The Chemical Brothers, Björk, FKA Twigs, D’Angelo to curate Sonos radio stations

Sonos has announced a new series of personal radio stations, curated by The Chemical Brothers, Björk, FKA twigs and D’Angelo.

The series launched on Sonos Radio yesterday (January 13th) with D’Angelo’s ‘Feverish Fantazmagoria’. In the coming months, it will be followed by FKA twigs’ ‘main squeeze’ (February 10th), Björk’s ’21 years worth of wave files liquidated into a stream’ (February 24th), and The Chemical Brothers’ ‘Radio Chemical’ (March 2nd), while Radiohead’s Thom Yorke is also soon due to contribute a new radio show.

“I am quite thrilled to have had a reason to go through 21 years of music-file collecting,” says Björk. “Since my first laptop I have been CD shopping, awkward cassette finding, vinyl searching in secret stores on my travels and gathered them all into a library of gorgeous wave-files. A lot of my heart belongs there… unbelievable memories with friends, loved ones, DJing in little bars, all sorts of occasions possible.”

The Chemical Brothers, meanwhile, have revealed that their Sonos Radio contribution will take in music from Kraftwerk, Tony Allen and Pharoah Sanders, among others.

You can find more information on what’s coming up here.

The Chemical Brothers last month rounded off 2020 with a new mix.

Barely Alive and Voltra collide for the powerful ‘Fusion Core’

Barely Alive and Voltra collide for the powerful ‘Fusion Core’DSC 9704

Barely Alive has teamed up with one of Dancing Astronaut’Artists to Watch in 2021, Voltra, for a thunderous collaboration titled “Fusion Core,” from Disciple Round Table’s forthcoming Knights Of The Round Table Vol. 4 compilation. “Fusion Core” was first played at Barely Alive’s Nocturnal Wonderland Virtual Rave-A-Thon set in September 2020, but the cutting-edge collaboration is now making its way to streaming platforms via Disciple Records‘ sister label, Disciple Round Table.

The activating single goes beyond the boundaries of bass music as the Massachusetts duo and German-based producer candidly blend eight-bit synths and dubstep into a warring battlefield of distorted futuristic rhythms. Notably, “Fusion Core” is the label’s 100th release to date.

Featured image: Max Hontz

Joseph Capriati says ‘the worst is over’ in new medical update

Joseph Capriati says ‘the worst is over’ in new medical updateJoseph Capriati Dancing Astronaut Credit Jimmy Mould

Italian DJ Joseph Capriati has shared a medical update from his hospital bed, stating that “the worst is over” after being stabbed in the chest by his father and subsequently admitted to the hospital on January 8. Although the producer’s stabbing and the arrest of his father for attempted murder made headlines worldwide, the 33-year-old is now asking for respect for his father and family, adding that he has forgiven his father “for the crazy act.”

The medical update was posted to Joseph Capriati’s Instagram in Italian on January 13. An English translation can be read below.

“I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart, my relatives, friends, acquaintances, and the many DJs and promoters who have shown me so much affection these days. I am touched. I haven’t been able to read and reply to the messages yet but I will do it in a few days when I get better. Until this morning I didn’t even have the strength to speak, but the doctors say the worst is over now.”

“I ask only one thing if it is possible, a little respect for my father and my family, since neither I nor any of you have the power and the duty to judge what happened. Family dramas are the order of the day, and especially attention to the press because, as you well know, the news is often confused and untrue. I forgive my father for the crazy gesture and I pray so much for him. Now I think about healing. See you soon.”

Featured image: Jimmy Mould

1973 Moog Minimoog Model D Smells Great, Sounds Great

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The latest T O N E L A B video takes an in-depth look at a vintage 1973 Moog Minimoog Model D – quite possibly the most iconic synth ever.

The video highlights why vintage Minimoogs are still so popular – they look good, they smell good and they still sound fantastic.

Video Summary:

“In this clip, I test-drive a relic of ‘synth history’. Revered by legends such as Herbie Hancock, Keith Emerson, J Dilla & Brian Eno to name a handful. This old boy here is one of the first 1500 to come off the production line way back in 1973.

