• Mr Rogers consoled terminally ill children in 1983, even discussing Death. Hear this wonderful recording.

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Hi, everyone, welcome back to the show. This week is a tribute to Mr Rogers. I have one rare tape on Mr Rogers in my library of unusual records, and when I share this with people I present it as "a side of Mr Rogers you may have never heard." Most listeners agree: This is a very incredible album. Specifically, this is Fred Rogers translating the complexity of death and pain into helping parents deal with a huge fear: The death of their kids. He also relates similar comfort to kids themselves. And then you meet the children, who are all wonderful, happy, and seemingly more aware of the moment than many adults three times their age. I'm posting it this week because we need more compassion in the world, presently.

    This is what the 1983 cassette "Healing with Love" is all about, and its obscure placement in the Mr Rogers discography only makes it more interesting. This wasn't work for PBS. It was seemingly only intended for the patients and their parents, and copies of the tape were produced in small numbers. There is no way this topic would have made it onto his show (though Bruce Haack on Mr Rogers is a favorite in that category)

    This tape celebrates the word of Dr Gerald Jampolsky, who is a kindred spirit of Fred Rogers. You are introduced to Jampolsky, his group of patients, their parents, and then encounter some frightening moments with a parent grieving a dead child. Dr Jampolsky manages a phone hotline for terminally ill children and consoles parents, both those grieving a death or managing stress, and Jampolsky's love and care for everyone is to be admired. Hear the entire tape here.

    Of course, we had to make a tribute to all of this, and that can be found in Side A for this week, "Mr Roger's Metaphysical Phone Hotline" including some of the more intense Mr Rogers sentences I've ever heard. Here's one: "Do you consider death an enemy?" – Wild.

    Side B for this week continues our serial Charlie Pickle. (Hear all the story up to this point) – This week introduces you to your first day's work at Company Statistics, where both you and Charlie work, and you're given some tips on helping everyone out with the coffee.

    SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #35: Mr Rogers' Rare Words From 1983 on Death and Childhood Illness

    Connect with SWWE via Sincere Understanding and Compassion on Bandcamp, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google .

    Thanks and have a good week, Ethan

  • Hear how Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak's BLUE BOX worked and why 2600 is such an iconic number for hacking.

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Hi everyone, welcome back to the show. This week is about loud noises made by computers. Awful sounds like modems, faxes, and my favorite unbearable noise: The firmware update file. Firmware can be updated via an audio file and to demonstrate this, we discuss audio files from Korg's Monotribe, the W-slash sampler from Whimsical Raps, and Nanoloop.

    I thought it would be fun to make comforting music from these noises, and you can jump to "The Roomba is Dreaming" to hear the end result. The discussion for this week is a demonstration of using envelope generators to smooth out the harsh tones of a firmware file. In particular, a trapezoid generator based on an EMS Synthi is used to pull out tonal rhythms.

    Last week's post on "Booting DOS from vinyl" reminded me of cassette drive loading. We had an Atari 400 and an 800, and both of those used cassettes to load many of their games. I used to love that noise, and I expect Atari filtered the sound of the cassettes themselves, otherwise risk injuring the ears of kids who put the cassettes (intended for a computer) into their walkman (it would still play, after all). So you'll learn about Zaxxon, Frogger, and my favorite Atari cassette-based game: Salmon Run.

    All of these sound files work to load data because a lot can be communicated in a tone. If you think about a phone dialer, it is twelve separate pitched notes (0-9, pound and asterix) – These tones are used for any number of aggravating automated systems when you call customer service lines, and they also connect your call. There are a few tones never intended for you to hear, however, including the 2600 hertz tone, which was a tone generated by a payphone when a call was concluded.

    Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak unofficially began Apple Computers with a phone phreaking device called the Blue Box. It was a device that sent out a 2600 hertz tone to fake (or phake) the sound of a phone getting disconnected. The two callers would remain on the phone, however, allowing a free call without billing. So in our introduction this week I demonstrate the 2600 hertz tone using a wonderful iphone app called Phonal Tonal, which replicates a Blue Box, Green Box, and a Red Box.

    2600, the hacker quarterly, is named after this 2600 hertz tone, which is a single tone that can override a payphone's pricing controls with one single command.

    SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #34: Making Music with 2600 Hz Tones and Firmware Audio Update Files

    Connect with SWWE via tone generator on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other podcast services.

    NEW: We now offer weekly downloads on Bandcamp. Support the show in that way, if you'd like.

    Have a very tonal week, Ethan

  • Hear Betty Crocker's "Cooking for the Blind" series from the 1950's, and prepare a Thanksgiving Dinner with canned food.

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Hi, everyone, welcome back to the show. This week is our first Thanksgiving Episode, and with most of us opting to stay home and not travel this year, I thought I'd share one of my favorite records in my collection. This is a 40 album set from The Minnesota Department of Public Welfare. Specifically this is a part of the "Talking Books for the Blind" – an endeavor that is still very much alive in public education. I have a friend who has read trigonometry into a recorder for use in math courses at the university level for decades, as an example.

    (more…)

  • Batteries are Bombs! Learn how to replace them with Battery Eliminators and Parallel Battery Adapter Holders.

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the show. This week is partially about the decompression following months and years of stress over Trump. With the election completed, I found myself more stressed last week than I'd been months before, and this is partly because of how I deal with threats. I am calm when threatened and then unravel a bit after the fact when I'm safer. So for humor sake, as a tangent, this week's show is about the last ten days of my life that appear to be missing from my mind, and a discussion on batteries. I don't like batteries. I can definitely talk about how much I don't like batteries.

    Batteries are lousy. Batteries are awful. Batteries are overhyped. Batteries Batteries are wasteful. Batteries are polution. Batteries suck.

    (more…)

  • Nanoloop, the classic Nintendo Gameboy cartridge, is now its own hardware-based synthesizer

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the show. This week, a Nanoloop arrived from Germany. I was elated. It showed up with great timing, too, on the afternoon of the day of the Election. Not sure it's possible to describe how stressful that day felt, though I imagine it's relatable. A drum machine synthesizer that is built off of the sounds of classic Nintendo Gameboy circuitry was just what the doctor ordered, so I turned off the news (to the best of my ability, anyway) and recorded Nanoloop beats for a week. You'll find that mood journal here for Side A.

    The Nanoloop itself is a legendary component of chiptune music, and other electronic formats, providing instant acid house-esque rhythms. It's really wonderful for sound design, too. It's four concurrent 16-step grids, four voices, and is played like a video game. You'll hear Nanoloop on some recordings you love, from Aphex Twin to Boards of Canada, and elsewhere. A discussion on that is included.

    The Nanoloop began as a cartridge for the original Nintendo Gameboy. It was then made for the Nintendo DS, ported to a deliriously fun iphone app, among other history. All of these iterations beg the question: "Why make a dedicated piece of hardware?" The answer is hardware is physical (obviously), electrically more musical (each note is a synapse), and has unpredictability you can't find in software. I've spent a week with the Nanoloop hardware and already find myself more drawn to play it than any of the software versions, cartridge included. This is a great successful achievement for Wittchow, who successfully launched a Kickstarter to realize Nanoloop as hardware in February 2019.

    The serendipity of the Nanoloop arriving unexpectedly as it did was all the more nice, as I'd paid for it in March 2019. Kickstarter campaigns can be a little like messages in the bottle in that way, and the arrival of this gear on that stressful day is something I'm very thankful for. The original price of the Nanoloop was $100, which gives you a very capable PCB, buttons and a lucite clear faceplate. I might spend a little to build a custom metal or wood case around it, as I expect to use this for many years to come. (I expect that original price to increase if there's a second run of these made, too, and wouldn't fault them for it.)

