“Yes I Did” is a witch-y anthem, and more genre-bending, feel-good Sky Deep creations

With a background ranging from soul to porn and roots spanning from LA and NYC to Berlin, Sky Deep delivers something unique and brilliantly affirming.

Sky Deep is a DJ/producer, but also – well, a lot of other things. She’s an award-winning indie/queer porn film producer. She curates a festival. She tours with the amazing Peaches and dances in that insanely high-energy stage show – which you can catch in some fleeting bit, somehow avoiding Facebook’s draconian censorship. She’s a vocalist, a guitarist, an MC, she makes music that is quirky and honest and fresh and not stuck in genre-perfectionism.

And she can hit an earworm head-on, in overlooked gems like her latest “Yes I Did,” which gets an accompanying happy-queer, witchy-good video. (This seems worth showing just so that it’s clear that Berlin is not populated only by emo people hanging out in car parks clad in black, as certain techno promo photos might have you believe – as though Germany were perpetually black-and-white, like the beginning of Wizard of Oz. I mean, some days feel like that, for sure, but not so much as to completely obliterate the spectrum of visual light. One hopes.)

If that hasn’t already grabbed you, check the Electrosexual remix on the EP release from June, which seems absolutely mix-friendly.

For more catch-y, positive, oddball pop, check “Swerve” and its fun video of roller skating:

What I enjoy as much as the song and video is the story of how she got out of a creative rut through synth gear and roller-skating:

Right before I made ‘Swerve’, I was in the middle of a creative block and in the process of changing my whole music production workflow. I was rebuilding whilst seeking inner inspiration. Luckily for me, I’ve got some really loving and generous friends in music.One in particular, let me borrow her SE-02 while she went on tour. I spent a couple of weeks learning the new machine and created kicks, snares, hi-hats and basslines for my sound library. Later, I borrowed another friend’s OB-6 to finish the rest of the track. I was inspired by good times and I remembered back in the day roller skating to the basslines of 90’s Californian hip-hop. That’s what inspired me to connect further with my dear family friend and roller skate enthusiast on the artwork, music video and Swerve T-shirts.

Those are two very excellent synths – the Sequential (Dave Smith/Tom Oberheim) OB-6 poly and the Roland Boutique / Studio Electronics analog SE-02.

More on that story in the premiere post from earlier this year:

But beyond that, it’s great that she used sense memory and something personal and emotional, and … you know, what’s better than roller skating for freeing up that physical feeling in music?

Here’s a great mix demonstrating just how eclectic her tastes can run:

It’s worth checking Sky’s other cultural inter-connections, too. She’s been part of a renewed interest in once-forgotten gay black composer Julius Eastman, including joining a performance ensemble reviving his work:

And even as laws and social media moires in our own home country the USA threaten to gag free expression, Sky is part of a sex-positive filmmaking movement here in Berlin. Even mighty VICE are taking notice:

Berlin’s Porn Scene Is Open, Experimental, and Endlessly Fun [VICE]

And in 2017 she was part of a well-worth-reading panel for Mixmag on combating discrimination and harassment in clubland:

INDUSTRY FIGURES TELL US HOW TO COMBAT SEXISM AND HARASSMENT IN DANCE MUSIC

Check her official site for more:

https://www.skydeepofficial.com/

Feature photo: Alexa Vachon.

The post “Yes I Did” is a witch-y anthem, and more genre-bending, feel-good Sky Deep creations appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Kleiner vielseitiger Synthesizer namens Grendel Grenadier RA-99

Grendel Grenadier RA99Grendel Grenadier RA99

Wieso er unbedingt Grenadier geworden ist, weiss man nicht. Aber vielleicht macht er ja einen Bombensound?

Erst einmal – er ist klein, aber er tut ungewöhnliche Dinge. Das Filter ist ein dreifaches resonantes Bandpassfilter, was man so eigentlich eher von einem Exoten wie dem Syrinx kennt.

Es gab bisher eine weisse nicht mehr erhältliche Version, die 2015 auf den Markt kam mit dem Namen RA-9. Der Neue hat eine 9 und auch mehr Knöpfe und der Sequencer ist offenbar verschwunden, dafür gibt es ein größeres Patchfeld. Somit ist die Synthese aufwendiger und der Sequencer vielleicht heute extern besser aufgehoben.

