Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Passion Pit - Carried Away (Les Professionnels Remix)

Our friends Les Professionnels posted a free Passion Pit remix earlier this December. We saw them play a set a bit more funky than this remix recently, but it's great to hear some summery synth music to treat your ears! You can download it free as well - what could be better?

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

An Arp Odyssey Christmas

Looking for some synthesized Christmas music?  Stephen Alcorn's got you covered with An Arp Odyssey Christmas.  This album sounds really old, and it is-- recorded way back in 1976.  It is basically Switched on Bach with an odyssey and Christmas tunes.  I actually find it very relaxing to listen to, and it's got a ton of charm for being such an oddity.  Be sure to listen to the demos over on CD Baby, or check out the album on iTunes.  Below is some liner notes from the album, detailing how it came about-- truly makes you appreciate how far home recording studios have come!


"An ARP Odyssey Christmas" is a collection of classic Christmas carols performed on an ARP Odyssey analog synthesizer. Arrangements evoking trumpets, flutes, strings, reeds, spacey sounds, and even an operatic soprano were created by recording each part separately in sync with the others.

It was 1976 – "Switched On Bach" had been out for eight years and won three Grammies, the iconic MiniMoog for six years, and the ARP Odyssey for four. Electronic music was becoming more and more popular, and synthesizers were increasingly heard in many genres of music. As of 1976, however, I knew of no existing album of Christmas carols rendered on a synthesizer.

I was in graduate school In 1976 studying geology, and in the fall of that year thought that it would be fun to make a Christmas album to give to family as Christmas presents. It seemed like a good idea, since I had an ARP Odyssey (which I had played with a Rhodes piano in a band, Amethyst, in Athens, Georgia) that was sitting idle, and I had a yearning for unadorned, classic arrangements of Christmas music.

Shindu - Just Go (Reflex Remix)

Here's a nice track from Reflex, remixing Shindu's "Just Go".  Lots of great synth work from the French duo here.  Very danceable.  Get on your feet!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Kavinsky - Protovision

Kavinsky has released his first track from his next album Outrun, called "Protovision."  The video features the ultra-style you'd expect from him at this point-- the zombie Kavinsky figure on previous albums has come to life and is driving around in a Testarossa, avoiding the police, in a seemingly retro world.  While Kavinsky is probably relying a little bit too much on the Drive fame for this one (similar setting, ideas, and perhaps even the same streets from the movie), it doesn't stop the track from being pretty darn cool.  I'm really looking forward to this next record as a stylish synth odyssey.

Pittsburgh Modular Foundation (PMF) Demo Series I ------ by DesertF!sh

Desertf!sh sent me this nice video of him demonstrating a Pittsburgh Modular Synth.  Very helpful if you're thinking about buying one of these, as it appears to be a bit of a rarity as far as demos go online.  Also shows off the waveforms on the oscilloscope. From the man himself:

"I recently got a Pittsburgh Modular Foundation Synth, a beautiful euro rack mono synth. However, before I bought it i could not see any proper demos for it. Hence, I made a few demos for synth enthusiasts and anyone interested."

Friday, December 7, 2012

Space Love - The Remixes EP

We loved the Silenx remix of She's the Queen, "Talk to Me" - so we had to check out what this mastermind is up to with this new Space Love EP and the remixes.  We're a big fan of the Final DJs remix because it tickles ears and exudes funky vibrations. 

DJ Apt One - Everyday People Edit

 Every now and then, you need a feel good party vibe that is laid back but soulful.  DJ Apt One's new edit of "Everyday People" brings a warm, funky and clean edit to share with us for free! Thank you DJ Apt One! Download and share with your friends!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Doepfer Dark Energy II Now Available

After a short disappearance, the popular Dark Energy has returned as the Dark Energy II with some modifications due to the discontinuation of a chip needed for the Dark Energy I.  The initial run of the DEII sold out very quickly, but Doepfer seems to have them back in stock.  As the press release below goes in detail, the new DEII has some changes in its sound-- the oscillator is now sawtooth core, as opposed to triangle, for one, and the filter is now multi-mode, meaning you can use high pass, low pass, band pass, and notch modes.  These two changes are quite welcome in my eyes-- sawtooth core oscillators are preferred by many, and multi-mode filters aren't as common on modern analogs (save for the Minibrute).  If you're looking to buy, be sure to grab one before they sell out again!

"Doepfer announces availability of Dark Energy II Analog Synthesizer

GRAEFELFING, GERMANY: audio hardware developer Doepfer is proud to announce availability of its new Dark Energy II Analog Synthesizer, a redesigned version of the original Dark Energy, a standalone monophonic analogue synthesizer with inbuilt USB/MIDI interfacing and CV connectivity released to much critical acclaim in 2010...