    Oliver Wittchow, the inventor of the Nanoloop, also makes one of my favorite phone games, the self-described Hungry Ducks, which just involves throwing bread out in the water and watching ducks scurry to eat.

    SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #31: "So Damn Relieved Biden Won."

    Connect with SWWE via Chiptune and Sequenced Pulse on Bandcamp, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play.

    Thanks and have a good terror-free week, Trump is on the way out, Ethan

  • JOKES! Hear "QAnon Girl", by The Mike Pence Experience, and ALL the VHS Porn of 1984, read by a computer.

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Hi, everyone, welcome back to the show. This week is a precarious one, as we post the episodes on Monday. The Election happens on Tuesday, however, and that means the world might become a very different creature in the next seven days. So to anticipate GOOD or BAD, this week is all about jokes. For total distraction, I have 45 minutes of jokes that I will read to you this week. You can press play and just forget the world as you meditate on such classics as "Did you Hear About the Invisible Man's Family? His Kids Were Nothing to Look At, Either!" – 45 minutes of that, thank me or pie me later.

    The jokes for this episode actually come from my Joke Calendar, which I had at my office at work. I tormented 30-50 people at work so much (true story) that they stole the calendar from me, and placed it in the ice box! I responded to the prank with "The Joke Calendar", which is a track I'm also including in this week's humor pack for Side A. This track is from my album This is the TRUTH, which is on Bandcamp.

    But chances are, you're here for part two of all the porn titles of 1984, read by a computer, continued from last week. The L-Z of that massive list is another 45 minute track of distraction, and available here as Side B. This concludes the adult entertainment onslaught from Episode 29, I've included the A-L list in the embedded audio below.

    SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #30: Hundreds of Jokes & Distractions For This Election Week



    One bit of politics here. A very funny Neil Young's Cinnamon Girl, put through the Q Truth Filter, as QAnon Girl, by The Mike Pence Experience. (I didn't make this, I just love it) – It mysteriously arrived on the Internet just this week. November Surprise:

    A few thanks in order, if the world explodes before Friday: Some appreciation to The Onion's AV Club for their valued piece on last week's show. Regards to writer Allison Shoemaker, in particular. And a thanks to Dazed & Confused magazine, as well.

    Connect with SWWE via Distraction and Humor on Bandcamp, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play.

    Good cheer, and see you on the other side of the mirror next week, Ethan

  • "The Lary King Encyclopedic Guide to Adult Video Cassette Movies" is an amazing 1984 document

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Hi, everyone, welcome back to the show. This week focuses on an independently produced book from 1984. Title is "Lary King's Encyclopedic Guide to Adult Video Cassette Movies" and it is a wonderful surviving snapshot of adult movies from that era. Incidentally, 1984 is the stated end of The Golden Age of Porn and the titles included, which contain films from 1960-1984, don't disappoint. Porn at its best is very clever. This is from the time adult movies were scripted, filmed (not videotaped), and these movies contained some of the funniest titles imaginable.

    So, in 1983, an archivist by the name of Lary King (not Larry King! we hope) endeavored to list every single one of these film titles available on VHS and LaserDisc. There are no pictures in the book, highlighting the value and insane delights of the titles themselves, naked and alone. The surviving rare book shows the variety of content from that era, and also speaks to the manageable amount of films themselves. Back in 1984, you could reasonable see EVERY American adult film in existence. Heck, it all fit in a snug 300 page book.

    We're happy to share the first half of film titles with an audiobook component for Side A, where a computer will read you every title, A through L. The second half of titles will post next week, as the computer got pretty exhausted. Side B continues the Charlie Pickle story with part eleven: Morrie Treemont.

    SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #29: "Lary King's 1984 Guide to Adult Video Cassette Movies"

    Connect with SWWE via Consenting Adults and Blue-Light Projection on Bandcamp, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play.

