BillyRadd Music

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

TNR-e by Yamaha

At the recent Asheville Electro-Music Festival, Anita Gayle and I had the pleasure of talking for a few minutes with Mark Mosher, an extra ordinary electronic musician and performer based in Boulder, Colorado who was in attendance to show off his considerable talents as an entertaining virtuoso. He took the time to show us one of the electronic state-of-the-art pieces of hardware that he uses in his show, the Yahama Tenori-on, a really cool device designed by Japanese artist Toshio Iwai and Yu Nishibori of the Music and Human Interface Group at the Yahama Center for Advanced Sound Technology.

The Yamaha Tenori-on combines a MIDI controller, a tone gererator, a sampler and a stunning visual user interface to add visual delight to the music you can compose with it.
Iwai's intention in creating the Tenori-on is to create an electronic instrument of beauty. In his own words:
"In days gone by, a musical instrument had to have a beauty, of shape as well as of sound, and had to fit the player almost organically. [...] Modern electronic instruments don't have this inevitable relationship between the shape, the sound, and the player. What I have done is to try to bring back these [...] elements and build them in to a true musical instrument for the digital age."
As they say in Cajun country, "I'll tell you what . . .", this instrument is really something out of science fiction - but rather pricey, too, even used. So, the day after Mark showed it to us, I searched Yamaha's site and was pleased to find a much more affordable version being sold as an iPhone 5 App for only $20.

So, after some time spent updating my account data on the Apple App site, I downloaded my own copy of this amazing software application. I also immediately realized my total ignorance in operating the TNR-e and downloaded the 31 page Quick Guide from the Yahama site. Then, onward I plunged into the world of TNR-e and its two powerful effects systems and 253 new tones that capture the essence of dub step, progressive house/EDM, electro and other types of electronic music, all in the palm of your hand.

The only thing this device can't do is wash my car, but I believe that Yamaha is working on that for the next update release.

Truly a maze zing!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Empathetic Attack

Please, give a listen to my just released album, Empathetic Attack.

Empathetic Attack is a collection of electro-musical tunes that attempts to reach people in a visceral, direct way. To me, each musical expression has an individual texture and, while using tones, rhythms, and iconic, simple melodies, I try to create a fusion of synthesizer, familiar sampled noises, and other electric and acoustic instruments to build distinctive auditory montages. My aim is to evoke mirth, wonder and a subtle appreciation of intention and symbiosis into a groove.

This playlist contains 9 tracks, total time: 55.59

Monday, May 12, 2014

Kodakaster Duo Pup

The 6th canjo build is my latest attempt to find the best use for some old film cans that my wife and I have been moving from residence to residence since my college days in Hollywood so many years ago.
The tailpiece, the metal etched box anchoring the strings to the can on the lower left, was really made for a mandolin. The metal bolt next to it serves as a bridge for the electric guitar strings and transfers tone vibrations of the strummed strings to the can. It sounds pretty good un-amplified, but the two copper-colored Flatpup pickups really "light it up".
The metal hex bolt serves as a nut on the zebrawood neck at the headstock.The chrome-plated C.B. Gitty closed tuning machines are quite well made and relatively easy to install.

I happily just put the final touches on my new 4-string canjo build. I call it the Kodakaster Duo Pup since it's made from an old Kodak bulk film can. The copper colored rectangles on the face are called Flatpup Humbuckers which make this canjo really loud and rich sounding (without any hum like some electric guitar pickups). They are handmade in Vienna, Austria by a young man named Elmar Zeilhofer and are quite an improvement in amplifying my canjos with cheaper piezo pickups.

I think one of the most interesting aspects in the looks of this canjo is the patina of etched finger prints from 50 plus years of handling that adorn the outside edge of the front of the instrument.

The Kodacaster Duo Pup also sports a Telecaster-style selector switch to play each pickup by itself or both together with tone and volume controls to boot.

I play it with a metal, glass or ceramic slide on my left ring finger while strumming or picking with my right hand. Plugging it into an effects stomp box produces some diverse and really massive sounds.

But mostly, building these contraptions gives me a great appreciation of real luthiers and their art.