muirbuchla12

Create Analog Music: Buchla Love, Visiting the Studio of a Custom Modular Maker

All photos by Marsha Vdovin for CDM. Click for full-sized, gear pr0n versions. Print large-format, hang above your bed. CDM guest and photographer Marsha Vdovin joins us for a photo essay. Given free reign to choose what she wanted to do, she visits a Buchla module maker. Photos can speak volumes, and here the beauty of Don Buchla’s synth designs come through, a decades-long legacy of open-ended, eminently-musical sound possibilities. So, too, does the craft of the custom Eardrill modules. Disclosure: while we loved both, a number of us preferred the Buchla 100-series modular to the Moog modular we had, …

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Gold Panda on Sampling; Moby on Drum Machines

Something has happened to the mystique of the musical artist, as the superstars have faded. It seems people are increasingly interested with understanding process, in understanding what’s inside the magical black boxes of sound. Jess Gitner hosted Derwin Panda, aka Gold Panda, at National Public Radio’s studios for Morning Edition. She talked to the artist about the basics of how he constructs music from samples. It’s actually quite nice to me to see a story that’s elementary enough that it could be understood by non-specialists — it’s all to easy to forget that for the vast majority of even the …

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speaker

It’s a PA! It’s a Suitcase! It’s a Chair! It’s All Three?!

You might need to be an internationally-touring DJ to buy one, at EUR750, but the Travelteq Trip Sound suitcase is awe-inspiring at least as a design gimmick. The aluminum roll-around is designed first and foremost as a suitcase, as in the things that hold your laptop and clothes when you’re on the road, and is even sold as such – no gimmicks, just an ultra-high-end way of toting luggage. But purchase the Trip Sound option, and you can fold an entire sound system into said suitcase. What keeps it a gimmick is, unfortunately, power. The Trip Sound System isn’t the …

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Create Analog Music: Modular, Cartesian Step Sequencing with Rene

Clock Trippin, Poly Rhythm RENÉ from Richard Devine on Vimeo. Analog both in the electrical sense and in the way it combines continuous, non-discrete steps, the René is a step sequencer with a difference. The hardware uses a two-dimensional array of knobs to produce non-linear, complex rhythmic patterns from some four clock and two CV inputs. I think the proof is in watching it above, in a video this week by Richard Devine, employing a fully modular, analog working method – no computers in sight. Because, really, people who use computers and drum machines are total posers. You’ll never find …

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Virtual Synths: Modeling Gear, as Imagined by Communities and Engineers

Do Androids Dream of Electric Synths? Imagining an instrument from a clean sheet of paper is an essential part of the design process. It can remind us of the extent of possibilities – and, sometimes, why compromise is necessary. The German site Amazona.de this week unveiled mock-ups of an instrument conceived by their community. The design looks terrific, and the specs (below) do read like the sorts of things synthesists would want. My only concern is that the results could be very cost prohibitive; the obvious remedy it seems would be to use digital oscillators in place of the eight-voice …

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First Look: Minimoog Voyager XL, Now Official, is a New Monster

The 40th anniversary of the Minimoog hits this year: that’s four decades since the original reshaped the very notion of what a synthesizer looks like. Moog Music has answered with a real beast. It returns the core of the Minimoog Model D, but with the Voyager’s stable oscillators, patch storage, signature X/Y touch surface, pot mapping, and MIDI control – all while retaining a 100% analog signal path, if you’re a purist. Just like the Voyager, that means some analog-ically good sound, without sacrificing modern convenience. (Yes, even the Minimoog’s original creators recall that working without patch memory was a …

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Music for an Olympic Bid: Making of Antipop’s Madrid 2016 Songs

My own President Obama is this week off making his pitch for why Chicago should host the Olympic Games. Correction. Oops. I need to read the news. Chicago was eliminated first. But look out – our friends at Antipop (slogan: “antipop music for a pop music”) are using a different tool in their arsenal: music. Watch the video for some fun gear spotting, plus one vintage arcade cabinet. I could point out stuff I see, but that’d spoil the fun. Shout out in comments. There’s definitely a commercial gloss on this, but it’s nicely executed, and felt so absurdly Olympic …

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V-Synth GT, the Sound Designer’s Synth, Keeps Getting Better with Age

Photo (CC) Andez Ali / Andez Flamenco. It’s hard out there for a hardware synth. There are all these new-fangled soft synths, capable of producing radical sounds via easy-to-navigate on-screen interfaces. I have a very very short mental list of hardware synths that still matter to me for one reason or another – and the Roland V-Synth GT is one that keeps coming back. I had access to one temporarily for a review. It was like temporarily adopting a puppy. You try not to get too close to the thing, as you know you can’t keep it. The V-Synth is …

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Beautiful, Orgasmic Animation of Robots, Modular Synthesis

Voltage from Bam Studio on Vimeo. Oh, sure, it’s all fun and games until your modular robots have a little too much fun and your rig erupts into a fireball. But then, modular synthesis fans – you understand, nonetheless. William Paiva sends us his work as one of the animators and writes: Hi everybody. I’m a reader of both Create Digital Music and Create Digital Motion, and I’ve just uploaded to Vimeo and to YouTube a short animation film about robots and synths. I think you might like it. Reards. And you have crazy, crazy dreams, man. Brilliant work. Here’s …

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BeatKangz Beat Thang Drum Machine October, Virtual Version Now

You’ve got to respect BeatKangz: here’s an independent company doing something new in the world of hardware drum machines. Their design is blinged out like crazy, the polar opposite of a minimalist MachineDrum, but with easy access to the controls you need. It’s a box that has personality in a world of gear that often doesn’t. The team has at least some experience, too, having made the SB-246 drum machine for Zoom. (Okay, I hadn’t heard of it before, but it looks like a fun toy for about $200. Here’s a video review.) Pimp my drum machine: Hardware lovers likely …

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