Native Instruments offers TRK-01 PLAY free kick & bass plugins, $25 e-voucher & Holiday Giveaway launched

NI TRAK PLAY free

Native Instruments has some new offers for the Holiday Season. First of all you can download the free TRK-01 PLAY, a bundle of two kick and bass instrument plugins that use engines from the innovative TRK-01 bass synth. TRK-01 KICK is a blendable dual-layer kick drum engine, with synth-based and sampled kicks, plus multiple modulation […]

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Native Instruments releases District Xeo Expansion Pack by IRRUPT

NI District XEO Expansion

Native Instruments has launched its latest Expansion Disctrict Xeo, a futuristic dystopian electro collection of sounds by the Berlin-based sound design and production studio IRRUPT. Traffic weaves from above. Skyscrapers clad with neon-lit signs fill the horizon. The music emerging from the city is cold and robotic, yet emotive – reflecting its futuristic urban gloom. […]

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Prime Loops brings back the good vibes from the golden era of Hip Hop

Prime Loops Conscious Hip Hop

Prime Loops has released its latest sample pack Conscious Hip Hop, a collection of Hip Hop samples, loops, construction kits and Maschine kits. The pack features melodic patterns, grooves, basslines, raw percussion and more. Bring back the good vibes from the golden era of Hip Hop and inspired by the conscious movement that developed during […]

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The new Maschine Mikro is tiny – but now its workflows scale

Native Instruments this fall unveiled a bunch of low cost alternatives to its flagship producer products – and the one that perhaps attracted the most attention is Maschine Mikro. Can you fit more into a small package?

If you’re really into Maschine, here’s my advice: MK3. Full stop. The MK3 has the most expressive, playable pads of any of the Maschine line. It’s got the same big display as the previous Maschine Studio – meaning you can make arrangements, adjust parameters without squinting, and set mix levels really easily. (None of that is possible on the Mikro.) And it has all the latest refinements, but it’s in a perfect form factor, as beloved on the original model and MK2.

It’s also reasonably compact. Maschine is my lifesaver for gigs because whatever may be in checked luggage (and therefore lost in checked luggage), you can fit Maschine MK3 into a backpack.

By comparison, I’m not fond of Push on the road, as I think its layout is better suited to studio creation than live performance, and it’s just a little bit bigger and a lot heavier than other devices – plus no audio interface. Small details, major difference if you’re playing fit-the-rig-in-the-backpack. And I know that sentiment is shared.

But there are times when you might want smaller, and you might be on a tighter budget – particularly if you’ve already invested in another controller.

So the Maschine Mikro is back. But this time, the pads are better, and while that display is small, you really can get away with using it. It could be ideal in a corner of your desk, and it’s more portable.

FACT Magazine have a great compact (natch) breakdown of how the Mikro works.

First, you inherit the touch strip and the note repeat from the rest of the line. That includes these clever performance effects, which are really quick to access from the touch strip. Note repeat and chord modes let you get away with squeezing lots of ideas onto a small palette — and, let’s be honest, they help you fake being way better at finger drumming than you actually are.

Sorry, might be projecting there. Better than I am, for sure.

And then there’s sequencing, too, which also scales well to this small form factor:

I’m personally sticking to the MK3 for one reason alone: the encoders to me are invaluable. I can load Reaktor Blocks instances in Maschine and then really shape sound on the encoders while keeping track of changing parameters on the displays. It’s like having a huge modular rig without the gear and back ache and debt. And I think the MK3 is good enough that it’s worth swapping in even the MK2 to get one – and certainly the MK1, which lacks the various workflow improvements and especially those great pads.

But I totally get the appeal of the Mikro.

I think ironically reducing that form factor finally lets you focus on learning some core features of Maschine and focusing on them. It looks like a no-brainer next to Ableton Push or an Akai APC or whatever you use as your DAW and controller arrangement (keyboards, etc). We’ve also seen previously how much musicality you can get just by focusing on the pads, as our friend Alan Oldham (DJ T-1000) took on even the first-generation model.

