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Obsessing About Sound and Process: Climb Into Stewart Walker’s Ivory Tour

There’s a Japanese Taishogoto and vintage Lexicon PCM reverb and loads of computer production. But even for us souls tempted by gear lust, it’s the soul of process that has us talking, and talking, and talking – and listening, on repeat – with Stewart Walker. Native Instruments employee by day, prolific producer by night, he was kind enough to give us an extensive window into his world for CDM. In the dizzying flurry of music racing past, Stewart Walker’s “Ivory Tower Broadcast” is one I keep coming back to me. It’s one that somehow I’ve gotten closer to on repeated …

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Hands on with Dave Smith Pro 2: “The Most Useful Synth I’ve Ever Played”

Synthesist Chris Stack has had his hands on a lot of gear – and a lot of it with the Moog Music moniker on it. But every chance he gets, he’s bugging me about how in love he is with the Dave Smith Pro 2, the richly-appointed, nicely-overpowered monosynth on steroids as we described it earlier this summer. And he’s having a lot of fun, transforming it into a hybrid digital/audio “hub” – a sound source, but also a central brain for exceptional soundscapes. And in Chris’ hands, I’m certainly convinced, as this beast sequences beautiful frontiers of noise and …

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Hear the MFB Dominion 1 Synth in an Epic, Triumphant Demo Song

Some demo songs say “I’m cheesy, please buy me.” “I’m trying desperately to sound like the current genre of the moment.” This one says something different. It shouts: “Greetings. I’m the Dominion 1. You might not know me – but you should. I am awesome. I am your new best friend. I am what you covet – I am what you shall have, because I will be yours. Together, we will triumph. We will quest together through the party times, and the world will go our way in ways that surprise even us. People will gather around us, and love …

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Band Sings Song Asking Why They Aren’t Playing Moogfest

What if you wanted to play Moogfest really bad, but Moogfest didn’t call? No, I mean really bad – like you started a band with this very dream in mind, outfitted your studio with nearly everything Moog makes, and put on a shameless amount of Moog-logo gear, just in the hopes of getting the booking. If you still couldn’t make it onto the bill at that point, well, I guess you’d have to actually write a song explaining your plight, upload it to YouTube, and hope it went viral. This is the Internet age, after all. That’s what the band …

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Video Tour – What’s New in Analog and Boutique Instruments, with Andreas Schneider

“O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done –“ Yes, Andreas Schneider is an ideal gentleman to lead you through a trade show, to show you what is genuinely interesting in new musical inventions. The famed (notorious?) synth guru from Berlin behind Schneidersladen and now distributor ALEX4, he is a fierce and fearless champion of the unique, the boutique, and the odd in electronic musical instruments. And if you ask him for a video tour of his booth, you will not get the “used car salesman” effect of a typical product rep. Instead, he gives us a rapid-fire look …

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Wild, Techie, Wonderful: NAMM’s Gear Delights [Gallery II]

Hardware and software continue to thrive (above). Pro audio lives on. People still make strange, wonderful products for tiny niches of people passionate about every element of sound. Marsha Vdovin is a veteran of the NAMM trade show like few people we know, so seeing the show through the eyes of her camera reveals some weirdness and wonderfulness we always appreciate. And Wonder Woman, too. Magic Kingdom, indeed. Gallery II, go! -Ed.

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Synth Geeks in the Hills: Legends and Legendary Machines at Asheville’s Mountain Oasis [Gallery, Videos]

Mountain Oasis, indeed. Asheville, North Carolina, that land of impassioned musicians and Moog manufacture, is unusually blessed in musical riches, especially of the electrified variety. And where once Moog gathered informal performances from synth fans, a recent split in festivals has spawned not one but two blockbuster events, turning this southeastern US hamlet into a kind of mecca for musicians of all stripes. These multiply rather than dividing the events. So, now there’s Moogfest, which this year will happen in spring. And then there’s Mountain Oasis, which took place last month. Both are overflowing with spectacular headliners, in the form …

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Full-On Music Geekout: Schneiders Buero and RoughTrade, for Musical Delights [Videos]

If someone were to buy you a shopping spree, letting you roam free to stash anything you wanted in your cart, you could do worse than winding up with Schneiders Buero, the Berlin-based music gear boutique. And for records, the wonderful RoughTrade in London would easily be a top pick. Let’s combine them. That’s what happens in a new series of Schneiders Buero videos, as the man Mr. Schneider himself takes to the aisles of one of the world’s best-known record shops – and his own in-store corner full of musical creations. Getting on to some specific gear demos, we …

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C64s, Control Voltage, MIDI … iPads, Keyboards and Audio: NAMM Saturday [Gallery, Impressions]

Everything old is new again. And everything new is everywhere – at least if we’re talking iPads and so on. At Anaheim’s massive gathering of music gear, there were some definite themes. Photographing for CDM, James Grahame and Marsha Vdovin give us a look at the tools on the floor. James has stumbled upon various fascinating oddities, and of course the booth celebrating MIDI’s 30th anniversary. (We’ll be talking more about MIDI’s history and legacy in the coming weeks.) From top, the keyboard models that made the history first connection, and a Commodore 64 talking to an iPad. Synthtopia has …

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While You Wait For Live 9, Get That Mixer for $9990

So, we can’t talk more about Ableton Live 9 at the moment, and it seems Ableton has worked out how to use their YouTube settings. But at least one intrepid Live fan has shared the identity of the beautiful mixing desk you saw in the leaked Live 9 video from the weekend. This mixer also involves the number nine, though in enough digits that you may need to save up before you redo your studio. SPECK LILO 16-CHANNEL LINE MIXER @ Vintage King Audio Details: The LiLo is a high-definition desktop analog line mixer for routing and blending your external …

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