VST Buzz has launched a new deal on the Cinematic Vocal Bundle by EastWest/Quantum Leap, offering over 60% off on the bundle comprising Voices of Opera and Voices of the Empire. Featuring the sensational operatic vocals of soprano Larisa Martinez and tenor Carlton Moe, plus the raw, primal, haunting vocals of Uyanga Bold, the collection […]
EastWest has released the its brand-new virtual instrument Voices of Opera, featuring the sensational vocals of soprano Larisa Martinez (Andrea Bocelli) and tenor Carlton Moe (Phantom of the Opera). VOICES OF OPERA is perfect for any composer looking to add a pristine operatic sound, and fits in perfectly with EastWest’s recent slate of award-winning vocal […]
Softrave has announced the release of volume 2 of the Opera Themes Marina vocal sample library, a collection of vocals by Marina Ahibalova. Opera Themes Marina vocal sample library vol 2 consists of 12 famous opera themes, only female vocal part, clean voice without any “cathedral” or “church” effects, just pure power. The sample pack […]
Why a browser? Well, the software is available instantly, from anywhere with an Internet connection and a copy of Chrome or Opera. It’s also instantly updated, as we add features. And you can share your results with anyone else with a MeeBlip, too.
That means you can follow our new MeeBlip bot account and discover new sounds. It might be overkill with a reasonable simple synth, but it’s a playground for how synths can work in our Internet-connected age. And we think in the coming weeks we can make our bot more fun to follow than, um, some humans on Twitter.
Plus, because this is all built with Web technologies, the code is friendly to a wide variety of people! (That’s something that might be less true of the Assembly code the MeeBlip synth hardware runs.)
You can have a look at it here. Actually, we’re hoping someone out there will learn from this, modify it, ask questions – whatever! So whether you’re advanced or a beginner, do have a look:
All the work on the editor comes to us from musician and coder Ben Schmaus, based on an earlier version – totally unsolicited, actually, so we’re amazed and grateful to get this. We asked Ben for some thoughts on the project.
CDM: How did you get into building these Web music tools in the first place?
Ben: I had been reading about the Web MIDI and Audio APIs and thinking about how I might use them. I bought an anode Limited Edition synth and wanted a way to save patches I created. I thought it’d be cool and maybe even useful to be able to store and share patches with URLs, the lingua franca of the web. Being a reasonably capable web developer it seemed pretty approachable and so I started working on Blipweb. [Blipweb was the earlier iteration of the same editor tool. -Ed.]
Why the MeeBlip for this editor?
Well, largely because I had one! And the (admirably concise) quick start guide very clearly outlined all the MIDI CC numbers to control mappings. So it seemed very doable. Plus being already open source I thought it would be nice to contribute something to the user community.
What’s new in the new MeeBlip editors versus the original Blipweb?
The layout and design is tighter in the new versions. I added a very basic sequencer that has eight steps and lets you control pitch and velocity. It’s nice because you can produce sound with just a MeeBlip, MIDI interface, and browser. There’s also a simple patch browser that has some sample patches loaded into it that could be expanded in a few different ways in the future. Aside from the visible changes the code was restructured quite a bit to enable sharing between the anode and triode editors. The apps are built using JQuery, because I know it and it also had a nice knob UI widget. If I were starting from scratch today, I’d probably build the editors using React (developed by Facebook), which improves upon the JQuery legacy without over-complicating things.
Why do this in a browser rather than another tool?
There’s the practical aspect of me being familiar with web technologies. Combining that with the fact that Chromium-based browsers implement Web MIDI, the browser was a natural target platform. I’m not sure where Web MIDI is going. It’s obviously a very niche piece of functionality, but I also think it’s super useful to be able to pull up a web page and start interacting with hardware gear without having to download a native app. The ease of access is pretty compelling, and the browser is a great way to reach lots of OSes with minimal effort.
You also built this terrific Web MIDI console. How are you using that – or these other tools – in your own work and music?
The Web MIDI console is a tool to inspect MIDI messages sent from devices. I updated it recently after being inspired by Geert Bevin’s sendMIDI command line utility. So now you can send messages to devices in addition to viewing them. I often use it to see what messages are actually coming from my devices. I’ve written a few controller scripts for Bitwig Studio and the MIDI console has come in handy for quickly seeing which messages pads, knobs, sliders, etc. send. There are, of course, native apps that do this sort of thing, but again, it’s nice to just open a web page and have a quick look at a MIDI data stream or send some messages.
