Category Archives: Audio

Sounds and music.

MusicSrch Reboot

Early in 2016 I bought the source code for a music search site from a fella in Slovenia and put it under the umbrella of the WbSrch search engine.

When WbSrch shut down later in 2016, it was left in limbo. It was still running through 2017, but ignored. And sometimes the service crashed and wouldn’t be started back up for a while. Like, sometimes even months.

When I started curating for RCRDList, it became something that I wanted to use again. But it was pretty broken, and I never really got around to learning Ruby. So I spent a long weekend and a few evenings rewriting it in Python and JavaScript.

It doesn’t search all of the same services that it used to, but it searches more of them now, especially more of the mainstream services. There are a few more things I’d like to add, but it already does more than the original version did. I also don’t have to worry about the service crashing because it’s a Python app, and I know how to keep those running consistently.

Try it out at:

https://musicsrch.com

 

RCRDList

My friend Zoe, founder of the RCRDList music discovery email list, is currently in grad school. She’s handed off curation of the list to me while she’s busy with classes. I’ve been finding a lot of great music you should know about, so you should sign up.

It’s here:

http://list.rcrdbox.com/

SampliTron Now Open Source

SampliTron is one of the most popular Windows apps I’ve written. Although it’s fairly simple, it’s pretty powerful. It’s a virtual sampler that lets you load a .wav file and scale it across the entire keyboard, with that keyboard playable via either the computer keyboard or an external MIDI controller.

Before today it was a commercial app with a demo version, and the full version was $15. Over its lifetime it’s been downloaded more than 40,000 times and has sold a few dozen copies.

As of now, the full version is free, on the zetacentauri website, and the source code is available under the MIT license on GitHub.

New Bloodless Mushroom Album: Cymatella

I’ve released a new album called Cymatella.

It’s a mix of nearly-industrial guitar-synth-and-drums tracks and ambient/soundtrack electronic music.

Nothing I’ve done musically has required more time and effort than this album. Technically I’ve spent more than 12 years working on it, with the first drum tracks being created in 2005. Turning those tracks into real songs started in 2015 after the release of Marasmius and most of the work for it was done in 2016 with the rest finishing in 2017.

It’s available on all the major streaming services. For more info click here.

Cover art by Suzanne Champion.

Open Source: Sigmatizm, A Virtual Additive Synthesizer

Back in 2012 I wrote the most complex audio application I had ever written. It’s called Sigmatizm, and is a standalone additive synthesizer.

Additive synthesis works by adding together sine waves of different frequencies (harmonics) to create a more complex sound.

This particular application adds up to 128 sine waves together in real-time, while transitioning from one set of harmonics to another and while modifying the sound with an attack-decay-sustain-release (ADSR) envelope.

It also has full MIDI support and can be played with a MIDI controller, or can be used to play an external MIDI synthesizer. It also supports using any sound card or MIDI device attached to the system.

It started life as a Windows app and was also ported to Linux. Originally it was a commercial app available for $9.99 on both Windows and Linux (via the Ubuntu store). It also works on OSX, but building is a bit more involved and not for the faint of heart.

For the official download page, visit Zeta Centauri.

Or, to get the source code, visit GitHub.

There’s still a lot more that I’d like to do with this application. For example:

  • It’s nice as a standalone, but would be more useful as a VST so it could be used with multitracker software and be piped to effects, like delay, reverb, etc.
  • I’d like to be able to have an infinite number of envelope stages, so things could go quiet-loud-quiet-loud, or other evolving sound scenarios.
  • I’d like to add the ability to add noise or other inharmonic sources, since the app is completely harmonic and aliasing is the only source of inharmonic sound.

One thing that I’ve deliberately done in order to make it easier to create crazy sounds is NOT prevent aliasing, which is what happens when a sound goes past the sample rate (which in this case is 44.1KHz). When that happens, waveforms “wrap around” and start going in the other direction. I’d like to make that sort of thing optional (block or don’t block) because it’s undesirable in some situations and desirable in others.

It only has a handful of included patches, but I’d like to include more. If you download it and create some sounds, please consider contributing them back to the project.

Proxima Controller, a Virtual MIDI Controller

Back in 2008 I created an app called Proxima Controller. It’s a virtual MIDI controller that runs on Windows, OSX, and Linux.

I wanted an easy way to control external MIDI hardware (synthesizers, etc.) from my PC and there wasn’t an app that I liked available.

It started out as a Windows-only app. A few years later I ported it to Linux. And last year I ported it to OSX (but didn’t release it via the app store).

