KORG volca keys Hands-on: Probably the volca You Most Want [Sounds]

KORG’s volca line of affordable analog instruments isn’t yet available everywhere, but they’re slowly, slowly trickling into the world. KORG hasn’t yet sent any to CDM, and we’re generally hearing “September” from most retailers, but Japan has got a few. One of those was store-bought and brought back to Berlin, and I got to play with it with music collaborator and fellow journalist-at-large Benjamin Weiss of De:Bug. It’s worth revisiting CDM’s detailed hands-on from some weeks ago, as we got to talk to the creator, and hear what he does with his own instrument (a real highlight of 2013 so …

READ MORE →
Korg's Tatsuya Takahashi stops by our studio, playing his volcas (and a bit of MeeBlip with us, too!)

Hands On with Korg’s

He’s not a household name. But Tatsuya Takahashi is the man from Korg’s development group behind instruments you almost certainly know. Starting with the first Korg monotron, followed by the Monotribe, monotron DUO and monotron DELAY, Takahashi has been standards bearer to a legacy of Korg stretching back to the early analog days. These newer instruments return to some of the analog circuitry and ideas behind earlier instruments, bringing a new playful approach to electronic music making for the masses, at stunningly low prices that put the products in reach of those musicians. And now … well, now there’s volca, …

READ MORE →

Discover Music, Get Free Samples and Live Packs, Get Your Ocarina On

Some CDM commenters accuse this site of being shills for Ableton, of giving disproportionate coverage to Ableton Live and Push. Others accuse us of being hipsters, endlessly talking about things like 8-bit video game consoles and Nintendo. And so, I’m pleased to come to you today with a 30,000 word, peer-reviewed white paper relating the latest developments in high-end studio consoles, using a highly disciplined double-blind test to evaluate the impacts of analog summing on the behavior of migratory birds. Or… no, actually, let’s feed the trolls. It’s hard to believe, but our friend Brian Funk aka AfroDjMac has been …

READ MORE →
A bare-bones UI belies a powerful engine - and a tool that could finally jump-start sound designers embracing an open format. Proprietary lock-in, no more.

Software Instruments, Freed From Sampler Formats: SFZ, Free Sounds, Free Sample Player

“Free As In Free Me From Proprietary Formats.” If you’re ready to explore sounds – as a novice sampler user or as an advanced sound developer – SFZ brings tidings of great joy. When they move from defining mere sounds or samples to describing whole instruments, sound designers need file formats. The problem has been that those formats tend to be particular to one sampler or another – just Kontakt, or just Logic’s EXS24, or just Gigastudio. Yes, there are converters, but because these samplers have different capabilities, converters cause problems. Being able to create instruments for these samplers is …

READ MORE →
The Analog Four, stuff of dreams, as immortalized by eBoy in a parallel universe with a lower polygon count. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Elektron Analog Four Preview: Four Voices, Step Sequencer, All The Trimmings [Video, Audio]

Following its endless teasers and science fiction mini-movies, Swedish machine maker Elektron this week has announced features, specs, and preorder pricing for its Analog Four synth/sequencer, along with some sample sounds and a promo vid. It’s also been immortalized in a wonderful image, above, by artist eBoy. Just in case you needed a version to tack up above your bed. Ahhhh…. The damage: US$1099 / 1099,– € including VAT, shipped. The date: December 3. Yes, it’s analog, and even the early sound samples suggest a color of its own. And that’s a good thing. But, of ourse, that can’t be …

READ MORE →

Or, Download a Free Ableton Live Pack Made By a Cat

In speaking about iPad apps this week, I mentioned the possibility of music made by cats. And, of course, today we look at the possibility of going inside Machinedrum’s musical technique. So, it’s only appropriate to offer you the opportunity to produce music with a sonic toolbox … developed by a cat. (Apologies, Mr. Stewart and Mr. Eno.) AfroDJMac writes: I was reading your post on Brian Eno and the blurb about cats making music, and I have something kind of relevant. I just put out Free Ableton Rack #65, which features my cat playing a rubberband, recorded with a …

READ MORE →
crowd

A Choir Made from a Chrowd: Hundreds Contribute to Charity Choir Sample Instrument

We hear a lot about the “wisdom of crowds.” Now, here’s the voice of the crowd. Photo (CC-BY) James Cridland. Every choir is, in a sense, crowd-sourced. In this case, a set of choir samples were composed from “choir members” from around the globe who never met each other. In Soniccouture’s new Chrowdchoir instrument, over a thousand people contributed individual sounds, which were then put together to produce the ensemble instrument. As the developers describe it: The ‘Crowd-choir’ was an idea for a crowd-sourced sampled instrument, partly inspired by the 10cc track ‘I’m not in love’, which famously featured a …

READ MORE →

MeeBlip Open Synth: Read Reviews, Hear It, See It

CDM, working with Reflex Audio in Canada, makes hardware. We would love for you to have it, so we’re doing two things. Through Sunday night, 11:59 PM North American Mountain time, we’re shipping our flagship synth for free. And, oh yeah, we’ll also start talking more about it. The sale is now over, but thanks to all of you who responded! We look forward to getting a lot of MeeBlippery to you!) Lately, I’ve been having a surprising, repeat conversation. It’s a reason you should never, ever hire me to do your PR. It goes something like this: “Oh, and …

READ MORE →
beat4eva

Beats for Eva: Production Goodies Help One Woman Fight Cancer

Facing a health crisis, whether your own or a loved one’s, can be a serious challenge. It can make music making seem a remote activity. But here’s a case in which music production talent, the power to put together loops and tools, can help fight for someone’s health. What’s unique about this is that just using these tools in your own music – or contributing your own loops and tools – can get you involved, too. CDM reader Stefan Weise, a musician from Dallas, Texas, writes: My friend Jason and I run a label together called “Evoked Recordings” and he …

READ MORE →

Free Analog Modular Drum Kit, Creative Commons-Licensed

fugwhump has uploaded a fantastic free kit of drum sounds, built with a Eurorack modular synth. It’s licensed as Creative Commons, so you can use it free. ccMixter even includes features for linking your own work (remixes, podcasts, videos, webpages, albums), in case you do decide to use it. It’s nice, fat, raw sounding stuff. There are a few loops – mostly useful for previewing – and nine single-shot samples. Enjoy! Analog Kit Lite by fugwhump [ccMixer] Found via Jacob Joaquin’s Twitter. What are your favorite finds from ccMixter (or other Creative Commons samples sources)? Sample packs you’ve uploaded? Ones …

READ MORE →