xw-pd1

One Reason to Watch Casio: They’re Step Sequencer Crazy!

Okay, so Casio have crammed a groove box into a Millennium Falcon, and that was a little strange (and means squeezing some of the controls, since the shape is irregular). But now that the shock has worn off, the next question: should we get one for review when it arrives later this March? Should you keep it on your 2015 gear radar? The answer turns out to be yes, as a few readers have told me online and offline. And the reason has to do with a keyboard you probably ignored from Casio a couple years back. Let us explain. …

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xw-pd1

Casio Crosses a Groove Box, DJ Controller With Millennium Falcon

It’s not quite clear what just happened at Casio’s Music Gear division. Last year, their XW DJ line included a pedestrian but perfectly innocuous-looking DJ/VJ controller in partnership with Vestax. Now, in an apparent attempt to corner the market of 12-year-old producers, they’ve made two crazy-looking things shaped like the Millennium Falcon. Not a little like the Millennium Falcon – nearly exactly like it, just short of turning its reflector dish into a knob. (Okay, it looks a little bit like a Roland Handsonic HPD-10, but the Casio has a narrower nose – which in turn squeezes the space for …

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Groovy, Moody Songs, Flea Market Sound Design Finds: Meet Sofia Kourtesis

Half Greek, half Peruvian, born in Lima but raised between Germany and New York, Sofia Kourtesis is a fresh, emerging voice. Her music interweaves shadows and introspection with smart grooves – seductive melancholy. Her mixes, too, cross similar territory, aided by her broad knowledge of music as a globe-trotting DJ and booker. So, it’s a perfect start to our week this week, with some listening and a peek inside a studio. This is what’s so exciting about being in music now: we get to hear those new artists find original paths. Apart from being a sci-fi movie addict and teenage …

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dx100keyboard

Yamaha DX100 Synths Used to Make Thunderstorms Happen Inside Your Motorcycle Helmet

Music tech videos need to be made like this again. (via dylan digits in comments) You don’t need a private Ibiza pool party and some slow-motion to make you look cooler when your keytar makes lightning strike in your face. Until then, we’re down-voting that s***. Consider yourself on notice. The Honda scooter ad at the end just sort of fits in, because how else are you carrying your DX100? Not in a station wagon. Not on the subway. You’ve got FM to make anything possible and you’re already wearing a motorcycle helmet and leather. You can ride with your …

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The Dream Modular Rig, Making Amazing Sounds: Cyrus Rex

cyrusrex + Baseck – #DBC611G-1D from Muff Wiggler on Vimeo. Pulsing, rattling, buzzing, quivering, the music of LA-based artist Cyrus Rex is a sumptuous feast of sound. Here’s a musician who connects massive arrays of gear, like some post-apocalyptic robot dream, and then makes it sound like it – rapid-fire machine reveries set in motion amidst nests of cables. Little wonder this video at top, with Cyrusrex and Baseck, comes from MuffWiggler. It is full of gear: Cyrusrex + Baseck – Modular Synth, DSI Tempest, DevilFish TB303, Strymon BigSky, casio #DBC611G-1D But don’t stop there. Cyrus Rex’s music is an …

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monkeysandsynthesizers

Synths Versus Real Primates: So Easy, a Monkey Can Play Them? A Zoo Finds Out

Synths meet monkeys. Photo: Andreas Tilliander. Composer and Swedish dance music maestro HÃ¥kan Libdo has been a constant source of experimentation. But his latest project yields zoo-like new adventurousness. Six species of monkeys are equipped with synthesizers to test the question of whether playing a synth is really playing music – or if it’s so simple, a monkey can do it. Describing the project, there’s a bit of a defense of the complexity of the instrument: “You just press a button and out comes music, right?” Well… you do press buttons, twist knobs and faders, but there are endless ways …

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dewanatron

Pictures at an Exhibition: Essential New Gear and Reflections from NAMM

Dewanatron’s Brian and Leon were on-hand with their unique inventions. Photos by Marsha Vdovin for CDM. For the lover of musical instruments and technology, southern California’s NAMM show is a giant toy shop. It’s work for many of its attendees, of course, but we know many of our readers dream of the objects that will make their next creations. And sure, inspiring lust is not our aim; on the contrary, there is some love that goes into these things. In the ideal, that’s the relationship of creator and consumer. These are things not to be bought and discarded, but kept …

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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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teasers

Leak the Future: Traktor Controller, Loads of Synths, Livid, Akai, Casio, Nord, and Teaser Tracking

The only good teasers are Malteasers. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Ranma Tim. Guess who’s gotten really bad at keeping a lid on upcoming product announcements? The manufacturers. We’re suddenly utterly awash with teasers. Yes, it seems from intentional leaks to advance campaigns, we’re now destined to see every significant new piece of music gear before we see it, cast in shadows and partial photos and more. Apparently, the folks doing publicity think that this will cause people on the Internet to talk about them. They’re … right, in fact. And with the biggest American trade show for music gear landing next week, …

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wretch

Music Geek Christmas: 10 Cool Things That Make NAMM Show Worth Getting Excited Over

You kneed KNAMM knobs. The Metasonix Wretch – photo (CC-BY-SA) Brandon Daniel. I sure hope we can look forward to Metasonix at NAMM – stuff that makes me love NAMM from someone who doesn’t. Trade shows aren’t what they used to be. For those of us who love music technology and the spirit of invention, it’s a good thing – why shouldn’t people be coming up with ideas year round? Why not spread them in places other than the gray, fluorescent glow of a big trade show floor open only to the industry? On the other hand, there’s something to …

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