It’s been one of my more popular apps, with more than 70,000 downloads. I’m glad people have found it useful. It certainly made it easier for me to test sounds on my rackmount audio equipment without needing to shuffle full-sized MIDI keyboards around.

When I have time I’d also like to add an X-Y controller pad, something that can be used to transmit the same controller messages as the joystick on the Korg Wavestation and the Yamaha SY22/SY35/TG33.

You can get it here.

Guitar Tuner and Bass Tuner for Windows

Guitar Tuner and Bass Tuner are the first desktop Windows apps that I wrote. I don’t recall how long ago, but it was certainly more than a decade.

They’re super-simple apps that let you sound notes to tune your guitar or bass to. They only support standard tuning and use the default MIDI device for sound output, which usually means the “Windows MIDI Mapper”, a built-in sound synthesizer that’s been part of the OS for ages.

For nearly ten years I had them available for download on zecentauri.com, and they had more than 100k downloads in total. Two years ago I open-sourced them, but didn’t really mention it anywhere.

I updated them both today, adding two notes to Guitar Tuner to support 8-string guitars and making improvements to the installers.

Both the source code and the installers are available on GitHub under the MIT license.

Visit Guitar Tuner on GitHub.

Visit Bass Tuner on GitHub.

SpaceTheremin, a Virtual Theremin

Back in 2007 I wrote an application called SpaceTheremin. It is a simple app that lets you use your mouse to control a virtual theremin by moving it over a beautiful public domain image from the Hubble Telescope to control pitch and volume.

Over the years I also released versions for Linux, webOS, and OSX (via the Apple Store). It’s been downloaded tens of thousands of times and is a fun noise toy.

It’s available on the Zeta Centauri website if you’d like to check it out.

Open Sourced: RoboBlather, a Text to Speech Application for Windows

Back in 2008 I released the first version of a simple text-to-speech program for Windows called RoboBlather. Over the years it has enjoyed some popularity among a small niche of users due primarily to its uncomplicated interface.

Today I finished open-sourcing it under the MIT license. If you’re interested, it’s available here on GitHub.

You don’t have to be a programmer to enjoy it — there’s an installer that lets you use it right away without needing to worry about the programmer-y aspects.

My History As A Musician

Like many Americans, I was exposed to the recorder in grade school. I didn’t much care for it, and the terrible traditional public domain songs we played like Hot Cross Buns made me not really care for music.

Later, in middle school, there was a choir class. At least one mandatory semester. Didn’t like that either. The Old Grey Goose Is Dead didn’t excite me, nor did any of the other old-timey hillbilly music that was public domain.

I didn’t really care for music until around 1991. Most of what I’d heard until then was terrible 1980’s pop or classic “phase 1” butt rock as this Overthinking It post describes it. None of that spoke to me.

It wasn’t until the grunge and alternative movement hit in 1991 that I heard music that I actually liked. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alice in Chains, Rage Against the Machine, and Ministry were in heavy play rotation on my cassette walkman. Some of them broke from overuse and had to be re-bought. I am a product my era.

Since I suddenly liked music, I decided to score a cheap pawnshop guitar (around my birthday in 1992). And, being an introvert living in pre-internet middle of nowhere with nothing much to do, I practiced A LOT. I didn’t really get good, but I sure got good at sucking loudly. And I could suck loudly FAST.

So, here’s my music creation history:

1993-1996 Demo tapes as various versions of “Fred” (Guitar, Bass)

This started out with recording onto a cassette deck as “Fred” and evolved into recording to a cheap 4-track cassette deck. I bought a cheap short-scale bass and a basic drum machine in 1994 and added those to the repertoire too. The name got longer with each recording. The progression went Fred -> Blue Fred -> Navy Blue Fred -> The Navy Blue MultiFred Sweater -> The Sub-Neo Navy Blue MultiFred Sweater. None of these recordings saw the light of day. That’s a good thing.

I stopped recording around 1997, though I still noodled around on the bass guitar quite a bit.

However, I have gone back to some of the style I had then. Something may see the light of day under the “Navy Blue Fred” moniker at some point in the future.

2000-2003, 2005-2006 Member of Dr. Kilpatient, Toledo, OH (Guitar, Bass, Synthesizer, Hand Drums, Studio Work)

I contributed to something like 11 or more albums. So many that I lose count. This also includes the New World Orderlies, which released 5 or more albums. A bunch of improvised live music and a bunch of composed, recorded songs made it onto recordings, some of which were unedited live shows, and some of which we spent many months recording and editing. Tomasz Kordowski was the lead genius of this band, and it was the most fun I’ve had making music. I alternated between calling the music “electronic jazz” and “funky industrial techno polka circus rock”. The lineup changed many times over the years, and my main instrument varied from bass to guitar synthesizer, to keyboards (briefly).

