Thursday, September 15, 2016

Mr Fingers (Larry Heard) Talks to Melbourne Fans

Larry Heard Talks to his Melbourne Fans

    On Saturday the 10th of September I went to The Toff in Melbourne, as I had bought a ticket to see “A Conversation with Larry Heard”. These days I prefer to sit down and enjoy music, rather that standing and/or dancing at an event, so this was my chance to see one of the innovator/originator of House, without going to see him DJ at a “nightclub”. 

 We waited a few minutes, then Rambl got on the stage and announced that Larry shouldn't be too long as he was just finishing his lunch. While we waited, Rambl put on “Can You Fell It” (instrumental), to cheers from the crowd. 
 A few minutes later Larry appeared on stage to an applause from the audience. The event was hosted by Melbourne DJs Rambl and J'Nett. 

 Here is some of what was said this afternoon. 

 Larry's family were a notable influence on his musical career, as his mum and relatives would sing and play piano. Asked about music influences, “there are too many to mention”, Bob James, Parliament, Earth Wind & Fire....

 His main instrument through his early life was the the drum kit, he mentioned that he would have drum battles with friends in his local area.

 He tried his hand at guitar and piano in school but felt he wasn't great, finding theory and reading the “dots” difficult. So he is self taught, as a musician, not knowing what key his songs are in or chords he is playing.

 The role of the drummer suited him initially, as he was an integral member of the band, but always in the background, out of the limelight. But on the downside, the drummer was rarely integral to creating the music or composition, this is what led to Larry pursuing swapping his drums for a drum machine; the Roland TR707, “as the TR909 were too expensive, few could afford them at the time”(sounds like history repeating with prices for the 909 now climbing above $3500US).

 He loves watching documentaries on TV.
He spoke about his love of architecture (he might have been an architect, if it wasn't for music), and enjoys photography.
 He also mentioned that when watching movies, he often has to watch them several times as, he misses the dialogue, because he is concentrating on the music score.

 During a break in conversation Rambl played Larry's track STARS, J'Nett mentioned that it is her all time favourite track. Rambl referred to it, as an early piece of Techno music, to Larry's surprise.
  I would say that STARS clearly references Larry's Disco roots, with the synths creating a cosmic flavour. Call it House, Techno or Disco, it's a great piece of timeless music.

 Over time Larry had accumulated a large collection of records, realising that he had too many after tripping over them, he donated many of them to goodwill.
 He also gave away musical equipment; he mentioned that, he thought he had given up carrying heavy instruments to gigs when he gave up the drum kit, and it was happening again, carrying the Roland Jupiter 6 to gigs. So he was happy to give the Jupiter synthesizer away.
 But the ultimate act of generosity (apart from generously giving us such soulful music) came when he spoke about the use of his music without authorisation. He didn't really seem concerned (or was he just feeling, why waste energy thinking about it) that Kanye West copied(slowed down and pitched down) Larry's bass line in “Mystery of Love” for West's track “FADE”.

 Asked about the lofi nature of his music, and that many people today are producing lofi music, he responded, “I don't know why people spend $500 on headphones to listen to lofi music”, the audience laughed in response.

 Today Larry mainly uses Reason 7 as his music production tool, also using Cubase and Sonar if needed. He did also mention a Yamaha DX7.

  Peppe Fizz
(Melbourne, Saturday 10 September 2016)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Making of Cassa Jazz by the Fizzing Funksters

In March 2011 the Fizzing Funksters purchased this small groove box based on the look, a few youtube clips and somewhat because of one of our members' Italian heritage.

11 days after payment was made i received a parcel that was smaller than we expected.

When we unpacked it we noticed real craftsmanship, the enclosure was made of nicely finished wood.

It is tiny. similar in size to the WD mybook external Hard drive.

At first I couldn't find the power switch, that was because there isn't one, you simply plug it in the wall(actually I needed to find a travel adapter, Australia's voltage is compatible to Europe's 230v) and she's off, blinking lights and all.

