Tom Oberheim Applies To Trademark OB-Xa, SEM, DMX, XPANDER

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has ‘published for opposition’ several trademark applications from pioneering electronic instrument designer Tom Oberheim.

Last year, Oberheim applied for US trademarks for a variety of terms, including ‘Tom Oberheim’, ‘OB-Xa’, ‘SEM’, ‘DMX’ and ‘XPANDER’.  He had previously applied to trademark the terms ‘Oberheim’ and ‘SEM-X’.

Now, several of his trademark applications have been published for opposition, including applications for ‘OB-Xa’ and ‘XPANDER’.

Getting to this stage means that the USPTO has done an initial review of the trademark and that Oberheim addressed any issues that were raised in their review. When the USPTO publishes a trademark application for opposition, the government has determined that the application meets its legal requirements and it is giving the public 30-days to file an objection.

Oberheim has not publicly announced plans related to most of these terms, but it seems likely that their goals for trademarking the terms may be in part related to plans for future reissues and in part in response to Behringer’s plans for products based on classic Oberheim designs.

In 2016, Tom Oberheim and Sequential (formerly Dave Smith Instruments) introduced the OB-6, a new design, based in part on Oberheim’s classic SEM voice. The OB-6 has been well received, and it looks like Oberheim and Sequential may have another synth in the works.

In January, Sequential filed a trademark application for the term ‘OB-X’, suggesting that the company could be working with Oberheim on a reissue of the OB-X, similar to their Prophet-5 reissue.

In addition to the projects that Oberheim is involved with, Behringer has independently announced plans for knockoffs of a pair of classic Oberheim designs – the DMX drum machine and the OB-Xa synthesizer.

The company also applied to trademark the terms ‘Oberheim’ and ‘OB-Xa’. The company has abandoned these applications, though, and it looks like they plan to release their devices with slightly altered names, similar to what they did with their ‘MonoPoly’ synthesizer. They have shared demos of a prototype of their ‘UB-Xa’ synthesizer, based on the design of the Oberheim OB-Xa, and have announced plans to make an ‘OMX’ drum machine, based on the Oberheim DMX.

via matrixsynth, uspto

A Daft Punk tribute mix aired on BBC Radio 1 this weekend: Listen

A Daft Punk tribute mix aired on BBC Radio 1 this weekend.

Following the shock announcement last week that Daft Punk would be parting ways after 28 years, Brighton’s Dance System joined Radio 1 on Friday (26th) for ‘an emotional and flawlessly mixed journey’ through the discography of the legendary duo.

The 30-minute mix, which is available to playback via a number of platforms here, features a string of iconic tracks alongside edits from Dance System himself. The show also features messages from Daft Punk’s self-proclaimed “teachers”: DJ Deeon, Todd Edwards, K Alexi, DJ Tonka and Dave Clarke, as well as clips from the likes of A-Trak, Boys Noize and Skrillex.

Speaking about the mix, BBC Radio 1 host Annie Mac said “Radio 1 favourite Dance System was the perfect person to deliver this mix. We knew he would smash it and he has absolutely delivered – this is such a treat.”

Listen back to the show below, or via other platforms here.

On Thursday last week, it was announced that Daft Punk album sales had increased 2,650% after the duo’s split.

Read about how the French duo’s ability to constantly reinvent electronic music made them one of the most important electronic acts after Kraftwerk here

Crystal Skies surface first Enhanced original with Ekko-vocalized, ‘Used to Love’

Crystal Skies surface first Enhanced original with Ekko-vocalized, ‘Used to Love’Crystal Skies

Ophelia favorites Crystal Skies have collated a hefty spread of melodic bass releases that have contributed to their status as staples on the Seven Lions-helmed label over the past few years. Pushing dynamic and breathtaking productions like the five-track Collide EP, quadruple-headed collaboration “Foolish of Me,” and the genre-bending Abraxis-joined “Night Rider,” the U.S. duo have forged an undeniable sonic identity that now transmutes itself into a fresh facet as Crystal Skies enter their first release of 2021 and conjunctive original debut on Enhanced Music.

Joined by Norwegian singer-songwriter Ekko, Crystal Skies crossover their sound in an uplifting application on “Used To Love,” exchanging emotive dubstep for anthemic dance music. Euphoric instrumentals and dance-pop elements bolster an invigorating vocal performance from Ekko, whose feel-good and universally-resonant lyrics form the basis for a commercially viable track, on both radio and stages.

Stream Crystal Skies and Ekko’s “Used To Love” below.

