Bonnaroo organizers have postponed the festival’s dates for a third time in response to COVID-19.
Originally scheduled for mid-June of 2021, Bonnaroo will now take place from September 2 – 5, 2021. Bonnaroo coordinators have assured ticket-holders that refunds will be allotted to those who do not wish to roll over their passes for the rescheduled dates.
Excitingly, the new dates will be in accordance with the festival’s 20th anniversary. More information on Bonnaroo 2021’s lineup and camping details are to come, with organizers slated to release additional insights as September of the new year approaches.
ElectroTechnique shared this intro video for the TSynth, a low-cost DIY desktop synthesizer, based on the PJRC Teensy 4.1 micro-controller board.
The virtual analog synth is 12-voice polyphonic, with two oscillators per voice.
The pcb and front panel are available from Tindie.com with SMD 4067 multiplexers, 6N138 opto-isolator, capacitors and resistors fitted. ElectroTechnique says that the entire cost of parts to build TSynth will be around $99, if you buy components from the cheaper suppliers, and the build time should take about two hours.
Plans for a 3D printed/laser cut enclosure are also available.
12 voice polyphony (last note priority), two oscillators per voice, velocity sensitive, detunable with +/- 2 octaves range, Sine/Sample & Hold (like tuned noise)/Square/Sawtooth/Ramp/PWM/Var Triangle/User waveforms and level. Square, Sawtooth and Pulse waves are band-limited.
Pulse Width/Var Triangle can be set for each oscillator with PWM by dedicated LFO or from the filter envelope
Pink or white noise level
Dedicated LFO for pitch mod (can be retriggered by note on), Sine/Triangle/Sawtooth/Ramp/Square/S&H waveforms
Pitch can be modulated by filter envelope (+/-)
Oscillator FX – XOR creates lots of harmonics with certain waveforms and X Mod ‘Cross Modulation’ bell-like sounds.
Dynamic Unison with all 24 oscillators detunable from each other – one, two, three or four notes can be played with oscillators distributed among them
Chord Unison with all oscillators playing a chord selected from detune control – major, minor, diminshed…
Polyphonic Glide with variable time
State variable 12dB filter (SVF) with continuous mix between LP and HP (provides notch filter) and BP
Cutoff freq and resonance
Cutoff can be modulated by dedicated ADSR envelope (+/-), dedicated LFO
LFO has same waveforms as pitch LFO (can be retriggered by note on) and rate can be set to match MIDI clock (tempo) with variable time division (1,3/4,1/2,1/4,1/8…)
Dedicated ADSR envelope
Effect amount and mix – currently for stereo ensemble chorus rate and mix but could be set up to allow choices in Settings menu
Patch & Program Buttons
Encoder with button for data entry, Back button for menu navigation
Save and Delete buttons for storing patches
Holding Settings initialises the current patch to match the panel controls. Holding the Save button takes you into a patch deletion page.
Settings Menu – Velocity curve, Pitch Bend and Mod Wheel range, VU Meter, Oscilloscope display, Bass enhance, MIDI In and Out channel.
USB HOST MIDI Class Compliant (direct connection to MIDI controller, no PC needed)
USB Client MIDI In from PC
MIDI In 5 pin DIN
MIDI Thru 5 pin DIN
SGTL5000 Audio Shield 16 bit, 44.1 kHz Stereo out
USB Audio in/out—appears as 16 bit, 44.1 kHz audio interface on PC
Teenage Engineering has been teasing the OB-4 – sparking speculation that they might have a new instrument. Instead, we get a radio/boom box. But in typical Teenage fashion, it’s not quite what you’d expect.
Teenage Engineering, the Stockholm design house that birthed the OP-1, OP-Z, and Pocket Operators, has been in parallel growing into a boutique consumer brand. So they’ve been making three categories of stuff – synths, wacky designs, and wireless audio.
