Yesterday after work I went to the KOMA Elektronik Event at Control. For those who don’t know Control is at Eurorack modular synthesizer store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn owned by Daren Ho and Jonas Asher. KOMA Elektronik make modules and advanced pedals. They are Dutch and Austrian and the company is based in Berlin. I was pretty tired from working all day but really enjoy the get togethers at the store so I forced myself over there. After a large coffee, a couple of beers and some synth tweaking the conversation and fun started. KOMA didn’t have any new modules to show but they said they do have some in the works. Control is starting to get a lot of cool used stuff and I spent a few minutes checking out a weird vintage mixer with a built in drum machine. I also played with the Volcas for the first time and discovered they are really nice in person. I couldn’t resist buying something so I picked up an Intellijel Planar. I mean it’s a joystick so I have to one. After exploring some modules there are three I now have to add to my must have list: Modcan Quad LFO, Qu-Bit Electronix Nebulae and an Intellijel Rubicon. I really enjoy watching other people patch and create music on the large systems. I always get some ideas and also realize there are things I can do that I didn’t know I could. Nullsleep (Jeremiah Johnson) and others created some interesting loops worth watching. Be sure to come out to one of these events if you can it’s a lot of fun if you’re into synths! To see the full set of photos: click here
“On January 16th 2014 KOMA Elektronik will come to the Big Apple to host an event together with our buddies from Control Synthesizers and Electronic Devices! From 6PM till 8PM we will be at Control to answer all your questions that you might have about our machines, special techniques and upcoming designs. We will show our new machines and will have a few drinks to start the new year in a great fashion.” – koma-elektronik.com
For more info: koma-elektronik.com and ctrl-mod.com
Reverb is coming to the Eurorack space in a big way (pun intended). There has “always” been the Doepfer A-199 Spring Reverb and you can now build the Music Thing Spring Reverb. Audio Damage and Make Noise both have reverb modules coming out. The video above is a demo of the also soon to be released Valhalla DSP reverb cartridge called The Halls of Valhalla for Tip Top Audio’s Z-DSP module. Sean Costello creates the Valhalla reverbs is known to be a real reverb genius. I like old Lexicon 80s reverbs and use his Valhalla Vintageverb often.
“A demonstration of the upcoming Halls of Valhalla reverb cartridge for the Tiptop Audio Z-DSP. This cartridge has 8 high quality modulated reverb algorithms, ranging from short (Room, Chamber) to medium sized (Plate, EnsembleVerb), to big (Cathedral), to unbelievably huge (Niflheim, Asgard, Ginnungagap).” – ValhallaDSP
For more info: valhalladsp.com and tiptopaudio.com
I used to get both Keyboard and Electronic Musician magazines in the mail each month. My iPad and the internet has replaced those days but I am glad to see the mags still live on. Electronic Musician has just started releasing Modsquad a YouTube series with Gino Robair and Jim Aikin about modulars. I really like these and there’s no better video online that shows off the Metasonix R54. Enjoy!
“Electronic Musician magazine is the ultimate resource for musicians who want to make better music, in the studio or onstage. Visit our website for artist features, gear reviews, and more tutorials!” – emusician.com
For more info: youtube.com/user/MyElectronicMusician/videos
Wolfgang Palm the father of PPG and Wavetable synthesis added some 80s videos to his YouTube channel. I really love the one above which shows him at work. You can see the care that went into making the PPGs and it’s in no doubt many are still working today. The accompanying music is also great!
“PPG Company 1984, Production, 10 year anniversary celebration music by Michael Wehr 2009 and from PPG-demo 1983” – Wolfgang Palm
For more info: wolfgangpalm.com
Tiptop Audio continues its quest to recreate the Roland TR-808 and TR-909 in Eurorack format. Toms909 is the latest addition to this amazing range. I have most of the drum modules already and they are spot on plus more. So if your ready to get your Jeff Mills on these are available now for $400 USD.
