Latest Blog Entries

3 November 2017

So, all you Spivkurl obsessed friends out there - Here is the physical release of "See I See What You Do," burned direct from the full quality masters. The CD version contains an "easter egg" track which is not found anywhere else!

The CD-R comes in a repurposed slimline case. Album artwork is a single fold cardstock, in full color. All artwork was designed and photographed by Spivkurl. The inside of each card contains a one of a kind, hand made, original mixed media artwork by Spivkurl himself, and is autographed and numbered. Every artwork will be unique and spontaneous.

As an added bonus, each order will include an official shrink wrapped copy of "Noise and Toys Volume One." (while supplies last) This CD was released by We Are Records in 2004, and was the first ever circuit bending compilation. It features 18 tracks, by artists from around the globe!

Includes unlimited streaming of See I See What You Do via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

Visit Spivkurl's Bandcamp page to order this release before it's gone!

Apologies for non-US fans, the shipping is realistic based on USPS prices. I am pretty broke these days, and the shipping costs outweigh any other aspect of releasing physical copies.

I appreciate it!

3 November 2017

I am a couple of days late with updating my blog with the important Spivkurl news, but here I am!

As of 1 November 2017, my new album "See I See What You Do" was released in digital form at Bandcamp. This version is a sixteen song effort, which spans work from the past twenty-two months - A psychedelic journey which mirrors my own - A subtly sarcastic effort to avoid politics - A walk in the park and a nightmare in the forest - Discoveries of a tangible nature, and of a historical nature. Take a listen, and have a walk in my worn out shoes!

Visit Spivkurl's Bandcamp page to get yourself a copy in nearly any format!

You'll find a variety of styles on this album - from purely live performance industrial glitch, to deep psychedelic trance - and from satirical electronic songs, to personal genre spanning love songs.

Keep watch at BandCamp in the next day or two, since I will be updating with the physical component of this album! This really is the way that Spivkurl albums are meant to be heard. The CD version will include an "easter egg," and a folded color insert with a one of a kind visual art piece - hand made and signed by Spivkurl. Plus, a CD order will include a free official copy of "Noise and Toys Volume One," the circuit bent compilation which We Are Records released in 2004!

With winter coming, there will be time for other projects, such as finalizing some new instrument builds and rethinking my studio spaces. With my recent election to the position of neighborhood development chair of the Slatterly Park Neighborhood Association, who knows, maybe I will be able to help make this city into a place which I actually want to live in! I sincerely hope so - maybe it will mean a more positive art from Spivkurl in the coming years.

Thank you all for watching the blog, and for your support over the years! I'll try to keep you all updated on other progressions, in the studio and otherwise!

12 August 2017

Lots of live performance work going on lately, such as "Rising Up," a two track interface jam in studio...

Check out Risin Up!

Two days ago, I recorded this live in studio video, of the song "What Kinda Poison?" It was entirely shaped and written that day.

Also available for streaming at Spivkurl's Youtube Channel - What Kinda Poison?

Beyond that, I have been saving seeds and drying plants for the future. Still working on my Instrument of Destruction, though slowly. Stay tuned!

10 April 2017

New songs, like a seed in the grass...

Check out Not Yet - Vocal Mix C!

And the latest Spivkurl work, Pavement Hitter!

Also, I am selling a beautiful portable 8-track player, in order to support my DIY lifestyle.

The Buy it Now or Best offer sale is SOLD!

10 April 2017

New devices, like a bun in the oven.... stay tuned.

4 January 2017

Situations have forced me to attempt sale of my Jackson DK2S six string. Been holding on to this one for about eight years, but do not use it nearly enough. It had a complete action and intonation setup about a year ago, and then I used it to record a song. Ever since, it just sits in it's case. The setup still played great today, and it was almost completely in tune!

The Buy it Now or Best offer sale is SOLD!



21 December 2016

I have just released the digital distribution of my recent live, and direct to cassette tape EP, entitled "Agonist Moon."

Agonist Moon on Bandcamp

This was recorded in two days, with the full moon as a large influence, and it's performance is very non-traditional in the "western" sense.

I have already uploaded two of the songs from this on my Looperman profile as well...

Agonist Moon and Faultline at

This is of course a free album, yet if you have the heart to donate with your download, then it will be used to assist in my legal battles stemming from local activism against chemical and biotechnology corporation's control of our regional government.

7 December 2016 Okay, finally most of the updating is done, and I have set up the eBay Auction for the Casio MT-35...

This keyboard is really fun and addictive to play on! With the stacking banana cables and small patch bay, it adds to both form and function. The deep tempo glitches are useful, glitchy, and noisy at times. Great drones and sequences are to be had... well you can watch the videos down the page and hear what I mean!

Be sure to visit Spivkurl's Youtube Channel for Instrument Demos and Jams on video!

Also, I managed to get some nice pictures of the Bias Machine taken, which is my latest instrument build! This is based on the idea of a magnetic tape based performance sampler. It used pads of tape from cassette, reel to reel, or other magnetic tape and a playback/record head stylus.