The OB-4 is really in the “we make speakers” category. But this company has toyed with everything from cameras to hackable stuff for IKEA to desk lamps and a brief experiment in bicycles. (That last one didn’t pan out, I think, but it was a thing – I didn’t dream it.) They have a tendency of squeezing unexpected features, hidden hacks, and other toys into their products. So after some speakers that were, well, speakers … the OB-4 is, Transformers-style, more than meets the eye.
And you will notice some details that seem related to the company’s synth creations – and in turn, might make some other appearance in a future instrument.
The OB-4 is a radio/speaker. Teenage Engineering, like all industrial design nerds, have an obvious fetish for Dieter Rams and Braun, and this design clearly borrows from iconic Braun portable radios like the 1961 model T52 transistor radio. (It reminds me of a Radio Shack model my Dad owned, but then Radio Shack was also taking cues from Braun.)
The minimal labels and controls, the geometry, the stand-out physical knobs, everything pretty much screams Braun for the 21st Century.
Of course, what is a radio in 2020? In 1961, when the transistor radio component was basically the only thing that was portable, the function of radio and portable speaker were one and the same on something like a T52. Even by the 80s, radio and “portable speaker” had blurred – hence the phrase “boom box,” which also included multiple sound sources in addition to radio (tape, later CD, and if you had a fancy model, some sort of line input).
The OB-4 therefore includes:
FM radio receiver for terrestrial radio (it’s integrated with the handle, to one-up Dieter slightly for minimalism)
Bluetooth for use as a wireless speaker (Bluetooth 5 LE plus “classic” AAC)
Stereo line input for … anything else
I’m a little sad there isn’t some kind of world radio or AM built in, given how nerdy the Teenagers are, but … we get some other surprises instead.
The OB-4 has an always-on record mode. Here’s where the OB-4 seems more like the sibling of the OP-Z / OP-1 synths. There’s an always-on virtual tape reel, which is constantly grabbing sound from the radio.
They appear to have left out description of the length of that buffer (I’ll ask), but the idea here is – when you hear a song ID on the radio, or something else you missed, you just grab the control and rewind, like tape, kinetically, to go back in time.
And I do mean kinetically:
There’s a motorized user interface. Never ones to spare an expense or make engineering easy, the Teenagers have added a “brushless motor” so that knob is actually spinning and gives you tactile feedback when you adjust it.
Believe it or not, that isn’t the strange part of the OB-4. They’ve also built what they call “Disk Mode” into it, turning the OB-4 radio into a kind of instrument. It’s a bit like the apps we once expected to be the generative soundtrack of the iPhone, before people switched to using phones to take photos and then from that to yelling at each other on social media.
There’s a metronome, with some stereo samples of a nice mechanical metronome.
There’s a “karma” mode – think Buddha Machine, with a 30-in-1 mantra box as “your spiritual companion.”
And there’s an ambient mode, which evidently is a generative drone composer that samples from the radio.
The “karma” concept borrows heavily on the devices launched by FM3 aka Christiaan Virant and Zhang Jian, the Beijing duo, which in turn was inspired by mobile electronics from southeast Asia that produced push-button chants and mantras. There’s something a little painful about seeing that inexpensive device turn into a luxury item. But on the other hand, it at least imbues the OB-4 with the chance to actually use its internal electronics and computation creatively.
In fact, since there are other good mobile speakers out there, I’m really curious to see if the Teenagers are able to follow up on the OB as a platform and make use of the Drive Mode – or, better yet, open it up to developers and musicians. (Even FM3 ultimately did that with their Buddha Machine, which gave it life beyond a one-off novelty.)
The idea of sampling radio as an instrument has a lineage, too, and that also points to greater potential for this device.
Specifically, Joshua Fried has for many years built an entire performance around sampling radio, in RADIO WONDERLAND – which somehow, even in the age of digital radio, magically lives on:
Eat your heart out, OB-4 – Joshua has an entire tractor wheel attached to his rig.
