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Saturday, March 04, 2017

Loose Lips Machine Nuggets :: Lazenbleep Live


Published on Mar 2, 2017 lazenbleep

"A look at my live setup for Loose Lips"

Sonicpotions LXR
Teenage Engineering OP1
Mutable Instruments Anushri
OTO BIM

Update: some info on what's going on via lazenbleep:

"I'm George Lazenbleep Hacker, artist and musician based in London. I've been on a mission to make the music I want to hear when I'm drunk and I'm edging closer. I've spent a long time hacking and modifying gear just for the sheer hell of it. Now I'm entirely focused on finding the best gear, through whatever means, to make sweet banging music.

Here’s a look at the equipment used in my current live setup; these are random musings about my favourite gear, and their coolest features. Please follow the links for more info.

Sonicpotions LXR

This is a digital drum synthesiser, available in kit form from a really cool German company. At its heart the LXR is a six voice synthesiser and seven track sequencer. The sound generation is really deep, with four types of drum engine. In theory, these are geared towards kick, toms, snare, clap and cymbals, but in reality the fun is to go much heavier and weirder. You can make some monumentally heavy, sharp kicks with a triangle wave, pitch mod, a transient, drive and sample rate reduction. I like to layer snares and claps together as they both benefit from their own multi-mode filter. There’s also a lot of modulation available both within and inter track, with both control signals and audio available as modulation sources. The main point to make here is that the sound can be both heavy and wild, perfect for electronic music.

A nice modern digital feature is the ability to morph between voice presets with one knob, creating some totally wild in between sounds. The sequencer is both straightforward and deep, with what I consider the essential features for a drum machine; step probability, individual track length (polyrhythms!), two tracks of automation per voice and per step (think Elektrons parameter locks), micro timing (sub steps), voice rolls and shuffle.
The BC third party OS adds user assignable macro knobs, one shot LFO’s, instant pattern switching, per voice pattern switching, and a really cool “segmented” looper. It’s crazy that something so complex is good to use live, but it really is rock solid and a lot of fun on stage.

Teenage Engineering OP1

A synth that famously divides opinions, with many dismissing it as an expensive toy (which it is). The OP1 is also an incredibly deep, left-field machine with unique workflow and sounds. I very much underuse it in my setup; it acts as a midi controller and chord machine, and it's tiny and light, perfect for touring. Ten different synth engines can be used, and they’re all great. One of the major features is simplification, with each engine having up to eight controls and a fun graphical interface.

This ethos is spread throughout the synth and encourages experimentation, you get to unlearn what you think you know and relearn some great eye-ear combinations, via the gorgeous OLED and simple cartoony graphics. There’s a freely assignable LFO per synth, including wacky generators like the radio, mic or gyroscope. It has eight voice effects to choose from, and one master FX slot. The sequencers range from useful to mad, and really encourage experimentation, with drums and synths, they’re all syncable, or not.
Using a four track-style tape as the recorder is both brave and wonderful. There’s a joyful instant vibe to making music, and there’s no undo. Segments of tape can be lifted and dropped into a synth sampler, or sliced in a drum sampler for an instant chop. Talking of the drum sampler, the onboard radio can be recorded and instantly dropped into the sampler, mapping equal segments across the keys. Combine this with a sequencer and it’s very easy to make dance music, which is exactly how dance music should be.

TE are absolute masters of taste, form and function, and i knew i wanted this even before i heard it. It’s impossibly cute, yet sturdy and actually looks exciting, something that’s really important. The screen graphics are really cool, and everything is colour coded to the four encoders, letting you fly before you really know what’s what.

Mutable Instruments Anushri

Before Mutable cornered the modular market, but after they nailed PDA music, Olivier made desktop synths as kits. I’ve owned them all, kept my Shruthi, and am now making sweet arp love with the Anushri. An actual analogue monosynth, like an SH-101, but better, and weirder! It actually has a semi-generative digital drum machine built in, but I don’t use that—for me it’s all about the arps!

Arpeggiators are cheesy, and they’re cheating, and they are completely, 100% dance music. A kick and an arp, what else do you need? The sound is glorious, heavy and weird thanks to FM, oscillator sync, the LFO and DCO. It’s also lovely to play a synth designed by someone who plays synths. A great example of this is the knob that sweeps the envelope between a gate and ADSR. Assign the envelope to your filter, start the arp and say goodbye to the next two hours. There’s also another knob called “Acidity” which adds random accents, mutes and slides to your arp; I have a tendency to leave it at ten.

OTO BIM

OTO machines made the Biscuit, arguably the greatest ever bitcrusher. The BIM is a 12-bit digital delay, taking its lead from 80s hardware effects units. The sound is interesting and musical, creatively using the lo-fi nature of 12-bit converters to subtly degrade the signal, and pairing it with analogue technology to smooth it out.

That's not why I bought it though. It's a really fun box to play. It has a concept I call “high wangability”, which means you can really go crazy with it from the front panel. It has a really weird sixteen dot display, that once learned, provides just enough info. There's an LFO that can be used wildly or sparingly, and a freeze function that grabs a bit of the delayed signal and repeats it indefinitely. The BIM has character in both sound and form, and is a friendly little chap in my flightcase."

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