If AIRA isn’t getting the blood flowing, we will instead post tawdry mixes of electronic sounds. Something about London and sex just go together. So let’s hook up with the musical tastes of some Londoners, then. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Martin Abegglen.
Provocatively entitling a mix, released on Valentine’s Day, “Sex Tape”? Full of love-y songs? Well played. (So to speak.)
Fortunately, the mix delivers, with some of our favorite songs that are – dare we say – if not better than sex, at least as good as good sex.
Lest you forget, this is CDM, notorious home to love of machines as much as humans – no, we’re not checking our email, we’re staring into our laptop screen because it enchants us.
So anyone who winds up a Valentine’s Day mix with Atom™’s aweomse Ich Bin Meine Maschine is okay in my book. No, Native Instruments didn’t even pay me to say that. (It can be die Maschine of your choice. Any machine, that is.)
Track IDs, all YouTubed up for you above: Continue reading »
It’s official: Roland’s much-teased line of four new products called AIRA are here. And they appear to represent a new course for Roland. They’re affordable and accessible in a way that we haven’t seen in recent products. But they’re also simultaneously closer to the sound of beloved vintage gear as they are more modern in taste and presentation.
Let’s get right to it. CDM got to speak to Roland prior to today’s announcement to get the details. And we’ll have more insight soon into the design process and approach to modeling. But let’s cover the basics.
This is component-modeled analog. All four products use the same analog modeling approach. It’s not superNATURAL, it’s not something you’ve heard from Roland before. It’s called Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB); it’s basically Roland’s own work on component modeling. Roland tells us that involves painstakingly modeling individual components on something like a 303 or 808, but also the interaction of those components, end-to-end. In other words, it’s Roland’s take on what is presently state of the art in emulating analog gear. Those models can sound nearly-indistinguishable from the originals, while offering flexibility that analog circuitry may not.
It’s pronounced “Aye, Rah.” Accent on the “Aye.” At least, that’s how Roland US is saying it. (Fully expect to hear “Air Rah,” “aye EE rah,” etc. Any Japanese-speakers care to guess? But since “Air Rah” sounds too much like “error” – much as we love glitch, probably not the idea – “Aye, Rah” should be the canonical pronunciation. You heard it here first.)
Availability is March and early summer. Expect TB-3, TR-8, VT-3 in March; we hope to review after MusikMesse. SYSTEM-1 will take longer, closer to May or (more likely) June.
If you like videos… Here’s what artists think.
And here’s a terrific video from our friends at Synthtopia, with Brandon Ryan from Roland USA (who talked in depth with CDM more recently – highly-knowledgeable product specialist and all-around nice guy):
There are four products.
CDM had been told preliminary pricing data, but it seems that’s not part of the announcement today. Pricing included here then is not official, but based on what we had acquired from contacts in Roland’s dealer network – expected street prices.
European pricing is the same – swap that US$ with a € (think import duty + VAT + currency conversion costs).
The four products: Continue reading »
FRACT, a 3D world-puzzle game based on synthesis, is after a long development beginning to become clear. And the voiceover from the latest trailer sounds a little like what happens when you get a teaching post in a university somewhere or a friend’s studio and discover the state of the analog gear in their dusty equipment storeroom:
You arrive in a strange, forgotten world. A world that was once built on sound.
You’re not really sure what happened here, or why, and you’re not even sure why you’re here.
Part of the journey is figuring out where to go and where to go next.
As you explore the world, you come across this machinery that’s broken and that’s been left behind.
And it’s up to you to figure out how to put it back together to restore life and sound to the world.
Yep, been there.
But we still eagerly anticipate the idea of a TRON-meets-synths, first-person exploration-puzzle game that doubles as an interactive musical environment. And it seems from the developers that they’re inching closer to this wildly ambitious goal.
There’s also a musical collaborator announced, Mogi Grumbles: Continue reading »
Is it sound design, or is it composition?
Is it musicianship, or is it technical control?
Is it live, or is it Ableton Live?
Diego Stocco is simply one of the best bleeding-edge musicians, composers, and sound designers – all in one. And that has made him rightfully in-demand in the media of technology (Spectrasonics), movies (Sherlock Holmes), TV (The Tudors), and games (Assasin’s Creed). He’s of course also a big hit around sites like this one.
Now, he’s sharing his secrets. He revealed about a week ago that he would be offering the first of his sound design courses, “Rhythmic Processing,” for US$9.99. (That’s a fairly incredible price, given Diego’s skill set – this is sort of jacking-into-the-Matrix-level learning at ten bucks.)
But it might not have been immediately clear what he was actually doing, or why it’s compositionally important. Now, he’s also sent CDM two SoundCloud tracks that walk through first the technique, and then reveal the musical results. (And if you’ve been watching TV or movies, and somehow didn’t know this was his music, you’ll recognize his signature style right away.) Take a listen: Continue reading »
If touchAble is the most feature-complete means of controlling Ableton Live from the iPad, touchAble mini just became the most powerful means of doing it from the iPhone and iPod touch.
