Two Knocks For Yes live photos

Last Friday saw the culmination of weeks of preparation with the public performance of Two Knocks For Yes at St. Andrews Church. The team were pleased with a (nearly) full house and the evening went by without a hitch, apart from a dry ice machine overheating which led to a huge cloud of dry ice rather than the planned mist floating across the floor and down the steps of the altar. 

It was an absolute treat to perform in such an atmospheric space. The Buchla shook the wooden pews and bounced around the stone walls. I even got a chance to make an impromptu improvised recording when I had half an hour alone whilst everyone had gone for dinner and before the audience arrived. 

As well as my performance of Two Knocks For Yes, there was an intriguing found tape recording of a scientist talking about some strange experiments, a talk on the folklore of water and death by James Burt, and some shared ghost stories from the audience. We learnt a lot from this first show and will be working towards expanding it for future outings. 

The best thing about the whole event was getting a rare opportunity to work with my brother Curtis James, who instigated the project and made it happen (and hosted on the evening). It took me back to our teenage years working the lighting and sound for school plays. 

Photos by Dominic Butler and DJ Food/Strictly Kev

Dark Ride

During the 2014 Brighton Digital Festival, Persistent Peril and Paul Hayes created their very own miniature 'dark ride' (an indoor amusement ride where riders usually travel in some kind of vehicle) using Lego Monorail. The ride traveled through fantastic lands created by Lucy Irving, and members of the public could even 'ride' aboard the Monorail using virtual reality goggles.

Following The Simonsound Monorail trip in 2013 (a journey in electronic sound, released on 10" vinyl with a map of the ride) I've been pretty obsessed with theme parks and Imagineers - the men and women behind some of best immersive ride experiences at Disney Theme Parks. In the team behind Persistent Peril, I found kindred spirits equally mad about such things. I gladly provided a sonic treatment, featuring Buchla Electric Music Box and Aalto Synthesizer for this on board video.

For more like this take a ride aboard Monorail SS MkI and don't forget to purchase your souvenir record and map!

Fort Process

Can't wait to play at this event on the 13th September. Fort Process is a day of experimental sound and art held in the unique Newhaven Fort in Sussex. I'll be performing in the Caponier, found deep beneath the fort down 100's of steps and winding damp tunnels.

For this performance I’ll be using my Buchla Electric Music Box to try and summon the ghosts that are said to dwell in the tunnels of Newhaven Fort.  A ritual of heavy oscillations, otherworldly modulations and whispered incantations.
I'm wondering how it will compare to playing in a 1950s telescope dome.


Toy Drum synthesizer programming

I've been doing a bit of synthesizer programming for Pablo Clements and James Griffith at Toy Drum/Underscore. With a studio full of highly desirable synths, I'm like a kid in a toy shop every time I visit. In the pics below you'll see an EMS Synthi K, Oberheim 4 voice (serial number 001 - rumored to have belonged to Stevie Wonder) , and just in the background a Yamaha CS80 and Macbeth M5N! - good company for my Buchla 200e which I took along for the second session.

Out of shot is Pablo's impressive Eurorack system which got a lot of use during my first session. I sold my Eurorack setup shortly after getting my Buchla 200e as I wanted a nice Polysynth (Sequential Circuits Prophet 600 with latest update), but I always love to have a go on the Make Noise and Intellijel modules.

The sessions were to add some electronic elements to a new project coming soon from Toy Drum.

Sound Explosions

I'm not sure if these explosions are being caused by the vibrations of the electronic sound, or if there is something else being used to create the powerful eruptions of colored powder. However it's done, it looks fantastic.

Sound Explosions by Martin Klimas 

For Sound Explosions, he asked several musicians to work on short sound sequences, so called patches, using analogue synthesizers made between 1930 and 1990. Klimas shows those synthesizers with all their wires and cables, to give people an idea of the complexity of the sounds he is working with. He then replays the patches on his set, using pigments in place of liquid colors this time. He puts up the volume and lets the colors explode.

Charles Cohen at the Buchla Music Easel

A film by Alex Tyson of Charles Cohen playing his vintage Buchla Music Easel. Launched in 1975, only 14 of these performance synthesizers were ever built.  In 2013 Buchla are re-issuing the Easel.


Produced + Directed by Alex Tyson. Viewing with headphones or a stereo is highly recommended.

A film featuring sound artist Charles Cohen improvising on a 1970's Buchla Music Easel. This extremely rare instrument is one of Don Buchla's 200 series. Buchla (a pioneer of audio synthesis) only manufactured 14 of these units. The film was edited from over an hour of free improvisation, with audio taken directly from Charles' mixing board.


FORMS Series 1 - Buchla 100

Under the name Benge, Ben Edwards has been sharing the sounds of his vast collection of vintage synths for nearly twenty years. His Twenty Systems LP (2008) charted the development of electronic music technology, with each track using a particular synthesizer. 

His most recent work FORMS Series 1, is an exploration of the Buchla 100 Electronic Modular Synthesizer. 

Don Buchla at his System 100

Don Buchla at his System 100

On most tracks the patches were set up and left to run by themselves, with minor human intervention other than adjusting the various potentiometers. The Buchla 100 system is very adept at producing self-perpetuating sounds and it is this aspect of it that is explored here