digitakt_closecrop

More details on the $650 Elektron Digitakt – and why we’re into it

The Elektron Digitakt sampler/drum computer may have been sitting silently under glass at last month’s NAMM trade show. But no matter: it was still the gear generating the most buzz. The thing is, we’re already hearing enough about the Digitakt to pique our interest. First, there’s that price — US$/€650. That’s terrifically affordable by Elektron standards. And then there’s the compact size, the accessible-looking controls and OLED, and the focus on sequencing and sampling. This just looks like a fun, friendly groove box. It also looks like a device that could significantly expand the audience for Elektron gear, not only …

READ MORE →
3_Impressions_Final-01[7][3][1][3][1]

As Two Moogerfoogers Are Discontinued, A Musical Ode

Two terrific Moogerfoogers have reached the end of their run. But that’s an excuse for more music, which sounds good to me. 2007’s FreqBox takes input signals and modulates an internal oscillator; the 2009 MIDI Murf is an animated filter sequencer. They’re both pretty great boxes, though now even before delving into modular, there are a lot more choices now than perhaps just those few short years ago. Koma Elektronik’s FT-201 runs further with the idea of sequencer-plus-filter. I can’t think of anything quite like the FreqBox, actually – I’d love to see Moog find a way to make a …

READ MORE →

Here’s What Korg’s $99 SQ-1 Step Sequencer Can Do [In Depth Guide]

It costs just a hundred bucks. It’s tiny, in a metal case with ultra-compact knobs and light-up buttons for hands-on control. And with MIDI, USB, CV, and even dedicated littleBits ins and outs, there’s a reason I described the announcement of KORG’s new SQ-1 sequencer as a sequencer that does everything. But doing everything in such a little box is a tall order. And the SQ-1 packs in so much, it’s not obvious what its capabilities can be. One one hand, there are some powerful features that you might completely miss (like MIDI-to-CV capabilities). On the other, it has some …

READ MORE →
05 Pyramid zoom

Pyramid is High-End MIDI, Analog Sequencer Gear with Effects [Gallery]

Maybe it’s because people have started collecting lots of gear. Maybe it’s a shift in how people play live. Maybe it’s just that we’re getting more than enough mileage out of our laptop as the machine for mixing and tracking and recording and mastering and managing our tour and our social network. Whatever the reason, boy, are we seeing a lot of focus on dedicated hardware – especially for live performance. The Pyramid, from oddly-named Squarp (Squarepusher + arpeggio?), looks like what would happen if Elektron decided to make its own standalone step sequencer without the drum machine. Or at …

READ MORE →
meeblipkoma2

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 …

READ MORE →
mophox4_1

Dave Smith Mopho x4: All Analog, 4-Voice Synth For Just Over a Grand

Dave Smith may have just created the analog keyboard to beat. The Mopho x4 is a new, bigger sibling to the Mopho keyboard – itself a nice, cute, yellow analog monosynth. The x4 takes that synth, quadruples the voices so that you get polyphony, and adds more-playable controls and functionality. You get a nice complement of hands-on controls, but you also don’t break the bank: US$1299 is the list. Dave Smith himself shows off the creation in a video — he, the father of MIDI and some of the best-loved synths over the years (from Sequential to his own DSI). …

READ MORE →
komavan

Hands-on with Koma’s Analog Filter/Sequencer, Gate/Delay, in a Van, with Champagne

Koma’s stuff is good. Really good. So good, you might even want to watch a hands-on video where I’m juggling a camera in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other. Their stompable, playable analog effects show well even in the back of a van circling Musikmesse. How I came to see this hardware in the van is a story in itself. The trade show gig works like this: you pay an enormous amount of money for some sort of trade membership, then an enormous amount of money for a booth, an enormous amount of money to staff …

READ MORE →

Music in Space and Time: Wild Geometries and Sequencing in Iannix, Free

Nerds: It’s an OSC sequencer. It’s JavaScript-programmable for making your own generative music. It works with hardware and other software. You can use it in real-time. Everyone: it makes spectacularly strange sounds out of spectacularly beautiful flows of geometries through space. IanniX, the latest-generation descendant of work done by pioneering experimental composer Iannis Xenakis, has been evolving at rapid pace into what may be the most sophisticated graphical sequencer ever. Xenakis originally had to content himself to drawing elaborate, architectural graphics on paper, then later being one of the first to use a graphical tablet for interactive scores. IanniX, backed …

READ MORE →

As a Wooden Tangible Sequencer Plays Bach, Meditations on Encoding Music

You may have seen it already as it makes its viral rounds, but an advertising video for Japanese mobile giant NTT Docomo is a poetic model of how musical events are encoded, whether through means tangible or digital. A track of pitches makes a wooden ball into a mallet, traversing a track as it is driven by gravity. The keys of that track become a xylophone, the traversal of space sequencing notes in time, and you hear Bach Cantata 147, “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” While there’s a clever take on a trill, the only disappointment is that we don’t …

READ MORE →
mox8

Yamaha’s MOX: Recession-Friendly, More Portable MOTIF Keyboards; Computer Workflows

While Roland this week is pushing their JP-80 and celebrating a 30-year milestone (the Jupiter-8), Yamaha has a different tack. They’re talking about the 10-year anniversary of the MOTIF workstation line, and introducing a version that’s actually easier to lift and afford. That could be friendly to the current economic tough times. But with all that people love their software synths, can Yamaha make a compelling case to the computer user, too? I put Yamaha on the spot to answer that. First, here are the specs: MOTIF XS sounds, with 1,217 voices and 355 MB of waveforms. (Okay, that’s nothing …

READ MORE →