Sitting behind one of these is quite an experience.. the sights, the sounds… the smells.. of a hard working mono synth!”

Topics covered:

0:01 Intro and background
1:20 Output and tuning your minimoog
3:45 Oscillator bank
6:10 Mixer section (White noise, external input)
9:00 Mod wheel and modulation
11:22 Modifiers section (Part 1: Envelopes)
12:35 Controllers section (Decay, Glide & Pitch wheel)
14:40 Modifiers section (Part 2: Filters)
16:50 Keyboard control (aka Keyboard tracking / Cutoff Freq. bias)
18:32 Rear connections and outro
19:35 Noodling on the minimoog

Free Update Makes Arturia MicroFreak MicroFreakier

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Arturia let us know that they’ve released a major update to the firmware for their MicroFreak synthesizer, adding three new oscillator modes and more.

MicroFreak Firmware V3, created in collaboration with Eurorack maker Noise Engineering, adds a variety of new features:

  • 3 Noise Engineering oscillator modes – Bass, SawX, Harm; 3 new algorithms that also feature in Noise Engineering’s flexible Virt Iter module, offering additive harmonic color, wavefolding, phase modulation, and more. Digital never sounded so dirty.
  • Unison mode – Up to 4-voice unison is now available for all oscillator types, with unison spread of up to 12 semitones that can also be used as a modulation destination. Make your basses bigger and your melodies more massive than ever.
  • More factory presets and slots – The number of preset slots has increased from 256 to 384, giving you more legroom to make MicroFreak your own – this even includes 96 more factory presets for more musical madness straight out the box.
  • Saving and loading presets – Enhancements to preset functionality makes MicroFreak easier and more intuitive than ever, including loading the last saved preset upon restart, and always retaining Chord Mode’s most recent chord within your saved preset.

You can see MicroFreak Firmware v3 in action in the video above. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the update:

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The update is available a free download for MicroFreak owners.

D Double E, Ms Banks, Ray BLK, more feature in animated series on mental health

D Double E, Ms Banks, Ray BLK and Krept & Konan have contributed to a new animated series on mental health.

The series, called ‘Rap Therapy’, looks at various areas of mental health, in the hope of bringing previously closed off conversations around the issue to light. It’s a project of Channel 4 offshoot E4, and each episode will be available to watch back after its premiere via the All4 online hub.

Kicking off on January 18th, Konan discusses the violent loss of his step-father in the opening episode on trauma, while Ray BLK talks through mindful breathing exercises in the second episode.

In episode three, Krept reflects on his experiences with grief following the loss of rapper Cadet in a car crash in February 2019, and the fourth episode sees Ms Banks discuss body image. The series rounds off with a look at the importance of sleep, and D Double E will be the guide for that topic.

You can find more information on each episode here.

D Double E released his latest album, ‘D.O.N.’, late last year, while Ms Banks was among the nominees for last month’s MOBO Awards.

D Double E, Ms Banks and Ray BLK feature in animated series on mental health

D Double E, Ms Banks and Ray BLK have contributed to a new animated series on mental health.

The series, called ‘Rap Therapy’, looks at various areas of mental health, in the hope of bringing previously closed off conversations around the issue to light. It’s a project of Channel 4 offshoot E4, and each episode will be available to watch back after its premiere via the All4 online hub.

Kicking off on January 18th, Konan discusses the violent loss of his step-father in the opening episode on trauma, while Ray BLK talks through mindful breathing exercises in the second episode.

In episode three, Krept reflects on his experiences with grief following the loss of rapper Cadet in a car crash in February 2019, and the fourth episode sees Ms Banks discuss body image. The series rounds off with a look at the importance of sleep, and D Double E will be the guide for that topic.

You can find more information on each episode here.

D Double E released his latest album, ‘D.O.N.’, late last year, while Ms Banks was among the nominees for last month’s MOBO Awards.

