GB Packers’ Aaron Rodgers and 13-Year Old Kelly Make Music Together

What unites the Green Bay Packers, Spina bifida, Maschine drum machines, miniBrute, a Milwaukee charity, and a 13-year-old girl? Well, this video. It’s easy to forget that music technology isn’t just about making a handful of superstars. Music making can be an essential part of expression for just about anyone, whether music is their primary professional vocation or not. And the tools we have now are part of being able to express ideas – not only in the way traditional music can, but with the same tools kids grow up hearing on records. It’s obvious, it’s essential … and yet …

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Arturia MicroBrute: $349, Semi-Modular, Analog Keyboard Synth – Details, Full Gallery

If there was any doubt left, the analog monosynth keyboard has gone mainstream now. Fusing 70s electronic instrument design ideas with nerdy lust for sound with modern ideas about connectivity, accessibility, and timbre, a generation of instruments has made it a wonderful time for synth lovers to be alive. And the latest from Arturia is compact and inexpensive, while still managing to squeeze in some unique sound-shaping concepts and a tiny patch bay for modular use. Oh, before you ask, Eurorack fans – yes, it’s Eurorack-compatible. Alex Theakston from Source Distribution, who shot these beautiful photos and provided CDM with …

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Arturia Teases a New, Analog Mini-Keyboard; What We Know About IT (MicroBrute?)

Et tu, MicroBrute…us? It’s small, it’s analog, and it’s a follow-up to the MiniBrute – very likely, called the MicroBrute. Arturia has a new analog synth; they’re not talking details yet, instead posting a site with blurred-out photos and a countdown to a release date later this week. But between leaked information and images, and some tidbits from the teaser site, it’s not so hard to piece together a lot of details of the instrument they’re referring to only as “IT.” It’s definitely an analog synth with keys (seen in the blurred shots) in a compact form factor. It’s also: …

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Novation’s Launchkey Mini is a Little Keyboard with Pads, Knobs [$99, Mac, Windows, iOS, Linux]

We’ve seen plenty of pint-sized keyboards about lately, especially as people more frequently play and produce on the go with laptops and tablets. What we haven’t seen is much in the ultra-portable end of the spectrum that combines drum/trigger pads with knobs with keys – something KORG’s microKONTROL did once, before it was discontinued. (More recently, that has included the Akai MPK Mini and, below, Arturia Minilab.) The Launchkey Mini, introduced today, promises to fill a niche. Available worldwide later this month, you get a nicely-straightforward complement of playable controls. And hopefully, this includes more flexible pads (now with LEDs) …

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Keys and Knobs and Such, New Gear, in Photos: Notes and Gallery from NAMM Day 1

From the Prophet 12 to Korg’s MS-20 Mini (and King Korg – more on that soon), iConnectMIDI interfaces for your iPad to Arturia ultra-portable keyboards, from analog to digital, from big releases to oddities, CDM has some roving reporters out on the floor of America’s biggest musical instrument trade show, NAMM. James Grahame, principal engineer behind the MeeBlip, kicks things off. Looking through his photos is a bit like seeing the show through his eyes. The flagship keyboards you’ve heard of (though Moog-branded water is a surprise). Some of the other good news: the iConnectMIDI4 Plus looks very versatile, indeed, …

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Finnish vocalist Jolea onboard again for this one. Yes, to make collaborations happen, keep those backpack studios handy.

A Music Rig in a Backpack, A Single Made in an Attic: Recue + Jolea “Blame”

Recue X Jolea – In the Attic, Session #1 – Blame from recue on Vimeo. There’s something to be said for the rucksack studio. When we last caught up with Finnish artist Recue, our friend Riku Annala was stranded in an airport hotel room, but managed to coax a live jam out of the experience. This time, mobility wins again, in a collaboration with Helsinki-born vocalist / singer-songwriter / producer Jolea. http://www.audiobaum.com/artists/jolea/ It’s a reminder that you don’t need to wait for the studio setup of your dreams. You can produce just by carving out a small amount of space …

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Portishead’s Adrian Utley Tours His Synth Collection – And New Arturia MiniBrute [Video, Analog]

Simple, hands-on synths are sometimes chided for being overly simple, cut-down versions of the infinite possibilities of modulars or digital instruments. And they might even seem anachronistic, throw-backs to old instrument designs. But if you need someone to explain the appeal of these instruments, you could do worse than Adrian Utley of Portishead, seen here in his Bristol studio. He tours the Arturia Minibrute, and talks about unlocking the unique sound of a particular instrument – what it is about the character of that synth that makes it special, why synths sometimes do some things better than others, and why …

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Get Arturia minimoog-V, Free, Today Only [CET]

If you love that original Minimoog sound, but you’ve run out of space in your flat and money for used bank accounts and don’t like the notion of maintaining pots and oscillators and lifting heavy vintage gear, the Arturia minimoog-V remains a lovely, economical, liftable alternative. It’s the one software plug-in to receive the endorsement of the Moog Music company. (Bob Moog himself got involved when the software was developed.) And for one day, it’s completely free. You’ll want to grab it right away – that day, today June 21, ends when it does as the clock strikes midnight in …

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The Best New Stuff from NAMM, in Videos: Akai, Arturia, Livid, Moog, Smithson-Martin, Teenage Engineering

Can I have this fun, wacky, sound-shaping Arturia monosynth and the new Moog Minitaur, please? Actually, at their prices, you really could – and still spend less than the cost of a lot of standalone synths. There’s lots of new stuff for musicians. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to leave some of it out, and skip to what’s really interesting. Neil Bufkin did a great job last year covering NAMM for CDM, shooting some lo-fi, informal videos that got right to the heart of what we wanted to know. So, I’m pleased to share Neil’s work again, since …

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Game Meets Album: Behind the Music and Design of the iPad Indie Blockbuster Swords & Sworcery

Jim Guthrie was a rockstar long before the iPad was. Paired with pixel-intense artist Craig D. Adams (aka Superbrothers) and the co-design and coding effort of a crack team of video game “wizards” at the indie studio capy, he’s made a soundtrack that’s destined to be a gaming classic. But if you don’t want to play it, you can still listen to it. And if you’re playing it, you may find that it feels as though you’re listening to it, and gazing into its artwork. From the moment you tap to launch it, Swords & Sworcery plunges you into a …

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