What was your background; how did you learn these Web technologies?
I studied music in college and learned just enough web dev skills through some multimedia courses to get a job making web pages back around 2000. It was more enjoyable than the random day jobs/teaching guitar lessons/wedding band gigs I was doing so I decided to pursue it seriously. Despite starting out in web/UI development, I’ve spent more time working on back-end services. I was an engineering director at Netflix and worked there in the Bay Area for five years before moving back to the east coast last summer. I’ve been spending more time working on music software lately and hope to find opportunities to continue it.
Did you learn anything useful about these Web technologies? Where do you think they’ll go next? (and will we ever use a Chromebook for MIDI?)
Well, if you want the broadest compatibility across browsers you need to serve your Web MIDI app over HTTPS. For example, Opera doesn’t allow MIDI access over HTTP. I’m not sure where it’s going, really. It’d be nice to see Web MIDI implemented in more browsers. People spend so much time in their browsers these days, so it seems reasonable for them to become more tightly integrated with the underlying OS. Though it’s a bit hard to find strong incentive for browser vendors to support MIDI. Nonetheless, I’m glad it’s available in Chrome and Opera.
I think Web MIDI apps work quite well as tools in support of other products. Novation’s browser apps for Circuit are really well done and move Web MIDI beyond novelty. I hope the MeeBlip editors do the same. I also like Soundtrap and think Web MIDI/Audio apps work well in educational contexts since browsers are by and large ubiquitously accessible.
Ed.: For more on this topic of SSL and MIDI access, Ben wrote a companion blog post whilse developing this editor:
Why make these tools open source? Does it matter that the MeeBlip is open source hardware?
It absolutely matters that MeeBlip is open source. That’s the main reason I bought into it. I really like the idea of open and hackable products that let users participate in their further development. It’s especially cool to see companies that are able to build viable businesses on top of open products.
In the case of the editors, they’re (hopefully!) adding value to the product; there’s no competitive advantage in having a patch editor by itself. It makes sense to open source the tools and let people make and share their own mods. And maybe some of that work feeds back into the main code line to the benefit of the broader user base. I think open source hardware/software products tend to encourage more creative and vibrant user communities.
What other useful browser music stuff do you use? Any tips?
Thanks, Ben! Yes, we’ll be watching this, too – developers, users, we’d love to hear from you! In the meantime, don’t miss Ben’s site. It’s full of cool stuff, from nerdy Web MIDI discussions to Bitwig and SuperCollider tools for users:
It’s not so much how complex or simple an instrument is – it’s how much you can make it feel your own. We covered a series of updates last week to Novation’s Circuit hardware. This week, as part of a collaboration with Novation and their product specialists, we’ve put together an exclusive hands-on guide to how to customize it for your own use.
First, here’s a video overview of how loading your own samples works, and why it’s important:
What you can customize
The “Novation Components” update covers a number of areas. You can…
Load your own sound samples (60 seconds worth).
Record external MIDI control and notes. (As mentioned last week, this is also a way of transferring MIDI clips from your computer to the Circuit – sync the two, then record the pattern.)
Transform the onboard synths with a special editor and MIDI control. (That unlocks a lot of hidden parameters and mappings, then lets you assign them to the onboard controls.)
In short, if you looked at Circuit and said, okay, this is just a bunch of stock sounds with some knobs and a step sequencer – not any more, it isn’t.
What you’ll need
To take advantage of the new stuff, you’ll need some different updates and downloads. It might not be immediately obvious, so let’s cover it one step at a time, in order.
1. Get the Google Chrome or Opera Web browser. You’ll need these browsers because they have full support for browser MIDI. (Don’t laugh at Opera; I actually just switched to it – it’s now based on the Chrome engine.) You can then grab the rest of the files/links at:
2. If you’re on Windows, install an updated driver.
3. Install the updated firmware. Circuit 1.2 firmware (as of this writing) adds all the features you need. Connect your Circuit to your computer, run the updater, and you’re ready to go.
4. Install the editor. Isotonik have built an editor for the Circuit’s synths. You can download two flavors – one standalone, and one for Ableton Max for Live. You’ll register on Isotonik’s site, and then each is a free download. Note that the Max for Live version requires Ableton Live 9.2 and Max for Live 7.0 or later. The Isotonik page is here (scroll down):
Novation has consolidated most of what you need at components.novationmusic.com. Once you open that site in a supported browser (recent versions of Chrome, Opera), it’ll first check to see if you’ve got a Circuit connected via USB.
