Remember the days when we had “car phones” permanently mounted in our automobiles, and we listened to cassette tapes? Ha – how dated. Now, we do things properly: adding a Roland TR-606 and TB-303 to the dashboard so we can make acid while we drive.

No, I’m not entirely certain you want your insurance company to know about this. (Even less so if they’re unfamiliar of the usage of the word “acid” in this context.)

Via the Facebook page of, the excellent Polish electronic music/club site.

Totally obligatory:


Update – there’s more! Continue reading »


When we designed MeeBlip anode, we tried to do more with less: make every knob and switch meaningful and musical.

Composer/musician and artist Robert Lippok invited us into his studio as he tried out those controls. Robert is really thoughtful about his approach to sound and control in my experience working with him, and so it was nice to get his feedback on our instrument. (If you don’t know Robert’s music, he is a Berlin native, a long-time member of the label raster noton, and a former member of the band To Rococo Rot.)

One by one, he demonstrates how these sound controls work. (This is just the default Pulse Width mode; there are more colors to access in the hidden wavetable mode.)

Our direct flash sale is over, but you can get MeeBlip anode right away – and support your local dealers – via our dealer network. That includes a number of stores that have done fantastic things to build the synth community, from the USA to Germany and beyond. It’s still available at a low cost:
MeeBlip Dealers

For more on Robert:
Robert Lippok [raster-noton Artists]


Error 303, anyone?

Computation is everywhere – phones, tablets, watches (apparently), and yes, browsers in all of those places. And that computational power can be harnessed to completely distract you from doing real work in the office — um, I mean, make music.

“Acid Machine Beta” is a rather fun implementation of two synths and a drum machine, all running in your browser. The “Randomize” function alone should hook you for a bit. Beyond that, you get a decent complement of synth and percussion controls that could make a reasonable little groove. (Recording isn’t directly possible, but you could route audio from your browser to another app.)

I’ve tested the app in all the browsers I have here. Google Chrome/Chromium, as advertised, works best. Firefox is working, too, though UI activities can make sound skip. Safari is not functioning. It’s a start – maybe not enough to justify buying that new Google Chromebook Pixel, but a nice proof of concept.

If you want other stupidly-fun ways of accessing acid, we’ve got you covered. Continue reading »


We’re all touched by the musical inventions of technologists. But it’s something special to see those creations in their original hand.

The Bob Moog Foundation has been posting circuitry, panel layouts, and prototype drawings made by Bob Moog (many in his hand) – and they’re beautiful. Don’t drink a lot of coffee before drawing plans if you want yours to look anything like this.

You’ll see a range of creations – oscillator circuits from classic modular units, synth control panels, and even a percussion controller and tape heads. I’ve pasted a few here, but go to the Moog site for the full collection and lots of notes:

Via SonicState: Moog Circuitry Revealed

SonicState reports that if you’re near Ithaca, New York, you can see more in person through the end of May at a special exhibition. Continue reading »

You may not like the song “Blurred Lines” much. But if you find that tune grating, you may find the inability of US copyright law to differentiate degrees of copying even more painful.

Here’s the latest strangeness. When we last joined the American courts finding extreme interpretations of copyright, an appeals court decided to blow away the de minimis doctrine for sampling. That’s “de minimis” (Latin), as in “size matters not” (um… Yoda).

The idea was, there was no need to measure the significance or size of a sample in the N.W.A. song “100 Miles and Runnin’.” The court helpfully offered at the time, “Get a license or do not sample. We do not see this as stifling creativity in any significant way.” Here’s a reasonable summary (my Keyboard article I think is not online):

Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. Dimension Films

In fact, many at the time thought that stifling creativity is exactly what could happen. Without a de minimis standard, or “bright line test,” any sample becomes infringement. A common sense law wouldn’t do that: almost any logic of justice looks at harm and amount. (Imagine if shoplifting counted stealing a corner of a leaf from a strawberry.) With digital sampling, just working out where sounds have come from can be a challenge. As if to illustrate that point, you’ll notice that the N.W.A. case involved Dimension Films. The N.W.A. sample was licensed – it just lacked mechanical rights, so Bridgeport descended on an unauthorized use of the sample (by way of the song) in a film. Continue reading »

If rock music had the Gibson Les Paul and Fender Stratocaster, hip hop and dance music have the TR-808. And if its sound seems sometimes overly familiar, even that is in some sense a hat-tip (pardon the pun) to its enduring ubiquity.

Now, the Roland TR-808 gets its own full-length documentary, told primarily through the eyes of the people who repurposed its idiosyncratic sound to spin new musical genres and start a revolution. The film features extensive input from Arthur Baker, who acts as a centerpiece for the movie. Baker was the producer behind Afrika Bambaataa’s ‘Planet Rock,’ a record that would arguably guide the long-term influence of the 808 and the course of dance music. Apart from an executive producer credit to Baker, the film is centered enough on his story that it originally even included Planet Rock in the title.

We knew a large-scale 808 documentary was coming, but now, at last, you can see it – if you’re in Texas this month, that is. Multiple screenings around Austin during South by Southwest will mean residents and visiting hipsters will get some chances to pack theaters. No word yet on when it will tour, but early press indications and demand suggest this could see a wide release. (CDM isn’t at SxSW this year, so let us know if you see it; we’d love to hear your review!)

The film is the work of newcomer director Alexander Dunn and a small UK house called You Know Films.

There are some notable points on the way the film has gone.

808movie Continue reading »

This has never ever happened before with Apple. Well, except all those times it happened before. Photo (CC-BY) Marcin Wichary.

This has never ever happened before with Apple. Well, except all those times it happened before. Photo (CC-BY) Marcin Wichary.

If you’re a music maker, a DJ, or anyone working with creative audio and video, you care about connectivity so you can do your job – rightfully so. So, if that has you freaked out by the strange “all-new MacBook,” let me the first person to tell you: relax. You don’t want it, but you don’t have to lose sleep over it.

It seems Apple yesterday introduced a new product tier. Apple has done that before, creating different categories for their computers to serve different markets. (It’s what has turned them into a hugely profitable company.) You may still prefer a PC, but if you do want to stay on the Mac and this has you worried, there’s no reason to over-think this. The introduction of the Apple Watch yesterday doesn’t mean everything from Apple will now be strapped to our wrists, either.

Here’s my take – and yes, we’ll see if I’m proven right or wrong.

Apple now has three laptop lines where there once were two. Here are Apple’s product names, followed by how I am (apparently controversially) interpreting those product names:

1. “MacBook Pro” and “MacBook Pro with Retina Display.” A version of the MacBook for pros.
2. “MacBook Air.” A lighter version of the MacBook Pro.
3. “The all-new MacBook.” An all-new MacBook.

See, that wasn’t that difficult, was it? Continue reading »