Saturday March 15th – Modular Synth Concert.

Thursday, February 27th, 2014 | Live Shows, Modular Synth | No Comments

Hack your MiniBrute into a Modular MEGABRUTE!

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 | Building Things, Electronics, Modular Synth, Music! | No Comments


The MiniBrute (MB) is an affordable analogue mono-synth which offers several Control Voltages (CVs) for use with modular synth systems. As standard you get:

Pitch out

Gate out

Gate in

Amp in

Filter in

Pitch in

Main audio out

Headphone out

Audio in

Midi in

Midi out

This is amazing for a synth of this price but inside the MB lurk many more useful CVs! Opening up the synth you will see there are many test points, these are all numbered and will make the task of modifying your MB a piece of cake.

I spent the last week poking around with a osciloscope and discovered lots of useful CV signals and waveforms just waiting to zip in to a modular system. Here is what i found:

Power (small board middle, ground main board lower left)

PT742 +12v

PT743 -12v

PT720 / PT 605 3.3v

PT175 Ground – there are loads of ground points to choose from, try and stick with one though.

Envelopes (large board upper left)

PT105 Filter Envelope

PT112 Volume Envelope

LFOs (large board lower middle – these all respond to tempo and are MIDI beatclockable!)

PT59 Random Steps

PT58 Smooth Steps

PT35 Sine

PT32 Triangle

PT34 Saw

PT33 Square

Oscillators (large board mid right – respond to pitch)

PT13 Square

PT158 Sub (square or sine as selected on MB panel)

PT22 Triangle (+metaliser if activated)

PT19 Triangle (clean)

PT20 Saw (the modulating wave for this is PT65)

PT57 Noise

PT151 some kind of folded triangle ( |\/|/\| )

Clocks (large board bottom left)

PT136 Clock out

PT145 Clock in (see special tap emulation circuit)

Modulation (small board bottom right)

PT656 After Touch

PT655 Mod Wheel

PT654 Pitch Bend

there is a thread about the mods on Muffwiggler

And I’ve uploaded fairly comprehensive mod instructions here MegaBrute Leafcutter Mods 03.pdf

Have Fun!


Slow motion footage showing what happens when you play a glass filled with water….

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 | video | No Comments

Chaotic modular techno.

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 | Building Things, Electronics, Modular Synth, Music! | No Comments

Playing with a chaotic patch built around the doepfer ‘chaos patch’ found here


3 modular synth excercises…

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 | Building Things, Electronics, Modular Synth | No Comments

The idea was to get to know some of my modules better and to try and emulate a couple of real-world sounds. I limited myself to 15 mins per patch so they are not perfect but I had a lot of fun and found out a lot about my system – like how much I love the A-199 spring.

In no particular order….

Church Bells
Signal source is a Modcan FMVDO supported by a 110 sawtooth and frequency divided square wave (thanks a-163). Also present the ring mod output of the MFB 0sc-02. FMVDO goes through make noise MMG and the other stuff through a 101-2 LPG. Notes thanks to Turing Machine quantised via A-156. A-199 reverb and a little Dub Jr delay on the FMVDO and the other waves dry

Water Drops
Signal source is an A-106-6 filter on the verge of oscillation, pinged by random gates from 1-149-1 expander. Random pitches from 1-149-1 distribution output. Some drops have a pitch bend env generated by MFB dual ADSR. A-199 reverb and a little Dub Jr delay

Rock Guitar Freakout, (Thurston Moore Simulator)
Basic patch is Piston Honda into A-199 Spring reverb, with PH wavetable modulation. Pitches come from A-149-1. There is a little Dub Jr delay which is randomly faded in but I like the reverb sound better.

The SOUND of MONEY Algorithmic Max/MSP experiment based on the Price Of Gold 1957-2013

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013 | Building Things, Max/MSP, Music!, Software News | No Comments

This is a work in progress but I thought it might be interesting to some of you. The Max/MSP patch below tracks the price of gold between 1957-2013 and uses the data to control parameters of an algorithmic composition.

It’s a mess but it works!

Here is the price of gold between 1957-2013 expressed as an audio wave

You can clearly see it’s general upward trajectory, it’s a bit like a upwards ramp but with lots of extra harmonic content. This waveform is used for much of the percussion in the piece which you can hear below….

Gigs, London/Berlin

Friday, November 15th, 2013 | Building Things, Electronics, Live Shows, Max/MSP, video | No Comments

Hi, I’ve been beavering away in the LeafyLab  making good progress on my light controlled musical interface:

Coming up this month:

Nov 16th, Jazz on 3 BBC radio recording FREE – Cafe oto, London, Doors 2pm

Nov 24th, Old Cholmeley Boys Club, Dalston, London £6/£5, Doors 8pm

Nov 25th, Converse Hack Workshop, Hoxton, London. It’s oversubscribed already but you can register to join us online!

Nov 26th, Cafe oto, first outing of new light controlled instrument Kammer Klang night, £7, 8pm INFO

Nov 28th, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin w/Talvin Singh and others, 10€/8€, Festivalpass 30€, 8pm INFO

Be good,

J x.

Upcoming Concerts…

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013 | Live Shows, Polar Bear | No Comments

7th Sept – Brixton Windmill, 1pm toll late, my stage time 10.30 also performing Andrew Liles, John Wall and many more. Info

14th Sept – I = U Festival, Sunbury House E8 4QL. Duo with Max Baillie. Doors 5.30pm
FREE – Click here to reserve tickets

20th/21st Sept. Kings Place Hall One, Wayne McGregor / Random Dance with Leafcutter John and Max Baillie. More details and tickets here

27th Sept. Arts Bournemouth, Part séance, part avant-garde cabaret, Electronic Voice Phenomena is an experimental literature, performance and music show that feeds on the corpse of paranormal pseudo-science. Tickets and info

Oct 4th Bishopsgate Institute, Polar Bear play new material! Tickets and info.

Oct 16th Karlstorbahnhof, Heidelberg, Germany. Michael Wollny with Leafcutter John, Uwe Dierksen und Mark Harrington. Tickets and info

Light Controlled Music Interview at Operation Ton, Hamburg.

Operation Ton #7 Licht & Ton: Leafcutter John & Nikolai Ockel von Sallwitz “The Light Controlled Interface” from RockCity Hamburg e.V. on Vimeo.

Special Cafe Oto Show Tuesday 4th June

Saturday, June 1st, 2013 | Live Shows | No Comments

click image for details

Staubgold and Choo Choo Train Records present an exclusive one-off kind-of-reunion of late 70s/early 80s UK DIY super group The 49 Americans.

The main instigator behind The 49 Americans was Andrew “Giblet” Brenner who assembled a loose, disparate group of musical/non-musical practitioners as an experiment in equality and democracy. At Cafe Oto, Giblet and original members Steve Beresford, David Toop, Max Eastley, Nag and Bendle will perform the songs of The 49 Americans for the first (and only) time after more than 30 years. Moreover, in keeping with the ethos of the 49 Americans, some very special guests, like Leafcutter John and Alice Grant, as well as friends, friends of friends, and even children of the original members, will play, interpret or deconstruct their music, or even make some music of their own.

“Think of The 49 Americans as a band, in the conventional sense, and you’re lost.” – David Toop
With this exclusive evening at Cafe Oto, The 49 Americans celebrate the re-release of their complete back catalogue on the French-German Staubgold label. The Staubgold label celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2013. Label owner Markus Detmer aka DJ Monsieur Croque will guide through the evening on turntables.

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