This weekend was a pretty tremendous one in San Francisco for modular synthesis. There were not one but two expos. A series of workshops capped by a concert was sponsored by Moog as part of its Dial-tones regional spinoff of Moogfest, and a dozen manufacturers plus four performers gathered under the aegis of Sync 01, an event plotted by Chris Randall of Audio Damage. I posted a few photos from the evening, and interviewed both Ciani and Randall in advance for 48hills.org. If you missed the shows, here’s a taste:
I caught the Sync 01 performances as well as the Dial-tones headliner, Suzanne Ciani (the elder statesperson of the crew), who did a concert-length piece on Buchla. This video shows her working with Moog equipment and unlike her Dial-tones event it isn’t in quadraphonic, but it gets at her rhythms-as-texture mastery:
The Sync 01 performers included Neybuu, who mixed her tabla through a pair of Elektron tools, the Octatrack and Rytm. Neybuu, who lives in Portland, spent a decade in India learning to play tabla. She produced the Total Tabla sample set for Elektron (elektron.se). More from her in an interview at elektronauts.com. Here’s a video that’s close to (arguably an improvement on, as there were feedback issues last night) what she sounded like at Sync 01:
The highlight of all the weekend’s performances was arguably Bana Haffar. (I’ve written about her once previously, back in January.) Part of this has to do with her set being the most difficult to describe. There were echoes of Tangerine Dream and mellow Underworld in some of the other performances, and classic modular quadrophonic rhythms in Ciani’s, while Reybuu quite clearly was porting an old tradition through a new one — all of which led to interesting results. But Haffar’s was something apart, a through-performed work that mixed drones and pulsing and low-level hints of vocals into a fully formed work. This recent live set of hers, nearly 18 minutes in length and recorded in late February, feels more subdued than last night’s performance, but it gets at the sinuous, exploratory nature of her work:
Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/banahaffarmusic. Haffar, who plays bass professionally, lives in Los Angeles.