Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Is 2012 the start of the Analog Synthesizer Renaissance?

This has been on my mind for a few weeks, and I've wanted to post on it.  With all the recent announcements of newer and cheaper analog synths like the Waldorf Pulse 2, Moog Minitaur, and Arturia MiniBrute, analog synths are once again widely available and musicians have a diverse selection.  Korg also notably released a Facebook mini-survey asking what users liked most about the Monotribe (Korg, if it isn't obvious, it's the fact that it's cheap, great sounding analog equipment!)  This definitely hints that more is planned from the analog realm for them.  Before this year, there wasn't quite as great of a selection.  Not to discredit the Dave Smith Mopho and Moog Little Phatty, but those synths pretty much gave two options: a cheap, few knob module, or an expensive (albeit more affordable than, say, a Voyager) proper mono keyboard, at least until the Mopho Keyboard was released.  While these are both outstanding pieces of hardware, the lack of variety was a bit of a downer considering every music company had a signature analog synth 20 years ago.  Anyone new to the synth world would have to put down quite a bundle to properly learn analog synthesis, or take a gamble on a retro keyboard from a shady eBayer that may not last.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Korg Monotron Delay Review

Just about a week ago, I got my hands on one of the two newest members of the Monotron family, the Korg Monotron Delay.  This little beast is an analog synth and filter with a Space Echo style delay.  I don't think the delay is analog, but it isn't clearly stated anywhere-- only as an "analog style" delay.  It seems Korg doesn't want to admit that this isn't an all-analog affair, but that doesn't make this little module any less fun.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Korg Monotribe Review

Click here for an a closer look at the Monotribe's front panel.
A couple months ago I got my hands on the Korg Monotribe, one of the newer members of the Monotron collection.  I figured it would be worth reviewing since it's recently had its software updated.  The Monotribe is basically a rethought version of the Monotron, the single-oscillator analog module, with more features added, including a sequencer for the synth and the added analog drum sounds.  The three drum sounds included are a bass drum, a snare, and a closed hi-hat.  The synth is a single oscillator with selectable waveform (square, saw, and triangle) with the classic Korg MS-20 low pass filter with resonance.  The synth is played by ribbon keyboard, which can be locked into key across an octave, played continuously across an octave, or set to wide mode, which can encompass the entire frequency spectrum of the synth on the ribbon.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

New Music/ Submissions

Here's some recent fresh tunage for you all.  Up first is Starsmith, who's got a recent rocking St. Lucia Remix.  We have a couple of recent newcomers called the The Name and Darren Borg, who will satisfy your synthy desires.  An awesome remix by VDI, formerly Frankmusik, of Simon Curtis, which gets out that inner chip-tune 80s child.  Another great remix by RAC, and finally, a beautiful piano improvisation by Shook.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Electronic Rumors Volume One Available February 13th

Hey guys,
Really excited to show off this new compilation from fellow blogger and friend Electronic Rumors.  The new CD, which comes out this Monday, February 13th, is a perfect selection of some of the newest underground synth and electronic goods.  I know this may sound a bit commercial (and I hate commercials) but I wouldn't even recommend it unless I knew it was great.  ER is an incredible electronic music blog-- a more complete and varied music blog than here, where I take on a mix of both synth news and music.  ER also has a knack for uncovering some of the best unknown synth tracks, which is a talent I'm still learning.  For a glimpse of some of the tracks on the CD, listen to the album mix below.

Some of the artists featured on the CD have been on this very same blog, including Diamond Cut, Fear of Tigers, and She's the Queen.  The compilation will also be released as a digital download, so you won't have to worry about shipping charges to your private island.  If you're in the UK, there's an album launch party on Friday, February 10th at 93 Feet East on London's Brick Lane.  Fear of Tigers, Queen of Hearts, Ronika, Substatic, Kid Kasio, and Echoes will all be performing.  For more information on the release party, click here.

Here's the tracklist:
01. Vanbot - Make Me, Break Me
02. Fear Of Tigers - The Adventures Of Pippi Longstrump (Diamond Cut reMix)
03. Queen Of Hearts - Where Are You Now? (StardonE Radio Mix)
04. Echoes - Second Best
05. Ronika - Wiyoo
06. Cosmonaut Grechko - All I Hear (Cosmo Black reMix)
07. Ride The Universe - A Little Better (Feat. Jane Elizabeth Hanley)
08. Substatic - Gold
09. LexiconDon - December Sunset (Keenhouse reMix)
10. She's The Queen - Waiting Game
11. Futurecop! - Me & U
12. Kid Kasio - Not For Turning
13. Show Your Shoe - Krokodil
14. Short Circuit - Let Go (NightWaves reMix)
15. beaumont - Reptile Blaze

Be sure to pick up the compilation on Monday, February 13th, 2012!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

4 Reason Why Synths Without Memory are a Good Thing

A recent trend set forth by two of the new analogs from NAMM is the lack of presets.  Presets, as you know, are when a synthesizer is able to store specific settings to make a sound digitally.  Presets and memory have been pretty standard since the 80s, yet these two brand new synths are bucking the classic trend for a cheaper price tag.  The Arturia Minibrute and Moog Minitaur sport menu and memory free interfaces with knob-per-function sound creation.  I know you'll miss calling on your old favorite presets, but here's 4 reasons why memory-free synths are good for our generation.