    Thanks and have a good week, Ethan

  • 'Nay, Nay!' Hear the 1960's Stranger-Danger Ballad "Patch the Pony" Turned Into a Halloween Horror Soundtrack

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Greetings, everyone. Welcome back to the show. This week is our Halloween episode. It's a tribute episode to a familiar childhood pony, named Patch, of the 1960s-1980s. Patch the Pony taught children an easy to remember rule: "Nay, Nay! From Strangers Stay Away!" — I love the story of Patch the Pony.

    To keep with the Halloween season, audio from Patch is turned into a Halloween Movie. This is done with a variety of synthesizer beds, spray-can webbing, fake plastic hands, witches broomsticks, rattling skeletons, and vampire teeth. It's also achieved through the soundtrack of Patch the Pony itself, an unusual story of a wandering Pony who watches over children, and the peculiar voice acting for The Stranger who has a ball of candy, and an offer to "climb in" and ride in his new automobile. Nay, Nay, Stay Away!

    Patch the Pony is a nice success story of an independent creator, too. While most cartoon mascots were corporate owned, Patch is one of the few guardians of children to be independently created, a heroic creation of a mother from Watertown, Wisconsin — who went on to share the story of Patch with millions of children for decades. Other than Art Clokey's Pokey from Gumby, I can't think of many creator-owned safety horses.

    Side B for this week continues our serialized story of The Recovery of Charlie Pickle, with Psychiatric Notes #1.

    SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #28: A Tribute to Patch the Pony

    Connect with SWWE via Jack-o-Lantern and Candy Corn on Bandcamp, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play.

    Thanks and have a "ghoul" week, E

  • Download a Free Ringtone of "Donald Trump's Covid Cough"

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Hi, everyone, welcome back to the show. This week, our close friend Donald Trump phones in for a five minute interview, where we discuss his second term ambitions. This phone call was made earlier last week, and just a day or so after being released from Walter Reed for the Guinness World Record in Hospitalized Covid Recovery. Incredible!

    The White House switchboard was muting any moment Trump coughed, but one got past their censor button, so we've isolated the hacking wheeze and cough and have made it available as a free ringtone.

    We then take a train down to Hell to hear The Devil's opinion on 'Stupid Covid Masks', and conclude the episode with Part Nine of Charlie Pickle.

    SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #27: A Phone Interview with Donald Trump, 26 Days Before the Election.


    Connect with SWWE via Uncontrollable Baby President Hacking on Bandcamp, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play.

    Thanks and have a good week, Ethan

  • Learn how to do 'Thought-Based MIND SURGERY' with this 1985 self-help cassette

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Hi, everyone – Welcome back to the show. This week we present a course on Mind Surgery, which is a cassette I found in a thrift store bin in Denver in 1993. The tape itself is a product of Denver, a part of the 'UNIQUE-TECHNIQUE' Program, based in suburban Littleton in 1985. I've enjoyed the lessons on Junk-Proof Filtering, avoiding the NIOPS, and celebrating the MMMS for years. So this episode is a tribute to the Mind Surgeon. You'll find full audio, along with a tribute track.

    Mind Surgery is an unusual audio product, especially if you listen to a lot of self-help audio. It's overwhelmingly positive, for one, it doesn't blame you for your problems. It lives in its own self-made psychology, which is delightful, and it doesn't have a manipulative agenda. I'd label it "outsider psyche". There's a benevolent Scientology vibe found within, too, with self-created William Burroughs-esque terms and procedures. And I haven't even mentioned the backup singers. I love this cassette.

    Side A is a full-out tribute to Mind Surgery and the Junk Proof-Filter. Side B for this week continues our Charlie Pickle story.

    SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #26: A Self-Help Course on MIND SURGERY and JUNK-PROOF FILTERING (1985)

    Connect with SWWE via Mind Movie (and no NIOP!) on Bandcamp, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play.

