Black Octatrack MKII Now Available

Elektron has announced that their Black Octatrack MKII is now available, in addition to the previous gray mkII style.

The features are the same, but the Black version has a new black casing and updated print design.

See the Elektron site for details.

Specifications:

  • Audio track features (×8)
    • 1 × Specialized machine
    • 1 × Track recorder
    • 1 × Amplitude envelope
    • 3 × LFOs
    • 1 × LFO designer
    • 2 × Assignable insert effects
  • MIDI track features (×8)
    • 1 × Arpeggiator
    • 3 × LFOs
    • 10 × configurable CCs
  • Sequencer
    • 8 × Stereo audio tracks
    • 8 × Dedicated MIDI tracks
    • Up to 64 steps per pattern
    • Individual track lengths
    • Individual track time signatures
    • Chromatic, Slice, Slot, Quick Mute, and Delay Control modes
    • Parameter locks
    • Trig conditions
    • Sample-per-step change
    • Micro timing
    • Retrig functionality
    • Swing and Slide
    • Full real-time control
  • Storage
    • CompactFlash card storage
    • Amount of Projects dependent on CF card size
    • 80 MB Flex RAM per project
    • Static sample streaming from CF card
    • 256 patterns per Project
    • 256 sample slots per Project
    • 8 Arrangements per Project
    • Quick Performance controls
  • Insert effects
    • 12/24dB multi-mode filter
    • 2-band parametric EQ
    • DJ-style kill EQ
    • 2-10 stage phaser
    • Flanger
    • 2-5 tap chorus
    • Spatializer
    • Comb filter
    • Compressor
    • Lo-Fi (SRR, BR, Dist, and AM)
    • Echo freeze delay
    • Gatebox plate reverb
    • Spring reverb
    • Dark reverb
  • Hardware
    • 128 × 64 pixel OLED screen
    • MIDI In/Out/Thru
    • 2 × 1/4” impedance balanced main
    • audio out jacks
    • 2 × 1/4” impedance balanced cue
    • audio out jacks
    • 4 × 1/4” balanced/unbalanced
    • external input jacks
    • 1 × 1/4” stereo headphone jack
    • 44.1 kHz, 24-bit D/A, and A/D converters
    • Hi-speed USB 2.0 port
    • Power inlet: Center positive 5.5 × 2.5 mm barrel jack, 12 V DC, 2 A
  • Balanced audio outputs
    • Main outputs level: +17 dBu peak
    • Output impedance: 440 ? unbalanced
    • Digital S/N ratio: 104 dB (20–20,000 Hz)
  • Headphones outputs
    • Headphones out level: +17 dBu peak
    • Output impedance: 55 ?
  • Balanced audio inputs
    • Input level: +17 dBu peak
    • Audio input impedance: 21 k?
    • Digital S/N ratio: 106 dB (20–20,000 Hz)
  • Electrical specifications
    • Unit power consumption: 7 W typical
    • Compatible Elektron power supply: PSU-3b
  • Physical specifications
    • Sturdy steel casing
    • Dimensions: W340 × D184 × H63 mm (13.3 × 7.2 × 2.5”) (including knobs, jacks, and rubber feet)
    • Weight: approximately 2.3 kg (5 lbs)
    • Maximum recommended ambient operating temperature: +40?C (+104?F)
  • Miscellaneous
    • 4.9 GB of high-quality samples on the CF card
    • 3 year Elektron warranty
  • Included in the box
    • 32 GB custom-designed Hi-Speed CompactFlash card
    • Power Supply PSU-3c
    • Elektron USB cable
    • Quick Guide

Pricing

Octatrack MKII is available at elektron.se for 1399 USD/1399 EUR, as well as online/local retailers.

Jockey could be the custom OSC controller we’ve been waiting for (iOS, macOS)

You’ve got an iPhone or an iPad, and you want to control …. a Max patch, a live visual or VJ app, Unreal Engine, a live-coding synth in Tidal/SuperCollider. Finally, there’s a worthy, fresh option for making it happen – one that makes making layouts uncommonly easy.