Next, you’re prompted to switch your Circuit to “bootloader” mode.
Finally, you’ll see a pattern of green lights indicating you’re in bootloader mode and ready to communicate with the browser tools. (Don’t worry if your pattern of green lights doesn’t match exactly.)
Load your own samples
As seen in the video, one of the big features in the new firmware is the ability to load custom samples. So, for instance, I’m a huge fan of Goldbaby’s grimy, retro drum samples. Any pack of drum sounds can now replace the four drum parts on the Circuit.
You can also load melodic samples (or anything else). Here, you’ll want to chop up those samples in advance. In Logic Pro X, I like to first add transient markers to audio (automatically). Once you’ve done that, and adjusted transients to your liking, you can right-click the audio, and choose Slice at Transient Markers. That creates a bunch of regions which (as of Logic Pro X 10.2.1) you can now batch export – so it’s perfect for this job. (Choose File > Export > [x] Regions as Audio Files.)
In Ableton Live, there’s a bit of extra work to get the actual samples out. If you have a Drum Rack, you can go to each slot, open the Simpler or Sampler instance, right-click, and choose “crop” on the audio file. Then you’ll find the files inside the /Samples/Processed/ folder.
Some other DAWs make this easier, and you can also use tools like the free Audacity editor, Propellerheads’ ReCycle, or a nice dedicated tool like Oscillicious BeatCleaver.
Once you’ve got your files, you’ll want to understand how Circuit organizes them.
Because of the available memory on the Circuit, you can load up to 60 seconds total playing time of 16-bit, 48kHz audio, as uncompressed WAV files. (MP3 files work, too, but not other formats; I recommend WAV.) There are 64 sample slots in total. So, for instance, you could take a 60-second melodic file, and divide it into up to 64 slices.
Circuit access these samples via Drum 1, Drum 2, Drum 3, and Drum 4.
To load the files, open Circuit Components in your Opera or Chrome browser. The first time you load a compatible browser, you’ll see a prompt asking for your permission to use Web MIDI; approve it so your browser can access your hardware.
Next, choose Sample Import. You’ll be prompted to enter bootloader mode if you haven’t already. Hold down Scale, Note, and Velocity with the unit powered off, then hold the power button to power it on. You’ll see a pattern of green lights.
Then, choose New Sample Set.
The first time you create a Sample Set, you’ll do so manually. You drag one file at a time to one pad slot at a time. (Hopefully we see a future update that allows multiple file drag-and-drop – browsers support that possibility.)
Don’t panic about the “bootloader mode.” You can always go back to the defaults by choosing “Load Default Samples,” so you won’t do any harm!
Once you’ve loaded all your samples, choose Send to Circuit to load them onto the hardware. After they’re loaded, you can also try them out by hitting the Play button.
You can only have one sample set loaded on your Circuit at a time. So, once you have a sample set you like, choose Download as File. Now you can upload different sample sets as .syx files, without any more drag-and-drop.
You can also use the Librarian in Circuit Components to save everything in the cloud.
Play with sample sets
There are some limitations to how you can use your custom samples. Since they’re loaded to Drum 1-4, you have just four simultaneous sample parts. You can swap any one of those parts between samples, via one of two methods:
1. Switch samples via the pads. Hold down Shift and tap the Drum part you want. Now, you can change samples on-the-fly by tapping one of the 32 pads. Drum 1 and Drum 2 default to slots 1-32 first, and Drum 3 and Drum 4 default to 33-64; to get to the other 32, use the octave up/down buttons.
2. Switch samples via MIDI. You can’t automate sample changes on the Circuit itself, but you can via MIDI. Control Change messages sent on channel 10 will switch samples: CC 8 (Drum 1), 18 (Drum 2), 44 (Drum 3), and 50 (Drum 4). That means you can have some fun creating clips in, say, Ableton Live, while you play, or map to a controller and switch samples live. (Check out the Peavey faderbox in our artist video, for instance.)
You can also control parameters of the samples, just as with the drum parts, via Circuit’s encoders.
Unauthorized tip: I’m fairly certain Novation don’t want me to say this, but it’s a bit cool. I discovered by accident – as you probably will – that an empty sample slot makes a little “click.” That click you can even re-pitch and distort and sequence. So, as a big fan of music like the stuff on raster-noton, I’ve actually taken to making some sequences with this. Have fun with it before they decide to “fix” it.