    Thanks and have a good week, Ethan

  • Do You Believe in "Thumb Hypnotism"? (Hear it!)

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Hi, everyone – Welcome back to the show. This week is all about Thumb Hypnosis. That might provide more questions than answers. Specifically, "Thumb Hypnosis" is a 1960s recording (I'm presuming, it's undated) that arrived to me with other hypnotism records some years ago. I love self-pressed hypnotism recordings, and "Thumb Hypnosis" is one of the best out there. It answers no questions. It solves all problems. Thumb!

    Enjoying THUMB HYPNOSIS, raw audio is provided in track two, with a full reworking of sampling opportunities in track three. Audio is processed through a Radio Music module, 907 Fixed Filter Bank, and an SSL Samplecorder. Also, a quick demo of a Korg MicroSampler is provided, which is one of the nicest and most playable pieces of Korg hardware ever made, sadly pulled from production after less than a year on the market. It's a GREAT sampler, very similar to an E-MU. So this episode covers a lot of sampling hardware, processes, and tips.

    SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #25: Do You Believe in THUMB HYPNOSIS?

    Connect with SWWE via Audio Persuasion or "digital" thumb puns on Bandcamp, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play.

    Thanks and have a good week, Ethan

  • How Much Electricity Can Kill You?

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Greetings, everyone. Welcome back to the show. This week, survival and home safety is on our mind, and the discussion is on THE FATAL CURRENT! (Including this article from 1966, which advises you to not wear wet shoes, or a soaking wet robe, when working near electricity) There's a lot of misconceptions about how electricity becomes deadly. Appliances around the house are JUST as dangerous, or SAFE, as large electrical sources. For example, a static shock can be thousands of VOLTS but lacks the CURRENT to kill you. So we discuss the difference between voltage and current, the fun rule about how your hands can complete a circuit across your heart (don't try it) and include a basic primer on Ohm's Law. A fun discussion, including my own electrical injury at age ten, which nearly became a cautionary tale, titled: "Death By Alarm Clock".

    SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #24: How Much Electricity Can Kill You?

    Connect with SWWE via Shielded Cabling on Bandcamp, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play.

    Thanks and have a good week, Ethan

  • Worried About the Election? VOTE BY PHONE!

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Greetings everyone, welcome back to the show. This week we look back at telephone polling hardware from the 1980s and ask the question: "What if they'd evolved into how we vote in elections?" The technology for phone voting became pretty robust, including synthesized voices and other nice ideas. But nice ideas are quickly exploited, so it got quickly monetized into the foul world of 1-900 numbers.

    The monetization of spending 50¢ to call a 1-900 number and leave an opinion destroyed public perception of the phone as a democratic tool, but before that happened there were a few wonderful innovations. Bell Labs had been working on voice recognition since the 1950s, for example, and this week's episode of SWWE focuses on one company's effort to develop two devices: The simply named TELEPHONE POLL from 1982 and the exotic named follow-up, the ESCAPE-600, from 1986. Here is a collection of brochures and other material on both the TELEPHONE POLL and the ESCAPE-600. We also discuss the September 15th "Burn Your Mask" day, which Media Matters has chronicled here in full idiocy.

    SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #23: 1980s Telephone Voting Hardware

    Connect with SWWE via Telephone Democracy on Bandcamp, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play.

    Have a good week, Ethan

  • Hear: "Quantum Ocean", a Russian meditation device that turns your mind into a transmitting/receiving antenna

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Greetings, all. Welcome back to the show. This week, the discussion is on meditation and making our body into a conductive circuit. A meditation device called the SOMA Quantum Ocean arrived from Russia last month. It's an experimental device from Moscow that has four coin-shaped sensor pads.

    The device arrives with a book (also downloadable here as the "QO Book") of exercises to perform while you are meditating. This list of exercises suggest thinking different things or focusing on different goals when in session with the device, and seeing if the sounds change. They might!

