Like the proverbial Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhog Day, it seems that music tech writers this year saw their shadow and decided to stay in their hole rather than deal with the yearly deluge of fake news that arrives on April Fools’.
That’s a shame. Because this year, a few ideas are preposterous enough that we wish they weren’t jokes.
(Turning that fool into something real was something I proposed last year, too – and just heard we might see some fruits out of that. Stay tuned.)
Emerson, Fake, and Palmer. Moog Music has a tradition of jests on the holiday, and this year is no exception. With a slight wink to KORG’s recent obsession with recreating its past, this year, Moog tells us “a dedicated Moog engineering team has painstakingly reverse engineered and built a 1 : 1 recreation of the world’s most famous keyboard, Keith Emerson’s Moog Modular, using original processes and components.”
Emerson Modular (b. 1970)
- 81 total modules/custom panels
- 12 unique, custom built modules including: sample and hold, preset programmer, custom LFO’s and DRONE VCO Control
- Two custom modded modules: 903 Noise Source and 905 Reverb
- First synthesizer with performance presets
- Shoots rockets
Emerson System by Moog Custom Engineering (b. 2014)
- Every standard module printed from orignal [sic] circuit board films
- Original/Vintage and NOS (new old stock) components sourced from around the world
- All face plates reproduced using original transparencies and techniques
- Each module hand built and soldered with original schematics and service manuals as guides
- No longer shoots rockets
But, oh my, Moog, we do want to see a real Moog Modular reissue. This isn’t by any chance misdirection, is it? See you at Moogfest to find out.
Slim Pickins. Sweetwater, no doubt driven insane by reading too much product copy over the years, likewise makes an annual tradition of writing surprisingly plausible copy for completely implausible products. And this year, they turn their attentions to the modeling craze. That said, I don’t know why CDM isn’t selling a USB key with a guitar pick attached; that’s got to appeal to somebody.
And while the product is absurd, you know you’ve read marketing text that is isn’t any less silly than this:
Onboard controls allow you to dial in the PPE pick shape of your choice; select among regular, sharp, teardrop, wedge, stubby, triangle, and even thumb. In addition, you can choose among PDX pick weights ranging from extra-light to extra-heavy. With USB HD Modeling Guitar Pick’s Advanced Materials & Density Modeling (AMDM), the specific tone and response you require can be dialed in. No longer are you limited to plain old plastic. AMDM supports True Vintage Tortoiseshell, High-Polymer Delrin, and more, including esoteric types such as stainless steel (brushed or glossy surfaces) and East Indian and Brazilian rosewood.
Craft the exact Plectrum Profile you want for your tone and touch – even choose different pick types for different musical styles – or Kross-Pick (TM) for exploring new horizons – want to use a country pick for death metal? With USB HD Modeling Guitar Pick Kross-Picking, it’s a breeze! And, for those playing in tribute bands, the USB HD Modeling Guitar Pick allows you to duplicate the plectrums of legendary players, finally achieving that last bit of true authenticity.
Sign me up.
(I briefly read that last phrase as “for journalists.” I propose a plug-in that means we never have to do another DAW review again.)
Ambient sequencing – built like a brick. If a picture is worth a thousand words, it’s worth about a million words when you don’t speak Finnish. But the photos say it all when it comes to the 860,90 € (VAT included) Laikaboss as-606 “ambient” sequencer. It’s not really a new joke, but it’s somehow a joke that you can just listen to all day … like a drone.
A Cassette Recorder Simulator Okay, I’m a child of the 80s. So of course I’ve got a special affinity for unicorns and have already threatened to make an Instagram for audio recording.
I get the sense that Propellerhead and developer PEFF are joking, especially when they propose a rack extension they’re calling Crapre Cassette Recorder Audio Processor. But I’m deadly serious. Let’s make this. DSP engineers, get in touch. I’m set to laugh all the way to the Deutsche Bank. Even putting a unicorn and a kitten on it – gold.
Update: They apparently had the same thought. You can buy this. It sounds horrible. Awesome.
Wireless Patching. I have a love-hate relationship with modulars. Love: they sound amazing. I want them. Hate: I want them and I can’t afford them. I have to lift them. I have this stupid word “digital” in the name of the Website. (I’m all set to go KFC. You watch me.)
And, there are the wires. In fact, there are wires in modular software, too. So, Bartosz Ciechanowski of Macoscope today proposes an idea – switch to “wireless” onscreen patching. It could work in Max or Pd or vvvv, but here, we get to see it in Quartz Composer. Best part of this joke: he did really go into Xcode and make this work. Fantastic.
Music for Airports. Robert Henke (co-founder of Monolake and Ableton, among other things) announced to friends on his newsfeed a striking commission – sound branding for BER, the new airport in Berlin.
I am very happy and excited to announce that I am going to do the complete sound design for Norman Forster’s new Berlin BER airport !!! This includes the announcement jingle, and all sound logos. Links and ‘official’ statement later today !!!! Now coffee and calming down.
The news earned him plenty of congratulations, before folks figured out the joke. (Berlin’s airport is chronically delayed, years behind schedule, sitting empty… I’d say this was an inside Berlin joke, except that the project is so infamous it’s gotten international press.)
Anyway, I guess I can still load Ghosts on my iPhone at Tegel on Thursday and dream. Robert’s answer to Eno’s Music for Airports sounds like a great idea. Some airport that actually has a chance of opening: you get on that.
But in all seriousness, perhaps we should all remember not to take ourselves too seriously. It’s the absurd ideas – the ones we have when we’re laughing – that sometimes lead the best places. And, so let’s make every day April Fool’s D–
Oh, actually, that’s a terrible idea. But do keep it light. And let us know if you’ve seen any such-a-bad-idea-they’re-actually-almost-a-good-idea April Fool’s jokes… or at least ones that made you laugh.