Sound Devices: Why Andy Czuba Loves His Om-Bot Psychic Cell Doom Wave Fold Noise Synth

Andy Czuba is a noise artist and Sugar City volunteer. His projects include La Parka, a collaborative noise music project with Bobby Griffiths/VWLS, and Flesh Trade, his solo noise project.

“I discovered the Om-Bot Psychic Cells two years ago. They are the creations of Shane Vannest/Strangecraft, a sound artist, sculptor, and mask maker from Pittsburgh/now Las Vegas. Upon first seeing images and footage of the synths, I knew I had to own one. Two years later and I own six. They are part noise makers, part art, part puzzles. The Doom Wave Fold has proven to be my favorite one thus far. It has had the most use and I’m still discovering new sounds within it. I’ve used it in every one of my set ups since purchasing it. It works by employing multiple waveforms and oscillators which can be unleashed by connecting alligator clips to the exposed posts and then tweaking the knobs and waveform selectors. I’ve achieved cavernous crackles that fade out like shooting stars, unearthly drones, and spastic random chaos that I crave in my audio endeavors — a truly unique piece of gear from a highly underrated artist. The Doom Wave Fold and it’s brethren have and continue to be one of the largest impacts on my audio pursuits and that’s why it is a favorite of mine.” – Andy Czuba

Editor’s note: Each week, Cory Perla of The Public asks a local musician to tell us why they love their favorite piece of gear.

Sound Devices: Why Sparklebomb Loves Her Casio SK-1

Sparklebomb is Angie Conte, an electronic music producer from Buffalo. Her most recent release is a full length cassette tape titled “Bring In The Night.”

“It looks like it’s for babies, but the Casio SK-1 has 13 different envelope filters, a sampler, and the most fantastic voices. If you’ve ever listened to Sparklebomb, you’ll know that the haunting pipe organ and spacey brass ensemble voices have both been staples in mostly all of my songs and live performances. Little money was spent on my SK-1 but I have spent quite a bit more on the effects pedals, which I use to enhance its existing beauty. With the right tools, I can make it sound like a grand pipe organ or a synthesizer you’d hear featured in the score of a classic horror film. I’ve manipulated my SK-1 into a monster and I’ll love it until I’m dead.” – Angie Conte

Editor’s note: Each week, Cory Perla of The Public asks a local musician to tell us why they love their favorite piece of gear.

OddSine

Toronto-based DJ/producers Ryan Lamont and Boris Kurtzman founded techno label OddSine recordings earlier this year with an intent to focus on the darker, brooding side of electronic music. According to the founders the label was conceived with an aim to affirm the differences that unify their sonic community. To give voice to the most intelligent expressions of the multiple subdivisions of techno by creating a space open to their infinite potentiality for hybridity, deviation, disassemblage and reassemblage.

The label emphasizes the importance for OddSine producers to have a unique creative vision. Lamont says, “The one thing we would like for the artist we sign to the label to have is a desire to be unique and make music that they are passionate about and not just the trending sound. It’s hard in this day and age to seek out artists who purely produce for themselves and not for whats in.”

In addition to providing a platform for  both rising artists and techno veterans, Lamont says the crew will continue to host events in Toronto in order to “build stronger relationships with the artists we sign and also give us a chance to to expose the smaller artists on our label. What we feel defines a successful event is when we get positive feedback from both patrons and headliners and everyone is looking forward to the next adventure. It’s a big city with a lot of competition so sometimes it’s hit or miss but hopefully we will build a brand with a strong enough following that if another techno event is happening it won’t put a strain on turn out.”

Both Lamont and Kurtzman have been DJing since they started going to raves in the late ’90s, although it wasn’t until recently when they started producing their own tracks.

“Boris got into DJing in 1999 because he always had an ear for futuristic and innovative music, I got into it after I started going to raves in ’96,” says Lamont. Initially producing tracks for his own sets, he moved into production after dabbling with sound design for several years, while Kurtzman formed OddSine production duo Aerodromme with Steve Chan in 2008. In the coming year, the label will be releasing a compilation comprised by various artists, as well as streaming live feeds from their events.

