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Obsessing About Sound and Process: Climb Into Stewart Walker’s Ivory Tour

There’s a Japanese Taishogoto and vintage Lexicon PCM reverb and loads of computer production. But even for us souls tempted by gear lust, it’s the soul of process that has us talking, and talking, and talking – and listening, on repeat – with Stewart Walker. Native Instruments employee by day, prolific producer by night, he was kind enough to give us an extensive window into his world for CDM. In the dizzying flurry of music racing past, Stewart Walker’s “Ivory Tower Broadcast” is one I keep coming back to me. It’s one that somehow I’ve gotten closer to on repeated …

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Watch Elektron and Roland AIRA Sing, Live: Dark, Dubby Techno by Phelios [Video, Listen]

There was a time when “live” or live PA meant “I’ve hauled a bunch of gear to this gig and made a mess of cables and I’m going to improvise live for you.” Now, too often, it means “I’m going to DJ with Ableton Live instead of Traktor or CDJs.” Don’t get me wrong. It’s not so much about a laptop or hardware. But there is a spectrum – a useful spectrum, applicable to different artists at different times. And if you really want “live,” you want an artist who constructs music before your eyes out of building blocks. Electronic …

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Elektron Analog Rytm Gets 808 Samples; How to Transfer Samples

Elektron’s Analog Rytm may have made its name based on its original, internal analog sound sources, but you can now add some additional sounds in the form of 808 samples. That gives you those 808 sounds with the Elektron workflow. The world may not need another set of dry 808 sounds. But fortunately, here the pre-assembled sound samples come from our friend Goldbaby. Instead of another set of vanilla 808 noises (yawn), you get thick, tape-saturated sounds with some added character. I’m finishing a review of the Analog Rytm now, so I’m keen to hear what they sound like inside …

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Roland AIRA Series, 1.10: Everything Gets Smarter, USB Backup and Restore

Roland has updated the firmware for the first full AIRA line (TR-8 drum machine, TB-3 bassline sequencer, VT-3 vocal processor, SYSTEM-1 synthesizer) today to version 1.10. There are no new sounds – in case you wanted, say, a 727 drum kit for your TR-8. But instead, the whole range gets USB backup and restore, and functionality around working with patterns and MIDI gets a whole lot smarter. This isn’t just a few fixes; it really does polish off the AIRA series and address a lot of the points I found a bit limiting using them some months ago. And just …

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Roland Drum and Bass Machines as Abstract Art, Suspended in Space

Art from archetypes — so much of what we make is built from the pieces of something that came before. It’s doubly true both in electronic dance music and the machines built to make it. From techno to drum machine technology, a great deal of the future depends on whether we can reimagine the past. The legacy of the Roland TR and TB series hangs heavy over those fields. Heck, they cast their shadow over even what I’m reading this week. I’ve unboxed a set of new Roland AIRAs for review that explode each component, modeling it all over again …

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Grab Free Drum Kits for Ableton Live and Other Tools: Vintage, Vinyl, Synth, Pine Cone

Sometimes, it takes just that one set of sounds to unfreeze your creativity and get a song started. And that’s why freebies are sometimes such fun: they’re even a bit more odd, a handful of offbeat sounds that just begs to be turned into … something. The folks at Puremagnetik have been posting some gems to their Tumblr account. This just in: “Wicked Kits” is a collection of five drum kits pre-configured for Ableton Live. (As with any Live kit, there are raw samples you can use in any tool you like – Renoise, MPC, whatever.) The emphasis here is …

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Roland AIRA MIDI Implementation: Now Official for TB-3, TR-8 – and TB-3 Sequences Nicely

This wouldn’t normally be news, but for whatever reason, the Roland AIRAs went flying off the shelves – missing any MIDI documentation. Ahem. We covered a number of these details before, including a Max for Live patch for the convenience of those of you integrating with Ableton. The good news: the hackers were right, and got more or less the entire implementation via trial and error. So, this is still a good resource: AIRA Secrets: Here’s How to Take Command of Roland’s TB-3 and TR-8 with MIDI The TR-8, then, holds no surprises. I’m just hopeful we see extra functionality …

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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 Recalls TR-909 History in Aira Teaser; Reminds You Original Used Samples

Roland hasn’t been this buzzed about in a very long time. But in its carefully-calculated teaser campaign for Aira, the company is back in a big way. And we’re slowly getting to see the four Aira devices to be introduced this week. We know Aira will include a drum machine. We know there will be a TR-08. We know there was a video recalling the history of the TR-808. Now, Roland is talking TR-909 history. You can either take that to mean something about the TR-08, or that a TR-909 reboot will accompany the TR-08. Teaser campaign aside, fans of …

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Leaks: Roland Aira-08 Will Be an Emulated, Digital 808 Synth

The “new” 808 successor from Roland will be modeled in digital form, possibly using virtual analog modeling, and perhaps with some sample sources. Roland’s Aira-08, as readers noted, is already leaking in product descriptions as a “virtual analog” synth. (Among other sources: there was a Dutch retailer that revealed the info, before removing the page.) Unless Roland has managed some epic disinformation campaign, that means you won’t see an analog remake as KORG did with their MS-20 last year. What you should expect instead is one that uses digital models to capture the sound of its predecessor, in a new …

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