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Are who?

August 29, 2009, 00:04 -05 by chris
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erhuThis is why I loves me some Intrywebs:

Ehru on Craigslist:Forty dollars (and it ain’t one of the cheap ones, either – brass ‘n ivory, baby…).

Ehru instructional videos on YouTube: Zero dollars.

Wikipedia article on Ehrus informing me that the two strings are tuned to the same “D” and “A” as a violin, thereby enabling me to be rocking on a new instrument within an hour: Priceless.

If there’s one way to build calluses on your fretting hand after not practicing for a while, it’s playing an instrument that not only has no frets, but no fretboard – the strings are suspended in midair – for several hours in the fervor of “new toy” excitement. (I have to stop for the evening. My pointer hurts.) I have a feeling practicing on this thing for a while is going to make picking up the violin seem easy in comparison. So I promise the new album won’t sound entirely like The House of Flying Daggers soundtrack.

Like the city in Alaska?

August 25, 2009, 12:37 -05 by chris
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This is how I Juno!Juno-106 chips removed and replaced, little trim-pots for “VCA offset”, “VCF resonance”, “VCF frequency”, “VCF width”, etc., trimmed and calibrated x6, and all is well. It didn’t take long to abandon the “hey, let’s desolder all the VCF/VCA chips and spend two weeks soaking them in a coffee can full of acetone, carefully peeling the resin coatings off, then putting them back” idea, as 1) the little buggers are really tedious to get out with all their legs intact unless you have the patience of a saint, which I don’t, and a better solder-sucker than you can buy at the local Radio Shack, 2) after the first hour of desoldering and re-soldering, my personality type quickly arrives at the conclusion that it’s better to just spend the money to buy more replacement chips instead of spending all this time dicking around with desoldering braid and tweezers, and 3) I want to use the thing now, not in a couple weeks. So i just replaced the two ICs that were bad for now, and resigned myself to replacing the stupid things on an as-needed basis (they’re only half original-equipment now, so three more and it’ll be totally ‘overhauled’).

Synths repaired: 1. House fires started: 0. Chips permanently destroyed (at least, enough of the little metal-fatigued legs damaged as to make them not worth the trouble of salvaging) in the process when I ran out of patience and decided to just wiggle them back and forth until the legs snapped off: 2. Voices that seem like they’re on the verge of going in the future, so I should order a few more spares for next time: 1.

The Great Rock ‘n Roll Swindle

August 24, 2009, 13:52 -05 by chris
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ridiculousNow how much would you pay? Twenty-six dollars? Thirty-eight dollars? What if we told you you could purchase this amazing collection from the original artists for only fifteen dollars? How about nine dollars?

Seriously, though, if you’re looking for legit copies of our old stuff, please don’t be “a fool and his money” and pay some of the ridiculous prices that have been brought to our attention for a “rare! out of print!” or “import only!” copy. It’s the exact same thing that you can get direct from us or download from iTunes. Just as a refresher, Tower Records is not Tower Records (the entity that purchased the rights to the name after their second bankruptcy is called “Caiman Inc.” out of Toronto) and we don’t see one cent from purchases of any of the overpriced CD copies floating around out there (aside from the however-many copies may still be sitting in a warehouse somewhere as frozen assets from Tower’s bankruptcy case, that is) – the only back-catalogue sales we currently see a paltry-fraction-of-a-dollar from are downloads from iTunes, eMusic, or other download services, or hard copies purchased directly from this site. If you really want to blow thirty-eight dollars, buy the iTunes version for nine bucks and donate the difference to a worthy charity or something. 

“I’m sorry if Tower Records’ and Blockbuster’s sales plummet. On the other hand, it wasn’t that long ago that those megastore chains drove a lot of neighborhood record stores out of business.”

~ Robert Moog

…aaaand we’re back.

August 21, 2009, 18:00 -05 by chris
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officespaceJust a bit of excitement with some code pointing to the wrong database location, immediately followed by – twenty minutes after being oh-so-proud of myself for fixing that all by myself – somebody overloading the (shared) server our SQL database is hosted on.