Even with the latest iPad or iPhone, the choices for Open Sound Control now feel frankly antique. TouchOSC and Lemur now have interfaces around a decade and a half old. It’s not that newer is always better, but iOS has evolved since then. Editing layouts in these tools is needlessly cumbersome, to the point that I’d be afraid to recommend it to a new user. And then a new app can keep pace with changes in the platforms it’s running on for better compatibility, precision, and general user happiness.

Jockey OSC, then, is a welcome entry. It comes from developer Anton Heestand, who has been busy for some time making both stuff creative developers want and stuff VJ apps and artists want. Jockey OSC is a combination of the two.

Make a custom layout of widgets, send high-resolution data to and from them over any local network – to any other connected device, regardless of OS. It’s the usual OSC idea, just made more modern, and built in Swift.

I just bought it, and while this isn’t a review yet – I didn’t want to make you wait – I’m already pretty excited. Even on the iPhone, editing is a pleasure – like it actually is set up to do easily with your finger. You can even keep one layout between iPad, iPhone, and Mac, all synced automatically via Apple’s own Files.

So far the widget library is small, but elegant. That also means things like tactile feedback, which brings this closer to hardware. And the basic widgets are already there:

  • Buttons, including in cute Tenori-On/monome-style grids
  • Toggles
  • Sliders of various shapes / configurations (also neatly into squares and rectangles)
  • X/Y style sliders
  • Rotaries
  • “Counter” which gives you increment/decrement with label (oh, wow, is this useful)
  • Text and labels, which you can also use for selection (and now which receive OSC messages to change their state)
  • Device motion sends, too (gyro, accelerometer, magnetometer)
  • Siri integration means you can use voice to control OSC, too

Jockey OSC at App Store

Other Anton apps

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/jockey-osc/id1553621603#?platform=mac

I reviewed the very first Lemur hardware, and I have to say this is genuinely about the first time a custom controller app feels like it’s broken free of that mold. Without ignoring that legacy, the looks, function, and interaction of this app are intuitive and original.

It’s also the first app that seems to learn from the drawbacks of its predecessors. Your target IP and local iPhone IP are displayed on the status bar. Switching between play, edit, and settings modes is made accessible at all times with just one click. There are prominent undo and redo buttons. (YES.) There’s an endless canvas you can navigate, so you can spread your layout out freely.

It’s the first time I’ve been excited about an OSC controller in years. Stay tuned for a full report.

And as if that weren’t all, there’s tons of other stuff from Anton, too – including libraries to help you get into all the new Swift goodies in your own apps, if you’re a developer. (See SwiftFX, PixelKit for Metal.) There’s also an older live visual app called Pixel Nodes. Even just following his Twitter feed is enlightening.

http://heestand.xyz/

Anyway, I’ll be toying with this and let you know how it goes.

There’s no documentation so … send me some nice coffee via DHL and I’ll get writing?

Platform for African dance music launched by Apple Music

A platform for African dance and electronic music has been launched by Apple Music.

The new platform, which has been named Isgubhu — the Zulu word for ‘beat’ — features South African DJ/producer Black Coffee as its first cover star, and will shine a light on subgenres like amapiano, gqom, kwaito and Shangaan electro. 

Speaking about Isgubhu, Stephen Campbell, Apple Music’s Global Head of Dance and Electronic music, said: “Apple Music has been a long term supporter of the incredible DJs, artists and producers within the Dance and Electronic music community in Africa and we’re very excited about the launch of Isgubhu. Our regional teams are true advocates for the culture and we’re committed to continuing to connect artists to a global audience.”

Black Coffee has curated the platform’s first playlist, Isgubhu Voices, which features electronic music with vocals, and elsewhere music can be found from labels like House Afrika and Stay True Sounds, as well as Uganda’s popular Hakuna Kulala and Nyege Nyege Tapes. Caiiro, Da Capo, DJ Zinhle, Kabza De Small and Stiff Pap have also been confirmed for mixes.

You can find out more about Isgubhu and tune into the platform via Apple Music here.

Earlier this month, Influential UK-based label, Big Dada, announced that it would be relaunching as a platform for Black, POC & Minority Ethnic artists.

