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Teenage Engineering has an OP-Z prototype, and it’s awesome

“Surprise!” might well be Teenage Engineering’s best tagline. The latest unexpected invention from Sweden is the OP-Z – pronounced “oh pee zed.” It’s an all-in-one instrument/groovebox like its predecessor the OP-1, packed into a tiny, game-like form factor. And even from the early prototype shown at NAMM, it’s fantastic.

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dreams

Watch a Dreamy, Groovy Reverie Played Live on Desktop Synths

Jeremy Blake (aka Jeremy Leaird-Koch) is the kind of omni-dimensional talent who that seems tailored for the age of Web media. Yes, he’s an electronic musician, but … have a listen to his SoundCloud, and you’ll find the common thread is craft more than genre. And yes, he’s also a video editor, who’s also making imaginative and dazzling visuals. Let’s instead just wander into his studio, virtually speaking, and let him play for us on a nice, assembled gathering of custom hardware. And drifting off on this chillout groove is a nice way to take a pause in your day…

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20syl-kodama

Watch A Charming Video with Hands On Gear, From France’s 20syl, And More

20syl – Kodama (official music video) from 20syl on Vimeo. In a love affair with musical instruments, French producer 20syl teams up with director Mathieu le Dude for a gorgeous music video. As the bass-heavy track shuffles along amiably, hands on musical instruments and other objects reveal the instrumentation – a young hipster’s guide to the electronic orchestra, if you will. 20syl is the producer name of turnablist and sometimes-rapper and graphic artist and music maker Sylvain Richard of Nantes, well-known in his France but getting greater international exposure with this video. He co-directs the film here, applying his graphical …

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Reactable Mobile, on Sale This Weekend for iOS and Android; Watch the Full Table Meet OP-1

Reactable, now turning age five, still remains something that can take people’s breath away. Making the relationship of musical components into actual building blocks, it demystifies music making and makes it more magical all at the same time. And since the table itself is big, not-portable, and pricey, there’s also the iOS- and Android-compatible tablet edition. (The Android app is one of the few that gives my vintage Galaxy Tab something useful to do.) This weekend, you can grab Reactable Mobile yourself 50% off: 50% Off Fifth Anniversary But this is also a perfect opportunity to watch a tantalizing video …

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samplr

Samplr is an OP-1-Inspired iPad App Focused on Touching, Slicing Waveforms

On computers and most hardware, waveforms have been a “look, but don’t touch” affair. Now, that view is coupled with multi-touch capabilities. Samplr is, as the name implies, an app that focuses on working with sound. With rhythmic slicing modes and multi-touch manipulation of samples, it’s a lovely-looking way to surf sounds from your fingertips. Some of the sonic modes, and certainly the visual appearance, take more than a passing inspiration from Teenage Engineering’s OP-1 hardware. That said, the actual modes are a bit different, though they draw on some of the “tape” concepts, and the actual workflow with touch …

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3dprintedheadphones

3D Printing, From Headphones to Synth Accessories, Shows Both Promise and Obstacles

Take it from one now immersed in manufacturing – making things is an epic process of production, delays, shipping, customs… 3D printing is the latest DIY technology to promise to get around that, armed by the seemingly-magical translation of digital files into objects in a way other machines cannot. We’ll be looking in depth at what 3D printing can mean for music starting next week, as interest in this technology reaches fever pitch, but here are a couple of revealing case studies. For Teenage Engineering, makers of the OP-1 synthesizer, 3D printing seems to be a real breakthrough. Their line …

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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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Teenage Engineering OP-1: Hands-on Video, Thoughts from One Beta User

Teenage Engineering’s hotly-anticipated synth / music-making hardware OP-1 finally got an official release last week. Early stocks promptly sold out, but new waves of deliveries should refresh availability. We’ll have more from TE on the launch and the instrument soon. In the meantime, you can thank early-adopter Ludwig Mueller for being brave enough to post early experiments with the instrument. Ludwig is a proud owner of the beta release, one of a handful of people who signed up to get access to the OP-1 prior to its public launch – and even before functionality in firmware was entirely finalized. I’ve …

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Teenage Engineering Reveals OP-1 Details: $799, Beta, Features

Few synths in memory have created the amount of pre-launch buzz that the Teenage Engineering OP-1 has. Looking like a futuristic, luxury spiritual successor to the Casio VL in its compact brick form factor, the OP-1 combines computer-like synthesis features with a unique approach to virtual tape sampling and step sequencing, all viewed on its high-resolution OLED screen. We’ve been covering it for some time, and got some hands-on at NAMM in January. It’s even the surprise star of a Swedish House Mafia music video, above. (It’s perhaps a non-speaking role – I need to verify if there are any …

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Teenage Engineering Reveals Surprisingly Simple Sequencer for OP-1

With full-blown computers as competition, how do you make sequencing with buttons irresistible? While I was in icy Stockholm last month, I got a look inside Teenage Engineering’s studio, where their upcoming OP-1 instrument continues its gestation. The (literal) garage workshop is the sort of thing a lot of us dream of having: a room in which hardware and software design happen, on-site, simultaneously, with a small group of bright, zany, creative people. My timing (entirely unrelated to Teenage Engineering) happened to coincide with the creation of a new sequencer. I almost hesitate to post these videos, as I suspect …

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