29 September 2008

Building Apollo Studio (Part 13)

Last week the constructor started working on the roof of the studio. The first thing they did is put on large concrete plates. On top of that a maze from steel was made again that will reinforce the concrete that will be put on later. Also the electrician put in the pipes for the electrical wiring. We made two light spots in the studio and 4 places to get electricity from. Besides that I asked them to put in extra pipes for my surround monitoring setup. These active monitors will be attached to the ceiling so I needed two pipes per speaker one for the audio signal and one for the power. There will be one switch later to turn all the monitors on and off at once. Very convenient.

After this they put on a layer of concrete. You can just see the steel framework left in the corner. They straightened the whole thing by hand. Quite impressive to see. Of course the concrete is fluid for a while so they can still manipulate it. They also left a hole that you can see in the back of the picture. Though this opening (that will be bigger later) the stairs that will lead down will be fitted eventually. I find it still difficult to imagine how it will all look later, but I guess it will be alright :)

At the moment they put the concrete on it was very sunny weather. The constructor was actually afraid that it would dry too quickly. This could lead to potential cracks he said. So he asked us to put water on it after a few hours and again the next morning. Here you see my wife watering the concrete. It was already dry enough to stand on here. Quite nice that we can go outside already again. My wife and the kids also went down in the basement last weekend. It was quite an echo well they said. Which confirms that we will have a lot of work to get the acoustics right later. But we did anticipate on that. We'll see what they are going to do next this week. I hope at least they can close the gap to our neighbor's garden so that this can't be ruined any further. I'll keep you posted.

27 September 2008

First AtmoSphere Samples online

I just put new samples online from my new 'AtmoSphere' album. It is always difficult to make a good selection , but I think these tracks will give you a good idea what the album sounds like. Please note that these are just low quality mp3 samples. The quality on the CD will be much better and of course the CD holds 12 tracks and is about 71 minutes long. I hope you will enjoy these tracks and if you like them please buy the album later, since that will make it possible for me to do another release in the future. You can find the music on this URL:


I hope you will enjoy it. I'm looking forward to the release on the 11th of October.

25 September 2008

AtmoSphere music on Syndae Saturday

During the Electronic Circus in Bielefeld I met Stefan from the very nice Syndae podcast. He did a nice promotion towards this festival. From now on he will promote the E-live festival in Eindhoven. This festival is organized by Groove Unlimited and there they will also release my new album 'AtmoSphere'. Stefan is the first radio station to play one of my new tracks. He played 'Nimbostratus' which is a special track since my friend Hanz also plays with me on this track. It is actually my first cooperation. The show is online now. You can find it here:


And since it is a podcast you don't have to be afraid you missed it. It will be online to listen to at any time. I heard there are also still tickets for the E-live festival. So if you can come to Eindhoven the 11th of October. I will be present there as well with a stall.

Albinoni Cover played on Sounds of Syn

The cover I made from the Classical track 'Adagio in G minor' from the composer Tomaso Albinoni was played on the German Radio show 'Sounds of Syn'. I made this cover for the Schallplatte X release that was recently done by the German Electronic Music club 'Schallwende'. You can find more information on this project here:


AeroDynamics Review in French

And while I'm very busy preparing for the release of my new album still reviews are written about my first album 'AeroDynamics'. I just received this review that is written in French by Guillaume Dumazer for detoxinfo.fr. He send me also a little translation:

Formula 1 fan, Michel did build the concept of this album about it and composed / played all the music alone. More than an hour of synth music with clear reminiscences of JM Jarre works and some hints of Vangelis movie soundtracks. Perfect music if you want to organize a Gran Turismo championship or during cocktails with such obsessing, dream-like melodies. Very strong first opus !

You can find the original review here:


24 September 2008

AtmoSphere Artwork Ready

Today Kees Aerts from my label Groove Unlimited finished all the artwork for my album. I think he did a really nice job. All the text is in place now and ready to go to the printer. I also did the last mastering session today with Ron Boots. So this music is finished too. Tomorrow I will go to my friend Hanz to listen to the master for an eventual error. In the case we find anything we still have until Monday to fix it, but I hope not actually. Today I also started to prepare the promotion campaign I will do for the album. So my work is far from done yet. But at least no more dead lines for now. I can do this a bit more easy now. I hope to get some airplay of course with the new tracks and sell some albums ;) Any help would be appreciated with this promotion by the way. So if you have idea's just let me know.

