This playlist is full of wonderful ARP music – some might surprise you

As we remember Alan R. Pearlman and the impact his instruments had on music, here’s a survey of the many places ARP sounds appeared in music culture. It’s a reminder of just how profound electronic music tools can be in their influence – and of the unique age in which we live.

Perhaps now is the perfect time for an ARP revival. With modular synthesis reaching ever-wider audiences, the ARP creations – the 2500, 2600, and Odyssey featured here – represent something special. Listen across these tracks, and you’re struck by the unique colors of those ARP creations across a range of genres. It’s also significant that each of these designs in their own way struck a balance between modularity and accessibility, sound design and playability. That includes making instruments that had modular patching capability but also produced useful sounds at each patch point by default – that is, you don’t have to wire things up just to make something happen. That in turn also reduces cable spaghetti, because the patch connections you make represent the particular decisions you made deviating from the defaults. On the 2500, this involves a matrix (think Battleship games, kids), which is also a compelling design in the age of digital instruments and software.

And lest we get lost in sound design, it’s also worth noting how much these things get played. In the era of Eurorack, it’s easy to think music is just about tweaking … but sometimes it’s just as useful to have a simple, fresh sound and then just wail on it. (Hello, Herbie Hancock.)

It’s easy to forget just how fast musical sound has moved in a couple of generations. An instrument like the piano or violin evolved over centuries. Alan R. Pearlman literally worked on some of the first amplifiers to head into space – the Mercury and Gemini programs that first sent Americans into space and orbit, prior to Apollo’s journey to the moon. And then he joined the unique club of engineers who have remade music – a group that now includes a lot of you. (All of you, in fact, once you pick up these instruments.)

So I say go for it. Play a preset in a software emulation. Try KORG’s remake of the Odyssey. Turn a knob or re-patch something. Make your own sound design – and don’t worry about whether it’s ingenious or ground-breaking, but see what happens when you play it. (Many of my, uh, friends and colleagues are in the business of creating paid presets, but I have the luxury of making some for my own nefarious music production purposes that no one else has to use, so I’m with you!)

David Abravanel puts together this playlist for CDM:

Some notes on this music:

You know, we keep talking about Close Encounters, but the actual sound of the ARP 2500 is very limited. The clip I embedded Monday left out the ARP sound, as did the soundtrack release of John Williams’ score. The appearance is maybe more notable for the appearance of ARP co-founder David Friend at the instrument – about as much Hollywood screen time as any synth manufacturer has ever gotten. Oh, and … don’t we all want that console in our studio? But yes, following this bit, Williams takes over with some instrumental orchestration – gorgeous, but sans-ARP.

So maybe a better example of a major Hollywood composer is Jerry Goldsmith. The irony here is, I think you could probably get away with releasing this now. Freaky. Family Guy reused it (at the end). We’ll never defeat The Corporation; it’s true.

It’s also about time to acknowledge that Stevie Wonder combined Moog and ARP instruments, not just Moog. As our industry looks at greater accessibility, it’s also worth noting that Wonder was able to do so without sight.

What about U2? Well, that’s The Edge’s guitar routed through the ARP 2600 for filter distortion and spring reverb. That’s a trick you can steal, of course – especially easily now that Arturia has an emulation of the 2600.

Expect our collective reader knowledge exceeds anything we can contribute so – let us know what other artists using ARP inspired you, and if you have any notes on these selections.

The post This playlist is full of wonderful ARP music – some might surprise you appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Funklet teaches you your favorite grooves in your browser

You can learn a lot from a drummer. The best grooves of all time are meticulously constructed – and understanding them means understanding a lot about rhythm and form. So these are objects worth study. What your Web browser can do is make that study easier – even if you’ve never touched a drum kit.

That comes at the right time, too. Thanks to the power of the computer and electronic music hardware, we’ve all of us become composers or expanded our compositional horizons. We may not imagine that we’re composing drum parts when we mess about with drum machines or edit patterns, but of course that’s precisely what we’re doing.

And even apart from that, music study is fun.

Funklet proves just how much fun that can be with an interactive tool at hand, in the new Web audio-powered browser tool. You can both hear and visualize drum parts from your favorite tunes (like Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”). Apart from that, you can even try modifying those patterns, editing individual steps. (There are other features, too, like adjustable reverb). And the Funklet curators have not only chosen some nice examples, but also included commentary, anecdotes, videos, and the like.

If you want to create your own pattern from scratch, too, this is also an in-browser drum machine:
http://machine.funklet.com/funklet.html

It’s a clever creation, the product of Jack Stratton and
Rob Stenson – the latter not only a coder but also apparently able to play the fretless clawhammer banjo. (If you prefer making music outside the browser, see also their compression plug-in for the Mac).

Check it out here:
http://funklet.com/

An alternative drum machine is available, too (same content, different sounds):
http://maestro.funklet.com/

Good times. Found other tools for learning more about rhythm? (Hey, paper books welcome, too!) Let us know in comments.

The post Funklet teaches you your favorite grooves in your browser appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Flashback Friday: The Great Synthesizer Showdown Of 1985

The 27th Annual Grammy Awards, held thirty years ago, on Feb 26, 1985, featured an all-synth performance by the epic lineup of Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Thomas Dolby, and relative newcomer Howard Jones. The performance has been described as “The … Continue reading

Peter Vogel – ‘The Man Who Revolutionised Music’

Synth designer Peter Vogel, creator of the groundbreaking Fairlight CMI synthesizer, is featured in a new article in Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald. Along with the print article, there is also a short video, embedded below, about the Fairlight and its … Continue reading

Fairlight CMI 30A First Look

Click here to view the embedded video.

This video, via proaudiostar, captures a look back at the vintage Fairlight CMI and a first look at the new Fairlight CMI 30A sampling synthesizer at the 2011 NAMM Show.

How Many Stevie Wonders Does It Take To Make ‘Superstition’ So Funky?

Click here to view the embedded video.

Every wonder how Stevie Wonder made the Superstition Clavinet part so funky?

Here, Funkscribe, dissects Stevie Wonder’s multitrack master recording of Superstition. In Protools, he isolates each of the eight Clavinet tracks to get a better understanding of the infamously funky part.

He notes, “Stevie’s Clavinet playing can not be copied, and can barely be understood!”

While Funkscribe concludes that there are 8 tracks of Clavinet that make up the funky part, it sounds like several of the tracks are actually alternate takes of the main riff and a counter-riff.

Without knowing more about mix, it sounds like it would take two Stevie Wonders to make Superstition as funky as it is.

Which means that we’re off the hook if our renditions aren’t quite so funky, right?

Give it a listen and let me know what you think!

via bobbbyowsinski

How Many Stevie Wonders Does It Take To Make ‘Superstition’ So Funky?

Click here to view the embedded video.

Every wonder how Stevie Wonder made the Superstition Clavinet part so funky?

Here, Funkscribe, dissects Stevie Wonder’s multitrack master recording of Superstition. In Protools, he isolates each of the eight Clavinet tracks to get a better understanding of the infamously funky part.

He notes, “Stevie’s Clavinet playing can not be copied, and can barely be understood!”

While Funkscribe concludes that there are 8 tracks of Clavinet that make up the funky part, it sounds like several of the tracks are actually alternate takes of the main riff and a counter-riff.

Without knowing more about mix, it sounds like it would take two Stevie Wonders to make Superstition as funky as it is.

Which means that we’re off the hook if our renditions aren’t quite so funky, right?

Give it a listen and let me know what you think!

via bobbbyowsinski