Electronic music has always had a funny relationship with musicianship. It isn’t playing a traditional instrument; instead, it lies somewhere between instrumentalism and composition, between playing and conducting. Sometimes, that scale is tipped away from virtuosity of any kind.
But lately, I’ve had an increasing number of conversations with people who make the tools with which we make music about what this all means. I’ll be able to share one of those conversations in a bit, but I’m curious to hear what readers think.
Jeff Mills comes to mind. He doesn’t just DJ with three decks, he also uses a TR-909 in his live sets.
Radium Audio Labs is a blog with some interesting sound design articles on things like frozen contact mics, recording guns, coil pickup and printer recordings, and more.
Explorative adventures in sound – Part of Radium Audio, a leading music and sound design company based in London. We work with agencies, cg & animation houses, digital agencies, game developers, brands and manufacturers.
This pack contains a selection of loops perfect for the creation minimal, acid and techno music (Or whatever you want really).
In the pack: 8 303 loops (Square), 8 303 loops (Saw), 8 303 loops (Dist), 8 909 loops, 8 808 loops, 8 Acid bass loops. All the musical parts are in Am and the tempo of all the samples are at 120bpm. All the loops and samples in this pack are free to use in whatever project you want.
Mark Mosher takes Green Oak’s Crystal for a spin on both the desktop and iOS, and shows how to share patches between both synths in a useful “Patch Sharing Step-by-Step”.
These instructions are in an edit of the original instructions at the bottom of this page. Green Oak’s instructions are accurate but assume you know your way around iTunes and Crystal so there are some gotchas. I’ve added some more detailed notes and steps (in red) to help fill in the gaps. Even if you only want to transfer patches from desktop to mobile, I recommend you go through steps 1-3 anyway so you’ll have a bank with the proper name an in the proper format.
Retro chip music appeal and the occasional Super Mario Bros. game aside, you probably think of the Nintendo NES and Famicom system as something collecting dust at garage sales. You probably don’t think of this NES running as a self-contained music production workstation, syncing to MIDI and Android, or exploiting new software for producing elaborate musical sequences, drum and bass lines. Think again.
What might to outsiders seem like the nostalgic draw of video music has become something else entirely – the NES is taking its place as a serious, studio synth.
I made a basic Max/MSP patch that allows one to use the Korg NanoKontrol MIDI controller as a periodic waveform editor. Each of the first eight faders controls a point along a periodic waveform. The ninth fader controls the frequency of the waveform.
refreq is a really customable music player. I mean really. You can load music files into refreq, but also images (bitmaps, imgs, pngs). When you load a song, first the program analyzes the track, then it draws its frequency spectrum. After tracking, you can generate the spectral image / bitmap back into music.
At this point, it's getting really interesting. After you have the image of the track, how you want to play it depends on you, You can play with the timeline, to play the sound from an other aspect. You can see where exactly the notes are, but the harmonies are also really visible. You can rotate the player, then the notes will be the same, but the harmonies will be changing
Create Digital Music reports that Urs of u-he will be developing the “Tyrell – N6″, a software synthesizer based on Amazona’s Tyrell.
Tyrell is the result of some 10.000 Amazona.de readers who in a number of surveys and articles in various forums shared their thoughts about what a polyphonic, affordable analog synthesizer should look like. About one year later the concept is worked out as a proper “virtual” analog synth.
Amazona Tyrell, amazing rendered model by Stephan Gries (click for full shot and white version)
Amazon’s Peter Grandl writes:
our project TYRELL will become reality. :-) )) First as a Software Synthesizer, programmed by U-He (from the inventors of ZEBRA 2) and hopefully later as an analog hardware device.
Urs Heckman (see picture) is working on a Synth-project called DIVA. One part of the project is developing a module which is based on the ROLAND Juno 60. Exactly this synth was also the base for the AMAZONA.de Reader-Survey. Now, Urs will bring both ideas together and will create TYRELL – N6 as the first TYRELL Clone.