In a merciful and just world, this would conclude “let’s everybody see what we can do to mess with the website, because making musicians spend all their time tweaking configuration settings and restoring stuff from backups instead of working on music is really, really knee-slappingly funny” week here at For The Love Of God, Will It Ever End Labs.

F.U., .ru!

August 19, 2009, 13:46 -05 by chris
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punisher1Seriously?  Russian hackers?  Here?

Thanks for making us show up as “this site may harm your computer” on Google yesterday. Because there’s no better target audience for Russian scam artists redirecting people to ads for discount cell phone service in Korea than the website of an obscure indie band in Seattle.

Which, of course, didn’t actually redirect anyone to ads for discount cell phone service in Korea, but turned our website into a white screen with a syntax error message for a few hours.

Consider your iframe-code-insertion antics deleted and our s**t patched and updated, punks, and consider doing something more constructive with your time than reinforcing the unfortunate stereotype of your country as a corruption-ridden cesspool of Internet crime that has nothing more to contribute to Teh Intrywebs than pirated mp3 files, pirated software, viruses, hacker attacks, and penis-enlargement-pill spam.

Zen and the art of synthesizer maintenance

August 18, 2009, 14:11 -05 by chris
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chopshop“Working on music equipment” counts as “working on music”, right?

Whomever designs certain models of Line 6 “Variax” guitars is a sadist, an engineering genius, or both. You have to remove the neck to partially remove the pickguard to carefully disconnect several snap-on ribbon-cable-style connectors to finish removing the pickguard to access the electronics – you can’t remove the pickguard all the way until you disconnect the ribbon cables; you have to hold it “hovering” about an inch from the body while doing so, as the cables aren’t long enough, and aren’t kindly placed all along just one side, which would allow one to ‘flip the lid’ like you can on a (well designed) synth. 

And then you have to fish another little red-and-black-means-power cable with snap-on connector through a metal shielding cage and back with tweezers. Tweezers.

Two guitars field-disassembled, repaired, and reassembled: check. Akai AX-60 repaired: check. Juno-106 repaired: negative. Got the thing opened up and the board with the voice and problematic VCF-VCA ICs pulled, but ran out of time before getting all the chips desoldered and pulled for the “soak your 80017a’s in acetone to strip the resin” trick that’s all the rage these days. So it may be be a week or two before I find out if I’ve fixed the thing, or destroyed it. Roland SH-09 key contacts cleaned: rescheduled for a later date.

At least I was able to swap the stock pickguards between the two to arrive at much-improved “black ‘n white” and “black ‘n red”, which in some imaginary, alternate universe gains some sort of “cred” for making my to-hell-with-the-purists “what the hell are you doing using that clearance-bin fake digital guitar, boy? You say that thing hooks up to a computer?” bits of glorified kindling look a bit more like old Melody Maker and Duo Jet color schemes to the undiscerning, non-guitar-wanker eye. Because being a proper indie-post-punk-hipster-whatever is all about caring very much about pretending not to care.

Also want…

August 11, 2009, 18:07 -05 by chris
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…it to be October.

Terry Gilliam. Heath Ledger and Johnny Depp and Jude Law and Collin Farrell all playing the same character. Freaking Captain Von Trapp himself, Christopher Plummer. And Tom Waits as the Devil.

Here’s hoping it’s more Brazil, Twelve Monkeys, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Time Bandits, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and less The Brothers Grimm.


August 11, 2009, 17:35 -05 by chris
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tom_sem-pp_smA no-MIDI-onboard version with patch points already handily broken out into a side panel as standard, and it’s cheaper than the version with onboard MIDI and only one extra (other than the obvious keyboard-to-oscillator-pitch one) CV-controllable destination, and it’s cheaper than the Analogue Solutions Telemark? Oh yeah.

Already have the Doepfer MIDI-to-CV box for the SH-09 sitting around, so… Not like I’m looking around trying to figure out what to sell to justify pre-ordering one of these things or anything…

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