In September last year, Apple announced a new bundled subscription model called Apple One. The bundle includes Apple Music, Apple Aracde, iCloud storage, Apple TV+ and their newly announced Apple Fitness+. The basic tier starts at only £5 more than Apple Music alone was previously, offering Music, Arcade, TV+ and 50GB of iCloud storage for £14.95 a month.

Someone made a seven-day long playlist of Human Resource’s ‘Dominator’

Someone has made a seven-day long playlist of Human Resource’s ‘Dominator’.

Iconic hardcore rave track ‘Dominator’, produced by electronic music group Human Resource, was released in 1991 via 80 Aum Recordings, and has since been remixed by over 50 artists.

Now, Spotify user Ian Wade has compiled all ‘Dominator’ remixes available on the platform, alongside the original, into a seven-day long playlist of the classic and its subsequent reworks.

The playlist features remixes from the likes of Armin van Buuren, DJ Isaac, Drumcode affiliate Rebüke and Wax Worx, as well as hardstyle DJs Outblast & Angerfist, Dub Foundation, and Michel De Hey.

You can check out the playlist, which comprises of 168 hours of music, below. 

Earlier this month, building block legends LEGO released a new playlist of ASMR-friendly block sounds on their official Spotify account. Described as a solution for those looking for a “new way to destress”, LEGO said the playlist “is composed of a series of audio tracks created using nothing but the iconic sounds that the LEGO brick makes, sounds that are recognised by generations all over the world.”

Last year, Rave, a 1998 novel by German author Rainald Goetz, was released in English for the first time.

Silk City procure spellbinding TSHA remix for ‘New Love’ with Ellie Goulding

Silk City procure spellbinding TSHA remix for ‘New Love’ with Ellie GouldingTSHA Flowers Dancing Astronaut

After finishing through 2020 with an achievement list on par with her Artist to Watch in 2021 designation, TSHA returns to the remix terrain for a second time this year as she takes on dance music’s colossal force—Silk City. Providing her fresh stance to the act’s hiatus-ending single, “New Love” with Ellie Goulding, the London luminary inputs another remix contribution to her existing catalogue of artists like Aluna, Lane 8, Lianne La Havas, Qrion, and most recently, KUU.

TSHA’s latest showcases the forefront of her versatility in constructing a range of musical strains. In her effervescent re-imagination of “New Love,” she places skittering breakbeats as the rhythmic foundation for her fairylike illustration, balancing delicate highs and oscillating mids in her ambient recreation of the electro-pop single. A much less understated production than its uptempo predecessor, yet possessing equal impact, the remix upholds TSHA’s rising path to stardom.

Stream TSHA’s remix below.

Featured image: El Hardwick

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Fransis Derelle canvasses his sophomore Monstercat single ‘Same Mistake’ [Q&A]

Fransis Derelle canvasses his sophomore Monstercat single ‘Same Mistake’ [Q&A]15235730 1211575268926007 2422153889912558416 O

Fransis Derelle has returned to Monstercat with his second label single, “Same Mistake,” featuring vocalist Josh Rubin. The melodic bass track follows the Utah producer’s Monstercat debut, “Ember,” with CRaymak and HVDES. Notably, “Same Mistake” is the latest to appear on the Rocket League x Monstercat in-game radio playlist.

“Same Mistake” marries resonating atmospheres with emotive basslines and Rubin’s vocals, which embody a fiery display of emotion. Of the single, Fransis said,

“’Same Mistake’ is one of my personal favorites. We wanted to display true emotion through music and that’s something I feel like we were able to accomplish.”

Within the past few years, the Salt Lake City-based producer’s unique brand has gained the interest of some of electronic music’s most prominent labels and festivals including Monstercat, Circus Records, Subsidia, and Buygore, not to mention Countdown NYE, Imagine Fest, Global Dance Festival, and Das Energi.

Dancing Astronaut caught up with Derelle to learn more about his latest track. Find “Same Mistake” and the Q&A below.


How were you introduced to electronic music and how did that lead to your most recent Monstercat release, “Same Mistake?”

