Dave Vosh

David Vosh, VD-01 STUDY #3 (and other studies too)

I have been grossly remiss in failing to post reviews of DV's recent shows for which he has continued to send me DVDs. There is no excuse for this.

While I have been swinging the lead (although forging ahead on my Mondrian Researches), Dave himself has been enhancing his audio-visual presentational skills and now posts his own AVs. I asked for details of the techology used and Dave describes it as 'low-tech / no-tech by modern standards', but it puts swathes of cutting edge folks in their various places.

A recent favourite is Study #3 incorporating MFB's VD-01. (This is, I think, the device which produces the backdrops to a number of Dave's pieces and which I have remarked upon previously.) This posting provides a delightful combination of compelling, yet simple, audio with insistent and strangely consistent video.

Here it is.

Then we can add Study 4 (vd-01 in "x/y" mode with a slow sampling interval) and Study 5 (vd-01 in "dot" mode).

And Final Study, runs thru the 3 vd-01 modes - dot, x/y and line with simple audio from 2 wogglebugs thru a s.o.s. delay module.

Then Final Study 2, i was getting ready to break patch down and tweaked a bit and got a nice pattern. as always, random audio sources driving the vd-01 and the 2 wogglebugs were pressed into audio duty again tho this time passed thru a voxglitch digital fx module. He's right, lovely noises and interesting pictures.

And then a new series, in YouTube, cellular automata #1. And conway meets atmel on the great journey of life, a brief exploration of the critterandguitari cellular automata video synthesizer which is producing the imagery and main audio source. the audio is, in turn, being split with one leg being processed with ring modulation and the other thru a 24db/oct lowpass vcf. carrier vco freq., vcf freq and vcf q all being controlled by random c.v.`s. the 2 legs are then mixed and fed thru a voxglitch digital fx module and out to a v.c. panner.

I'll stash this before I lose track of the link - Dave posted another video to the Doepfer group recently and was asked for a list of the modules used. Here's the reply, a snapshot of his current live kit, text reformatted

top : mult, z3000, wiard osc, wiard anti-osc, an. sol. vc lfo / noise, dual ring mod, vc analog delay, z5000
middle : banalogue vcs, mult, wiard envelator, wiard borg1 vcf, xp vcf, stg wave folder, dual attn., dual vca, lopas/gate
bottom : dual pedal/ftswitch, ribbon controller, dual slew, muxer, quad lfo, a-149-1/2, wogglebug, mixer

David Vosh, Sam Burt and Britton Powell Live at the Red Room, 1st May 2010

Sam Burt, clarinets; Britton Powell, bass; David Vosh, modular synth

Dave Vosh 1st May 2010

One of my favourite Woody Allen pieces concerns a (nearly) consumate aesthete who has one failing, a complete inability to comprehend mime (it is probably in Without Feathers as I cannot find that volume at the moment and so cannot quote from it). Not that I am any sort of aesthete, but anyway, the point is that when I saw that the DVD featured two musicians on 'conventional' instuments I was delighted that this would be, for me, a new aspect of Dave's work.

But then. I hated this piece when I first heard it and I do struggle somewhat with 'classical' instruments being forced to make noises that synthesizers luxuriate in, nevertheless when I played the piece again to grab an image and some illustrative excerpts, I found that my prejudices had nearly gone. As usual, a review tells you more about the writer than its subject, but at least I can strike one category from my list of blank spots, though that still leaves me with opera, brass bands and male voice choirs, reggae and rap, to name but a few.

Here's an excerpt.

David Vosh and Frank Vanaman live at the Hexagon, Baltimore MD, 27th February 2010

Dave has kindly sent a replacement DVD.

Dave Vosh 27th February 2010

As regards the video, we get glimpses of the graphics the audience saw and which look intriguing, particularly at 14 (see image, right) and 20, but no view of the performers and so the evaluation is aural.

The piece is far more tonal than most of the work Dave is involved with and that is a positive for me, as I prefer to hear some dots. I usually try to apply a title summing up my reaction, but none springs to mind here.

There are the usual continuous bass and high freq drones and washes with interesting things happening over the top: in this case there are frequent lengthy gaps in the lead noises and this gives the piece an uncommon spaciousness.

The sounds include pretty tinkling at 5 and 8; Clangers at 12, 19 and 21, which is always a little jarring (but probably only for Brits in their 50s); difficult to be certain but some of the noises between 10 and 11 seem to be from the audience; the mingling of noises and textures at its best between 9-10 and 16-18 (click for brief excerpts); and the piece ends with a smooth dismount at 22.

A varied, satisfying and polished piece.

Dave Vosh 15th February 2010

I'll start with an apology for an even longer delay than usual in responding to these DVDs

David Vosh and Jeff Bagato Live at Electric Possible, Washington DC, 15th February 2010

I'm not sure, but, based on body language, I'll assume that Jeff is doing the background drones and washes and Dave is doing the foreground noises. I initially titled the piece machine guns in space but the subsequent delicacy of the piece (if that word can be used to in the context of such noises) is more of a tightrope walk, keeping the system in equilibrium. As I mentioned to Dave on first listening, soon after receiving the DVD, this is the most enjoyable yet: it contains a continually interesting balance and mix of steady and strangled tones. The best two-hander I have seen from Dave. Whichever way round the responsibility for the noises was, it worked sweetly. Regarding the video, better lighting than recently and a pleasing absence of audience wandering through. A clearer view of Jeff and what he was doing would have been preferred.

The second movement (possibly an encore) seems conceptually similar to the first, but not so satisfying in terms of noise variations, though Jeff seems to be working harder.