Featured image: @silkyshots/Instagram

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deadmau5 plants a flag in house territory with hau5trap label venture

deadmau5 plants a flag in house territory with hau5trap label ventureDeadmau5

You know mau5trap; now, meet hau5trap.

After launching mau5trap in 2007, deadmau5 is setting his sights on a new label venture aimed at house music—hau5trap. Billed as “the new premier collective for the who’s who of who’s next in all things house,” hau5trap will position fresh blood alongside seasoned mau5trap talent, with the first inkling of hau5trap sound set to burst out of the pipeline on March 4. hau5trap label-opening duties will be shared by Tommy Trash and Daisy Guttridge on “Hiiiigh.” “Hiiigh” represents Trash and Guttridge’s first reunion since their 2019 tie-up, “Let Me Go” with i_o.

“With hau5trap, we get to support more things we love specifically in house music. Tommy Trash remixed my ‘Bridged By A Lightwave’ and ‘The Veldt’ tracks, so I’m happy to have him be the first artist to release on hau5trap,” deadmau5 said of the new initiative.

Featured image: Leah Sems

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Zeds Dead celebrate five years of Deadbeats with launch of new label, Altered States

Zeds Dead celebrate five years of Deadbeats with launch of new label, Altered StatesZeds Dead

As Zeds Dead‘s Deadbeats celebrates five years, Dylan Mamid and Zachary Rapp-Rovan are looking ahead to another impactful date: March 5.

On the first “New Music Friday” of March, Zeds Dead will formalize Altered States, a new label built on electronic, chill, and downtempo sounds. The inaugural Altered States release “late night drive” lands on March 5, and will notably predate Catching Zs, a 13-song mixtape featuring brand spankin’ new music, all from Zeds Dead.

Zeds Dead said of their decision to launch Altered States,

“We wanted to open the door to a world branching off of Deadbeats. One where we explore sounds that take you into a different space, one of dreams and other altered states of consciousness.”

Stay tuned for “late night drive.”

Featured image: Oh Dag Yo Photography

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A 1970s Swedish modular you probably never heard of was meant for every music school

Meet the Dataton 3000. The creation of Sweden’s Björn Sandlund, it sports a unique, friendly modular designed for educational use – and at one point, was recommended to be used in every music school. That history was lost, but this teaching-friendly design might just have been ahead of its time.

Macumbista, aka Derek Holzer, has embarked on an extended research project studying the little-known Dataon series. And since none of us can really go check the original modules at the Royal College of Music (KMH) or in a Swedish private collection, Derek also gives us a tour of what these modules could do.

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He explains:

The Dataton System 3000 was designed in the 1970’s by Björn Sandlund in Sweden. It was mainly intended for educational use, and an official report published in 1977 recommended that every music school in the country be provided with one. Unfortunately, a subsequent right wing government eliminated these plans, and Sandlund’s Dataton company instead moved into audiovisual presentation technology.

The System 3000 contains modules for sound synthesis, sound processing, mixing, and panning. In these video tutorials, I will briefly explain the modules at my disposal:

Power Supply 3320
Sub Mixer 3202
Master Mixer 3201
Quad Sound Generator 3002
Quad Input Amplifier 3001
Quad Envelope Shaper 3104
Ringmodulator 3105
Noise Generator 3004
Quad Universal Filter 3101

The modules in this collection belong to either the Royal College of Music (KMH) in Stockholm or the private collection of Daniel Araya. Historically, they have been used in the studios of KMH, by the composer Leo Nilsson, and/or at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. This video series was produced by Derek Holzer for a workshop entitled “Sounds of Futures Passed”, which is a part of his PhD studies at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm. His project is a cooperation between KTH, KMH, Statens Musikverket, and Elektronmusikstudion (EMS), with support from the Swedish Research Council/Vetenskapsrådet.

The System 3000 is described in much greater detail in Björn Sandlund’s book The Early Synth Days, published in 2019.

With thanks to Björn Sandlund, Daniel Araya, and Henrik Frisk for their support in making these videos.

See also this blog post:

Full playlist:

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And a full description of his project:

Historically Informed Sound Synthesis

Dataton is still a working enterprise, and they’ve published a detailed history with their founder, too. This is a drool-worthy acquisition for any media archaeologist-at-heart. (And it won a award.)

Everything you ever wanted to know about Dataton’s earliest products. “The Early Synth Days” by Dataton’s founder, Björn Sandlund, is an unashamedly detailed account of those first products and the evolution of audio synthesizers in the 1970s. From technical specs, to manufacturing processes, to the full-on user guide for the Dataton System 3000 synth, “The Early Synth Days” is the book for anyone with a love of audio synth history!

