Post-Coldwaves Malaise

My throat is sore, my body sore and my asthma a tic more a problem than usual.   Coldwaves is over.

There isn’t much to really say about it.   It is what it is always is for me.   I see all the people I know or knew in that scene and I am reminded of how I never really belonged there.   That, for whatever reason, I am and will always  the outsider.  At this age, I’m 99% ok with that.  Damned if the demon inside my head won’t twist that over and over again though.

Anyway, it’s over.  On to next year.





Self Substantiation

Back when I was 15, I was hanging out with a crowed that was a few years older than me.  They introduced me to alternative music, bands like Depeche Mode, the Smiths, The Cure and many, many others.   

In  a stack of vinyl I was loaned to help me along, there were two albums, though, that were different:  Front 242’s Never Stop! e.p. and Nitzer Ebb’s ‘That Total Age’.  While my friend included them as examples, it was clear that he did not consider Industrial or EBM to be particularly great musical forms.  Despite owning some, he was quite dismissive of it. But I wasn’t.  I was hooked. 

And so I dug deeper on my own.  I started taking regular trips out to an import record shop in Schaumburg called The Turn Table (Long, long, looooong, gone) and digging through the binds of CDS and Records, and slowly building my collection.  Front 242 lead me to Wax Trax and, being the collector that I am, I went on to get almost every release they ever put out on CD (still have all of them).   

It wasn’t just rampant consumerism I was also instilled with.  The punk-borrowed “anyone can do this and do it well” ethos of Industrial Music and it’s bending of technology into art pulled me in and I started the path to becoming a musician in my own right.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but in that stack vinyl was my entire future.

The downside, unfortunately, was that I drifted from those friends that were dismissive of the art form in favor of my own direction.  I don’t regret this.   Finding my own path and having the courage to go against the prevailing group-think was an important step in my development as a human.  In a way, it was just my acceptance of the fact that I was never going to exactly fit in anywhere and that I’d always be an outsider.  Even after 30 years in the scene, I still feel that way. 

As I’m sitting here listening to Nitzer Ebb and prepping to see them in concert for the second time in my life, I am very grateful for everything that Industrial Music as given me.  There might not be a ‘me’ to be grateful without it. 


Modular as drum machine. I’m using almost the entire rig and NO purpose built drum modules. Sequence is my #malekko Varigate 8 and Voltage Block. Need more function generators. Probably another mixer, too. #eurorack #drummachine #livewire #makenoise #intellijel #stgsoundlabs #modularsynths #synthesizer

Modular as drum machine. I’m using almost the entire rig and NO purpose built drum modules. Sequence is my #malekko Varigate 8 and Voltage Block. Need more function generators. Probably another mixer, too. #eurorack #drummachine #livewire #makenoise #intellijel #stgsoundlabs #modularsynths #synthesizer

Studio Blog, 2019-09-12

As I work toward getting back to doing releases and streamed performances, I am going to be blogging a lot more.   I tend to be somewhat of an exernal thinker, and doing so helps keep me on task with my projects.   I got a way from it for a long time, but now I’ve got the drive to get back into it.  I hope you enjoy reading it.


Last nights studio time was spent focused in three specfic areas:  First sampling a toy piano, then creating a rhythmic patch on the modular followed by loading that data into the Akai Force and having a play with it.

The Toy piano sampling was fairly boring:  Set up a mic, press record, play the piano, repeat, edit, save.  Done.  I think about how much a pain in the ass that sort of thing was in the days of samplers with 2×20 line LCD displays with nothing but a data fader and a numeric keypad (if you were lucky) for editing.  So much easier, it’s almost boring now..

The second thing I worked on was much more interesting.   I created a modular patch based around my Intellijel Rubicon oscillator.  This is the original rubicon, not the mkII, which I think is still a very wonderful oscillator.  It makes an exceptional percussion oscillator, which is how it started, basically as a Kick Drum that I kept processing through more and more stuff.  You can hear the (almost) final result in this clip from my Instagram:

View this post on Instagram

Mixed signals. #eurorack #music #noisetheorem

A post shared by Tony Scharf (@noisetheorem) on

Lastly, I loaded this into the Force.   I have to say, the more I use the Force the more I get the Force and what it can do over the MPC Live.   It’s looking increasingly like I’m going to put the MPC Live away for a while and focus on the Force for a while (have you noticed how much I like saying ‘The Force’? Star Wars nerd, I am).   I think I’m going to rework the programs currently in track I’m working on make more use of it.

The track I’m working on is tentatively titled ‘Ugly Machines’, and it’s coming a long well.  Started on the MPC Live and moved the Force, the sounds I created need a little tweeking to get back to the same spirit of sound I had on the Live.   Being the two are so similar, that won’t be hard.  The track needs more structure, and some sort of synthy bits to go along with the (plentiful) noise I have going.  Im not sure where to go with that, though. The ‘song’ doesnt even really havea key yet….