A Cheesy Pocket Techno Jam with Tiny Cheap Gear

Not just a little small and a little inexpensive. A lot little. Malaventura, aka Fernando Garcia Tamajon, sends this wonderful “cheesy pocket techno jam” (spotted via Instagram). The ingredients: a PO-14 from teenage engineering, a monotron Delay from Korg and a talking translator by an unknown brand bought in a fleamarketn Works for me. There’s something about things being small, self-contained, simple … that can be inspiring. For all those years of people derisively calling things “toys,” sometimes toys are exactly what we need. I love that mystery gear, too.


Drum and Bass, Made Analog, with Robots: Watch

What if Drum and Bass had been invented before computers, all with analog gear? And what if the drums were played by robots? Watch the video – it’s real. It’s real-time.


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 …


littleBits and KORG: Snap Together A Synth with Magnets, $159; Module-by-Module Details, Q&A, Gallery

New York startup littleBits and founder Ayah Bdeir helped pioneer the modern definition of open source hardware. But they also put it into action, getting even young kids snapping together their own hardware ideas. The process is addictively simple: whereas platforms like Arduino require breadboards and wires, littleBits’ tiny circuits are already pre-made and snap together with magnets. It’s an idea that screams out for sound applications. And now – in a collaboration that leaked earlier this week – that’s happened. The surprise is, the collaborator is none other than KORG. The price: US$159 (direct, and at some retailers). Shipping: …


Roll Your Own Looper, Cheap: Raspberry Pi + Pd + KORG monotron Hands-on

If computers are compact and $25, we’re talking a very different world of music hardware. Armed with the popular Raspberry Pi, Servando Barreiro has made an incredibly-affordable, ultimately-customizable rig with free software and the open source community. Oh, and he’s made the KORG monotron polyphonic – after a fashion. See video at top for some beautiful chords. And that’s just the beginning. We’ll let Servando share how he’s working.


$150 Korg Volca Analog Synth, Bass, Drum Grooveboxes, with MIDI: Official Details, Pics, Video

The rumors are true: Korg has not one, but three pint-sized, $150 analog groove boxes – two analog synths and a PCM/analog drum machine. Korg established a bit of a formula with the Monotron and Monotribe: pack some vintage sound and quirky personality into a small box, make it all self-contained (with speaker, batteries, simple touch strips), and then make it affordable. The result is cute, little analog boxes that only Korg could make – and at a price only a big maker could pull off. Volca keeps to that formula, with new synthesis and drum adding step sequencing features …


A Haunting Chilean Single, Accompanied by Found Sound Videos [Listening + Vimeo]

In their lonely, intimate single “Pillatu,” the Chile-based duo of Vicente Espinoza and Alfredo Duarte offer some haunting music-making. Entitled El Gato, la Virgen & el Diablo (“the cat, the virgin, and the devil”), the artists are also making a kind of multimedia presentation of the work. Thanks to these CDM readers for sending in their work. Fire up the SoundCloud-based music, and you can play a series of video loops in a grid that sits alongside the music. It’s a nice window into their sonic world, with short video clips of sounds from bicycles to Korg Monotron. In fact, …


Goodies for KORG monotribe, monotron, from Japanese Overlays to MIDI Mods

monotribe, in limited silver and gold. Photo by Marsha Vdovin for CDM. It’s a beautiful thing when music hardware improves with age. And lately, that’s been what’s happening to Korg’s monotribe and monotron. Over the past few months, we’ve seen a major update from Korg for the monotribe that makes its sequencing functions easier and more useful. To save you the trouble of navigating the Korg Japan site – a difficulty for those of us who don’t speak Japanese – here on CDM, we’ve got a number of downloads for saving monotron patches, and the Japan-exclusive overlay for the monotribe …


KORG monotron DUO, monotron DELAY Bring Fun Back, via Mono/Poly, MS Circuits and Pocket Size

Every so often, something comes along that’s just irresistibly lovable. So it was with the Korg monotron. With a price of US$60 (or far less), a pocketable size, the ability to run on batteries, a nice, glowing red LFO knob, a delicious filter, and toy-like playability, everyone loves the monotron. People who have racks of vintage synths love the monotron. People who have never seen a synth before love the monotron. Then, along came the Korg Monotribe, which grafted ultra-simplified analog drum circuitry and a sequencer, and … somehow, you wanted to love the thing instead of just loving it. …


Favorite Synths Emulated in the Browser, Monotron to Minimoog; A Chat with the Developer

The beauty of modeling an instrument is that it involves ideas – taking a design from one context and translating it to another. With software, we’re able to put sound-making things everywhere, from obscure game consoles to a tab in your web browser that can distract you with music instead of Facebook updates. In the process of moving those ideas from place to place, we discover things. Just ask Shannon Smith. He’s been on a great tear emulating favorite synthesizers in free toys for the browser. Through the power of the Internet, the New Zealand-born, California-based developer heard from Japan-based …