I will be performing a live show (The Horrorist) this Saturday night in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The event called Herr Zimmerman is quite notorious. Each event is well somewhat S&M themed and from what I hear no one leaves, early or without accepting or inflicting some amount of pain. I have several new songs to perform and a nifty black patent leather 1987ish Michael Jackson jacket to wear. If you’re there please come and say hello!
“MISTER ONE NIGHT IN NEW YORK CITY – THE HORRORIST, ist coming to EUROPE! Saturday 29 december is the last Saturday & weekend of 2012! The perfect night for an incredible and crazy 2012 Closing Party in Rotterdam, Factory 010! Muzik: TanzMan, The Horrorist, Fraulein Z & More!” – Herr Zimmerman
I’m really into Eurorack drum modules at the moment so I was excited to discover the Elby Designs CGS747 Cynare Drum Synthesizer. I really like that is has a full EG, VCF and VCA built-in. I’ve been using my AS Telemark for some slowly filtering white noise bursts but the Cynare should be able to cover that and free the Telemark up again for more synth duties. $337 USD.
“The CGS747 is one of a family of 3 CGS drum simulators from Ken Stone. It generates a single drum sound that can be adjusted to sound like a cymbal, hi-hat, snare drum, electronic drum, or numerous other percussive sounds. It is a complete dedicated synthesizer in its own right, including six oscillators, a noise source, a mixer, an envelope generator, a VCF and a VCA.” – elby-designs.com
Wave Alchemy are sound designers from Nottingham in the UK. In the past 5 years Dan Byers & Steve Heath have built up a reputation for producing some of the better sample packs especially when it comes to drum sounds. Recently they released a very ambitious project called Transistor Revolution which uses 22,000 samples to recreate a Roland TR-808 and TR-909. Some people will ask why do we need more 808/909? I think theses specific drum machine sounds are the pencil and pen for electronic music. They are important backbone sounds that can be used a million different ways. Real 808s and 909s are continually going up in value. Last time I checked an 808 is about $2500 on eBay. Transistor Revolution is currently less than $100 USD (introductory price) so if it sounds good it’s value is apparent. “TR” uses Native Instruments free Kontakt Player and is a 6GB download. That’s 6GB of essentially 20 different drum sounds! When you turn a knob in Transistor Revolution changing each of the sounds parameters the drum samples are actually changing from one to the next behind the scenes. In addition, “7 variations of each drum sound… cycle randomly each time a key on the keyboard is played”. Within the custom TR Kontakt player there are 7 effects: EQ, Compression, Tape Saturation, Transient Designer, High Pass Filter, Low Pass Filter and Bit Crusher. Each effect has it’s own page with multiple parameters that can be edited and saved. There is a full mini mixer within the plug-in so you can mix and place drum sounds on separate virtual outputs and add Send Effects. Send Effects inlcude the ones mentioned above and others including a Phaser, Flanger, Chorus, Delay, Rotator, Stereo Modeller, multiple Distortion types and Convolution and standard Reverbs. The interface reminds me of Propellerhead’s Reason. Each drum sound has it’s own rack piece which can be closed and opened. Without reading the manual I was able to find my way around.
So how does it sound? Very good. Different model 808s sound different from each other. However, in my own opinion when listening to hardware or software clones there are things to look for. You want super clear white metalic high hats, rides and crashes. Snares and claps should have a very sharp transient attack. Kicks should go from tight to boomey. Transistor Revolution does an excellent job. I have one criticism and two things for the wish list. There are 4 “multis” which are basically a full 808 or 909 group of samples with some settings. For example there is an MP60, S1200, Lite and Analog version of the 808. I’m not sure if they use different sample sets or just the effect settings are different. Either way I want to see many more Multi presets. As I said above 808/909s lend themselves to treatment very well. Give us 50 flavors of each please! For the wish list I would like to see a TR style sequencer and MIDI file player. Why just give us the sounds? Part of what makes a the drum machines great is the patterns. Give us a few hundred MIDI patterns built-in and give us 16 lights going from left to right please.
Wave Alchemy are on the right path here. I suspect we will see more drum machines meticulously multi-sampled by the UK duo. In short of a real 808/909 or maybe the Tiptop Audio modular stuff this is the best sounding and certainly most affordable convient way to the TR sound.
“Our aim with Transistor Revolution was always to produce a product that could completely replace the hardware in our own productions.” – wavealchemy.co.uk
Is everyone in a good mood for X-mas? AfroDJMac surely is and he’s created an Ableton Live Pack created out of a Charlie Brown Christmas Globe. It’s a proper X-mas gift meaning its free.