Since the last letter we have been contacted by three companies from Europe and China. Each of these companies has expressed interest to realize TYRELL.
PS: BTW – the Software Version of U-He will be free of charge for amazona.de readers. We expected a beta-version before Christmas this year!!
Create Digital Music has introduced the MeeBlip, a digital MIDI mono synthesizer designed by James Grahame of Reflex Audio and Retro Thing.
It’s designed to be affordable, hackable, and most of all, playable. It’s an open source hardware instrument, but it isn’t just for hackers. You can unpack it, do some very basic assembly of the complete kit, and be making sounds from a MIDI keyboard or other controller within minutes.
And if you are interested in hacking it, from simple modifications to reprogramming the sound, we’ll be putting up lots of resources that help you learn how to do that. That said, the reason we’re excited to have our own MeeBlips is simple: we have fun playing them.
Out of the box, a monophonic virtual analog synth.
Eight user-definable knobs and sixteen slide switches, for hands-on control with the immediacy of a classic monosynth.
Tasty digital synth sounds.
Use it as-is, or use the source code to remap controls or completely redefine the instrument’s architecture.
Available ready for simple, solder-free assembly with a case, or as a kit, all on a single board. Build your own, or make a different project with the MeeBlip sound engine.
8-bit digital brain.
4-pole active low-pass antialising filter.
Open source hardware. Modify anything, buy some kits and sell your own builds, or make new projects.
Complete kits ship with a custom front panel illustrated by Nathanael Jeanneret.
A MeeBlip Quick Build Kit (includes an assembled board, case, and everything you need – no soldering required) ships internationally for $129 USD. A full board kit and bare PC board (with programmed MCU and DAC) are also available at $79 and $39 USD respectively.
Peter Kirn at Create Digital Music has the scoop on Moog’s Filtrtron app for iOS.
Moog Music, they of the normally analog-only gear, have built their first iOS application. We’ve acquired exclusive details of the innards of the app, and I’ve been testing it today on my (second-generation) iPod touch. Blasphemy? Perhaps, but it’s a nicely-designed little application, and with audio input capability, could turn your Apple handheld into a tiny recording and effects-processing unit alongside other gear. (Game Boy plus iPod touch? Casiotone plus iPod touch?)
The application, Filtatron, hasn’t yet been announced. There’s no information on pricing or availability, accordingly.
A nice sample pack by Waveformless reader Darren Halm, who writes:
"I have a bunch of samples I took yesterday of me chopping wood in my front yard. I'm actually whacking a heavy metal dowel with the back of an axe head. The resulting sound of metal hitting metal, coupled with some nice natural reverb from the surrounding lake and hill prompted me to grab my H4 and get them. I just roughly normalized and exported the markers in Peak, so they tend to tail out a bit; I figure most people are throwing them in a sampler with comprehensive ADSR so this wouldn't be a problem. "
Faithful to my Eigenharp Pico unboxing video, I also recorded one right after I received my Eigenharp Alpha. I hope you like it!
Until now I haven’t been able to find an unboxing video that showed what I personally always wanted to see about the Alpha and its accessories. I hope this video satisfies the drool-lust of people like me now ;-)
What if you could have any musical technology you wanted – if you had only to imagine something, and it appeared? That was the somewhat insane notion behind the Dreams Competition CDM organized with Rui Penha of Casa Da Musica’s Digitópia research and education program in Porto, Portugal. Earlier this week, Rui and I sat down on the banks of Porto’s famed Douro River with Paulo Maria Rodrigues to pour through stacks of imaginary instruments. Some proposals read like wish lists composed to Santa Claus. Others included exquisite renderings, mock-ups, and even video that made them into serious, near-finished product designs. In the end, we attempted to choose the ideas that seemed the most surprising and original, including a winner that – with some limitation of its scope – would be feasible to actually build.
