The Long Night

These nights around the Winter Solstice are the longest, many times the coldest, but not necessarily sad nor depressing. I like the dark and quiet environment of these long winter nights to create some music and soundscapes. This track is the result of one of those nightly jams.

The gear I used is my November/December 2020 setup: The SQ-1 serves as the master clock. Yes, the SQ-1 doesn’t show me the tempo I’m playing at, but that is a good thing in this case, as it allows me to set the tempo based on feeling, instead of looking to a number display. From the SQ-1, the analogue sync signal goes (via a split) to the Monotribe and the Behringer Crave. The MIDI output is connected to the MicroFreak, which is listening on channel 2. I’m also sending CV A and B to the Crave’s filter CV (via the VC mixer) and the filter Ressonance. Finally, the KMI QuNexus is used to play the lead sound on the Crave. As a final touch, the Monotron delay is listening on the Crave’s headphone output, for that cosy lo-fi delay vibe.

It is very interesting to play the pad on the MicroFreak while sending MIDI notes on channel 2: there is an interesting interference between the chord notes and the external sequencer that makes for an interesting and moving background. I really want to go back to this technique in 2021.

This was also one of the first videos I edited using FlowBlade instead of Kdenlive. I hope you enjoy the result as much as I enjoyed making it.

This track is also available on my BandCamp (as an EP with both Long and short versions) or on my SoundCloud.

A neat trick for handling indents in Python

Anyone who has been working with Python knows that its rigid indentation rules can only do so much in the way of improving readability. However, with increasing code complexity, one can easily get lost without knowing their position in the “indent tree”. Some IDE’s give some sort of guidance bars on the side of the text hinting at the indent level you’re at. Moreover, strong indentation is good for reading the code, not necessarily a good thing when writing and testing.

But I am a vim user, and after a few years learning and harvesting the power of vim, one does not simply forfeit vim for an IDE. On top of this, I often program over the net and through a series of firewall, making the use of more advanced IDE’s somewhat unpractical. So there is a neat little trick I use. Let’s say I’m writing a function that must iterate over a series of compounds in a data base. For each compound I want it to collect some data, make a few calculations and then plot some data for each compound. The code starts like this:

def myAwesomeModel(myArg):
if(myArg != "Valid Option"):
print("ERROR: Your argument is invalid")
for compound in compoundList:
for method in methodsList:
for property in interestingPropertiesList:
Continue reading “A neat trick for handling indents in Python”

Behringer VB1: The missing bass pedal

When I first look at it in a catalogue, I mistaken i by my beloved VP-1. However, the Behringer VB-1 Vintage Bass has little in common with the VP-1, apart from the relatively large metallic case and the scarcity of controls. Like the VP-1, this is a relatively large (at least by today’s standards) grey metal box with one stomp switch, one knob and one small switch on the side. It is also a mono machine (but you probably won’t buy a second unit just to have it working in stereo).

So, what is the VB-1 Vintage Bass. Well, as the lettering on the front panel says: it is a Dual Dynamic Filter for bass guitars. However, there is no individual control for each filter… nor much documentation on their characteristics.

Continue reading “Behringer VB1: The missing bass pedal”

Behringer FX600 Multi-effects Pedal: Second Year Review

Whether it is in life, music or the YouTube scene, two years is a lot of time. I first brought my Behringer FX600 in late 2015, trying to complement the rather limited sonic palette offered by my volcas. At the time I made a small demo video of it with the volca keys. I was particularly impressed by the chorus and delay effects. I also enjoyed the pitch shifter, but ended up never using it ever in my productions. I also remember finding the phaser to be a little bit too shy, an the flanger to be as annoying as any other flanger out there.

However, time comes and goes, and I grabbed this pedal on a number of occasions. For example, when preparing my Berlin School Experiment no 4 I initially planned to use the Nux Time Core tempo-sync’ed to the sequencer. However I forgot to unlock the “tone lock” memory of the Nux Time Core and, not being able to realise my mistake, I went forth recording the video with an un-synced delay from the FX600. I also used it on my Microbrute through guitar pedals video, which is still one of my favourites.

The Behringer FX600 is a silver grey pedal that shares its chassis design with the other Behringer pedals from the 600 series. Continue reading “Behringer FX600 Multi-effects Pedal: Second Year Review”

Starting the Computational Chemistry Part of the Website

Happy new year!!!

Last year, I updated this website and started adding some interesting information regarding Electronic Music production and gear, as well as some demos and reviews of my own gear (specially guitar pedals on synths). I also published some of my musical compositions, which is something I love to do, but it is still just a hobby.

This year will be the year for the more serious matters. I intend to start filling out the items for the Computational Chemistry and Linux & Programming sections. Indeed, I already started it by publishing the collected abstracts of my published works, with some personal notes on the side. Hopefully, this week I’ll publish some of my annotated example calculations, as well as the first few pages of my Python for Chemists notes.

Behringer SP400 Super Phase Shifter

About a year ago, I managed to score a lot of pedals by not a lot a money. Most of them have had a comfortable life, in their boxes, in a shelf at home.  Still, I remember I brought them, and decide to take one out of the box to test and see what they have to offer. Now, as many of you know, I have a thing for phasers (specially the Behringer VP-1), so it made perfect sense to add this pedal to my collection. The Behringer SP400 is a digital, monophonic phaser pedal made back in the day Behringer wasn’t too busy releasing spoof’s of possible future products. It might not sound as vintage and warm has the VP-1, but it has some interesting features I wanted to convey in the video demo bellow.

The build quality of the SP400 is similar to all other Behringer pedals of the 400 series: it has a blue plastic chassis with relatively firm knobs and the overall feel brings it closer to the 600 series than to the rather flimsy and fragile 200 and 300 series. Continue reading “Behringer SP400 Super Phase Shifter”