Dragon Synth Improv, Live at The Barrage

In the town of Derby, Vermont, in a region very appropriately called “The Northeast Kingdom” of Vermont, and in a remote part of the Kingdom in the countryside just past some dairy farms a few thousand feet from Quebec, there exists a very unlikely and charmingly rustic little rock music performance venue called “The Barrage:

The Barrage in Winter

In October 2021, during the Covid Pandemic, I proposed putting on a small open-air synthesizer improv show at the venue, and Andy Bouchard, the owner, kindly agreed. So a month or two later I hauled a setup out there consisting of two lead boards: An AJH Synth “MiniMod” Synthesizer, which provides a very powerful and very faithful Moog Synthesizer clone, a Nord Modular G2, another very powerful synthesizer, and Roland FP-series keyboard for polyphonic accompaniment. I also used a Roland looper pedal on the output on the overall mix. Despite the cold fall temperatures, a small group of local friends and interested persons showed up, along with a van full of students from my annual course in Psychoacoustics at Northern Vermont University (now called Vermont State University), and good time was had by all watching, listening, and drinking hot chocolate.

Some of the attendees looking on.
Introducing the gear to the audience.

The performance was recorded, and one of the improvs turned out particularly nicely. This was a piece that was intended to showcase a patch I wired up on the AJH MiniMod similar to the “Dragon Synth” patch I had utilized earlier in year in the Dragon in the Deep improv at EMEAPP (the video of which was also shown at this event).

A short video clip of this improv (the only video recorded at the event) appears next below. The video below that has the entire piece, with better audio, along a visualization displaying the spectral evolution. One of particular things that worked out nicely in this, and that can be seen in the spectral visualization, is a manual detuning of the oscillators in the MiniMod to an interval that I spontaneous employed midstream towards the end, which creates are particularly wild effect.

The full piece, along with spectral visulization: