The Riser, the new synth from German developer AIR, isn’t shy about what it’s for.

This is a synth to make rises and drops aimed squarely at EDM fans. Dial up presets, turn some knobs, and sync up absurd rhythmic builds, like pumping chart-topping performance-enhancing drugs into your music. What makes it interesting is, it’s a synth. It isn’t another sample library, so you can actually control the results and make something original.

And if that’s what you want to do, you can do it right now for free – sort of. There’s a 2-week unlimited demo version – but only if you download it within the next 48 hours. After that, the demo goes away. (It then goes on sale on the 1st of September for US$79.99, AU, VST, AAX; 32­- and 64­-bit; OS X or Windows.)

That also gives a clue to how they expect this app to be used. It’s so quick at generating EDM drops, you won’t need it for longer than two weeks. After that, we expect to see you on the DJs complaining Twitter feed griping about how the cocaine on your private jet isn’t as good as it was last week.

You know what this means. Obligatory SoundCloud embed!

AIR is AIR Music Technology, the ex-Wizoo development house that’s now part of InMusic. And as such, they have some synth development chops. So, once you delve into the synth, it’s actually pretty powerful.

The basic idea is this. It’s a “transition designer.” You use a sweep, noise, or a chord as a source. Add LFOs for pumping and tempo effects – synced to your track. Then add effects (delay, reverb, pan, stereo width). Watch:

And here’s AIR’s actual SoundCloud track list, though it does bear some surprising similarity to the (parody) tracklist above.

And if your tastes tend toward IDM rather then EDM, which is a safe bet when you read CDM (AFAIK), you’ve just been given a two-week challenge to make something with this synth that sounds nothing like the demos. I think that might even have commercial potential, what with Aphex Twin trending. IDM is the new EDM. (Or AIR have come completely late to the party, because apparently everyone really only cares about Deep House – just ask Beatport. Deep House IDM, then. You heard it here first. And, probably, last.)


Native Instruments’ Massive wound up becoming a defining sound of American and European big-stage festival / top-of-the-charts dance music in recent years, completely unintentionally. (I’m going to forget for a second that anyone ever called what resulted “dubstep,” since that name never made sense.)

So, hey, maybe if Massive didn’t try to create EDM and then did, The Riser can try to create EDM tracks and then… you can turn it into some avant-garde IDM dark wave. Do it. Send us your SoundCloud link. Get nerd famous.

Or go get rich off it, but let us know, either way.

Having had some time to play with it, I’ll say this: this is an amazing little synth once you start using it incorrectly. Think of it as a swarm synth with a bunch of tempo-synced modulation, before the marketing department got their hands on it. The UI is desperately ugly (especially if you have a Retina Display), but the sound is fantastic. And yes, it’s absolutely IDM-worthy. You’ll find my creations via Tor soon, maybe, if you know where to look.

  • Bendish

    no. this is absurd. design them. if ever. yourself.

    • Peter Kirn

      I’m still going to try abusing this tool. Downloading now.

  • geoff

    “Native Instruments’ Massive wound up becoming a defining sound of American dance music” Just America??????? and American Dance music is a better name than Dubstep? Seems a strange way of looking at things to me.

    • Peter Kirn

      Ha, and I’m usually the one getting on people for that. You’re right – it’s not particularly American, per se, as the sound is closely related to European-born artists and to me owes a lot to other styles (including trance, which is why it makes so little sense to call it dubstep).

      I think more accurate is this: “American and European big-stage festival / top-of-the-charts dance music”


    • Aaron

      or simplified : the electronic music that electronic music fans don’t like. region-free.

  • brian hennessey

    This is getting a little absurd. It’s probably used in this:

  • Bobby A

    The jokes are funny, but I could totally use something like this for game audio creation.

    • Peter Kirn

      Yeah, I’m actually liking the synth. 😉 It’s possible to make things other than the sort of demo sounds. So, yeah, I’m not entirely joking!

  • oliverchesler

    Oh Peter it’s never as good as last week.

  • Bendish
    • Peter Kirn

      Yeah, I think I need to find a project that combines these two tools. 😉

  • Phew!

    Haha really loved the humour in this post.

  • heinrichz

    gimme a break, no more risers please !

  • Freeks

    Deep House IDM, Coming up!

    Now i found theme for my “Best of Gearslutz” track 😀

  • Merlin

    is this really a review or just paid advertising?

    also the company name “air” is very funny, i remember a cracking group with the same name :)

    • Peter Kirn

      You might want to listen to the Best Drops Ever (the SoundCloud embed with the pic of Paris Hilton) and consider whether this was advertorial.

    • Merlin

      i dont click on links/videos which show paris porn hilton :)

    • Yermom

      I just interpreted that as a troll.

  • Merlin

    fuck it! it installs pace (copyprotection)……..

  • josh

    This just seems like the right time to point out that I saw the term “post-dubstep” on Spotify last week.

    … which I’m pretty sure just means someone discovering Aphex Twin.

  • freezedream

    To be honest, I thought this kind of thing was the easy, fun part of a track where you get to add your own unique touch. Why on earth would any serious producer use a rise-dedicated synth? It’s completely pointless!

    • freezedream

      Oh.. it’s a joke…. nevermind.

    • Peter Kirn

      No, it’s a real synth. 😉

      I mean, presets – no, don’t understand that. The synth itself is actually pretty open-ended.

  • synapticflow

    No thanks! I will absolutely not be trying this out. I like to try to carefully create this quality thing called a “transition” instead of using trancey pantsy risers, buildups and drops.

    I’m no musical genius, but I do strive to do better than following the sheep.