Other than a few badly-recorded VHS-quality clips of live shows and a few songs on my Bloodless Mushroom website, not many recordings survive online as far as I know. Certainly nothing on iTunes, Amazon, or Spotify. For the NWO stuff, getting permission from all the musicians involved to formally publish to paying channels would probably be tough since there were 8-20 people who contributed to each album.

1999-2012 Bloodless Mushroom Solo Project (Studio Work, Multi-Instrumental, Bass, Guitar, Synthesizer)

Bloodless Mushroom started as tracker music posted to MP3.com back when it was an indie music portal. Over the years it has waxed and waned as an experimentation platform for synthesizersand fractally-generated music fused with guitars, bass, and tracker-sequenced drums. I refer to it variously as “experimental electronic”, “ambient”, “classical” and “industrial”. It could probably just be called “soundtrack”.

The synthesizer use started with a Yamaha DJX home keyboard and then added a Yamaha TX81Z and Ensoniq ESQ-1, both of which were used throughout the project.

I worked on this in every spare moment I had from 2000-2002. Then I mostly shelved it until 2008 when I wrote some more music and released another album. It was still mostly shelved, with a remix album in 2012. I really don’t consider this “active” in 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2009-2014 other than the few days I worked on it in 2012. I was busy living during most of those years (college, cross-country moves, career change, etc) and didn’t have much time for music.

The five surviving albums from this era are available on all the various streaming and buying platforms — Spotify, Amazon, iTunes, CDBaby, etc. There’s some really interesting stuff in there. And some less interesting stuff.

2006 The White Russians, Columbus, OH (Bass)

This was something I did with a coworker at the time, Luke Kucalaba, and his cousin. We practiced a bunch and had some songs that sounded good (nearly enough for a live show), but I didn’t stick with it because it was classic rock covers, which I don’t really care for. If it’s not all original music, I get bored quickly. Great guys, though. I hope they’re still making music.

2008 The Untermensch Denial, Columbus, OH (Bass)

This one was a bit of a train wreck. It was an industrial band. The drummer was phenomenal. He combined an electronic and acoustic drum kit to great effect. The lead singer was really good. The guitarist was really good. It was really well-written, punchy original music. It could have gone somewhere.

We got our act together well enough to play one gig (on really poor booking terms) which nobody attended. Everything fell apart after that — the whole band was disheartened and life happened to everyone. The drummer moved to Florida. The singer discovered weed. Guitarist had medical issues (recurring problems from a motorcycle accident). I think I was the oldest and most boring person in the band (I had a real job and a house), so I was too uncool to hang out with. It all just kinda fizzled out.

2013-2014 The Freedom Drones, Portland, OR (Bass)

I was kind of the interloper in this project. I moved to Portland, where Tomasz from Dr. Kilpatient fame above lived. He already had something going with Mike Karras, another phenomenal performance artist. It was called “Too Big To Fail”, but another band had the name earlier and they had to change it. It changed to The Freedom Drones.

Practices were always a fun hassle of an ordeal. I was the only one without kids, but I lived as far away as you could live and be in the same metro area (25-mile commute to practice sessions, and since I was mostly working in startups at the time, I was usually tired of life on the weekends). Mike had a newborn, a demanding day job, and a successful improv comedy career, so it was hard for him to make time.

I performed once with them at an open mic night. They performed a couple times without me. Maybe this will be a thing again at some point, but it’s hard to get everyone together in the same room. There’s some brilliant songwriting that deserves to be heard, though. None of the brilliance is my fault.

2015-2017 Bloodless Mushroom, Beaverton, OR (Synthesizer, Guitar, Bass, and Production)

I got back into creating music as Bloodless Mushroom in a big way in 2015. Some of what was on the Marasmius album released that year started as unfinished tracks recorded in 2005. And some no-longer-unfinished tracks from 2005 will be on the upcoming Cymatella album. I also released Lichen (weird fractalesque chill-MIDI tunes) in 2016, Moss in 2017 (fractal classical), and Oreades in 2017 (ambient electronic).

I’ve been working on Cymatella since fall 2015, starting from some ideas that didn’t fit onto Marasmius. It’ll take as long as it takes.