If the pads are made with recordable tape, then the stylus can be used to record the input patched to the quarter inch mono jack. When record mode is engaged, you will hear the input, and it can be trasfered to the tape pads based upon the movement of the performer's hands. When you switch back to play mode, the recorded items can be played back with the stylus in any manner you wish. Since the stylus is wired to a TRS jack, then it can be switched out for any tape head which is wired this way. Both input and output have separate volume control, so the saturation and output gain can be tuned in.

The sound and experience of using the instrument reminds one of turntablism, yet the record function adds a very different twist. One could record the sound of another performer in real time, and then use that recording instantly! Needless to say it is very fun. and audio will be forthcoming!

So take a look at the pics, video, and the auction if you are so inclined! Stay tuned!

7 December 2016 Here is a more formal demonstration video of the Casio MT-35! Goes through the various bends and stuff.

6 December 2016 I have uploaded a demonstration video for the Casio MT-35 keyboard which I have bent! This one will be going up for sale on Ebay in the next day or so.

Thank you to Dave for filming the first video, it rocks!

3 December 2016 Holy crap it's been some time, and a whirlwind of a time it is! I have created new instruments and musical works during this time. This is the first chance I have had to share them!

I have changed the layout of the Spivkurl Blog to reflect a more minimal and dynamic structure, with the blog to the left side, and the gear page to the right. All other aspects of the page will be incorporated into either of these sections after this.

I have created a couple of new instruments recently, which include the Casio MT-35 which I have bent to the extreme, as well as the "Bias Machine," which is a modified cassette tape recorder.

Over the full, and "super" moon of the 14th and 15th of November, I recorded a seven song cassette tape EP, entitled "Agonist Moon." These songs were all recorded live without the assistance of a digital audio workstation. Each was composed as freeform instrumental work, with a set group of hardware instruments. My wife and eternal love, Love, has described certain tracks as "icaros." According to wikipedia, an icare is this....

An icaro (Quechua: ikaro) is a song sung or whistled in vegetal ceremonies. The word icaro is believed to derive from the Quechua verb ikaray, which means "to blow smoke in order to heal".

They are used to enhance or subdue the effects of plant medicines, to evoke plant spirits, to invite the spirits of others or the deceased, to dispel dark spirits, or to protect those present, and to manage the ceremony. Experienced shamans can recite hundreds of icaros.

Icaros are either whistled or vocalised in words and vocables.

The singing or whistling of icaros is sometimes accompanied by chakapa, a rattle of bundled leaves.

23 July 2016 Since it seems that the powers that be will no longer allow me to link to my report on the control of United States law by corporations such as Monsanto, I am going to copy the text and original article which inspired it here. It seems that only certain facebook embeds will be allowed, and this is not one of them. Obviously it got noticed!

There is a new chapter in this story, which has become apparent during my activism and research here in Rochester, Minnesota USA. State statutes for pesticide and herbicide use are in place which preempt cities in Minnesota from creating ordinances involving use of these chemicals which are more strict than the state has laid out. In turn, the state statutes are based on federal laws regarding the use of these chemicals. When all is said and done, the labels for these chemicals and the related MSDS documents are the basis for federal law regarding proper use of these chemicals and any liability for damage from their use. As chemical companies such as Monsanto are allowed to do their own research, and create their own guidelines for use, then these documents which they have created and fabricated ARE THE LAW. These documents waive any liability in the use of these chemicals, aside from refund of the cost of the product to users of the chemicals in question.

When these chemicals are not "restricted use," as is the case with Glyphosate (RoundUp and over 100 other brand names) and 2-4D (a component of Agent Orange defoliant), there are no licenses required for application of them, there are no records of application required, there is no public notification of application required, and there is virtually no legal recourse in the case of injury to innocent citizens.

Even here, in the home of the world famous Mayo Clinic, emergency rooms refuse to test for the presence of these chemicals, or their metabolites, in patients who arrive with symptoms of poisoning. With the medical community unwilling to validate the short and long term effects of exposure to these chemicals, then even civil litigation becomes a non-option. Use of these chemicals by city and county government entities are protected by municipal tort immunity, as they are at the government's discretion. These entities regularly violate federal law, as well as their own documented pesticide use practices, and the government bodies who regulate this use do not inform the public of their options when exposed.

All government managed areas are effected by this use, including schools, parks, side walks, playgrounds, athletic fields, recreation areas, forests, drainage ditches, flood control areas, lawns, and more. Many of the entities which manage these areas produce documents which dictate their practices in applying chemicals, and most often these documents are not adhered to. As these documents are not considered "law," they are allowed to be dishonest to the public, and are not enforceable.

All of this leads to the conclusion that Monsanto, and other manufacturers of these toxic chemicals, are in control of the United States Department of Agriculture, as well as all levels of government in the United States, down to the municipal level.