Fransis: “I was introduced to electronic music back in 2008 when some friends and I went to our first show. At the time, I was listening to music from deadmau5, Kaskade, Dash Berlin, and Armin van Buuren. So in a sense, I have always been into the more melodic styles of music. I think this has a big influence on how I write now.”

Can you describe your creative process for “Same Mistake?”

Fransis: “The songwriting process with this was a little different since Josh Rubin sent me the acapella first. With ‘Same Mistake,’ I wanted to make something that matched his emotion and brought out the meanings of his words even more. I feel like I was able to write better with this one because I was in love with it from the start. All I could ever think about was working on it. Everything just flowed so well. With my songs I usually try to make the super saws the focal point, but with this I wanted to simplify it a bit more and focus on melody and drums.” 

What is the dance music scene like in Utah where you are currently based?

Fransis: “The dance scene is Utah is very underrated. We don’t have the biggest producer pool here, but with productions schools like SLDP, I feel like that will change soon. As for shows, they are absolutely amazing. The vibes and energy are always at a high. Thanks to promoters such as V2, we are seeing a bigger incline in talent and production brought to the state. When shows and festivals come back around, I have a feeling things are going to be bigger and better than ever.”

Being that “Same Mistake” landed on Rocket League, can you talk a bit about where you see gaming and music going in the near future?

Fransis: “I’ve always said that gaming is the future. Music and gaming go hand in hand. I could see there being more in-game concerts and artist releasing via gaming platforms. What would be cool to see is gaming festivals where there are artist performances along with tournaments or some form of competitive play.”

Featured image: Chatterz Photography

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A-Trak and Friend Within have a new candidate for heavy rotation, ‘Know Each Other’

A-Trak and Friend Within have a new candidate for heavy rotation, ‘Know Each Other’EMKBPHlYAIaPAj

It’s certainly safe to say that A-Trak and Friend Within “Know Each Other.” Shared studio sessions bequeathed “Blaze” in December of 2019, bringing together two house demigods who’d long run in the same sonic circles. Though more than one year has lapsed since A-Trak and Friend Within’s first tie-up, the sophomore standalone in their collaborative saga is a soulful illustration of just why it was worth the wait. Touting instrumental texture and a high-class, old-school groove, “Know Each Other” cozies in on Toolroom‘s roster of recent releases.

Featured image: Rukes

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Get a free Memorymoog: Syntronik Memory-V freebie from IK Multimedia

No obscure Moog synthesizer past is left out – it’s like a party. The latest is IK Multimedia, the 1981 Moog Memorymoog, and – it’s available for free (with mailing list sign-up).

Memorymoog what now? Well, from 1982 to 1985 (it was announced in ’81 but I believe mainly shipped from ’82), the original Moog Music company made this polysynth behemoth.

Just to review – you didn’t dream that, we were just talking about the Polymoog. The difference with the “poly” part of that is, that instrument used divide-down trickery to get more voices.

But the Memorymoog had six true, independent voices – actually even 3 oscillators per voice – plus presets. It was a bit like 6 Minimoogs crammed together. A later version added MIDI. But that didn’t allow Moog to keep up with much more practical, reliable, affordable, and compact digitally-controlled instruments from KORG and Roland. Resulting from this and various other pressures of the market at the time, the company wound up bankrupt. (This was a different Moog company, no longer helmed by Bob Moog himself – though he would ultimately reclaim the name.)

Moog Polymoog Synthesizer.jpg
The original, CC BY 2.0 Chris Sobczak.

There’s a wonderful history here, by someone working on these old dinosaurs:

The MemoryMoog (Plus): American Monster Polysynth [Bell Tone]

The beauty of having a software recreation of the Memorymoog is, you get all the sound design possibilities of the original – and even the chance to model some of its idiosyncrasies – without acquiring an unreliable giant that requires its own transport.

This freebie comes with a full 5 GB of samples plus 148 instrument presets and 4 multis. (Whoa.)

Oh, yeah, and it’s free. Not that anyone is ever likely to remake a Memorymoog, and you’d have to be fairly daft to get a used one (though some people do go there, and I’m jealous of whoever won the Moog Foundation competition). But free makes this a must.

