Roland Recalls TR-909 History in Aira Teaser; Reminds You Original Used Samples

Roland hasn’t been this buzzed about in a very long time. But in its carefully-calculated teaser campaign for Aira, the company is back in a big way. And we’re slowly getting to see the four Aira devices to be introduced this week. We know Aira will include a drum machine. We know there will be a TR-08. We know there was a video recalling the history of the TR-808. Now, Roland is talking TR-909 history. You can either take that to mean something about the TR-08, or that a TR-909 reboot will accompany the TR-08. Teaser campaign aside, fans of …

READ MORE →
The POD that changed everything. Photo (CC-BY) Lauri Rantala.

Yamaha will Acquire Line 6, Major Innovator in Guitar Tech

Even in a big year for acquisitions – with Gibson acquiring Cakewalk, for one – this news comes as a surprise to many of us. Yamaha, the 1887-founded Japanese conglomerate with a stake in everything from golf carts to wheelchairs to jetskis to pianos, is acquiring Line 6, the independent California-based guitar and sound product manufacturer. Yamaha is a huge force in products for music and sound, without question, with an unparalleled design, manufacturing, and distribution apparatus. And music is at their core – look closely at those motorcycles and jetskis, and there’s a reason you’ll see tuning forks. Yamaha …

READ MORE →

ANS – Amazing, Eerie Russian Optical Synth – Now on Every OS [Megaguide to ANS Old and New]

Few early instruments from the last century can still sound futuristic today. But the photoelectronic ANS synthesizer is an enormous vintage hardware device that can already stand toe to toe with today’s most bleeding-edge software. It’s a natural for an iOS conversion, and an incredible amount of fun to use in software form – but also makes this a good time to revisit just how forward-thinking the original was. Before electronics grew in wide use in musical instruments, sound designers took a cue from soundtracks for film. That is, before digital, before analog, there was optical. Sound artists, including a …

READ MORE →
roedilus

Roedelius: Dreamy, Ambling Ambience from an Electronic Legend [Videos]

Born in a very different Berlin in 1934, Hans-Joachim Roedelius is an elder legend of electronic music and piano, having helped establish the voice of German krautrock and ambient music. (Think Cluster, Harmonia, Aquarello.) But today, he is as active in international tours as artists a fraction of his age, freely pouring out music. And his music itself is liberated, flowing … youthful. In a live performance captured recently at the arts space Mindpirates, he joins the excellent multi-instrumentalist and bass player Armin Metz. With great swells of sound amidst a nicely-meandering, jazz-like exploration of notes and mists, the two …

READ MORE →

Plans to Move Moog Archives to Cornell Ignite Controversy, Concern for Bob Moog Foundation

This story has been updated based on an FAQ and official response to CDM from the Cornell University Library, responding to some of the concerns. The not-for-profit Bob Moog Foundation has been working since the synth pioneer’s death to restore and make accessible his archives, undertaking preservation efforts, mounting exhibitions, and recently acquiring a space to house them. They were therefore surprised last week, they said, to learn these archives were instead being donated to Cornell University, Moog’s alma mater. The announcement has quickly inspired an outcry from the music technology community, with critics arguing the move would cripple years …

READ MORE →

Happy Independence Day: The Legacy of the Computer is Not the Mouse

Oregon-born engineer, inventor, and thinker Douglas Engelbart has died. He’ll be listed in many outlets as, mundanely, the inventor of the computer mouse. Certainly, the demo of that technology in 1968 had a profound impact. But what’s stunning is that even at that demo, the mouse wasn’t the most impressive thing Engelbart showed. At the same talk, he demonstrated videoconferencing and textual hyperlinks. And the real legacy of Engelbart was his computer humanism, an idea that spread virally to motivate the world of computing as personally powerful, communicative and expressive. What enabled Engelbart to look so far into the future, …

READ MORE →

How Music Can Predict the Human/Machine Future [re:publica Talk, Video]

This week, at Germany’s re:publica conference – an event linking offline and online worlds – I addressed the question of how musical inventions can help predict the way we use tools. I started all the way back tens of thousands of years ago with the first known (likely) musical instrument. From there, I looked at how the requirements of musical interfaces – in time and usability – can inform all kinds of design problems. And I also suggested that musicians don’t lag in innovation as much as people might expect. I thought about whether I wanted to post this as …

READ MORE →

The Music of 2071, As Imagined in 1964: Fischinger Lumigraph to Lumichord

Finishing research for a talk at Genève’s Mapping Festival, I came across this gem from comments on Create Digital Motion. It’s the innovative Lumigraph, an interactive light experiment by visionary film and animation pioneer Oskar Fischinger. The sci-fi film looked ahead to what the music of 2071 might be like, in 1964’s The Time Travelers. To their credit, goofy love lounge aside, the reuse of Fischinger’s abstract light project isn’t far off from music in 2013. (And, hey, whatever puts you in the mood.) Fischinger, for his part, almost certainly wasn’t thrilled with the use of his creation in this …

READ MORE →

Worth A Thousand Words, Easy: Videos Tour WaveMapper iOS App with Creator

You can see only his fingers and hear his voice, but that’s Wolfgang Palm narrating walk-throughs of his WaveMapper app, seen here last week. And he’s one important guy doing these screencasts. Hamburg-born Wolfgang built synths for Tangerine Dream, and developed ideas in wavetable synthesis and inter-synth communication that would come to impact every digital synth made since. And watching this probably makes more sense than reading my explanation from last week. I know owners of the previous PPG synth on iOS might have liked this in a new version of that app. But here, with the “mapping” matrix applying …

READ MORE →

What’s Inside The New Moog: 25-Key Synth Prototype Walkthrough with Pioneer Herb Deutsch

Moog has revealed the innards of the synth they’re launching later this month, and it looks like a cute but sonically-rich analog monosynth: two-octave keyboard, no display, plenty of knobs. What’s best is, we get not some strange Web teaser or blurry cropped photos, but a walkthrough of the prototype with none other than Herb Deutsch. Professor Deutsch is perhaps second only to Bob Moog himself in his influence on the early years of the Moog company and the evolution of the early idea of the synth. He can barely contain his delight as he “doodles” on the new instrument. …

READ MORE →