DIY Tape Echo






I remember back when these SONY TC5000 EV recorders were locally the main unit recommended for oral history recording. Easy to use, reliable, battery powered etc… and with three heads and playback speed control from -20 to +40!

Fast forward a few decades and they can be found for $100 and are easily modified to function as a tape echo, with vari speed on record: “the mod is as simple as soldering a jumper wire onto two pads of a massive switch”

This one needs its belts replaced so I just need to wait for those to arrive and can then do the mods…

This may well be the cheapest tape echo possible!
Will be fun to try some grungy old tapes in it!


The service manual for the TC5000 EV is here

mode.analogue at Lines forum kindly shared this photo which shows the required speed mod:

“make sure you isolate the purple cable on the desoldered end or remove the whole cable entirely to not create any unwanted short circuits or other unexpected behaviour.”


pulplogic on Lines forum:
“To use a loop tape you need to disable the End Detection circuit. The lack of rotation on the RM sensor will trigger the alarm and send a signal to pause. I found some old notes from the last time I did this mod, hopefully this helps:





OK maybe this is the VERY cheapest tape echo:




Detritus 598



KnittedKeyboard II from MIT Media Lab on Vimeo.

▶ Responsive Environments researcher Irmandy Wicaksono has developed KnittedKeyboard II, a multi-modal, soft, and stretchable electronic textile musical interface customized and fabricated with digital knitting and functional fibers. It is responsive to touch, pressure, stretch, and proximity, allowing performers to play discrete notes, as well as trigger continuous effects and modulations with virtuosity, while experiencing the unique, intimate, and organic tactile properties of the knitted e-textile. A contemporary musical piece was written by Mike Hao Jiang from the Viral Communications group to demonstrate the multi-dimensional expressiveness of the instrument. More info

me: starts thinking of a beany with CV outputs….



▶ Grant Snider – 12 Rules for Creativity



▶ At last! Pro Tools 2021.6 allows 64 io native!! I’ve been juggling MOTU io busing to manage the 32io limit = PITA. And the new Markers database tracks look great (its a bad joke – no improvement on them in 10+ years???)
More info here





▶ I have a couple of these wind wands from recording whooshes for HISSandaROAR SWISH TWO library… But I never thought of trying it as a buzzy aoelian harp! There are some 120kmph winds forecast for this weekend… Might nail it to the roof



▶ Time for an intervention?





Detritus 597



▶ Ryuichi Sakamoto, Daito Manabe – Sensing Streams



▶ “Unconditional love to creativity”: Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Max Richter in conversation

MR: “Music is a language that has a weird relationship with “meaning” – when we hear something that connects to us we feel spoken to in quite a specific way; it is very one-to-one, and yet the exact meaning is often difficult to pinpoint….



▶ Brian Eno radio station



▶ podcast: Electronically Yours with Martyn Ware



▶ The curious timing of “Spotify Untold” the corporate bio book #astroturf



▶ James Blake talks with Rick Rubin for Broken Record



▶ The first electronic sounds I ever heard were from watching Doctor Who on a black & white TV as a kid, so this detailed technical history of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, written by an ex-BBC engineer is ACE!!



❤ Helmholtz Resonators





Norman Gadd Percussion



A month or so ago, a very interesting collection of percussion instruments was put up for auction and I wondered about its providence, put it on a watch list and kinda forgot about it… A week or so later, I decided to put a bid on it and as the auction deadline approached I checked back and someone had asked the seller who the collection belonged to… Turns out the collection belonged to Norman Gadd who was a percussionist with the NZ Symphony Orchestra for 33 years, and died in 2012 aged 80.

The auction deadline finally arrived and I managed to fend off two other fervent bidders, paying more than I wanted to but decided it was too rare an opportunity to pass. When I picked up the collection it turns out it was Norman Gadds son who sold it, who is also a percussionist but is primarily electric now. Imagine the feeling, opening boxes of percussion instruments collected up over a lifetime! For example a quick google search turns up this photo taken in 1945 of Norman Gadd as a boy, with a beautiful drum kit set up in the garden. On the kit is a set of four temple blocks, and in one of the boxes was a larger set of seven temple blocks as well as two giant temple blocks, all the same design as in that 76 year old photo.

