Two terrific Moogerfoogers have reached the end of their run. But that’s an excuse for more music, which sounds good to me.
2007′s FreqBox takes input signals and modulates an internal oscillator; the 2009 MIDI Murf is an animated filter sequencer. They’re both pretty great boxes, though now even before delving into modular, there are a lot more choices now than perhaps just those few short years ago. Koma Elektronik’s FT-201 runs further with the idea of sequencer-plus-filter. I can’t think of anything quite like the FreqBox, actually – I’d love to see Moog find a way to make a Minifooger around this idea. With either, there may be reason to go snap one up from a dealer before they’re gone.
But let’s get to the music – the end of these two units gives us an introduction to the inventive sound universe of Los Angeles-based artist M. Geddes Gengras. Mr. Gengras has composed a short EP to the Moogerfoogers. (He calls it a Eulogy, though that seems the wrong word unless Moog have some rather violent planned obsolescence strategy I don’t know about.)
His music is a calming flight of fancy, a wonderful and happily strange trip through sound, and these are no exception:
Grooveshark, announcing the April 30th shutdown of their streaming music service:
We failed to secure licenses from rights holders for the vast amount of music on the service.
That was wrong. We apologize. Without reservation.
They go on to concede that hundreds of other services provide the same ability to listen to music without violating the ownership of music. And they’ve lost everything, from patents to the site itself. Continue reading »
The music and sound industry is increasingly about big-league consolidation. InMusic – the company behind Akai and M-Audio – is growing. Long-standing Japanese titan Yamaha has snapped up Line6. Gibson now includes everything from Tascam to the website Harmony Central to consumer gear branded Philips. (And yes, throw out whatever you think you know about Gibson from the 90s – this has nothing to do with that.)
Now, count the giant MUSIC Group – the parent of Behringer, with Uli Behringer as its chief – among the big sharks on the acquisition market.
MUSIC Group announced today it has acquired TC Group. You probably know them as the makers of vocal effects and guitar effects and sound processing and mastering, under brands like TC Electronics and TC Helicon, or for their Tannoy label. And that’s clearly a big part of this deal, with MUSIC Group’s presence in that market with Behringer as well as Midas and Bugera tube amps (among others).
It’s more than that, though. TC Applied Technologies are in semiconductor designs, networking, and interface tech too, which gives Behringer a big boost in terms of intellectual property and the electronics market beyond musical instruments. And closer to home, MUSIC Group call out their interest in A/V and broadcast.
For their part, Danish-based TC say that they had other big suitors, but chose the Behringer folk – I wonder who those other players may have been.
Regardless, this is very big news, combining two powerful international companies. And any of us who think of Behringer as the “cheap mixer people,” we may do well to take them seriously – MUSIC Group now have their own factory complex in China and a 300-person engineering team. Continue reading »
It’s a horse race. Two keyboards – one from Native Instruments, one from AKAI – really want to be the interface between you and every plug-in you own. And we’re getting closer to find out if either deserves your attention.
You’ve heard this story before. Sure, you have powerful software on your computer screen. But when you want physical control of those instruments beyond just playing keys, you’re left either manually mapping controls or reaching for your mouse or trackpad.
So, over the years various solutions have tried to solve this automagically. There was Automap, seen in Propellerhead Reason and then from Novation. There was Cakewalk’s ACT. Native Instruments’ KORE. M-audio’s HyperControl. And probably some others I’ve forgotten – maybe tried to forget. These solutions weren’t always completely horrible, but I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who was completely satisfied with them, either. Now, I’m sure some of you will protest. Reason, for instance, often worked well – a closed system that originated the idea – and if you got things working, more power to you. But beyond that handful, I’ve met a whole lot of people who wound up giving up and going back to manually mapping MIDI. (Or just give me that trackpad, already, because it’s faster.)
Well, now the Akai ADVANCE is here. It knows you’ve been hurt before. But it wants you to love automatic mapping again. And … surprisingly, there are some early indications you ought to leave the heartache behind and give it a chance to prove itself. Continue reading »
Drum machines. They’re predictable. So much so that the biggest controversy about Roland’s high-profile entry into the market with AIRA was whether they should remake the 808/909 or remake the 808/909 as analog.
Enter Metasonix. They would like to make the differentiation point of drum machines whether you still have your ass or not once you’ve heard them.
And so, we see the D-2000, the long-awaited (long-dreaded?) successor to the D-1000, but, say Metasonix, more extreme. (“Tweaked,” “maximized,” and “pushed.”)
How would you describe the sound? Absolutely terrible. (You know, nicely horrible. I mean, probably not in a way most of us would spend money on, but… well, read on, as we ponder just who would. Because they must be interesting.)
Not everyone can actual create products in a way that could be termed trolling – and still sell them. This is that kind of product. Continue reading »
Talk all you like about the “feeling” of something physical, something tangible, about having a real object, about ownership. There’s a cold reality behind selling physical goods: it’s hard.
Before you can sell something, you need money to buy the physical stuff you want to sell. Digital “solves” that by making the good intangible, but in the material world, you need materials. Before “capitalism” came to mean some complex international system of speculative markets, this, of course, was what we meant: you got some capital to start a business selling stuff.
Then, once you have that stuff, you better hope you got it in the right quantity. Turns out more people want it than you thought? Too bad – they’ll have to wait for another run, and by then, maybe they don’t want it any more. Fewer wanted it? Now you’ve an even bigger problem: you’re out of the cash you spent to get the stuff, and you’ve got extra stuff you can’t sell. You’ve lost your shirt, and gained excess inventory.
Crowd funding could be seen as a way around all of this. It’s no accident that Kickstarter’s roots began in music – the service began as a way to fund performance and recording projects.
But Kickstarter itself isn’t really set up for someone wanting, say, to release an album on vinyl by funding the pressing. In fact, Kickstarter made themselves pretty clear in 2012, for any of you imagining they’re a preorder system:
In case you had any doubt after that headline, they lead thusly: “It’s hard to know how many people feel like they’re shopping at a store when they’re backing projects on Kickstarter, but we want to make sure that it’s no one.”
Okay, fine, but – if you want someone to put out music on vinyl, then “risks and challenges” shouldn’t factor into the equation.
QRATES could be the link that would give independent artists and labels access to the vinyl record revival.
The just-launched service comes with a number of components. It’s a little like CDBABY and Kickstarter had a love child for vinyl enthusiasts. Continue reading »