Sound Semiconductor Intros SSI2131 VCO Integrated Circuit

Sound Semiconductor – a manufacturer of custom integrated circuits for audio and music gear – has announced an addition to its family of Voltage Controlled Oscillator (“VCO”) integrated circuits.

The new SSI2131 offers basic VCO functionality, with buffered triangle, sawtooth, and variable-width pulse outputs.

Offered in a 16-pin small-outline DIP package, only a handful of external components are necessary to create a VCO. Exponential setup is accomplished by use of fixed-value resistors for less demanding applications, and manual or CPU calibrated for exponential conformance to one cent over a ten-octave range. Both soft and hard sync are available.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

“Like the previously introduced SSI2130 VCO, special care was taken to provide unprecedented levels of temperature stability, exponentiality, and waveform integrity but in this case the on-chip mixer, sine shaper, and through-zero components were omitted.

The result is a modern, high-performance basic VCO that is extremely easy to use.”

“Ever since building my first synthesizer in college I’ve been imagining this VCO project,” stated Derek Bowers, designer of the SSI2130 and SSI2131. “I’m really happy with results of these developments.”

Pricing and Availability

Pricing is $1.40 at 1k pieces, with samples available now to qualified OEM’s. Production stock will be available by late February; at that time hobby and DIY enthusiasts will be served through Sound Semiconductor’s growing network of authorized resellers.

Sultan + Shepard return to This Never Happened with ‘Solid Gold Love’ featuring Richard Walters

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Sultan + Shepard have returned to This Never Happened with “Solid Gold Love,” a melancholic Richard Walters feature that doubles as the first single from their forthcoming 14-track album, Something, Everything, due on March 12.

“Solid Gold Love” follows the Grammy-nominated duo’s debut on Lane 8‘s label imprint in February 2020 with their third EP, Kelam. The new track continues the venerated Canadian production pair’s sonic progression towards techno-influenced soundscapes and melodic house arrangements, and the single fluidly carries those elements forth in transcendent fashion.

Walters has also provided an acoustic version of “Solid Gold Love,” expanding the one-off’s listening experience. Stream Sultan + Shepard’s “Solid Gold Love” featuring the English singer-songwriter below, and pre-save their upcoming album, Something, Everything, here.

Featured image: Sultan + Shepard/Facebook

Behringer Confirms Synthi VCS3 Knockoff On The Way

Behringer has shared a sneak preview of the VCS3, a knockoff of the Electronic Music Studios (EMS) VCS3.

The original VCS3 was one of the first all-in-one portable synth designs, and has been used notably used by artists ranging from Pink Floyd to Jean-Michel Jarre. It’s a three VCO semi-modular synth with an iconic design, featuring a joystick controller and patch matrix.

EMS is still around – they describe themselves as “The World’s Longest Established Synthesizer Manufacturer” – and they are still making the Synthi VCS3. They are a boutique manufacturer, though, and their production has trailed demand to the extent that used VCS3 prices push into 5 digits.

While Behringer originally announced their intent to make a VCS 3 in 2017, this is the first time the company has clearly shared its vision for their version. It looks like it will follow the pattern of synths like the Behringer Odyssey and MonoPoly, balancing closely copying the look and architecture of the original synth against against making compromises that make the design cheaper to manufacturer.

Features (preliminary):

  • Analog synthesizer with triple VCO design
  • Reproduction of original “VCS3” circuitry designed in 1970
  • Analog signal path with VCO, VCF and VCA
  • VCOs featuring multi-turn knobs for precise frequency control
  • Variable oscillator shapes with variable pulse widths
  • 24 dB low pass filter with resonance
  • 16 x 16 pin patch bay serves as signal routing matrix by inserting pins into holes
  • Ring modulator
  • Dedicated analog triangle/square wave LFO
  • Noise generator
  • Two-axis joystick performance controller
  • 42 controls for direct and real-time access to all important parameters
  • External audio inputs for processing external sound sources
  • MIDI implementation with MIDI channel and Voice Priority selection

Details on pricing and availability are to be announced. Behringer says that they expect to be able to demo the complete prototype ‘soon’.