wtpa

Designing Music, in an Art:21 Interview with Electronic Instrument Creator Todd Bailey

He’s built an open-source, retro-tinged 8-bit sampler, “Where’s the Party At?” (I’m been building the second generation now, so expect a review by early August.) He’s had electronic instrument designs on shelves at the retail chain Target and on the walls of the Whitney Art Museum in New York. He just completed a set of luxury chandeliers, when he wasn’t making waves in the circuit bending scene. Todd Bailey is the kind of Renaissance artist at the center of the new DIY scene. There was a time when engineers and artists were separate groups, and big laboratories worked how to …

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Maschine 1.6 Sample Workstation, Now with Plug-ins, Makes a Standalone Workflow Solution

I’ve been following Maschine since prototype stages. The idea was at once obvious and welcome: build a software workstation, tightly integrated with pad hardware control, that fuses hardware sampler working methods with the on-screen flexibility of software. It’s software that focuses on working with sounds and patterns, outside the DAW-style metaphors. Of course, there’s one thing you might quickly miss about your DAW – certain software instruments or effects that are available as plug-ins. That makes 1.6 the version a lot of people have been waiting for. With plug-in hosting capabilities, it could now be your all-in-one production and performance …

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Renoise 2.7 Adds Sample and Slice Savvy; Tips and Inside Info from the Developers

Who says we should have only one set of assumptions when it comes to how music software should work? Renoise remains a vision of an alternate reality where mod trackers – musical editors with vertical, pattern-based views instead of horizontal, linear piano roll views – are our present and future. And Renoise keeps getting better and more modern, demanding less of a sacrifice from those coming from other music production tools while strengthening the unique elements of its musical workflow. We get a first look at the new features here for Mac, Windows, and Linux users, as well as the …

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Video: Live Beatmaking and Musicianship on Display; Details from the Artist, Logic Sampling

Let’s be frank. Computers really don’t demand any musicianship; they’re a blank slate with which you can do anything you like, and quantization is always close at hand. But bragging rights aside, whatever anyone else may think of the results, playing musical elements live can often be more satisfying. And it’s refreshing, at a time when software seems to be bending over backwards to offer bleeding-edge technology to compensate for your lack of time and tune, to see people getting more dextrous, not less. Ukrainian-born, Toronto-based artist Andrew Andriyashev, going under the name Triple A production, sends along a video …

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How the Octatrack Sampler Actually Works, in Hands-on User Videos

I thought the promo video from Elektron perfectly explained, in practical terms, how their recent Octatrack sampler works. You plug it in, push some buttons, turn samples into techno, and then everyone turns into squids and dies. (Hmmm… that does suggest something perhaps a future firmware update might want to address.) But it seems some readers wanted more than sci-fi short films and inscrutable jams – they want to know how this beast actually works. Happily, reader Genjutsushi has obliged us with a video that explains its functions; see top — it’s shaky, but useful, and no squid are in …

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Octatrack Hands-on Videos Begin to Appear, Featuring New Elektron Super-Sampler in Action

Elektron’s Octatrack sampler is shipping to producer’s hands, bringing this multitrack, time-stretching, step-sequenced, modulation-packing digital sampling hardware to real-world music-making. The results make comparisons like “Ableton in a box” seem pretty fair – and give you more an idea of what the thing does than Elektron’s bizarre (and wonderful) short science fiction film, which seemed to suggest the box would incite revolutions and make you grow tentacles and change into a tortured alien. (See below) Two of the people I’d most want to see work the device are featured in the videos above – at top, Richard Devine, and at …

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beatmaker2_1

The Handheld Studio Evolves: Beatmaker 2 Developers Explain their iPhone Workflow

Music production once meant getting into a studio. Portable multi-track tape and later the computer liberated us from that, and the “bedroom studio” was born. When capable Palm handhelds hit the market, musicians imagined yet more mobile means of production, and everything from Game Boys and PSPs to phones, even before the iPhone, have been pressed into on-the-go music-making service. In all that time, though, the way you actually make music in your palm has been a work in progress. Intua’s BeatMaker was one of the first applications to demonstrate what might be possible on Apple’s handheld, and a radical …

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SP-12, SP-1200 Sample Collection, Free Samples, and Some Tips for Vintage Digital Sampling

Call it future shock. Love of retro gear is more than nostalgia; sometimes it takes time to appreciate what technology means. And so, today, classic digital samplers and drum machines like the E-mu SP-1200 and SP-12 can inspire even greater passion than they did when new. Today, producers can feel love not only for retro analog, but retro digital. With plenty of 12-bit digital dirt, the original SP samplers sound gritty, warm, and unique. And one of my favorite samplists, Hugo of Gold Baby Productions, does a nice job of capturing that personality – enough for me to take note …

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DIY MPC: User Builds the Controller MOTU’s BPM Drum Sampler Forgot

David Pogue made the immensely-successful Missing Manual book series in order to fill in for the manual that should have been included with software. But an impassioned fan of MOTU’s BPM drum sampler went further than that – a lot further. Simon (ssp/plastikaudio) has constructed an entire hardware controller for BPM. It gives MOTU’s software tangible form, with more than a little nod to the classic Akai samplers and Roger Linn. The form factor is oversized and roomy, with big knobs and faders and pads you can reach out and grab – no tiny hands or mice required. Now, naturally, …

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Drumssette, Brilliantly Insane Tascam Tape-Based Drum Machine, More from Mike Walters

Sometimes, DIY music boxes reach moments of mad genius. To me, they’re almost a kind of compositional conceptual art, executed as a set of circuitry and disguised as a piece of music gear. They assemble in series a set of solutions to design problems, but result in something – through the combination of invention and throwback, simplicity and absurdity – insane and wonderful. At least that’s how I feel when I look at the Drumssette, the latest invention from musical instrument engineer Mike Walters. It’s a combination of the innards of a Tascam four-track cassette recorder with a push-button, gated …

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