clusterflux1

Moogerfooger Cluster Flux Analog FX: Hands-on with Moog’s Chief Engineer; Sound Samples

There’s a new analog Moog effect in town. So who better to tell us about it and get us some hands-on time than Moog Music’s Chief Engineer? Moog’s next Moogerfooger, the Cluster Flux or “MF-108M” if you want to sound more serious, promises to be a versatile analog effect processor. It’s a flanger / chorus / vibrato unit with loads of modulation, meaning you can either go the classic chorus/flange route or go further out with your sound sculpting. Mono in, stereo out, all-analog signal path, coming soon at US$599 list (street should be lower). That’s the unit. But I …

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Letting Out Ethereal Cries, a Slide Guitar Meets Synthesis in the Hands of a Bluegrass Master

When musical traditions meet, handled by people with real mastery of their technique, wonderful things can happen. That can be true of master instrument builders, for one. I got a chance to hear the sounds of the Moog Lap Steel Guitar in June while meeting with the folks from Moog Music. It’s an incredibly-delicious instrument, both in terms of how it’s engineered as a guitar and in bringing the filter from the Moog synth, now itself a tradition. But more importantly, in the stage that comes after those tools are built, traditions fuse beneath the fingers of master musicians. Chris …

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Les Paul Google Doodle, Animated – and Scripted with SuperCollider

Electric guitar pioneer Les Paul is one of the all-time greats in music instrument invention, so the guy clearly deserves an animated Google Doodle of his creation that you can play. Strum chords, pluck with the mouse, and even record phrases on Google’s homepage. (See video, above.) Since Google Doodles are archived – and since you can look at the code by choosing a View Source feature in your browser – these little novelties also have a life beyond their one day of glory. (Note, you may need to visit the US site if you’re in a part of the …

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hydrogen

Making Music with Free and Open Source Software: Top Picks from Red Hat, Dave Phillips

There are plenty of reasons to consider free software tools as part of your toolchain for music making. They might fit your budget, give you needed flexibility, allow you to use a tool driven more by development needs than commercial ones, give you tools that would otherwise lack proprietary commercial niches, allow you to run (via Linux) on a wider variety of hardware or with greater low-latency performance, or allow you to contribute more directly to a project, from documentation to actual development. And increasingly, they don’t mandate some sort of philosophical choice, either – I routinely use free software …

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Free Ableton Live Racks from Old Upright Piano, Bowed Guitar

Speaking of goodies for Ableton Live, NYC-based electronic artist and songwriter AfroDJMac has been creating some unusual, nicely quirky Device Racks for Ableton Live. Unlike a Max for Live patch, these are accessible to anyone with a copy of Ableton Live – and may be easier to edit for those of you not comfortable tinkering around with Max patches. Each creation begins with a sample, then twists it into playable instruments in virtual device racks. AfroDjMac has been releasing these racks on a weekly basis; weeks two and three are already looking good. At top, a 1960s Gibson acoustic guitar …

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Rock Band 3 Mustang Guitar as Expressive MIDI Controller: Frets, Strings, and Accelerometer

As a guitar, the Rock Band 3 Mustang is a bit unusual – there are strings, but an array of buttons replaces the frets, and it is intended as a game controller. But with all those buttons, strings, and sensors, it makes a remarkably flexible, surprisingly inexpensive controller. Our friend nay-seven puts it to good use with Sensomusic Usine. And talk about a budget-minded setup – one that could put platforms like the iPad to shame. Usine costs just EUR90 for a full license, with discounted educational pricing and a version you can try for free. The Mustang runs just …

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First Look: An iPad, Transformed into an Expressive Guitar, in OMGuitar

Speaking of tablets, can the flat surface of a touchscreen really emulate guitar expression? One developer thinks so. Toyo Bunko of Amidio, makers of soft synths for iOS, writes to share their latest project. OMGuitar is a “guitar synth.” While it’s entirely touch-based, they’ve found ways of adjusting the tone, including using the speed of a strum to impact timbre and techniques for bends and mutes. You choose chords via an interface of their own design (rather than on conventional frets), and onboard effects make this an all-in-one solution. 300 chords are available, and there’s a dedicated arpeggio interface. It’s …

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AmpliTube 2 for iPhone, as the Handheld Music Workflow Gets Clearer

AmpliTube 2 arrives today with new effects, recording, bounce to audio, export/import, practice tools, and in-app purchase of extra stomp modules. I’ve been playing with a pre-release version for the last few days. Combined with an audio interface like IK Multimedia’s own iRig, AmpliTube 2 turns your iPhone or iPod touch into a handheld, pocket-able workstation. But let’s step back for a moment and consider what that means. What would you want a device to do for your music if that device fit in the palm of your hand? Last week, I raised the question of physical size, inspired by …

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iOS Arrivals: A Serious Mobile Studio for Producers, AmpliTube for Guitarists

With previews and teasers, it’s sometimes easy to miss when useful new tools actually become available to you. Two tools this week became available, each potentially high on the utility end of the spectrum. There’s no shortage of variety in iOS music creation apps, but when people really want to get down to music making, many of them want to focus on one tool, not twenty. (That’s not universal – ask Richard Devine‘s screaming VST plug-in folder – but you ought to at least be able to make such a choice.) It’s therefore little surprise that there’s been a lot …

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Chip-Style Guitar Pulse Width, Arduino CV Sequencer You Can Build

Guitarist Joey Mariano is making a unique hybrid sound, blending guitar chops with sonic techniques borrowed from 8-bit chip music. His latest adventure filters the sound of the guitar through pulse width filtering, the likes of which are used to modulate the sound of pulse/rectangle waves in chip music composition. The invention he’s devised to do this, though, is likely to appeal to anyone wanting to work with CV. Using the Arduino platform, it’s an elegant design for a control voltage sequencer, as seen on classic modulars like the Moog. And since he’s posted full specs and Arduino code, you …

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