OddSine Recordings on Facebook

Shawn Rudiman

The year was 1989 in post-industrial Northeastern Pennsylvania when Shawn Rudiman and Ed Vargo created Total Harmonic Distortion, Rudiman’s first introduction to making electronic music. The two artists became self-taught creating a band that became a solid influence in the world of Electronic Body Music, a varied Belgium-born genre that takes influences from electro, punk and post-industrial.

Currently based in Pittsburgh, Penn., Rudiman is fervently creating and exploring the techno world. Why techno?

“Music is the best escape, therapist, and consoler I’ve ever known. Techno is forever the future, alternate reality and unwritten parallel universe that will always have a hold on me. It’s home.” – SHAWN RUDIMAN

During the 1990s he developed an affinity for vintage hardware and is now known for his solo work performing live analog sets. His rig consists of: Roland TR-8, Access Virus A, Alesis MMT-8, Korg Electribe Sampler 2, Arturia MicroBrute, Future Retro 777, Future Retro SWYNX, FMR RNC Compressor, and the Boss DD-7. This hearty collection of gear allows him to take things anywhere stylistically, he says. When he is not performing with them, Rudiman is maintaining, fixing and modifying vintage synthesizers.

“Analog is as valid as any other form of synthesis really. To me … it’s just where I fell into. I’m no purist. I’m more a road warrior or rogue samurai looking for the most comfortable sword or weapon. I can’t expose one form of synthesis over any other, since they all have purpose and times to shine,” he says.

This free-flowing way of performing for Rudiman means breaking through structure and playing off-the-cuff, allowing emotional adaption during a live set.

“I started out 17 years ago now, playing sets that were very formatted, and rehearsed. It’s crushing to me. And massively limiting. I can’t play a set more than once. It’s boring. I don’t want to be bored. I never want to have to play that way with techno. To me, techno is always on the edge of failure — that thin razor edge. That’s what gives it feeling, not perfectly rehearsed or choreographed. It’s raw, wild, and possibly a car wreck. But also enthralling, gripping and demanding your attention. It’s responsive and operates on the crowd’s output, as well as my own feelings.”

He now has releases on 11th Hour Recordings, Bleepsequence, Cache Records, Detroit Techno Militia, Integrated Recordings, and Minimalsoul Recordings. Additionally, he established the store and label HyperVinyl Records with Trevor Combee, leading to a friendship with the notable Detroit techno musician Anthony “Shake” Shakir.

Along with Jwan Allen and Adam Ratana, Rudiman runs Technoir Audio out of Pittsburgh, Penn. He has toured internationally playing in places like Detroit, New York City, Berlin (like the Berghain and Tresor) and other areas of Europe; his most recent performance was held earlier this month at the Great American Techno Festival in Denver, Colo.

“Honestly some of my favorites aren’t the big or famous clubs. This past year playing Movement at the festival itself was one though. It was a life goal for me. Another was a gig in Glasgow, Scotland about 10 years ago. Just great people and crazy, wild times. Those are the ones that you cant put a value on, for me,” he says.

Rudiman will be performing alongside Sam Kern, aka Sassmouth, this Saturday, Oct. 17 in Rochester, N.Y. for the next Signal > Noise installation. Not only are the two friends but they have worked together professionally with a recent release by Rudiman under Kern’s label, god particle.

“Sam’s one of my favourite humans. It was complete chance we met really. I can’t say enough good things about her. She’s family. She’s easy to work with, to me, and we see fairly eye to eye. She picked those songs from a pile I sent her; she chose wisely. Working live with her on the decks and me on my crap is easy — she can feel flow and knows how to make it happen. She reads the crowd. So we work well as a duo going back and forth. We are on the same page so it makes it easy,” he says.

 

Sound Devices: Why Space Cubs loves her $10 Cassette Player

Suzanne Lee Bonifacio is Space Cubs, a Buffalo-based electronic music producer. Her latest track, “Pearls” is out now on the L.A.-based label Unspeakable Records.

