202quartet

TM404 turns Roland boxes into beautiful instruments, jams

You know a classic Roland 202, 303, 404, 606, 707, 808, 909, and whatnot can make techno. But in the hands of Andreas Tilliander, these vintage Roland boxes are like classical instrumentation. They can form delicate ambient ensembles, or dark, pounding rhythms. And far from being only a grid to switch on and off, they become improvisational tools that spawn live performances and organic sessions. It’s little wonder that Andreas goes by the moniker TM404 – the Swedish-born producer seems like he might have been raised by a family of Roland boxes rather than humans. So, we took the opportunity …

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Reason 9 is available to download now.

Why you should care that Reason 9 just arrived

Reason 9 is here, updating that singular virtual rack of instruments and effects combined with song recording and arrangement. And a quick look at the features will likely have some people saying “fine, sure, but my DAW can already do that.” But – exactly. And also – can it, really? Because Reason has a of doing things in a, well, Reason-y way – one that keeps its die-hard fans uniquely loyal. And it sometimes has a way of doing things best.

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elektronRIP

Elektron sell off the final Machinedrum, Monomachine

It’s the end of an era. The Elektron Machinedrum (2001) and Monomachine (2003) will see this month their last batch from manufacturing. It’s pretty remarkable how far these machines have come – spurred on by passionate users and a string of software updates that kept them fresh. Our Swedish friends at Elektron aren’t being terribly subtle with their marketing announcing the event, either, going for a funeral motif. Wait. Let’s back up. These are new units arriving, and unless a software update is going all Blade Runner on these things, not sure “funeral” was what they were looking for. But …

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A video glimpse of Teenage Engineering’s OP-Z in action

It looks like a small remote control for a game system, but it’s a musical instrument. The OP-Z caught our imagination earlier this year at NAMM with a host of bizarre and wonderful functions, from sequenced instruments and drums to live visual animation accompaniment (seriously). Now, Cuckoo Music catches up with Teenage Engineering in his ongoing video series. That means a chance to see how the pocket music gizmo has progressed, as well as what’s happening with live visuals. Teenage Engineer David Mollerstedt joins: Meanwhile, TE’s instruments see other lovely action. Mikael Jorgensen writes CDM to tell us about his …

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elektronupdate

Elektron just added 12 new machines to the Analog Rytm

Hey, software drum machines aren’t the only ones who get new synthesized drums – now hardware owners can, too. If you had to explain the Elektron Analog Rytm drum machine to someone quickly, the answer was already pretty easy – it’s about the sound. Well, in an OS update quietly dubbed “1.30,” Elektron just added a whole lot of new sonic possibilities, in the form of twelve new machines and synthesis models. Want bass drums? There are three of them. Snare? Check. New metallic and ride and hat sounds? Sure. Impulse. Noise. Not only are there new models, but loads …

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kyoka2016_2_photo_sylviasteinhaeuser

Kyoka talks about her amazing new raster-noton sounds

raster-noton is already a beloved imprint for those who care about out-there sounds. But if you thought you’d heard every click and oscillation that name could bring, you probably haven’t heard Kyoka – the Japanese-born artist who always manages to wander out into new territory. And even before we had a chance to get the least bit tired of her last outing, she’s fresh from a trip to Stockholm’s EMS with something altogether different. CDM’s Zuzana Friday invites Kyoka over to charm and wow us all over again.

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lcd

Meet Teenage Engineerings’ new trio of Pocket Operators

Priced at $59, inspired by vintage Nintendo Game & Watch, and looking like calculators, the Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator line was a runaway hit. So, just adding three more of them seems a no-brainer. Then again, with drum machines, bass synth, and lead synth covered, the next three might easily have been an anticlimax. Good news for Teenage Engineering fans: they aren’t. The Stockholm designers have managed three retro-tinted follow-ups that might easily make as big a splash the originals.

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opz_top - 1 (1)

Teenage Engineering has an OP-Z prototype, and it’s awesome

“Surprise!” might well be Teenage Engineering’s best tagline. The latest unexpected invention from Sweden is the OP-Z – pronounced “oh pee zed.” It’s an all-in-one instrument/groovebox like its predecessor the OP-1, packed into a tiny, game-like form factor. And even from the early prototype shown at NAMM, it’s fantastic.

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fjaederfeather

Discover Nordanvind, and the imaginative woman behind it, Fjaeder

Fans of northern sounds and nordic mythology, cock your ear for another label discovery. Nordanvind is the vinyl imprint of Swedish artist Fjäder. We profile the artist, the label, and then talk to Fjäder herself. Let’s first let her put us in an evocatively occult mood: In the eye of the storm Mithya spears Logos Shattering with a smile Suddenly I see all my faces I have seen the end of all things I slept a dreamless slumber… I have seen the end of all things I have seen the world reborn and crumble I have seen the end of …

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Auxy, the iPad’s Simple Music Creation Tool, Quietly Gets Better

iPad creation tool Auxy may have come with a lot of fanfare touting its simplicity and elegance when it launched. The piano roll-turned-touchable music maker first launched on the merits of doing less, better, then turned into something more of us might use with the addition of MIDI. But a rather significant upgrade has come without any trumpets or bolts of lightning. I can’t post a screenshot, because all the work is under the hood. For all the power of today’s mobile devices, though, there’s a significant effort in coaxing optimal performance. So, sometimes this behind-the-surface stuff matters a lot. …

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