Having remote control of your music production software from your phone can be a boon to productivity. You can wander around during a sound check and see how your set is sounding from the audience’s point of view. You can trigger recording sessions, control the arrangement, and adjust mix as you play on an instrument, without having to hover over your computer. Or you can use your phone as a second display for overview of your arrangement and the like. And you can also simply turn your phone into an external touch controller.
We saw one such mobile application yesterday – LIVKONTROL remains the best solution for Android phone owners, and works on iOS, too. Now, touchAble mini incorporates the latest power of big-brother touchAble on iPad, and it looks a formidable option for iPhone owners.
Having a dedicated app to control Ableton Live means unparalleled integration. There just isn’t this kind of stuff coming from third parties at this velocity for any other DAW, which says a lot about the power of the Live user base at the moment. (For other alternatives, check out the similarly-powerful IL Remote for FL Studio, or Steinberg’s Cubase iC app. The Cubase app is notable in really focusing on the needs of someone recording music with the phone as a remote control.)
You get a lot in the phone app – Clips, Mixer, Devices, Keys, Pads, and XY Pad are all there, and even the MIDI Clip Editor (for some palm-top pattern editing).
With Library access, this could even be a nice way of sitting at your instrument or controller and calling up instruments and effects, resting your phone on a music stand or blank bit of your keyboard.
Features: Continue reading »
Line 6 made a name for themselves by making amps that used digital models to change their sound. AMPLIFi is their latest notion in amps. Instead of just being something guitarists would use in the studio and stage, for the first time it’s an amp system you might want to bring into the home.
AMPLIFi is an amp, first and foremost. And like other Line 6 products, it uses digital models to change tones and effects. But while it can be loud like a traditional guitar amp (in 75- or 150-Watt versions), inside is a full-spectrum, five-speaker system. That means when you play music on it, you get stereo sound (plus a subwoofer) and tone more like you would expect from a home music system.
To feed sounds onto those speakers, the AMPLIFi also includes Bluetooth support, so you can stream audio wirelessly as well as via a cable. The applications are obvious: this is an amp that you can use to play along or practice with, and also can fill in at parties and dinner dates and the like.
And this isn’t out of reach, pricing wise: available now, 150-watt version for US$499 and the 75-watt version for US$399.
Line 6 has also changed how you pilot the amp. An app lets you navigate different amp models and effects via your iPad or iPhone. (Bluetooth streaming is supported on Android et al, too, but the app is iOS-only.) It’s not just a UI for picking effects and amps, either. Line 6 also has an amp “matching” system: tap in a song, and the amp will actually try to match the tone of your guitar to the one used in your favorite music.
The app adds a whole lot of modeling to the amp. (Amp app? Yipes, this is getting confusing to write.) Line 6 promise “70+ amps, 100+ effects and 20+ speaker cabinets.” In fact, you really want something running iOS in order to take advantage of the amp, because without the app, you get just four (!) presets. Fortunately, Line 6 has supported a range of iOS devices, so if you don’t own one, your best bet might be to pick up one cheap. The app supports “iPod touch (5th generation), iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5, iPhone 4s, iPhone 4, iPad (3rd and 4th generation), iPad 2 and iPad mini.”
Continue reading »
Are modular rigs too pricey for your budget? Hate the thought of all those patch cords, and wish you could just have everything at the ready on your laptop? DopeMatrix might just be for you.
That’s “Dope” as in “Doepfer,” and they aren’t just making something modular-ish here. They’re actually giving you a set of sounds from popular Eurorack synth modules – think A-110, Plan B, Cwejman, and Piston Honda.
Those four oscillator modules are coupled with twelve effects modules and a step sequencer with matrix controls. Built in Max for Live, you can add the modules (and dozens of presets) as-is, and experiment with external control, your own tweaks, and drag-and-drop placement of routing order.
Thinking of this as a modular “clone” probably misses the point. You can’t route audio between modules with the same level of flexibility as a modular – you’re limited to dragging and dropping the order of the individual modules in Live. On the other hand, what you do get is actually a lot easier to control in live performance. The folks at Sonic Faction have thoughtfully included a step sequencer and a matrix module that does on-the-fly patch control. That in turn is mapped to common controllers like Ableton’s Push, the AKAI APC, and the Novation Launchpad.
With the matrix, any oscillator or effects parameter is a button-push away.
In fact, this as much about their clever step sequencer and its matrix controller as it is about the modular business. The new step sequencer adds additional controls missing in Push’s built-in functionality. And the matrix is even smart enough to update if you drag and drop effect order. Continue reading »