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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Quick Routing Effect Trick: Stereo Ring Modulation, in Video

Chris Stack (formerly of Moog) inaugurates a series of experimental synthesis sounds with a stereo modulation effect, using two of the terrific Moog MF-102 ring modulators as the canvas. It’s a dead-simple combination of cables – you connect the carrier output of the first MF-102 into the input of the second, and the LFO out to the frequency – but once interconnected, the double ring mod effect is capable of a wide range of sounds. (“Double ring mod … oh my God.” Yeah, I know.) In fact, for the impatient among you, you might here the experimental synthy sounds at …

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Google Translate Beatboxing, Mashed Up with YouTube Memes

Well, it’s official – the fact that you can beatbox with Google Translate has gone completely viral. I’ve even heard it crossing over into mainstream media (like the BBC mainstream). This also says to me that the Web could be fertile ground for creating musical toys that distract people from work. (Hmmm… okay, that may not be the best argument for getting your employer to upgrade their rusty old “vintage” MSIE to a new, HTML5-savvy browser.) The best evolution of this yet: YouTuber chulini sets the Translate German beatboxing to a mash-up of Internet memes, hip-hop infused. It takes a …

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Émilie Simon, Making Homemade Sessions in Her Apartment

Émilie Simon is a fantastically-talented artist with a unique background: her work now falls clearly into pop territory, but her lineage is just as much experimental and classical. Conservatory training gave way to time at the avant garde nerve center of Paris, IRCAM. IRCAM’s Director, Cyrille Brissot, still plays alongside her – more on his wild invention in a moment. Simon has been a big hit in France; you may know her composition from the soundtrack to March of the Penguins. But now, she’s a New Yorker, which brings us to the topic of the headline. The singer-pianist-artist released a …

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Roland JUNO Contest Ends at Midnight; A Viral Ad for the … Alpha 2!

Getting DIY ads out of YouTube is all the rage these days, but when it comes to certain time-tested synth names, let’s just say the audience is a little different. You love the gear, you make music with the gear, you praise everything that’s brilliant and you’re unafraid of criticizing what’s not. We covered the Roland “How Do You JUNO” contest launch back in April with a look back at the JUNO line through the years. Check out comments for some frank, nostalgia-immune commentary from synth geeks about the high points and low points of the various models. And so, …

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Play Super Mario Bros. with a Theremin

This is worth posting for this line alone: “Who needs a Natal when you’ve got a theremin!” (If you don’t know what he’s talking about, see here.) Yes, in case you’re looking for a creative way to practice your Theremin playing, here you go. Now, where’s our Theremin Hero game? From the description by Glasgow-based YouTuber conquerearth, previously seen using the Theremin to play “Still Alive.” This is even more fun with two people playing! One person controls left/right, the other controls jump. Its not just limited to the theremin. Its even possible to hook up a microphone and use …

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Learned in 60 Seconds: Intro to Free Synthesis Tool SuperCollider

SuperCollider, super fast: UK-based experimental musician mcldx has produced a 60-second intro to SuperCollider. Naturally, you won’t learn SuperCollider in one minute, but what’s nice about this is it does explain the very first steps you would take to get SuperCollider running – and because SC doesn’t have a single-window, “do everything here” interface, that first step actually confuses a lot of people. Have a look, and you’ll at the very least understand step one. From there, you can start diving into tutorials and making other sounds. SuperCollider will repay an investment of time: it’s an elegant language, runs a …

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In Bb 2.0: YouTube-Generated, Collaborative Music Remix

That sounds like the usual collection of meaningless YouTube buzzwords, but yet again, in the spirit of the YouTube-fueled musical genius of Kutiman and, more recently, Tan Dun and Internet orchestras, the combination of user-contributed videos turns out to be magical. Perhaps “You” are a star, after all. In Bb also gives You, the viewer, some powers over the remix. As the name implies, everything will blend, so you can start the videos as you wish, and control volume with the volume sliders. It’s part of the ongoing evidence that sometimes simple ideas can be deeply musical and effective. Now, …

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Auto-Tune The News, And Channeling Steve Reich, Anyone?

The Internet, having satisfied itself yesterday with video that faked a Beyonce who couldn’t sing, now imagines news that can. And Steve Reich is proven ahead of his time — again. (Congrats on the Pullitzer – it took them just five decades to notice!) Yes, Antares’ Auto-Tune plug-in – now so ubiquitous in mainstream, non-audio-engineer knowledge that it’s become a generic description like “Kleenex” – can be applied to everything. (We, um, can only hope these industrious YouTubers are using legally-licensed copies – that is, until Antares releases a 99-cent iPhone app.) And so, hilariously, we imagine a world of …

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Roland Wants Videos of Junos New and Old; A Look Back at the Juno Line

JUNO-106, as captured by cicciostoky [MySpace]. Roland is holding a YouTube video contest to get people to show off their JUNO keyboard synths. They’re not just talking the currently-available Roland keyboards that wear the JUNO badge, but the classic models going back to 1982. "How Do You JUNO?" Video Contest [Roland US] I like to disclose our partnerships upfront, so in the interest of disclosure: Roland US is currently promoting this campaign on CDM – thanks, Roland, for supporting the site. I can also tell you that personally, selfishly, I’d really love to see some great JUNO videos up on …

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