Saturday, March 27, 2010

On with the Show

After a small break, our next gig will be on saturday 24th April, at an indie event put together by a young new organization called Melos Nova.

Three bands including us, and we'll start to play around 10PM.

The place is CSC, 31 chemin bleu, Rezé.

The official site is

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Deeze This

The "Strawberry Blonde" album is now available on Deezer, so you have no more excuse not to preview this fine, fine piece of music!

Thanks to the people who ordered the first batch of CDs, and again, if you're interested in a copy, drop me a mail at khoralnet[nospam]

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Synthfest '10

Last week my brother and I did a little trip down memory lane and went to a Jarre gig in town...

Now here's a childhood icon of ours, mostly responsible for my long lasting obsession about all things electronic, and since he went back from the nonsensical 1990's/2000's to old school 1970's/early 1980's electro concerts, we were expecting an analog synth festival, and boy that's what we've got.

As seen or heard, on stage were : a modular Moog, several EMS synths, not one but two Synthex, a CS80 (or was it a CS60?), and several other analogues I couldn't quite identify, but also some digital mythical beasts, like the Roland JD800, and I'm pretty sure I've heard a Roland D50 as well.

So, great gig, great lightshow, and yes, if you still have to ask, the laser harp really works.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Strawberry Blonde goes CD

I'm packaging some CDs of the last "Strawberry Blonde" album.

If you want a piece of that great pop electro release, the price is 13€ shipping included worldwide and you may place your order by email at khoralnet[nospam]

To preview all 12 songs, got THERE.

And a couple of songs are also available in streaming on this blog HERE and OVER THERE.

Finally, the closing song's video is HERE.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Laserdisc Wars

Received as a gift this week, this awesome laserdisc boxset...

Cool, eh?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Khoral Live (3 tracks anyway)

Just a quick note to say that three live tracks from our last gig are now on the live band's myspace...

It's over HERE

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mario's in Town

As seen downtown Nantes the other day...

Thanks to whoever did that!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Upcoming : "Upon a Sleepless River"

So, there's been a couple of good releases lately (notably Tsinam's "Chasing Ghosts" and the Police covers), but I've still lots of music to put out there this year, because basically I can't stop working.

"Upon a Sleepless River" is an instrumental album to be released soon on netlabel Bitkins (which already released my "Uniforms of Snow" album).

"Upon a Sleepless River" is a dense, dark, political, cinematographic work with moody piano improvisations, noise experiments and a mix of cold digital landscapes and searing analogue leads.

A couple of tracks will feature the grooves and ambient sound design of Mr Fisher aka Ricemutt aka Bagger288 aka Golden Master.

The good people at Bitkins are currently reworking the site, so I'll let you know the final release date when it comes.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Abe's New Video Game Score

So, I've been making some music for a fun iPhone game app...

More on the game later on when the music is implemented, but meanwhile let's hear how it goes.
I was asked by the game designer to do a "retro gaming" kind of soundtrack, which needless to say is right in my alley.

Oh, and I've been doing this with a Lincoln mask, as one would expect.

This is a medley of all music cues I did for the game.

0.00 to 0.40 : Game menu, mostly done with the Crumar Bit01.

0.40 to 2.32 : Game theme, with tons of Solina, Yamaha SS30, Oberheim Xpander samples courtesy of Gforce's Virtual String Machine, along with Moog and Prophet 08 leads.

2.32 to 4.02 : Faster game theme, again with the Virtual String Machine, a Moog lead and a Casio-like beat from my usual Drums Overkill plugin.

Ibloxs  by  khoral

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Electro-Harmonix Round-Up : 6 Reviews

So, I'm sort of an EHX buff, as you can probably tell.
Not that I own any stock, but their line-up is outstanding in quality and covering a wide price range.

I figured it was time for a complete review of my little collection.

First, some samples:

Small Clone (analog chorus)
A classic chorus : 1 Depth switch, 1 Rate knob, plug in a good guitar, play some major mode arpeggios and you’re back in 1990.
Like most vintage-style EHX pedals, it sure ain’t the most versatile tool, but that’s not the point. This is a straightforward, top quality, vintage analog chorus, aimed to provide instant gratification. It’s deep, musical, warm, giving depth and warmth to any sound at light settings and produces beautiful bubbley leads at heavy settings.

Memory Boy (analog delay)
This is a very fine offering from EHX to anyone looking for a reasonably priced analog delay. It’s much cheaper than the outstanding Deluxe Memory Man, but still features an interesting amount of functions.
1 Delay knob, with a 30ms to 550ms time range. That’s short compared to a digital delay, but then again, if you bought the Memory Boy, what you’re after is that special analog delay sound, the imperfect, muffled, warm echoes of an analog delay.
1 Depth knob, adding modulation to the signal, using either a triangle or a square waveform… for a regular delay effect, you’ll have this turned all the way left, but as you turn it clockwise, your guitar sound will get weirder and weirder till you happily destroy the signal. The rate of modulation is adjustable as well, from slow to medium to fast.
1 Blend knob, to mix the dry and wet signals, and finally the classic Feedback knob.
Overall, a most interesting buy, and probably a better choice than the even cheaper Memory Toy.