All in all, maybe as odd as the OB-4 seems at first, what’s really odd is how plain most of our listening electronics are. It’s not that the OB-4 is an outlier, it’s that we have all this computational power that goes largely unused in an uncreative consumer electronics landscape.
You’ll want to check the specs on the OB-4, though, as it’s no impulse buy – 599EUR for the matte black edition, 649 in gloss red, 400EUR for a limited edition leather bag (with Bill Amberg Studios), and 99EUR for a remote control (seriously). I am sure we’ll marvel at this and save our money for a synth. But it is fun to look at.
Now here’s a reference I expect the Swedes don’t have. You’re welcome. (Tennessee’s Roy Acuff was known as the “King of Country Music,” but I know this number as the opening from a not-especially-Christian-oriented radio show growing up in Louisville. No idea what it was, but a lot of people read this site to the end so … uh … maybe you know … anyway, I’m going to Hell, but this is a great song about radio.)
232.5 x 284 x 57.5 mm
52 – 25000 Hz
1.7 Kg of “Amorphous Polymer Glass fibre Reinforced PC and Milled Aluminium”
Fine Pitch Tweeter Grille, Gel Dampened Handle, custom Direct Drive Volume Knob and tape dial.
72 hours battery life (wow, remember FM radios?) or high-volume Bluetooth for 8 hours
Yamaha today introduced CP OS v1.4 for the CP73 and CP88 stage pianos.
The free update adds new Voices, along with improved workflow and additions to the Sub Section.
“The CP73 and CP88 stage keyboards were crafted to deliver the authentic sounds that artists are looking for in an intuitive, modern instrument,” said Yamaha’s Nate Tschetter. “The new CP OS v1.4 update expands upon the instruments’ carefully selected sounds, giving musicians the expressive capabilities that they need to create.”
Here’s what they have to say about CP OS v1.4:
“The new OS v1.4 builds upon the keyboards’ previous update, CP OS v1.3, with two added Voices for greater studio and performance options.
The new Nashville C3 Voice offers players an inspiring vintage grand piano sound with the characteristic sounds of Nashville. The samples were processed using analog tape at Yamaha Entertainment Group studios in order to create its vintage character.
The new CF3 Live Voice was added at players’ request for the second characteristic sound of the Yamaha CP300 stage piano after the addition of the CFIII acoustic grand piano in the previous update. The CP300 is known for being able to cut through dense arrangements, with a bright, powerful sound. The Voice has been optimized for an even better presence in a mix and will be featured prominently in large line-ups.
CP OS v1.4 expands the Sub Section—a popular choice of the keyboards’ three sections—for added flexibility and creativity when it comes to creating sonic spaces. New pads, strings, synths, a powerful Sforzando Brass Section and both a classical and Western guitar have been added to the Sub Section’s current selection of strings, brass and synths.
In response to musicians’ feedback, the update also includes workflow enhancements making it easier to navigate and adjust settings and menus. The Voice selection window now features a list view so players can select sounds with ease.”
DJ Mag Originals is launching a new video series next week, called How I DJ. The five-part series will feature a range of DJs telling their story as artists, whilst sharing techniques and insights into their craft. It follows DJ Mag’s successful How I Made and How I Play Live series, which have featured the likes of Ikonika, MK The Plug, and RÜFÜS DU SOL.
How I DJ is kicked off by London-born Kenny Allstar from BBC 1Xtra, one of the foremost champions of the UK rap scene in recent years. As the Voice Of The Streets, Kenny helms Friday nights on 1Xtra, as well as Mixtape Madness’ Mad About Bars freestyle series. Other DJs in the series include Jamz Supernova, who joins the dots between disparate genres including UK funky, future R&B, jazz and more in her regular slots on Radio 1, 1Xtra and occasionally BBC 6Music (where she recently deputised for Gilles Peterson).
