Archive for the ‘history’ Category

Ukuphambana – Discogs Update

Just completed a series of updates to the Ukuphambana page at, along with tweaks and updates to several Zero Times Infinity releases and other related entries. Amazing to see how much music I’ve actually put out there over the years! Hopefully this is still just the beginning :

Two Videos: Electronic Music For Kids

Recently had the pleasure of stumbling across two separate, intensely weird videos demonstrating just how much weirder and more wonderful childhood was in the late 60’s. First there is this fantastic video of Mr. Rogers paying a visit to Bruce Haack and children’s dance teacher Esther Nelson:

“It’s warming up.”
“It surely is!”

Then there was this amazing documentary about an experimental music program for children, in Shoreditch UK, where children compose “a sound picture based on ideas associated with heat, radiation, relentlessness, intensity, stillness …”:

Archive Track: VideoDrome

It’s amazing what a little ego-search can dredge up. Apparently a file sharing / streaming service called Grooveshark has a copy of an ukuphambana track that is so rare that I don’t even have it.

So, some context: this track was made as part of a live on-air performance at WJUL’s High Voltage Circumcision show. Possibly the first time I’d attempted doing anything live as ukuphambana? My personal recollection of the timing is hazy, but the performance log has two such events, in February of 1999 and 2000, so it would have been one of those. In either case, it’s been easily a decade since I last heard this track.

Technical notes: most of the track was constructed from samples of Atari 2600 games, loaded into an Akai S950 sampler. The sampler was sequenced from a TR505 drum machine’s MIDI outs. Some of the Akai’s outputs are run through various guitar pedals for effects. HR16 drum machine might be in there too, low in the mix? But I’m not sure.

It goes on long — if I had a clean copy of the original, I would edit it mercilessly — but I love that beat! And it has a rawness that I find endearing rather than embarrassing, now that some time has gotten between me and it. Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.

Enjoy: Ukuphambana – Videodrome

Interview: Morton Subotnick

If you can get past the irritating opening, this is a fantastic interview with Morton Subotnick on the early days of electronic music at the San Francisco Tape Music Center, the design of the earliest sequencers and the Buchla Music Easel, and his amazement at living in the (technical) future he envisioned in his earliest days. If I have half the creativity and energy as Subotnick does in this video when I reach his age, I will consider myself a very, very lucky man.

Roger Linn + Carl Craig

I’ve always been a sucker for drum machines of all kinds — something like my first three or four hardware purchases were drum machines, just because I’m drawn so strongly to rhythm, I suppose. So I absolutely loved this lecture / interview with two giants of electronic music history.

I sort of wish Carl Craig had gotten more time to talk, but a guided tour of drum machine history with one of the giants of synthesizer design is still not too bad.

Tracker Family Tree

Even before I starting working on anything I particularly thought of as music, I was a fan of sample trackers. I had a friend in college who had an Amiga-based copy of Pro Tracker. I jammed out with him many times, usually with him on the Amiga, though I occasionally got a crack at it, too. Some of the earliest Zero Times Infinity recordings included beats and textures designed with Pro Tracker, and it was a big influence on how I made music later.

In my day, I’ve personally used Impulse Tracker, Buzz Tracker, and a few others, here and there. Despite having a laptop full of other synth software, I come back again and again to Renoise. I think it’s fair to say that although I’ve used many tools and techniques in my music-making history, tracking is in my blood.

In fact, my latest track is shaping up to be 100% Renoise-based. I should be putting something up about that soon — it’s very nearly complete — but in the meantime, please enjoy this flowchart detailing the history of tracking software. I didn’t create it; it was linked in a Renoise forum article I stumbled across recently. But I thought it was too amazing not to share.

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