So why the need to redesign something so successful so soon? Simple. Needs must. And who better to explain this than company CEO Dieter Doepfer himself: “As the Dark Energy had to be discontinued, because an important electronic component (CEM3394) is no longer available, we decided to do a redesign. The new Dark Energy II looks like the Dark Energy at first glance, but the basic sound of the Dark Energy II is clearly different because of the new circuits for the VCO, VCF, and VCA.”

Given the absence of that rich-sounding, analogue ‘synthesizer-voice-on-a-chip’ (CEM3394) from Curtis Electromusic Specialities successor OnChip, how does the Dark Energy II sound? Still rich, still analogue — with 20 to 30 minutes tuning time needed for the VCO’s temperature-controlled pure analogue circuitry, but different... mainly because of the completely different filter type.

Notable differences in specification between the two — together with a number of functional additions to the Dark Energy II — are as follows: firstly, the Dark Energy II features a sawtooth-based VCO core (compared to the Dark Energy’s triangle-based one), which, as implied, outputs a sawtooth waveform, with a waveform Shape switch for selecting sawtooth, off, or clipped/inverted sawtooth; meanwhile, that all-important, sounding-defining VCF is centred around a 12dB multimode filter with lowpass, notch, highpass, and bandpass, together with an all-new filter Mode control for continuous transition from lowpass via notch and highpass around to bandpass (as opposed the 24dB lowpass variety with linear frequency modulation (LFM) control found on the Dark Energy); the VCF’s exponential frequency modulation (XFM) control also has a polarization function, whereby the modulation source (LFO2 or ADSR) selected by the Source switch can affect the filter frequency with a positive or negative behaviour (by rotating rightwards or leftwards, respectively); finally, the VCA has an exponential scale (unlike the Dark Energy’s combined linear/exponential scale).

Benefitting those with a modicum of electronics know-how, the Dark Energy II offers much more internal expansion possibilities than its ‘Mk I’ predecessor courtesy of pin header terminals for the following functions: rectangle and sawtooth VCO outputs, linear FM input for VCO, hard sync input for VCO, lowpass/bandpass/highpass VCF output, rectangle and triangle outputs for each LFO, and optional reset/direction features for each LFO — all conspiring to make this already flexible synthesizer even more flexible!

The upshot of those differences is that sounds created on a Dark Energy II of course cannot be replicated on a Dark Energy (and vise versa) — though there is nothing to stop the two distinctive synthesizers from being daisy-chained together to produce an even wider palette of sounds. Indeed, several units can be polyphonically or monophonically cascaded (via internal MIDI out/MIDI in connections) to create an ‘über-synth’ of sorts!
Like the Dark Energy, the Dark Energy II is a standalone monophonic analogue synthesizer with inbuilt USB/MIDI interfacing and CV connectivity housed in a rugged black metal case with wooden end cheeks; likewise, sound generation and all modulation sources are 100 percent analogue, appealing to purists — only the USB/MIDI interface includes digital components, naturally! Again, vintage-looking, high-quality potentiometers with metal shafts are used throughout, and all are fixed to the casing — except for that all-new filter Mode control — to ensure stability. Spacing between them is generous (in comparison to the necessarily smaller A-100 Analog Modular System modules like the A-111-5 Mini Synthesizer Voice equivalent of the original Dark Energy) to ease sound-shaping manipulation.
In truth, then, the Dark Energy II is — to all intents and purposes — an all-new synthesizer from Doepfer! Why not plug in and play?
Dark Energy II can only be ordered online within Germany directly from Doepfer ( for €428.00 EURO, including VAT, or purchased from an authorised dealer. (An optional Glide control option is also available for self-installation for €10.00 EURO, including VAT.)"

Monday, December 3, 2012

Le Bump - Philadelphia Dance Scene

We're really glad there is a great dance music scene happening in our own backyard - Philly. Finding a great spot to dance that is open late is a rare find in a city that closes up shop around 2 AM and loses much of its artistic talent to NYC and D.C.  Le Bump Philly is a collaboration between local artists to bring you everything you ever wanted to hear on the dance floor - Electro-pop & Psychedelic rock performed live and DJs playing funky house, and a treat from the Worldtown Soundsystem. If you can make it to Philadelphia, we definitely recommend this show! Check out the free She's the Queen download below (recently making the top 10 "must hear tracks" in their genre on w/ their single "Talk to Me")! We wish them great success!

Check out more!  Follow Le Bump Philly and theSynthSymp on twitter!