20 Patchpunkte und 14 Parameter steuern. Auffällig ist die Bezeichnung der Parameter: Alpha, Beta und Timbre, was für ein wenig FM oder Westküsten-Denkweise vermuten lässt. Dazu gibt es noch „P-Noise“, also auch hier ein bisschen geheimnisvollere Audiowelt. Es befinden sich offensichtlich 2 Modulationquellen an Bord mit verschiedenem Shaping zwischen zwei Wellenformen. Neben den natürlich  oft nach Spacing und Human-Voice-Sounds lassen sich auch klassische Acid-Sounds  herstellen. Letztlich ist die Bedienung einfach, denn mit Timbre stellt man den Sound ein und mit Filter den Klang.

Mit seinem VCO, den beiden LFOs als Quellen und dem Dreifachfilter sowie der Xmod-Möglichkeit kann er doch erstaunlich viel. Den Sequencer dazu in einem ähnlichen Format gibt es unter dem Namen 2TAC Sequencer.

Weitere Information

Mehr dazu gibt es bei Rarewaves zu lesen und sehen – dh. bisher noch nicht – man findet weder Preis noch viel mehr, sondern nur die Videos – deshalb müssen wir noch ein wenig warten, bis der Preis fest steht. Er ist aktuell in Produktion und deshalb noch nicht zu kaufen, aber bald wird der Texanische Synthesizer wohl auch hierzulande erhältlich sein. Bei Schneiders findet man auch eine Beschreibung des einfacheren Vorgängers RA-9.

Video

2TAC Sequencer

Behringer 303 clones revealed: $199 street

Behringer’s analog remake of the 303 is now out in the open – a $199 set of red, blue, and silver synths called the TD-3.

On one hand, this might be the least exceptional of the low-cost Behringer synths, in that there are a lot of 303 remakes around already. There are boutique models, things called “Boutique” from Roland, the open-source hardware x0xb0x and its ilk (which even served as a template to open source music hardware generally), and plug-ins and software emulations galore.

On the other hand, the same thing makes the TD-3 newsworthy. It’s a synth everyone knows, and it’s now US$199 street. Get ready for a lot more acid — that’s for sure.

So what did Behringer actually do?

The TD-3 roughly approximates the TB-303 layout, without being slavish. And Behringer says they’ve recreated the essential analog circuits, down to the matched transistors.

It’s easier, then, to describe what’s new – apart from seeing a Behringer logo instead of a Roland one.

There’s a distortion circuit, which Behringer says is modeled on the DS-1. That presumably means a BOSS DS-1. And that’s actually the ballsy move here; Behringer has tangled with Roland before over BOSS.

The sequencer functionality borrows the 303’s interactions, but there’s more here – an arpeggiator, 250 user patterns x 7 tracks, and an intriguing ppq (parts per quarter) setting.

There’s also more I/O, bringing this more in line with a hacked/modded 303 than the original. You get USB, MIDI, and filter in / sync in / CV out / gate out, in addition to the original’s basic sync features.

Behringer are offering this in three colors, which otherwise are functionally identical – so TD-3-BU, RD, and SR are blue, red, and silver, respectively.

It’s really the price that’s the big deal, at US$199. That mainly hurts the Roland TB-03, which has a street of nearly twice that. Now, I don’t much expect anyone to dump the TB-03 – it sounds great whether it’s analog or not, it’s got a delay/reverb this lacks, and it runs on batteries. For that matter, I don’t know that people will dump any of their existing 303 emulations.

But for someone picking up the 303 who doesn’t have one, it’s going to be tough to compete with Behringer.

On the other hand, Behringer now joins a lot of low-cost, cool synths. Synthtopia compares the TD-3 with the KORG volca NuBass. I don’t know if that comparison came from Behringer, but the KORG seems like a totally different animal – different sound, different features, different workflow, and you know, a volca.

https://www.behringer.com/search/Behringer?text=TD-3

My question is – who’s going to use some strange bass sound to invent a new musical genre? It feels like we’re due.

I know, I know – “Karplus-Strong Techno” is really not a thing like acid house.

Okay – can someone make that a thing?

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Euterpe Vertice – Analoge Doppel-Filterbank mit bulliger Optik

euterpe verticeeuterpe vertice

Das Teil ist nicht all zu dezent in der Optik und sieht aus wie eins dieser High-End Kompressoren für synthhaft viel Geld. Es handelt sich aber um eine Filterbank mit Audio-Steuerung und ähnelt eher der Sherman Filterbank, jedoch mit zwei Filtern.