    This episode of SWWE includes a demo of twenty minutes of Quantum Ocean sound, along with instructions from the first session, which asks you to identify one path of noise in the chaos of the audio and follow it as it moves within the sea of other noises.

    Two of the pads send a small amount of voltage through your body, and two of the pads are radio receivers. Essentially this is similar to a feedback loop, using your body to complete a signal path. This is a barely detectable amount of voltage but it's enough to be perceived. To test this, another SOMA device, the ETHER, is used in the demo. At about 9:00 of the demo track, you'll hear the Ether interpret the Ocean.

    Chaos Theory, Experimental Circuit Electricity, Shamanistic Psychology, and Russian Mind Research aside, the Quantum Ocean plays a saturating and pleasing stereo noise field of noise. The QO receivers interpret all sorts of interference, including whatever transmission your body's electrical pulse produces through this contacts, and it blends into the audio you hear in the headphones. There are few products that think about thought or noise in this way. It's a fascinating, mentally liberating, and optimistic device.


    SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #22: A Review of the SOMA Quantum Ocean (And "Charlie Pickle" Part 2)

    Connect with SWWE via Experimental Mental Transmission on Bandcamp, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play.

    Thanks and have a good week, Ethan

  • Spoken Word with Electronics: Are TEMP N TOSS Adhesive Thermometers the Future of Foreheads?

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Welcome back to the show. This is episode 21 of SWWE, and we return after taking a five week break. The big news this episode is TEMP N TOSS, our favorite new pandemic product, which is an adhesive thermometer you wear on your face. This entire show was recorded with a TEMP N TOSS on our head, providing an accurate reading throughout the entire episode, so you can be assured all audio this week is symptom-free and under all triple digit heat hazards.

    SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #21: I'm in Love with TEMP N TOSS — The Adhesive Forehead Thermometer

    Connect with SWWE via Adhesive Thermometer on Bandcamp, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play.

    – Thanks and have a good week, Ethan

  • Hear an electronic music tribute to poet Anne Sexton

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Greetings, all. This is the final set of SWWE for a few weeks. This has been a crazy experience to put together an hour-long show every week for around twenty episodes, and I need a little time off to regroup, record some new music, and write out a few other pieces. This final episode catches me up, personally, with posting a bunch of work, too.

    Much of this show originated as a proposed album series on writers I love. It became a weekly show, partly out of Covid changing my focus and time. But there have been a number of writers I love included here from those earliest recordings: from David Berman, Henry Miller, Kathy Acker, e.e. cummings, Paul Krassner, and even performers like Mel Blanc or Belle Barth.

    The final piece from those original set of music are two tracks I'm posting today. It's a tribute to Anne Sexton, and I suppose a subheading could be "Romancing our worst intentions". — I think about Anne Sexton a lot. I think about her from her work, which has an indelible effect on anyone who ever reads it, to the final beautiful book title, "The Awful Rowing Toward God", and to her poised and amazing speaking voice. Few poets speak their work as well as Anne Sexton, which I think you'll hear in the two tribute pieces in the playlist. I think about taking care of ourselves this challenging year, too. If you have people that matter in your life, tell them. And if you're feeling worried about your own health or happiness, mention it to others, anonymously or directly, too. The talking cure is real, either clinically or with a friend. Be well, and, to quote Sexton, "Live Now". Life is an amazing experience, both dark and bright moments included.

    SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #20: A Tribute to Anne Sexton

    Connect with SWWE via Condolence Card on Bandcamp, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play.

    We'll return after a brief break. Have a very good August, EP

  • Listen to an hour of unusual synthesizers going bonkers

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Hi everyone, welcome back to the show. Pictured above this week is my studio, or the main corner of it. A lot of wonderful noise makers in the room, and the stress of this year has finally started to hit me. A room of equipment like this is very good for moments like this. So this week is about making as loud a noise as possible.

