The ‘ASOT 1000’ festivities forge ahead on Armin van Buuren’s two-hour ‘Celebration Mix’ LP

The ‘ASOT 1000’ festivities forge ahead on Armin van Buuren’s two-hour ‘Celebration Mix’ LPWc1717363 Armin Van Buuren Wallpaper 2016

Armin van Buuren broadcasted the historic 1000th episode of A State of Trance on January 21, 2021, rounding off a nearly 21-year-long run of ASOT installments—but the party isn’t over just yet. A little over a week after the radio serial’s landmark episode, van Buuren is further commemorating the accomplishment with a two-hour long Celebration Mix album.

ASOT 1000 reached more than 50 million fans from 121 different countries during a five-hour-long episode that played host to an unveiling of the event anthem, “Turn The World Into A Dancefloor.” During the episode, van Buuren also announced the Turn The World Into A Dancefloor live, in-person trance festival scheduled to take place from September 3–4, 2021 at Jaarbeurs in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

As if that weren’t enough, the special live episode also served as the platform for van Buuren’s revelation of the top 50 trance tracks of all-time, thereby completing “ASOT Top 1000,” a 1000-song playlist comprising the “finest in trance and progressive of ASOT” based on fan votes. The concluding 50 cuts included timeless staples such as 4 Strings’ “Take Me Away (Into The Night),” Oceanlab’s “Satellite,” Gareth Emery’s “Sanctuary,” Rank 1’s “Airwave,” and the most favorite trance track of all-time according to listeners, Tiësto’s “Adagio For Strings.”

Now, the icing on the ASOT cake comes in the form of A State Of Trance 1000 – Celebration Mix (Mixed by Armin van Buuren). The two-hour mix of fan-selected favorites, delivered in LP form, not only points to how fans have shaped the sound of ASOT but also how they’ve helped it become less of a platform for music discovery and more of a community.

Featured image: Rukes

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Polymode is Cherry’s new soft synth inspired by the Polymoog, for $29

This idiosyncratic beast from 1975 gets a modern remake for playability.

We’ve been following the prolific independent software house Cherry Audio for a while now, with both their modular and their vintage models. Polymode is unique in that it’s not just a slavish remake but a reimagining of sorts – made to sound like the Moog Polymoog but with modern features and more accessible navigation.

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Let’s come straight out with it – you’re not getting a cheap hardware Polymoog any time soon. The original was massive, expensive, and … very much a product of its time. In modern US dollars, your 1975 purchase price would translate to – $25,472.20.

But that sound. Unlike even the Minimoog, the sound of which has become heavily familiar, the Polymoog sounds particular and aggressively retro. To our modern ears, we get all of the lush sounds of string synths and organs – but it’s still a synth, and still a Moog.

That’s the result of the architecture of the Polymoog, which is technically paraphonic and divides down frequencies to get other pitches (like a 70s organ or string synth, hence the ways it echoes those instruments). But it’s also deep to explore, because of its extensive modulation. Maybe it’s better to just listen:

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Moog modulation, with Moog filters, but lush textures. Now we’re talking. That gives you a tasty molasses timbral palette with tons of options to experiment with modulation. Cherry just added MIDI control, automation, extra LFOs, and a simplified instrument.

Oh, and it costs thirty bucks now, so a rounding error versus the original… heck, even a rounding error versus most hardware. I do get why people are resistant to subscriptions for software, too, yes.

So take the paraphonic architecture of the original, add 150 presets to get you started straight away, and then dive into this 32-voice plug-in monster.

Click for full size image. But that’s a friendly take on the original panel.

Specs from our friends at Cherry:

  • 32-voice polyphony
  • Extensive modulation routings for almost all synthesis parameters
  • Numerous modulation sources including velocity, pressure, white and pink noise and more
  • Simultaneously available saw and pulse waves for both oscillator ranks
  • Super accurately recreated “mode” filters
  • Expanded resonators section with additional LFO, 12db/24db slopes, and notch mode
  • Classic 24db ladder-style filter
  • Integrated ensemble, phaser, tempo-synced echo, and reverb effects
  • Classic Solina-style tri-chorus mode
  • Two bonus LFOs with five waveforms and tempo sync
  • Full MIDI control
  • Full DAW automation for all controls

There’s even a 30-day demo, with occasional white noise. (So just route it into some reverb and let there be a burst of noise every so often, like crashing waves.)

You will want at least a middling CPU, but otherwise, this thing runs easily. All the usual plug-in formats, plus standalone.

US$29. (Initially we had the incorrect info that this is an intro price – apparently they’re sticking with it!)

Coachella cancelled again due to coronavirus

Coachella has been forced to cancel this year’s event.

The Southern California festival was forced to postpone in April last year, before completely cancelling the rescheduled October dates, amid the coronavirus. It has now been announced that Coachella will be unable to go ahead in 2021.

According to a report published by The New York Times, a county health order has cited the most recent coronavirus surge in California for the cancellation, warning against large-scale events. A public health officer for Riverside County, Dr. Cameron Kaiser, said the event is a “gathering of an international scope” and is too risky amid the surge and appearance of more contagious variants. 

