The Great Bleep Forward

The Great Bleep Forward

The BBC has posted a four part audio series about the history of electronic music titled, “The Great Bleep Forward”. Thank goodness main stream Europe “gets” synth and computer music.

“The story of modern music is one of subversion and experimentation, of heroes and villains. But what if we’ve got it all wrong? What if the real subversives didn’t wear leather and denim but smart suits and white lab coats? What if the true experimentation wasn’t with LSD but with DX7’s and S900s? What if the real heroes of music aren’t John, and Paul, Mick and Keith, but Ralf, Florian, Robert and Wendy!

The Great Bleep Forward is a series four programmes, presented by Andrew Collins exploring the history of electronic music. Hear the first baby’s cry of the moog synthesiser, embrace the difficult childhood of prog rock, grapple with the ‘experimental’ teenage years of the New Romantics and discover the middle aged maturity and nostalgia of the present day. You’ll also get a sense of the sound of the future.” – www.bbc.co.uk

Don’t forget to also catch the superb BBC Documentary Synth Britannia:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNiGnTSrL5o

It drives me crazy to listen and watch these type of things because they were so integral in my own life. I love this stuff. What about you?

For more info: www.bbc.co.uk

Interview with Tom Oberheim

Oberheim SEM

An interview with synthesizer creator Tom Oberheim. He recently re-created and re-released his classic synth the SEM. The SEM does sound different than a Moog or Roland and Tom explains a bit about why that is. You can get the new SEM in a few flavors (panel/Midi) ranging from $600-$900 USD.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1FsCGyx1YY


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEy5jfC5h_g

“Mitchell Sigman of audioMIDI.com interviews analog synthesis legend Tom Oberheim about the new SEM analog synth module. The new SEM is available exclusively from audioMIDI.com.” – audiomidicom

Did you own a classic SEM? Do you plan on buying one of these new ones?

For more info: tomoberheim.com

Moby’s Drum Machine Collection

Here’s a nice look at Moby’s Noahs Ark of vintage drum machines. He also goes into the virtues of replacing your band with electronic instruments. I agree completely. I once performed at an early “rave” in Washington DC with Moby. Before fame he used to DJ a small bar near Suny Purchase (my alma mater).

“Motherboard heads deep into the bowels of Moby’s Manhattan apartment-studio, where he unveils his prized assemblage of rarified gadgets, bizarre synthesizers, and outré drum devices.” – Motherboard.tv

For more info: www.moby.com

Dieter Doepfer Totally Wired


Doepfer Sneak Peek
from niamhguckian on Vimeo.

A wonderful clip from the documentary Totally Wired featuring Dieter Doepfer. It’s nice to know Dieter is listening to his fans on the Doepfer Yahoo Group. We also finally know the reason why Doepfer modules are silver. Check out all the amazing modules from Doepfer at: www.doepfer.de

An interview with the great man himself, taken from the documentary ‘Totally Wired’. Dieter talks about the inspiration for the A100 series, his collaborations with Kraftwerk, and the future of modular. Unmissable! – niamhguckian

For more info: Totally Wired (Amazon link)

Wire to the Ear Interview with Klaus Suessmuth of Acidlab

Klaus Suessmuth from Acidlab

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Klaus Suessmuth of Acidlab. He is the man behind some killer Roland hardware clones. Not only does he replicate the sounds of the originals to the extreme detail he also takes the time to extend the feature sets of these ancient machines. To top it off Acidlab hardware looks great!

I think the Roland TR-808 is the king of all drum machines sound wise. How close does the Acidlab Miami sound to a vintage TR-808?

Closer than any other 808 clone. Without a direct comparison not possible. The differences of the sounds are just in the pitch and in the range of the variation of the original. The Bassdrums decay is increased.

Does the Miami have a fully analog signal path?

The Miami has the same analog sound-circuits of the TR-808. The components are replaced with new components. In some sound-circuits, the original parts were used to achieve the same sound.

What features does the Miami have that a vintage TR-808 does not?

  • programming on the fly (tap-write)
  • all the modes (track write, track play, pattern write and pattern play) can be changed without stopping the sequencer
  • two shuffle-modes
  • synchronization with midi-clock
  • midi mode (instruments can be played with midi notes,
  • less noise and less 50Hz, because of newer opamps and no transformer in the housing

Acid Lab - Miami

Let’s talk about how you make your wonderful toys. Do you manufacture all the Acidlab products by hand in Germany or do you outsource some of the labor to a small factory?

The electronic is assembled from a factory, I do the calibration and the rest of the assembling.

How long does it take to make a Miami?

Too long! Have to do a lot improvements on the production workflow.

Have you ever been to Miami Florida?

Yes, once in the airport on the way to costa-rica, with no money left (all was gone for the fly-ticket) …..

You have created some very nice clone machines. Have you thought about making an all original design? For example, I love my Vermona DRM1 MKIII…

The Bombass is an all original design! I have done a lot of  special moduls for my modular systems as prototyps…

Acidlab Bombass

Do you also keep another day job? Exotic dancer? Software developer? Sherpa?

Of course – Design and research as electronic developer in a big German firm. Main topics are powerelectronics and low noise sensor systems with highest resolution.

If you caught someone in your home stealing all your music equipment would you: A) Kill them.  B) Forgive them and give them 20 Euros for food. C) Tie them up and make them watch DJ Scooter videos for 24 hours.

They will get crazy from using my equipment !