23 September 2008

Building Apollo Studio (Part 12)

Things are starting to look like something now. The outside walls are standing. Here you can see another picture my wife took from the roof of our neighbors. It gives again a nice overview of the project. We didn't have any more collapses so far. Fortunately the weather is still nice. Let's hope it stays like this for another 3 weeks. By then you won't see any of this anymore since it will be below the ground :) These walls are 25 cm wide so it is all quite solid. A special technique was used to ensure that everything will be water tight. To lower 12 cm of the whole construction will be in permanent ground water anyway. With bad weather this level will rise a bit even.

In the picture on the right you can see that they also started constructing the inside walls. Unfortunately one of these wall was incorrect on the drawings so it ended up on the wrong spot as well :( Another setback. They will have to tear it down again and build a new one. I saw this only when they were done. We don't know where it went wrong, but we'll figure that out with the architect. Unfortunately we didn't have any drawings left ourselves. We gave them all away to various subcontractors that also will be working on the studio afterward.

Here you see a picture of the studio with walls and all. There is someone standing inside so that should give you a sense of the room. It looks nice from the top. Here they are preparing the roof on top of the whole construction. They are going very fast now with construction it is even hard to keep up with taking pictures :) We still are a bit behind schedule but not much. So all still looks good. We had another minor problem. They forgot some cables that would be in pipes in the wall. But we will put them in later. This is a bit more work but not really a setback.

Today they also finished the first phase of building this roof. They put concrete plates on top with metal wiring attached. The wiring from the walls are bend into this and on top of this there will be another layer of concrete. Hopefully they will put this in tomorrow. The basement will be a very solid concrete construction after this. On top of this roof there will be about 6 cm of sand and then our terrace will go on that. So when we sit outside in the summer when the weather is nice. We will sit on top of the studio :)

Last AtmoSphere album update

OK I thought it would be nice to give you a last update on the progress of my new album. The music is all done now. Tomorrow we will do the final mastering session at Groove Unlimited. And then the album will be done. In the end I did make one track even a little longer. The final CD will be about 72 minutes in length. The last thing left for me to do is to finish the text for the booklet that will come with the CD. I also used the corrections I got from some of you on the text that was already online on my website. Thanks for that. I changed that this morning. If you see anything strange please let me know since I have to finish this by Thursday the latest. I wanted to put some more samples online already, but decided to wait with that until the final material is ready tomorrow. So keep an eye (and ear) on my website the coming days :)

Electronic Circus was very nice

I had a very nice time in Bielefeld at the Electronic Circus festival. It was especially nice to see my Groove colleague Gert Emmens play live, but also the other concerts were enjoyable. It was nice to meet a lot of people I know from the Internet there and also some new people. The organization of the event was superb and also the sound was good. My compliments to them all. I will definately go again next year when I'm able to. It was nice to relax a bit this weekend after all the work I did on my new album. My friend Hanz went along and I think he also enjoyed himself. We stayed in a hotel after the event so we could drive home the next day after sleeping out and a nice breakfast. The picture you see here was taken by Koos from EMportal.info. Thank you Koos for permitting me to use it.

18 September 2008

Building Apollo Studio (Part 11)

On Monday we had another setback unfortunately. Another collapse of the side of the hole. This time at our neighbors. A part of their garden collapsed into ours and the fence in between came down. Here you see the constructor cleaning the mess up. They put ropes on the fence to keep it up again. It took them almost all day to repair this again so another day. Our neighbor was not very happy of course but was at first was concerned that this would not go any further. The guys that were going to build the walls came at 7 that day and left again because of this. We slept very bad the following night hoping that we could finally continue. I will be very happy when they can start filling up this ever growing hole again.

On Tuesday morning we were happy to see that nothing else collapsed that night. At 6:45 the constructor arrived and they started constructing the temporary double walls that will hold the concrete for the final walls. It was quite nice to see that they have a complete fitting system for this. We expected them to use wood or something like that, but that wasn't the case. They use big panels that are apparently reusable. But still a lot of work. It took them all day to build this construction. Quite impressive to watch this.