When the going gets tough, the tough make really big pads.

Memory-V is an add-on for IK Multimedia’s Syntronik instrument. That instrument takes a hybrid approach to remaking retro classics, by combining multi-sampled content with a modeled filter section. They also have their own technique for modeling how oscillators would misbehave and drift, which they call “DRIFT™.” You know – the thing that for years synthesists dreamed would stop happening. Now we want to recreate it.

For all the choices out there – and there are a lot of choices – Syntronik also can recommend itself with 4-part multis (whoa), splits, and arpeggiators.

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That makes them a rival of course to Arturia who have their own V Collection with a similarly broad catalog of recreations. The trick is, they now have a sale on for up to 70% off, which makes the price of Syntronik 99 $/EUR.

But whether or not you’re ready for all that, you can go ahead and get Memory-V for free – and it runs in the free version of Syntronik, too, so your total cost can be zero. If you’re already on IK’s mailing list, you just go grab it.

And oh yeah, of course, like everyone is doing now, there’s some omnibus installer thing that’s meant to manage all your licenses and download updates. This one is called IK Product Manager.

Here’s how:

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Before we even think of complaining, though, I might observe that we have an insane, stupid, wild, incomprehensible selection of sounds that now run on computers. You could freak out your friends by getting really great studio monitors, one very tiny controller keyboard, a wraparound monitor, and then filling the rest of your studio with potted plants. (I don’t know what that would do for sound diffusion, but it would increase the amount of oxygen. Well, depending on what kind of plants you were growing but – no comment there.)

Seriously, though, it is spectacular having these choices of sounds. And while some people go have existential crises about what that means for the future of music, I’m perfectly happy because people seem to have different ideas.

IK Multimedia Memory-V

IK Multimedia Syntronik

And for still more from the Moog of this time:

It’s funny, now that people have gotten their fill talking about Moog modular and Minimoog, it seems there’s resurgent interest in some of the lesser hits of the era. I always think we learn from history, even in our efforts to be more futuristic, so bring it on.

Tiedye Ky honors late friend Pipus in ‘Living Right Now’ visual

Tiedye Ky honors late friend Pipus in ‘Living Right Now’ visualTiedye Ky Press Shot

In addition to delivering the accompanying music video to his standout album single, “Living Right Now,” Tiedye Ky has announced the Pipus Forever Mural Project. Both the visual and the mural initiative honor the artist’s late friend Matthew “Pipus” Larsen, a local creative standout and beloved community member.

The music video for “Living Right Now” follows Tiedye Ky as he visits all of Pipus’s favorite places throughout his hometown of Philadelphia in an artistic collection of scenes that shot on a Super 8 camera. The video is also his announcement of the Pipus Forever Mural Project, developed to not only raise money but also collect signatures to support the creation of a mural for Pipus in Philadelphia.

In an official release, Ky said,

“The ‘Living Right Now’ music video is a tribute to my late homie Pipus. When I heard of his passing, I didn’t believe it at first. I almost laughed and thought ‘man he really got us this time, this will be his ultimate skit. It’s his way of putting on his greatest show.’ He was always smiling, always laughing so hard. His presence in a room outshined and broke down the very walls he stood within.”

Those who would like to donate to the Pipus Forever Mural Project, can do so here.

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Glastonbury festival organizers quietly register new company, Holy Cow Events

Glastonbury festival organizers quietly register new company, Holy Cow EventsGlastonbury Cr Charlie Raven

Two chief organizers of Glastonbury Music Festival, Emily Eavis and Nick Dewey, have registered a new company called Holy Cow Events.

The company was registered and incorporated on February 8 via Companies House, but not much else is known about what this new brand will encompass other than its nature of business, which is officially registered as performing arts. It’s possible that Holy Cow Events was established to host smaller one-off events at Glastonbury Festival’s own Worthy Farm, but this potentiality is only speculative. The news of Holy Cow Events’ registration follows Glastonbury organizers’ recent cancellation of the 2021 festival.

Featured Image: Charlie Raven

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