circuit hands on 3

Hands-on with Novation Circuit, drum machine synth sequencer hardware all-in-one

Novation has been doing things with grids and knobs for some time, but those have come in the form of gadgets you plug into a computer and use with software like Ableton Live. Circuit is different: it’s an all-in-one groove workstation with sequencer, drum machine, synth, and arrangement in control, and it doesn’t even need to be plugged into power. We’ve got one of the first Novation Circuit units here, so in advance of our full review, here’s a quick hands-on.

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PRESS_TEMPO_WHEEL

Learn electronics with the vintage Side Man drum machine

ENG_SIDEMAN_PREVIEW from Darsha Hewitt on Vimeo. Darsha’s sound electronics class is in session – and it’s a little different to what you’d normally expect. Rather than a bunch of animations of electrons moving about, sound artist and educator Darsha Hewitt has created a long-form video tutorial around the world’s first commercial drum machine.

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elastic16

This is now the iOS drum machine you want to jam with: Elastic Drums 1.6

Remember when apps were novel toys for experimentation? Now, an app could give your drum machine a run for its money. It’s the third wave of iOS apps. We’re now onto a moment where, cresting the wave of tools, a few are becoming simply invaluable to the right users. They can make an iPad feel a bit like dedicated hardware, perhaps even in a way that a computer can’t. And that to me makes them worth examining, even if you have no desire to use an iPad. Elastic Drums has that feeling to me. On its surface, it’s just another …

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roltr808ad

Celebrate 808 day by building a beat live with Egyptian Lover

Happy 8th of August, everybody – that means it’s 808 day, of course. So, to celebrate, let’s flash back to a 2012 video of Egyptian Lover assembling a beat in his hotel room. The LA rapper/producer was a big part of the early hip hop and electro roots of 808 use. There’s something that still resonates in the beautiful simplicity of this Roland box. I’m struck when I hear it and watch in use that there’s something that seems futuristic – cold, even, but in a Stanley Kubrick 2001 sort of way. Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to …

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mills

Jeff Mills Strips Bare Electronic Technique, Wants to Liberate DJs

Exhibitionist2TrailerFR from AxisRecords on Vimeo. For all the multi-camera Boiler Room rigs and debates over how vinyl records make music more visible than on a laptop, there’s an elephant in the room. Most electronic music fans don’t have any clue what’s going on. And even if you do, most of the technique behind the records is invisible – doubly so when the prevalence of DJing emphasizes mixing over musical improvisation. So, Jeff Mills’ “Exhibitionist 2” project – a film and performance series following up on the video/music release of a decade ago – seems both compelling and aptly named. It …

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landostunts

Lando’s New EP Is Giving Drum Machines Their Soul Back

Writing about music feels stupid sometimes, even to me. It’s a cop-out to say that, but it’s true. So I hope you first hit play; the magic of music journalism today is that you can actually hear the music (something that I don’t miss about print is its inability to do that). And yet… I am somewhat obligated here to announce Lando’s new “Stunts” EP, due July 20, and tell you details like the fact that it’s on the Ultramajic label run by Jimmy Edgar. Jimmy and Lando, aka Antaeus “Lando” Roy, are each in-again-out-on-the-road-again artists through Berlin but also …

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Grab Some Free Analog Drum Samples, Featuring MFB-522

60 24-bit WAV drum samples with presets are yours for the asking, free. And the source is worth mentioning on its own. If you want a hardware drum machine that’s compact, unique, and affordable, your options are surprisingly few – analog or otherwise. But one that tops the list is the Berlin-made MFB-522 Drum Computer. Now, it seems that part of the whole point of “analog” in drum machines is having something you can tweak directly. But… well, there are those times when you don’t want to pack cables and power and boxes. And, for that matter, sample kits can …

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vintagedrumelements

Add Classic 80s Yamaha Drum Machine Sounds to Your Set, Free

Ready for some poppy, retro Cocteau Twins feeling in your Mac or Windows plug-in collection? The aptly-named “Vintage Drum Elements” does the job for free. The sound source for the plug-in drum machine is the classic Yamaha RX5, with its distinctive, synthetic sound sets. And while this is advertised for your synthpop and chillwave 80s fans, you get a range of cutting timbres you could easily apply to something else – not just Depeche Mode throwbacks. There’s also more than one kit. Four basic drum selections are included, including a harsher “synthetic” option and and “ethnic” variant, plus some really …

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D2000threequartlarge

Metasonix Have Made an Immoral Drum Machine from Vacuum Tubes

Drum machines. They’re predictable. So much so that the biggest controversy about Roland’s high-profile entry into the market with AIRA was whether they should remake the 808/909 or remake the 808/909 as analog. Enter Metasonix. They would like to make the differentiation point of drum machines whether you still have your ass or not once you’ve heard them. And so, we see the D-2000, the long-awaited (long-dreaded?) successor to the D-1000, but, say Metasonix, more extreme. (“Tweaked,” “maximized,” and “pushed.”) How would you describe the sound? Absolutely terrible. (You know, nicely horrible. I mean, probably not in a way most …

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XOXXComposer

Watch a Mechanical Drum Machine That Uses Wheels and Magnets [Video]

Drum Machine – XOXX Composer from Axel Bluhme on Vimeo. Can you design a drum machine that does more than simply hide its workings inside an invisible box? XOXX Composer does just that. A project by Axel Bluhme, it turns the inner functions of sampling, looping, and sequencing, into tangible, kinetic, sculptural form. Wheels turn. Magnets trigger sounds. And in what looks like the love child of a 606 and a player piano, you get a mechanical take on patterned sound. Full description: A drum machine that is fun and easy to use This project started with a curiosity to …

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