a powerful amount of modular synthesiser power into one small suitcase.
The Vostok is a sort of modular analog synthesizer with a cover that doubles as a suitcase: add a handful of solar cells and you’ll have the companion of choice to make noises on the field for synthesizer lovers and nans alike. The synthesizer is certainly appealing and promises endless hours of modular patching or EMS pinning, plus tons of weird cool sounds. Drawbacks? maybe the price, £1499 -modular synthesizers tend to be expensive. Also, an article in the sound-on-sound magazine pointed out some other issues, especially the behaviour of the digital oscillator, but the last version has replaced it with an analog one. This said, the Vostok looks superb as a portable semi-modular synth and I would take it everywhere, except airports: it wouldn’t be easy to convince the person behind the scanner that that thing actually is a music instrument (let me show you -I just have to switch it on, connect this pin, and it’ll make awesome sounds! the bass is so powerful, it can blow… the speakers I mean…).
ps. I have just found another modular-in-a-box (second thumbnail from the left). It’s not as sexy, but the case looks much more reliable.
It is curious, this of trends. I remember the synthesizer boom around the second half of the eighties. And I say it is curious because the “synthesizer phenomenon” is much older. More than fifty years ago, avant-garde composers (Ussachevsky, Subotnick, etc…) were already using electronics in their music. However, I recognize that I identify myself more with the seventies´ boom and Schulze, Tangerine Dream or the megapopulars Vangelis and Jean Michel Jarre. Continue reading Remembering synthesizers
Have you ever wondered what a synthesizer and a percolator have in common?
The better the filter, the better the result.
When I told my friend Carlos that a good synthesizer filter should Continue reading of Synthesizers and Percolators
With the exception of the wire strings, this instrument is entirely constructed out of LEGO parts(…) approximate 150 lbs. weight, and an estimated 100,000 LEGO piece count (…) It’s taken two years of theorizing, designing, collecting parts, building, testing, and rebuilding.
I first knew of the Lego Harpsichord after an article in make magazine, and have been wanting to write about it since then. From my point of view, this project stands on its own not only because of the sheer amount of Lego blocks used, but because Henry Lim has overcome the very specific problems that arise when designing and building a music instrument, plus the added challenge of making every single part of it out of Lego (well, obviously not the strings), departing with no previous knowledge on the field!
It is true that, if you Continue reading Lego of Choice: Harpsichord
Anyone, musician or not, can instantly sound like a pro at the touch of a button. You can’t make a mistake!
A few days ago I was searching for synthesizers on ebay when I found an auction for something called “omnichord” (click here to see an auction for a similar item). After some research I found that the Suzuki Omnichord was actually a kind of “automatic music maker”. First released in 1981, it featured several rows of keys, able to play melodies or “autochords” (a chord was obtained by playing a single key). Even more, it had a touchplate that allowed you to Continue reading I Q. Do you?: The Qchord
A pulsar is a highly magnetised neutron star, with a radius of 10-15 km, having somewhat greater mass than the Sun which has a radius of approximately 1 million km. Radiation is beamed out along the magnetic poles and pulses of radiation are received as the beam crosses the Earth, in the same manner as the beam from a lighthouse causes flashes.
Listen to the sound of a Pulsar
Saturn is a source of intense radio emissions, which have been monitored by the Cassini spacecraft. The radio waves are closely related to the auroras near the poles of the planet. These auroras are similar to Earth’s northern and southern lights. This is an audio file of radio emissions from Saturn.
Listen to the eerie Sounds of Saturn’s Radio Emissions
POM is the short for Petit Objet Musical, that is, a Little Musical Object (…)They are offered as landscapes or “living sculptures”(…)I record typically two to three minutes as to get a detailed image of all the nuances in the sound, but these are only windows into conceptually infinite pieces.
Listen to Pom n.17 (which I also call “Forbidden Planet”, after the soundtrack of the classic movie).
the betasound version of sodaconstructor is an extension to the current sodaconstructor beta version, including all new functionality like fixed bar springs, variable model area etc. In addition it offers a new sound feature, enabling hi-fi stereo sound generation in realtime response to model motion.
Soda constructor has been out there for quite a long time (more than I can remember; the first models in their records point to October, 2000). For those who may not know what it is about, the constructor is a java simulator where you can create 2D models made of masses and springs, whose movement you can control by means of a simple interface. Over the years there has been a constant flux of new, amazing machines and critters, with initiatives like sodarace preventing the project from coming to a standstill. The latest of these refreshing ideas, betasound, improves the sound capabilities of the system up to hi- fi levels, by means of two different sound generators which act like choirs, each of their voices associated to an element of the model: “each spring and node of a model has its own voice”. Besides the classic controls, there are some new sliders that can be used to tweak certain parameters in the generators, and are intuitive enough to play with without bothering about the technical details. The whole is still too constrained, since one of the generators uses sine waves, while the other uses “more complex waveforms” (which isn´t saying much, since sine waves are the simplest ones). However, even with these limitations the results are already very interesting and highly promising. It´s amazing to perceive the organic correspondence in between a model´s behaviour and the sounds it produces, which are sometimes cloudy, sometimes percussive, and at least as interesting as the models themselves. Installing the simulator is really simple, and whether you are interested in sound or cOol ideas, it really worths to check it out.
The Revolution is our latest concept synthesizer providing an intuitive interface which we feel most accurately represents the principles of time and music (…) We must conclude that music is cyclic, and should so be represented in its natural form. And so it is… the Revolution.
Ok, in fact it´s a synth, but I must claim in my defense that it can make weird songs which will escape out of your control. 😛
Coming from a company named Future Retro, it´s no wonder that the Revolution looks like it could be the synthesizer of choice of the Discovery ship in the movie 2001. I haven´t played the synthesizer myself, but from what I heard in the demos it looks proficient, and it features an “auto pattern variation” (they call it Remix), which must make it a joy to play with, especially if the controls are as intuitive as they say.
The Revolution sells for $699, which sounds fair enough (both the synth and the price), and it would make good company with the perhaps more intellectual evolver.