Mac Shareware Gifts: Great, Giftable Music Apps

Having trouble keeping track of your song set? Minim might help. MacSanta has been making the Mac blog rounds by offering 20% off Mac shareware gems for the holidays. Look closely, and you’ll see a number of nice Mac music tools: Rogue Amoeba Audio Hijack Pro: At first, you might think this app is just for ripping radio streams. Think again: with powerful effects, routing, recording, and other utilities, it’s a must have addition to your Mac sound toolkit. I use it for recording Max/MSP patches. Rogue Amoeba Fission: Got an audio clip? Just need to slice it up, add …

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Gift Idea: $30 mi Jam Toy Scratch Mixer, Toy Interactive Sound Sculpture Beg to Be Abused

The problem with iPod DJ mixers? They’re generally pointless toys that are a poor substitute for real DJ gear. The wonderful thing about iPod DJ mixers that actually are intended as pointless toys that are a poor substitute for real DJ gear? For only US$30 or so (check Froogle for some last-minute deals), you can pick up a scratching, mixing, multi-effects processing toy and plug in your homebrew software-running GameBoys and do some … unspeakable things to the sound. What? You don’t think the good folks who manufactured the mi Jam had that in mind when they set up shop? …

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Free Christmas Tunes: Garritan Community Christmas Album, DJ Riko Mad Mix

Ready to get in the holiday mood, but feeling Scrooge-like with your money? Here are some free tunes to get your Yuletide festivities underway: The Garritan Personal Orchestra forum has become more than a place for users of this sampled orchestra library to troubleshoot and ask questions — it really is a community in its own right. From sharing new compositions to assembling an orchestration guide, the GPO users are busy. Their latest creation is an 18-track album of (mostly traditional) holiday music, arranged for the sampled virtual orchestra of GPO. Download the music, or Garritan will even send you …

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Happy Thanksgiving, With All the Stuffing

Man cannot live by synthesizers alone. No, really; even I’m not that dedicated. I keep something to nosh on while I work; don’t you? So, while this time last year I was celebrating the keytar (thanks for the reminder, matrixsynth), here we’ll go off-topic and say that good food and time with family and friends goes perfectly with good music and good technology. I’m sure you’ll agree even if you’re not the part of our readership here in America. On that note, I’m pleased to be able to share Egg and Soldier, a project I’ve been working on with my …

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Calling All Fiends: Scary Indie Music Tracks for Halloween

I’ve resisted the temptation to join the chorus of blogs posting endless Halloween posts, but if Halloween is about scary, fringe, clear-the-party tunes that drive people from your speakers, then I think we can make every day Halloween around here. Enter Calling All Fiends, an eclectic collection of really strange tracks “with the power to frighten, disturb, and haunt listeners.” And what good is music technology if not to occasionally accomplish that? Enjoy, via the downloadable release, or MP3 or Flash streams. I particularly enjoy the Rock, Dance category with songs to “steal control of your body, leaving you a …

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Museum of Techno Halloween Special: You Try to Explain MIDI Drunk

In a release that is sure to be as treasured a part of the computer musician’s Halloween as “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” is to normal people, the electronic music world’s most insane “instructors” are at it again. Hilarity results: Museum of Techno Halloween Special: MIDI Control [Novation Xiosynth ad site] Be careful, as I think they’re trying to sell you a ReMOTE SL keyboard, and only I should be allowed to do that. (The apparent message of this video: “MIDI is too hard to understand! You’re drunk and on drugs! You’d better buy a Novation keyboard!”) Then again, …

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Ableton Live 6 Crossfader Curves, and 100 Years of DJ History

The way it was: Philip LeBash in the early days of modern DJing; see the complete LeBash history, interview, and images at DJ’s Portal. Technology and music have always had dynamic, changing, intertwined histories. It’s easy to forget that we’re in the middle of that history, both in terms of the now ubiquitous practices of DJs and the mind-numbing progression of software updates. I recently got to chat with Ableton’s David Cross about the new crossfader curves in Live 6, and we wound up talking more generally and philosophically about crossfaders, how they’re designed, and how they evolved. Crossfaders are …

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Wendy Carlos Remembers Bob Moog

Legendary composer Wendy Carlos remembers Bob Moog in a moving set of recollections, music, and documents, including the music and thoughts she shared in a gathering in North Carolina shortly after his death last year. She goes far beyond Switched on Bach to talk about a long relationship with the instruments and their creator in her music making. (The drawing at the top of the page is her own.) Wendy Carlos on Bob Moog Somehow in the various memories I’ve seen over the past year I’d missed these. One excerpt: Bob and I were friends for about 41 years. That …

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Moog’s Attempt To Crack The Mass Market: Moogs at Radio Shack, ca. 1980s

Remembering Bob Moog, one year after the music world lost one of its great pioneers, CDM contributor James Grahame offers his own look back: Bob Moog is legendary within the music industry, yet his products didn’t leap into the consumer mainstream like later digital offerings from companies like Casio and Yamaha. But — believe it or not — Moog Music products once stood on the edge of mass market success, available at every Radio Shack store in North America. The Realistic Concertmate MG-1 was a low-cost analog synthesizer created by Moog Music for Radio Shack in the very early 1980s …

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