Funnily enough the name Norman Gadd also reminded me of some vinyl I had seen, and sure enough:

Every instrument I pulled out of the boxes is a delight, but there were also a few larger items: a gong, a bass drum, a small xylophone/glock, timbales, tambourines, wood blocks, a bell tree that covers almost 2 octaves…
But one of the most fascinating to me, is a cloth bag full of whistles:

While some of these are variations of a sports whistle, there is a series of animal sounds eg cow, duck caller etc and some truly vintage Acme animal sounds (a rabbit call!) But one whistle at first stumped me, until I realised it only works on the in-breath! There is also a larger slide whistle which has almost zero friction on the slider – well used, perfectly maintained and capable of crazy pitch slides!

I do intend to document this collection individually, as I record material with them. Some will end up in HISSandaROAR sound libraries, others eventually into Kontakt instruments, while many will make appearances in music I am working on.

I feel it is important to keep the collection together – many people apparently contacted the seller asking for the collection to be broken up and sold off individually, but I don’t think that is the right thing to do. Once such a collection becomes dispersed, it will never even be remembered as being a part of the Norman Gadd collection, and its history will be lost.

There is one set of props in the collection I am recording next week for a HISSandaROAR UNIT FX Library, so I’ll explain more about them once it is available.





100 renders




These are from a competition “I provided an animation for everyone to work from… 2,400 artists delivered, the top 100 renders were chosen for this montage”

mute the audio & cue up a 70 or 140bpm tune?








Two new arrivals, both of similar aspect ratio:

The Korg SQ64 I have only just started to play with, but it is pretty shite of Korg not include any MIDI cables as they use the MIDI type A minijacks… A quick trip into town this morning & no one local stocks any MIDI type A mini jack adaptors, so it looks like I will be hacking a DIY version…

The book, Nordica by Luis Vioque is simply gorgeous! Beautiful photos, perfectly selected and sequenced in a book that exemplifies the XPAN format. Profoundly inspiring!





Detritus 595



▶ love this gallop technique



▶ Just one from 50 pages of Nagra stories:

“Boom operator David Allen Smith (deceased) told me this story about 14 years ago:
David was in New Zealand around 1999, working on a mountain-climbing-thriller “Vertical Limit”. They were moving large amounts of production equipment to the top of the mountain via pallets, lifted by helicopter. The foothills, over which the helicopter flew, were dense forest, also covered in multi-feet deep snow. Inside an Anvil case, a new, unused STC was part of one of the helicopter runs. Except when the helicopter landed on the mountain top, the Anvil holding the Nagra was not on the pallet. It had come loose mid-flight and fallen into the forest. There was no practical way to retrieve it. Given the sturdiness of the case and the forest/snow breaking the fall, it is likely still there, intact.?



▶ next step: googles ‘metal detector for drones’



▶ Love these architectural drawings by Diego Inzunza: axonometric view of classic architecture



▶ mmmm imagine algorithmic mix automation in ProStools via HUI control from Max!



▶ DISCOGS – a Flipper’s Paradise?



▶ This is fascinating: Who You’re Reading When You Read Haruki Murakami – I appreciate some words simply cannot be translated, but really interesting to learn how his writing was adapted and edited to suit/market to the West…


Like Japanese restaurants I much prefer they didn’t westernise. sorry but the “California roll” is the “Butter Chicken” of such cuisine. I remember ages ago being in a kaiten sushi spot in Wellington and a plate went past with a… deep fried sushi roll! Not “something fried, in a sushi roll” – they had taken a sushi roll & deep fried the entire thing. While I was looking at it, frowning, the chef came over & asked if I was ok… Me: points at the deep fried roll, WTF is that? Chef frowns “we do not have in Japan”



▶ ah the in-breath!



▶ Bird lady is next level!
It’s a shame no one asked for a hybrid/mutant:
“Can you please do a turkey thats been living in Chernobyl?”





