Boinkss – Sound Toy for iOS from Andy Dolphin on Vimeo.
I love apps that are good for an intro or breakdown of a song. Boinkss fits that description. Draw on the screen and you will create some interesting “woman walking down a scary street at night” sounds.
“Boinkss is a sound toy that uses simulated physics to create shifting sonic patterns and freeform sequences. The player draws colourful lines and shapes, then drops bouncing balls into their creation. The collisions of the balls results in dynamic and varied sounds. The different colours in the palette relate to different sound types, which can be combined in many different ways.” – noisetoysound.org.uk
For more info: noisetoysound.org.uk/boinkss
Wolfgang Palm’s products are great. Wavetable synthesis is wonderful. Sometimes you need a fresh demo to remind you of that. Just listen to the Youtube clip above of the PPG WaveGenerator for Mac/PC. You can’t make that on a Minimoog. 99 Euros.
“Wolfgang Palm (1950) was a founder and owner of Palm Products GmbH (PPG), and the inventor and creator of various pioneering technical designs for analog and digital synthesizers. He is widely acknowledged as the father of digital synthesis, and as a trendsetter in the use of computer technology in the making of electronic music. Palm’s interest in synthesis technology began as a keyboardist in various local bands in his hometown of Hamburg, Germany. His namesake corporation began operating as early as 1975, manufacturing modular synthesizers in small amounts for electronica act Tangerine Dream and other musicians. Palm is arguably most famous for the invention of wavetable synthesis, a concept which he developed in the late 1970s when he created his Minimoog-like synthesizer – the 1020 – featuring DCO’s instead of the VCO’s his 1002 and all other analog synthesizers of that time were using – and the 360 Wavecomputer that would later become the renowned PPG Wave series. Palm’s design was the impetus for the creation of the highly successful PPG Wave synthesizer, which was used by numerous bands throughout the 1980s and beyond. The sounds in the PPG Wave inspired other manufacturers of digital synthesizers, such as Sequential Circuits and Ensoniq. Today, nearly every digital synthesizer is in some way based on the concept of wavetable synthesizers.” – Wikipedia
For more info: wolfgangpalm.com
My friends over at Sequencer.de mentioned a movie called Elektro Moskva yesterday. It looks amazing so I had to repost the info here. The movie is about the Russian synthesizer world. If anyone knows how I can see the full film let me know. I am excited to go perform in Moscow in a few weeks.
“On a western device, you push a button and get a result. On a Soviet instrument, you push a button and get something.” – Benzo
For more info: elektromoskva.com
I remember watching Depeche Mode perform live during their Music for the Masses tour. On stage Martin Gore would hit some pads that were connected to an Emulator sampler. From that moment on I wanted to turn everything into something that I could hit and have it make a sound. The Touch Board is a Kickstarter from a company called Bare Conductive. They have created a nice device based on Arduino that gives you a bunch of sensor connectors, an MP3 player, MIDI, machine control and more. You can also create and connect hit points using conductive paint. Watch the videos above to get an idea. I think this is pretty cool.
“Now anyone can transform touch into sound (and so much more!) with the Touch Board, an easy-to-use Arduino-compatible device. The Touch Board is a tool to make your projects interactive, responsive, smart or just fun. Use the Touch Board to change the world around you by turning almost any material or surface into a sensor. Connect anything conductive to one of its 12 electrodes and trigger a sound via its onboard MP3 player, play a MIDI note or do anything else that you might do with an Arduino or Arduino-compatible device.” – Bare Conductive
For more info: kickstarter.com/touch-board-interactivity-everywhere
The Therevox is an elegant instrument made in Ontario Canada. I think it’s a sort of mix between a Theremin and slide guitar. Some have MIDI control. Depending on the model these run from about $1500 – $2000.
“Inspired by the Ondes Martenot (1928) and the Electro-Theremin (1950), the ET-4 is controlled by moving a finger along a reference keyboard shaped to provide tactile feedback. Dual pressure sensitive intensity keys control the amplitude of the ET-4’s two independent analog oscillators. Combined with a low-pass filter, white noise generator and internal spring reverb the ET-4 is an expressive and versatile performance instrument.” – therevox.com
For more info: therevox.com
To sync my studio computer with my Eurorack modular set up I use an Innerclock Sync-Gen IILS. It’s a beautiful and amazingly built module but by no means is it inexpensive. Expert Sleepers also has a group of modules and software you can use. This week Mutable Instruments released CVpal. It is a CV to MIDI module kit (you have to build it yourself) for 40 Euros. I bought one to get my Macbook Pro in sync with a second “spare” row of modules I have. I am really excited to see how inexpensive this is. If you add 11 Euros to your order you they will send you a small plexiglass case for the module making it self contained. Once I have it put together I will report back here to let you know how well it works.