Play chords (not just melodies)
Synth parts can be polyphonic as well as monophonic. That means you can enter chords into the sequencer. There are a few tips for making some unique use of this feature.
First, enter your chord progression. Hold down the step you want on the bottom half of the pads, then either play a chord on an external MIDI controller, or on the keyboard on the top half of the pads. Now that chord is stored in that step. (You can add up to six notes per step, for six-note chords.)
Normally, these chords will play along with the step sequencer. To stop that from happening, mute the Synth part. Press Mixer to switch to Mixer mode, and then mute the associated part by tapping the pad underneath Synth 1 or Synth 2. “Mute” is something of a misnomer – you’ll still hear the part, but it won’t play in the sequencer, meaning you can trigger chords manually.
Now, with the sequencer playing or not, you can tap the step to trigger the associated chord.
Here’s the fun bit: with the Circuit as a controller, you can use those chords to trigger another synth. So, for example, Olly at Novation has built a whole Ableton Live set in which he uses the Circuit to trigger custom synths and arpeggiators using these chords.
Stay in the flow while playing
Two new features in the firmware update can be a big boon to keeping your flow going as you play – that’s really essential if you use hardware live, as I do.
First, you can now write automation for just the part of the sequence you want, rather than overwriting the whole sequence. (Boy oh boy do I wish I could do this with some of my other gear.)
Hold down record as you turn one of the encoders, and “momentary record” writes automation data only as the record button is depressed.
You can also add and remove automation to just a particular step, when the sequencer isn’t running. To add automation to a step, stop, make sure recording is armed (with the record button), press red to select it for editing (it’s highlighted red), then move the encoder.
To remove from the same step, also with the sequencer stopped and record is armed, tap the step you want, hold down clear, and then twist the knob you want to clear just that automation.
You can also review these techniques with the 1.2 firmware video from Novation:
Tinker with synths
So, you can transform Drum 1-4 by changing samples. But you can also get much deeper with Synth 1 and Synth 2 – if you don’t like the stock, preset sounds, you really can make Circuit sound like just about anything you want. A lot of the character of the instrument isn’t so much the engine as those preset sounds; you can push it in very different directions. There are three ways you might about this.
Modulation routing along can do some crazy things to your instrument patches. And it’s far deeper than you might suspect looking at the Circuit front panel.
The software editor. Isotonik’s Circuit editor, built in Max, is kind of amazing. You’ll see that hidden behind the Circuit’s eight encoders is an entire synth engine waiting to be customized. One good way to start is by re-assigning the Macro knobs so you can control what you like with those encoders. If you want to dive down the rabbit hole, try the modulation section in the bottom right-hand side. We could practically do a feature just on this editor, but that’ll get you going.
External MIDI control – including the LaunchControl XL. The editor works because all these parameters are accessible via MIDI. But then the editor isn’t the only way to get at them. You can also use an external MIDI controller, as My Panda Shall Fly did with his Peavey. If you don’t feel like manually assigning those, Novation has built a set of layouts for its LaunchControl XL control surface. The Mixer alone is huge, plus there are pages for controlling each synth and drum part. And because the LaunchControl XL works in standalone mode, you can even do this without a computer. (Since the LaunchControl XL lacks MIDI DIN ports, you’ll need a hardware USB MIDI host like the Kenton USB host.)
iOS and TouchOSC. If you have an iPad, you can send MIDI from that. Again, Novation has built one solution for you out of the box, in the form of an iPad-only (sorry, no iPhone) layout for TouchOSC. Because it’s a TouchOSC layout, though, you can open it with the TouchOSC editor and modify it – as some CDM readers have already done. For instance, you might want to make an X/Y pad for controlling parameters with sweeping gestures of your finger.
If the onboard step sequencer seems limiting on the Circuit, you can also record external MIDI.
For example, let’s say you’ve got a MIDI clip you like in Ableton Live (or any other program that sends MIDI from clips).
1. Sync. Make sure your computer and Circuit are synced via MIDI clock.
2. Set length. Set the length of the clip to the length of the Circuit step sequence. That pattern/clip can be anywhere from one to eight bars in length. Choose Patterns on Circuit, and then set the length (for instance, for a full eight-bar length, press pads for pattern 1 and 8 at the same time.)
3. Capture. Then, simply hit record on the Circuit whilst your MIDI clip is playing. Now the MIDI sequence on your computer is on your Circuit.
You can also use an external MIDI input to play in a sequence from any other controller.
Got more tips? Other things you want to know? Let us know.