Field Recording 2001

a 20 year old repost #nostalgia – remember when we could travel?

While recently discussing recording crowds (and the issue of avoiding ambient music) I was reminded of a great crowd track I recorded while on holiday in Beijing, 2001. My sister was living over there for three years so I planned a big trip, first to LA and New York, then to my other sister in London and then to Beijing…. But things didn’t go as planned, my tickets to USA were for September 14th 2001 – yes! Three days after September 11! I remember waking up that fateful morning and spending the next few hours watching the horrific footage cycling over and over on TV in total disbelief… Later that day I went & visited my travel agent and asker her advice; she suggested I still leave on time but go straight to London, so I ended up having an extra few weeks in London…

Back then I travelled with my trusty old DAT machine – a Tascam DAP1… and I took a pair of Octavia Mk012 mics as I didn’t have room for a rycote…. I bought a pair of those little fluffies they use on video cameras so I had some wind protection, but it’s interesting to hear the results now, and to think how much technology has changed in ten years…. So here are a few sounds from my travels back in 2001; first recording? An airport room tone from a brief Singapore stop over…. Recorded at 4am so I’m surprised there’s no snoring!

I love that dislocated feeling when you are between time zones, William Gibson described it perfectly in Pattern Recognition: “her mortal soul is leagues behind her, being reeled in on some ghostly umbilical down the vanished wake of the plane that brought her here, hundreds of thousands of feet above the Atlantic. Souls can’t move that quickly, and are left behind, and must be awaited, upon arrival, like lost luggage.”

And of course sooner or later after arriving in London I went & recorded the Tube/subway:

From London I did a few side trips including Amsterdam & Barcelona – here’s an interior ambience from Gaudis chapel in Barcelona – I love how diffuse the sound is!

And here is the restaurant I mentioned in Beijing. I think my sister took me there as she knew what it sounded like – it was basically a very large old noodle restaurant. But the interesting sonic character was the waiters – there must have been ten of them running around and every time a group of people arrived at the door they would all shout! My sister and I sat quietly slurping noodles while I recorded for ten minutes. Afterwards I asked what were they actually shouting, my sister thought it was the number of people in the newly arrived group, so the other waiters could shout back if they had a free table that could seat them.

Like any city the sound of traffic in Beijing is unique and I recorded half a dozen different tracks, surprisingly I didn’t record any accidents – the photos below show a few typical busy intersections, with literally traffic going in every direction at once!

Beijing traffic

Whenever I go travelling I do lots of research for interesting sound locations to visit and one that instantly appealed was a bell museum. This first bell is a 46 ton 600 year old bell that was just amazing to be near when it was struck, and by near I mean put your head inside! It resonated for maybe five or ten minutes, so this recording really doesn’t do it justice:

Beijing Bells

Another bell that was very intriguing was actually a bowl of water, with side handles which when you rubbed them fast enough created a resonating tone, but the weird thing was that as the bowl resonated the water bubbled almost like it was boiling:

Some sounds I heard in Beijing I simply could not record, I have a very distinct memory of being about six stories up a tower looking over the suburbs and noticing a flock of pigeons flying around. The pigeons had whistles attached to them and the sound was beautifully evocative.

Beijing pigeons

But one sound I came across in a park I just could not begin to think what was creating it!! I first heard it in the distance and followed the direction of the sound until I came across an old guy using what looked like a double ended spinning top, suspended & spinning on some string between two drum sticks!

My sister helped me buy one of these devices and at various times ever since I have practiced making these sounds… the main problem being that once you get it going to an audible level it is spinning very fast and if you make a mistake it tends to break the string and the top goes flying off… Its a little dangerous but that old guy in the temple was a master at it! I’ll update this post with a photo of it – mine is at my studio… Anyone know what they are called? I’ll update this post with a photo of mine in an hour or so….