Speaking with a Minnesota Department of Agriculture employee last week due to a complaint of exposure to herbicide drift, I was given one single option for legal recourse in cases such as this assault on my health on my own private property. If you have experienced toxic effects from application of herbicides or pesticides, then follow these steps in order to document it - Return to a safe place. Remove the clothing you were wearing when exposed. Place the clothing in a sealed plastic bag or container. Place it in the freezer. Contact the state or federal Department of Agriculture with a complaint of herbicide/pesticide use which violates the label guidelines. Inform them that you have preserved a specimen for them to test for the chemical. Demand an investigation. They should send an investigator to test your clothing for chemical residue. If their tests are positive for these chemicals, then the applicator should be held accountable for violating federal law, as exposure to humans with chemicals which are not intended for use on humans is not allowed by the label guidelines, and subsequently the laws which are based on them.

Any time that you have illness or injury which is suspected to be caused by chemical exposure such as this, inform your health professional immediately. Beyond these steps, you are most likely an unwilling victim without any recourse.

Stand up, and do not allow yourself to be victimized any longer!

The Complete History of Monsanto, The Worlds Most Evil Corporation

25 June 2016 Bindanox showed up with an awesome finished remix very quickly! His is really unique rendition, with some spectacular layering of vocal stems, as well as some very Nelsonesque additions which brought a smile to my ears.

Check out I Fall Down - Bindanox Remix!!!

24 June 2016 Yesterday I began a local grassroots campaign, as well as a worldwide online petition, which seeks to gather signatures to ban the sale and use of herbicides Glyphosate and 2-4D in my home city of Rochester, Minnesota USA. This city, like many others, is being systematically and indiscrimately poisoned. Government entities, businesses, churches, and individuals are all involved, and can all make a difference by changing their practices before it is too late. Rochester is the home of the Mayo Clinic, which brings patients from all around the world. It should be a primary concern for the clinic and their patients to ban these toxic, and most likely carcinogenic chemicals in this city. Please sign the online petition! These petitions will be presented to the city council in July.

10 June 2016 The long time Looperman member Diskonnect has just sent me his remix of 'I Fall Down.' Turns out to be a very cool chill rendition of the theme, and it's really fun to hear!

Check out I Fall Down - Diskonnected Reality Remix!

The grooves in this are so worth waiting for! Really nice dynamic mix here! Awesome work!!

7 June 2016 RadRemixer, or DinkyMixy as they are now known, who started a looperman profile less than a year ago, has just sent me a link to the newest remix of 'I Fall Down,' and a very cool one it is!!!

I Fall Down - The DinkyMixy Remix

The style is very different from the others who have submitted them, and that is exactly what I was looking for when making these stems... variety! The vocal manipulations are something special, and he had the cohones to use the modular circuit bent voic stems included! Very thankful for this submission, as well as all of the others so far!

6 June 2016 I have given the stems for 'I Fall Down' to several more artists in the past few days. One of these is the fantastic musician JoeCramer, who is a frequent user of Looperman. He very promptly came up with an amazing rendition with the stems!

Go check out the very cool 'I Fall Down - Fresh Electro Mix' by JoeCramer!

I am particularly fond of the rhythmic structures which he induced using the vocal stems and his own drum work. Seems like we should be on the look out for another remix by him as well! Exciting!

31 May 2016 Hey all! It's been a busy spring around here, but I have still found the time to be writing songs, as some of you know. In an effort to bring people together, and encourage the musicians in the community, I have given a remix kit for my recent song 'I Fall Down' to some specific artists. These people were chosen because I feel that their individual talents suited remix work for the song.

Results so far have been even more pleasing than expected! I will be adding the first couple of links to these mixes today, and will add the rest as they arrive. Please keep watch here, and show these tracks some love.

Here is the link to the original song, 'I Fall Down v2,' which is on my Looperman profile.

I Fall Down v2 by Spivkurl

If you get a chance to check it out while visiting the remixes, I would be most thankful! Also big thanks go out to those musicians who have stepped up to get into the groove on the remix work! You people rock!

The first remix to show up, one which has already gotten some love around, was a real pleasant surprise! It was not a surprise that it sounded awesome, the surprise was that it encouraged long time member Mosaic to return to Looperman! He has since been releasing other new music, and that is such a great thing to add back to the Looperman community!

So here is - I Fall Down Remix, by Mosaic:

I Fall Down Remix by Mosaic

Take a listen, enjoy, and leave a comment if you have a moment! Thanks!

The second remix which I received was done by a new friend, who goes by the name of Labelwhore. I met him through the Image Line forum, and we found some commonalities in how we work in the studio. I had to hear what he could do with these stems and his custom hardware driven studio skills. I was not disappointed!

Here is the I Fall Down (Labelwhore Remix):

I Fall Down (Labelwhore Remix)

Thank you for listening!

Regarding the remix stems... I am trying this time to not let the remix kit get out of hand, like it seemed to do when I released the stems for my song "Nightr8." With that in mind, I am being more specific.

The remix kit is in two parts. One of which is the collection of wav quality audio files, broken down into loops and sections, as well as the full length vocal clips. The other is the MIDI file of all note information in the final song.