There’s more that needs to be done. Moss and Oreades both have follow-up albums in the same style partially written. They’re tentatively titled “Gymnopus” and “Nothopanus”, respectively. I also want to use the names “Toadstools” and “Calyptella” for something, but I don’t know what yet.

The Future

In addition to the potential creations from Navy Blue Fred and Bloodless Mushroom mentioned above, there’s also a terrible death-punk metal project I’d like to release some music as. I do not know what the future holds, but I don’t doubt it’ll be weird.

I know I’ll never have a professional music career, but I do enjoy creating original music. Even better if it can be performed live.

Quora Answer: Why do some people like instrumental music way over music with vocals in them?

I originally wrote this as an answer to a question on Quora.

Full question for this answer:

“I have noticed that my disinterest is turning to antipathy towards music with vocals in them, especially pop music. Most people say that vocals is extremely important to them and a song without it is just .. ‘blah’.

Is there a word for this sort of preference? How did people develop such an attraction towards instrumental music, while clearly the most heard music is with vocals in them (radio)?”

I strongly prefer instrumental music.

For me the main reason is because I can just enjoy the music and imagine/think whatever I like without being drawn into the world of the singer.

Most of the time when I’m listening to music, I don’t really want to think about someone else’s messed up relationship or dead dog. I’d rather imagine my own things and/or have my own thoughts. I like the way that sound enhances my thinking and I don’t want to give someone else control. Lyrics automatically change the subject.

I listen to a lot of genres, but the absolute worst thing is the tendency of a lot of ambient/atmospheric/psytrance electronic music to include fragments of lectures by Timothy Leary or Deepak Chopra. Stop ruining your music by trying to make idiots put ill-concieved ideas into my head. I instantly turn off anything that does that and never listen again.

Words paint a picture of a world. There are a lot of worlds I don’t want to live in. That’s why I never listen to country or gospel. But, when I’m in the mood for lyrics, the worlds are far stronger in non-instrumental music.

Words can be overwhelming sometimes. Notes, not so much.

(Player Profile) Michael Manring

Michael Manring is a pretty well-known soloist among bass players, but less so among mainstream music listeners.

He’s known for his custom fretless Zon Hyperbass guitar shown in this video performance/interview from Bass Player LIVE! 2013:

He was the youngest of four in a musical family. He took classes at the Berklee College of Music and studied with Jaco Pastorius. A very technical player,  his style includes use of the e-bow, changing tunings mid-song, slapping, popping, muting, and two-handed tapping. To understand his style, it helps to know that he considers the bass guitar a very expressive instrument. He develops techniques that expand on that expressiveness, including quite heavy use of alternative tunings.

Much of Michael’s music could be considered instrumental “calm jazz” that is often filed as New Age or Adult Alternative, but he has a variety of styles and sometimes plays loud, upbeat, bouncy, funky music. He considers his work to be genre agnostic and doesn’t worry about fitting into any particular category.

His music recordings are very prolific, with of hundreds of collaborations and guest appearances with artists such as Alex Skolnick, Montreux, Jeff Loomis, and Paolo Giordano thanks in part to his role as house bassist with Windham Hill Records. He has also released a number of solo studio albums.

Original solo work (links to Amazon):

1986 Unusual Weather
1989 Toward the Center of the Night
1991 Drastic Measures
1994 Thonk
1995 Up Close 21
1998 The Book of Flame
2005 Soliloquy

(Video) Davie504 Plays 100 Amazing Bass Lines

“Davie504” is an Italian bass player with a great selection of YouTube videos.

In this video he plays 100 famous bass riffs in 13 minutes:

There’s also a sequel “100 Amazing Bass Lines 2” that will show up as a related video.

It includes riffs from a nice variety of bands, though it does have a heavier selection of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jamiroquai.

If you want to learn a particular riff, you can click the gear on the player and change the video player to half speed. That’s a great feature of YouTube that not everyone knows about.

Quora Answer: Are analog synthesizers overrated?

I originally wrote this as an answer to a question on Quora.

To put it simply, yes. Analog synthesizers are absolutely overrated. I’m referring specifically to subtractive synthesizers.

The differences in sound quality really ARE quite minor, so don’t feel bad if you can’t much tell them apart.

That’s not to say they’re not useful. They certainly are, and I say this as someone who owns more than one. They each have their own distinctive sound, but analog sounds are quite limited. I don’t mean you can’t create a wide variety of sounds with them, but rather that the type of sounds you can create don’t vary much from one analog synthesizer to another.