Zwei Filter mit Hoch-,Tief- und Bandpassfilter und Resonanz sind die Basis, jedoch gibt es auch eine ADSR-Hüllkurve, um Filter und/oder Lautstärke zu steuern. Damit ist dies, ähnlich wie zB die Sherman Filterbank, eher ein Synthesizer ohne Oszillatoren und dazu geeignet diverse Klangveränderungen an Field Recordings, anderen Synthesizern und Drumloops zu machen, die man einspeisen kann. Dazu besitzt der Vertice auch analoge Steuereingänge und man legt viel Wert darauf, dass es sich um ein vollständig analoges Gerät handelt.

Die Filter lassen offenbar auch ein Umschalten zwischen Dioden und Transistor-Resonanz-Verhalten zu. Außerdem ist Sättigung und Drive oder zumindest eine Form von An/Verzerrung mit an Bord.

Man kann die beiden Filter als Stereo-Anordnung oder seriell einsetzen. Offenbar ist auch eine Art Öffnungsdauer und Trägheit einstellbar, denn darauf weist der Staccato-Continuo-Knopf hin. Außerdem ist vorwählbar, ob das Audiomaterial eher perkussiv oder schnell/langsam ist und invertieren kann man Signale offenbar auch.

Weitere Information

Bei Euterpe Synth kann man das Gerät und weitere Details dazu finden.

Video

Atomosynth Perceptron – modulariserter Basis-Synthesizer für den Einstieg in die Modularwelt

Atomosynth PerceptronAtomosynth Perceptron

Nach einer gewissen Stille stellt Atomosynth einen neuen Synthesizer Perceptron vor.

Ein Hauptoszillator mit zwei Schwingungsformen und ein Suboszillator befinden sich auf der linken Seite, in der Mitte findet man das Filter mit jeweils Reglern für Tief- und Hochpass und einem Gesamtknopf. Die Resonanz scheint jedoch für beide Filter zu gelten. Nach dem Filter findet man noch zwei Mix-Knöpfe die vermutlich die beiden Filter zusammen mischen. Gesteuert wird alles über eine ADSR- und eine AD-Hüllkurve und am Ende befindet sich noch ein Delay. Unterhalb des Oszillators findet man einen LFO, der mit zwei Schwingungsformen ausgestattet ist und kann den Hauptoszillator mit Pulsbreitenmodulation beliefern. Außerdem kann der LFO eine Zufallsspannung erhalten. Lediglich ein Rauschgenerator scheint nicht mit verbaut zu sein oder wird indirekt über den LFO bereit gestellt – jedoch gibt es einen Zufalls-Spannungs-Generator (RND). DIN-MIDI sowie USB-MIDI ist ebenfalls an Bord. Auch das Delay lässt sich modulieren.

Mehr als Semimodular?

Faktisch alle wichtigen Steuermöglichkeiten bieten auch eine Buchse für deren Steuerung bzw. einen Ausgang, um Hüllkurven, LFO, den Oszillator und auch den Suboszillator nach außen zu führen und in einem anderen Modularsynthesizer weiter zu verarbeiten. Er kann also auch als Anfang für eine „modulare Karriere“ genutzt werden.

Weitere Information

Mehr von Atomosynth gibt es auf deren Website. Für $399 kann man ihn bereits vorbestellen, was ganz profan über eine E-Mail passiert. Das Porto kostet nicht extra.

Video

This video makes it easy to mod KORG’s ultra-cheap monotron for analog CV

Punk, inexpensive analog, anyone? The KORG monotron is an easy choice for modding for your synthesis needs – and now this video makes the process easier.

There’s still nothing quite as cheap in analog synthesis than the instrument that (arguably) started the trend – the KORG monotron and its variants. You can pick one of these up for about $50 or less even new – and you might even rescue one from a friend’s collection.

But while the monotrons are fun to play with, they’re a bit limited as far as integration with other gear. You get an aux input, a headphone jack output, and – nothing else. And those tiny controls and ribbon will challenge your dexterity.

A mod, then, is the perfect answer, because then you can jack in some analog control from other gear. That now not only includes Eurorack modular, but gear from Moog, Behringer, Arturia, semi-modulars, sequencers, you name it. CV is starting to be as ubiquitous as MIDI, and allows for direct, simple control with voltage.

People have been modding this for a while, but Extralife is here with a video that makes it much simpler.

He writes:

I’ve just finished up a video on modding the Korg Monotron for analog CV input. I have found some other descriptions of similar mods online, but so far as I know I’m the first to document the build on video or provide PCB layouts, so while monotron hacks may be old hat, I think this brings something new to the table.