“Saturday I was a Christmas party where I found a beautiful Charlie Brown Christmas snow globe. I snuck off to a quiet portion of the house and sampled it on my iPhone. From there, I created the 3 Ableton Live instrument racks I am now sharing with you. I think they all have a lot of character and organic movement to them, with the combination of the plucked notes mixed with the cranking mechanism inside the globe.” – afrodjmac.com
I was 13 years old when this episode of The Computer Chronicles aired. This means I was logging onto BBS’s and CompuServe with my TRS-80 Color Computer. $9.99 of a floppy disk with a low res christmas card on it!
“The Computer Chronicles was an American television series, broadcast during 1981-2002 on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) public television, which documented the rise of the personal computer from its infancy to the immense market at the turn of the 21st century.” – wikipedia.org
I created a little video above just messing around with Animoog V2’s new 4 Track. I threw in some Richard Devine presets too. Cubasis and this little feature are hopeful signs that we are going to end up with some very nice full fledged touch sequencers sooner than later. I learned we need some drum sounds in Animoog and I sound like a wuss Darth Vader with my nasal breathing.
“Also, as a holiday gift, Animoog V2 features apowerful 4 Track Recorder, which gives Animoog users the ability to record audio from within Animoog or import audio tracks directly from their iTunes library. Users can then split, loop, copy, paste, and share individual clips, or mix down entire songs and upload them directly to SoundCloud, all from within the Animoog’s universe.” – moogmusic.com
I’m performing on January 19th in Aachen, Germany for DODT. It will be a record release party for my next full length album Fire Funmania and also my birthday party. One of the other bands performing is Knothole from Berlin. Just check out the video above. I can’t wait!
“Schwefelgelb´s sid dancefloorfucking SOLOPROJECT!!!” – Michael Hilgers
Well if you have $10 and the urge to annoy people or know someone annoying who would like to be more annoying the ThinkGeek Annoy-a-tron would be a good gift. How long before we see circuit bent Annoy-a-tron orchestras? Please no.
“The Original ThinkGeek Annoy-a-tron would be useless against an army of Snowbots, but it’s very effective at disturbing that guy in the sales department or your “friend” down the hall. With its thin design and embedded magnet for easy hiding, the Annoy-a-tron can be placed in a variety of locations. Select one of the three sound choices (2 kHz, 12 kHz, or alternating) and push the switch to the on position. Place it in a proper hiding spot and let the “fun” begin. The Annoy-a-tron generates a short (but very annoying, hence the name) beep every few minutes. Your unsuspecting target will have a hard time ‘timing’ the location of the sound because the beeps will vary in intervals ranging from 2 to 8 minutes. The 2kHz sound is generically annoying enough, but if you really really want to aggravate somebody, select the 12 kHz sound. Trust us. The higher frequency and slight ‘electronic noise’ built into that soundbyte will make a full-grown Admin wonder where his packets are.” – thinkgeek.com
I’ve spent a good part of my spare time this week trying to get Wire to the Ear back online. The trouble started when I tried the automatic upgrade to WordPress 3.5. I’ve never had any issue just clicking upgrade. However this time I ended up locked out of the backend admin panel where I create posts and moderate comments. The upgrade would just hang on a white screen with the WordPress logo on top. The site itself was still online and I had a full backup so I wasn’t too worried. I received some amazing help from esmi who is a WordPress.org moderator. We tried many things such as disabling the plug-ins using phpMyAdmin, disabling the Wire to the Ear custom theme, re-uploading the 3.5 core files, checked the site’s errors using a debug mode, removing cookies from my computer that could have choking the upgrade and repaired the database. When none of those things worked I then created a new database, used the backup file and a rolled back version of WordPress (3.4.2). Then I think we found the problem. During the upload of the backup file one part was generating an error. I had to remove 2 lines of code from over 5000 to get the upload to work. After pointing to the new database the backend came to life again. So here I am again happy to post music tech, synth and strangeness. The next step is fix all the site errors, update the old theme to be compliant, figure out what those two lines where exactly and try and upgrade again! You may think that all this would discourage me from WordPress but actually the opposite. I love the customization, control and the community was there to help me.
“WordPress is web software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog. We like to say that WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time. The core software is built by hundreds of community volunteers, and when you’re ready for more there are thousands of plugins and themes available to transform your site into almost anything you can imagine. Over 60 million people have chosen WordPress to power the place on the web they call “home” — we’d love you to join the family.” – WordPress.org
I’ve yet to see a full fledged sequencer for iOS that I really want to use. Today the grandfather of sequencers Steinberg bring us Cubasis. Good or not it uses what we musicians know as the traditional sequencer metaphor. I’m really looking forward to try this out but at $49 it’s more than an impulse buy. If it runs smoothly and it’s fun to record and create full songs with this will be very welcome!
“Cubasis is Steinberg’s streamlined, multitouch sequencer for the iPad. Specially designed for quick and easy operation, Cubasis makes recording, editing and mixing a breeze. You can also open your Cubasis projects in Cubase under Windows and OS X! Cubasis places touch-intuitive production tools in your hands, opening up a new world of possibilities for your creativity.” – steinberg.net