If you feel like you have what it takes to make a remix, and you enjoy the style of the original track, then please leave a comment on the blog comments below, or contact me via my Looperman Profile or my Soundcloud Profile. I will then contact you with the download links.

If for some reason, this goes insane with requests for the stems, then possibly I will just make it public again. I would like to test the waters first, as the song is important to me. Thank you!

Blog Entries From 2015

Latest Blog Entries

21 December, 2015 Been working hard lately, and much of the energy was directed towards completing my latest album entitled "HellLP." Some of you will be receiving a copy of this album very soon, and those who don't should contact me if needed! Here's the front cover -

Interesting trades considered for signed hard copies of the compact disc album, for the time being. The album was all made by Spivkurl from the recording to the mastering, and from the artwork to the mixing. Even many of the instruments played in the songs were built by hand! Each CD-R is hand stencilled with the album title and signed by me. Check em' out!

Either way, you can hear the album by downloading the mp3 version from the Capitalist Market! Be aware that this album is meant to be heard all the way through, and on the best stereo system you can find. Meant to be felt as well as heard - Turn It Up!

27 November, 2015 Far too long since I have made a blog update, but the upside of that is that I have many things to share with you this time! Some new songs are available, and I also have some nice pictures of gear to share!

I'll try to go in order musically, so will start with my collaborations with Looperman member Promenade2239. We have been exchanging ideas for several months regarding three different tracks that I began. The first in the series was released by Promenade 2239, and is called WhatsGoing. The original stems included sound design which was created on FL Studio version 4 and Med Soundstudio version 1.7. His rendition of the song is quite enjoyable to hear, and leaves me with no serious need to create my own version. The more recent track which we worked together on is entitled Premonator. This song was released in two versions, one which was completed first by Promenade2239, and another which was recently released on my Looperman Page. I have referred to my version as a "culmination," as I gathered 85 stems which we had exchanged in the progression of developing the song. This track is the first complete song in which I recorded my newly recondition Mahar classical guitar, which is shown in the photo below.

There was a considerable amount of work done on this guitar to make it enjoyable to play for me, but even before that, it had something special about it when it was held. Some of the tuning pegs had begun to fail, so I ordered and installed some nice nickel and black ones. It was missing the original saddle and nut, so I created new ones from borneo ebony. The wood was a pleasure to work with, and seems to enable a beautiful tone. After that, I reglued the bridge, which had loosened. Putting on some nice black nylon strings allowed me to guage the set up. After a couple days of working on the frets, I was able to coax excellent playability from this guitar. There were a couple of dead notes on some strings, and some that buzzed, but now all is well accross the fretboard. Very enjoyable guitar to play!

Yesterday, I completed work on my entry for the Audio Sparks For Art November Contest. My song is inspired by the artwork by ViVaDa entitled Roots and Branches. If you visit the page, and like the song and the art, please leave a "Fav!" so that I have a chance at winning this competition! The song was made entirely with hardware sound sources in my studio, and also includes some field recording taken from out the window of my studio. This is the first completed song which incorporates my new circuit bent/modified drum module, the 2xKawa. You can see this portable drum module patched up in the picture below...

The box was built into an old 8 track tape case, and can be operated with a 9 volt battery or connected to an external power supply with banana plugs. The basis of the machine is two Kawasaki drum toys, but it contains several other hand soldered circuits. There is a six or eight step trigger sequencer, internal control voltage modulated clock, divide by 2/3/4 circuits and two arcade style trigger buttons. The box has two drum polyphony, as you can trigger one drum per toy simultaneously. The two toys are summed in a mixer, which has variable gain, and two types of fuzz distortion. You can chose between using the built in speakers for live stereo sound, or using the mono output for recording.

As you can see, it is a pretty complex modular sort of drum device. It is compatible with most of my other modular gear, so allows for a lot of fun drum creation.

Beyond this, I have been rethinking my main studio quite a lot! I have a few pictures which will demonstrate where it's at as of today.... First, my DIY modular set up...

I also have expanded my keyboard and MIDI setup considerably recently...

All in all, a musically eventful time! Who knows what changes will arrive in the month leading up to the Solstice... I'll try to update again soon, just in case I end up in jail!

25 July, 2015 I've been out of touch with the blog for a while, but it is not for lack of subject matter, nor for lack of good intentions to update. With that in mind, here I am with some simple additions to the page.

Got something called a "Roll Up Drum" at a thrift shop recently. Could tell right away that the "roll" part which contained the pads to trigger the one shots was based on a piezoelectric set up, so I figured it would be very easy to turn it into a drum module. Turns out I was right!

I removed the roll with the pads on it, and just used the main electronic section. This can be triggered from pretty much any decent square like signal or gate, and even reacts to envelopes with differing results. I have triggered it from my DIY modular as well as some other circuit bent items. This seems to have a very lo fi sound in general, but in all the best ways... granular, loopy, crunchy.