They are known as ‘Kongzhu’

Spinning tops

To give an idea of scale, the drumstick with the string on is the size of a normal drumstick…

some context



Back in 2001 while visiting my sister in Beijing, we were walking through a park and I hear what I can only describe as a UFO…

20 years later I decide its time to practice enough to actually record these three analog UFOs


It took me a bit of research to find their correct name, as they are often grouped with the ‘diablo’ a circus/acrobatics spinning toy… I love some of the translated descriptive traditiona names used for these:
“joyful buzz”
“ground bell”
“empty clock”
“wind hyacinth”




Complex Oscillations








Complex Oscillations at White Rock, Wairarapa East Coast

That last photo looked like a pool of mercury…
it would disappear into the sand, until waves broke high enough up the beach to refill it

DJI Mavic Pro




Detritus 594





▶ wow check this chrono-ramic film camera by Ross Cooper – it rotates an 8×10 neg over 12 hours! #genius Chrono-ramic camera



▶ Can music survive streaming? “What we’re doing is we’re all funding the mainstreamization of culture. We’re all going, “Yes, please. Let’s all fund that algorithm that makes us all listen to the same 10 songs.”



▶ Two books I got at Unity Books last week:

Ralph Hotere: The Dark is Light Enough by Vincent O’Sullivan
and Wow by Bill Manhire.

Read the opening poem in Wow: Huia by Bill Manhire



▶ OMG I love this 1950s “Gardening Computor”



▶ The Anxiety of Influencers



▶ I have a few friends who struggle with hearing loss but aren’t at the hearing aid stage yet… So this is interesting news for them: AirPods Pro Become Hearing Aids in iOS 14

BUt I find this interetsing: “The challenge of using smartphone processing is that auditory information must be presented within 80 milliseconds. If processing and relaying this information cannot occur during this time, it will make communication harder. This is because the lipreading cues can become out of sync with the amplified audio.”

80 milliseconds? really?

At 24fps one frame equals 1000/24 = 41.7ms, so they are suggesting a 2 frame lag is ok.
You would not want to be a sound editor with a 2 frame lag on all audio, its not like you can just mvoe reality forwards by two frames to compensate… But a few re-recording mxiers might be interested in this: “Following the introduction of the Noise app in watchOS 6 that measures ambient sound levels and duration of exposure, watchOS 7 adds further support for hearing health with headphone audio notifications.”



▶ Also kinda nice in iOS14 to see FecalBook app beg to be allowed to access my phone data…
It got the big FCUK OFF! NO THANK YOU!



▶ Deep Sounds of the Earth



▶ this Tiger cub appears to have been revoiced by existential angst





Sad News of Richard Nunns Passing



Sad news this morning, to learn of the passing of musician and Taonga Puoru advocate, mentor and educator Richard Nunns. As the saying goes: a mighty Totara has fallen.

Kua hinga te totara i te wao nui a Tane
The totara has fallen in the forest of Tane

Maori Proverbs, Whakataukī: A totara is a huge tree that grows for hundreds of years. For one of them to fall is a great tragedy. This proverb is said when someone of importance passes away. The Totara is a native tree of New Zealand.

Teao Maori News “Nunns, Māori musician Hirini Melbourne and artist Brian Flintoff were renowned for reviving interest in traditional Māori instruments or taonga pūoro. Together they researched and recorded instruments held in museum collections, many of which had not been played for over a century, rediscovering their unique sounds and techniques to play them..”

Back in 2014 I had the pleasure of contributing sound design to a beautiful documentary: Voices of the Land: Nga Reo o te Whenua “Paul Wolffram’s fascinating and eloquent doco about Māori instrumental traditions accompanies Richard Nunns and Horomona Horo as they perform in a series of remarkable South Island wilderness settings.”

Here is the trailer for the film:

Paul Wolffram has now made his beautiful documentary available for pay per view at vimeo:

vimeo: Nga Reo o te Whenua – Voices of the Land




nuzic 170



▶ amiina – Beacon



▶ Steve Reich, Nexus, Sō Percussion



▶ Faidel – Parallel Conscience (Alex Humann Remix)



▶ Porter Ricks – Port of Tangency