tinami

Tinami’s MIDI controllers look like Moogerfoogers, built to order

If only… If only that controller had encoders, instead of knobs. If only it had two more faders. You don’t need buttons. You do need buttons. Controllers are endless challenges in combinatorics and personal use cases. That makes the Tinami line of custom MIDI controllers one of the big news items this summer. Shown to the public at SONAR Festival in Barcelona, the gear is built to order using an online configurator. This isn’t the LEGO-style controller we’ve seen in the past: you order up what you want, and that’s what they build. But using a compact 4×4 grid, a …

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jakubmidi

A tiny iOS audio+MIDI interface, a huge DIY iOS MIDI controller

Everything about the iPad is about portability. Thinness. Ever-changing interfaces. Functionality hidden behind a pane of glass. But, hey, now that you’ve slimmed down your computational device, why not go hog wild with tangible controls and a sprawling DIY MIDI controller? That’s what Jakob Haq, the nearest thing to an iOS music celebrity we’ve got, has done with his rig. He’s got a video showing off a very simple, easy, friendly-to-everyone solution that fits in your pocket — versus a one-of-a-kind custom creation that will fit in your pocket if you’re wearing a camping tent. Let’s look at each of …

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volumeshaper

Cableguys are showing some amazing tips for their shaper plugins

Cablesguys are one of the more interesting purveyors of plug-ins out there, and they’ve been showing off some interesting stuff with their lineup. These things can be a bit hard to describe, just in theory – okay, so you’ve got VolumeShaper and TimeShaper, which shape … volume .. and … time. But in practice, you begin to see some really compelling possibilities coming out of this approach and user interface. With VolumeShaper, one recent plug-in, you can take hi-hats out of an existing loop (meaning this is also a must-have plug-in for remixes, for example). TimeShaper can be used for …

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Jarvi in Buffalo.

An underground resource brings house and techno back to its roots

Let’s be clear: electronic music is what it is because of a spirit that emanated from people outside of what was popular, not inside. And underground isn’t just about what’s undiscovered. It’s also about people who are too often purposely sidelined: people of color, queer and trans and gay and bi- and lesbian people, people who don’t look like models, people who other people say are weird, people who don’t fit in for all sorts of reasons. Nerds, even. If you’re reading this site, honestly, you’re probably one of those people, if at least for the reason that you might …

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live-view-less-densefull

Someone tried redesigning Ableton Live, and he’s getting lots of attention

Ableton Live’s dominance over a lot of workflows is unparalleled. But the software itself is looking long in the tooth. There are clearly some features long in coming, and despite some updates, the UI is still largely unchanged since the software’s debut over a decade and a half ago. That’s good in some ways, but it means the software can be clunky on modern displays and in certain use cases. It says something about the love for the software that UI/UX designer Nenad Milosevic would create a deep redesign project, spec, just for the heck of it. If Nenad’s redesign …

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nonagon-ii-image-2

Inside the transformational AV duo of Paula Temple and Jem the Misfit

Paula Temple and Jem the Misfit are working on the latest iteration of a project about transformation. It melts and fragments, crystallizes and forms, from its rich palette of hybridized techno and ambient textures, sonic and visual alike. And now, it’s set to be involved in some way in transformation beyond just the confines of a single performance – as a statement about what society might do differently and how artists can contribute. With NODE Forum in Frankfurt am Main, Germany at the end of the month, the duo will premiere Nonagon II, a sequel to their stunning 2014 AV …

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Platform is finally a desk made for electronic musicians, engineered by an architect

It’s often overlooked, but the one piece of technology that has advanced the least in electronic music making in the past decades might be … the furniture. Output, whom regular readers will know mainly as a software instrument maker, have decided to make something that’s harder – as in a desk. PLATFORM is a simple but elegant design at an affordable price that ticks a lot of boxes of things musicians have tended to miss. It’s a chance to upgrade from IKEA-level studio gear without spending too much more money. And it’s surprisingly sensible. You’ve seen desks that look roughly …

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Photo: Tonje Thilesen.

This free B-side from Machinedrum is the perfect thing for the solstice

Ready to raise your energy level and channel your higher self on the longest day of the year? (Or the shortest day of the year, if you’re in the southern hemisphere?) Machinedrum (the artist, not the Elektron box) has quietly released the track that has the perfect vibe for that – even if you didn’t spot the track name. And it’s now a free download. It’s short, but otherwise sounds as much hit single as b-side, warm, friendly, and uncomplicated – genius. You might put it on repeat as instant anti-depressant. Enjoy! THE HIGHER SELF OF A PERSON IS SEEN …

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roland_se-02_straight

Roland SE-02 is $499 analog synth with sequencer, actually boutique

Roland today has announced a desktop monosynth that’s all-analog at US$/EUR 499. It’s got a bunch of nicely balanced sound features, plus a sequencer. And it represents a new collaboration for Roland, working with an actual boutique synth maker – Studio Electronics. Roland has already called a cute set of synths “boutique,” but … it was unclear they knew what that word meant. (Like, small?) But Studio Electronics qualifies as genuinely boutique. Sure enough, Roland is adding this to a new line called the Boutique Designer Series. (Note the additional word “designer.”) And that means a new direction for the …

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fantasy-mansion-cover

Fantasy Mansion is an EP that’s also a generative, 8-bit circuit with sync

The golden age of the recorded album may be long past, but the golden age of the album-as-instrument may be just getting started. Captain Credible is the latest artist to embrace the idea of releasing his music as circuit board and interactive musical instrument and not just a set of tracks you can hear (erm, stream). So, yes, Fantasy Mansion is a set of tracks if you want it to be. But it’s also an 8-bit instrument. This isn’t the Norwegian artist’s first go at something like this. But Fantasy Mansion is notable not just because of its adorable vintage …

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