Also visible in the video is the latest prototype of my ongoing
Eurorack sequencer project, the Super Sixteen! It is in the final
phases of development (it is open-hardware, open-source) — and I will
be sure to contact you again soon when it nears a major release.

Oh, please do, sir! That looks seriously cool.

Grab all the specs and so on for this project on his GitHub:

https://github.com/matthewcieplak/monotron-cv-adapter

And here’s the original project that inspired the idea, from the heady, innocent days of 2010:

http://www.dinsync.info/2010/06/how-to-modify-korg-monotron.html

Let us know how this works out for you, and what you do with it – or if y’all have other interesting hacks and projects you’re working on.

The post This video makes it easy to mod KORG’s ultra-cheap monotron for analog CV appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

This video makes it easy to mod KORG’s ultra-cheap monotron for analog CV

Punk, inexpensive analog, anyone? The KORG monotron is an easy choice for modding for your synthesis needs – and now this video makes the process easier.

There’s still nothing quite as cheap in analog synthesis than the instrument that (arguably) started the trend – the KORG monotron and its variants. You can pick one of these up for about $50 or less even new – and you might even rescue one from a friend’s collection.

But while the monotrons are fun to play with, they’re a bit limited as far as integration with other gear. You get an aux input, a headphone jack output, and – nothing else. And those tiny controls and ribbon will challenge your dexterity.

A mod, then, is the perfect answer, because then you can jack in some analog control from other gear. That now not only includes Eurorack modular, but gear from Moog, Behringer, Arturia, semi-modulars, sequencers, you name it. CV is starting to be as ubiquitous as MIDI, and allows for direct, simple control with voltage.

People have been modding this for a while, but Extralife is here with a video that makes it much simpler.

He writes:

I’ve just finished up a video on modding the Korg Monotron for analog CV input. I have found some other descriptions of similar mods online, but so far as I know I’m the first to document the build on video or provide PCB layouts, so while monotron hacks may be old hat, I think this brings something new to the table.

Also visible in the video is the latest prototype of my ongoing
Eurorack sequencer project, the Super Sixteen! It is in the final
phases of development (it is open-hardware, open-source) — and I will
be sure to contact you again soon when it nears a major release.

Oh, please do, sir! That looks seriously cool.

Grab all the specs and so on for this project on his GitHub:

https://github.com/matthewcieplak/monotron-cv-adapter

And here’s the original project that inspired the idea, from the heady, innocent days of 2010:

http://www.dinsync.info/2010/06/how-to-modify-korg-monotron.html

Let us know how this works out for you, and what you do with it – or if y’all have other interesting hacks and projects you’re working on.

The post This video makes it easy to mod KORG’s ultra-cheap monotron for analog CV appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Erica’s Pico System III is a tiny, 450 EUR West Coast modular rig

The newest Erica system is an exercise in minimalism – analog, fit in a single unit. The price and size are absolutely as low as you can go – but with some deep sound capabilities.

Here’s divkid talking to our friend Girts about this one:

Erica Synths had been telling me this was what they were working on, integrating their analog circuitry and custom design onto a single PCB. That allows the cost savings that squeeze all this power into a 450EUR box, even with case (400 without the case; tax extra for us Europeans as per usual law).

But wow, even knowing this was coming, it’s better than I expected. You get West Coast-style experimentalism, complete with the snappy, percussive sound of LPG (Low Pass Gates) with resonance, and a unique waveshaper and signature Erica Bucket Brigade Delay. I can see why West Coast sounds are catching on – they’re distinctive, and can produce expressive rhythms and timbres both for experimental and dance contexts. And they’re fun – in a way that makes sense in a modular interface, specifically.

Plus all of this is somehow squeezed into something that still has enough mixing and modulation to work well for live performance. It’s no accident that Erica is populated by musicians and runs their own festival – they clearly love making instruments that work live.

All of this does require some insane miniaturization, so if you like spacious layouts for your stubby fingers and clear differentiation of what does what, this is very much the opposite of what you want.

For those of us who like creative systems, tiny things, and staying on a poor experimental artist’s budget, though, it could be a revelation.

Great writeup in German on sequencer.de (for DE speakers):

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Erica’s Black System II is a full-featured modular

Erica Synths have made a strength out of building a full catalog of modules – and their systems show off how complete that is, at a price that compares favorably.

