Jamming Without Wires: Thavius Beck, Hands on with the QuNeo Rogue

The freedom to go wireless means being able to take a controller and move about a venue or studio space. Visualists can eye their projections and lighting; musicians can check sound levels while walking around or more easily play with others. We’ve experienced this with iPads and the like. Now it’s time to do it with hardware. We covered the QuNeo Rogue in a look at two crowd-funded wireless projects late last month. But the Rogue now has just five days left on its crowd funding. KMI is at least no stranger to the model; they’ve shipped gear this way …


Crazy Awesome volca keys Kraftwerk Cover, The Robots

We’re not worthy. Japanese site Digiland has published a review of KORG volca keys. And when they do sound demos for their review, they go a little crazy. This video is the result: it’s a cover of Die Roboter (“The Robots”) by Kraftwerk that’s spookily-good. (Actually, it almost improves upon the original.) The synth sounds all come from volca keys, apart from a vocal line using the Togu Audio Line TAL-Vocoder, and some beats from – what else? – volca beats. Significantly, they’ve also posted a MIDI implementation chart. We’re really not giving volca bass much love this week, now …


Playlist: The Best Music Mixes, Jams, and Releases to Queue Up Now

Our cup runneth over. And just as we’re adding our favorite stories to read to the new Reading List feature, we bring you some of our favorite listening. This is what’s playing through my cans as I’m working and meditating. Releases Ras G – Back On The Planet is, simply, out of this world. Forget what you know about Brainfeeder and LA; this is earning Afrofuturism comparisons to Sun Ra and George Clinton with good reason. Dense, jazzy, and splendidly improvisatory, it’s some of the most dynamic hip hop/electronic music to come out this summer. Gregory Shorter, Jr. is doing …


Hands-On Jam: MeeBlip SE with Koma Elektronik Delay, Filter [Gallery, Video]

A wintry afternoon sometimes calls for putting the work on hold and spending some time jamming. So, this week (in approximate celebration of Sinterklaas), I headed around the corner to the offices of Koma Elektronik, the boutique all-analog gear producer. Here’s a few minutes of combining digital with analog, each with its own timbres and applications. In the digital corner: the iOS step sequencer Phaedra (watch for an update on that soon), and our open source MeeBlip SE synth. On the analog side: Koma’s BD101 delay/gate and FT201 filter/sequencer. In the digital world, we get the flexibility of MIDI sequencing …

The Analog Four, stuff of dreams, as immortalized by eBoy in a parallel universe with a lower polygon count. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Elektron Analog Four Preview: Four Voices, Step Sequencer, All The Trimmings [Video, Audio]

Following its endless teasers and science fiction mini-movies, Swedish machine maker Elektron this week has announced features, specs, and preorder pricing for its Analog Four synth/sequencer, along with some sample sounds and a promo vid. It’s also been immortalized in a wonderful image, above, by artist eBoy. Just in case you needed a version to tack up above your bed. Ahhhh…. The damage: US$1099 / 1099,– € including VAT, shipped. The date: December 3. Yes, it’s analog, and even the early sound samples suggest a color of its own. And that’s a good thing. But, of ourse, that can’t be …


Exploring the Jam, Supernatural, with Mindpirates Collective [Event Report, Videos]

Jam. Far out. The artwork of Lionel Williams served as backdrop for a set of live jam sessions. It’s a question so elemental in music, you might forget to ask it: what can you get out of a (music) jam? Electronic music worldwide is dominated by the DJ, the dance party. That, in turn, often tends to the safe playback and mixing of produced records. So, what happens when you let all of that go, invite your audience to get up and make strange noises with you and not only dance at a safe distance? What happens when you just …


Thomas Kurzhals (KARAT) Bleeds on a Moog; Music Before the Berlin Wall’s Fall

You’ve seen a musician or two, no doubt, jamming away on a Moog synthesizer. But German band KARAT’s keyboardist Thomas Kurzhals really tears into it. Chris Stack, formerly of Moog and now producing the Experimental Synth series we cover with some regularity, shot this video interview / performance set, and tells us: I don’t think it shows in the video, but at one point I looked down from filming and saw that he was playing so hard he was bleeding on the keys of the Voyager Old School. With the fall of the Iron Curtain – and the accessibility of …


No Rapture, But Rapturous Music for the Occasion

New Yorkers weren’t buying the apocalyptic narrative in 14th Street as I snapped this – perhaps because they didn’t want to see the Yankees – Mets series interrupted. But check into Foursquare Rapture? Sure! A hive mind mentality is quickly infected with a meme, engaging partly consciously, partly unconsciously in a shared hallucination, projecting a common fantasy, as the planet’s population is wrapped up in a single idea. I’m speaking, of course, of myself and the Internet, as I and friends skittered across the Web’s social networking tools giggling over the common joke that May 21 was to be the …


Tinchy Stryder and Crew on Ten iPads – No, Actually, It’s Really Good

I’ve begun to dread the appearance of iPad jams in my inbox; you may feel the same way. When affordable digital synths were new in the 80s, there were various embarrassing videos as vendors like Casio showed off the new capabilities. Listen! Who needs a real trumpet when you can use a keyboard that sounds like a trumpet? Sort of! Not really! But – it sure is amazing for what it is! Kind of! It sounds awful, but it is cheap and fake! It took years for people to appreciate those instruments for what they actually were, and then on …