In the pictures on the left you see the final construction. On top you see wooden planks that makes a path they can walk on. Very clever. You can also see the double wall now. In the space in between the concrete will go. You can also see that they put poles to the walls in the middle to hold the walls up. The weight of the concrete is a lot and it is nice when the walls end up straight of course :) These poles are fastened to the foundation so the whole thing can't go anywhere. They left it like this on Tuesday because it was already quite late.

On Wednesday they returned to put in the concrete. They used a big crane to hoist up small portions they could put in between the double wall. They went round the project a couple of times filling everything up smoothly and equally. This whole process took about half a day to complete. Now this has to harden again for another few days and the planning is that on Monday they come back to remove the temporary double walls and they we should have nice concrete walls for the basement :) I'm very curious how that will look. The step after that will be construction a roof on top of this all. I'll update you next week on the progress. For now we are a bit less worried and hopefully we can sleep a bit better. I just hope not more of the neighbors garden will slide down again. We can only hope for the best on this and repair whatever damage is done afterward.

17 September 2008

Synth.nl at Electronic Circus on Saturday

On Saturday I will go with my friend Hanz to the Electronic Circus in Bielefeld Germany. On this event there will be some concerts from colleague artist that play electronic music, but also a lot of people will be there that I know. Groove Unlimited my label will also be there with a stall to sell my CD's. And if you want to meet me that would be a good place to do that. I will bring my Ipod with my new album on it so you can also have a quick listen there if you like. You can regognize me I guess by the 'Synth.nl' T-shirt that I'll be wearing. I'll let you know how it was afterwards. You can go to the website for more information on the event: http://www.electronic-circus.net/

16 September 2008

Semtex XL Semi Modular

In this picture you see the Semtex XL from Anywhere Instruments. I have it on loan now from Hanz. Here you see it on top of my Formant modular. Because of the semi modular setup the Semtex XL it is very flexible. We used it extensively on my AtmoSphere album for the creation of sound effects. Hanz made most sound effects on this one. I used the Korg MS20 from Chris and my own Moog Voyager RME myself to make even more. Together with these synthesizers and my Eventide Eclipse some pretty nice sound effects were made I think. You will hear a lot of them on my new AtmoSphere album. It is amazing what frequencies this beast can produce. I have seen stuff above 20 Khz in my spectrum analyzer coming from this synthesizer.

13 September 2008

Building Apollo Studio (Part 10)

Last week a lot has happened here. On Monday the foundation was hardened. And they could continue the work. A wall was constructed under the foundation of our existing part of the house. It will hold the ground under the foundation in place and between this wall and the wall of the basement there will be a layer of isolation material. They filled up the space behind this wall with the sand you see in the container. It is a nice feeling to know that no more ground can fall from under the house anymore.

After this they started to build a steel wire construction for the walls. At first we though the wall would come pre-constructed but this not the case. They will make these walls on the spot from concrete just like the foundation. The steel construction will be inside the walls to strengthen the whole construction. It now even gives a better idea about how big the new studio will be. It looks promising :) I'm already imagining what will go where :) The door seems to come on another spot than I put it in my 3D drawings, but I think it is even better where it is now.

Unfortunately on Friday we had a major setback. We had very bad wheather here in The Netherlands with lots of heavy rain. That caused a lot of clay to come down again on the sides of the hole. We had that before, but now it damaged the whole steel construction as you can see in the picture. Today 4 guys were busy to dig this clay out manually. They were not very happy about his and neither are we. This will mean further delay. I hope they can repair the steel construction on Monday and still start with the walls. We can only hope now not more clay will come down. I will be happy when the walls are ready that we wont be bothered by these kind of problems any more. Well we will see next week :)

09 September 2008

AtmoSphere Final Track List

The track list for my new Atmosphere album is final now. The CD will hold 12 tracks in total and it will be a bit over 70 minutes long. So you will get value for you money. At least in length ;) I have written some text for each track again to explain what inspired me to compose it. You can find them on my main website on this URL:


It could be that I'll have to shorten the text a bit to fit the CD booklet, but I don't know that yet. We are going to work on that soon. If you see anything strange in the text do let me know by the way, because I can still change it now.

