Pushing the Guitar, Sound Further, with Moog Minifooger, Eventide H9 Stompboxes [Videos]

Yes, it’s a good time to be in love with synths and drum machines. But for all the hype around those instruments lately, adventurous guitar effects are also seeing a new renaissance. While guitarists have always had a lovely palette of oddball stompboxes and grungy distortion and effects, they’ve lately been seeing more affordable, more accessible tools for sound design that had been more associated with synths. And, of course, wherever you see the word “guitarists,” any instrumentalists who need stomp form factor will also benefit – bass guitar, electric violin, experimental accordion, whatever. Say the name “Moog,” and most …

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Tapping the icons in the center of the decks pulls up cleverly-designed, elegant interfaces for cues, beats, and effects.

Mixing Spotify with iPad, Pacemaker Might Be DJing’s New Killer App for the Masses [Hands On]

It’s been a while since digital DJing has seen a bona fide major hit. Traktor continues to dominate the scene. But Traktor is still software molded for the professional DJ, and particularly those in the club scene. When Traktor came to the iPad, it saw a significantly-streamlined interface, but the underlying functionality remains geared for the professional user – so much so, in fact, that it’s possible to exchange libraries and hardware interfaces between the two. That’s a good thing for Traktor’s intended audience, but it leaves open a window in the market. Even arguably more consumer-friendly software like Algoriddim’s …

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Review: MTRX-8, The Hardware Sequencer You Can Reprogram

The standalone MIDI hardware sequencer has had formidable competition in the age of the computer. But it seems ready to make a comeback in a big way. With more hardware, more affordable hardware, and more fans, all-in-one tactile control is just what the doctor ordered. Of course, having used a computer, you’re less likely to be accommodating of inflexibility. That’s why the MTRX-8 from Fyrd Instruments shows real promise. It works as a standalone sequencer, true, with MIDI in and out ports. But it also coincides nicely with a computer – from programmability over USB to doubling as a MIDI …

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From Leisure System Crew, Meticulously-Crafted Techno Rhythms [Listening]

From Berlin and Britain, virtuoso producers imagine a futuristic take on techno that elevates technical craft. Among many fine labels that have somehow flown under the radar this year, the surging productivity of Leisure System is surely one that merits some attention. It’s a producer’s label, in a sense, dodging trends to find music that is both danceable and listenable, ready for brain and booty and ear. Berghain in Berlin celebrates its ninth anniversary Saturday, but let’s not overlook the Leisure System party on Friday – and the artists the label has brought together. For starters, there’s the evergreen genius …

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littleBits Synth Kit, First Hands-on: What They Sound Like, Reviews, Videos

Imagine if you could take apart your favorite recent KORG analog creations, chop it up into little blocks, and then snap them together with magnetic ease? In other words, imagine if you could put together a KORG synth as easily as you did LEGO? It’s every bit as much fun as you’d imagine. I’ve been testing the littleBits Synth Kit for a few days now. I’ve got some sounds for you here so you can hear some of what’s possible. (They’re Creative Commons-licensed, if anyone wants to try to sample them in a track; I know I’ll be working on …

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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 …

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UE_6

Simon Pyke’s Melodic Imagination, Dancing and Doodling in a Science Museum [Warp Records]

Move over, Music for Airports. Now there’s Music for Museums. At Media Space at the Science Museum, London, UK-based creative studio Universal Everything recently explored the ability of visitors to make their bodies and hands shape the space. In 1000 Hands, guests take on God-like, Darwinian powers of illustration, inventing new, fanciful life forms by sketching their work, then unleashing these creations in the museum exhibit. It’s the long-missing opportunity to scrawl on the walls of the museum. There’s an iOS and Android app, too, if you can’t make it to England: http://1000hands.universaleverything.com/ In the companion installation, Presence, the studio …

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Marcel Dettmann: When Sci-Fi Futurism and Continuity Meet, in Sound [Video]

Techno icon Marcel Dettmann has just released a second full-length. While associated with insistent-symmetrical dancefloor rhythms and phrases, it may be sound and timbre that are worth appreciating here. Dettmann did a wonderful interview for Electronic Beats (released in the summer, shot last winter, below). And the timing of that release makes it a perfect moment to listen to what he has to say. (You do have to get past a distracting faux film effect, an odd choice for the usually-tasteful video productions from EB.) Dettmann’s perspective: Techno “still is music for the future, it’s science fiction.” But to get …

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Cristian Vogel, Still Dazzling Ears, Two Decades On [Listen]

There are few artists as thoroughly credentialed across dance music and Classical new music as Cristian Vogel. But what’s astounding about Vogel is, having ventured out on the precipice of those bleeding edges of both worlds, he still stands on tiptoe there now. Chilean-born, UK-raised and academically-trained in the 80s, and now a leading voice in Berlin’s scene for the past 20 years, he’s no less prolific today than in the past. But let’s not just wax poetic – let’s have a listen to the latest. We can love the fact that Jamie Lidell, Vogel’s former mate in Super Collider …

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Moderat Debuts II, Pushing Electronic Supergroup Production Quality Again [Review, Links, Listen]

If you haven’t heard it yet, you owe yourself a listen to Moderat’s II, the second outing from the combination of Berlin electronic superstars Apparat and Modeselektor. A preview has launched on Spotify, but the best option to try before you buy is NPR Music (America’s listener-funded public radio tastemakers): First Listen: Moderat, ‘II’ First, the thumbnail guide to the cast: Modeselektor is Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary, in turn behind Monkeytown and 50 Weapons. Apparat is Sascha Ring, who had a major role in Shitkatapult (the label founded by T.Raumschmiere, aka Marco Haas, and company) The boundaries between those …

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