Ableton Push 2 meets modular; here’s how it works

Digital, analog – whatever. Let’s see what happens when Ableton’s latest digital hardware, the new Push, meets Eurorack, for a sort of convergence of the stuff electronic musicians are talking about right now. (Don’t worry; we aren’t going to a round-the-clock all-Ableton format – the Berlin developer is notoriously conservative about spreading out releases, so let’s give them this week as a special occasion. And, anyway, there are some tips here relevant to Eurorack users with or without any Ableton products. Plus, you might just like the music.) We stopped by the studio of Berlin-based musician Kaan Bulak. He’s an …


The Joy of Little Boxes, and Lovely Music by Recue x Jolea

From small boxes, big sound, and enormous fun… Something has happened in the evolution of electronic music production. What was once so often a slow process has become a jam, what was carefully orchestrated on screens finds itself embodied in gear. And small and affordable “toys” can often deliver the greatest “switch-on-and-play” satisfaction. Helsinki’s Recue and Jolea first found their way to their album by playing live, so it’s fitting we start with a live set from them. Their fusion is beat-driven, left-field pop – settling into moody, experimental grooves with effortless hooks over top. It’s melancholy surfaces with sparkling …

Seze Devres Photography NYC www.sdphotography.net

In An Avalanche of Modular, Here’s the New Gear You Need to Know

You know you’re at peak modular when Moog is reissuing 1970s synths for US$30,000. It wasn’t long ago that people were relegating modular synths to closets, selling them off, and even – really – throwing them in dumpsters. Now, the once-archaic racks of synthesizers connected with patch cords are suddenly cool. Moog rockstar chic aside, the trend is mainly driven by Eurorack, a format introduced years ago by Doepfer that has made it easier to manufacture and buy interchangeable rigs. Moog is making only a handful of those System 55 rigs, so even they acknowledge you probably can’t afford them. …


Free Bass Sounds from Modulars: Ableton Live Sampler Instruments, Free Loops

Do you dream of wires but require some sounds … now? São Paulo-based sound house Spektro Audio has shared a lovely Live pack full of multi-sampled bass instruments, free. They set to work on a very tasty-sounding Eurorack modular, then put together ten Sampler-based instruments in Instrument Racks, complete with options for filtering, distortion, and the like. Using their CV Toolkit, they triggered that same modular setup from their Live set. No specifics on what’s in their rack, but you’ll spot some nice modules from some of our favorite builders: Mutable Instruments (is that Braids?), Tip Top Audio, and MakeNoise. …


Web-Connected Analog: Synths Render Sound From Your Browser, Remotely

On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog. But they just might know you’re an MS-20. Hector Urtubia – aka Mr. Book – has connected his synths to the Web and set them up for the world. Submit a music pattern, and send it off to the synths to be rendered to sound. It’s like Kinko’s, if they did analog synths instead of printers. Hector explains more: I created a web app (http://analogalacarte.com) which allows you to create a synth pattern, submit it and it will get rendered live in hardware on one of my synths at home. I …


Mutable’s Anushri Bundles Sequencing, Drums, Synthesis, CV in One Hobbyist-, Modular-Friendly Kit

Call it the Mutable Fun Pack. The Synth Happy Meal. The Family Variety Bucket. The Anushri doesn’t have quite the sound design depth that Mutable’s Shruthi-1 does, but in its place, you get a whole mess of different features. It’s an analog synth, with an additional digital oscillator. It’s got its own step sequencer/arpeggiator. It’s got an 8-bit, bit-crushed drum machine. And it has analog connections for modulars in addition to MIDI, so modular lovers can put it into a Eurorack if they like. In fact, it seems to bring some of the compact, lovable features of Roland’s 101 and …


MIDIpal is an Open Box for Doing Stuff with Notes and Sequences and Things [Gallery, Interview]

Musically, compositionally, we think in notes and rhythms and patterns. MIDI may be a simple way of describing those elements, but it can be surprisingly expressive. And so, just as we have all sorts of boxes for adding effects to sound, there’s clear appeal to boxes that do stuff with musical patterns and information – a bit like a MIDI stompbox. We saw one example last week in the form of the MCP. Here’s another appealing “magical MIDI box” – and it’s also open source hardware. Created by Olivier Gillet, maker of the open source Shruthi-1 synth, it’s an affordable …


Open Shruthi-1 Synth Evolves Deep Sound Capabilities, New 4-Pole Filter, Ice-White Case

Inside this compact white box lurks a lot of sonic power and technical prowess. Perhaps that explains why the newest version of the open source Shruthi-1 now sports a crazy-badass wolf dog cartoon with glowing eyes. Since its launch, the Shruthi-1 has gradually evolved new features, with a fairly sophisticated combination of hardware and extensive software. At its core, it’s a “hybrid” synth with digital/virtual analog oscillators and real-analog filter. The digital oscillators allow it to change character, for classic virtual analog subtractive, or wavetable, FM, phase distortion, and vowel synthesis. The big news with the filter is that the …