zoomarq

Zoom’s weird frisbee groove machine looks fun in this Japanese video

The ZOOM ARQ AR-96 can be filed confidently under “wha?” in the annals of music tech. It’s a round, all-in-one groovebox with drum machine, loads of patterns and sounds, and synths. Oh yeah, and there’s a rechargeable, detachable doughnut/frisbee, uh, thing, which has velocity-sensitive touch sensors and responds to orientation so you can wave it around. Basically, it’s insane. But as at least one friend of mine suspected, it could also be insanely fun. No English-language reviewers could really do this thing justice. No, for that we turn to musictrackjp – who do better demos, anyway. Sure, 97% of CDM’s …

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bastl1

Here’s Some Cool Stuff Bastl Instruments Modular Showed Us

Hand-built in the Czech Republic, Bastl Instruments are something special. And tonight in Berlin, the Bastl Instruments creators showed their new modulars in public for the first time, in advance of showing them at Musikmesse. At an informal demo event hosted by legendary synth boutique Schneidersladen, the creators gave us a window into what they’ve made. Fans of increasingly-popular Euclidean generative rhythms will appreciate this demo on their sequencer module:

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anodewithmixer

MeeBlip anode Adds Edgy Wavetables; Here’s How They Sound

We have reached a wonderful place. It’s a world where we no longer treat digital and analog as simplistically better or worse, but as techniques, as colors, a spectrum of tools for exploring sound. Or to put it another way, we now make wild noises however we want. And that’s very much how I feel about the direction we’ve gone with MeeBlip anode, combining digital waveforms with analog filtering, which is why I’m keen to share it here on CDM and not just via the MeeBlip site. The new 2.0 firmware comes with a selection of 16 wavetables, covering a …

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littleBits Synth Kit, First Hands-on: What They Sound Like, Reviews, Videos

Imagine if you could take apart your favorite recent KORG analog creations, chop it up into little blocks, and then snap them together with magnetic ease? In other words, imagine if you could put together a KORG synth as easily as you did LEGO? It’s every bit as much fun as you’d imagine. I’ve been testing the littleBits Synth Kit for a few days now. I’ve got some sounds for you here so you can hear some of what’s possible. (They’re Creative Commons-licensed, if anyone wants to try to sample them in a track; I know I’ll be working on …

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Grid Tricks: Mega-Bass 2020, Delicious Live Performance Groovebox [Launchpad + Reaktor]

Mega-Bass 2020 – Teaser Performance from Icebreaker Audio on Vimeo. Look through that VHS fuzz, and listen as a Casio VL-Tone and synth go ultra-retro – they even play a cover of Jan Hammer. But that’s not what this story is about. This story is about using more simple grid techniques to create something that lets you improvise using your hands, to play music freely without looking at the screen. And Mega-Bass 2020, while still building on the grid ideas of monome et al, is a very sharp user-created marriage of software and hardware. With electric-pink and grape-on-gray retro graphics, …

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Video: Hands-on with the M01D for Nintendo 3DS (Cooler Than You Thought M1 Was?)

Following our preview of Korg’s upcoming Nintendo eShop synth, here’s the one and only, incomparable CardiacTrance all the way from Japan to show it off. Trying to tell someone there’s a Korg M1 for the Nintendo handheld doesn’t really do this justice – or even make intuitive sense. But it is actually good news. Somehow, the combination of sequencing features, transforming the game system into a workstation, with the silly-small design makes the result more than the sum of its parts. And in the hands of a producer/musician, they become a lot more. Modern gaming, game music aesthetics, and some …

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korgpolysix_pads

Music Made with Korg iPolysix – And Nothing Else: Live Demos to iPad Chip Music

Doing more with less, and embracing limitations: it’s oft-repeated advice in music making. Maybe it’s repeated so often that it ceases to mean anything; I can find no harm in making music using the massive possibilities of a packed studio of gear or the endless depth of a computer. So, instead, doing more with less can be something you do just because it’s liberating. It means you can make music on a budget. It means you can make music when you’re on a bus with nothing but a first-generation iPad and a copy of Polysix. It can mean, psychologically, that …

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Bitwig Studio, Approaching Beta, Releases Video Demo [Weekend Update]

Bitwig Studio, the new production and performance tool from an upstart Berlin development team, is now nearing beta. It’s the first real news we’ve seen since the product was first announced in January. Unfortunately, the latest video does little to tease new features (unless you look really closely). It still gives the impression of software with a UI paradigm modeled closely on Ableton Live, and because it’s largely a music demo, focus can easily shift to the sound of the track rather than the function of the software. That’s too bad, as we do know this software does promise some …

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With Just One Contact Mic, Any Surface Magically Becomes a Gestural Instrument

Look around the room you’re in. Drum your fingers against some of the objects around you. Now imagine that you could turn those touches into any imaginable sound – and all you’d need to play them is a single contact mic. And we’re not talking just simplistic sounds – think expressive, responsive transformation of the world around you, all with just that one mic, thanks to clever gestural recognition. Bruno Zamborlin has made that idea a reality, with hold-onto-your-chair results. It’s not available yet for public consumption, but it’s coming. Bruno explains to CDM:

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mhdmtl-hard_at_work

Face Sequencers, Sonic Databases, Automatic Dub Remixes, More Montreal Music Hackday Hacks

Hard at work at Music Hack Day Montréal. Ed.: Hacking Web databases to search sounds, remixing tools to automatically create dub tunes, cameras to sequence and analyze images in new ways, Montréal hackers have been busy. Trevor Knight writes from the event with full coverage from Canada, latest outpost of this global music coding phenomenon: Music Hack Day made its first appearance in Canada at the end of September, painting the event with a Montréal flavour, complete with bilingualism, Montréal-style bagels, and even an appearance of Stephen Harper in a hack. Over the Saturday-Sunday event, musicians, programmers, and hackers scramble …

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