Roland Drum and Bass Machines as Abstract Art, Suspended in Space

Art from archetypes — so much of what we make is built from the pieces of something that came before. It’s doubly true both in electronic dance music and the machines built to make it. From techno to drum machine technology, a great deal of the future depends on whether we can reimagine the past. The legacy of the Roland TR and TB series hangs heavy over those fields. Heck, they cast their shadow over even what I’m reading this week. I’ve unboxed a set of new Roland AIRAs for review that explode each component, modeling it all over again …

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Grab Free Drum Kits for Ableton Live and Other Tools: Vintage, Vinyl, Synth, Pine Cone

Sometimes, it takes just that one set of sounds to unfreeze your creativity and get a song started. And that’s why freebies are sometimes such fun: they’re even a bit more odd, a handful of offbeat sounds that just begs to be turned into … something. The folks at Puremagnetik have been posting some gems to their Tumblr account. This just in: “Wicked Kits” is a collection of five drum kits pre-configured for Ableton Live. (As with any Live kit, there are raw samples you can use in any tool you like – Renoise, MPC, whatever.) The emphasis here is …

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Roland AIRA MIDI Implementation: Now Official for TB-3, TR-8 – and TB-3 Sequences Nicely

This wouldn’t normally be news, but for whatever reason, the Roland AIRAs went flying off the shelves – missing any MIDI documentation. Ahem. We covered a number of these details before, including a Max for Live patch for the convenience of those of you integrating with Ableton. The good news: the hackers were right, and got more or less the entire implementation via trial and error. So, this is still a good resource: AIRA Secrets: Here’s How to Take Command of Roland’s TB-3 and TR-8 with MIDI The TR-8, then, holds no surprises. I’m just hopeful we see extra functionality …

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Watch An Hour-long, Chilled, Hard, Hardware Live Set from TM404

If you can’t get to a shoreline this week, I wholeheartedly endorse watching the waves crash behind none other than TM404, aka Andreas Tilliander. We had a sort of Roland meditation with him before, and I’m even more fond of this set. Sit back and enjoy an hour of sound. It’s worth reflecting on the resurgent hardware set, particularly with the Roland AIRA lineup some of the most talked-about, popular gear of 2014 (and volca beats still selling, and Rhythm Wolf in the wings).

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Roland Recalls TR-909 History in Aira Teaser; Reminds You Original Used Samples

Roland hasn’t been this buzzed about in a very long time. But in its carefully-calculated teaser campaign for Aira, the company is back in a big way. And we’re slowly getting to see the four Aira devices to be introduced this week. We know Aira will include a drum machine. We know there will be a TR-08. We know there was a video recalling the history of the TR-808. Now, Roland is talking TR-909 history. You can either take that to mean something about the TR-08, or that a TR-909 reboot will accompany the TR-08. Teaser campaign aside, fans of …

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Leaks: Roland Aira-08 Will Be an Emulated, Digital 808 Synth

The “new” 808 successor from Roland will be modeled in digital form, possibly using virtual analog modeling, and perhaps with some sample sources. Roland’s Aira-08, as readers noted, is already leaking in product descriptions as a “virtual analog” synth. (Among other sources: there was a Dutch retailer that revealed the info, before removing the page.) Unless Roland has managed some epic disinformation campaign, that means you won’t see an analog remake as KORG did with their MS-20 last year. What you should expect instead is one that uses digital models to capture the sound of its predecessor, in a new …

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Roland Aira TR-08: Remix, Not a Reissue, of 808 – But What Does That Mean?

Roland, it seems, is not interested in reissues. Each time the company has revisited its past classic models, it has reinterpreted those nameplates with new designs. And for lovers of the originals, that has caused mixed emotions. The obvious comparison is Korg, who dominated last year’s NAMM headlines with a surprisingly-authentic remake of the MS-20, to say nothing of MS filter recreations across their products. Moog, Dave Smith Instruments, Novation, and others have also more faithfully reproduced some earlier models. But the Aira TR-08, a new drum machine Roland is now teasing, could still be a new direction. Labeled the …

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TR-808 DIY: 379€ Lets You Built Your Own Part-by-part Analog Clone, Plus Sequencer

An irony of the 808 is that it began as an everyman’s machine – a disliked relic that no-name musicians could acquire for prices approaching free. It helped that Keyboard infamously likened its sound to “marching anteaters.” (Note to self: idea for DJ name.) Yet now, the quirky Roland original commands high prices that have transformed it into an (often-unreliable) luxury item. The fall and rise of the 808 isn’t just arbitrary, however. There is something distinctive about the sound design and usability of the original beast, the result of a twist of fate and history that compelled Roland engineers …

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frauAngelico: Lo-Fi, Playable, Open Source Drum Instrument and Sequencer [Gallery, Video]

A hackable, playable drum synth not afraid to sound digital: count us in. If you liked last week’s Dam-Drum 2.0, here’s yet another grungy beauty with four triggers and knobs. The frauAngelico also features nicely-low-fidelity drum samples, performance controls, and a built-in sequencer, just like Dam-Drum 2.0. It has some tricks up its own sleeve, though, with built-in MIDI capabilities (promised for a future drum synth from Bleep), some very cool effects and performance controls, and an open source, Arduino-derived foundation for easy hacking. (The software is open source, as is the Arduino-style basis; the hardware itself appears not to …

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In Berlin, musicians and creators gather to work collaboratively on new means of creation and performance. Imogen Heap and her team are among the participants, presenting an interactive workshop on wearable tech. Photo from TEDGlobal 2012 in Edinburgh, by James Duncan Davidson.

Hack Into MusicMakers’ Future in Berlin [CTM Open Call]

Happy New Year, from the future. It’s too late for sci-fi movies with a dateline of 2013. If you want something futuristic, you’ll just have to get to work. That’s what we’re doing in Berlin at CTM Festival later this month, with some of our favorite artists and engineers and designers and artist-engineer-designers. And we’d love to have you join us. We’ll have live music to enjoy. That includes high-tech original creations — Sonic Robots’ real-life 808 drum machine and band, and Tarik Barri and Lea Fabrikant with their three-dimensional audiovisual space trip. Tim Exile will treat us to his …

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