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.

READ MORE →
05 Pyramid zoom

Pyramid is High-End MIDI, Analog Sequencer Gear with Effects [Gallery]

Maybe it’s because people have started collecting lots of gear. Maybe it’s a shift in how people play live. Maybe it’s just that we’re getting more than enough mileage out of our laptop as the machine for mixing and tracking and recording and mastering and managing our tour and our social network. Whatever the reason, boy, are we seeing a lot of focus on dedicated hardware – especially for live performance. The Pyramid, from oddly-named Squarp (Squarepusher + arpeggio?), looks like what would happen if Elektron decided to make its own standalone step sequencer without the drum machine. Or at …

READ MORE →

Learn How to Get Your Drum Machine’s Soul Back with Mad Zach, Ableton Live

It’s “the science of being imperfect” – and Mad Zach is one heck of a mad scientist at it. We all know Ableton Live productions, even sometimes from fairly skilled music makers, can get painfully stuck on the grid. If that’s the disease, Mad Zach has the cure. Armed with Ableton Live and together with releasing a very special, very useful sound pack, this insanely-prolific DJ, producer, writer, and educator has some advice for how to get the soul and groove back in your machines. CDM teamed up with our friends at Beatport Sounds to work with Zach on an …

READ MORE →
Hey, there's a modular inside my drum machine. Images courtesy Arturia.

Watch Arturia Spark 2, as $129 Drum Machine Adds Modular Sound Design, Song and Loop Powers

For all the wonders of the hardware drum machine, there’s nothing quite like the flexibility of the software drum machine. More than mere groove-makers, beneath the conventional and familiar drum machine paradigm lies some real potential for sample manipulation and sound design. Native Instruments won over users by demonstrating the hybrid hardware/software workflow in Maschine, and various software instruments (FXpansion, anyone?) have put pressure on hardware with the sheer range of what they can do. But somewhere in the shadow of Maschine and Akai’s MPC Renaissance, Arturia’s Spark has been a little-known, compact, inexpensive challenger. And that’s why Spark 2 …

READ MORE →
kaoss2_ipad

In Korg iKaossilator 2, Beatmaker for iPad, iPhone, Extended Collaborative Features

The stream of iPad and iPhone apps for musicians gushes endlessly, but among that river of software, there are some visible trends. Demanded by users, features for sharing between apps – and other mobile artists – flourish. Hardware heavyweight KORG has been one of the developers that’s been especially good at offering that kind of support. Their just-announced iKaossilator 2 app adds native iPad screen support (previously iPhone-optimized only), and a new “flex play” for fills and breaks. But most notably, it offers options for sharing: Audio export for saving your audio – ideal for use elsewhere or sharing SoundCloud …

READ MORE →
directemx

Computer, Meet Groovebox: A VST Editor for Korg Electribe

Hardware workflows can be musically productive and rock-solid reliable. But why choose between hardware and software? Combine them. DirectEMX is a VST Editor for a Korg Electribe MX. Now, why would you want to drag a mouse around when you have physical knobs? DirectEMX has a number of answers to that. You can copy and paste patterns and parts. You can dump content from the groovebox for backup or fine-tuning. You can record and automate every parameter from inside your VST host of choice, for tightly-controlled sequences. And you do all of this without lots of mucking about with MIDI …

READ MORE →

Online, Generative Tool Searches for the Perfect Groove; New MicroTonic Coming

The grooves are fun, but the generated names for the groove are even more so. Need a new band name, anyone? Generative: the rhythmic frontier. These are the voyages of the starship MicroTonic. Its online mission: to explore strange new grooves, to seek out new beats and new musical cultures … Yes, Patternarium, by software scientists Magnus and Fredrik Lindström of SonicCharge (Synplant, µTonic, Reason’s Malström), have built a server-based rhythmic generation tool. You, the human, don’t have to do much: reality TV show-style, just vote up or down patterns you hear, and the generative scripts will continue spawning new, …

READ MORE →

iPhone Gets New Groove Boxes: Is it Live Synthesis, or is it Canned?

The iPhone has become an almost absurdly-popular platform for music apps this year, even given more capable, more plentiful PCs. But to those who don’t yet “get” the appeal, talk to a mobile music addict: having the ability to be creatively musically in corners of time that would otherwise go unused, like a cramped bus ride, can be a beautiful thing. (Now, you start talking about taking away my PC/Mac experience, and I will start screaming in agony – but that’s a topic for a separate post.) The question is, what form should that app take? Today, I’ve got an …

READ MORE →

Future Grooves: Breeding Beats Like DNA, Lemur + Ableton Live + Max 5

DyNAmic sequencer from Lo-Fi Massahkah on Vimeo. Ready for some musical genetic engineering? Much of the sound of electronic music today grows out of the use – and abuse – of specific designs. The electronica beats bred in discos and techno, Detroit and Berlin have a direct lineage to analog step sequencers and the rigid precision of Roland’s early electronic devices. These designs create limitations to embrace and to oppose – just as music notation or theoretical convention did for composers for centuries. Okay, that’s a lofty way to put it — the question here is, how do you re-engineer …

READ MORE →

Digidesign’s New Groovemaking Instrument in Free Preview

Slicing, remixing, looping, "live performance-oriented features" … this is Digidesign we’re talking about, right? Digi’s Advanced Instrument Research (A.I.R.) unit, the fruits of the acquisition of Wizoo, may have a pretentious name, but they’ve been doing some pretty great work on new instruments. The new project, Transfuser, will have to enter some crowded waters. Loop slicing and handling already works pretty nicely in Ableton Live (especially with Live 7’s drum racks), in instrument form in FL Studio 8’s awesome Edison and Slicex, and in tools like fxpansion’s GURU. (Superficially, at least, Transfuser bears more than a passing resemblance to the …

READ MORE →