"Referent (Parts I & II)" from Referent (2009) "Surface" from Impeccable Surface (2008)

Monday, March 25, 2013

I am semi-regularly adding demos and new things to my Soundcloud page. So be sure to stay tuned there. Lately it's been archival Bonus recordings and the GOODWIN demo material.

In other news I'm really excited to play as GOODWIN on May 5th at the LoFi Lounge in Seattle as part of the MOTOR night of the Debacle Festival. The day before is a great show with folks like Gabriel Mindel-Saloman, Matt Carlson, Nate Young, and John Wiese. GOODWIN plays with fellow Portlander Strategy and Chicago's own Heiroglyphic Being. I'm very excited. Should be a fun weekend.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


First off, Operative is no more, let's get that one out of the way. What a fucking great band that was, though. Best final show I've ever played. Too many folks to thank over the years, but I have to thank Alex Neerman, Spencer Doran, and Jed Bindeman above all for being great friends.

Some "old business" we can count in that department includes our yet-to-be-released LP that we're still hoping will come out in the near future. Also, Grouper's Liz Harris was nice enough to include the track "Spectra" or "Arp" or whatever we wound up titling it on Tin House's CD compilation included in their "Portland/Brooklyn" issue. Is our track more Bushwick or St. Johns? You be the judge.

Other than that, Polonaise wrapped a brief trip up to Vancouver and Seattle with Strategy and Leech (aka Brian Foote of Peak Oil) that saw us perform at the Waldorf Hotel, Cairo Gallery, and David Chandler's basement. All shows were tops. Expect some Polo activity before the spring.

Last but not least, I am working on new music. Things are finally starting to congeal into a direction and I think it's going to shape up nicely. The "new thing" will hopefully be playing a show sometime this winter around Portland (though I haven't ruled out a Berlin working vacation in the future). Stay tuned. Also should have the inklings of VEPA 2 early next year as well. I think a holiday jam session is planned.

On the market tip, I have a restock of VEPA and SG "Referent" cassettes. Prices increased a bit to accurately reflect postage. I was loosing some money on UK shipping on the VEPA tapes. May need some more adjusting but this is a good start.

More to come soon. In the meantime, enjoy the Polonaise soundcloud page!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Lander 5 Arrives!

The Lander 5 tape is finally available and DRAFT has sold out! They're still at MMS, Experimedia, Discriminate, etc and I have some for sale as well. Recorded this tape during the explosion of music making that took place in July/August of 2011 that saw the birth of Polonaise and VEPA as well as the recording of the Operative full-length (announcements there soon). Conceived of as a couple of frequency modulation rich improvs set to a frenetic pulse, I really wanted to try something different to the more ordered dance music I was making at the time. It felt good so I passed it on to Jason Anderson at DRAFT who was excited to release it. Jason's fantastic DRAFT and Gift Tapes labels shouldn't be overlooked as they've been putting out some of the more wildly bewildering and forward-looking electronic/synth music I've heard as of late.

Tapes in the marketplace.

Friday, December 16, 2011



Really proud of this one.  VEPA is a tape of Pete Swanson and I playing music together for the first time.  For eight years we've been pushing each other to make the best music we can make by exchanging honest critique on each other's music and generally musing over expensive beers about why we even do this music thing at all.  Usually we were too focused on our own projects to really jam out casually, but we made time for some sessions before Pete left Portland for nursing school at Columbia.  For VEPA we attempted to combine some approaches we've both been working on lately, namely Pete's tape-saturated echo/loop processing and some of the rhythmic density we'd been exploring in Operative.  It pairs really nicely with Pete's recent, excellent Man with Potential, but is much more destroyed and laconically paced.

I have some tapes for sale in the "Market" and they'll soon be available at several East Coast spots (including Mimaroglu) very soon.

VEPA - #2 by bonusplays

Sunday, February 22, 2009

2/22 Modular Synth

Oh, it had to happen sooner or later. I completed soldering of my MFOS VCO, wired up the pots and a few temporary wires to attach to a 1/4" out for testing's stake. The only things left to do after a little line check were to wire up the permanent input/output jacks and adjust the trims. I decided to check the triangle and square wave outs because those seemed most likely to emit sound.


No big shock, troubleshooting is part of the point of building your own synthesizer. It just happens to be the part I dislike the most.

