hanno_leichtmann-112

Beauty in Repetition: Listen to Hanno Leichtmann’s Minimal Studies

Hypnotic repetitive gestures are perhaps the signature of our generation in music, the legacy of Reich and Glass and Monk and Riley and Young … and tape decks and computers and drum machines. But then, repetition is the very stuff of our bodies, of heartbeats and footsteps and brain waves. Mastering repetition is essential, then, to any compositional practice. It should be, literally, as natural as breathing in and breathing out. And it should have the potential to take on its own voice. That’s the sense I get of this work. Listening to Hanno Leichtmann’s music, you may drift off …

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Talk_family2

How A Plug-in Recaptured the Robot Voices of Your Childhood

I’ve just gotten lost making my computer sing. And now I can’t stop. You see, a funny thing happened on the way to the future. As speech synthesis vastly improved, it also became vastly more boring. Intelligibility robbed synthesized words and singing of its alien quality, which was what made it sound futuristic in the first place. Chipspeech takes us back to speech synthesis as many of us remember it growing up. It’s weird-sounding, to be sure, to the point of sometimes being unable to understand the words. But it’s also loaded with character. And there’s a history here. To …

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mydubs

The Best Thing I Bought This Year: DUBS Acoustic Filters [2014 in Review]

The most sophisticated, most important music and sound instrument of 2014 is – your hearing. But the best hearing protection is simply the one you’ll always use. And that’s why DUBS are the best product of 2014. There are great hearing protection products out there, and for professional applications like touring, something spendy may well worth be considering. But you may have decided you don’t have the time to get your ears molded, or they’re too expensive to buy, or you aren’t using them because you’re afraid you’ll lose them. (I think I know as many professional musicians who have …

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rhythmwolf

AKAI Rhythm Wolf Review: Analog Doesn’t Always Mean Better

Dance music, it seems, has come full circle. Techno’s roots began with affordable oddball hardware, abused into new genres. And now, the appetite for cheap little boxes that make grooves is back. But does “cheap” and “analog” always make for a winner? Well, not necessarily. But let’s find out why. This is the AKAI Rhythm Wolf. When we first saw it, it was clear people would want it, because physically, visually, it has the things you’d want – even before you get to the accessible price. There are velocity-sensitive pads for each part, coupled (cleverly) with x0x-style buttons for simple …

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anodewood

Reviews Weigh in on Our MeeBlip anode Synth; Here’s What They Said

MeeBlip anode, our ready-to-play bass synth with an analog filter, is now shipping and in dealers worldwide. We knew we wanted to make something that was accessible to those new to hardware synths, but had enough personality to surprise advanced users, too – even in a small box, for US$139.95 list. And we also now know what the critics think. It’s always easy to explain what you wanted a creation to be. It’s a different, if exciting, experience when you read someone else’s take on what resulted. But that makes me all the more pleased to share a round-up of …

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garageband_yosemite

Apple’s OS X Yosemite Proves Largely Wrinkle-Free for Music; GarageBand Updated, Too

Here’s a welcome change. OS X Yosemite (10.10 is a major update to a desktop operating system that brings with it almost no apparent headaches for pro audio. The normal advice applies. Backup your system before doing anything (even Apple’s Time Machine I’ve found does the job nicely). Time something major like an OS update for when you’ve got time to test, and to revert if you have trouble. (Hint: not in the dressing room before a gig.) And don’t rush to update – there’s nothing here that you immediately need for music work. But in this case, if you …

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herndonhome

Watch Holly Herndon Talk About Giving Laptops a Voice

American artist Holly Herndon has built an extraordinary musical performance idiom in her live sets and records. She blends deep rhythms with ethereal vocals, interweaving electronic and processed and human sounds with unusual fluidity. Her vocal chords are beautifully present, as are her own custom-made Max patch sound designs. But she can also draw the computer’s electrical vocal chords, harnessing, Nikola Tesla-style, the unseen electro-static and mechanical life of her computer itself. This is not laptop music meant to make the computer invisible. This is laptop music that recognizes that our strange metal devices have become new instruments, machines that …

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Novation’s LaunchControl XL Has the Faders and Knobs You Need for Ableton, MIDI [Obsessive Review]

Sometimes, you just want to grab a fader. Maybe it’s not about elaborate custom parameter assignment, or clip launching, or playing an in-tune Phrygian scale on a colored, light-up grid as you solo on a bowed marimba sample. You know, you just want to fade a track. There are surprisingly few controllers out there tailored to this application. So, that makes the new LaunchControl XL from Novation a potential stand-out. It’s just faders and pots: 8 faders, with three knobs each. Each column also gets two triggers; these are switchable when used with Ableton Live to control mute, solo, and …

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keezyiphone

Simple Isn’t Easy: Keezy Drummer is Easy, Free, and – Maybe Too Minimal [iPhone]

Introducing Keezy Drummer from Elepath, Inc. on Vimeo. Here is a plot line we’ve heard before: Musical interfaces are complicated. That makes them unfriendly to beginners. They give you options you don’t need. (So far, no argument.) The solution, of course, is some new product. Each time we hear this plot line, someone talks about it like they’ve discovered it for the first time. This time, it’s Keezy Drummer, a new, simple drum machine app. You can hear them talking to The Verge about why this will change music technology, and why apparently in several decades of drum machines, they’re …

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auxy3

Auxy Is The Best Piano Roll Editor for iPad Yet – And Not Much Else – By Design [Free]

It’s been asked over and over again: can a simpler software tool attract more people to music making? But the next question is, invariably – what’s the right stuff to leave out? Auxy, released today, is an extreme exercise in app minimalism. It radically reduces what’s in the UI by focusing on making and cueing patterns — and leaving out the rest. It’s also free. Built exclusively for iPad, Auxy centers on a grid as its main screen. You’ve got four tracks in which you can create, edit, then trigger different patterns. Tap on one rectangle, and you draw in …

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