I tried to tame this beast by reading the manual but I just wanted to experiment switching switches and turning knobs until i liked what was emanating.
This reminds me of another synth in operation , (definitely not size) the non traditionally laid out Yamaha CS30.
You play with it randomly until you get a sound you like.

After a meeting at Fizzing Funksters Headquarters we decided to sell the Leploop because of its unpredictability and difficulty and because of this we began recording many hours of jams, so we would have recordings for latter sampling after it had been sold.

These recordings turned into the Cassa Jazz ep.

The Leploop synthesizer/groovebox contains

- 2 Voltage controlled Oscillators (VCO)
- Kick Drum Generator called Cassa - with Resonance, Distortion and Accent Controls
- White Noise Generator
- 24 dB/Octave Low Pass Filter (VCF)
- 2 Voltage Controlled Amplifiers (VCA)
- 2 Attack Release Envelope Generators
- 1 LFO
- 16 step anaolg Sequencer
- 4 track digital sequencer
- 4 channel Mixer

The sequencer generates its melodies and bass line by recording the sample ands hold generator which samples the lfo or noise(all analog - basically storing voltages, nothing to do with digital sampling )

Even though it has midi, this is only to trigger each part with a midi note triggering a clock pulse that activates that part. You can't play specific melodic notes with a sequencer or midi keyboard, this means that to have a baseline or melody playing you need to program the onboard sequencer.

I still haven't worked out the sequencer.


Technical Stuff

We recorded many hours of freestyle/random jams through both MOTU microbook or RME UC audio interfaces, we recorded 2 channels/tracks as the Leploop has a mix output and a separate Cassa(Bass Drum) output.
I edited the jams into loops using protools.
We then loaded all these loops into Ableton Live and we started choosing loops that we liked and that seemed to work well together. 
We assembled/arranged these loops into a song in Ableton and when we were happy we would record the separate tracks as stems so we could mix the song in ProTools.

The claps you hear in Cassa Jazz were heavily processed Leploop clicks, all other loops were straight from the Leploop mixed with reverb, eq and compression applied in ProTools.




We still own our Leploop.

Cassa Jazz by the Fizzing Funksters

All Source Sounds, loops and sequences - Leploop
Conductor - Peppe Fizz
Musicians - Fizzing Funksters

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fizzing Funksters EP Release Cassa Jazz featuring the LEPLOOP

The Fizzing Funksters have bandcamped their new ep Cassa Jazz - by the way Cassa with double "s" is the italian word for Bass Drum - dedicated to the Bass drum generator in the LEPLOOP.

Listen to or buy Cassa Jazz by the Fizzing Funksters at their Bandcamp site http://fizzingfunksters.com/

Fizzing Funksters Cover Art - Cassa Jazz ep

New Cassa Jazz ep release Cover Art

Here is a large filesize of the cover art for you to print, make large posters, put on T shirts - oh yeh, speaking of T-Shirts you can support the Fizzing Funksters by Buying a T-Shirt at zazzle.com.au/fizzing_funksters_tee




Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Rhythm Songbook is the New Album from the Fizzing Funksters


The Fizzing Funksters have released their new album "Rhythm Songbook".

12 tracks of Beats, Groove Journeys, Funk, Electric Hip Hop Instrumentals, Minimal Breaks, Production Library Music, Rhythm Salads & Desserts.

Unlike our first, self titled, Album in which all the production was done on an Atari 1040ste and hardware synthesizers and drum machines, this album was initially conceived on a PC with software that was included on the DVD on the cover of Computer Music magazine,  and edited on a MAC in Logic Pro 9, Bias Peak Le and Soundtrack Pro.

The initial intention was to create a Production Music Library release (hence the title Rhythm Songbook), with short tracks of loops and grooves, that were suitable for adverts etc. but we decided to create an album for general release.

The tracks on this album were compiled with the theme or genre of downtempo beats in mind, the next in the series "Rhythm Songbook 2" will be more Techno & House related, still with a minimalistic approach.


Listen and/or Buy at http://fizzfunk.com

Thank-you for listening.
The Fizzing Funksters.