Monki is another radio regular who hosts a weekly show on Radio 1 every Sunday night and runs her own ‘& Friends’ events and label, while Conducta — our recent DJ Mag UK cover star — is instrumental in leading the new wave of UK garage. Rounding out the series is Bristol-based Eats Everything, who plays a range of tech-house, techno and occasionally drum & bass on the radio, as well as touring the world’s clubs and festivals pre pandemic.
The first episode of How I DJ series goes live on Wednesday 7th October on DJ Mag’s YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram channels. Watch the trailer below.
The superstar DJ took to social media to express his frustrations with the UK government, lambasting British officials for their treatment of the country’s troubled music industry throughout 2020.
Harris’ claim that the UK music industry contributes upwards of £5 billion pounds (approximately 6,450,650,000 USD) to Britain’s economy is staggering, but true. The 2019 report cited in the Scottish DJ’s post notes how a thriving music sector doesn’t only offer significant contributions to the country’s economy, but also enriches lives throughout the nation with nearly 200,000 jobs provided across the industry. The country recently reactivated concert venues, but social distancing limitations have prevented many locations from being able to open their doors.
Calvin Harris isn’t the only artist with this sentiment, with his post gaining support from the likes of Pete Tong and The Bloody Beetroots, however it’s yet to be seen if the mounting pressure will translate to any relief for the UK’s struggling music industry.
After much ado—but certainly not about nothing—Major Lazer are guiding their long-awaited fourth studio album, Music Is The Weapon, to digital streaming platforms. The three-piece outfit have announced that they will officially launch the LP, their follow-up to 2015’s Peace Is The Mission, on October 23.
The news follows Diplo’s confirmation that the album was complete in March. Despite rumors that Music Is The Weapon represents Major Lazer’s final LP, neither Diplo nor Walshy Fire nor Ape Drums has confirmed that the forthcoming project will be the group’s final longform output.
Accompanying the news of Music Is The Weapon‘s impending release is Major Lazer’s specification of several U.S. cities as sites for upcoming, socially distanced drive-in shows to celebrate the album’s arrival. The seven-date endeavor will take Major Lazer through California, Texas, Ohio, Georgia, and North Carolina. Tickets will go on sale on October 2.
Major Lazer are additionally commemorating Music Is The Weapon with a Spotify Enhanced playlist complete with 50 songs that inspired the album, handpicked by Diplo, Walshy Fire, and Ape Drums. Stream the playlist below, and get a look at Major Lazer: Year Negative One, a comic book based on the trio, here. Major Lazer: Year Negative One is drawn by Ferry Gouw, who is credited with creating the original Major Lazer character. The graphic offering is due in early 2021.
Prolific, long-time producer YehMe2 has laid down a full-bodied and expansive remix of Ted When‘s sultry track “Eyes Closed” via Motown/Blacksmith recordings in partnership with Fool’s Gold Records.
Within the past few years, both Ted When and YehMe2 have begun their own solo projects and both have respectively grown into major successes. After touring with Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller as part of the acclaimed indie band, Mansions on the Moon, When has taken his own path as a solo producer and displayed his wide range of lyricism and sonics in his newest album, morning. After 11 years as one half of the hugely popular Flosstradamus duo, Josh Young has become a paragon of modern dance music and continues to break barriers via his main focus, YehMe2.
Deviating from his usual heavy trap format on his remix of When’s “Eyes Closed,” YehMe2 demonstrates his versatility on the spin. Beginning the track with distorted guitar chords that lead straight into When’s smooth vocals, YehMe2 then transitions into a harmonic and groovy jazz aesthetic. When gave the remix high praise, stating,
“I love what YehMe2 did with ‘Eyes Closed.’ His reimagining of the song gave the lyrics and topline melody a new feel and emotion.”
YehMe2’s “Eyes Closed” remix is the first of seven revamps to be released from When’s upcoming morning REMIXES EP, and if this track is any indication of what is to come, electronic fans are in for a treat.
YehMe2’s remix of “Eyes Closed” will formally release on October 1, butlisteners can stream the rework one day early, only on Dancing Astronaut.