Flight Of Harmony

By Paul Clark via Google Wave, February 2010.

Could you spend a few moments thinking back to the kind of music you listened to, either specific genres or specific bands, and also anything that you think may have helped get you into doing what you are doing now.

Music. During the '80s, I either listened to whatever synth-laden pop was on the radio or my dad's celtic folk records. I didn't pay attention to who had written the songs - usually didn't even know the name of the song. Late '80s - early '90s, I started keeping track: Camouflage (Voices and Images is still one of my all-time favorite wrist-slitter albums), Depeche Mode, Alphaville, Mozart, The Chieftains.

But I didn't settle on/align myself with any particular style until High School, and it all went downhill from there. It began with Black Sabbath (only the albums when Ozzy was first with them), then I discovered Deicide's eponymous debut album. From there i giddily embarked on my journey down the path of Black Metal (with occasional side treks in Death Metal), which still remains my favorite genre

I do enjoy a number of bands from the electronic end - :Wumpscut:, Combichrist, Psyclon Nine, and older VNV Nation to name the primary beat-driven groups. For the experimental realm: m² and pan sonic.

My absolute favorite from Electronic Land is Helium Vola, from composer Ernst Horn (who is also a part of Deine Lakaien). His blendings of classical operetta and symphonic music with haunting synthesis and ancient folklore is absolutely superb. His prior work in QNTAL is also quite good, but are utterly eclipsed by that in Helium Vola.

Yet I still find Black Metal to be the greatest arena of intricate contrasts, ranges of sheer passion and emotion, complex (and often unexpected) arrangement, and sheer vitality. Lately I have been listening in awe to the two recent albums by Arkona, a Russian folk-metal band that combines death metal and Russian folk music to create stirring songs that are just epic. Combine this with the female vocalist - Masha - who switches from gutteral death roars, to black metal shrieks, then to clean, melodic singing, and it is just amazing.

Now to answer the "got me into what I am doing now" question: Mortiis. The early works of this bizarre apparition were what inspired me to get into synths - Født til å Herske, Ånden som Gjorde Opprør, Keiser Av En Dimensjon Ukjent, Crypt of the Wizard, and The Stargate. Because of these, I experimented with soft synths for several years, then one day thought "I should learn electronics and start making synths". And here I am.

When did you decide to create flight of harmony?

As a company, f(h) began at some point in 2002-2003. It was initially the name of my experimental electronic music project.

What kind of electronic musical devices do you produce?

I don't understand what is meant by "kind" - does it mean format, application, genre, or something else?

How did you get from an idea to the production line?

My direct answer: I make it.

Essentially: Idea --> determine viability --> devise implementation --> prototype --> beta testing --> production.

Flight Of Harmony's Plague Bearer r3.3 PCB

How do you make these modules available to users?

Module distribution in the US is through Analogue Haven. In Europe, via both Schneidersbuero in Berlin and Post Modular in London. The Infernal Noise Machine is available in the US through Big City Music, elsewhere via Post Modular or direct from me.

How happily do different brands of these synthesizer and controller modules play together. Is there a gold standard?

Standard: Broadly, no. Not having any regulatory body, ModularLand has no official standards. There are a number of formats with differing panel heights and width increments. Also, different plugs - (3.5mm phone, 1/4" phone, banana), different power supply levels (predominantly either ±15V or ±12V), different power connectors, different signal & CV levels, and a myriad of other minutiae.

Fortunately however, the scene has existed long enough for some general-consensus standards to have solidified. In large part, signal, CV, and power levels follow those published in the "Musical Engineer's Handbook" and numerous editions of the Electronotes publication by Bernie Hutchins and numerous contributors

Within a particular format, of course, module interoperability is implicit. Due to the boutique nature of the majority of manufacturers, however, it is always best to verify the specifications of each module - upgrade the implicit to explicit.

What's on the drawing board for future releases?

Oh, far too much. I need to get the Sound of Shadows launch completed and then the belated release of the V'Amp before I open my mouth and dig any more holes.

What is Sound of Shadows?

The Sound of Shadows is a voltage-controlled digital delay module in eurorack format. It allows voltage control of the clock rate/delay time and the feedback/repeat amount.

I had thought of making a delay module early on, but abandoned the idea under the horribly-mistaken notion that there were an overabundance of delays already on the market. Last year I mentioned something about a delay to someone (probably on the MuffWiggler forums) and learned that there was actually a severe dearth of such in Eurorack Land. I believe I then mentioned the circuit I had been contemplating. Once this leaked to the forum at large, the hounds began to bay, and have been snapping at my heels ever since. I never had a chance to decide there was a need for it - the knowledge was enthusiastically forced upon me!

Website: Flight Of Harmony