I triple checked all the polarized components and ICs for orientation and everything is good there to my knowledge. I'm actually sort of proud of my soldering job on all the joints and there don't seem to be any obvious shorts (see below). My first crimping job on the connector to the Blacet power supply wasn't the greatest, so I re-did that to no avail as well. I went through and checked all the components with an ohm meter and nothing seemed unusual there, though I did a pretty quick and cursory check just to see if anything was open where it shouldn't have been.

Board view from left to right (the white specs are bits of dust or dust from cutting leads, I suppose I should take a q-tip to the board):

One thing that strikes me as odd is my readings from the power inputs:
+/Ground: 15.3 V
-/Ground: 8.7V
+/-: 15.5V

I would have thought that +/- would have yielded 30v, but I could be wrong on that. The -/Ground reading is strange as well. Similar numbers come up when I test the pins on the power supply itself. Is it possible that Blacet sent me a bum power supply by accident or is it more likely that my $7 multi-meter is just way off?

After reading this post I checked power with the ohm meter. I was getting a reading for resistance from +/- like this poster did, which would suggest a short, but where?

Another idea I had was R59 which I had to unsolder and then re-insert a correct component into. I re-did some sketchy looking solder joints there but that yielded no results either.

I have a wire going from R2's pin 1 to one of the three open holes next to -15V, which seems like the right thing to do, but I'm not 100%. Another concern was the 20k resistor I soldered between the board and the -15V wire, but that seems the best way according to the MFOS schematic, as well.

UPDATE: I found some joints where the solder isn't visible from the top side of the board, so I'll go through those tomorrow or Tuesday and sure those up, but I suspect those won't be it. Too simple, but who knows?

Any thoughts? I'm probably going to post something up on, so hello if you're coming here from there!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

2/15/09 Modular Synth

Finally began work on the MFOS VCO. Worked on soldering sockets, resistors, trim pots, and ceramic caps today and will get into polarized and other heat sensitive components tomorrow. Overall it went pretty well. I had to take my time with figuring out how trim pots were oriented from the schematic and then I accidentally soldered in a multi-turn trim where a single one should have gone. That lead to a very long de-soldering process and by the time I was done I had missed the Marble Sky and Honed Bastion show. Oh well, I was on a roll for a while. I ran out to Fred Meyer to get some wire cutters and got some useless wire cutter/pliers hybrid that's dull as rock. I used some scissors to cut excess leads for now, which worked fine.

I'm a bit worried about my de-soldering job but I checked it with a multi-meter and the trim pot seemed to be still functioning. I'll keep an eye on you R59!

Ryan and I went out to check out Cascade Surplus yesterday, which was great. It's out on SE 181rst and Division, but it's worth the trip. Its a small-ish office/warehouse space that has boxes and boxes of components for pretty good prices with a bunch of stuff I recognized from the MFOS site, which will come in handy if I build any more of Ray Wilson's stuff.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

2/7/09 Modular Synth Construction

Today I start building my diy modular synth. This has been a project I've been planning for about six months but only really began to take seriously a few weeks ago. My vision for the synth is pretty idiosyncratic because of the nature of the music that I make, so the ultimate plan is to have a synth that will have 4xVCO, 4xLFO, 2 Dual A/R Generators, 2X Dual VCA, a row of Attenuators, and maybe an inverter or two. I'm debating planning building drum or touch sensative triggers after that's all done. This phase of building is a trial run to see if my electronics skills are up to snuff with the goal of having a working verision of the synth by April for a mini-tour I'm doing with Pete Swanson and Grouper. The actual size of the synth will be about 19"x12.75"X8" with two rows of 10 modules, though I have some questions to be answered about panel size and the FracRack format.

As of now my phase one inventory is:
  • 8 Ray Wilson MFOS boards: 2xVCO, 2xVCLFO, 2x Dual A/R Generator, and 2x Dual VCA.
  • Blacet PS500, PSCONN expander, and cable crimping kit.
  • A $200 Mouser order with all ICs, resistors, jacks, capacitors, sockets, and some switches and transistors.

I'm still waiting on a Futurlec order that has just shipped and a potentiometer order from Small Bear. I also need to run out to buy or borrow some basics like wire strippers, cutters, extra pliers, and a multi-meter.
My mission for the next two days is to get the tools listed above, print out all of Ray's documentation for the PCBs, and sort the parts by project.

I've been really inspired and helped by the forums from MFOS, the Experimentalists Anonymous forum, the MuffWiggler FracRack forum, the Synth in a Month page, Dayrl Groetsch of Pulse Emitter and Justin Meyers from Tone Filth and Devillock. Many, many thanks to all those folks and to anybody else willing to help me along the way.