A few weeks ago I went to Philadelphia and met with Brian Biggs. Brian is a Children’s Book Illustrator, has a very large Pitbull/Greyhound dog named Cyrus and has a nice Eurorack Modular system. I’ve been thinking about which “sampler” module to get. I was looking at the ADDAC Systems Wav player, Make Noise Phonogene or The Harvestman Tyme Sefari. I noticed Brian had both a Tyme Sefari 2 and Phonogene so I basically asked him if he was interested in some show and tell. I wasn’t expecting a proper invite but that’s what I got! As you can see by the photos Brian has a pretty nice set up. A few things I discovered include: a CV joystick is fun, The Harvestman Polivoks VCF isn’t as cool as my Toppobrillo Multifilter, the Teenage Engineering OP-1 is amazing and lastly I want a Phonogene. Brian was interested in checking out my Ekdhal Moisterizer so I brought it with me and we got some proper CV going through it. You can see a few more photos here: flickr.com/photos/thin…
“Brian Biggs (b. March 9, 1968, in Little Rock, Arkansas) is a Children’s Book Illustrator. He has been published by HarperCollins and Random House, among others, and has illustrated a Little Golden Book.” – wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Biggs
So there is an all new version of Izotope’s Trash (Trash 2) that was just released. It’s certainly good and has hundreds of paramaters you can mess with. Sometimes however you just want a really good distortion unit with a few killer presets. Think about guitar pedals and imagine if they had a hundred options. That wouldn’t make sense. kiloHearts from Linköping, Sweden have plug-in called Faturator. It’s really nice, lightweight and with a great sound. This reads like a sales pitch and they did give me a NFR license however I really am using the plug-in a lot. Besides the “right” sounding fuzz and distortion there is a great stereo widener which I actually used a few times on its own (turning off the fuzz altogether). $19 USD Mac or PC.
“Faturator can do everything from adding subtle and warm gritty character to your sounds to slam them into a wall of heavy saturation and digital fuzz. Contrary to many distortion effects, Faturator will preserve the dynamics of your sound and work its wonders on it regardless of input gain. For the heck of it, it can also color the input to emphasize a specific tone of the sound, or throw some stereo width into the mix. Everything to give you a fast and easy way of making any input come alive.” – kilohearts.com
There are many great analog sequencers in the Eurorack modular format. Once you start a system you realize you can use more than one at a time for various reasons. The Xaoc Moskwa is a nicely made, compact, pretty module full of useful features. The Moskwa is $340 USD. I already own a Doepfer Dark Time and 4MS RCD. I have my eye on a Make Noise Rene and the upcoming Intellijel Metropolis too.
“Moskwa is a compact, fully self-contained step sequencer with a handy set of features: 8 steps of control voltage and trigger/gate impulse generation. Unipolar and bipolar voltages. Adjustable overall gate width. Mutable gates (per step). 3 play modes: standard, pendulum & random. Built–in slew limiter (linear). Built–in adjustable clock source. External clock sync. Adjustable sequence lenght. Voltage controlled reset, pause and play direction. Expandability via the upcoming ostankino 1966 sequence commander module.” – analoguehaven.com
The feature that has me the most excited about Live 9 is Drum and Melody to MIDI. I’ve use various other tools to do this (Melodyne for one) but it’s always been hit or miss. It does look like Ableton has cracked this and it’s going to be an amazing and useful tool.
“Your voice is the new keyboard: sing, beatbox, tap a rhythm on your desk, or play any solo instrument to capture your musical ideas as they come. Then use the Melody- or Drums-to-MIDI feature to turn your recordings into MIDI clips that you can edit and reuse with any sound.” – ableton.com
There is an interesting festival called Grauzone coming up early next year at the Melkweg in Amsterdam. It’s a synth pop, electro, cold/darkwave, post-punk party which will happen on February 1, 2013. So far the line up has Echo & The Bunnymen, Iceage, Chameleons Vox, Fehlfarben, Lebanon Hanover and Linea Aspera. Expect more acts to be added over the next few months.
