Foundation Demo

A video demo of the wicked looking Pittsburgh Modular Foundation synthesizer I previously mentioned (link). There are great things happening in the Eurorack modular community. If your don’t already know and are interesting in these type of synths and modules be sure to spend time over at the Muffwiggler forums.

“The Foundation is a fully modular, eurorack, analog synthesizer. A patchable system styled after the great monosynths of the past with no hardwired signal path or fixed voice architecture to restrict creativity. Driven by two wide range analog oscillators the Foundation produces a huge, warm sound that can’t be matched by digital or VST synths. All of the elements of a classic voltage controlled synthesizer are available as an open, patchable, modern synth.” – pittsburghmodular

For more info: pittsburghmodular.com

Pitch Painter

It’s never too early to start your spawn off with musical instruments. Pitch Painter from Morton Subotnick for iPad is a good one to put next to the crib. Honestly I’ve downloaded this and will probably use it on a song or too (not kidding). $2.99 in the App Store now.

“Morton Subotnick is one of the pioneers of electronic music and multi-media performance. He is an innovator in works involving instruments and interactive computer music systems. His work Silver Apples of the Moon has become a modern classic, and in 2010 was entered into the National Registry of Recorded works at the Library of Congress, which selected only 300 recordings in total for this esteemed archive. Subotnick is also a pioneer in offering creative musical tools to young children. He has authored the educational CD-ROM series Making Music which has been widely used by parents and educators to let children experiment with the fundamentals of pitch, rhythm, sounds and styles of music. Pitch Painter is his latest endeavor in utilizing mobile technology to ignite the musical creativity of children.” – appadvice.com

For more info:

German Freelancer Tax

The Merkel government has proposed a plan called “Rewarding Life’s Work” which is essentially a 350 Euro per month social security contribution that would be required by all the self employed. Add the new tax to required health insurance, rising energy and food costs and Berlin may loose some of it’s appeal for musicians. My personal opinion is my generation is now seeing it’s first real economic challenge. There are bridge tolls in the NY area that are $15. $10 is more like $1 used to be. We can complain but the world’s resources are being fought for and there are smart people on the other side of the world working all day for pennies. I would like a Utopia where artists could just concentrate on art but I don’t forsee that happening. My advice is work hard and use technology to your advantage. Use it to create pockets of time to paint and sing your masterpieces world be dammed.

“The German government’s plan to force freelancers to pay a compulsory retirement ‘contribution’ will kill off entrepreneurship and destroy millions of independent careers. That’s the opinion of Tim Wessels, an IT specialist from Hamburg who has launched a petition against the so-called “Rewarding Life’s Work” law. Freelancers will be forced to pay €350+ a month to support the broken pension system, on top of the €300-€600 they must already pay for health insurance (plus other taxes). Demanding that entrepreneurs fork out at least €650 a month in contributions before they earn a single cent will end innovation in Germany.” – deskmag.com

For more info on Rewarding Life’s Work: Skrufff, Exberliner and Deskmag

photo credit: lampenlee

Modular Monday

Here are two wonderful modular videos to get your week started. The first Buchla video above is from Italy and is just so very THX1138. Giorgio Sancristoforo does a great job creating lovely FM radio and filtering white noise. The next video shows Brazilian Arthur Joly’s incredible wall of metal. May these blips set the tone for a terrific week.

“A shortwave radio scans through North-African, Chinese, Russian, French, English and German channels, the output is then forwarded to the Buchla. Inside the synthesizer a white noise is processed with three narrow bandwidth band pass filters connected in serial configuration so to obtain quasi-sinusoids sounds. Both the sources are further processed with a balanced modulator and a frequency shifter and stochastically controlled by the Source of Uncertainty 266e module.” – giorgiosancristoforo.net

For more info: giorgiosancristoforo.net and Arthur Joly

Wurlitzer Swingin’ Rhythm

One of the items my father gave to me when the music department closed down at Fairleigh Dickinson University was a Wurlitzer Swingin’ Rhythm. It’s an analog preset drum machine from 1968. I used it on a song called Blood in the Sand (1999). Looking back now the song is a bit of a premonition. I foolishly didn’t think the box was worth that much so I left it behind during one of my many moves. A few weeks ago I was able to get one really cheap on eBay. Welcome home Wurlitzer. Today would have been my father’s 80th birthday.