Far from just being idle fantasy, the winner will be realized by a team of developers as an open-source, free project. And I suspect some of the other entries may yield real tools, too. The line-up offers plenty of indications of what matters to people, and what’s possible. Here are some of our favorite entries out of an impressively high-quality bunch, plus, of course, our winners and the grand-prize selection that will inspire a real project.
As you can see, it's based on Boss's perennially popular DS-1 distortion pedal, with the 'Tone' and 'Dist' knobs operating as the left and right mouse buttons. There's also a scroll wheel on the side and the 'check' L.E.D. lights up when it's plugged in!
Unfortunately it doesn't work as an actual distortion pedal, but that's probably a good thing, because it's made out of plastic and it would be crumpled by our huge ROCK feet.
A closer look at the OP-1 portable synthesizer and controller (no release date yet though).
Last week, Ihavesynth.com got the chance to meet up with Teenage Engineering to get a closer look at the OP-1 synthesizer/sampler/controller/you-name-it. Teenage Engineering revealed their eye-catching OP-1 at Musikmesse in 2009 and the hype around the synthesizer has been massive, even though it is not yet released. We have posted about the OP-1 before and offcourse we are as curious about the OP-1 as the rest of the world seems to be.
Teenage Engineering is a great gang of 7 tech guys in a white painted garage filled with wonderful stuff like computers, synthesizers, all sorts of tech gear, an electronics shop, 3D printers, bikes, mopeds and a little dog which you can hear in the interview. The Teenage Engineering crew has experience from a lot of different areas, like the gaming industry, programming, electronic music – and it all comes together in their cozy garage.My mate Bjorn had a chat with David at Teenage Engineering, check it out in this clip.
One of my favorite hacks at last weekend’s Music Hack Day is Tristan’s Swinger. The Swinger is a bit of python code that takes any song and makes it swing. It does this be taking each beat and time-stretching the first half of each beat while time-shrinking the second half. It has quite a magical effect.
This project demonstrates how to use the Xbox Rock Band Stage Kit with Micro framework using GHI's USB Host feature….no Xbox is necessary!
This kit uses USB and it has special requests to set the strobe speed, LEDs and fog. But no worries! This still works with GHI NETMF devices. We use USB host on a low level using USBH Raw Device. This allows us to control the Stage kit as we like! It is actually easy if you know how USB works.
Tom Shear is back with another pack of free samples:
Today's selection is what used to be one of my favorite bass sounds I'd programmed for my old SQ-80 back in the day. It's very digital sounding and can add a nice bite to other bass sounds when layered. (The name of the patch was inspired by the liner notes of a Shriekback album that listed not only the gear used, but the name of the synth patches they used which pleased the hell out of me for some reason…)
The download includes 8 mono 24-bit/44.1k WAV samples of the C and G keys for 4 octaves.
Diego Stocco @ Soundcloud: In the past months I've been working on some new tracks with my Experibass. Since I built it, I discovered many new ways of interacting with it Take a look at this gallery to know more about the Experibass: http://www.behance.net/Gallery/Experibass/312989
David M. just sent us useful information on how to add internal pitch controls for both Kaossilator and the Kaoss Pad, below are his words of wisdom…
After reading about the GetLoFi Tutorial for 1799 oscillator circuit mod on the KORG Mini KP/KO and with a few of the LTC Modules on hand I decided to give it a go on a brand new Kaossilator. The conversion took about 45 minutes to do, but the results just blew me away. A real transformer for this instrument.
The Creators Project event series—a roving global celebration—launches this summer on June 26, when The Creators rolls into 80,000-square-feet of display and performance space honeycombed throughout the legendary Milk Studios in New York’s Meatpacking District.
The event is going to be a groundbreaking combination of interactive art and installations, panels, workshops, screenings, and live performances. As much as The Creators Project is a digital archive of our digital world, it is also a testament to the enduring appeal of the Real. Many of the artists within the program explore the way that digitally manipulated images, sounds, and motions converge in real time, in real spaces.