The Hive synth. Photo: Q.Smith, Yes Dear Ltd.

Of Bees and Oscillators: Bioni Samp’s EP Full of Eco-Influences, Homebrewed Gear [Listen, Gallery]

If electronic music sometimes seems to contain the secret dance language of insects, mysterious coded rhythms and swarms of sound, an EP released this summer by an English producer makes the connection explicit. Bioni Samp sends us his strange and wonderful sonic journey into the colony. In tunes alternately atmospheric and danceable, at least of the sort to which you might wiggle your thorax in a deep, dark hive, The Island uses every possible sonic resource. Artist Bioni Samp is a producer and video artist from Leeds, Yorkshire now living in London. He points CDM not only to these wonderful …

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clapbox

Vintage Clap Trap Synth, Now a Unitasker iOS App; I Love the 80s

Here’s an iOS app antidote to those desktop plug-ins that do everything, to elaborate virtual synths with eighteen separate modulation envelopes. It’s an app that just … makes clap sounds. And it brings your iPhone or iPad boldly into the 1980s. The handclap sound you hear in so much electronic music, particularly that originating from the 1980s, is none other than the Simmons Clap Trap. And soundware boutique / developer Puremagnetik, the folks who have built a reputation sampling classic instruments for the likes of Ableton, has emulated that tool on iOS. It’s certainly … specific. But that could make …

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barker_360

In the Studio: Barker “Like an Animal” EP, Sam Barker + nd_baumecker [Stream + Gallery]

Surrounded by a whirlwind of gear, Sam Barker has been collecting musical tools – vintage and otherwise – since his first track, produced at age 13. Believe it or not, this is his old studio – the new one, with nd_baumecker, we profile below. Photo courtesy Leisure System Records. Being futuristic – really looking forward to music – has perhaps become less fashionable in some circles. Don’t tell that to people like UK-born Sam Barker, artist and co-founder of collective/label/party Leisure System. Sam is curating music tools and artists with the same electic passion, the same exploration of new sounds …

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monkeysandsynthesizers

Synths Versus Real Primates: So Easy, a Monkey Can Play Them? A Zoo Finds Out

Synths meet monkeys. Photo: Andreas Tilliander. Composer and Swedish dance music maestro HÃ¥kan Libdo has been a constant source of experimentation. But his latest project yields zoo-like new adventurousness. Six species of monkeys are equipped with synthesizers to test the question of whether playing a synth is really playing music – or if it’s so simple, a monkey can do it. Describing the project, there’s a bit of a defense of the complexity of the instrument: “You just press a button and out comes music, right?” Well… you do press buttons, twist knobs and faders, but there are endless ways …

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synapsemag

I Love the 70s: Complete Issues of Synapse Mag, A Look at Electronic Music’s Past

“Everything old is new again” certainly could be no more true than in electronic music, in which futuristic possibility is constantly expanded by our history, a tradition in finding alien, new sounds. So it’s a great pleasure to go back and read articles from electronic music’s past. They just might open a window to its future. They certainly seem oddly more relevant as they age, in many cases. Keyboard (then Contemporary Keyboard) and Electronic Musician seem lacking in good archives, but at least you can explore the wonderful Synapse Magazine in its entirety, courtesy another synth legend – Cynthia at …

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ns10m

808, SP1200, MPC, NS-10 Reborn in Miniature as Beautifully-Detailed, Tiny USB Drives [Gallery]

File these designs under “do want.” Some of your favorite gear is rendered in miniature: Roland’s TR-808, E-MU’s SP-1200 sampler, Akai’s MPC 2000XL, and (coming soon) even the Yamaha NS-10 near-field monitors. It occurs to me that someday soon, such tiny things might even work in some form as functioning music equipment. For now, you’ll have to settle for tiny classic gear that contains an 8 GB flash drive – enough to carry especially-precious samples or demos or backups. The drives are US$39.99, but contain extraordinary levels of detail and use Toshiba flash memory (not something overly generic). They work …

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King Britt, in the Studio: Fhloston Paradigm and Making Music Like It’s 1983 [Video]

We’ve heard the new Fhloston Paradigm; here’s an up-close look at the studio setup on which it was made. Making music can be about collecting the best, not just the newest, finding what’s inspiring to build your own tradition. Perhaps that’s why so many artists increasingly turn to vintage analog gear not just because they idolize the sound, but because it opens up working techniques that move their music forward. After all, digital emulations get better by the day at copying sounds, but it may be less a matter of old and new and more unlocking some personal creativity. In …

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dms0

Apple II Gets a New Drum Machine: DMS Drummer, Now with Video Tutorial-Demo

Who says technology doesn’t last? The Apple II platform will be 35 years old in April, yet it’s still going strong. It even gets a brand-new drum machine software, launched this month, complete with eight wavetable-based drum sounds, and a clever sequencer. The surprise: the whole combination, delivered on a 5 1/4″ floppy disk, can be stunningly usable, as in something you’d actually want to make music with. Not bad for a computer you can typically pick up for a few bills at a flea market. (Emulators can also run the software, so you don’t even need hardware. Of course, …

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monotrondelay

KORG monotron DUO, monotron DELAY Bring Fun Back, via Mono/Poly, MS Circuits and Pocket Size

Every so often, something comes along that’s just irresistibly lovable. So it was with the Korg monotron. With a price of US$60 (or far less), a pocketable size, the ability to run on batteries, a nice, glowing red LFO knob, a delicious filter, and toy-like playability, everyone loves the monotron. People who have racks of vintage synths love the monotron. People who have never seen a synth before love the monotron. Then, along came the Korg Monotribe, which grafted ultra-simplified analog drum circuitry and a sequencer, and … somehow, you wanted to love the thing instead of just loving it. …

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deceptikon300

What You Don’t Need to Make Music: With A Poly 800 and Renoise, Dkon Talks Music Making, New Label

Deceptikon morphs into Dkon — and talks to us about doing more with less. Photo courtesy the artist. Artist Zack Wright, for a handful of followers of what we used to call IDM, will be a blast from the past. Recording as Deceptikon on labels like Merck and Daly City Records, Zack is back. His name is now Dkon, and the story is more than just him: in the absence of a Merck to release adventurous music, Dkon is helping launch a new label entitled Tokyo Ghost Island, with an EP to be followed soon by new records from Jemapur, …

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