Makro / Hetlev – an improvised duet

Ahah – so I said i’d never post here again and I lied!  Well i’m a musician not a politician!

I thought it might be appropriate to post some “liner notes” to the Makro / Hetlev release just out on Bandcamp.

Paul on the left – Lloyd on the right

Makro / Hetlev is Paul Forbes Mitchell and myself.  We’ve worked together and played live together before.  Here is our previous release and here is a powerless jam we did for Earth Hour.  The idea behind this project was to explore an improvisational format with the Nord Modular systems.

Paul’s gear consists of a Nord Micromodular, a Korg Electribe E

Paul's suitcase
Paul’s suitcase

R1, EHX Reverb and Pulsar pedals,  two Raspberry Pi modules loaded with Pure Data operated via Korg NanoKontrols, and a Zoom H1 for samples and room feedback.

In one of the jam sessions there was also a contact mic and an old Gramaphone.  Here is a closer picture of the PDPi modules.

PDPi Modules in Lego
PDPi Modules in Lego

With the NanoKontrol MIDI input he is controlling loops, filters and granulation in Pure Data patches on the tiny Raspberry Pi boards.  The Elektribe controls the Nord Modular.  I’m not real sure what how things are fed but it creates some beautiful chaos.  Here’s my stuff…

Lloyd's setup
Lloyd’s setup

My side is comparatively simpler.  I’m running the Nord Modular Editor in VMWare on my Macbook Air.  It is connected to the G1 Rack via a Roland UM-One Mk2 MIDI cable (these are fussy synths needing high-bandwidth midi for the editor controls).  In this way I can edit the patches pretty quickly while I’m playing with the Nord.  The Arturia Beatstep provides the MIDI for three separate channels in this case.  Sequencer mode outputs on MIDI channel 10, top row of pads output on MIDI ch1, bottom is MIDI ch2.  In this way I can juggle three separate patches in real-time.  The G1 sequencer channel runs to a stereo bus on the Phonic 6-Channel Mixer as does Paul’s stuff.  Mono Channels 1 and 2 feature a separate monophonic feed which can be panned as required.

Then everything gets recorded to a Zoom H4n for editing. I’ve cut down about 150mins into the chunk of 50 or so you are possibly listening to now.  A few nips and tucks, EQ, level adjustments, saturation and stereo widening but for the most part I chose the stronger tracks and just edited them down into semi-coherence.  As is the nature of improvisation it doesn’t always neatly fit into a headphone shaped stereo image so I highly recommend playing loudly through speakers.  It was great fun and I think the material demonstrates the flexibility of the Nord Modular systems (and the PDPi’s let’s be honest – how many awesome micro granular pedals are there?)

For our next project we are considering leaving the Nords at home and focusing on Arduino and Shnth for even more lo-fi improv alchemy maybe closer to the One Earth Hour piece.  Until then…



End of line… blog!

A bit of angsty overdrive from the wintery southern hemisphere – was listening to PVT yesterday so there is a mild influence towards the end.

So my “” domain is up for renewal at the end of July and i’ve decided i’m not going to bother renewing it for two reasons:

  1. Secret Killer Of Names as a project is over as far as i’m concerned.  I’d rather not have to continue using the name.
  2. The domain only applies to this WordPress blog – which i’ve decided to decommission.

Over the last few years this blog has covered my transition from active to passive researcher… builder of synth setups and modern life brow furrower.  I don’t feel there is much more of value for me to share here.  I’m sure it is probably internet suicide letting my domain go wild but I really think it is of greater primacy to cultivate a functional creative practice before sticking up the branding and advertising my work.


I have a pretty sweet setup now (which I used to create the little ditty above) and I want to stick with and work with it to be creative rather than demonstrative (check my last post for more on that).

I don’t feel like I’m an especially insightful blogger of non-technical / research related stuff except maybe in the abstract so i’m shifting focus to the monosyllabic and pictographic representation of my Tumblr – so keep an eye on that.



My Soundcloud is also being trimmed though it won’t be abandoned.  In the process of dropping back to the 4hr plan i’ve been culling a lot of half-finished sketches.  I plan to work more towards “finishing” material to demo quality for SC while maintaining Bandcamp as the final resting place of “finished” material.

Anyway – my time is up.  I’m looking forward to new endeavours and hope to share them when they have come to fruition.  Don’t forget to check the Tumblr, Soundcloud and Bandcamp pages.

Thanks for reading.  End of Line.