“If Covid-19 were detected at these festivals, the scope and number of attendees and the nature of the venue would make it infeasible, if not impossible, to track those who may be placed at risk,” the order said.

At the time of this article, Coachella have not made an official statement announcing the cancellation.

Amid the festival’s cancelation last year, Coachella’s tent company were among a number of event production groups who are constructing medical facilities to help combat COVID-19.

‘Coachella: 20 Years in the Desert’, a documentary about the festival which features performances from Radiohead, Björk, Daft Punk, Kanye West, Rage Against The Machine and LCD Soundsystem, premiered via YouTube Originals in April this year.

Elsewhere, the UK’s Glastonbury also cancelled its annual festival for the second year running due to Coronavirus.

Boys Noize releases ‘Game Stop (Wen Moon)’

Boys Noize releases ‘Game Stop (Wen Moon)’Gamestop Wen Moon

As the GameStop saga continues, the O.G. chad, Boys Noize has released a moon shot anthem for the gamma squeeze heard round the world. A silly, tongue in cheek rolling trap production, “Game Stop (Wen Moon)” is just as absurd as the drama playing out across the stock market right now. If you’re already living lambo dreams like /u/DeepFuckingValue or still trolling for the next pump & dump diamond hands 100 bagger, this is your new theme song.

And, if there’s one thing to learn from this whole debacle, it’s this — fuck the suits and buy $BTC. And $ETH. And $AUDIO.

Then sign up for AUDIUS and follow us for more bootlegs and mixes on a platform that’s actually made for creators.

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Grayscale POKIT Turns Teenage Engineering Pocket Modular 16 Into Eurorack Module

Grayscale has introduced POKIT, a conversion kit that lets you turn the Teenage Engineering Model 16 Pocket Operator Keyboard (POM-16) into a Eurorack module.

POKIT includes a Eurorack-compatible front panel, a power conversion adapter that plugs directly into your Eurorack power distribution board, custom fasteners to connect everything together, and gray knobs supplied by Teenage Engineering.

The Model 16 Pocket Operator Keyboard (POM-16) is a standalone device that offers four channels of powerful modular sequencing, arpeggiation, and quantizing functionality. Because the Teenage Engineering modular system was designed for compatibility with Eurorack CV standards, though, POKIT is all that’s required to convert the standalone POM-16 into a Eurorack module that works with your existing Eurorack case and power supply.

Pricing and Availability

POKIT is available now, priced at $115 with keyboard, $95 without.

Wowa Cwejman, synthesizer designer, has died at 72

The small community of people who design electronic musical instruments has lost a unique imagination. Word arrived yesterday that Wlodzimierz “Wowa” Cwejman of Cwejman Music had died.

Photo: Takamasa Aoki.

Maho Cwejman shared the news via Facebook:

I’m incredibly sad to say that Wlodzimierz Cwejman (Wowa ) passed away yesterday. Wowa was an incredible man making great things and I love that we made so many together.

Right now I hope you appreciate I need some time but will come back as soon as possible with an update to Cwejman. I want to thank everyone for your support and kind words?

Wlodzimierz Cwejman 1949-2021

Thanks to everyone who sent this my way.

Wowa Cwejman has a long and legendary history in the creation of original synthesizers, dating back to the 1970 SYNTHRA. That legacy got rebooted in the last two decades, with a new generation of Cwejman instruments – their own S1 modular, as well as the more accessible Eurorack line of modules, with its own complete catalog.

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Wowa Cwejman was unquestionably the driving force and mind behind these instruments – and his particular personality was all over the company and its output. (I don’t want to speculate about the future of Cwejman Music yet; his survivors promise an update and now have plenty to process.)

I feel fortunate to have encountered Cwejman thanks to Andreas Schneider. My condolences to family and friends and everyone who worked with him. I know it’s especially hard to lose people right now.

Sound on Sound‘s Gordon Reid, as Synthtopia notes, wrote a rich 3-part series on the modular line – as good a way to remember and know a synth designer as any, through their work.

Cwejman Synthesis Modules: Part 1
Cwejman Synthesis Modules: Part 2
Cwejman Synthesis Modules: Part 3

And here some videos on the creator and instruments:

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He also figures in the 2009 documentary on Schneider’s synth outlet, Totally Wired.

Synth Anatomy has written a kind and personal obituary:

Music makers mourn loss of Sophie, innovative producer and friend

“Life is so fragile” is the phrase that has echoed among friends, as last week claimed producer SOPHIE. My heart goes out especially to those who knew her, especially in this time of loss.

Consequence of Sound has a complete obituary; The Guardian has gone on to extended coverage of the Glasgow native, and Rolling Stone waxes poetic. The death was reported over the weekend, following an accident in Athens as an official statement says she climbed to view the full moon last week.