Big Muff (fuzz)
Now, here’s the real deal! Is there anything left to say on this mythical piece?
1 Volume knob, 1 Tone knob (from muffled, dark and warm to bright, edgy and mean), 1 Sustain knob (I guess Nigel Tufnel still is in the bathroom).
I unfortunately didn’t have much chance to record it for practical reasons, but I’ve been playing that one live on my jazzy Emperor Joe Pass hollowbody guitar and a Fender amp, and it’s pretty much the best electric guitar sound I have ever heard : deep, powerful, warm, a screaming yet mostly musical, organic, wall of sound.

Small Stone (analog phaser)
The Small Stone is a revered phase shifter pedal from Electro Harmonix, with a most distinguished pedigree, harking back to the glory days of EMS, the groundbreaking british company responsible for such electronic marvels as the VCS3. Engineer David Cockerell, first hired by EMS to work on early computer systems for music, designed in 1971 a very peculiar (and pricey according to long time user David Gilmour) guitar effect called the Synthi Hi-Fli, featuring advanced phase shifting and vibrato functions, along with that special EMS retro-futuristic look. Engaged by Electro Harmonix, Cockerell went on to create some of the best guitar effects, including the Small Stone phaser.
Very simple unit : 1 Rate knob, 1 Color switch, adding feedback to the 4 stage phasing effect. While it is mainly a guitar effect, nothing prevents you from plugging another audio source, which is precisely what French synthesist JM Jarre did, using the first 1974 version of the pedal (along with the Electric Mistress pedal, another Electro Harmonix product) on his Eminent 310U to create the astounding atmospheric pads of Oxygène (1976) and Equinoxe (1978).
My own Small Stone is the third version from 1980.

Stereo Pulsar (stereo tremolo)
While the tube-powered Wiggler is possibly the best EHX tremolo, it’s still quite expensive, and when looking for a vintage-sounding tremolo, you might want to opt for the Stereo Pulsar.
On its face, tremolo isn’t the fanciest effect, but it’s an important one nonetheless, whether you want to add depth and body to the guitar sound (light settings), create a retro fluttering lead (medium settings) or that familiar stagger that works so well with distortion (heavy settings).
What you’ve got here is:
1 Depth knob, controlling how deep the volume modulation will be.
1 Shape knob and 1 switch to select between triangle and sawtooth modulation waveforms and alter the shape of this waveform from pulse width to square.
1 Rate knob to control the modulation speed.

Electric Mistress (stereo flanger and chorus)
Here’s another recreation of a very classic 70’s pedal (which Jarre also used on synths).
It’s basically a flanger, with 1 Rate knob for speed and a couple of Depth knobs, but EHX have added a chorus to the mix, which allows for a wider array of shimmering, liquid textures.
Oh, and it’s stereo, which doesn’t hurt.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Single du Jour : Toys

Another song from the "Strawberry Blonde" album.A nice, electronic pop tune (Moog Little Phatty everywhere), with Miss Roxanne on backing vocals.

The lyrics were inspired by something I had read about a schizophrenic girl who once said to her doctors : "I feel like a puppet whose eyes fell down inside"

You can download the song and the album HERE through iTunes

Toys  by  khoral

"It is indeed a sorry sight
The eyes of the doll
Fell down inside
This broken toy
Can’t see no thing
This broken toy
Can’t see no more
Alas poor Y.
Its friends are gone
Some are dead puppets
Eyes fell down
Some are lunatics
Eyes fell down
Inside their mind

And when they took it for a ride
They couldn’t find the eyes
And thought it was a sign
This broken toy
Don’t need the world
This broken toy
Is happier
Its metal eyes
They’ll just corrode
Can’t fix its broken words
And all the spells
Can’t fix its broken self
Eyes corrode
Falling from the words
Can’t stand the dirt
The blessing and the curse"

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Unplugged du Jour : Two Faces

And another acoustic tidbit, this time from the Boss.
One microphone, one take.

Download MP3

Monday, March 1, 2010

Cover Series 1 : Dreaming Up Schemes (The Police)

First installment in the Cover Series, that is, my series of cover EPs of artists and bands that influenced me most.

Tonight's Episode : "Dreaming Up Schemes", 4 songs from The Police.

Dreaming Up Schemes (zip file with 4 songs, cover artwork and iPod icon)

I'm a long time fan of that band, ever since middle school, actually, when I stumbled upon the "Every Breath You Take" compilation, and quickly gathered the whole discography.

The opening track:

Darkness  by  khoral

Track list :

1 - Darkness : a beautiful and haunting synthpop tune from the "Ghosts in the Machine" album, written by drummer Stewart Copeland. My own cover is a vintage synth fest, a dense, intricate wall of analogue sounds.

2 - Invisible Sun : the well-known hit song, off the same album, famously banned by the BBC for its subdued political content (Ireland). I went for a grittier, more electric sound on this one.

3 - Secret Journey : again on "Ghost in the Machine", an atmospheric, spiritual song, which I treated in a somewhat funkier, spacier way, with relentless groove and plenty of 70's-like string machines.

4 - Walking on the Moon : I played this one as a low-key ballad, with crunchy beats and a very open sound.


I extensively used the Moog Little Phatty, the Prophet 08 and Gforce's Virtual String Machine on "Darkness" and "Secret Journey", to give that deep, vintage, analogue atmosphere. The colder-sounding "Invisible Sun" relies more on the digital Roland D550 and a fair amount of guitars.

Next stop : april 1st (and probably Queen).