synthforxmas

“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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Holiday Goodies: Sampled Sleigh, Jingle Bells, Free [Samples]

We open on a Christmas Eve dinner. The goose has been stripped to the bones, the third wine glass drained to its last drops. A typical-looking family leans back. Cut to a close-up on a scraggly-looking electronic music producer. He rolls his eyes at the next question. “Why don’t you play some of that music you make? Didn’t you used to play the viola?” “But, grandma, I make dark experimental techno and noise art.” “Dark what? Play Jingle Bells!” “Wait – I have just the solution. I remember, I just saw that free pack of samples on CDM. Let me …

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Nonstop from Iceland, the perfect soundtracks to your winter. Photo (CC-BY) James Cridland.

Cool Yule: Iceland’s Bedroom Community Spins Wintry, Eclectic Releases [Listen]

It’s easy to be bleak about new music releases, the vast quantities of new work spreading before you in their sameness like a blizzard – plenty of particles, but all a white wash. When feelings like that hit you – or the depressed mood that might strike during midwinter in the far reaches of the Northern Hemisphere – there’s a solution. You can warm yourself with good friends in intimate surroundings. And that’s what Iceland’s Bedroom Community collective and label are all about. This group has literally assembled a group of close friends for “intimate” musical connections. Getting in on …

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From a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree, Endless Synthy Sonic Variations: Free Ableton Pack

At this time of year, we come together, hearts aglow, and celebrate the simple pleasure of how much fun field recording and sampling can be in sound design. Or something like that. If you want a broader or more religious message, I’m sure you’ll find no shortage elsewhere. Having successfully weathered Armageddon (whew!), our friend AfroDJMac is back with a set of Ableton Live synths sampled from a Charlie Brown Christmas tree snowglobe. And as in the classic television Charlie Brown show, a single branch becomes a lush, full tree with some love. No, really: this is a perfect demonstration …

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The Listening Tree: A Holiday Tree Whose Colored Lights Respond to Sound

Wintertree from Limbic Media on Vimeo. Winter: it’s dark. So, it’s no coincidence that holiday traditions from Christian to Jewish to Pagan to … uh, New Year’s … celebrate light. And it’s fun watching in this video the delight as colored lights respond to sound – not in the endlessly-playing annoying-Christmas-tune way, but in the “you can sing to a tree and it’ll light up” way. Limbic Media writes CDM with this project they did in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA) commissioned Limbic Media to design an audio reactive tree for the holiday season using …

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Kinect Hacking, Now in Next-Level Halloween Decorations

Kinect Ghosts from Ben Guerrette on Vimeo. Just how significant is the impact of Kinect and computer vision? Enough so that trick-or-treating kids might get to play a video game by waving their hands in front of someone’s garage. Which part of “we’re living in the future” did you not get, precisely? Ben Guerrette writes CDM: Here’s a short video of a Kinect project I put together for the Halloween Trick or Treaters. I turned my garage into a giant video game. Well, kind of. I just projected in it. It’s a simple “get the ghost” game where up to …

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Halloween: Amateur Moog Theremin Videos Are Cute, Silly, Trippy

The rest of the year, we work hard to convince people that the Theremin is a beautiful, lyrical instrument, able to play Classical music and with a quality not unlike a crystal-clear human soprano, and not in any way necessarily connected with aliens or b-grade sci-fi movies or, most of all, Halloween. Yet, oddly, those traits that scared people away from the Theremin (boo!) are these days allowing them to approach it – Classical-level mastery to come later. So, perhaps it makes sense that Moog Music this year made glow-in-the-dark instruments and a video contest for Halloween. And, anyway — …

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machinedrumdiablo

Diablo: New Machinedrum [Travis Stewart] Halloween Single [Free Listening]

Machinedrum, aka Travis Stewart, has a track that fulfills all the needs of a Halloween special one-time single download release: 1. Your butt will move around in a shaking fashion. 2. It will make you smile. 3. There’s some wolf-howling action. (Good for your inner canine, even after this holiday season passes.) 4. There’s a guy shouting about El Diablo. (Always good.) Get it. It’s free. You’ll probably be on a new mailing list. (boo!) http://thisisluckyme.com/diablo/ Hope we talk to Travis more about some of his new music; stay tuned. But – this track is now on repeat. PS – …

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hallobleep

Happy Halloween, From Bleepy Monster Electronics Everywhere [Time Warp Gallery]

Let’s do the Time Warp again. As far as synthesizers making spooky sounds are concerned, I’m pleased to party every day like it’s Halloween. (After all, what is the point of music electronics if not to scare small children, animals, and… adults?) But I want to take us back to 2007, when our friends at Bleep Labs produced this great series of limited-edition Halloween mods to their fantastic Thingamagoop. It’s an excuse to just point you to Bleep Labs’ site – they remain one of the world’s great vendors for genuinely-fun sonic electronics for everyone. They’re gadgets you can use …

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snow

Holiday for Your Ears: Tailored’s Brilliant Xmas Mega-Mix, Free to Stream and Download

The weather outside is frightful, but the hi-fi is so delightful. Let it snow. Photo (CC-BY) Junichiro AOYAMA, Kyoto. From Berlin’s Melissa Taylor and Tailored Communication, for my money, just about the best publicist for electronic music out there, we get one epic playlist. If you’re lucky enough to get one holiday or another (Christmas? Boxing Day?) in the next few days, fire up this terrific playlist. You get a full range, from some favorites of mine in 2011 like best-of-toppers Sepalcure, Ghostly’s Mark E, mainstay Thomas Fehlmann, Four Tet, and many more. It’s exceptional quality stuff, perfect to settle …

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