I added a filter sounding gain pot which effects the whole output, as well as a pitch knob, which will react moderately to a control voltage when set right. There is also a main ground jack, and then the rest are trigger points for 5 sounds. You can change what sound is triggered on each jack... aside from the kick drum. It was quite a challenge to fit all the wiring and things in such a small case, but it finally came together.

I'm sure this item will show up on some new releases, as I have been sampling it quite a bit already. In the mean time, go check out my latest tracks; Snake In The Past and Traffic Jam! Keep watching for the new stuff!

Can you see me?

15 May, 2015 Been a busy couple of months between planting time, smoking through czech glass pipes, and finalizing my recent song. I'm very proud to announce that the work paid off! As of last night, the vocal mix of Stealth Matriculation took the spot of most played electronic track on Looperman! One of my earlier songs "Baghead" held this position for some time, but was again overtaken by one of Looperman Shan's tracks. Currently seven songs of mine are in the top 20 electronic track plays on Looperman!

12 April, 2015 It's been a little while since I updated, as spring is a busy time. Been struggling with some computer issues, as well as taking my time making my song "Stealth Matriculation" into a real song... heh.

I have gotten some things done though, such as this new envelope generator for the modular synth, which is my own design based on some old schematics and some help from those more experienced in sequential logic.

I worked pretty hard on it, but the prototype is all finished and installed in my modular. Having great results! It can do ADSR and AR envelopes, and has an automatic function with an output to sync other modules with the gates. It also has buffered outputs, both positive and inverted. The inverted output has an offset knob to adjust the modulation.

Any way, to celebrate getting that done I did a quick synth jam video. Nothing complex, just a percussive patch that messed about with.

Or go here to see it on youtube!

23 February, 2015 Hey everybody! Just wanted to update and let you know I removed all of the embedded soundcloud stuff from the "listen" page, as my psychiatrist tried to access the blog and those links pushed their way to the top of my layer scheme. Damn corporate crap!!! Harvested my dreadlocks today, as you can see in the picture below.

Oh yeah, posted a new track like a week or two ago, which uses my new MIDI to CV/gate converter. Wasn't tuned quite right yet apparently, but I think it still sounds cool. Check yo' head!

Stealth Matriculation!!!

22 March, 2015 I finished a new track yesterday, based on a tech house sort of instrumental I was working on. Got some unexpected inspiration for the vocals and went with it. You can hear the mp3 at Looperman and the wav version at Soundcloud! Free downloads! Hope to see you there!

15 February, 2015 In the past couple days I finished an ambient audio project as requested by Dan Goldstein who runs This was intended to interpret a photograph by artist Shelley Neff. It is all composed of instruments which I built or modified, save for one recording with a microphone. You can hear this unusual experiment at Audio Sparks For Art!

10 February, 2015 Well, I've been busy with songs and circuitry as usual. This time I've got a new build to display, which will be the first change to the "Gear" section of the Spivkurl portal in a lot of years.

This is the first microphone I have built, and it seems like a successful build! This one is a dual or stereo electret condenser microphone, and it has a 1/4 inch output for each side. Can be used as a single mono mic, or each element can be patched wherever you want.

This microphone's first recording is featured on my newest track entitled "PB And Grace." You can listen to it here or here! To have a closer look at this microphone, with rollover explanations of the parts, then click on the "Gear" link in the navigation bar.

10 January, 2015 I've come back with a link to the song I spoke of yesterday. It consists only of sounds from the "Breaking Blue" synth which I mentioned in the last entry. Here is the song at Looperman! I think it turned out pretty nice. Have a listen!

9 January, 2015 So I'm finally here with a couple of new pieces of gear to introduce you to!

The first item I'll bring up is a table top synthesizer which I've dubbed "Breaking Blue," which is also the title of the song which I was writing while I built this synth - though it does not contain any sounds from this synth.

As you can see, it's fairly minimal. Consists of a linear voltage controlled oscillator which can be controlled by either LFO 1, LFO 1 x 2, or an external control voltage. LFO 1 has two variable pulse width modes as well. There is a knob for the CV range, CV slew, and maximum frequency. There are three modes on the VCO modulation in addition.

I like that I was finally able to find a use for the model railroad style switch on this one. Makes for an easy power on movement. There is a small green LED which indicates the control voltage reaching the VCO. 1/4" jacks for CV in and mono audio out.

I also have a song created with only sounds from this synth, and it's almost ready for release. So keep watching for that link!

Next up is my recently finished 4 step CV/gate sequencer!

I've wanted to build a sequencer to go with the modular for a long long time, and I finally designed a proper schematic last winter. After some revisions and feature creep, I came down to this design.

This has a built in clock with rate indicator LED. The rate can be controlled manually by setting the knob, or by control voltage - with adjustable range. You can also switch to external clock, and clock it from just about anything... I've gone so far as using an external LFO, as well as clocking from the rhythm clock on a circuit bent toy. Each step has a CV setting, plus a switch to disable that step... and indicator LED. Wow, these LEDs are bright!

I also included a rotary switch to chose number of steps: 4, 3, or 2... for different timing. The output has variable slide speed, and a CV range knob. Outputs CV and gate signals, plus can be run of mains power or batteries. The 9v DC runs to banana jacks for optionally powering something else.

