New Gold Panda Full-Length: Hypnotic Craft, Deep Feelings, as Always

Gold Panda is back with another full-length masterpiece. Here, any gauzy soft-focus fuzz is stripped away. The music is still warm, focused on chopped-up samples, and delicious, meditative repetition. But it’s more focused than ever, with a dry directness that lets his musical craft come further to the fore. There is some narrative and program explained on Gold Panda’s “Half of Where You Live.” Some of that is hard to miss – exotic percussion, clanging away as though you’ve ventured out onto the streets in some far-off city, references in titles and vocals to place. And there’s a sober comment …

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C64s, Control Voltage, MIDI … iPads, Keyboards and Audio: NAMM Saturday [Gallery, Impressions]

Everything old is new again. And everything new is everywhere – at least if we’re talking iPads and so on. At Anaheim’s massive gathering of music gear, there were some definite themes. Photographing for CDM, James Grahame and Marsha Vdovin give us a look at the tools on the floor. James has stumbled upon various fascinating oddities, and of course the booth celebrating MIDI’s 30th anniversary. (We’ll be talking more about MIDI’s history and legacy in the coming weeks.) From top, the keyboard models that made the history first connection, and a Commodore 64 talking to an iPad. Synthtopia has …

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Dueling Grids: A Duet for monome and MPC [Live Set of the Day]

Ocelot – Beyonica (Live) from Tim Shaw on Vimeo. Let’s again step back from the world of the industry to the realm of individual musicians and how they make tools make sounds. Tim Shaw’s music is a beautiful illustration of the ways in which brain and musical imagination can be connected to fingers and sound. In his new project Ocelot, Tim pairs with Jeramy Bradfield and makes a sweet, square-based duet. Tim’s grid of squares comes from the monome and Ableton Live; Jeramy turns to the Akai MPC and effects pedals. (I assume the guitar we see gets used elsewhere …

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Video Find: Fixing MPC 500 Pads with Tape, Bike Rubber

A two-minute break for some MPC hacking – friend of the site Servando Barreiro hacks his MPC for better performance, and demonstrates the results in a video. It’s a reminder that a little mechanical thought can improve the life of your musical gear. “So, that’s all. Goodbye.” (Other drum pad hacking tips? We’d love to hear them. I’ve been dreaming of a drum pad DIY special, in fact, including how to make custom drum pad controllers, so this is a perfect excuse to solicit some advice and guest contributors.)

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Instagrammed padKONTROL (CC-BY) Daz Heath.

Make Renoise into an MPC-Style Groovebox: Pking, padKONTROL

Music production tools like Renoise have a tremendous amount of power. But what if you could program grooves with the kind of touch-a-pad workflow offered by something like the MPC? In the latest example of users doing wild things with the powerful API in tri-platform tracker Renoise, mxb attempts to make a sort of Renoise MPC. It’s all made possible with the Korg padKONTROL drum controller. And he’s looking for testers – yes, while there may be a handful of people with this rig, you can bet many of them read CDM. mxb writes: This tool is for the (unfortunately …

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ns10m

808, SP1200, MPC, NS-10 Reborn in Miniature as Beautifully-Detailed, Tiny USB Drives [Gallery]

File these designs under “do want.” Some of your favorite gear is rendered in miniature: Roland’s TR-808, E-MU’s SP-1200 sampler, Akai’s MPC 2000XL, and (coming soon) even the Yamaha NS-10 near-field monitors. It occurs to me that someday soon, such tiny things might even work in some form as functioning music equipment. For now, you’ll have to settle for tiny classic gear that contains an 8 GB flash drive – enough to carry especially-precious samples or demos or backups. The drives are US$39.99, but contain extraordinary levels of detail and use Toshiba flash memory (not something overly generic). They work …

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dewanatron

Pictures at an Exhibition: Essential New Gear and Reflections from NAMM

Dewanatron’s Brian and Leon were on-hand with their unique inventions. Photos by Marsha Vdovin for CDM. For the lover of musical instruments and technology, southern California’s NAMM show is a giant toy shop. It’s work for many of its attendees, of course, but we know many of our readers dream of the objects that will make their next creations. And sure, inspiring lust is not our aim; on the contrary, there is some love that goes into these things. In the ideal, that’s the relationship of creator and consumer. These are things not to be bought and discarded, but kept …

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DJing, Decks, and a Grid of Samples: NI’s New Take on Traktor

What should DJing software look like, anyway? It’s just a teaser, but for once, the idea is simple, straightforward, and clear. Native Instruments have taken their DJ software, Traktor, and combined it with a grid of pads for sample triggering and loops. The upcoming hardware/software combination we expect later this spring. At the risk of stating the obvious, what’s significant about adding loop triggering to any DJ set is that you can more easily move beyond playing and mixing tracks. Even without drum machines, this kind of manipulation is part of the grand tradition of DJing, made all the more …

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teasers

Leak the Future: Traktor Controller, Loads of Synths, Livid, Akai, Casio, Nord, and Teaser Tracking

The only good teasers are Malteasers. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Ranma Tim. Guess who’s gotten really bad at keeping a lid on upcoming product announcements? The manufacturers. We’re suddenly utterly awash with teasers. Yes, it seems from intentional leaks to advance campaigns, we’re now destined to see every significant new piece of music gear before we see it, cast in shadows and partial photos and more. Apparently, the folks doing publicity think that this will cause people on the Internet to talk about them. They’re … right, in fact. And with the biggest American trade show for music gear landing next week, …

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mpcrenaissance

Akai Tries for MPC Renaissance with Controllers, New Software

Looks like an MPC. Should sound like an MPC. But for the first time, something called “MPC” that relies on your computer. Good news or bad news? We’ll know soon enough. The MPC name and MPC legend are as big as ever. But the current products? Not so much. Let’s face it: Akai could use a bit of a renaissance. Users these days put just as much stock in the MPC as a concept, and the MPC hardware still attracts users, but other products are stealing Akai’s thunder (Ableton Live, Native Instruments Maschine), and the human faces beloved by users …

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