Armin van Buuren DJ Boombox a Pale Imitation of the 80s; A Look Back at Real Ghettoblasters

In the latest megarich DJ – electronics manufacturer collaboration, we find Dutch giant Philips with Armin van Buren. (In fact, you might begin to wonder if these guys are just competing over the Forbes highest-paid DJs list.) This time, what you get is an all-in-one iPad dock with DJ control surface with speaker. That in itself seems not such a terrible idea, but then the problems start. Apart from the usual concerns about obsolete dock devices, the dock slot here places the iPad in an uncomfortable vertical position. There are physical controls for DJing, too, integrated with the (rather excellent) …

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Playable 8-bit Game as Promo, and Okkervil River’s Nostalgia-Drenched Wonderlands

The standards for advance promotion of an album may be getting a little … intense. Photos? Track listing? Advance music video? Streaming preview? How about a complete, playable adventure video game in your Web browser, free, with charming graphics and an original chip music soundtrack adapting the songs from the record in 8-bit form? Due out Tuesday, September 3, Okkervil River’s LP “The Silver Gymnasium” isn’t shy about its nostalgia factor. The whole record is a re-imagining of frontman Will Sheff’s 80s childhood. That might be a bit much were the browser game not so beautifully executed. Sheff created the …

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Grid Tricks: Mega-Bass 2020, Delicious Live Performance Groovebox [Launchpad + Reaktor]

Mega-Bass 2020 – Teaser Performance from Icebreaker Audio on Vimeo. Look through that VHS fuzz, and listen as a Casio VL-Tone and synth go ultra-retro – they even play a cover of Jan Hammer. But that’s not what this story is about. This story is about using more simple grid techniques to create something that lets you improvise using your hands, to play music freely without looking at the screen. And Mega-Bass 2020, while still building on the grid ideas of monome et al, is a very sharp user-created marriage of software and hardware. With electric-pink and grape-on-gray retro graphics, …

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ipolysix1

Classic KORG Polysix, Reimagined for iPad, Becomes All-in-One Workstation

In designing for Apple’s mobiles, KORG has again turned to equipment from their past. Having reinterpreted the ElecTribe and MS-20, their newest target is the versatile, classic Polysix. The 1981 original brought programmable polyphony to keyboard lovers, with analog oscillators, memory storage, six-voice polyphony, and various effects and modulation. For iOS, Korg models that sound (having done so already with the desktop Legacy Collection), and mimics the front-panel. But even more so than on the DS-20 rendition (iMS-20), they pack in modern features that make this a production tool as much as a synthesizer. That should be welcome news for …

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Yep, this is about to get as awesome as you think it is. Time for some Belgian bots banging beats.

Shiny Robot-Jamming Gear Pr0n, Cassette Labels: The Future Is What It Used To Be [Awesome Video]

Disappointed our electronic music present didn’t turn out the way it was supposed to when it was still the future? Sad you didn’t get shiny, knob-laden synths, robot masks, blindingly-colorful lens flares, funky-crisp electro jams, and beloved music distributed on cassette? Well, you could sit around getting all wistful, or you could simply make that future happen. Belgian synth collective Chrome BrulĂ©e chose action over nostalgia, constructing the universe seen in glossy Roland and Sequential ads from Keyboard Magazine, circa 1983. And the music video they’ve produced is just the teaser: stay tuned for music on, of course, cassette tape. …

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clapbox

Vintage Clap Trap Synth, Now a Unitasker iOS App; I Love the 80s

Here’s an iOS app antidote to those desktop plug-ins that do everything, to elaborate virtual synths with eighteen separate modulation envelopes. It’s an app that just … makes clap sounds. And it brings your iPhone or iPad boldly into the 1980s. The handclap sound you hear in so much electronic music, particularly that originating from the 1980s, is none other than the Simmons Clap Trap. And soundware boutique / developer Puremagnetik, the folks who have built a reputation sampling classic instruments for the likes of Ableton, has emulated that tool on iOS. It’s certainly … specific. But that could make …

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pwr2mca

Remembering Adam Yauch, and the Videos You Probably Haven’t Seen That Should Make You Smile

By popular reader demand, CDM remembers Adam Yauch this week, teaming up with our friends at Network Awesome, who dig deep into the archives for some video gems. Peace, Adam, indeed. Try http://networkawesome.com/2012-5-11 if the video above isn’t loading for you. It’s not hard to understand the impact of the loss of Adam Yauch, aka MCA, founding Beastie Boy. With the passing of music idols comes a sense of the passage of time, all the more so when they’re barely into middle age. But MCA, to a swath of music fans, is more than a distant idol. He, and the …

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c64

Jack Tramiel’s Commodore 64, Atari ST in Music, Remembered, as Vision Lives On [Obituary, Gallery]

(CC-BY) Axel Tregoning. (CC-BY) Marcin Wichary. Jack Tramiel, who died this week, had as deep an impact on computer music for the everyday musician as just about any computing industry pioneer. While Jobs, Woz, Moore, Grove, and Gates get a lot of the attention, Tramiel’s legacy was in making computing affordable and accessible. As such, he was indispensable to the computing revolution, and his computers were early forebears of the digital music-making Renaissance. In an extraordinary microcosm of the 20th Century, Polish-born Tramiel escaped Auschwitz, served in the US army, and built the roots of the most successful desktop computer …

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CREATED: Call it VHSwave — Jacob 2-2, Stephen Farris and Music That Looks Back Through Time

Futuristic technologies, now found … in the past. Maybe that explains the sound of a lot of new music, says CDM contributor Matt Earp. Photo (CC-BY-NC-SA) ReallyBoring. What happens as music peers through the gauze of memory? Our contributor Matt Earp asks that question with the second installment of the new series, CREATED, a column that examines new and undiscovered music and feeds our headphones through the week. There’s a production technique in a lot of today’s post-FlyLo, beat-driven instrumental hip-hop that’s pretty darn pervasive when you start listening out for it. It’s that woozy, wobbling 80s synth sound – …

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casio_dj

Casio’s New Synth Keyboards: Workstation Keyboards for Synth Rockers, DJs, Organists?

From top: “DJ,” “performance” versions of the new Casio synth, though the functionality of each is fairly close. Photos from Casio, and yes, it’s time to get better photos. What if a workstation arrangement keyboard were designed for DJs and synth rockers instead of, uh, whoever normally buys workstation arranger keyboards? Casio has taken the wraps off their new keyboards, and they appear to be affordable, all-in-one electronic beasts. Oh, except one of them has an organ. And an arpeggiator and step sequencer. So you can certainly step-sequence your drawbar organ, if you like. There are also some retro-Casio CZ …

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