Most of the love (and idolatry) for vintage analog gear comes from how groundbreaking and iconic certain synthesizers are and how important they were for music of their time and the amount of joy the music created with them has brought to listeners. Just like most vintage cars aren’t actually very good cars, the historical and nostalgia aspects of vintage analog synthesizers affect their value greatly.

From a music maker’s perspective, the analog sound is worth it to a certain degree, but vintage analog not as much. 30-40 year old synthesizers break all the time, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a single player or collector who hasn’t spent inordinate amounts of time and/or money on repairs. Good luck touring with an old Jupiter or CS. Just use or create the sounds you like and don’t worry about how they came into existence. The nice things about most modern synthesizer workstations is that they all have a massive library of sample-based sounds (including the sounds of vintage analog), one or more kinds of virtual analog synthesis, and the ability to load samples. Find a friend who likes vintage gear and sample some of it, because a working sampler or virtual analog sounds far better than a broken analog.

In a way it’s good that there’s an analog fad going on right now. New analog gear is being created and can substitute very well for decaying vintage gear. A prophet 6 is a great buy when you can get it new and it has much better capabilities and stability than a prophet 5, not the least of which is a large amount of patch memory.

Not Winamp’s Fault

So, the upgrade to Vista didn’t turn out to be 100% successful.

It turns out that the Winamp crashing I experienced was caused by Vista’s epic failure in the audio realm.  Since they changed the way audio drivers run (user mode instead of kernel mode now), no driver from an earlier version of Windows will run.

I tried and failed to get the following sound cards to work:

Sound Blaster Live!
Sound Blaster Live! Value
Terratec Audiosystem EWX 24/96
M-Audio Audiophile Delta 44
Diamond Monster Sound MX300
Diamond Monster Sound MX400
Yamaha YMF744B
Dynex DX-SC51

The only one that worked was the Dynex card.  It’s also the only card I paid less than $10 for new.

The moral:  Only use extra-cheap soundcards.  Hi-Fi sound is not permitted.

On an upside, all of the Basternae 3 applications and utilities run fine on Vista.

Mud Sound Protocol

Today I added the framework to support the Mud Sound Protocol (MSP). I don’t have any sounds and haven’t added support to the client yet, but when it comes time to add sound it’ll be very easy. I figure I’ll do the sound design myself and/or enlist help from some of my friends over at Darksonus and it’ll turn out quite nicely.

Review: Suicide Commando – Mindstrip (2000)

I originally wrote this review for Darksonus.com, which no longer exists.

Track List:

  1. Jesus Wept

  2. Hellraiser (Psychopath 01-Version)

  3. Body Count Proceed

  4. Raise Your God

  5. Mindstripper

  6. Run

  7. Comatose Delusion (Overdose Shot Two)

  8. Blood In Face

  9. Love Breeds Suicide

  10. Slaves

Sounds: 3.5 of 5

Vocals: 3 of 5

Composition: 3 of 5

Overall Rating: .633

My overall reaction to Johan Van Roy’s Belgian project was indifference.

The sample quality of Jesus Wept is fairly low. Yeah, industrial is supposed to sound dirty and noisy, but there’s a difference between noisy and low-quality. I like distorted vocals. Most industrial takes a few listens to really understand what the heck they’re saying. Suicide Commando may have taken it half a notch too far into the unintelligible range.

Hellraiser starts off with a great synth sound until it turns into techno. By this time I was beginning to think this was a techno or synthpop group that had picked up a distortion pedal at a pawn shop. I will say the actual sounds used in this song are quite cool and the vocal quality is a bit better than Jesus Wept.

The techno-esque extravaganza continued with Body Count Proceed. The drone synth sound made me feel like I was having a hole drilled in my skull. In a bad way. Even so, the beat was rather contagious and I couldn’t help but tap my appendages on the nearest solid surface. Since I was at work I had to keep it to a minimum. Can’t have the boss walking in while you’re tapping your bits on the monitor, you know. That’s more explaining that I’d care to do.

By the time I reached Raise Your God, something was starting to bug me about the whole Suicide Commando formula. Yet again it was an average song that didn’t particularly stand out for me. It wasn’t something I loved nor was it something I hated.

I can honestly sum up the rest of the disc fairly easily. Just like the first few songs. Nothing that stands out as overly good or bad though I would say that Comatose Delusion is the best song on the disc and Blood In Face came the closest to trying my patience. Although this is nothing but your run of the mill industrial, it is decent overall. Anything’s better than Paula Spears or Britney Abdul or whatever they’re calling that pseudo-musical genre now. Will I see them live if they come around? Yes. Will I tell all my friends to pick up this disc? No.

