Studies for two TENORI-ON(s) by Smith from Franck Smith on Vimeo.

A chap named Nick Ciontea has created a channel on Vimeo collecting odd videos folks have made with or regarding Moog products. I know about this, because two of my videos made it in. It’s a grab bag, but a lovely tribute to how much people love this gear.

My favorite selection is the video here, because it’s not what you’d expect sound-wise from either Yamaha’s Tenori-On or Moog filters. Artist “Smith” says:

This first test is a prepartory work to a series of solo pieces inspired by John Cage’s experiments for prepared piano and Conlon Nancarrow’s player piano studies.

Yes, things you don’t normally expect to go together: Cage/Nancarrow, Moog, Tenori-On. And he successfully erases the Tenori-On’s beautiful if predictable signature sound. This is what I imagine music boxes would sound like on Alpha Centauri. In other news: I can’t afford this rig.

– 2 TENORI-ON(s)
– MI Audio Pollyanna Octave Synth
– Moog Low Pass Filter (MF-101)
– Moog Ring Modulator (MF-102)
– Moog Bass Murf (MF-105b)
– Jomox M-Resonator
– Rotary Ensemble (Boss RT-20)
– Boss FV-500L (as expression pedal for LPF Resonance)
– Boss FV-500L (as expression pedal for RM Frequency)
– Boss EV-5 for Rotary Ensemble speed

But, involved as that is, it’s further evidence you can push sound in new ways. And if online videos do nothing else, they can lay the gauntlet down in terms of what you think possible – both by demonstrating the generic and the unusual.

  • interesting setup. I'm sure in theory that could be used for good instead of high pitched annoyance. it does get a big more interesting later with the filters etc… i guess thats why its "experimental".

  • bliss

    Big balls helps, I guess.

  • bliss

    Not that what I heard is a bad thing. Just not my cup of tea. Maybe I have bigger balls just from sitting through the whole thing.

    Maybe I'll catch on later. Took nearly over a year for me to "get" Bitches Brew.

  • Books & Backpack

    It looks cool until you press play.

  • That setup is totally super-fly, but I would have to agree that the sound gets a little grating after a (short) while. Good concept, though.

  • Dajebus

    Money + Ego = 3:48 seconds of my life gone

  • I actually quite like the sounds it's making– not sure if people are being resistant because of the cost of gear? (Note to self: show up with the cheapest stuff possible … fairly easy for me to do … and have people lower their expectations?)

    But yes, maybe it could be grating after a while.

    Maybe I've lost some of my higher-end hearing so it's less annoying to me. 🙂

  • I thought the rig was fun to look at
    but not one I'd want,

    After hearing the sounds produced I may be re-thinking that second bit. I really liked it.

  • dogmeat

    my tooth fillings hurt…and my dog committed suicide…expensive rig, not my cup of tea

  • andrew

    I have to agree–it'd be better if he dropped it a couple of octaves. There's some really high stuff that sounds like aliasing (maybe from the ring modulator?). Crazy setup though.

  • I like some music others would call "noise" but I too was impressed until I pressed Play. It sounds like a modem or fax machine, which is interesting, but I don't want to hear it for more than a few seconds.

    Also, are the tenori-ons doing anything an analogue sequencer or two couldn't do? I don't see a lot of fingers hitting buttons, and the music seems pretty random regardless of what the fingers are doing.

    I'm pretty sure I'd feel the same way whether this was $5.00 or $5000.00 worth of gear.

  • Paul Norheim

    My dog immediately started to sing a blues – like that dog on the early Pink Floyd record. I have no idea whether it was out of joy or pain. Personally I liked some of the sounds in the second half of the demo.

    (and if you pushed me, I`d have to admit that I actually don`t own a dog…)

  • interesting sound, quite annoying in the long term though…
    perhaps making use of some draft arrangement, it would become better

  • dimestore

    The sounds you hear, that's Conlon Nancarro spinning in is his grave.

  • Don't pass judgment too quickly. The title says it's a study, not a performance. Check out this guys stuff on youtube. I've never seen anyone play a handsonic like this cat. I dig his dark vibe. Top stuff.

  • Well, right, exactly — it's an experiment. You know, in the right context it may be fine / not disturb any animals.

    Anyway, the point was to show various folks experimenting with sounds — there's plenty on that channel and elsewhere to love / hate. This isn't intended to be something sublime or profound.

  • An aside:

    I'd link straight to this vid on youtube, but we've got the barracuda filter at work 🙁

  • Audio aside – the aesthetics of this video are just beautiful. Love the monochrome and high contrast.

  • version 2.1, now wha

    Wow, that is really weak.

    All the new toys but no imagination.

  • samu

    Goooooooorgeous setup, but…

    Part of my problem is the lack of a visible connection between what he's doing and the rig's response. The clarity of that link is what grabbed me with monome videos, especially ahlstrominfo's jamming Block Rocking Beats, and persuaded me to fork out for my own.

    I like it more from 1:30ish, though, and I'd definitely be interested to see where he takes this.

  • Needs a little work in the execution, but cool setup!

  • Ben

    No offense but that is only music to the ears of a fax machine. That sounded horrible. Why dont you actually use all that gear that people would kill for to make some real music you could start with hmm I dunno a regular interval?