For more information, see the other parts of this series:
Best Sample Libraries has announced the release of Opera Female Vocal by Marina, a sample library featuring recordings of Marina Diva. This sample library have have 25 min of unedited vocal recording of some classical … read more
We hope that music will always have tribes of people keeping esoteric traditions alive – your Renaissance musical ensemble, your Slovenian folk instrumentalists. It just happens that electronic technologies have attracted their own followings, cultivating knowledge of Texas Instruments chips found in specific arcade games the way some people might maintain a balalaika.
Chip singers have never gotten the kind of attention synthesizers have. But if Moog – and the synth itself – can look to Keith Emerson’s “Lucky Man,” fans of robotic sung vocals will always have Humanoid.
The seminal acid track “Stakker Humanoid” was the work of artists who would become 90s legends Future Sound of London. And so it’s only right that Humanoid (and FSOL) would come to open the coming of the most exhaustive effort yet to recreate classic vocal synths. (Future Sound of London sound excited, too, if their Facebook page is to be believed.)
Coinciding with the release of Chipspeech from Montreal developer Plogue, the free “chipspeech AUTOMATE SONGS .01″ compilation on Toy Company is a cross-section of compulsive chip artists from around the world.
Toy Company, the chip-focused label based in Montreal (with some strong New York connections), has been a lone stalwart of music made with vintage synthesis tech. The “chip” loosely refers to ICs – integrated circuits. These are what came after the first synthesizers; they’re the mass-produced analog and digital soul of a generation of electronic sounds. Real chip music isn’t just a nostalgic, ironic hipster production by people who miss afternoons playing NES. No, that doesn’t begin to explain the level of obsession that drives these musicians. We’re talking people who can tell the difference between an emulation and original chips, who know the model number of particular TI devices that went with specific consoles, and who coax sound out of this gear in the way a concert master might drive a string section.
In particular, I want to pull out some music you might otherwise miss on the compilation, partly because several go far from the sort of tracks you likely expect.
First, be sure to give a listen to the grungy, purring beauty of Humanoid’s contribution:
Villa Moirai’s music is absolutely exquisite (aka aliceffekt), trippy and pulsing with delicate, warm ambient crystalline formations – the glassy skin of an android. Give the whole “Ramiel” EP a try; it really demonstrates these chips in software form can be used to produce new timbres and sounds. Amazingly, it all uses Chipspeech. (His use is so inventive, in fact, it stumped Plogue’s own David Viens!)
Jonathan Adams Leonard has turned these singers into haunting oratorio. Remember, these chips didn’t originally sing in tune; they’ve been retrained in software form. Here, they blend with strings and organs to become themselves organlike. The simple writing is majestic; glissandi are oddly chilling.
And yes, if you know enough about phonetics, you can train robots to pronounce French:
I spoke to Toy Company co-founder Francis Yoan Rodrig – aka XC3N – to walk us lay people through what’s here. (And yes, I’m in this bunch, too, because I couldn’t resist submitting something once I was on the chipspeech beta.) Plogue’s David Viens chimes in on a couple of tracks, as well.
Francis: To give a bit of background about Toy Company: it started in 2007 and has been maintained by XC3N [Francis], Aliceffekt (featured on the compilation as Villa Moirai) and Pocaille. While the main purpose is to curate lo-fi music parties in Montreal, we started releasing yearly compilations featuring like-minded artists willing to showcase their music and help us finance our activities (paying for transport, booking venues, etc). The collective have grown to be an odd collection of talented independent music makers, a grassroots approach to elusive DIY electronic music.
We were really excited when Plogue asked us to host the Chipspeech compilation. They have been a long term partner of Toy Company and we hold their software in high esteem! I’ve been relying on it whenever working in Renoise [tracker] and Pocaille uses it in mostly all his productions. In retrospect, we think it’s a good idea: now the whole project his centered around our native Montreal and most of the collective’s hard workers are featured.
Francis takes us through some of the tracks here:
[Track the first] First, it’s hard to miss HUMANOID’s contribution! What an incredible chance to have legendary FSOL’s half on our humble label!
The compilation has a wide array of ecclectic tracks, ranging from opera-esque experiments to a capella songs to digital dub and, as expected, banging techno tracks.
2: Well known in the chiptune scene, coda presents a groovy track featuring chipspeech as vocals as well as an instrument. Also using Plogue’s Chipsounds, this track was made in the oldskool and now open source OpenMPT (MODplugtracker)
03: Ed Ten Eyck has done sound desing and preset work for many plugins, and surprised us with this cool track! He gave us a Moroder-inspired dancy track (with a hefty dose of chipsounds bleeps) that features many different chipspeech solo timbres – from monotonous to highly expressive – on top of some lush choir pad sounds.