Tell us some links where to find your products, websites, videos and anything else!

www.acidlab.de

In the US, contact: analoguehaven.com

MySpace:
myspace.com/acidlab_bassline
myspace.com/acidlab_bombass
myspace.com/acidlab_miami

Avocet Studio Controller

Crane Song - Avocet

In the 90s I used a Tascam M1600 mixer. As studio life went ITB (in the box) most of the large mixer sat unused. After I while I got sick of cleaning the dust off it and switched to a Presonus Central Station to handle my monitor controlling. It’s passive which means my audio doesn’t take a trip through DSP chips. The “passive” bit was the selling point for me and why I recommend it over a Mackie Big Knob. It’s nice but the Avocet from Crane Song is the Lamborghini of monitor controllers.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pc1Z6BIoGk0

“If you’ve been following Gearwire’s visit to Boiler Room Mastering, you know that Collin Jordan doesn’t have any lousy gear anywhere near his mastering suite. Here, he shows us his jewel from Crane Song, the Avocet Class A Studio Controller.” – Gearwire

The Avocet is $2800. For more info: www.cranesong.com

Les Paul the Electric Guitar Man


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssDLe3Tlvg0

Les Paul, the inventor of the electric guitar and 8-track died this week.

“Lester William Polsfuss, known as Les Paul (June 9, 1915 – August 13, 2009) was a musician and innovator, famous for being a pioneer in the development of the solid-body electric guitar which “made the sound of rock and roll possible.” He is credited with many recording innovations, including overdubbing (also known as sound on sound), delay effects such as tape delay, phasing effects, and multitrack recording.” – Wikipedia.org

For more info visit his official website: www.lespaulonline.com

Swayzak Video and Ableton Live pack


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taAh1_xIfsk

I found Swayzak by their single I Dance Alone (iTunes link). Later I found the album Some Other Country (iTunes link) to be perfect office work background music. They have released a free Ableton Live pack. It’s a 50MB download available now: click here

“Swayzak is a tech house duo from the United Kingdom that consists of James S. Taylor and David Brown. They live and work in London and released their first 12″ single “Bueno” / “Fukumachi” in February 1997 to much acclaim. It was followed up by the 12″ “Speedboat” / “Low Rez Skyline” to become part of the burgeoning tech-house scene in the UK.” – Wikipedia.org

What does the word “Swayzak” mean anyway? Is it some kind of UK thing?

NPR chats about “Appetite For Self-Destruction”.

NPR

Appetite For Self-Destruction is a great new book by Steve Knopper about the crash of the music industry. NPR (National Public Radio) has a 38 minute interview with Mr. Knopper and it’s a must listen for any musician. The interview, which aired on NPR’s superb show Fresh Air was posted yesterday so it’s a fresh look back at all the simultaneous ways the record Appetite for Self-Destructionindustry blew it. Greed, laughable negotiations with Apple and CD-R manufacturers, and top level execs not listening to their younger underlings yelling “Napster is the future!” are just some of the things that contributed to this spectacular crash. As a musician it maybe painful to listen to because this was once a valid livelihood but it’s time to re-tool the workshop and produce a different product.

“In the sub-sub-genre of books about rock music and the industry, I rank this right up there with classics like “Hit Men” and “The Death of Rhythm and Blues.” We think in terms of “industry,” but through his deftly drawn portraits of industry leaders, Knopper helps us see clearly how we got to here from there: simple bad decision making and a blatant refusal to consider, first, that the world had changed and then a stunning lack of curiosity about how it had changed. Highly recommended. Enjoy!” – Patricia Romanowski, Amazon.com (book review)

The interview is online so head over and listen now: click here

Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age (Hardcover) is available at Amazon for $17.16: click here

photo credit: alwright1

Sonic State Sonic TALK110

A few years ago when my brother got married I was the best man and has tradition dictates I received a gift for my duties. He handed me a small square box wrapped nicely and when I opened it I was surprised to see an Apple logo. He gave me an iPod Nano. At that time I never owned an iPod or believe it or not even thought I wanted one. I knew they were cool but I was only really listening to music in my studio. For the first few weeks after the wedding the iPod sat in a pile of stuff next to my computer. When I plugged it in iTunes popped up and it synced some music. I remembered reading on a few blogs about TWIT (This Week in Tech) which was a “podcast”. Basically a podcast is an audio file you can subscribe to via a special RSS feed from inside the iTunes Store. I subscribed to TWIT, re-synced, put my headphones on and walked to my studio which was about a 10 minutes away. When I got to the studio I was so into the podcast I decided to just keep on walking and listening. Today I subscribe to about 20 podcasts.

Without a doubt the best podcast for pro-audio is Sonic State’s Sonic TALK from Nick Batts and his friends. If you like this blog there’s no doubt you will like Sonic TALK. A few brits, Americans and sometimes a German very politely chat about synths, weird music, live performances and software.

PJ Tracy, Dave Spiers, Nick Batt. Our first moments are spent marveling in the wonders of Ad Jingles and their creation, with blasts from John Parr and Jonathan Hodge, then we discuss the recently announced Moog Taurus pedals reissue. Then a quote from Blixa Bergfeld on Disquiet gets us onto the topic of originality, then we talk about Raysgigs.com – a site where Ray Morrissey lists over 5000 gigs he has attended and made notes on many occasions – a real goldmine of information and impressions. And thats it for this week. – sonicstate.com

Recently they started to record Sonic TALK live. Everyone is invited to listen and join in the chat room for a real time discussion. I’ve been meaning to join in the TALK for a while and I finally remembered the time slot. It was definitely fun in a super geek way. From time to time Nick and crew would check in with the chat room and mention us “on the air”. To listen to this week’s episode: click here

Catch SonicTalk live every Wednesday at 11:00 AM EST. For more info: click here

photo credit: zoomar