“Reason is the program that is synthesis has never failed me. I’ve been using it since I started and adore the built in instruments and pretty much only stick to those for my MIDI instruments. AKG is the mic I prefer, as well, for it’s warmth and ageless tone. It just picks up all the nuances and is my closest musical friend. Lastly, this $10 cassette player has aided me on some rad ventures lately. It’s not even a 4-track, but I’ve been using it to record a lot recently. It’s been a ton of fun and even picks up some radio frequencies and buzzes to mess around with. Music comes from music maker, so I am a firm believer in utilizing whatever you have, even a cheap cassette player.” – Suzanne Bonifacio

Editor’s note: Each week, Cory Perla of The Public asks a local musician to tell us why they love their favorite piece of gear.

Sassmouth

For the past 15 years Chicago has been the adopted home for Sam Kern, who otherwise goes by the moniker Sassmouth. After growing up in the punk scene as a teenager in the Northwest, she was brought to the city in 2000 working as a flight attendant.

“I didn’t discover Chicago house and Detroit techno until I moved here, but once I did, I was smitten immediately … we spent most of our time going to clubs like Crobar, Rednofive, and Red Dog for Boom Boom Room. For many years my friends and I would regularly caravan to Detroit to get our fix for more underground parties,” she says.

Detroit played a significant role in her foundation as an artist, as she made her way to the Detroit Electronic Music Festival (Movement Festival) each year since the second annual event in 2001, with the exception of 2010 for the birth of her daughter.

Chicago and Detroit became such inspirational sponges for Kern which went on to establish and influence her DJing and producing. “I really can’t think of a better place to soak in the culture and surround yourself with badass mentors than Chicago and Detroit.  If you go to a party here, chances are you are surrounded by amazing DJs and producers that really set the bar high and constantly inspire each other.”

While learning to mix Kern said she would carry around a little notebook and after hearing something that piqued her ear she would would ask around, scribbling down the artist and name of the track, meanwhile also establishing a network in Chicago bringing her down more paths.

A multi-tasking master, Kern juggles a variety of things including running the Naughty Bad Fun Collective, holding a residency with As You Like It, developing the Industry Brunch parties, and creating her own residential party series at Smart Bar.

The Naughty Bad Fun Collective, based out of Chicago, began around 12 years ago comprised by a tight-knit community, including Kern. She says they were “just a group of friends that loved dancing right up front next to the speakers and partying together. We could fill a dance floor wherever we went. Someone pointed it out to us and I think that kind of inspired us to start throwing our own events.” The party began to manifest as an underground event finding home anywhere the group could muster, often in giant lofts or warehouse spaces. For a while NBFC parties were being held in “The Rave Dungeon,” the basement beneath Kern and her husband’s apartment, or hosted at their friends loft in London that they called “Club Regret.”

Life spent living in London inspired her creation and establishment of the Industry Brunch parties in Chicago. What started as an underground daytime party at a friend’s restaurant has become a staple event in Chicago and has also successfully taken place in Detroit during the city’s major festival as well as throughout the summer months.

“My husband and I lived in London for a few years and were inspired by all the daytime events there. You could get a full night’s sleep, wake up, have some breakfast, and enjoy music on a Sunday afternoon. We also liked the idea that many of our friends who do work as bartenders and various service industry jobs could enjoy going out on their day off. It has been really special to watch how it’s evolved in Chicago.”

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NBFC

Additionally, Kern also makes her way to the West Coast, holding down a residency with As You Like It, a promoting group based in San Francisco, Calif. She met AYLI founder Jeremy Bispo about 12 years ago when she was just learning how to DJ.

“Some friends and I traveled to Los Angeles to see Richie Hawtin and Sven Vath and I guess we were dancing extra hard and probably fist-pumping. Jeremy walked up to me and asked where I was from and I said ‘Chicago!’ without missing a dance beat. He got a big smile on his face and said ‘I figured! Nobody dances like that in L.A.!’ and we became instant friends and kept in touch over the years and would meet up at parties across the U.S. when we could,” she says.

Bispo invited her to play an event in 2010 at a place called the Compound, also known for Lee Burridge’s Get Weird parties, in San Francisco and at 7-months pregnant she played her last gig before giving birth.