Suicide Commando sounds a remarkably large amount like Velvet Acid Christ, and if you like them you might as well pick this up. Overall the music isn’t terribly creative and more follows the EBM/industrial “formula”, obviously influenced by their tour with Velvet Acid Christ, though Suicide Commando doesn’t do it as well. Don’t get me wrong, I still like the stuff, but as filler rather than foreground.

Review: And One – Virgin Superstar (2000)

I originally wrote this review for Darksonus.com, which no longer exists.

  1. Virgin Superstar

  2. Wasted

  3. You Don’t Love Me Anymore

  4. Goodbye Germany

  5. Wet Spot

  6. Panzermensch

  7. My Story

  8. Life To Lose

  9. Not The Only One

  10. Don’t Need The Drugs

  11. Mr. Jenka

Vocals: 4.5 of 5

Sounds: 3.0 of 5

Composition: 3.5 of 5

Overall: .733

And One is a fairly popular EBM group whose tunes are heard on goth/industrial club nights around the world. It’s not surprising, because it’s very difficult to listen to And One without some part of your body wanting to move around. Sure, being EBM some of their stuff is a little too techno for my liking, but they are quite good overall.

“Virgin Superstar” isn’t what I would call the strongest opener. Although the vocal harmony is great (which you’ll get used to on this disc), there’s not all that much to the music.

The song “Wasted” starts off the disc with a nice hard danceable beat. The line “Get out of my way because you know that I am totally wasted” is a classic and tends to stick in your head. Good for stumbling through a bar to.

“You Don’t Love Me Anymore” is a synthpoppy sort of tune that really fails to grab me. It’s put together well, but it just doesn’t stand out, sounding a little bland to me.

“Goodbye Germany” doesn’t stand out too much musically, and the vocals don’t do much until the chorus. All in all, this is a “take it or leave it” song, but the chorus does tend to stick in your head if you let it.

For this album, And One absorbed Annelie Bertilsson from Cat Rapes Dog and I’d bet that she was glad to get out of that pseudo-musical abomination (see our review of Trojan Whores). Listening to “Wet Spot”, It becomes obvious that Annelie has more musical talent than is deserved by Cat Rapes Dog. It starts off with an ambient feel and then the synthesizer line starts with an almost a James Bond “The World Is Not Enough” feel to it. Both vocalists sound great on this song and the man sitting behind the mixing console certainly earned his paycheck.

What can I say about the song “Panzermensch”? Well, I can say that the synth sounds are absolutely amazing and the vibe of the song is intense. It hits hard and is one of the most danceable songs I’ve ever heard (and if you’ve ever been to a club where most everyone knows this song, the dancefloor tends to go completely nuts). I’ve never been one to buy a disc based on hearing one song, but in this case I would make an exception. The lyrics are in German, but it’s my opinion that most good industrial lyrics are in German. There’s something about the language that just sounds more factory-fresh than the same phrases in English. It’s no wonder this song has become one of their hits.

“My Story” has a nice string line, but there’s not much to say about it. It’s not terribly interesting, nor terribly worth my time talking about. Too techno.

I love the crystal bell synth sound that opens “Life to Lose”, but it gives no indication what to expect for the song itself. Unfortunately it looks like very little effort went into the music, but the vocals almost make up for it.

“Not The Only One” is yet another song that has a more of the “James Bond” essence to it – in the string line at least. This song is much more synthpop than EBM, which seems to be the direction And One is moving in slowly but surely.

“Don’t Need The Drugs?” I love the song. It is a little on the Depeche Mode side, though, which isn’t my cup of tea. Even so, it is an excellent song with a great arrangement and sound all over the place.

And One does a very good job of filling up the sound palette. The vocal harmonies are very good, with Annelie blending so well with Steve Naghavi that in some places their voices might as well just be one.

If you like EBM, you’ll probably like And One, although this disc is a bit patchy with only a few of the songs qualifying as great (which seems to be an ongoing habit of And One). If you don’t like EBM and/or synthpop, it’d be a good idea to pass this disc by, because that’s exactly what this disc is.

And One is Steve Naghavi on vocals and “machines”, Rick Schah on keyboards, Annelie Bertilsson on vocals, and Joke Jay on drums. This disc was produced by Steve Naghavi and Christer Hermodsson.

And One’s website is at http://www.andone.de/