    Jump in for a fun ride as we turn the studio into the tornado of sound, with leading contributions from Metasonix, Soma Labs Lyra-8 and Pulsar 23, Moog, and Dave Smith and Tom Oberheim's collaboration, the OB-6. Lead vocals by the Landscape HC-TT, a manually controlled tape player.

    I purposely decided to make these beautiful instruments into as noisy and obnoxious a set of sounds as possible. I think you'll enjoy the stress relieving sound of a thousand oscillators out of tune with one another, going off like 700 springs clanging out of a mattress. Or at least that was the working idea. Really, just a head-cleaner. I call it: My Tribute to July, 2020.

    SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #19: Odd Times, Loud Noises

    Connect with SWWE via Decibel Meter on Bandcamp, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play.

    Thanks as always, and be well. Stay proud and keep it loud! – EP

  • Often Feel Like You're Missing Eleven Days From Your Life? Blame the British Empire for The Calendar Act of 1750.

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Hi, everyone – Welcome back to the show. This week, the topic is on Time Keeping, and asks: What's your favorite Riot? My favorite riot is mythically referred to as "The Calendar Riots". It was a reaction across the British Empire for a government theft of eleven days from September 1752. Specifically September 2nd would immediately be followed by September 14th, with September 3rd-13th deleted.

    People stormed through villages demanding these stolen eleven days, and the possible loss of experiences, be returned. Some say the riots didn't happen, and I think that makes the riots even better. You can't control an invisible riot, and a riot that never happened is one that never stops.

    As to why, The British were one of few standouts on shifting from the flawed Julian Calendar to the more accurate but less pagan Gregorian one. The solution on shifting to the Gregorian was sloppy. The Calendar Act is an interesting moment at controlling a population through decrees.

    Jump into our Time Capsule and bounce back to 1752. Hear an actual Riot Act declared (reference audio), and consider The Calendar Act in modern times as a new effort for Time Made Great Again by the Trump Administration. "Clock, You're Up!"

    SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #18: The Calendar Act of 1750 & The Fake or Real Calendar RIOTS of 1752

    In this era of Covid, "Give Us Our Eleven Days" sounds resonant. I'm wondering if "Give Us Our Eleven Months" might catch on.

    Connect with SWWE via British Decree on Bandcamp, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Podcast Republic, and Google Play.

    Thanks and be well – Today or eleven days ago today, Ethan

  • Sound Design: How to Make Your Home Into Eraserhead or 2001: A Space Odyssey

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Hi, everyone – Welcome to back to the show. This week is all about noise. Noise in a home can be a disruption, like when an air conditioner cranks on suddenly; that's a common disruptive noise source. But noise in a sculpted sense can add a second layer to your home and help transport a space. Two of my favorite examples of this are the inventions of sound design found in Eraserhead and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Both of these films use noise as an core part to the world they present. So for this week's episode, I thought it'd be nice to use only the technology available to Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch at the time of their films to recreate those sonic atmospheres.

    So this week you'll learn how to use noise to modify your home, including a tutorial on how to make your kitchen sound like a room from Eraserhead or turn your attic into a control center from 2001: A Space Odyssey. It turns out limiting the techniques and tools to those eras is not very restrictive. Both Kubrick and Lynch had some of the finest gear in history to work with. It's my guess that they both used noise generators along with a 907 or 914 Moog Fixed Filter Bank. We'll use an inductor based 907A FFB to replicate the steps involved in The Lady in the Radiator scene and get a nice space sound aboard Discover One on your trip to Jupiter.

