Noah Kalos, AKA Illumination Station, has been playing musical instruments for as long as he can remember. The appearance and construction of these instruments has shifted over the years but his passion for creating noises has never waned. Starting on instruments made of wood, metal strings and horsehair to ones of brass with valves, an ever lasting love for large ones with black and white keys and now instruments made mostly of copper, aluminum and played with knobs and cables.
Noah’s passion for electronic music started while doing a summer program at Berklee for upright jazz bass and he started learning reason and cubase as an elective. Noah was in the box for many years with his electronic music production but in the last few years he has emerge into the world of modular synthesizers do to the unique composition styles and creativity available in this medium.
Currently working as a synthesizer technician for his day job, Noah has entered fully into the world of modular and couldn’t be happier. Noah has been working in the genre of “Modular Dance Music,” which is fairly undefined and vague. It is not exclusive to hardware modular but rather a modular thinking and modular approach that can be found within programs such as Pure Data and Reaktor. While Noah tends to exclusively use eurorack, he is excited to see this genre grow and for the creative possibilities inherent in modular composition and performance. Tune in and chillout to some modular dance music provided by Illumination Station.
Walker Farrell Is part of the Make Noise crew. When he was about 17 Walker composed a piano piece that was based around a chord he had “discovered”. This particular chord, when broken out and arpeggiated, had a feeling that was both longing and uplifting simultaneously, a never-ending cadence, an equal temperament Shepard scale. It turned out to be minor-flat-6, though the phrasing was as important as the content. In C it was spelled C, G, Gb, Eb from bottom to top. Two perfect fifths separated by a minor second. It’s also notable as the core of the Rachmaninoff Prelude in c# minor, which was a favorite of Walker’s at that time. Repeated, transposed, or reiterated in successively higher octaves, it had, for him, a sense of endless reaching. (It could also be spelled as an Ab Major 7th chord, but he always felt the C as the root.)
In this decade Walker has been musically more interested in structural grounding than in goal-oriented results. He makes music without specific results in mind, in two branches: one concerned with the creation of structures within which to improvise, and the other concerned with generative music (music that creates itself). “Green Fiber” is one of his proudest examples of the latter. It is realized on a modular synthesizer, and based on three ideas:
- The notion that any given “state” of the system should follow from the previous state, and should lay the grounds for the next state.
- The oxymoronic or perhaps redundant idea of processing an additive oscillator with a frequency-specific resonator; this leads to occasional periods of great intensity when particular frequencies are emphasized twice over.
- The above-mentioned chord and the feelings it still inspires in him. The sense of “always ending and always beginning” seems appropriate for generative music that cannot have a larger structure imposed upon it.
The piece is played without any input from the performer. In other words the system is the performer. The recording was made without being monitored by a human.
On 6/2/17 Walker released a new EP of improvised computer music.
Check out more of his music here >