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Analog-Digital Marriage: iPad Meets Guitar and Keys, MIDI Meets CV, Putting Music-Making Together

It’s good to get out of your studio now and then, as Chris Stack does here, hauling a few instruments (including the Minimoog) our for a live gig. Photo courtesy the artist. It’s a collision between a twenty-first century tablet and some of the most iconic analog instruments ever produced. It’s MIDI and digital meeting up with control voltage and analog. It’s our friend Chris Stack, endeavoring to find the path that allows him to take the best pieces of his studio and put them together, pushing all that gear to its limits and finding a sum that exceeds the …

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Thomas Kurzhals (KARAT) Bleeds on a Moog; Music Before the Berlin Wall’s Fall

You’ve seen a musician or two, no doubt, jamming away on a Moog synthesizer. But German band KARAT’s keyboardist Thomas Kurzhals really tears into it. Chris Stack, formerly of Moog and now producing the Experimental Synth series we cover with some regularity, shot this video interview / performance set, and tells us: I don’t think it shows in the video, but at one point I looked down from filming and saw that he was playing so hard he was bleeding on the keys of the Voyager Old School. With the fall of the Iron Curtain – and the accessibility of …

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Gallery: Vintage Moog Ads, Vintage Bob Moog, from the Bob Moog Foundation Archives

All images courtesy The Bob Moog Foundation. Used by permission. Go visit them, and enjoy many more. Moog made the scene, indeed. In this birthday week for Bob Moog, here’s a gallery looking back at the man and in advertisements, the Minimoog, the keyboard that shaped so much of synthesis to this day. I could say more, but the images already say so much. Indeed, it seems we’re long overdue for a resurrection of this kind of romance with synthesis and electronic music technology. As I’m also editing remembrances of Max Mathews – a digital counterpart to Moog’s analog breakthroughs …

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For Moog and Propellerhead, New Websites Focus on Videos, Music Making

May has brought two new Web projects from manufacturers – one a titan name from analog hardware, another the king of the software studio. In each, the product itself is downplayed to focus on artists actually making music. That means if you’re looking to kick off your summer music making with a little inspiration, you’ve got some video to watch, and not just the usual gear lust. I don’t think I can be an entirely objective judge of websites, since I do work for The Internet, but that seems like a good trend. (So, yes, I’m not only being partial …

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Favorite Synths Emulated in the Browser, Monotron to Minimoog; A Chat with the Developer

The beauty of modeling an instrument is that it involves ideas – taking a design from one context and translating it to another. With software, we’re able to put sound-making things everywhere, from obscure game consoles to a tab in your web browser that can distract you with music instead of Facebook updates. In the process of moving those ideas from place to place, we discover things. Just ask Shannon Smith. He’s been on a great tear emulating favorite synthesizers in free toys for the browser. Through the power of the Internet, the New Zealand-born, California-based developer heard from Japan-based …

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Moog Announces $800 Slim Phatty; Filtatron iPhone App Available

Moog Music have been busy. Yes, they’re making an iPhone app, but for hardware lovers, there’s also the Slim Phatty, a rack-sized rendition of the Little Phatty announced last week. US$849 list, fourth quarter of this year; Synthtopia reports an $800 street. What does the Slim Phatty get you? Like the Little Phatty, it’s basically a 2-oscillator analog monosynth with lots of onboard controls and connectivity. 2-oscillator Little Phatty sound engine, with the Moog Ladder Filter and Control Voltage input 17″ width, USB, MIDI, CV, external audio processing New Tuning Scale feature and editor for alternate scales, microtonal scales, etc. …

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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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Moogfest Headliners Announced; Minimoog 40th Looms Large

The Moog badge, as seen here on a foot pedal, is probably the only one that could spawn a festival. Photo (CC-BY) Audiotecna. You have to hand it to Moog – what other brand in music these days inspires this kind of passion, let alone an entire music festival? Moogfest itself seems to have gone fairly mainstream. Bonnaroo producers AC Entertainment are behind this year’s installment, and the headliners announced so far already include Massive Attack, MGMT, and Thievery Corporation. (In fact, I hope Moog also taps some of its lesser-known, more underground artist enthusiasts; we’ll know once we see …

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More Fuzzy Vintage Synths on Etsy; Now We Just Need Sound

Plushy soft replicas of beloved synths have become something of a meme. Via our friend atariboy of Plasq fame, here’s the latest addition to the cuddly vintage instrument category on Etsy. Think about what this means, if you will: it’s a synthesizer you can curl up with while you sleep. Now that’s love. (I know at least a few of you have a relationship with synths that rivals or replaces, erm, significant others…) Now, the last time I covered soft synths (cough), I got significant hate mail in comments, proving there are really some people who don’t enjoy joy. But …

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I Want My Moog TV: Vimeo Channel, Moog Meets Tenori-On

Studies for two TENORI-ON(s) by Smith from Franck Smith on Vimeo. A chap named Nick Ciontea has created a channel on Vimeo collecting odd videos folks have made with or regarding Moog products. I know about this, because two of my videos made it in. It’s a grab bag, but a lovely tribute to how much people love this gear. My favorite selection is the video here, because it’s not what you’d expect sound-wise from either Yamaha’s Tenori-On or Moog filters. Artist “Smith” says: This first test is a prepartory work to a series of solo pieces inspired by John …

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