    Your co-host for this week is an inductor-based Moog 907A Fixed Filter Bank

    Both of these films use a variety of colors of noise, so to best understand this, track two discussed the Colors of Noise. A tutorial on using noise color to achieve these moods is included in track three. My studio has a good variety of colored noise generators and even includes a Scat Talker from Synthetic Sound Labs, which includes a Votrax SC-01 chip for speech synthesis. Using the Scat Talker, I've included a song of Daisy, just like in 2001. (That's blue and purple noise, incidentally)

    In terms of making your own home into either of these worlds, you can do this with digital noise generators. I regret the app I refer to in this week's recording, called "Noises" no longer seems available on the Apple Store (my apologies, it's perfect) but this online noise generator should work nicely. If you'd like to follow some of the steps discussed, you can get very close with the FFB included in the Moog Model 15 app, as well.

    SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #17: Sound Design Tutorial for ERASERHEAD and 2001: A Space Odyssey


    Sides A and B this week conclude The Apartment, which is now available on Bandcamp as a complete album. You'll also find episodes one through ten there if you'd like to download a Road Trip pack to support the show.


    Connect with SWWE via coil-wound inductors on Bandcamp, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Podcast Republic, and Google Play.

    Thanks and a good radiator to all of you from my Jupiter-bound space helmet, Ethan

  • For triggers, gates, clocks, and sociopaths alike, "Master/Slave" faces retirement

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Hello, everyone – Welcome back. Part of this week's show is on language. One great result of the recent protests is a reassessment of some of our worst phrases. "Master/Slave" is an ugly one, with a direct path to some of the world's most terrible history. Unfortunately, it's largely adopted into electronics as an example of one device maintaining control over countless other devices. It's been suggested a better phrase might be Leader/Follower, and in that way you realize "Master/Slave" also describes politics, too.

    As language is finally being addressed on this shameful history of semantics, I offer one final discussion on "Master/Slave" as an EXPLANATION for how people are still following and supporting Trump. Electronic control can be their only defense. In sympathy, I call for us all to love Trump Supporters and seek to emancipate them from this mental prison.

    Mind Control is an interesting subject. There's been an ongoing effort to control minds with technology, and some consider this to be happening right now. Today's episode discusses triggers in drum machines as an explanation for how Trump's very sharp signal clock controls his followers. He's a perfect drum sequencer. He keeps his messages monosyllabic and sharp. That's the best signal for opening up a drum to follow a controller. And the term for this in synthesis is, regrettably, "Master/Slave", in that the Master is the sequencer and the slave is the follower.

    Jump aboard for a 45 minute exploration of Triggers, Gates, Clocks, and Sociopaths. We also get semi-local and discuss the murderous deeds of Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Identifying an April 28 order to open Texas and ban Texas Mayors from protecting their cities, I accuse Greg Abbott of every Covid death related to any unmasked transmission since. This is a significant number, and it's only gotten much worse:

    It's only gotten much worse

    Electronics are useful for describing humans. We operate the same way as many synthesizers. Our brains operate through subtractive synthesis, for example. The stimulus in the world is a constant blaring signal, and we are constantly filtering out noises and thoughts to develop a personal perspective. Otherwise we would go crazy, literally. Subtractive Synthesis keeps us sane. One opinion on psychedelics is it removes some of these filters, which allows us to see more of the world for a brief moment. It's a very vulnerable state, however, which is why psychedelics are temporary. We couldn't survive too long with those filters wide open and sensitive to every breeze.

    This week's show is also about timekeeping, specifically analog clocks for drum machines. Analog drum machines are special things, especially, in that they mimic a lot of engines and other mechanical equipment. They are wired up with trigger cables that fire off each drum noise with electricity, which is very different than digital emulations of drums. They are literally drum MACHINES, and this week demonstrates exactly how that works.

    For a little humor, or maybe a direct explanation for the madness going on in this world, this week's bonus link is on Soviet Mind Control machines from the 1980s. Enjoy: The State of Unclassified and Commercial Technology Capable of Some Electronic Mind Control Effects

    SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #16: Analog Drum Machines and THE REPUBLICAN MIND

    Connect with SWWE via buffered clock signal on Bandcamp, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Podcast Republic, and Google Play.

    Thanks and good mind control to you all, Ethan