Far from just a trend, SOPHIE’s hyper-futuristic pop seems relevant in 2021 as ever, particularly in our virtualized world and its expressive use of pop and digital identities. That work was emotionally direct, hyperactive, full of a seemingly boundless and unfettered energy. While SOPHIE saw international prominence partly through her association with PC Music, she went on to epic collaborative achievements, including work with Madonna, Arca, Vince Staples, Carli XCX, Jimmy Edgar, shygirl, and more.

This first video is not only a great introduction for those who didn’t know her work, but a truly beautiful way of imagining sound in the 21st century:

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But for all that songwriting ability, the real gift was any chance to see her infectious live performances.

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And some songs for many fans and friends have taken on new poignant meaning.

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And from the QT project with PC Music:

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For the glowing press now, SOPHIE was subjected to sometimes misunderstanding writers and transphobia, and it would be irresponsible of me not to make note of that. (One major outlet quietly pulled an article that had accused her, among other artists, of appropriating gender.) I’m not out to shame those writers, either; I think it’s a chance for any of us who write to be more responsible and more empathetic – and simply to listen more to the people making the music.

Music is a place to express deeply personal feeling, and yet there’s so much musical discourse that can be dehumanizing – to obscure artists, to popular artists. I wish we would ground more of what we say about music and music artists in a human scale. So I’ll leave this with some of those remembrances. I’m deeply sorry to those of you who were touched by this music or who were close to Sophie.

And some friends and colleagues of ours:

Jimmy Edgar – doubly tough to read at this time when we can’t be close to people like this as much:

Robert Lippok – actually there is something so hopeful about seeing this crowd dancing, even if we can’t do that now:

Lyra Pramuk:

In case you missed it: Madlib and Four Tet merge creative sensibilities on ‘Sound Ancestors’

In case you missed it: Madlib and Four Tet merge creative sensibilities on ‘Sound Ancestors’Four Tet Live At Funkhaus Berlin 10th May 2018 Live Album Photo By Ellie Pritts

Listening to Madlib and Four Tet‘s hotly anticipated joint LP, Sound Ancestors, should be at the tiptop of your Monday morning agenda. Why? If only for the element of the unexpected, but that, admittedly, would be a bit reductive. Let’s dig into that, though. Put simply, Sound Ancestors represents the collision of two worlds: rap, in the form of Madlib, and enigmatic electronic a la Four Tet. Though many might not have expected the two dons of their respective genres to brush with each other on a full-fledged LP, the 16-cut effort has already qualified for inclusion on some listeners’ top albums of 2021 lists, paying early dividends.

The Sound Ancestors rollout commenced in mid-December of 2020 with “Road Of The Lonely Ones.” At the time, Four Tet—responsible for Sound Ancestors‘ arrangement and sample choices—spoke to the painstaking making of the project, which remained a work in progress for no short span:

“I was sent hundreds of pieces of music over a couple of years’ stretch and during that time, I put together this album with all the parts that fitted with my vision.”

Hopprock” came later in January 2021, but at this point, the story practically writes itself, and we all know the ending: the album hits streaming platforms with the pomp and circumstance to be expected of a linkup involving a rap figurehead and one of electronic’s most discerning beatsmiths.

Featured image: Ellie Pritts

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Last Heroes open 2021 release books with second-ever Gryffin remix — hear them respin ‘Safe With Me’

Last Heroes open 2021 release books with second-ever Gryffin remix — hear them respin ‘Safe With Me’126875975 123573612889352 8749763561241901509 N

Last Heroes aren’t strangers to the Gryffin remix format—and it shows. After initially trying their hand at a take on Gravity‘s ZOHARA invitation, “Out of My Mind,” five months prior, the Colorado duo is answering calls for a re-imaginative encore with—you guessed it—another Gryffin spin.

Though those with a Last Heroes sweet spot have lamented the fact that the production pair’s prior Gryffin remix is largely not available outside of YouTube and SoundCloud, their latest assuages this some by appearing on all major streaming platforms. The flip, of Gryffin’s November 2020 Audrey Mika team-up “Safe With Me,” adds an anthemic emphasis to the pop-centric original. Melodic accentuating allows Last Heroes to take “Safe With Me” by the hand and lead it closer into dance-influenced territory than it previously stood. It’s a promising start to a new year of Last Heroes that’ll keep us following along far beyond this January 29 drop.

Featured image: VANWINKLE PHOTO

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Porter Robinson unveils immersive ‘Look at the Sky’ audiovisual experience

Porter Robinson unveils immersive ‘Look at the Sky’ audiovisual experiencePorter Robinson Photo Credit Rukes

With the buildup for his forthcoming sophomore album Nurture an all-time high following the January 27 release of “Look at the Sky,” Porter Robinson is further spiking fan anticipation with an immersive, 360-degree audiovisual experience.

Developed by VR/AR designer Active Theory, the interactive website transports users to a breathtaking virtual landscape that breathes new life into the song’s lyrics. An innovative and creative complement to his new music, this exciting world can be accessed exclusively on mobile devices and WebVR here. Nurture is currently scheduled for an April 23 release.

Featured image: Rukes

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