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Dave Smith Goes Modular, with a $179 Curtis Filter Module

Eurorack fever continues to spread. The ease of making musical electronics fit the standard, pioneered by Germany’s Dieter Doepfer, and the growing appetite from a small but passionate audience, seems to make producing new modules irresistible. The entire design equation is different: a single task or handful of tasks can become a product. Dave Smith Instruments is the latest entry. And the product is the perfect choice for DSI. It’s a module built around on the Curtis filter, the signature filter found on everything from the 1980s Prophets (back when Dave’s company was Sequential Circuits) to the latest Mopho and …

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Learn How to Get Your Drum Machine’s Soul Back with Mad Zach, Ableton Live

It’s “the science of being imperfect” – and Mad Zach is one heck of a mad scientist at it. We all know Ableton Live productions, even sometimes from fairly skilled music makers, can get painfully stuck on the grid. If that’s the disease, Mad Zach has the cure. Armed with Ableton Live and together with releasing a very special, very useful sound pack, this insanely-prolific DJ, producer, writer, and educator has some advice for how to get the soul and groove back in your machines. CDM teamed up with our friends at Beatport Sounds to work with Zach on an …

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Roland’s SH-101 PLUG-OUT Integrates Hardware, Software, Looks Rather Convenient

Hardware makers have tried different ways of fusing those tools with software for years. Now, we get to see just how Roland’s PLUG-OUT scheme will work, as the company shows off the SH-101 plug-in for the AIRA SYSTEM-1 keyboard synth that just began shipping. The SH-101 PLUG-OUT ships on the 25th of July, available for free with purchase of a SYSTEM-1. And, just as I’m enthusiastic about Elektron’s direction this year with Overbridge, I have to say PLUG-OUT looks really convenient. The name might be a gimmick, and I don’t know that everyone will want to swap models regularly, but …

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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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Meet the Strange, Wonderful 70s Machine that Used AI to Make Music

The 70s were one heck of a groovy time. When they weren’t postulating theories about the very underlying essence of all physical reality being reduced to computational models, pioneering AI scientists were … creating weird music sequencers? Seriously? The Singularity will be brought to you by Giorgio Moroder, perhaps? Yes, as we saw earlier this week, AI legends Edward Fredkin and Marvin Minsky somehow managed to take their research in philosophy, digital physics, and cognitive science, and make a weird box that most definitely is capable of blinking lights and making sequences of bleeps. The Triadex Muse really seems like …

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Inside the Dub Machines, Analog Modeling Delays, Reverbs with a Twist, in Max for Live

Can an echo of the old still bring something new? Dub Machines, an Ableton Live pack of delay Devices, is both a painstaking set of digital models of analog delays and a chance to open those old techniques to new possibilities. And its unique flavor is in no small measure thanks to its creators. We got to talk to Matt Jackson (Ableton) about this new endeavor and how it came about – and some of the stories inside its creation, including the involvement of one of our favorite machine music makers, TM404. First, though, about those machines. Developer Surreal Machines …

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Live from the Moog Factory, Watch Erika, Teengirl Fantasy, and Survive

CDM here in the Moog Factory, downtown Asheville, North Carolina. I don’t care whether you’re a Boiler Room fan or hater – this one is special. Erika is here from Detroit with her circular sequencer and loads of gear. The wild and wooly Survive are new to me but they’re doing lovely stuff and have a synth museum worth of keyboard racks – fantastic. And in town from New York, hailing from Oberlin, Ohio, are Teengirl Fantasy. It’s already a great lineup, but novel for a second reason – Moog will keep assembling stuff in the factory as they play. …

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Join an Hour-Long Tour of Legowelt’s Ridiculous Synth Collection, Then Hear the New Album

“Don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted …” Yes, welcome to the wild studio of Legowelt, the eclectic Dutch musician. Future Music Magazine didn’t just do a video tour. They did an hour-long video tour, where the artist waxes poetic on every detail with loving attention. It’s a beautiful nerdfest. I know we’re theoretically not supposed to be fetishizing gear, but there’s some real care for these tools. And… there’s a Commodore 64 studio and some real rarities. For signs Legowelt is One of Us, here’s his bio: Born: a long time ago …

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Watch An Hour-long, Chilled, Hard, Hardware Live Set from TM404

If you can’t get to a shoreline this week, I wholeheartedly endorse watching the waves crash behind none other than TM404, aka Andreas Tilliander. We had a sort of Roland meditation with him before, and I’m even more fond of this set. Sit back and enjoy an hour of sound. It’s worth reflecting on the resurgent hardware set, particularly with the Roland AIRA lineup some of the most talked-about, popular gear of 2014 (and volca beats still selling, and Rhythm Wolf in the wings).

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Roland Could Make AIRA Sync Box; New Directions at Company

AIRA, the lineup that now includes a bassline/sequencer, drum machine, synth, and vocal processor, has in just a few months changed the way a lot of people think about Roland. At Musikmesse in Frankfurt, it was clear that it represents a new direction for Roland, too. The AIRA lineup was displayed separately from the usual Roland booth on the main floor of hall 5 (devoted to pianos), upstairs in hall 5.1 alongside electronic and DJ products (“remix”). And there, crowds gathered to watch pounding dance performances. Those first four AIRA units are just the beginning. Roland has created an entirely …

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