Acidlab Robokop

Well now what’s this? The sequencer from a Roland TR machine in Eurorack format that’s what! It’s pretty isn’t it? This is the new Acidlab Robokop. With all the Tiptop and other modular drum modules you can now build the world’s greatest drum machine. If you don’t want to program beats be sure to check out the wild new Tiptop Trigger Riot (I have one coming to me this week via Control!).

“ROBOKOP is the MIAMI-Sequencer as a module with 12×16 patterns and 12 Trigger-Outputs.” – Acidlab

For more info: acidlab.de/ProductAssets/Modular/Module_Overview.pdf

Soniccouture Konkrete 3

In the Eurorack Modular world I was introduced to the 4ms Rotating Clock Divider. This module takes a pattern and then starts moving or “rotating” or shifting it around. In this months issue of Sound on Sound (July 2013) there is a review of Soniccouture’s Konkrete 3. It’s a drum sample library created with things like a Buchla or Telemark paired with a sequencer and glitch effects. We have seen other software like this but Konkrete has a really cool feature called The Beat Shifter. The Beat Shifter is similar in idea to the 4ms RCD but with more control. Check out the video above to see it in action. I also included a video of the glitch parameter which is also nice. $129 USD.

“A powerful sample-based drum synth for all kinds of electronic music. A creative beat generator – The Beat Shifter. An incredible sonic arsenal – 90 kits | over 5000 sounds. Huge sonic range – acoustic recordings to analogue hits. A massive range of custom convolution effects. Real time glitch module” – soniccouture.com

For more info: soniccouture.com/en/products/27-electronica/g40-konkrete-3

Elektro Kardiogram

My friend Tom Carpenter who creates the amazing Analogue Solutions synthesizers and Medic Modules has a new Eurorack sequencer that’s just about hitting stores. It’s smartly called the EKG because well the cool red LEDs go across the unit metaphorically. Tom always has some nice tricks or maybe I should say unique features that add extra musicality to his devices. The EKG’s wonderfullness comes from the knobs under each pitch slider. They each have a “Function control” which can be used for various functions. I like this module as it hides it’s complexity in a fun interface. Tom knows analog sequencers as his Oberkorn is widely regarded as one of the best.

“Each step also has a unique Function control. Each step can be turned off, skipped, repeated or set as a reset point. Modes; Off (rest), x1, x2, x3, x4, Skip, Reverse, Rest” – medicmodules.com

For more info: medicmodules.com

Pink Floyd vs Pandora

I have a lot of friends in the movie and theater industry. I’m always amazed how their unions protect them. Musicians have basically been hung out to try. We have been experimented on by technology companies. Yes ok I love tech and that I can listen to any song I want anytime, anywhere. I love how I can be my own distribution and promotion company. Still there are some who take advantage of us and the streaming services are guilty of that. This week Pink Floyd wrote an opinion piece for USA Today I think you should read (link).

“Internet radio companies are trying to trick artists into supporting their own pay cut…. Sounds good. Who wouldn’t want to be “part of a conversation”? Who doesn’t support Internet radio? What scrooge would refuse to sign such a positive, pro-music statement? Of course, this letter doesn’t say anything about an 85% artist pay cut.” – Pink Floyd

For more info: usatoday.com/pink-floyd-royalties-pandora-column

Record Release Party NYC


The Village Voice voted Tobacco Road in Hell’s Kitchen (574 9th Ave, NYC) the Best Dive Bar. It’s also a “Bikini Bar”. It’s been sitting in the same location since the mid 80s. Therefore it’s quite appropriate that I do a DJ set there tomorrow night (Saturday, June 21, 2013). My college friend Bill Kraemer’s label “The Seed” recently re-released my 2007 political track Automatic. He had a contest for remixes and put the best of them out with the original. So besides my DJ set this is a proper record release party. Please come and drink heavily. It’s free to get in!

“Totally weird, awesome bar. Appropriately surreal – it’s basically right outside the bus terminal. $7 PBR + whiskey! what do you want, really? It’s a true dive.

Hot chicks serving me drinks in a bra? 4 stars! Cheap booze? 4 stars! Stage to sing Karaoke once I’m hammered? 4 stars! Dancing on a pole for free shots? Lights out.” – Yelp

For more info: facebook.com/events/274398456038654 and yelp.com/biz/tobacco-road-new-york

Thor for iPad

With the recent release of Waldorf’s Nave and today’s release of Propellerheads Thor for iPad it’s clear we are going to keep getting high quality synthesizers for iOS. Thor has a ton of features but my favorite is the Omnichord like Strum and Hit keyboard where you “Hold a chord and strum it with one finger. Or use the hit function to trigger the chord as a stab.”. It’s interesting to note that the Waldorf synth came to iPad first but will be a VST/AU shortly too.

“Thor for iPad puts the mighty Thor synthesizer at your fingertips. Reason’s legendary flagship synth delivers a thunderous sound, god-like sound sculpting capabilities and an innovative, lighting-fast keyboard designed for iPad. Thor is a synthesis playground, a flexible sonic workhorse, but above all, an expressive musical instrument for the iPad.” – propellerheads.se

For more info: propellerheads.se/products/thor

New York City Club Scene 1984

In the video above you see the emerging dance scene in NYC. If you ever listen New Order’s Confusion and thought wow this is well produced and really works well in a nightclub now you can know the reason. Producer Arthur Baker tells how he tested the track in club specifically to sound good there. At that time most music heard even in clubs had melody and lyrics. At 13:58 in the reporter amazingly has an epic thought and asks Baker if he thinks if eventually dance music will just be rhythmic without vocals or melody. He knew the future!

“The other question is what would be the next? Because things are becoming more and more rhythmic. Do you think we will end up with just complete rhythm records with no melody whatsoever?”

For more info: wikipedia.org/wiki/Confusion_(New_Order_song)

Claps – Wreck

I found this band Claps randomly on Spotify last night and quickly fell for them. In my book the song Wreck is a 10/10. Can’t tell if every step that I’m taking is one forward or another one back.

“Cemented in their belief to play analog instruments without the aid of computers, Minnesota-based Claps are a trio with strong ideals. Channeling the ‘70s synth sounds of Depeche Mode and Joy Division, they perform minimalist measures with dark, foreboding themes…” – popmatters.com

For more info: clapsus.bandcamp.com

25 Years A Concert for the Masses

25 years ago today Depeche Mode stood in front of 70,000 people and performed their most important concert. This is when music mattered. This is when underground synthesizer music took over. Depeche Mode showed the world that they were no niche. I was in the front row and backstage. I never heard a crowd so loud. I doubt a crowd ever loved a band as much as on that night in California.

“The largest but also the most prestigious concert we’ve ever played as a headline act.” – Alan Wilder (Depeche Mode)

For more info: archives.depechemode.com

Phonogene Firmware Update

The MakeNoise Phonogene is hands down one of the coolest most interesting Eurorack modules. It’s a sort of sampler, tape machine, looper and grain slicer with CV control. This week there has been a firmware update and the video above shows some of what has changed.

“The Phonogene rev 372 upgrade includes: Improved Audio Fidelity, Improved Vari-Speed response (shorter scale, greater resolution), End of GENE Pulse (EOS outputs pulses for both Splices and Genes, turn up Gene Size see this in action), Longer Record Time (improved memory management and improved audio fidelity make longer recordings possible), Broken ECHO Mode: all new behavior allows for realtime processing of audio signals.” – Walker Farrell

For more info: makenoisemusic.com/phonogene.shtml