Having just an awesome time playing with this thing, so I made a little video this morning! It's a pretty basic patch, with the sequencer controlling VCO pitch, the saw wave output feeds a low pass filter which is modulated by the inverted ADSR envelope, and the triangle wave and filtered saw are mixed at the VCM-1 module. That output is controlled by the positive envelope from the ADSR. The VCO is set to sync with another LFO, some sin and some square. Keep in mind it's raw and spontaneous. Watch and let me know what you think!

Or go here to see it on youtube!

7 January, 2015 Been obsessed building things recently, thus not blogging a lot... I will soon have great new gear featured here! In the mean time, I wanted to direct your attention to Ebay where we have the most auctions posted ever! Everything from original collage art to vintage electronic parts, and from cat food to beaded jewelry! Check it out!

Blog Entries From 2014

Latest Blog Entries

12 December, 2014 A bit over a month ago, I started to feel very inspired and focused. I've finally arrived at the blog (which has remained silent for this time) with the results of this time.

I began work on two things, virtually simultaneously. A song and a DIY guitar project.

I will introduce the song first, as I'm proud of it and would like people to hear it at least once. You can find the mp3 version at my home away from home Looperman. Here is the wav verion for free download at Soundcloud! Both sites have descriptions which will tell you a bit more about my process while creating the song. Thank you for listening!

Now I can give you a glimpse of my latest build, which I call the Parallel Killer Guitar.

For more than two decades I have been interested in repairing, modifying, and rebuilding guitars. I don't pretend to be good at it in anyway, but I do know what I like in a guitar. This guitar's story starts earlier in the year (2014), when I was walking down our avenue. We walked past an apartment which had aparently been vacated with all possessions inside. The man's stuff was lying all over outside. This guy had lived there quite a long time, and I enjoyed walking by his porch garden which sprawled to the yard... it was full of various plants which I couldn't identify. It was comforting. Seems like he had died in the apartment, unnoticed. Amongst his belongings was an old Stella H928, which began production in 1945. It seemed in pretty bad shape, so I hesitated, but ultimately gave in to the urge to take it home... encouraged by the neighbors who said it was okay.

I began work on the original guitar by loosening the fretboard from the body. Initially I thought that the neck and/or fretboard were warped from poor conditions. It turned out that the top of the body was severely warped around the fretboard, to the point of cracking. When I realized this, I set the guitar aside and went on with life.

Not long ago I was feeling guitar inspired, and was reading up about cigar box guitars a bit. I decided I could create my own salvage based guitar from things that I had been keeping for projects. I had an old card catalog sort of drawer that I had thought of for synthesizer casing... it turned out to be just the right width for a compact guitar body. Luck struck when I realized that the wooden box for the Xacto set that my father gave me was exactly the same width as the guitar body. After that things fell into place... the Stella neck and hardware would become parts to a new custom guitar.

I went into the project without expectations or plans, and let it shape itself. In this spirit, I considered circuits that I had built many years ago as active circuitry to make the guitar an electroacoustic instrument. Finding a combination of a three band equalizer and a single transistor peramp/gain stage would work well, I moved on to finding a good pickup. I first settled on a transducer, which was intended for high frequencies. Wanting more, I broke into an old space shuttle toy, which I knew would have a more traditional piezo disc for it's speaker. There it was. This had a nicer low frequency response, so I had an idea... wire the two in parallel and use one towards the bass side, and one towards the treble. At this point I felt it necessary to set up a couple passive filters and a potentiometer to crossfade between the two pickup circuits. The output of the crossfade is sent to the active circuits. The output of those goes to the 1/4” jack. All active circuitry has a power switch. After testing this set up, I went on to build the guitar parts.

I decided to use the back of the Stella as the front of my guitar, as it was very flat still. Shaping it was difficult, and encouraged me to buy a new high speed tool. The main body, the card catalog drawer, was pretty much ready, save for a new tail end with reinforcement. The Xacto blade box needed to be cut to the correct length to accommodate the circuitry within, as well as create the correct scale length to mimic the H928. After cutting and shaping everything to size, I drilled holes for all the knobs, jacks, and the switch. I shielded the box, and mounted all the components. The pickups were reconnected, and a small clip for the 9v battery was made and mounted. Finally I made sound holes in the top, the bass side having a larger hole... they were finished off with gold colored grills.

Now came the unfamiliar territory, putting the guitar together. Luckily I had found a couple bar clamps for a pittance recently, they came in handy. I used both screws and epoxy to mount the tail end control box, and epoxy to mount the guitar body top. Once those were in place, I set to mounting the neck, which was tedious using only a ruler. Got it as accurately places as I possibly could. After touching some nicks up, I let everything dry for a while.

I set to stringing it all up and adjusting the action, when I found a pitfall which I slightly anticipated... the tail end was a bit weak for the string pressure. A bit of reinforcement later, I set to tuning up. It took a while to stretch the strings, but finally got it in tune. Seems to keep tune as well as any of my other guitars, with decent intonation without much bridge adjustment. Had to shim a few strings at the bridge to keep away buzz, as the bridge saddles had worn quite deep.