But history aside, I think it’s telling to see how Dataton approached a starter kit to modular synthesis for educational purposes. The 1970s stuff often has a lucidity that we lack now, given the diversity of instruments around – or to look at it the other way around, we have some perspective on that value from our current time. Either way, the past is often a great source of inspiration for the future, with freshness rather than nostalgia.

Also, I just like those panel designs.

Bonus, someone posted an early ad for the system:

Thanks to Derek for this great inquiry. (Photo at top, also via Derek Holzer – see research page.)

DIY rapid COVID testing kits have been distributed in Europe

DIY rapid COVID testing kits have been distributed to a number of countries in Europe.

Rapid coronavirus testing kits, which have been designed by testFWRD with the re-opening of hospitality venues and the return of mass events in mind, have been distributed across Europe to Germany, Spain and Portugal, and also to the UK.

The tests, which are already available in Austria and approved by the World Health Organization, can be taken at home and require users to gargle saline solution and make a video recording. This is then uploaded to an app, and users return their test kits in the post. Results are delivered directly via the testFWRD app and aim to give a “non-infectious time window of 72 hours”.

In November last year, Swallow Events announced they would offer a full rapid testing screening service facility to detect COVID-19 to event organisers throughout the UK and the rest of the world. The service offers Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency-approved 15-minute turn-around pop-up testing facilities which can be conducted by government-approved healthcare professionals on any size and scale.

Earlier this week, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave hope to the night time economy and live events sectors — which have been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic — announcing that nightclubs and music venues across the country could be reopened as soon as the 21st June. As part of the government’s “road map” to reopening the sectors, it was revealed that an “events research programme” is set to launch in April, with trial events at nightclubs, stadiums and theatres expected to take place with volunteers.

You can view an instructional video about the testFWRD kit below.

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US recorded music revenue grew 9.2% in 2020, eclipses $12 billion

US recorded music revenue grew 9.2% in 2020, eclipses $12 billionBig Wild Holy Ship Janeoconnor Insomniac 2

According to the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) year-end report, United States recorded music revenues grew 9.2% in 2020 to $12.2 billion. The largest driver of the growth was streaming services, which accounted for 83% of reported revenues. Physical music sales were the next largest income source providing 9% of overall revenue, followed closely by digital downloads.

2020 marks the fifth consecutive year of growth for the recorded music industry. The consistent growth is mirrored closely by the rising US paid music subscriptions count, which has risen from 22.7 million in 2016 to 75.5 million in 2020. Revenues from digital radios and ad-supported streaming have remained relatively stagnant.

In the physical music sales realm, vinyl sales surpassed CD sales for the first time since 1986. However, the overall revenue reported from physical music sales has remained nearly constant for the past three years, hovering just above $1 billion annually. View the RIAA’s full report here.

Via: Recording Industry Association of America

Featured image: Jane O’Connor for Insomniac

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Nicky Romero returns to the release ring with ‘Back To You’

Nicky Romero returns to the release ring with ‘Back To You’Nicky Romero

Nicky Romero is tapping into his emotive side with a new single, “Back To You.” Romero frequently fluctuates between collaborating with Protocol signees and putting out his own individual material, and “Back To You” sees the producer return to solo form.

The song, distributed via Protocol Recordings, is infused with optimism and serves as a brilliant blend of piano melody and heartfelt vocals about a journey back to a lover. Romero released nine singles over the course of 2020, and with the release of “Back To You,” the producer is on track to not only maintain but amplify that momentum in 2021.

Romero spoke about the track in an official release, stating,

“‘Back To You’ is a message of positivity and hope. I went into the studio hopeful for what is to come and excited to be back on stage when it’s possible and safe for everyone. I hope that when this song comes on over the airwaves, listeners feel as excited as I am to return to festivals and clubs in the year ahead. I can’t wait to see all of you there! Stay safe.” 

Featured image: Rukes

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Dillon Francis’ ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’ remix hits Audius

Dillon Francis’ ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’ remix hits AudiusDillon Francis

Dillon Francisremix of Daft Punk‘s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” is newly available on the blockchain-based alternative streaming platform Audius. The six-year-old remix trails the news of the dance icons’ split, announced February 22. In the midst of the breakup, a multitude of artists have articulated the impact that Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo made on dance music, with Francis himself sharing,

Initially released in 2014, Francis’ “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” remix can be found below.

Featured image: Rukes

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