Duke Bootee, co-writer and producer of Grandmaster Flash’s ‘The Message’, dies, aged 69

The influential figure passed away following heart failure at his home in Savanna, Georgia

DJ Mag Staff

Monday, February 1, 2021 – 14:01

Duke Bootee, co-writer and producer of Grandmaster Flash’s ‘The Message’, has died.

Bootee, born Edward Gernel Fletcher, died after suffering from heart failure at his home in Savannah, Georgia earlier this month. He was 69.

Fletcher was an influential figure in early hip hop and rap production, best known for his work alongside Melle Mel of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, co-writing and producing the 1982 record ‘The Message’ for Sugar Hill Records.

The New York native left music in the early ’90s to study teaching, and had been an instructor of Critical Thinking and Communication at Savannah State University in Georgia prior to his death.

[embedded content]

How To Play Funky Minimoog Bass

[embedded content]

In his latest video, Matt Johnson (Jamiroquai) takes a look at how to play funky Minimoog bass.

Johnson talks about programming the archetypical Minimoog funk bass – but also spends a lot of time discussing performance techniques that bring out the funk.

While Johnson demonstrates the patch and performance techniques with a vintage Minimoog, both apply equally well to Minimoog-inspired synths and VSTs.

This new book celebrates pioneering women in hip hop

A new book celebrating pioneering women in hip hop has been published.

The Motherlode: 100+ Women Who Made Hip-Hop, penned by Brooklyn-based writer Clover Hope and Illustrated by Rachelle Baker, is an “illustrated highlight reel” of more than 100 women in rap and hip hop who “have helped shape the genre and eschewed gender norms in the process.”

The book, which is available from the 4th February via Abrams Books, features pioneers like Roxanne Shanté, game changers such as Lauryn Hill and Missy Elliott, and modern artists at the forefront of the game: Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, and Lizzo. “They are characters, caricatures, lyricists, at times both feminine and explicit,” The Motherlode’s blurb reads, “This book profiles each of these women, their musical and career breakthroughs, and the ways in which they each helped change the culture of rap.”

You can find out more about the book and order a copy here.

At the end of last year, Rico Nasty announced a new comic book to accompany her debut studio album, ‘Nightmare Vacation’.

Listen to Mala’s mix for DJ Mag’s Radio 1 Dance residency

DJ Mag’s weekly residency for January on Radio 1 Dance Presents came to a close this weekend, with an hour-long mix from Deep Medi Musik founder and DJ Mag’s February cover star, Mala.

As part of Radio 1’s recently launched Dance Presents show, DJ Mag celebrated six of our favourite UK DJs over five weekends, from breakthrough stars to indisputable icons, all of whom continue to push the nation’s vibrant and diverse club scene forward, even while dancefloors are off limits. 

The show has been broadcast each week on Saturday night/Sunday Morning at 3AM GMT via BBC Radio 1 throughout January, and you can check out the final instalment from Saturday night, Mala’s hour of bass weight meditation, here.

Mala’s mix includes music from the producer himself, as well as sounds from Bukkha, J:Kenzo, Chronixx, Silkie and more.

You can listen to Mala’s mix here, and check out mixes in the residency from Anz, KG, Decibella b2b DJ Strecth, and Nightwave here.

SynthVR, A Virtual Reality Modular Synthesizer, Now Available

[embedded content]

SynthVR, a modular synthesizer environment for virtual reality, is now available.

SynthVR is modular synthesizer environment, built from the ground up for virtual reality. It features a wide variety of synth modules, including oscillators, sequencers, effects, logic and more.

Features:

  • Fully modular signal flow
  • 30+ synth modules to play with
  • Share and discover new creations online
  • Control signals run at audio rate, just like real modular
  • Animate the environment with your sounds
  • Multichannel audio recording options

Pricing and Availability

SynthVR is available now for PCVR (Rift, Index, Vive, Cosmos) and for Oculus Quest.

If you’ve used SynthVR, share your thoughts on it in the comments!

Synth Designer Wowa Cwejman Has Died

Synth designer Wlodzimierz (Wowa) Cwejman , creator of the Cwejman modular synthesizer, has died.

The news was shared by Maho Cwejman 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″

Cwejman’s synth designs are highly respected, by musicians and engineers alike. In a 2008 review of Cwejman Synthesis Modules in Sound On Sound, Gordon Reid said that “Cwejman modules currently represent the pinnacle of Eurorack synthesizer technology.”

For an in depth look at Cwejman’s work, see Reid’s three-part review of the Cwejman system:

Photo: Takamasa Aoki

The Terminator Theme, But It’s A Slow Jam

[embedded content]

In his latest video, synthesist Espen Kraft shares his take on The Terminator Theme, from Brad Fiedel’s soundtrack to the 1984 film, The Terminator.

And his take on The Terminator Theme is to turn it into a slow jam.

“I’ve always wanted to make an arrangement of the classic Terminator theme in a more romantic or nostalgic way,” he says.

The video starts with his arrangement of the classic theme, and then moves on to demonstrating the set of Korg DSS-1 sounds that he used.

Here’s what he has to say about the technical details:

“The Korg DSS-1 is the Terminator among samplers in terms filter power. I mean seriously, not much comes close to what this machine can do. Highly underrated. It eats the almost all other synthesizers for breakfast when it comes to sheer power.

Gear used in the demo:

Korg DSS-1 – all synths
Korg MS10 – bass (just a little bit)
Korg KR-55 – Kick and hats

All the delays heard is coming from the two internal delay lines in the DSS-1 itself.

Some of the sounds have external reverbs on them, from Valhalla VintageVerb.”