Yearly Archives: 2009

Once more to the shed dear friends

Inspired by reading about Thomas Dolby’s fabulous studio in a dry-docked life boat (which looks amazing by the way), I’ve decided it’s time to get what’s left of my old studio equipment and set it up permanently in the shed at the end of my garden – better there than gathering dust in the loft or sold for a pitance on ebay.

It remains to be seen exactly how much time I’ll get to spend up there, but as I seem to spend half my evening wiring up my laptop / USB controllers / audio interface / Kaoss pad / Bitrman etc. it will be good to have an alternate set-up ready to go.

Stylophone feedback modification

I came across a blog entry on Jim Purbrick’s website, detailing a feedback modification for the new stylophones that creates some nasty, distorted tones. (Nice!)

The modification works by routing the headphone output into the mp3 input thus creating a feedback loop. I managed to find a couple of alternative feedback points too (some switched, some through potentiometers) and also took the opportunity to reposition the pitch bend knob to the front panel.

A word of warning though, the quality of the factory soldering and indeed the wiring itself is pretty poor and I managed to inadvertently rip the vibrato switch off of the circuit board – taking the soldering point with it! Fortunately, everything else is working fine and I’ve repurposed the vibrato switch for a couple of bend points which generate a constant drone – much easier than struggling with the stylus.

Thanks to Jim for the idea!

The man from Delmonte he say…

… no.

As expected, my ‘Madame Guillotine’ reworking was just a little too different (i.e. entirely different) to the original so wasn’t one of the winning entries. Cole did go into great detail as to his criteria for judging, but his first bullet point pretty much summed it up!

  • Still recognizable with the original song – however chopped up and in different styles it may be

Doh! (ha ha)

He did give the track a mention in the ‘Interesting entries’ section though, summarising it as “Vocal Madness”.

Better luck next time 😀

Guillotine (ScarKord Reworking)

New remix/reworking of the track ‘Guillotine’ available to download from

This is a reworking of the track ‘Madame Guillotine’ by Cole Coleman. It’s technically an Acidplanet contest entry, but is a bit too far removed from the original to be a serious contender. Saying that, Cole himself seems to like it…

“Hello ScarKord, I found your entry to be surprisingly interesting – and I liked it! I would love to see this backing a video. I guess the Experimental genre often hears that. Good work. Thanks for your time and entry!”

New (Old) Toys

I’ve been buying a few more new (old) toys from ebay over the past few weeks and I’m amazed at how cheap the items are, compared with even a few months ago. I guess it could be the result of the current recession, but if you have spare cash, there are some bargains to be had out there.

Here are some examples of my more recent buys…

  • M-Audio UC033e MIDI contoller, £60. No drivers included, but you can download them from the M-Audio site. The amazing thing is it’s still a current production model with an RRP of £189!
  • Zoom PS02 recorder, £30. Very small with a handy built in microphone, but uses Smart Media cards which are getting harder to find.
  • Roland D10 Synth, £65 in excellent condition. No manual, but I found another seller offering one for £1! I also managed to find all three of the rom cards for £40. I’ve already programmed some very nice, synth string pad sounds and the keyboard itself has a lovely feel. In fact, the whole keyboard feels very solid and well made.

The trick is how you search. For me, this means searching for used pro-audio items, which have Buy it Now available, in the price range £10 to £100. I also sort the search results to show the recently added items first which is how I found all of the above items.

So, if you fancy investing in some of yesterday’s technology, give it a try!