The Bellwether Syndicate (William Faith and “Scary Lady” Sarah Rose Faith) have released the new single “Republik” to kick off their North American tour supporting Clan of Xymox. I co-produced and mixed at The Eye Socket.
The track is a gothic glam banger, at turns brooding and explosive, a spirited call to action well timed for election season. Listen through the player at left or visit their Bandcamp page.
My introduction to British electronic band Depeche Mode was through the video for the brilliant single Everything Counts, from their 1983 album Construction Time Again. It was strikingly unlike anything I’d heard before and made me an instant fan. To this day they’re one of my favorite bands. Very few artists in popular music have created such a singularly distinctive sound, or sustained such a prolific and distinguished career.
In the 80s I devoted unreasonable proportions of my hard-won teenager’s income to obsessively collecting every release in Depeche Mode’s catalog (as best a suburban California kid could do, pre-internet) which led to uncovering quite a lot of lesser-known gems. As the band are currently promoting a series of boxed sets of reissued singles from their early career, I’m struck by how much of their best work in the 80s could only be found on singles.
This thing is a hardwired desktop remote control unit made to interface with the Sound Skulptor MC624 stereo monitor controller. The remote sends control commands via a serial interface to the MC624 (which performs all of the actual audio handling) and indicates the selected input, output, volume level, and other monitoring functions.
Designing and building this device was a quite complex and challenging process for me, with a number of peculiar problems to solve and new skills to learn. The project developed sporadically over the course of seven months, from sketchy concept in February 2017 to finished piece in September. Reflecting on this process I have decided to document it here. My hope is that I have included enough detail to be useful to those who might be interested in building a similar device, but not to overwhelm those who are simply interested in the story.
This remote is not available as a product for sale, but all the technical details of my design, including the panel designs, part sources, wiring diagrams and open-source code, are shared freely on Github.
The band’s classic first three albums have also received long-awaited vinyl and digital reissues through Fat Wreck, remastered by the outstanding Joe Gastwirt. The second album Big Choice is a special case: For the reissue, Trever and I remixed the entire album from the original multitrack master tapes. The new mixes give the album a more honest sound, presenting the band’s performances straightforwardly and without the “studio polish” that adorned the original release. (See below for more about this process.)