There were a few new faces at the August 10th soundShoppe.
Christopher Echols (The Mercury Seven) showed up for his first, with a shoebox. Inside was one of his birthday presents, a Korg “Little Bits” modular synthesizer. It was amazing. It is a bunch of plastic parts that look like Lego pieces with knobs on them. You stick the individual blocks together to make the patches (they have magnetic sides.) The result is a vintage synth you can carry in your pocket. He was also playing one of those “Monotron” synthesizers that look pretty much like a small transistor radio. Christopher was running both of them through a Boss “Loop Station.” The combined result was a lot of versatility and flexibility.
Clare Hunter was also at soundShoppe for the first time. Clare played bass guitar with an Electro-Harmonix “Big Muff Pi” bass pedal for sustain and distortion and an old Japanese “Zoom” guitar effect processor pedal for delay, modulation and reverb effects. Though it was obvious from her short warm up that Clare can shred, she spent most of the session exploring deep lush textures and blending with the occasional fits of craziness from soundShoppe main stay “Wild” Don Lewis (Small Drone Orchestra.)
For this session, Don both played and played with his guitar. He laid it on a table and dissected it, held it and detuned it, set it on the floor and screamed into it and a dozen other things. He did the same thing with his trumpet. We were talking after about how, because soundShoppe is a 2-1/2 hour nonstop jam, we run out of normal things to do with our equipment about 30 minutes in and spend the rest of the time trying to find new ways to use it.
LAFMS alumni Kevin Laffey (Airway, Monique Experience) showed up with his guitar and some effect pedals, including a “Memphis” tremolo modulator. Kevin also had a handful of apps he was trying out, to great effect.
SASSAS Board Co-Chair, Renée Petropoulos, made her first trip to soundShoppe to try out her birthday presents. Renée brought a gorgeous harmonium and a KP3+ “Kaoss Pad”. Renée did great for a first timer with all new equipment. I did notice that she could have used at least three more hands to operate everything.
I tried to learn my newish Boss SP-404 sampler. The airlines smashed my SP-303 and the 404 is a bit different. I think soundShoppe is a great place to get to know new hardware (or software). That is one of the main things I use it for. I always try to bring things I am still trying to figure out to operate or integrate. Learning, that’s what workshop are for I guess. Huh?