An added bonus to the Stella guitar I found was a steel nut made by Nick Manoloff, most likely in the 1930's. It gives a high action, but I am used to that in almost all of my guitars.

Anyway, the thing has a sweet bluesy tone, and is just amazing for lap or slide work. It is quickly becoming my favorite guitar to play. Thanks for reading through all this! I hope to have more on the blog soon!

31 October, 2014 Just finished the new mix and master of Proximal Vicinity, inluding the powerful writing, singing, and lead guitar work of Mark Ratcliffe. He recorded his parts based on my earlier mix, and allowed me to mix them in and give it an new master. Turned out awesome! Thanks Mark for all you effort! You can hear the ShortBusMusic Proximal Vicinity Ft Mark Ratcliffe Spivkurl Mix 13IA on my Looperman account.

1 November, 2014 I just wanted to post this photo of Robert Smith on the blog, as I think it turned out cool. Parallels my thoughts about the zombification of the populace, with the empty eyes that have been worn and torn.

31 October, 2014 I have worked all day on creating my contribution to the Looperman Zombie Apocalypse. You can find the audio, text, and photos at the Spivkurl World Of Zombies. Hope you enjoy the experience! You can find the song for download at this link on my Looperman account.

25 October, 2014 Midisparks of Looperman along with phatkatz of the same, along with myself have collaborated on a track in recent times... the finished product is HERE... freeking cool to be involved in this piece of art! That darn cat!

18 October, 2014 Have received both T-shirt prizes for the ShortBusMusic Mixing and Mastering competition, so I thought I'd take some pictures in them! I'm in the middle of rethinking my main studio room at the moment, and I thought a glimpse of it would make for a good setting. First up, the ShortBusMusic shirt, which reads "Get On The Bus," and has a bear driving a short school bus. Thank you much ShortBus Happy that I could get out the stains from my birthday celebration - guacamole and blood...

And next up is me sporting the T-shirt. It's grey, which I think is a bit more suited to me. Thanks Shan!

17 October, 2014 Wanted to give a shout out to my buddy Subsport AKA 600N AKA Goon Hackz as he is a completely cool human being, as well as an amazing electronic artist. He's been influencing me for years, and he has a style all his own. Here is some of his new liveset work which is really freekin cool!

This is a link to the his new remix of System Night which has some audio contributions from me. It's totally cool!

And also a link to my early remix for him: Subsport Liquid Damage Spivkurl Mix Still a classic!

12 October, 2014 Finally got the DIY gear projects I've been speaking of finished, and I'm including a few photos here! Once I get around to updating the "Gear" link in the portal, there will be a more dedicated explanation of the stuff, but for now it will be simple and fun to look at.

The first one I built I am calling the "Light Sorcerer." This is an optical, or light sensitive, controller for my modular synth. It is not powered independently, and makes no sound without being hooked up to something. This piece is all discrete analog construction.

As you can see, it's very small and also pretty simple... don't be deceived, it packs some power when patched correctly! On the left of the controller, you will see the two different sensors which respond to light with different reaction curves. You can switch between the two for different uses or lighting situations. The knob labelled "Tension" will adjust the range and reaction of the sensors. At the top are the banana jack connections; positive, ground, and control voltage output. There is an LED display inside, near the "Tension" control, which gives feedback as to what the control voltage being output is. One of my favorite things about this piece is that you can connect other control voltages from the synth to the "positive" jack, thus enabling control of the depth of that CV based on light changes! Fun stuff!

This other piece was finished yesterday. It is a circuit bent cassette player, which was originally made by JC Penney who knows how long ago. This one can be operated by three AA batteries, or a wall wart power supply. The only drawback is that the deck did not have a speaker system within, thus it must be connected to something for it to be heard.

Another fairly simple setup, but it's quite fun to play with. As most of my DIY audio stuff is, this is intended to interface with my modular synth. It has banana jack outputs for left and right of a stereo signal, plus ground so the synth can interface properly. Also has an input jack with adjustable depth. The large knob in the center adjusts the speed that the tape runs at, for pitch/tempo sort of effects. The switch on there is either; off, set to "bend" which increases the pitch/speed range of the "SPD" knob, or set to "feed" which feeds the output back to point on the circuit for dirt and oscillation effects.

When preparing to build this one, I also created my first cassette tape loop, which is the cassette shown inside. Making a tape loop with tape that small and fragile is not as easy as it looks. Took several tries to get it to work the way I intended. Can anyone tell me what tape I made the loop on, just by looking at the pictures?

5 October, 2014 Received good news yesterday, it turns out that my entry for the ShortBusMusic Mixing and Mastering Competition has been chosen as one of two winners! I'm really pleased to be recognized along with Orlando51, who is a great musician and mixer in his own right. Huge thank you to ShortBusMusic for his work on the original song, and for keeping the competition running smoothly! Sounds like I will be getting a ShortBus T-shirt, as well as a Looperman T-shirt as prizes, so that makes me quite happy!

