Theremin Divas: Leading Ladies of Music of the Air [Updated]

While we’re on the subject, it’s worth noting that a wide range of exquisitely talented women have taken up the Theremin as a serious instrument, continuing the legacy of Clara Rockmore and the instrument’s inventor, Leon Theremin: The Classical great: Lydia Kavina has led the charge, tutoring students in mastering the instrument using techniques developed […]

When Digital Goes Acoustic: Unplugged Mario Cover

While the 8-bit music crowd are reimagining Kraftwerk as covered by Game Boys (more on that soon), 8-bit is getting its own acoustic treatment. No, not that dude who plays a Mario Brothers medley on the piano (though adding the blindfold is a bit kinky). One-man band Jason Cox last week took Super Mario World […]

Review: Edirol PCR-M1 Ultra-slim Keyboard

Backpack digital musicians seeking even more portability, the PCR-M1 remains the holy grail of thin keyboards. CDM’s own Lee Sherman gives Edirol’s keyboard-on-a-diet a pin to see if you’ll miss the extra inches and pounds. -PK Musicians looking for a MIDI Keyboard Controller are spoilt for choice these days, with controllers for everyone from DJs […]

Good Reading: Choosing and Using MIDI Controllers

Jim Aikin, one of the all time great wizards of synth and electronic music tech writing, has a terrific two-part series on O’Reilly Digital Media on choosing and using MIDI controllers: (1) Look Ma—Hands! Choosing and Using MIDI Controllers (2) Bring Your MIDI Music to Life This is a must-read story for beginners, but it […]

Live Five Alive: Limited Beta Available

Live 5 has hit beta, but not quite public beta as expected: a limited pool of 500 registered users were able to register over the weekend. The full public beta for all registered and unregistered users is on its way. See our previous Live coverage: Live 5’s New Features: Real-Time DAW Vastly Expanded 3 Reasons […]

Ableton Operator Review Roundup

Ableton Live 5 doesn’t ship with any new instruments; it’s limited to slightly-upgraded versions of its bare-bones sampler and drum machine, Simpler and Impulse. Both of those are great fun to use, but people longing for a deeper, playable instrument with an Ableton interface would want to consider Operator, Ableton’s a la carte synth. So […]

More Free Operator Sounds: Covert Operators 3

Seems I slept through this, but the good folks on the Ableton forum have come up with still more great patches for Ableton’s Operator synth. The good news: it sounds like these patches will work with Live 5. The better news: Live 5’s device chaining capabilities will bring cooler, wetter effects, silencing critics of Operator […]

Coverage Resumes Monday; Live 5 Coverage Soon

I’m now packing up the remainders of CDM HQ here on Duke Ellington Boulevard and carting them downtown to Manhattan’s Financial District. That’s just down the street the new North American headquarters of Ableton, I might add . . . and I expect to see a beta of Live 5 some time soon. Also, watch […]

DIY Ribbon Controller

Let’s hear it for the ribbon controller. If you’ve never seen one, ribbon controllers are touch-sensitive strips that let you control pitch continuously (i.e., not fixed to the pitches of a keyboard). The original Martenot instrument of the 1920s had an early ribbon controller, but rocker Keith Emerson probably gets the most credit for popularizing […]

How to Use a Moog Modular

Ah, patch cords. Routing is made real when you have to physically plug one sound module into another to do anything, telephone operator-style, as on vintage modular systems from Moog and Buchla. I was never a virtuoso with cords, kept running out of the things, forgetting what was plugged into what, and could never even […]