“The Rudolph Wurlitzer Company, usually referred to simply as Wurlitzer, was an American company that produced stringed instruments, woodwinds, brass instruments, theatre organs, band organs, orchestrions, electronic organs, electric pianos and jukeboxes. Over time Wurlitzer changed to producing only organs and jukeboxes, but it no longer produces either. Deutsche Wurlitzer, owner of the Wurlitzer Jukebox and Vending Electronics trademark, was acquired by the Gibson Guitar Corporation.” – Wikipedia

For more info: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wurlitzer

42 Ways Musicians Make Money

If you were ever wondering as an musician if your maximizing your revenue The Future of Music site lists 42 ways you can make green. They also explain some of the differences between royalties and publishing. Take a look at the list here: link

“If you’re a musician or composer, you probably have a basic sense of the ways you can make money. Some revenue streams are simple to understand, like playing shows, or selling CDs or t-shirts. But there are many, many more ways that musicians can earn money from their compositions, performances, sound recordings, brand, or knowledge of the craft. We list 40 of them… So if you hear Patsy Cline singing “Crazy” which was written by Willie Nelson, Willie created the musical composition when he wrote down the notes and lyrics. Patsy created the sound recording when she performed Willie’s song, and it was captured on tape. As you browse the list, it’s important to keep these distinctions in mind since there are many times when different parts of the creative team are paid differently.” – futureofmusic.org

For more info: money.futureofmusic.org/40-revenue-streams

via shocklee.com

Ableton Robot Drums Rack

I’ve used this technique with drum racks for a while. It’s a great way to to get changing grooves that surprise people and are very dancey. You can download the rack in the video above: here.

In this tutorial Danny J Lewis shows you how to create a rack that emulates the mechanics behind the way the drum patterns switch in the recently released ‘Figure’ app.” – youtube.com/user/pointblankonline

For more info: ableton.com/blog

Jono

Jono named after it’s creator Jonáš Gruska is a MaxMSP synthesizer inspired by the modulars. It has a sequencer and a random patch generator (nice). It’s 15 Euro and if you don’t like it they will return your money.

“JONO is a software musical instrument inspired by modular synthesizers. By providing a mixture of classical and experimental elements it can serve as an interesting addition to your setup or as a standalone tool.” – jono.zvukolom.org

For more info: jono.zvukolom.org

The Next Soundcloud

Soundcloud is about to be replaced with an all new version! I use SoundCloud all day. Whenever I finish a track I put it up there so I can listen to it in my car. I am very pleased they are continuing to innovate. Sign up for the beta and read in detail all the new changes coming up here: next.soundcloud.com

“Today is a special day for us and we’re so thrilled to finally be able to share with you what we’ve been working on for a while: Next SoundCloud, meet the Community. Community, meet Next SoundCloud, the next phase of our mission to unmute the web. Since 2008, we’ve been focused on building the best social sound platform on the web. Today, SoundCloud has grown to over 15 million with more interests and needs of SoundCloud. With Next, we are taking a first step to reflect this.” – blog.soundcloud.com

Follow me on Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/thingstocome

Zvex Instant Lo-Fi Junky

Here’s another piece of hardware to help you go back in time. Zvex makes some of the best effect pedals. Besides being built out of metal and hand painted many have rare tubes and unique electronics inside them. Their Instant Lo-Fi Junky uses a Belling Bucked Brigade and National Semiconductor op-amps to create a warbling, broken turntable, compression chorus effect. $219.00 for the Vexter screen printed panel version and about $350 for a hand painted version. Needless to say I’ll be getting one soon. If there are any effect pedals that do something similar please let me know.

“The ILJ was designed to produce the sounds and textures of our Lo-Fi Loop Junky in real time, but it does so much more. It features a compressor, filtering(lo-fi), luscious chorus settings unlike anything we’ve heard, vibrato, and a mini toggle switch to change the waveform(sine, triangle, square pulse) of the chorus and vibrato.” – zvex.com

For more info: zvex.com/ILF.html