn Weekend as part of a Get Outdoors New England activity May 1-3, 2009.

I put the video together using Adobe Premiere Elements using mostly still photos with some movies captured on digital cameras.  The audio was composed and recorded in The Basement where Improvised Waves was recorded, only this time we used SONAR 6 running on my laptop. 

I used the Korg X3 and Roland JV-1080 for most of the sounds, drums from software synths supplied with SONAR, and a bwoonnnngggg from the Jimmy Moore's MacBeth M5.  Jimmy Moore added the guitar.  The video and audio were brought together in Premiere Elements and sent up to YouTube in high def.

The basis for the tune was inspired by the notes played when the door to our cabin was opened.  The spring played a series of notes as it rubbed against the door frame, and I recorded it with the microphone on my camera.  Each section of the music in the video uses this basic set of notes, and the original audio from the door is included in the audio track for the video.

My favorite part is the piano that starts with the "Elephant Head" section of the video.  It precisely captures what I feel when I think of being on a trail far away from anywhere in New Hampshire's White Mountains on a cool, cloudy spring day when winter is still trying to hang on.

Eerie Sunrise

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You stand alone at the edge of a misty swamp as nighttime ends.  You feel the damp, cold air against your face and taken deep with each breath, chilling you from the inside.  The dead trees form strange figures in the unclear air, and you can barely make them out in the pre-dawn darkness.  Unsettling noises of the swamp's inhabitants swarm around you.  You're not sure if you should remain part of this frightening scene or if you should run.  The sunrise will not come soon enough this day.  You wait anxiously for first light.

Basically a soundscape built up with bits and pieces as time went along, a total of 12 tracks.  When I needed something, I found myself running to the Andromeda A6 to put together a new patch, so the A6 is the main instrument in this one.  A slightly tweaked factory patch on the  FIZMO contributes some great swamp creature noises, and the PolySix carries the background with a mysterious drone.  Underneath you'll find the MG-1, and on top at the start the ESQ-1.  The delightful Ian McDonald Flute and St. John's Wood Church Pipe Organ sound are from Mellotron #805.  Effects are used to add a spookiness; I tend to record wet when I know it's an effect I want, but several effects and the equalizer within Cakewalk are also employed.
...featured on
WWUH's The Greatest Show From Earth

Rough Mix

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This is the "rough mix" (that means "not quite finished yet, but close") of a tune I put together over Christmas Weekend in December 2000.  It's a bit different from what I usually do, but all the analogue essentials are there:  Mellotron (cello, 3 violins, flute, male choir, oboe, GC3 brass), PolySix, MKS-80, MG-1, and Minimoog.  The only digital synth used was the ESQ-1.  No fast sequences here; it's a pretty moody seventeen minutes.
...featured on Finnish Radio's AVARUUSROMUA
Notes:  File sizes are rather huge, of course.  The RealAudio is encoded for 28.8Kbps and is in mono to try to keep the size down.  The sound quality is a bit ratty.  Unfortunately due to size constraints, the MP3 is no longer available.

Hide in the Woods

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"Hide in the Woods" is the start of a new tune and is in the prototype stage.  I'll be working on it as time goes on.  You get to hear an oddity from the MG-1 in this one, a pretty cool sound that I stumbled across and one you'll probably hear now and then.  It's just nice to finally get that little beastie into a tune.   Berlin School in style, multi-tracked, unfinished.
...featured on WWUH's The Greatest Show From Earth


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Simple sequence (Minimoog, M-VS1 (patch 100 or something)), chords from the K5000R, with Mellotron leads.   It was rather hot, so you'll very easily pick up the "wobblies" in poor 805, which doesn't like the heat!

Why the name?  Beats me.
...featured on WWUH's The Greatest Show From Earth

Cheesy X

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Cheese meets the X-Files theme.  I wanted to check out the ESQ-1 synth I just picked up, and this tune happened.  I put it out here for kicks!  Not to be taken seriously, I assure you.

It's just the ESQ-1, using its built-in sequencer.

Needs Edit

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Yes, 13'42"---that's why it's called "Needs Edit."  Fire up the PolySix and get a sequence going (bounced around with the Alesis), add an interesting patch on the Kawai K5000R, and add Mellotron (8-voice choir, mixed strings, Woodwinds II).   And, of course, the Minimoog, which has some kind of weird bad 50's movie patch dialed in.  Recorded live, one take, no edits (except for the reverb at the end).  Can you hear the 'tron choir tape run out?  Can't help but make goofs when you're playing four keyboards at once.

The MP3 file is large, but it offers very good sound quality, especially when you consider the original sound file for this tune is over 144MB!
...featured on WWUH's The Greatest Show From Earth

Patient Pondering

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Check out Mellotron M400 #805 behaving itself and Minimoog #6128 not behaving (it has squirrely A notes). Just a quiet, floating piece, backed by a constant D note pad pumped out by the Yamaha TX802 FM synthesizer. Effects by Alesis and Korg. Recorded live, one take, no post-processing. Float along with this one!
...featured on Finnish Radio's AVARUUSROMUA

Arpeg 1

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I received the upgrade to Cakewalk Pro Audio 8, and it had some neat new MIDI stuff: A MIDI Arpeggiator! The PolySix is there along with some strings from the Mellotron, but in the background you can hear the Roland M-VS1 banging away. The Minimoog is responsible for the quick synthy notes in the arpeggiation---you've heard this type of effect before.   Multi-track MIDI.  Apologies for the distortion/clipping.
...featured on WWUH's The Greatest Show From Earth

Thirsty Camel

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This piece started out as a haunting sequence on the PolySix's arpeggiator, at which point I felt compelled to add Mellotron and just go with it. At 10:22 it's no lightweight, but I couldn't stop once I got started.  One take, no edits.
...featured on WWUH's The Greatest Show From Earth
And now:  The Demo! 
Playing instructions are available by clicking on the Help link above.
Note: Occasionally you will have trouble listening to the streaming audio samples.  This is most likely due to network traffic or the speed of your connection.  Try downloading the smaller file if you cannot hear the streaming audio.

Clip Type


M400 & M-VS1

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Want to compare a Mellotron M400 and a Roland M-VS1's 'tron sounds?  There are no tunes here, but this track will allow you to compare flute, three violins, and 8-voice choir on the M400 and the Roland synth.

Which is the M400, and which is the M-VS1?  It's not easy, as I switch back and forth between them during my noodling around and don't tell you!  (If you would like to know for sure, give me the time the phrase appears, and I'll see if I can remember.)  Generally the parts start out with the M-VS1.

At the end there's a short section which has the additional 'tron-related patches available on the M-VS1.  The choir with the slow attack is especially nice.

- The M400 used a Lexicon MPX-100 plate effect to simulate the reverberation effect which comes with the patches in the M-VS1.
- The M400's tone control was set to about 30%.  The mixer's tone controls were on unity for both the M-VS1 and the M400.  I didn't try to get the instruments EQ'ed to sound the same, as I felt this defeated the purpose of allowing you to hear each instrument recorded as naturally as possible.
- Levels were approximately the same.  The sound recording was normalized.
- This recording is monaural and heavily data-compressed using MP3 encoding.  Even so, and despite MP3 encoding artifacts, you should be able to tell the difference between the M400 and M-VS1.