The Black System is probably the most practical of these rigs, with a versatile selection that can cover a range of experimental or dance genres. (The Techno System I reviewed earlier tends more to the industrial techno sounds, indeed, focused on drums and biting synth sounds; the Dada Noise System for Liquid Sky was more to acquired tastes.)

The Black System II really is a reasonable buy, at least by Eurorack standards – that 2900EUR is nothing to sneeze at for musicians, but it could well save versus a bespoke modular system. And it’s also notable that it’s still less than some flagship keyboard instruments, with arguably a much deeper potential for exploration. (Well, depending on what you want – I mean, if I did have a magic fairy to make something appear, I would probably wish for this over some of those keyboards.)

But even if you never buy one of these Erica systems, I think it’s still a significant exercise for the company. Recall that the likes of Buchla, EMS, Roland, and Moog – not to mention later lower-cost options like PAiA and eventually Doepfer – all built complete systems.

Now, it’s marvelous that we have a marketplace in Eurorack of weird one-off modules or idiosyncratic grab bags of gear from small makers. But even if you plan to mix and match, it’s useful to have a module that came from a bigger picture. It adds to the value of assembling your own custom rig, that is, if you can add some modules that still had a pre-conceived idea of how they’d fit into a complete instrument, even if you then change what that complete instrument is.

And this particular lineup really is rather nice, from the joystick controller (also on the Dada Noise), to the Soviet-inspired Polivoks filter, to a stereo delay:

Black Wavetable VCO
Black VCO
Black Modulator
Black Mixer
Black Multimode VCF
Black Polivoks VCF
Black Quad VCA
Black Output
Black MIDI-CV
Black CV Tools
Black XFade
Black Dual EG/LFO
Black Octasource
Black EG
Black Stereo Delay
Black Joystick
2x84HP skiff case

There’s really all the basics you need for integrating MIDI and working with CV, shaping sounds, and mixing and output. Plus unique to this particular range, you can choose different flavors in different patches – both wavetable and simple analog VCO, both multimode and Polivoks filter, and so on.

Just remember, if this is too rich for your blood, you can also get the Polivoks System for 1400EUR or the adorable tiny Pico System II for 1120EUR. The latter you can even carry along with you on Ryanair for the truly cash-starved modular artist.

Check it out here:

https://www.ericasynths.lv/shop/eurorack-systems/black-system-ii/

And see our CDM review of the Techno System:

The post Erica’s Black System II is a full-featured modular appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

One little MeeBlip meets one giant Hainbach wall of sound

Mobile synth, meet wall of synths with knobs bigger than your hand. I got to take our new MeeBlip geode for a friendly visit with the legendary Hainbach and his lair of huge vintage analog gear. Here’s what happened.

MeeBlip geode

Hainbach is my kind of YouTuber – his channel is a nonstop flow of creative use and misuse of vintage gear, from cassettes to test equipment, paired with thoughtful ambient and experimental music. And it’s clear his passion for that equipment is driven by an obsession with producing his unique musical sound.

I asked Hainbach if maybe we could show our MeeBlip synth and have a jam, and he invited me round his house – and this is the result. (That’s how the Internet should always work, I think!)

There’s not a whole lot of MIDI in his studio, so we made use of the inexpensive KORG SQ-1 step sequencer, which is also pint-sized like our MeeBlip. Most of the MeeBlip sounds you hear are dry, but there’s also some reverb and delay from the cult favorite Alesis Wedge.

For his part, Hainbach starts out with the lovely Roland SH-09 monosynth for that lush opening tone, then adds a cassette loop. But much of the sound is from the “wall of sound” full of test equipment. This oversized, gorgeous gear was – well, until we all popularized it online – pretty cheap to come by until recently. It’s now antiquated and past retirement age in industries like telecommunications for which it was originally intended – but as a synth, it can last forever. Hainbach has explained what it’s all about, and I’ve also previously described an open laboratory in Rotterdam specializing in the setup.

Bigger than a MeeBlip.

The fun part is really getting to put the two together. Hainbach is a focused listener and improviser, so he’s terrific to play with – and this is really one take, since he had to run to pick up his kid right after the shoot.

“There’s so much to play in there… impressively playable.” Thanks, sir. So we actually can compete with enormous vintage test boxes, I guess.

We are shipping now at meeblip.com:

MeeBlip geode

And you’ll find more on Hainbach’s Patreon subscription. Plus do check his music; it’s terrific, and also really enjoyed the couple of times I’ve seen him live.

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