basic64: Free Commodore 64-Inspired Plug-in for Windows

basic64 is a free (donations accepted) VST plug-in for Windows. You can see the full specs on the developer site, but let’s skip straight to what sets this one apart: Oscillator sync Ring modulation Pitch envelopes Tempo-synced arpeggiator MIDI learn on everything Pretty powerful for free. It’s not a full SID emulation, but then, I think an “inspired” version is better anyway. Now, enough blogging, I’m off to go play with this thing. And yes, lots of weird and wonderful plug-ins is one excellent reason to use Windows, even if just a justification for throwing XP Home on Boot Camp …

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Tuesday Nerdster Music Vids: Viva Electro, CMJ, and True Computer Camp Love

Hey, nerdsters! It’s CMJ Music Marathon time here in New York, which generally means lots of roadies, music biz people, crowds, and bands with guitars. Ewww. Guitars — with no software effects? No vocoding granulizer? No trio of laptops nearby? Not even so much as a keytar? What’s a computer music-loving nerdster to do? Happily, synths are back, and electro is making a strong showing this year. In fact, my problem is that all the bands I care about seem to be scheduled at exactly the same time, which I hear is a typical CMJ problem. But with fun music …

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Handmade Gems from the CDM Flickr Group: Sound Destruction and C64

While on the subject of wonderful handmade musical instruments, Max (and Audrey) aka farnea have been posting some fantastic creations to Flickr over the past few months. They recently cropped up on the Create Digital Music Flickr Pool. The Sound Destruction Unit: DIY modular synth made putting together a lot of things I’ve built in the last times. There is a Weird Sound Generator, a Crackle Box, a random pattern generator, some filters (cutoff, square to sine), a gate controller, a Vactrol based controller, optical sensors and body contacts, mixing and power stuff. Orange Commodore 64 Synth: A lovely, custom-painted …

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This Week In Synths: AHNE 2007, Custom Synth Madness, The Lyricon, and C64 Action

AHNE 2007 – Happy Syntho De Mayo Every year synth die-hards migrate East for AHNE. It is an amazing gathering filled with vintage gear as you will see in the links that follow. This year’s event looks like it did not disappoint. Unfortunately I was not able to make it due to having to make a trip out East just before the event due to unforeseen circumstances, but one year I will make it! The following are links to photo sets and some video of the event.

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Guitar Hero Controller Hacked for the Commodore 64

Devotees of the SID sound chip in the Commodore 64 will love this. A new project called Shredz64 promises to create a working version of Guitar Hero with the C64’s vintage sounds, and will unlock the ability to use other PS2 controllers, as well. We’ve seen various hardware hacks to provide better I/O and simple onboard controls to make the C64 more fun as an instrument/synth; the next frontier seems to be adding more elaborate external hardware. Being the C64, you get funny moments like this: “Some obstacles to be worked through include presentation of music given the 3 voice …

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Weekend Reading/Listening: 8-bit Operators vs. Kraftwerk, Commodore 64 Forever!

8-bit music has definitely caught the attention of the mainstream. GameSpy has a good five-way interview with part of the group behind the new album of Kraftwerk covers, 8-bit Operators: The Music of Kraftwerk. 8-Bit Operators: It’s More Fun to Console They miss my friend Kim Haeyoung (Bubblyfish), who made one of my favorite tracks on the album. (Hey, mainstream press, boys and girls can both play electronic music, 8-bit or 64-bit.) But it is a good read, and if you haven’t heard the album yet, it’s a lot of fun — partly for the broad range of interpretations on …

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Commodore 64 Orchestra @ Vintage Computer Festival: Massively Parallel C64 Music Action!

Quick: you’re building a massively parallel, powerful supercomputer cluster! What computer will you use as a node? Why, the hugely-powerful Commodore 64, of course, silly! And then you’ll write music for your sixteen Commodore machines: The Vintage Computer Festival has selected Commodore 64 Orchestra to be the first to [sic] the historic Commodore 64 Parallel Super-Computer. The project is slated for completion for exhibition at VCF 6.0, where the 20th anniversary of the Commodore 64 will be celebrated. The first prototype will utilize 16 Commodore 64 machines in sync with a musical application that Commodore 64 Orchestra will program to …

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DIY Commodore 64 Bassline Video Action; C64 Orchestra and Composer Interviews

It’s one thing to talk about the MIDIbox SID, a DIY project that turns the fat warmth of the Commodore 64’s synth chip into a powerful beatbox/bass synth. It’s another thing entirely to see it in action — Roland ain’t got nothin’ on this. Also airing on YouTube: the C64 Orchestra renders classic music from the 1980s in full orchestral form. To be honest, I was hoping “C64 Orchestra” meant a room full of SID synth players, but perhaps that’ll come next. It’s especially worth watching to hear 80s C64 composers Rob Hubbard (Commando, Master of Magic, etc.) and Jereon …

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Modified Musical Commodore 64s Live Happily Alongside Classic Roland Gear, Modern Computers

Thanks to the release of the Prophet 64 music production cartridge for Commodore 64, a lot of C64 music makers have been hanging out on the Prophet 64 Yahoo Group. There are some really talented hackers and case modifiers building beautiful custom computers out of vintage Commodore machines. Last week, we got to see Traktor DJ controllers and knob mods; here are some more: 8GB has a gorgeous case mod for a C64 dubbed the M64. It has the onboard knobs we saw in the other modifications, plus a lovely black paint scheme, shown here. It’s also nice to see …

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Musical Mods of the Commodore 64, from Traktor DJing to Knobs for Prophet64

Hard-core musical applications of antique Commodore 64 computers continue to spread. There are plenty of pristine C64s out there, so there’s something beautiful about seeing these heavily modified computers get a second life. First up, the superb DIY and circuit bending blog Get LoFi has gotten their hands on the new Prophet64 music cartridge for the C64. “Circuitmaster” set out to review the cartridge and wound up building modified hardware to make it easier to control, affixing knobs to the top of the computer. If that sounds appealing to you, you’ll find resources for how to duplicate the effort: Knob …

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