All Live, Nonstop, for 24 Hours: How Krautok Berlin Ticks [Listening, Gallery]

Six-hour, eight-hour DJ sets? Okay. How about a 24-hour live set? How about not one artist, but six, or thirty-two, or more? Sometimes it’s techno; sometimes it goes ambient. There’s singing, there’s dancing – just no DJing. That’s the kind of too-much-is-not-enough attitude that has gripped Krautok, a wild 24-hour live jam held together only by a spaghetti mess of cables and a single clock source. (Previously: vintage MPC. This year, something a bit more scientific. More on that in the moment.) Over the years, the likes of Dasha Rush, Ed DMX, Housemeister, Eric D Clark, Electric Indigo, Khan of …

READ MORE →
Oh, hello. That's not a Windows Phone.

Putting the PC in MPC: The Next Akai Drum Machine, Numark DJ Products, on Windows Embedded

The dedicated drum machine is at a crossroads. Computer hybrids are simply capable of more than dedicated hardware – and that, in turn, has changed user expectations. You can go retro, as analog machines have done. You can go small, as boxes like the volca beats and upcoming Akai Rhythm Wolf do. You can stay the course, as Elektron does with their boxes. You can go hybrid, as Native Instruments’ Maschine, Arturia’s Spark, and Akai’s Renaissance and MPC Fly do. Or, there’s one other option. You could put the soul of a computer – and the touchscreen interface – in …

READ MORE →
RhythmWolf_1200x750_web

Akai’s $199 Analog Drum Machine with Bass Synth: Rhythm Wolf Details

Remember when a $200 budget used to buy you a metronome and flight case, if you were lucky? Now, you have a range of great synths you can choose from. And now it’s Akai’s turn. The Rhythm Wolf is an integrated analog groove box – a 32-step sequencer, an analog drum machine, and a bassline synth in one. And it’s just $199 street. We’ve got all the details on the box, and should have more hands-on impressions later this week.

READ MORE →
Photo (CC-BY-NC-ND) Magic Trax.

Loe Pesci Sings Love Song to MPC60; MPC Complains It Doesn’t Get Enough Love [Video]

Loe Pesci loves his sampler. No, really loves his sampler. (Video omits any NSFW parts, though; you only see smoking in bad afterward.) Lyrics in this number are — well, complex. It seems there was more sampling going on early in the relationship. That didn’t stop AKAI from sharing the video, even if there is a brief glimpse of Ableton. The music: http://www.OGHinduKush.bandcamp.com http://www.AGLisAGoodLook.com Montreal-based Loe Pesci also surely deserves credit for working “12-bit sampling engine” into a rap. That’s some nerdcore action, right there. A forum posted complains that they wish the tune were more serious, apparently because love …

READ MORE →

Grid Tricks: Japan and Jeremy Ellis Show Us How Maschine, MPC Can Be An Instrument

They’re two alternative universes with musical wonders in them, places we wish we could live. They both begin with the letter ‘J.’ One is Japan; one is … Jeremy Ellis. Each might as well be their own wonderful planet. In this case, each is also promoting Native Instruments’ Maschine hardware/software combo, but they’re doing it in a way that’s musically meaningful. First, let’s talk about Japan. The problem with many artist promos for music products is that they tend to trade on celebrity, bringing all the depth of sports stars endorsing a brand of sneakers. But I was glad to …

READ MORE →

MPC in Your Pocket: iMPC Comes to iPhone [Hands-on, Gallery]

Say “MPC,” and what comes to mind is a big, solid piece of hardware – a pickup truck of a drum machine, all metal beneath its rubber pads. And yet, a whole lot of what an MPC can do is now on your phone. Akai’s iMPC is available now for the iPhone. At a US$2.99 intro price, this one’s pretty much a no-brainer, but here’s a look at what the app does. As with Akai’s other iOS efforts, the app is developed by seasoned iOS devs Retronyms, so you get a beautiful, polished app from the makers of Tabletop. The …

READ MORE →

New Gold Panda Full-Length: Hypnotic Craft, Deep Feelings, as Always

Gold Panda is back with another full-length masterpiece. Here, any gauzy soft-focus fuzz is stripped away. The music is still warm, focused on chopped-up samples, and delicious, meditative repetition. But it’s more focused than ever, with a dry directness that lets his musical craft come further to the fore. There is some narrative and program explained on Gold Panda’s “Half of Where You Live.” Some of that is hard to miss – exotic percussion, clanging away as though you’ve ventured out onto the streets in some far-off city, references in titles and vocals to place. And there’s a sober comment …

READ MORE →

C64s, Control Voltage, MIDI … iPads, Keyboards and Audio: NAMM Saturday [Gallery, Impressions]

Everything old is new again. And everything new is everywhere – at least if we’re talking iPads and so on. At Anaheim’s massive gathering of music gear, there were some definite themes. Photographing for CDM, James Grahame and Marsha Vdovin give us a look at the tools on the floor. James has stumbled upon various fascinating oddities, and of course the booth celebrating MIDI’s 30th anniversary. (We’ll be talking more about MIDI’s history and legacy in the coming weeks.) From top, the keyboard models that made the history first connection, and a Commodore 64 talking to an iPad. Synthtopia has …

READ MORE →

Dueling Grids: A Duet for monome and MPC [Live Set of the Day]

Ocelot – Beyonica (Live) from Tim Shaw on Vimeo. Let’s again step back from the world of the industry to the realm of individual musicians and how they make tools make sounds. Tim Shaw’s music is a beautiful illustration of the ways in which brain and musical imagination can be connected to fingers and sound. In his new project Ocelot, Tim pairs with Jeramy Bradfield and makes a sweet, square-based duet. Tim’s grid of squares comes from the monome and Ableton Live; Jeramy turns to the Akai MPC and effects pedals. (I assume the guitar we see gets used elsewhere …

READ MORE →

Video Find: Fixing MPC 500 Pads with Tape, Bike Rubber

A two-minute break for some MPC hacking – friend of the site Servando Barreiro hacks his MPC for better performance, and demonstrates the results in a video. It’s a reminder that a little mechanical thought can improve the life of your musical gear. “So, that’s all. Goodbye.” (Other drum pad hacking tips? We’d love to hear them. I’ve been dreaming of a drum pad DIY special, in fact, including how to make custom drum pad controllers, so this is a perfect excuse to solicit some advice and guest contributors.)

READ MORE →