Tiptoeing Under a Canopy of Leaves

Kapiti Island canopy

Not to be confused with Barkhausen Effects, Barkhausen is a music collective, meaning it doesn’t have a fixed membership. But if there is anyone who is a regular it’s my good mate Jason Tamihana-Bryce, who lives up the street from me and pops down to jam regularly. I briefly played bass for Jason’s band Antlergram.

Here’s a recent track recorded from an evening session last week, called Tiptoeing Under The Canopy Of Leaves. This is improvised music roughly following a raga structure.

Guitars: Murray Altheim & Jason Tamihana-Bryce.


Was ist das Barkhausen?

Where does Barkhausen get its name?

At the same time as I formed Barkhausen (as a band) I was also planning to start producing guitar pedals and/or Eurorack synthesizer modules. This enterprise was to be called Barkhausen Effects.

I’ve given up the idea of making electronic products. It’s hard to imagine how I could have made it a profitable venture in New Zealand, where there are enormous input tariffs on imported goods and the dollar is weak against foreign currencies. The price of my products would not have been remotely competitive.  I could have had them produced in China or somewhere where labour is cheap but ethically I couldn’t countenance that. And then there was the prospect of actually hand-building hundreds of objects, all that soldering and such. It would have taken up a huge amount of time and energy.

I enjoyed the journey but in the end I’d rather just make music.

The rest of this post (which was originally written in 2015) relates to Barkhausen Effects:

I was originally planning on calling this enterprise Vollgas Klang Effekte, which translates from the German as “full throttle sound effects”. It had that gruff (vulgar) Germanic ring to it, especially if you said it in a Heavy Metal-inflected sorta way. Despite it sounding good it was silly. That’s not a bad thing in itself, but I was looking for something that actually meant something to me. And I found it. More… Was ist das Barkhausen?


The Hard Yards

It’s not like me to start with something simple like a three transistor distortion box — the world does not need another one of those. So I’ve been reading books like Don Lancaster’s Active Filter Cookbook and Texas Instruments Op Amps for Everyone (both apparently kinda classics in the field), though I suspect that latter title is a bit enthusiastic. I’m learning a lot, which is fun.

I haven’t owned a breadboard since the 1980s. I’ve been collecting ideas, parts, schematics and data sheets for integrated circuits a few months ago I didn’t know even existed. Analog Multipliers and Operational Transconductance Amplifiers are strange and interesting beasts. More… The Hard Yards


Improvised, abstract music.