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Maschine News: Portable Mikro; Finger Drumming with Jeremy Ellis; Maschine for iOS

Native Instruments reveals some big news for Maschine that’s … well, smaller. A new package has smaller hardware and lower price, with the same full-sized software. And an iOS version lets you use Maschine on iPad or iPhone. As their drum machine / drum sampler / groove workstation with plug-in hosting and doubling as plug-in matures, and becomes a focus of NI’s production and performance side, things are starting to heat up. And yes, this news comes just as we learn more about an upcoming analog drum machine. It’s a Labor Day full of drum machines. Shrunken Maschine: Maschine Mikro …

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Tempest Analog Drum Machine, in Action: Roger Linn Quick Start Video

Roger Linn, he of the MPC and AdrenaLinn and Linnstrument, sends us his friendly walk-through video showing you how to get started actually using the upcoming Linn/Dave Smith Tempest analog drum machine. We’re awaiting details on when this unit is actually shipping; I’ll update this post once we hear. What you get instead, though, is nearly twenty minutes of Roger walking you through every single function – this is as much a video manual as it is a “quick start.” It’s nice to see some clever workflow features in action, and you get some very in-depth looks at how the …

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Finger Drumming Interlude: Teezva, Ableton Live, Vestax PAD-One

Amidst the many examples of virtuoso finger drumming and pad performance on YouTube, here’s a potentially-inspiring jam produced by artist Teezva for Vestax. We must have missed this video in the NAMM deluge of last year, but it perhaps remains worth posting. It’s doubly so, as I still haven’t seen any of Vestax’s PAD-One hardware in the wild. (PAD-Ones, if you’re reading, come say hello!) One interesting element of the performance is that Teezva seems effortlessly between triggering clips and loops and individual one-shots. Many performances I see tend to focus on one or the other, but compositionally, that provides …

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New Instruments That Matter: Four Examples, Live in SF, Really Do Move Music Forward

Richard Lainhart mans the Haken Continuum at an early installment of our Handmade Music series, back in 2007. Meanwhile, in 2011: among many options, four digital instruments challenge you to practice – really – with expressions that are deep and satisfying. Is there anything genuinely new in digital instruments? Isn’t it just a load of repeated novelty, without the ability to actually make useful musical noises? Hasn’t the technology just gotten in the way of the music? Isn’t … (sigh) .. all you see … all you get … (repeat ad infinitum) Even among technologist futurists, skepticism about the iterative …

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Mobile Korg Fun: Monotribe Adds Patterns and Sync, Wavedrum Mini is On-the-go Drum; Impressions

Want to win over electronic sound geeks? Korg’s found a simple formula: give them a steady diet of compact, affordable, fun toys that can also be serious sound tools. And so, Korg actually manages to upstage some “bigger” tech announcements this week with some good, clean gear candy. Aside from the expected Monotribe, there’s the unexpected Wavedrum Mini. You’ve probably already seen the Korg Monotribe, the follow-up to the stocking stuffer analog handheld, the Monotron. It’s been leaked and teased as the words “under strict embargo” have come to mean in the music tech blogosphere “publish as quickly as possible.” …

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Brazilian Rhythms Meet Wireless, Wearable Drums in an Artist-Engineer Collaboration

Music made by machines need not turn its back on traditional musical skill – least of all when you literally strap the machines on the back of a master musician. In a fusion of Brazilian tradition and modern wireless, wearable sensor technology, Kyle McDonald shares with us a project that makes drums into an interactive suit. Kyle has plenty to say, including all the details on how to do this in case it inspires a project of your own, so I’ll let him take it away: The project is a wireless drum suit that I built with Lucas Werthein for …

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AKAI MPK mini USB Controller Packs Keys, Pads, Knobs Into 13″, One Pound

If you could only pack one controller in your backpack, and weight, size, and cost were at an absolute premium, the Akai MPK mini would be tough to beat. The latest salvo in the ultra-compact controller wars, Akai has taken the keyboard, pad controllers, and encoders from its LPK25 and LPD8 and packed them into one device. Specs: 25 velocity-sensitive keys 8 backlit, velocity-sensitive drum pads, which can access two banks for a total of 16 triggers (and also send CC, program change if you prefer) 8 assignable knobs MIDI Over USB, USB bus power Arpeggiator: tap tempo, adjustable resolution, …

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Fast Fingers: Video, Mappings Shows You Pad Drumming on MPC, Ableton, Beyond

How to do mpc pad finger drumming from Brandon Murphy on Vimeo. Composer, musician, and drummer Brandon Murphy has put together a how-to video on playing and programming beats with a 4×4 grid. One reason to pay attention: he’s a real drummer, and had been just as skeptical about the value of all this as you probably are: I’ve been using an MPC longer than I’ve owned a computer and something that never appealed to me was “finger drumming”. It evoked thoughts of s***ty 80’s outdoor music festival wankery, dudes with offensive looking devices strapped around their necks and lots …

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Beat Thang Drum Machine: Hands-on Tour with Creators, Rockwilder

Beat Kangz, the upstart drum machine maker out of Nashville, has been cooking up a new device for some time. That creation, the Beat Thang, is finally nearing production. It may not have a nameplate like Akai or Roland, but I can testify that this independently-designed gadget may nonetheless be one to watch. The hardware feels fantastic, appears to have the right pieces falling into place, and promises release soon. The founding team behind it blends backgrounds in areas ranging from hip-hop to computer science, and even production legend Bob Ezrin (that’ll be the Pink Floyd: The Wall Bob Ezrin). …

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Going Mobile: Velocity-Sensitive Touch Pads – on an iPhone? iGOG Says Yes

The iPhone’s glass touchscreen may be a thing of beauty, but despite its multi-touch capabilities, it would seem this device is incapable of responding to how hard you tap it. But the developers at Wave Machines Labs apparently didn’t want to take no for an answer. The iGOG drum suite for iPhone provides drum pads and sample triggering in unique ways, most notably in its velocity-sensitive VelAUcity. How do you get velocity response from a device that’s supposedly not pressure-sensitive? Presumably there’s additional data in the touch events that makes this possible, but for now Wave Labs aren’t saying: iGOG’s …

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