Cues: Detroit innovator Alan Oldham talks to us about techno, creation

So for getting out and playing, this is great stuff – and a bargain buy with the core software, a bunch of sounds, and a controller, too. I bet some people will get these as gifts – and have a great time.

https://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/maschine/production-systems/maschine-mikro/

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Native Instruments launches Midnight Sunset Expansion

NI Midnight Sunset Expansion

Native Instruments has announced a new expansion pack with a focus on late ’70s and early ’80s funk, R&B, and boogie. The Midnight Sunset expansion includes iconic sounds from the era including horns, guitars, bass, synths, and more, as well as kits for Battery and Maschine loaded with classic drum machines, acoustic drums, and special […]

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Sample Magic launches Maschine Magic: 8-Bit Kits sample pack

Sample Magic 8-Bit Kits

Sample Magic has announced the release of 8-Bit Kits, a Maschine Magic series pack featuring a collection of Maschine projects. Quirky effects, chiptune-inspired samples, decimated drum hits and gritty video game sounds: Packed with kicks, snares, percussion, hats, rides and FX hits and melodic samples, Maschine Magic: 8-Bit Kits is presented as 10 custom drum […]

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Detroit techno, the 90s comic book – and epic new DJ T-1000 techno

In 1992, Alan Oldham aka DJ T-1000 imagined the epic saga of techno and Detroit as a trippy futuristic comic – and it’s prescient today. Plus, Alan’s got a banging new EP that you shouldn’t miss.

I’ve been meaning to share this since I first spotted it in a German-language article, so there’s no time like the present.

Alan was “Minister of Information” for Underground Resistance, as well as making his name as one of the all-time album cover greats with sexy, futuristic work for the likes of legendary imprint Transmat, Derrick May’s imprint. Now, everything in Detroit is in vogue again, but this push and pull between Europe (aka, where the actual techno market is) and Detroit (where it started) is so clear in 1992 that this comic could almost have been posted now.

The setting was a release by pre-minimal Richie Hawtin as F.U.S.E., on Richie’s own Plus 8 Records. Bonus: that demo came with a FlexiDisc and a comic. The comic stands out either way, not least for the presence of a futuristic supercomputer sequencer, a bit of a cross between a mass step sequencer, Deep Thought, and the Borg. Plus it’s great fun imagining UR’s LFO, Daniel Bell (aka DBX of “I’m losing control” fame), and Jochem Paap (Speedy J) as comic superheroes. Yeah, I’d see that Marvel movie.

At the very least, someone needs to make this sequencer.

Nerdcore did the honors and scanned the whole thing, if you need some techno comic reading:

https://nerdcore.de/2017/01/10/f-u-s-e-overdrive-flexidisc-comic/

But Alan deserves credit for his music as well as his graphic art, running those careers as he does in parallel. And his latest, “Message Discipline” EP as DJ T-1000 is a welcome shot of adrenaline in the electronic releases of the fall. It’s clear, focused, aggressive but perpetually bouncy – a blast of fresh sound at a time when so many releases are overthought, over-effected, and muddled in an attempt to shroud the dancing in layers of gloom.

Direct and concise, this is the sound of someone with real confidence in the genre. It’s four perfect cuts.

That’s interesting to me in that we did get a chance to get some insight into Alan’s process, and it was very much about getting straight to that groove. So I’m not just here to shower words on this release, but partly because I imagine it might assist people trying to get to their own voice in dance music.

Grab it on Bandcamp:

https://djt1000.bandcamp.com/album/message-discipline-ep

Previously:

Cues: Detroit innovator Alan Oldham talks to us about techno, creation

More on his site:

http://www.alanoldham.com/

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Prime Loops releases Lo-Fi Jazz Hop sample pack by XXL Audio

XXL Audio Lo Fi Jazz Hop

Prime Loops has launched Lo-Fi Jazz Hop, the latest sample collection by XXL Audio featuring lo-fi, jazz-infused construction kits containing over 260MB of loops and one shots, plus 5 Maschine kits for ultimate flexibility. This new pack, fresh off the XXL press contains some serious, Lo-Fi hip hop beats, with warm, Jazz inspired melodies and […]

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Hip Hop Fundamentals sample pack by XXL Audio at Prime Loops

XXL Audio Hip Hop FundamentalsPrime Loops has launched Hip Hop Fundamentals, a new sample pack by XXL Audio featuring over 400MB of pure, melodic Hip Hop content stripping it back to the most important aspects of what makes tracks work: groovy drums, warm melodies and deep bass! The pack comes with construction kits, loops, one shots and Maschine Kits. […]

Producertech Flash Sale: Save 50% off online music courses

Producertech Flash Sale 50 offPlugin Boutique and Loopmasters have launched a flash sale on Producertech, offering 50% off the insightful and extensive online music courses for Ableton Live, Logic Pro, Maschine and synths, as well as DAW template packs and synth presets. The sale includes popular titles such as Complete Guide To Compression, Designing Leads with NI Massive, Classic […]