Here is the final track list: (actual lengths may vary a few seconds)
  1. Troposphere (5m54s)
  2. Cumulonimbus (5m30s)
  3. Stratosphere (5m50s)
  4. Stratocumulus (5m42s)
  5. Altocumulus (5m38s)
  6. Atmosphere (7m22s)
  7. Mesosphere (6m34s)
  8. Nimbostratus (6m21s)
  9. Altostratus (4m37s)
  10. Thermosphere (6m33s)
  11. Cirrostratus (4m37s)
  12. Exosphere (6m07s)
Next Wednesday I will do the last remixing and mastering session with Ron Boots and after that I can select some tracks for you to hear and put them online as a preview.

06 September 2008

Building Apollo Studio (Part 9)

In the picture on the left you see another nice picture my wife took from further away. It gives a good overview again of the scale of this project. You can still see them digging here on the side or our house. But they are long gone by now with this machine. And again you can see the dept of the hole and the bottom of our foundation. Luckily or house is standing on 24 poles of about 10 meters long otherwise it probably would not be standing anymore now with all the ground that is gone now.

This week they started on the foundation. The first thing they did is measure out the floors and laying a layer of insulation on the bottom. That material will help to stop to much temperature flowing away through the floor later. On the sides they constructed a boundary that will hold the concrete later for the foundation. You can see the poles sticking through the holes. They will be connected later to the foundation so that everything will stay in place.

On top of this layer of insulation a construction was build with these woven steel sheets you see here. The concrete will flow between that to make it all very strong. I didn't see them do this unfortunately. I was out to work at that moment. My wife did take some pictures of this, but I haven't got them yet. But I guess you can picture this yourself as well ;) A very big crane was standing next to the house to carry this steel over our house in the garden. The steel sticking out of the poles was bend into and connected to this whole construction.

After that the concrete was put in. In the picture on the left you see the finished foundation. It has to harden out this weekend. Next week they can continue with the walls on top of that. They are still on schedule by the way. Very nice. The planning is that by Friday even the basements will be closed from the top. So the ceiling will be on. We will see. But is nice to see that thing are getting some shape now and I also have an idea how big my studio will be :) Well that is all for now. More next week.

AtmoSphere album update

Hi I'm still not ready with the album. The last three tracks still need some work. I have about two more weeks left, so I guess I will manage that. Well it has too :) I did another remixing / mastering session with Ron Boots from Groove Unlimited last week. We did 7 tracks now. So there we are over the half of the project now. I did a listening session with my friend Hanz and we found some little things that need correction. So I will look at that with Hanz. He will probably even comes a long to the next session with Ron. Everything starts falling into place now. I'm also working on the text for the album booklet. It looks like it is almost time that I can post some samples on my website. So keep an eye on my website the coming two weeks :) Off course I will let you know on this blog when I did that.

02 September 2008

Building Apollo Studio (Part 8)

On Monday we discovered that the pump didn't do such a good job. The water level was actually higher than on Friday. You can see the water in the picture on the left. Were this guy is standing the desired dept of 3.1 meter is reached. But before they can start with the foundation this water has to be completely gone. They told me not to worry about it and that they already had a backup plan in place for this. As you can see by the way also the poles needed to be shortened again. So more jack hammer drilling all day long :( I'm so enjoying the silence when they go home now ;)

Shortly after that the backup plan arrived. A company specialized in this work. It was fun to see that they put this pipes in the ground with some kind of water drill. They pump water under high pressure through a hose to make a hole in the ground. Very quick. Then they could put in these pipes that are connected to a bigger pump. Within 2 hours all the water was gone and also the complete ground water level was dropped to the required depth. So after that they could continue to dig the rest also to 3.1 meters.

My wife went on the roof at our neighbors to take this picture. It gives a better idea of the scale of this project. You can also see our kitchen standing on one pole there in that corner. There is still some ground under the foundation there, but not much anymore. Quite a strange idea when we are having dinner there. Normally we can also walk outside to the garden there, but we locked that door now for safety. You can also see that it is completely dry now in this picture.

In this picture you see another load of dirt and clay leaving. Every time we think it will be the last one. But they are still driving on and of. Even our neighbors are starting to ask question now how much more loads will come. Well it should be almost done.

Also in the mean time some materials are arriving for the foundation. I guess they are a tiny bit behind schedule because of the water problem. But they will start soon on that. I'll update you again soon.