Who rocked and who flopped?

Simon Jones opened the evening with an introduction to the world of modular synthesizers.

Dr. John Biddulph

Dr. John Biddulph kicked things off with his expansive modular setup plus an Arturia MatrixBrute and a Folktek Luminist Garden.

The performance started with an ambient soundscape centered around live play with the Folktek Luminist Garden.

He then moved forward with more melodic music and more prominent rhythmic parts.

Interesting soundscapes, I enjoyed his performance and so did the rest of the audience. He rocked.

Incidentally, Dr. Biddulph uses his KB37 as an instrument for his ‘music and sound programme’ he developed as a specialist provider of autism and Asperger Syndrome (ASD) courses and counseling. He explained how he makes use of two KB37 eurorack keyboards where an autistic child is free to fill one of the keyboards with his/her choice of modules and create custom sounds. I won’t go into more details here because I am not a specialist in this field.

I had the opportunity to speak very briefly with him, I look forward to meeting Dr. John Biddulph again and learn more about his work and hopefully have more time to discuss musical forms within the context of Modular Synthesizers.

His performance had elements of pre-sequenced voices mixed to modular-tweaking, live playing of the Folktek Luminist Garden, and live keys on the Waldorf KB37

Wisdom Water

Next to take the stage was Wisdom Water

Ivan performed his electronic music with a versatile setup that includes Four rows of Eurorack, a Moog Sub 37, Elektron Rytm/Octatrack/Heat and an outboard mixer to melt it all together.

His melodic electronica went down well. The audience was very pleased with Wisdom Water’s music, Ivan rocked it! Indeed some people in the audience said… “good luck following that up”…

… but (spoiler alert), no need to worry because the next act on stage were masters of their craft. More rocking ahead, keep reading.

Ian Boddy and Nigel Mullaney

The excellent synergy between Ian and Nigel delighted the audience with expressive synth voices and room-shaking beats.

Their setup was eclectic and included on Nigel Mullaney side: a number of Elektron devices where each box takes care of different rhythmic elements plus voices from the Analogue Four

More rhythmic building blocks in the three rows of Eurorack with a few drum-voice modules and of course some more synth voices, filters, etc

Nigel’s Control section with keys and eurorack VC control modules. Mixing section between both performers

On Ian Boddy side: a lovely French Connection Ondes Martenot keyboard controller, one more Elektron bax then a Make Noise 0-Coast and a Doepfer Base case with Eurorack sequencing and other modules.

Finished off with a 9U Doepfer case with a couple of Make Noise Maths and Cwejman modules among others.

Plenty of hands-on moments here with Ian playing the Ondes Martenot keyboard live among other things, and Nigel playing his keys and an OP-1 while controlling the rest of his hardware.

Great duo. Great performance.

Mylar Melodies

Next on stage was Mylar Melodies performing for the first time live. His setup is contained within four rows of Eurorack Modules and he explains his workflow in a few videos on his Youtube channel.

Mylar Melodies performed very hands-on live improv techno. Being his first live performance, before starting, he joked… ‘things could go wrong’. Didn’t need to worry, he did great. The audience enjoyed it and it sounded good. I look forward to hearing him live again.

His kick sounded particularly good and when later on I had a chance to meet the guy and exchange a few words with him, he said his main kick was from the Audio Damage  Boomtschak module.

Good going Mylar Melodies. You Rocked!

Martin Dubka

Finally, it was time to come on stage for well-known DJ, composer and record producer Martin Dubka.

What a way to end the evening. Martin Dubka started playing his live brand of improvised house/minimal techno music and we were all very quickly sucked in. Martin Dubka nailed it right from the start and, hard to believe, it kept getting better!

Martin’s performance was hands-on, playing around with melodic lines, bass lines and rhythmic elements on the fly.

The audience was bobbing heads up and down but we all went silent as if we didn’t want to miss any nuance of Martin’s music. There was no much chatting under the music… Only some rhythmic body movement and exchanges of positive looks between us, audience, nodding in approval of a masterful performance.

Martin Dubka’s carefully crafted patches sounded particularly good in the venue.

He didn’t rock the house, Martin Dubka brought the house down!

The whole event, from the afternoon synth meet to the end of the evening live synth performances, was a positive and enjoyable experience. Looking forward to Cymru Beats 2018!

A big thank you to Simon Jones (Cymru Beats) for organising such a great Synthesizer Live Event in Cardiff.

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