Hoping I'll finish the second of two custom gear projects today. I'll be updating with pictures and stuff as soon as possible! BTW, I'm very sorry about the "Spetember" typos... you know how cut and paste goes...

20 September, 2014 So, I finished my entry for the ShortBusMusic Mixing and Mastering Competition. Turned out pretty decent I think! Took much detail work in the early mornings, and was an enjoyable challenge. It's entitled Proximal Vicinity Spivkurl Mix 13B Master B. I'm not usually very keen on cinematic music out of the context of a movie, but this one I could actually enjoy enough to take the time to mix it. Enjoy listening!

Also will have some new gear to introduce soon. Just a bit more work to do first!

15 September, 2014 Thought of a couple more of my recent DIY music related projects that might be of interest to others, so here I am to post some pics!

First up is a home-made guitar capo that I put together a couple weeks ago. I've never owned or used a capo before, but found myself in the position to want one for playing some different styles. Did a bit of research and looked around the house to see what supplies I had on hand. All that I needed to buy was a couple dollars of machine screws, wing nuts, and nylon bolts/washers. The main pieces of the capo are built from two wood pieces cut from a wooden clothes hanger, as well as some plastic and insulating foam from salvaged electronics. Got a photo of the unmounted capo, plus one of it mounted on my Eko folk guitar.

Also have some pics of my first circuit bend in quite a while, which I call the BlueTouch Keyboard. It's a pretty basic bend, and focuses on manipulating the sounds with touch points, made from machine screws bolted on the case. These respond to handling or touch of skin, routing signal between touch points with varying resistance depending on pressure and moisture of the fingers. Some of the sounds in the "Fuel Tank Kit" which I released for free not too long ago were sampled from this toy. Here are some photos; first the whole toy, and second, the touch points.

10 September, 2014 Us and our friends are being harrassed again by the neighbors, all of the sudden. After having a stern talk with one of them, we decided to finally string up our horse bow and do some target practice. Had some nice shots for out first time trying this bow! I missed the target one time, and the arrow went straight through the garage door! The only thing holding it there was the fletching! That's gotta hurt!

8 September, 2014 Been working steadily on my entry for the ShortBusMusic Mixing and Mastering Competition that was started on recently. The original is a really good song, but I'm definitely finding things to improve upon. Keep watch and I'll post a link to the finished mix when it's ready!

7 September, 2014 Due to my being fed up with the negative influence of standard social media sites, I have chosen to begin the Spivkurl Blog as the main page in the Spivkurl portal on I will attempt to keep it updated whenever there is something to speak of. I'm attempting to enable a simple comment box as well, so hopefully that works out.

After the release of "Charting The Anomaly," my eleventh full length album, I'm in a mode to realize new sounds and techniques. With that in mind, I have been tuning the Samick upright piano in the last week. First time trying to tune a piano, and while it is apparently very good for my selective hearing, it is also quite hard on my hands. Not only does it take some directed force to tune those pegs, but I'm also not accustomed to playing fully weighted keys. You can hear the un-tuned piano in action in my song "Psychogenic Sammich". Here is a neat picture of the piano all opened up, showing the action and all.


I've also been returning to one of my favorite activities, circuit bending! I've been sampling many of my older toys; both for the purpose of including new sounds in my music, and to hopefully create a real gallery of my efforts - including audio examples as well as free high qaulity loops and one shots for you to use in your music. Hopefully that will come together in the next couple of months!

I have been working on a couple of bending projects in recent weeks. Picked up a Kawasaki iSoundz toy not long ago, and have installed the basics on it - 1/4 inch output jack, power switch, and switch for chosing output jack or speaker. I've already sampled the raw sounds from it for later use, but hopefully I'll get some more bends sorted on it and sample those. Here's a picture of the toy with those early additions.


What I'm really proud of though is FINALLY finishing the bending and mounting of my Tyco HotKeyz, which is a nice old keytar. I'm thinking I started bending this rig about 6 years ago, and when things got complicated I set it on a shelf in the basement until a few weeks ago. I installed a lot of controls on this one, including several filter effects, some overdrive stuff, and some envelope manipulating bends. This thing sounds really nice unmodified, but with these bends it can get pretty hardcore! I even attached a macrame hemp strap, which looks kind of cool. Got a picture of the finished product below.


Well, thank you to anyone who is looking at or following this new addition to the Spivkurl portal. Hope to see some of you around the web!

10 August, 2014 SpivKurl's newest album "Charting The Anomaly" is now available as a free MP3 download.


This album contains some of Spivkurl's collaborations with artists such as doctorcatface, Benham Zandi DeciBel, and FarM aka honkytonk. One song, entitled "Liberate," includes loops from the following Looperman users; d2d, subspace, shortbusmusic, lossupersonikos, and minor2go. A huge thank you to everyone involved! Please visit the Capitalist Market to download this album as a high quality MP3 download.