“The CVpal features a large palette of control modes – monophonic with velocity and extra square oscillator, monophonic with clock outputs, duophonic, dual monophonic, or even quad trigger conversion! Its 12-bit DAC with an 8-point software calibration curve makes it more accurate than more expensive products. A simple stand-alone case is also available for the CVpal – making it useful outside of the modular – with a stompbox or a desktop analog synth for example.” – mutable-instruments.net
For more info: mutable-instruments.net/modules/cvpal
It’s not everyday a plug-in comes along and gets me excited but Whoosh from Melted Sounds fits the bill. This new plug-in takes a sounds and flings them across your ears. If you watch the video above you can see it’s feature rich. I really want to add my own sounds to this but that’s not quite available yet. Adding your own samples will be added in a future update. You will need the full version of Reaktor to use Whoosh. $79 USD.
“Whoosh is a true sound design instrument and enables you to create breath taking whoosh and pass-by effects. It is possible to precisely design sounds varying from whistling wind whooshes to air ripping engine pass-bys or completely over the top granular sci-fi effects. The included doppler effects engine was designed from ground up to physical model the acoustic phenomena of an object that approaches, passes, and recedes from an observer. The individual playback engines, the source mixer and doppler engine can be manipulated in synchronized connection to each other. This makes it possible to playback the desired sound effect at different durations while remaining everything in perfect sync.” – meltedsounds.com
For more info: meltedsounds.com
via Richard Devine
Here’s two neat things you can do with Waldorf’s Nave iPad synthesizer. The first video show how to use Nave to create some very early sounding computer voices. The second video shows you how to create a sample from another iOS app and bring it into Nave.
“The Nave sound engine includes two novel wavetable oscillators with sonic possibilities way beyond the scope of conventional wavetable synthesis. While the spectrum of a sound can be transposed independently of its pitch, the waves can be rendered from perfectly periodic to very noisy and anywhere in between. Especially sounds with an accent on formants can be produced easily, which made us integrate a speech synthesizer for the easy creation of wavetables, enabling Nave to talk and sing.” – waldorf-music.info
For more info: waldorf-music.info/en/products/nave
Here is what I consider a secret gem called Love Me by the German Shepherds. This is from 1985.
“Formed in San Francisco in 1981 by Stephen Scheatzle and Mark Hutchinson (aka Sandy Stark), the German Shepherds released two singles, one LP, and a slew of songs on comp’s. They were not a studio project, although they played live only occasionally in the early to mid-80’s. Their first single is “I Adore You,” a forgotten minimal synth nugget with an unforgettable rhythm box pattern. Fittingly, this confessional dirge is backed with “Booty Jones,” a tribute to convicted child molester Kenneth Parnell, which features Hutchinson’s menacing and child-like vocal affectations that later appear on other great tunes, “THC,” “First Man To Give Birth,” etc. Scant information exists on the whereabouts of the band. Misleading biographies and omissions are a part of their legend. For instance, they once announced the arrest of a band member on “trumped up child molestation charges” and suicide in order to promote the forthcoming LP, “Music For Sick Queers” (ARM vol.3 #8, 1985). There is no evidence that any arrest or suicide ever happened, yet the LP did come out. What else would one expect from a band who took audio samples from Jonestown to mock-torture Steve from Subterranean Rec’s?” – Discogs
For more info: discogs.com/Legendary-German-Shepherds and sickqueers.com
There are tons of plug-ins and sample libraries but I always post updates when they come from UVI. Every time I use their Emulation II I come up with great sounding songs. Their new release is called Urban Suite. It’s actually 5 completely different plug-ins and a huge sample library. Beatshaper and Prime8 are drum machines. Beatshaper is a wide range of samples and Prime8 is a Roland TR-808 emulator. As with more really good modern sample libraries these are attached to interfaces that allow the samples to be manipulated and sequenced. Like using external hardware it’s fun to jump out of your DAWs traditional interface for sequencing now and then. Urban X is a layered sample playback and synth with effects. Even though I’m known to like synthpop I grew up and learned a lot about music through classic rap. So I am please to tell you Scratch Machine brings scratching and a scratch library into the DAW zone. This one plug-in alone would be worth it for many people. Finally there’s a multitrack looper called Beat Control for building full tracks. $199 available now.
“Urban Suite delivers 5 new instruments and a massive sample library tailored for contemporary music producers, perfect for hip hop, R&B, trap, glitch, beat, experimental and more… There’s no way to accurately reproduce the experience of scratching without a turntable but we’ve come pretty close with Scratch Machine. Grab a keyboard or pad controller, load up one of the classic sounds like ‘Fresh’ or even a Speak’n’Spell and let loose! All sounds were recorded directly from decks masterfully controlled by our resident turntablist and scratch artist DJ Quartz—over 10,000 samples in all.” – uvi.net
For more info: uvi.net/en/music-genres/urban-suite