“The toms909 contains all three of the tr-909’s original low, mid and high tom-tom circuits adapted for use in the eurorack modular synthesizer format. the module was tested to sound like a fresh machine coming off the assembly line back in the 80’s. to add flavor to the beast we have extended each tom’s tuning range so it’s easier to dial soft bass drums on the lower ends and high pitched toms on the other. in addtion to that all three toms are voltage controlled, letting you play the tom’s pitch with cv sequencers…” – tiptopaudio.com
For more info: tiptopaudio.com
Wait a minute. A iOS app can be a Eurorack LFO? Apparently so! Check out the Brute LFO videos above to see it in action. Pretty cool! $3.99 USD.
“The Brute LFO is a powerful low frequency oscillator that modulates your analog gear. If you have a hardware synth that allows you to use external gear to modulate the pitch, the filter, or any other parameter, just plug the Brute LFO into the CV in and start playing. It consists of three separate LFOs. LFO 1 and 2 can be controlled using the control elements in the top half of the screen. The big knob in he middle sets the rate of both the LFOs. Additionally you can change the waveforms of the LFOs, detune LFO 2 and change its phase. The amount knob in the top half also sets the overall amount of the modulation. The elements on the bottom half (LFO 3) can be used to modulate the frequency of LFO 1 and 2. And the brute switch destroys everything!” – justuskandzi.com
For more info: justuskandzi.com/brute-lfo
My favorite synth of all time is the Ensoniq ESQ-1. This maybe only because I do not own a Sequential Circuits Prophet VS. You see there is something amazing about digital oscillators matched with analog filters. In my Eurorack system the best sounds I get are from my Ataraxic Translatron into Toppobrillo Multifilter. When the Prophet 12 came out I assumed it was an all analog affair. I watched a few videos months after its released and fell in love. When I discovered it was digital into analog filters I said, “ah yes of course!!”. So now there is a Dave Smith Prophet 12 module and I am all for it. Give me an 808, ESQ-M and Prophet 12M and see you whenever.
“Introducing the Prophet 12 Module, the same great sound engine of the Prophet 12 keyboard with enough portability to fit in a backpack! At twelve voices, the Prophet 12 boasts the greatest polyphony of any instrument designed by Dave Smith. Each voice features four oscillators capable of generating classic and complex waveforms, a sub-oscillator, resonant analog low-pass and high-pass filters, and analog VCAs. The new Character section adds a variety of wave shaping and sound sculpting options, like Drive, Hack, Decimation, Girth, and Air. Additional features include a tuned feedback path, a four-tap stereo delay per voice, expanded arpeggiator functionality, deep modulation capabilities, and bi-timbral operation. The LFOs, delay, and arpeggiator can all be synced, either to the internal clock or an external MIDI clock.” – davesmithinstruments
For more info: davesmithinstruments.com/products/p12m
This video made the rounds earlier this week but I didn’t press play. This morning I clicked and oh yeah this is amazing. Someone put an electronic soundtrack to the classic Road Runner cartoon. They did such a good job. The acid Warner Brothers intro alone is just so great.
“Consider the recursion of Coyote, who never eats, but only considers eating, ad infinitum. This barren, craggy, dry universe is more like a Mandlebrot purgatory with an endless supply of Acme weapon products which can’t function predictably, or whose proper function can’t be apprehended by Coyote.
Every ravine, every rocky outcrop, every national road that splices the desert is generated anew each time Coyote is forced not to die – his bones regenerate, his cardiac arrests are all false. He can be skinned alive a million times a million times.
This routine unravels from a spool that was never wound. Is this because of artifice that such toil is even noticeable? Why contrive a purgatory like this when heaven can be imagined? Or would every heaven ever dreamt only appear as purgatory to enlightened eyes?” – sssnacksss
For more info: wikipedia.org/Wile_E._Coyote_and_The_Road_Runner
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
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