Nothing was better than the underground 80s. Music was way out there lyrically and humans were taming electronic synths and drums in unique ways. I always thought and still feel EBM (Electronic Body Music) was a great genre. The bassline below in these videos are clearly EBM even though they are simply 16th note patterns. It’s the notes and feeling that classifies them.
“This thing can really make some nice EBM basslines!” – sampleandhold
Novamusik hooks some Tenori’s up to a Vermona DRM-MKIII and a Doepfer A100 Mini System. I don’t love the song they create but this is the way to use Tenori-On’s! Click to 1:06 in the video to see the great action. Thanks Chuck!
“The guys of Nova Musik playing with some new toys that just came in… First thing we thought of? Can we hook these things up to the modular? The answer is yes, and much much more.” – novamusik.com
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
Musotalk is an online pro-audio video show based in Berlin. It’s in German and often the host “Non Eric” has the first look at gear coming from the land of VW (and Ableton, and Steinberg, and Neuman, and Waldorf, and…). His most recent show was a live get together featuring the new wonderful Doepfer Dark Energy. Although the audio is typically video camera distorted it’s a nice view to get an idea of the DE’s size.
If you have not already caught the great Sonic State review of the Dark Energy: click here
“Die Spy Cam vom MusoTalk Event in der Zyankali Bar Berlin. Hat viel Spass gemacht ….und wir haben auch schön Krach gemacht!” – www.musotalk.de
Curious Inventor aka Travis from Atlanta, George produces some really interesting gear. Last year I bought a Voice of Saturn Synth and Sequencer from them. You can pick up CI stuff for the price of a plug-in. The Stribe is a LED touch trip you can control with Max/MSP (and other methods I believe). If you want to control your starship the right way be sure to get a Quad Stribe: click here
“Testing my Stribe 1 kit with Ableton Live trought maxmsp. Excuse about skills… stribes needs “a bit” pressure for detecting changes… is not a hardware issue, it is an “operator” (me) one!” – Mudo de Nacimiento
Our journey to Berlin and Barcelona ends here. See you on the next journey!
Nick over at SonicState.com put up this great Doepfer Dark Energy review. I’m liking the HD look Nick! I didn’t realize how good this little synth is. This joins the Dave Smith Mopho and the Analogue Solutions Semblance in the “hot little inexpensive real analogs with Midi” category. If you don’t need a poly keyboard grab any of these instead of a soft synth!
Here’s a great module from Make Noise Music based on a “military radio communications technology… reclaimed for artistic purposes”. If I were at war I could see that blasting this audio toward the enemy would definitely confuse the hell out of them. I’ve been planning to build my own modular for years and whenever I find a module I know has to be included it goes into a special bookmarked folder. This baby is in!
Since I lean toward the synthesizer slash software side of things the best music gear “fair” in the world is Germany’s Musikmesse. Each spring or “Frülings” as the German’s say, gear geeks, music software wizards and pro-audio companies from the States to Japan all meet in Frankfurt. This year’s shibang is from April 1-4 which if you’re reading this post today means it’s on now. Will any new product convince you it will improve your songs? Nothing I’ve seen so far is making my head explode but there are some nice new toys on the show floor.
One of my favorite instruments, the Persephone, has been upgraded to “Mark II” status. It’s big new feature is the addition of a second oscillator. To love a Persephone is to play one. It’s a nice feeling high end instrument. The best way I can describe it is something in between a Theramin and slide guitar. Doepfer steps away from the Lego – build your own mindset and released the Dark Energy. The Dark Energy is a mini 100% analog synth with a built-in USB/Midi interface. At 400 EUR what’s not to like? Tascam seems to have noticed Mackie’s troubles (their Chinese factory went out of business) and released a new line of inexpensive analog mixers including the M-164, M-164FX with built-in digital effects and the M-164UF with built-in USB.
SSL released a new version of it’s Duende which has an improved audio engine and includes a new reverb called X-Verb. Novation hit us with there new versions of their popular controllers, the Zero and SL now at MKIII status. I have some friends who were disappointed by earlier versions of these. Most of the complaints were in the “faders are too cheap” category. Nevertheless, Novation added more pink lights on the new babies so I can’t help staring. Akai seems to be on a mission the past few trade shows and Messe09 is no different. They have a new basic Pad box, the MPD18 and a new 88key weighted controller the MPK88. What really has my mouth ready to scream “Reactivate!” is the new Miniak synth with built-in vocoder. I always thought Akai made the best software vocoder (D.C. Vocoder) but alas it never went OS-X. If the Miniak sounds as good I’ll grab one for sure. Presonus released a DAW called Studio One. Are they crazy? Why isn’t everyone using Ableton at this point? Oh yeah, in case you didn’t hear Live 8 is out of beta and ready to buy.
Update. So a few more niceties have crossed my radar. Jomox has updated it’s popular analog kick drum module the MBase now called MBase II. I believe the compressor is the new add on in this highly recommended box. I love mine: video. Rob Papen has a new software bass synth called SubBoomBass. I doubt SubBoomBass will break much ground sound wise but I constantly go to other Papen synths when Im doing certain styles of music and want to troll a zillion presets. MFB must be reading my mind because the only thing I love more than drum machines are semi-modular drum synthesizers and that’s exactly what they just announced. They call it Schlagzwerg and I’ll be buying that (680 EURO) before you can say Berlin!
Peter Speer of Colonial Recordings USA shows us his first night with a Doepfer A-196 Phase Locked Loop Module. I enjoyed following the signal path around in this video. I also think these are some of the types of sounds have that slight edge you don’t get with plug-ins.
–Voice of Saturn Sequencer CV Out to Freq CV on Plan B ELF LFO
–ELF LFO Square Out to Trig In on Doepfer A-160 Clock Divider.
–ELF LFO Triangle Out to In 2 on PLL
–/64 Out on A-160 is triggering the first channel on the A-143-1 Complex Envelope Generator (all channels set to AD mode)
–Mix Out on A-143-1 to Gate In on A-140 ADSR
–/32 Out on A-160 is retriggering the A-140
It’s some sort of ice raining today in New York so this is perfect “stay in the studio time”. If you’ve been following my life through this blog or Facebook (my profile) or Twitter (follow me) you know my studio is in a container somewhere on the Atlantic Ocean coming from Berlin. Therefore, I can only daydream, watch videos of other people’s studios. Luckily, Vimeo always has something for me to gaze at when it comes to synth gear. Here’s two videos I found this morning I think are tasty…
“The envelope controlling the lowpass filter is set with high attack, decay, sustain, and release. The pitch VC to the lowpass filter is inverted but heavily attenuated. I used no resonance and the notch filter was turned all the way down.” – Elan Hickler
Remember one of my MusikMesse 2008 picks the MFB Synth 3? It’s been renamed the Kraftzwerg and it’s been out for a few months now. For 579€ you can have one of these interesting noise makers. Visit the official MFB (Manfred Fricke Berlin) website here: mfberlin.de
“Some clueless noodling on my small modular. MFB Kraftzwerg and some Doepfer modules. No effects.” – mancio1