“The Compound was a fantastic underground space with a capacity of around 150 and had an ‘in the round’ setup; the speakers, visuals and even the crowd surrounded the DJ in a circular-shaped room. It is still one of my most favorite parties I’ve ever played. To be that connected with the sound and crowd, and I still get the occasional person coming up to me when I play in SF and tell me how special that night was. I currently fly out to SF to DJ the As You Like It parties every other month or so. The next one will be at a warehouse space in Oakland, Calif. with Juju and Jordash on Halloween,” she says.

While back at home in Illinois, she hosts her own special event titled Planet Chicago at the well-renowned Smart Bar. A continuation of her crew’s underground events, they take the party and transform the club with decorations and themes like on an underwater planet or in an alien cathedral. According to the artist, Planet Chicago is always “a little campy, a little trippy” and decorated with artwork usually handmade by one of the NBFC’s newer DJs, Jarvi.

“We also like to feature a lot of live PA’s and present it floor level so the dancers can see what the act is actually doing with their machines, or watch them sing live like when we had Portable play one of our first events,” she says. “We also like to feature longtime heroes to us. We’re not opposed to showcasing newer artists but I think there’s something important about spotlighting and celebrating artists that have been quietly grinding away over the years making fantastic music. We also believe in building long-term relationships between the artist and community, which is why we bring back artists annually if we can.”

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god particle vinyl

By 2013 she developed a vinyl label called god particle. During her travels she was reading about the Large Hadron Collider and while daydreaming she thought about how music — like the smallest Higgs Boson particle — connects everything in her life. She says, “As a DJ, I love tracks that work as building blocks that can work as connectors between techno and house and electro and more ambient sounds.” Vinyl pressing in today’s age she coined as a labor of love due to various hurdles with production. Kern was excited to announce that the label will be releasing “GOPA 05” by Santa Cruz, Calif. producer Stridah.

As a mother, wife, DJ, producer, label and party developer, Sam Kern does it all purely driven by passion. “I’m positive I will be doing something music-related even when I make the leap from Mama Techno to Grandma Techno,” she says.

Kern will be present this Saturday, Oct. 17 at 45 Euclid in Rochester, N.Y. along with Shawn Rudiman for the next installment of the Signal > Noise parties.

“Shawn is one of my favorite people to watch perform, he is also a mentor and now I feel lucky to say a dear friend.  I was first awed by his live show 11 years ago when I saw him and Claude Young at party called ‘Green Light Go’ in Detroit during the festival,” she says. “I felt honored when he sent me music for my label — he is truly one of the most inspiring musicians I have ever met. He just goes for it like he’s on a kamikaze mission. A lot of what he does live is improvised on the fly and I’ve seen him many times and have never seen the same show. There is a funky raw vibe to what he does, and somehow he even injects his sense of humor into the experience, which is awesome. Rochester is in for a treat.”

Stay tuned into the Sequencer later this week for a spotlight on Shawn Rudiman.

Sound Devices: Why Khari Waits Loves His BOSS DR-670

Khari Waits is a Buffalo-based hip hop artist who goes by the name Coleman J. Brahski. He’s also in a few hardcore bands, including BastardBastardBastard and On Point.

“My BOSS DR-670 was the first stand alone drum machine I got my hands on and used it to produce my first rap project. What I loved most about this box is how overtly digital it sounded. A lot of drum machines will try to sound realistic, but the DR-670 doesn’t – it knows that it’s a simulation. I relied on it exclusively because I went to a Jack Topht show years ago and saw him do his set from his [Roland] SP-404. I didn’t want to bite his technique outright, but I knew that I wanted to perform with hardware so I could enhance my live shows. Being broke kind of limited what gear I could really get my hands on, but luckily Allentown Music had a DR-670 for like, less than $100, so I snagged it. It’s small enough that I don’t need to lug a lot of gear to a show.” – Khari Waits

Editor’s note: Each week, Cory Perla of The Public asks a local musician to tell us why they love their favorite piece of gear.