Although the pieces and the noises worked well, communication between the players seemed lacking as Dave looked round several times but Jeff was engrossed in his kit. This raises a question over how the players should be arranged with regard to themselves and the audience.

David Vosh and Frank Vanaman live at the Hexagon, Baltimore MD, 27th February 2010

By the time I tried to view this it had been damaged beyond usage. I have asked for another copy.

Dave Vosh 14th December 2009

14th December 2009 Live at Electric Possible, Washington DC
Tyler Higgins, electro-acoustics and source materials
Dave Vosh, modular synth and radio

The problem here is the quality of the recording. Visually the recording is dark and indistinct and aurally there is excessive audience noise, especially in the first of the three pieces.
I cannot hear enough of the first piece to make much comment. Towards the end there seems to be an ironic switch from audience conversation to radio: perhaps this was intentional.
The second (from about 9 mins) has a better music/chat ratio. A slow-moving noisescape with chords coming in at around 13. Picks up with subtle movements from 16 until the end, but still too much audence and so I am inclined to title this one Disturbed by the percussion of audience footfalls
By the end of the second piece the audience seems to be listening and the third comes across much better. A common comment from me is 'needs more notes' and this does have some dots here and there, contrasted with good sputtering noise. The balance between the two is good. If I had a suggestion it would be more sound variation in the pitched part.

December 2009 "Hoffman's Dream" by Safe 2 (Dave Vosh)

The other piece is a CD rather than a DVD and so I have no visuals to complain about or to distract.
No notes here, this is electronic whalesong with a hint of celestial choir. The sections of sound are usually long but with shorter episodes between 3 and 6 minutes in. Typically two or three sweeping sounds from a range of frequencies with occasional interrupts by more insistent noises. Nicely balanced and judged. The piece ends abruptly.

and another November arrival, played on the new home cinema provide pseudo surround sound

Dave Vosh and Logan Mitchell, Joe's Squared, Oct 09

29th October 2009 Live at Electro-Music 2009, Bloomindale NJ
David Vosh, modular synthesizer and imagery

and Dave replied,

all it takes is 400+ hp of euro in a homemade portable suitcase and the chutzpah to go out there and risk stepping on ones weenie ! :^) actually, the judicious application of assorted random c.v`s and gates and knob twiddling. not even a ribbon this time. no midi, no laptop, no net - just me and the hardware, exposed.

as the Great Jonathan Davies (legendary Welsh rugby player turned commentator) would say of a comparable performance in the field,


it might be in order to remind readers that I'm Welsh. Now back to noise.

November brought another DVD

Dave Vosh and Logan Mitchell, Joe's Squared, Oct 09

19th October 2009 Live at Joe's Squared, Baltimore, MD
Logan Mitchell Sr, modular synth and Korg MS2000R
Dave Vosh, modular synth

Two more DVDs of live performances from Dave received on 1st October 2009

Dave Vosh and Tyler Higgins, Pyramid Atlantic, Sep 09

3rd September 2009 Live at Pyramid Atlantic, Silver Spring, MD
Tyler Higgins, electro-acoustics and source materials
Dave Vosh, modular synth and radio
It was good to see a performance in three movements - I enjoyed them all individually and collectively. It's sometimes difficult to tell who is doing what, which adds to the fun.

Dave Vosh and Logan Mitchell, Pyramid Atlantic, Sep 09

17th September Live at Pyramid Atlantic, Silver Spring, MD
Logan Mitchell Sr, modular synth
Dave Vosh, modular synth and imagery
A good metallic sound wall reminiscent of the Pink Floyd plane crash. A terrific collage of sounds, particularly at 8 mins in. A lovely climax from 14 to 15, then it goes a bit bleepy, but comes in for a strong landing.
No clear view of the imagery and a shame that chap moved to the front row half way through.


16th September 2009

The statement in my note 'I'm assembling a comment ' was rather pretentious, just a way of saying 'thanks for the DVDs, sorry I haven't responded yet'. I have a bunch of thoughts running around my head, mostly more about my noises than your music, but I'll try to organse them to some extent on this page.

The first thing to note is a happy coincidence on their arrival. They came by parcel delivery rather than letter post and so arrived at 7 am rather than mid afternoon. I was thus able to play a couple over breakfast with the family, to mixed reactions. Anyway, back to the point of this paragraph, as I drove to wherever I was going that day, the first thing on the BBC Radio 3 Breakfast Show was a recording of part of Vivaldi's The Trial between Harmony and Invention [ short burst / full recording ] and by gum how apposite.

You sent six DVDs:

  1. 16Aug08 Safe 2 live at Electro Music 2008, Kingsport Tenn
  2. 30Aug08 Safe 2 live at The Red Room, Baltimore MD
  3. 12Oct08 Dave Vosh and Robert Lorenz Live at Electric Possible, Washington DC
  4. 13May09 Dave Vosh and Logan Mitchell Sr Live at Electric Possible, Washington DC
  5. Image / Sonic by Safe 2
  6. 2007 Safe (Dave Vosh and Tyler Higgins) Live at Black Cat Sonic Circuits

I'll consider them in logical rather than chronological order. Be warned that this remains remarkably ego-centric.

In conclusion, I enjoyed all the pieces, my criticisms merely amout to me saying I would have done it this way (if I had the skill). If I had to pick one, it would be Electro Music 2008, as the most complete and holistic piece, second place to Electric Possible 2008 for the range of noises. That said, I have only played them once ore twice and, as a rule of thumb, the more bizarre the music, the more there is to gain from repeated listenings.
One key point is the importance of video to go with the sound - it makes a tremendous difference to get some idea of what is going on, and who is doing what to which.
Please keep them coming.

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