4: From local movie and video game soundtrack prodigy Wasreich comes this really fresh “STAKKER humanoid” re-interpretation. This track was used in the OTTO MOZER announcement teaser trailer, and with good reasons!
5: Ubiktune Netlabel’s own C-jeff brings us his signature jazzy funk complete with Chipspeech Doo-wop in this sparkly jam featuring a mean guitar solo by Raz Ben Ari.
6: Toy Company’s Pocaille’s retro-fueled Grove Synthwave will make you travel through the sheer fabric of time and space itself, hurling your very soul through multiple dimensions as you then realize that the future is not now anymore, it’s over.
7: CUCKOO has a skwee-like cheerful track showing just how expressive Chipspeech can be, it’s time to wake up!
8: Strayboom’s Vincenzo shows us just how efficient it is to make a convincing lead singer out of Chipspeech with this dance-floor ready chiptune track.
9: Chiptune Legend GOTO80 has graced the compilation with a very funky love letter to Crossword Puzzles (Hint: he likes them. A lot.)
10: Plogue’s Phonetics Wizard MadBrain is working miracles with this 100% Chipspeech acapella song. In French. Mastery at work!
11: One of the most mysterious figure in modern electronic music, Devine Lu Linvega incarnates Villa Moirai and demonstrates the virtues of Chipspeech as an instrument in this atmospheric yet rhytmic soundscape.
13: The first of Torley’s submissions, “Text to Song” was done entirely with the Plogue “Chip Trilogy” encompassing Chipsounds, Chipcrusher and Chipspeech. A convincing case for the suite’s capabilities! As he puts it himself, “A summary of what I’ve learned to do with your beautifully obsessive tools thus far.”
14 : Give Me Patience also restricted himself to the Plogue ‘Chip’ suite, resulting in a strangely soothing dreamy and atmospheric jungle track.
15: MadBrain’s second track is a surprisingly uplifting pop song featuring a vocal duo testament to the many contexts in which Chipspeech feels right at home.
16: Torley’s second submission is a marvelous opera piece done entirely in Chipspeech. Quite wonderful and highly recommended.
17: An homage to Montreal’s amazing Fade Runner, this digital dub track is done entirely with Plogue plug-ins and considers 6502 assembly language tutorials poetic enough to be considered lyrical content.
18: Scott AKA AbstractCats, also has done presets packs for tons of plugins, so was an ideal cadidate for beta testing. His track features the grinding side of chipspeech with some nifty modulation going on. the way it incorporates a solid groove layered with an echo-drenched atmospheric top is quite a feat in itself.
19: Our last track is a rock opera-inspired epic and poetic journey through Chipspeech’s every voice engines.
And yes, of course, there’s my own track, which I suppose I should explain. It’s a kind of ode to unintelligibility, by using Shannon Weaver’s theoretical texts that explain the problem of communicating (applicable not only to digital encoding, but all forms of information).
Imagine combining sampling, controllerism, opera, hip-hop, rap, cops, live theater, sound effects, school-play cardboard props, and radio plays, and then doing it all in Russian, and you’re getting in the ballpark of what “Cops on Fire” was like.
As described in English for the 2010 Moscow trailer (translated by uploader Sasha Pas):
The “Cops On Fire” show is a fusion of theater, culture and contemporary urban music. The genre of the show is “hip-hopera” (hip-hop + opera). Hip-hopera = live hip-hop arias + original decorations + stage tricks and choreography by professional artists.
These guys are dedicated to live performance. So that means not only getting up onstage and pulling off a theatrical performance, but triggering samples live – from sound effects and ambient sounds to chopped-up beats. From a gunshot to a sample, every sound and song is live.
In the video at top, you can see how they’re pulling it off. As they explain in Russian, the old rig was too heavy to lug around – a mixer, an MPC2500, a Roland SP-404SX, a KAOSS Pad. Now, they’ve got it down to a Novation Launchpad (the original version) and Novation Nocturn.
It’s like finger drumming met the Radiophonic Workshop met Public Enemy, onstage in Moscow with Ableton Live.
DZA pulls off the live, original music score and sound effects.
Guys, if you’re CDM readers somehow, we’d love to talk to you. And I hope someone books you in Berlin, or I see you on my next Moscow trip.