“Multi-disciplinary festival that will take place on Friday the 1st of February 2013, in the Melkweg in Amsterdam. The festival will present the best in ‘new wave’ music and art: with a musical spectrum spanning synth pop, electro, cold/darkwave, post-punk, death/goth rock and more; while featuring films, exhibitions and DJ’s.” – facebook.com/Grauzonefestival
Moog has released a limited edition Voyager, it’s Moogerfoogers and the Slim Phatty in white. They also released white wood sides for the Slim. Why didn’t the regular Phatty didn’t get the white treatment? I have a Slim and really like it a lot. With it’s overdrive and Moog heritage it has a sound all it’s own. In addition to the snow color job Moog has sent an email with a download link for 100 new presets to all registered Phatty owners. The presets are designed by Phil and Paul Hartnoll AKA Orbital, Chad Hugo of N.E.R.D./The Neptunes, and DJ/Sound Designer Dom Kane. I do think the Phatty is one of those synths where presets are useful so this is welcome. Don’t forget there is also a Little Phatty Editor Librarian plug-in available too.
“Today Moog Music announced the limited edition release of an all white series of its classic analog instruments. Moog has polarized the color of their traditionally black steel and natural wood instruments to a solid white finish.” – Moog
More proof a huge part of what made classic Depeche Mode so wonderful was the amazing dark melodies. Michal Matejcik from the Czech Republic performs PIMPF, Question of Time, Something to Do, People Are People, Master & Servant and more. I want this guy playing in Macy’s this Christmas, at the weddings I go to and everywhere else please.
“Sometimes I don’t blame them for wanting you. You look good and they need something to do. Until I look at you and then I condemn them. I know my kind. What goes on in our minds.” – Depeche Mode
Here is another great addition to the iPad’s music making app library. Gestrument puts music on a grid with pulses increasing in speed as you swiped left and right. Add a second finger and the pulse, volume and other parameters increase the further away your two fingers are places. Now imaging multiple instruments under your finger each playing notes according to a set of user definable parameters. Watch this video to see all this in action.
“Improvise or compose within the scales and rhythms you choose. Use parameters like pulse density, scale morphing, rhythm randomness or pitch fluctuation to find new paths for your musical expression and creativity. Use the tutorials or define your own settings to fit the musical style you want to play and compose in. Play on up to eight instruments at once – all with different individual settings.” – gestrument.com
James Spadavecchia contacted me about his product USBtribe. It’s an interface you install into a Korg Monotribe. Once installed the Monotribe shows up as a controller. You have tempo and transport sync, synth MIDI in on Channel 1 and drum MIDI in Channel 10. The modified Monotribe also now has MIDI out so you can record the MIDI of what the Monotribe is doing. Installation was mostly easy. It took me a little fiddling to get the tiny plugs into the terminal block. To file a hole required for the wire’s out I had to buy a round file. Check out the demo video I created above to see it’s features.
“Introducing the USBtribe, a USB MIDI interface modification designed specifically for use with the Korg Monotribe analog ribbon station. This mod adds a USB socket to the Monotribe synthesizer, providing USB MIDI IO and DC power supply over a single USB cable.” – usbtri.be
I’m addicted to Samplers. I once owned a Roland S-50 and then an Akai S-950. A Make Noise Phonogene is on my must have list. iOS has some great and fun Samplers such as sir Sampleton, SampleWiz, sampletoy, iSample, SingingFingers and I am Sampler. Now you can at Samplr to the list and it looks like the most full featured yet. The iPad’s touch screen really makes sense here with 7 ways to play with the sample. Watch the videos above for the details. $4.99 USD.
“Samplr lets you make music and play with sound in a new and intuitive way by touching the waveform on the screen directly with your fingers.” – samplr.net