Podcast: Sonic TALK077- Massive Simmons Drum and Killer Robots

Billie Currie, Ray Kurzweil, Happy Birthday MIDI, Goodbye Townhouse      28/02/08

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48:35 mins
SONIC TALK 077 The week that saw the largest earthquake in the UK for 25 years - nothing compared to a 'proper' one of course, but still left several people puzzled as to what woke them up at 1 in the morning - one of whom was our very own Mark Tinley, who joins us this week with a nasty eye infection - if we all send him good vibes, maybe it will heal quickly... Also with me this week is Dave Robinson, editor of Pro Sound News Europe, who's taken time out of putting together a massive pre MESSE issue to come and talk futurism and physics amongst other things, PJ Tracy is also here from Minneapolis - composer, pianist and studio dude, and last but by no means least Dave Spiers, fresh from some Polymoog and GX1 sampling for a new VSM expansion pack. We talk this week of the demise of one of London's most prestigious studios - the Townhouse, which will close its doors at the end of March 2008. Ray Kurzweil's futurism theories get us started on an esoteric thread, which is brought down to earth by Fade To Grey and talk of Billie Currie. And finally Happy Birthday MIDI. Remember... Do Call Us We’ve set up a Skype account for people to leave comments (which may be played on subsequent episodes) or requests to be considered for a part on the show. You can contact using the Skype handle 'sonictalk' or if you want to use the phone, our number in the US is:

US Tel: (312) 376-8089
Intl: 001 312 376-8089

UK: +44 (0)20 7870 8616


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9 Comments...  Post a comment    original story
Derek    Said...

Another great show guys--thanks!

I read a while back that the Kurzweil VA synth had sort of made it out the door:


... but evidently wasn't impressive enough for anyone to care. ;)

Also, re: VST being a standard... what's the old saying in the computer industry? "Standards are great because there are so many of them to choose from?"

VST, RTAS, DirectX, AudioUnits, MOTU's proprietary format, ...

Elektron's TurboMIDI is a nice speed improvement for MIDI; NRPNs offer higher resolution and a greater number of controllers but I can't recall the last time I saw or heard about anyone using them.

28-Feb-08 10:41 AM

myspace/akaono    Said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MIDI!! Thanks Mr Smith :)

29-Feb-08 02:51 AM

Nick B    Said...

RE: the Kurzweil VA - I remember seeing it at a 2004 NAMM (ithink) . It created a big stir then, sort of in the Andromeda mold - but I dont know if it ever actually did surface

29-Feb-08 05:00 AM

Marc JX8P    Said...

Once again a cool show. Building on one of the subjects in this one, I'd be interested to hear what the podcast team would expect to be seeing in their keyboard/computer/performance instrument of choice in 5, 10 and 20 years time, in terms of what they think is feasable and desirable.

29-Feb-08 06:47 AM

Dave Spiers    Said...

Shortly after the podcast recording Billy kindly replied to my email. because we've had so many post-cast emails regarding this topic, I've pasted some of it below:

"The session to do the Music for Fade to Grey was produced by me.

I heard Chris Payne & Ced Sharpley in the sound check, when I was on tour with Gary Numan, working on a chord progression. Ced had a drum machine (CR78) pattern going.

Chris did this using the Polymoog string sound. The fast bass part with the left hand.

I was laying down tracks for the 1st Visage album at Martin Rushent's studio so I asked Martin if I could bring this idea in. Chris banged it down on the Polymoog and I did all the other stuff, ARP solo stuff, rise at the beginning etc and the Bell/Harpsichord top line from Polymoog ( I put echo on in slow threes).

The Violin ( at the end section) was done later in Mayfair Studio. Then I arranged it making that drop out section in the middle which changes slightly and brought in the Bass Drum & Snare at that point. Snare in first with one hit.

I didn't do anything with it until Visage were putting the final part of the album together at Mayfair Studios and because we were short of tracks I offered this one. Midge wrote the lyrics & vocal part. Rusty got his Girlfriend to Sing in French."

FYI Billy has a great website which is well worth a visit http://www.billycurrie.com Some great pics and loads of info on old and new projects too

29-Feb-08 07:57 AM

Ryan, a.k.a Trus1te    Said...

Kurtszweil is blowing smoke.

The major error in human perception is that we may only compare our future perception to the perception we already have.

Therefore, we can't really say how an increase in resolution is really beneficial until it becomes our perception.

Understanding the fusion and fision was a great accomplishment of the early 20th century, but I don't anything unusual around me anymore than what my perception has come to realize.

I hope that makes sense to you folks

29-Feb-08 12:14 PM

D. Austin    Said...

MIDI makes the quarter century mark! Not bad for an early 80s, 8 bit protocol. Ironically, when contrasted to Ray Kurzweil's light-speed vision of the future, one has to wonder if more technology is always the answer.

Still, I do agree with PJ Tracy that a MIDI update is much needed, and that timing is the issue in greatest need. A MIDI update should be both open source and backwards compatible with MIDI 1.0. To me, the development of HD-MIDI is the best replacement for MIDI among the various other musical information data formats (OSC and mLan primarily.)

And thanks to Dave Spiers for the Fade to Grey update. It's one of my favorite songs of that era, that and the Chameleon's Up the Down Escalator. Cheers

02-Mar-08 02:19 PM

Matt C    Said...

I hadn't really heard Fade to Grey much (it's kind of from between the eras of stuff I'd have heard and stuff my parents would have played, although my Dad does have an Ultravox album or two) and it wasn't until I heard it on the podcast that I realised how justified the court case was that claimed Kelly Osbourne's "One Word" was a bit of a rip-off.

03-Mar-08 06:40 AM

Hutch    Said...

zegt:Het Kf6sse van De Wuilus door De Waus zal plaats vndein op de Markt in Velden en niet in Venlo. De Waus komt verder worst brengen voor onze prins zodat Sint Clara er voor zal zorgen dat het met Gekke maondaag (30 januari) goed weer zal zijn. Als De Waus is gearriveerd en de worst verdeeld is zal er onder het genot van een glaasje bier, uit onze fontein, samen met Venloose en Veldense artieste een feest losbarsten bij de fontein.

23-Aug-12 01:22 AM

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