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Dave Smith Goes Modular, with a $179 Curtis Filter Module

Eurorack fever continues to spread. The ease of making musical electronics fit the standard, pioneered by Germany’s Dieter Doepfer, and the growing appetite from a small but passionate audience, seems to make producing new modules irresistible. The entire design equation is different: a single task or handful of tasks can become a product. Dave Smith Instruments is the latest entry. And the product is the perfect choice for DSI. It’s a module built around on the Curtis filter, the signature filter found on everything from the 1980s Prophets (back when Dave’s company was Sequential Circuits) to the latest Mopho and …

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A Building-Sized Net as Canvas, Overlaid with Light Paintings from Mobile Phones

“Interactive architecture” has long been a phrase, a future echo – something coming – but it’s been tough to say what it would look like when it arrived. In the collaboration of Janet Echelman and Aaron Koblin this month, we see one form it might take. Koblin and Echelman joined forces to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the TED Conference in Vancouver, in a massive 300-foot literal web (and Web) hung high above the water. Koblin is the well-known digital artist, now at Google, but the material of the work is rooted partly in old-world technique. Echelman – here sponsored …

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Submerged Turntables, Art Phonographs Underwater, and Life After Records

Submerged Turntable from Brian Lilla on Vimeo. Once upon a time, Romantics dreamt of ruined architecture, rubble and stones on hillsides and whatnot. Today, we imagine ruined technology as our artifacts of culture lost. We don’t need a burning library of Alexandria. We can wait until our machines go out of warranty and go kaput. That subconscious seems to flow in the literally-murky pool of “Submerged Turntables,” an art installation by Evan Holm. But the results are oddly beautiful, making the physical quality of the record enduring. And here’s the upbeat bit: in those dark waters, the record still plays. …

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Learn from the Master: Diego Stocco Makes Music with Sound Design, Then Shows You How

Is it sound design, or is it composition? Is it musicianship, or is it technical control? Is it live, or is it Ableton Live? Yes. Diego Stocco is simply one of the best bleeding-edge musicians, composers, and sound designers – all in one. And that has made him rightfully in-demand in the media of technology (Spectrasonics), movies (Sherlock Holmes), TV (The Tudors), and games (Assasin’s Creed). He’s of course also a big hit around sites like this one. Now, he’s sharing his secrets. He revealed about a week ago that he would be offering the first of his sound design …

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Wild, Techie, Wonderful: NAMM’s Gear Delights [Gallery II]

Hardware and software continue to thrive (above). Pro audio lives on. People still make strange, wonderful products for tiny niches of people passionate about every element of sound. Marsha Vdovin is a veteran of the NAMM trade show like few people we know, so seeing the show through the eyes of her camera reveals some weirdness and wonderfulness we always appreciate. And Wonder Woman, too. Magic Kingdom, indeed. Gallery II, go! -Ed.

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Record a Mic, Guitar with UA’s Apollo Twin, and Model Analog Like Never Before [Thunderbolt, $699]

Universal Audio’s new Apollo Twin (in SOLO and DUO variants, starting at US$699) gives you quite a lot of value on a single Thunderbolt connection to your Mac. It’s shipping now. It’s an audio interface, with connections for line, mic, or instruments. It’s a real-time DSP processor, adding the ability to run UA’s suite of (mostly analog-modeling) sound processing goodies. (SOLO/DUO refers to how much DSP muscle you get.) And it’s a bundle of UA models of analog hardware, including a rather nice pair of limiters, an EQ, amp models, and tube preamps. If you think they’re hoping guitarists and …

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Playlist: modernluv – Ghostly’s Moderna + LA’s Jeniluv Share a Must-Listen Mix

Mixes these days have become almost too common, many of them somewhat random selections of crowd-pleasing tracks, in no particular order. And they tend to be solo endeavors. modernluv, apart from being a duo of two significant stastemakers, is significant in that they’ve put together a real sound. It actually is “sultry” and “dark” and “psychedelic.” (I hate it when artists choose the right adjectives in their description, thus robbing me of the pleasure.) In fact, knowing I have a few (cough) love-lorn friends struggling with modern romance, I suggest this mix. Have a listen (track list below): Mixes are …

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“All I Want is a Synthesizer for Christmas”: Adorable Stop Motion Animation

Hyperbubble – A Synthesizer for Christmas from Ambar Navarro on Vimeo. Put the synth back in … Christm… um, Christmasynth. Synthmas. It’s the reason for the season. And that’s the message of a delightful video from animator Ambar Navarro. (Apologies if you’ve seen this already – Ambar sent her work to us last week – but I think it’s well worth another watch and mention.) It embodies the ethos of synth love right now, the adored, all-in-one electronic instrument in all its charm. And this is just one introduction to a lovely body of work my Ambar, in the experimental …

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The POD that changed everything. Photo (CC-BY) Lauri Rantala.

Yamaha will Acquire Line 6, Major Innovator in Guitar Tech

Even in a big year for acquisitions – with Gibson acquiring Cakewalk, for one – this news comes as a surprise to many of us. Yamaha, the 1887-founded Japanese conglomerate with a stake in everything from golf carts to wheelchairs to jetskis to pianos, is acquiring Line 6, the independent California-based guitar and sound product manufacturer. Yamaha is a huge force in products for music and sound, without question, with an unparalleled design, manufacturing, and distribution apparatus. And music is at their core – look closely at those motorcycles and jetskis, and there’s a reason you’ll see tuning forks. Yamaha …

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In a Holiday Greeting, Digital Animators Turn Back to Folding Paper – and Vintage HBO

Holiday Card from Shilo on Vimeo. If hearing the tune from the vintage HBO intro/bump doesn’t send a little nostalgic chill down your spine, you probably didn’t grow up in the US in the 1980s. Looking back at this old animation earlier this year, I was struck by the old way of making motion graphics. As dramatic music swells in the background, the camera pulls back, sweeping theatrically over an intricate set of the American landscape as the sun casts its final light. It’s all shot real-for-real, real models, real, physical details, all with the kind of physicality that digital …

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