Review: Patch & Tweak With Moog Is A Must-Have For Moog Fans

Author, designer, and electronic musician Kim Bjørn, in collaboration with Moog Music, recently published a new book in his series for electronic musicians (Patch & Tweak, Pedal Crush, Push Turn Move)Patch & Tweak With Moog.

With Patch & Tweak With Moog, Bjørn works within his trademark style of thoughfully-organized and profusely illustrated pages, but for the first time focuses on a single brand of gear.

The book’s focus is on deepening your knowledge of synthesis with Moog’s mainstream patchable instruments – the Mother-32, DFAM, Subharmonicon, Grandmother & Matriarch. It offers historical information on Moog’s original modulars and a timeline and overview of Moog instrument designs, but the bulk of the book focuses on the company’s current lineup of patchable synthesizers.

The book is top-notch in every way.

Like Bjørn’s previous books, Patch & Tweak With Moog is gorgeous. You can flip to any random spread and find something that draws you in. It offers reams of basic information about synthesis, and pairs that with detailed illustrations and photographs that demonstrate how you can immediately apply the concepts that are discussed.

The forward is by Hans Zimmer, who shares his personal experience in taking inspiration from early synth albums like Switched On Bach. He also shares this history of his personal Moog modular system, which was originally owned by The Beatles, then The Rolling Stones and then Chris Franke of Tangerine Dream.

In addition, Patch & Tweak With Moog features dozens of interviews. These include artist interviews with musicians like Suzanne Ciani, Trent Reznor, Stranger Things composers Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon, and Moog modular co-designer Herb Deutsch. And it also includes interviews with Moog engineers, who tell the stories of how instruments like the Mother-32 came to be and discuss the inspiration for the unique Subharmonicon.

These interviews are the highlight of the book. They bring to mind the timeless, in-depth interviews that Keyboard magazine used to feature. Each of the interviews is spread across several pages and they are generally accompanied with studio photos, patch tips and gear pairings.

We have two caveats about recommending the book.

First, it really focuses on Moog’s mainstream patchable synths: the Mother-32, DFAM, Subharmonicon, Grandmother & Matriarch. If you really want to know more about the classic Moog modular designs, or if you’ve been dreaming about a Moog One, you won’t find a lot of info on either of them here.

Second, Patch & Tweak With Moog was created in collaboration with Moog Music, so it’s not intended to offer a critical perspective on Moog designs or put them into a context with other synth designs.

With these two caveats in mind, Patch & Tweak With Moog is a must-have book for Moog fans. Readers will learn about Moog history, how the company creates new designs and how artists work with their instruments. And, if you own any of the synths that the book covers in depth, you’ll find patch diagrams to try, insight on the instruments from their creators and inspiration from well-known synthesists.

Pricing & Availability

Patch & Tweak With Moog is available for about $42 USD.

Win A Custom Vintage Minimoog Model D

The Bob Moog Foundation, an independent non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the legacy of synth pioneer Dr Robert Moog, has announced its spring raffle.

The raffle features a fully restored vintage Minimoog synthesizer, with a custom cabinet fabricated from rare African Makore wood, known for its beauty, strength, and durability.

Here’s a demo of the custom Minimoog in action, by Asheville-based trumpeter & synthesist Ben Hovey:

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Funds raised from the raffle will be used to expand the Foundation’s hallmark educational project, Dr. Bob’s SoundSchool and to help support the Moogseum, which was closed for 5 months last year because of the pandemic.

The Minimoog is the most iconic synthesizer of all time. Its design has defined the layout and many of the features of keyboard synthesizers since its introduction.

This particular Minimoog, serial number 8903, was built at Moog Music’s Buffalo, NY-era factory during the late ’70s and has an estimated value of $6,500. It has been meticulously restored by Wes Taggart of Analogics, who also built the custom cabinet.

“This year marks the 50-year anniversary of Minimoogs shipping to customers from the original R.A. Moog factory in Trumansburg, NY,” notes Michelle Moog-Koussa, executive director of the Bob Moog Foundation. “The Minimoog set the standard for an entire industry that followed, with its robust build, iconic sound, and elegant design. We are excited to offer an instrument of this caliber to our supporters all over the world as the prize for our spring raffle.”

The spring raffle ends on March 29, 2021 at 11:59pm ET, or when all 4,500 tickets sell out, whichever comes first. Tickets are $20 each, six for $100, 14 for $200, or 40 for $500, and are available via the Foundation site.

Wu-Tang Clan announce new photobook, in 181 KG bronze-encrusted chamber

Wu-Tang Clan have revealed details of a brand new photobook.

Legendary hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan have announced plans for a new, exclusive photobook titled Wu-Tang Clan: Legacy,  which the outfit are calling “the biggest and rarest book in the history of hip-hop”.

Limited to 36 copies — in reference to the group’s debut album ‘Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)’ — Wu-Tang Clain: Legacy will come in its very own bronze-encrusted steel chamber, weighing 181 KG. The case is inspired by the ancient past and the bronze ritual bowls of the Zhou Dynasty, whose first ruler was King Wu-Wang.

Speaking about the book, Wu-Tang’s manager, John Mook Gibbons, said: “from conception to the present day, this is the story of the undisputed greatest Hip Hop group of all time being unveiled through rare and never before seen photos.”

No price or released date has been announced for the book yet, but you can sign up to find out about priority access via the Wu-Tang: Legacy website

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In October last year, Brooklyn-born rapper and Wu-Tang member, Raekwon, revealed that he will be releasing his memoir in the form of a book in 2021.

Earlier this week, it was announced that Wu-Tang’s Ghostface Killah and Raekwon would go head to head in the next Verzuz rap battle.

Free Pipe Organ Virtual Instrument

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Spitfire Audio has released LABS Pipe Organ, a free pipe organ virtual instrument.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

“Explore the versatile sound palette of a cinematic scoring staple — from ethereal to majestic beauty.

Recorded by Spitfire Audio’s Angus Roberts-Carey at his local church, this pipe organ has been developed in collaboration with the Pianobook community.

Choose from seven diverse presets, specially curated from a mix of stops and pads.”

It’s available now as a free download.

Creating A Compact Modular Techno System With Julia Bondar

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In the latest loopop video, host Ziv Eliraz talks with synthesist Julia Bondar about her approach to creating a compact modular system for techno.

In addition to her music, Bondar may be familiar to some readers from her role as Creative Director at Euro manufacturer

Topics covered:

0:00 Intro
1:45 Studio tour
4:45 Live setup overview
7:45 Patch from scratch
10:05 Mixer setup
11:00 Drums, MIDI to CV
13:20 Samples, delay
17:35 Melodic layer
18:50 Velocity-to-loop trick
20:05 Tuning & lead voice
28:40 Recording vs live
29:50 Secondary sequencer
33:55 Performance demo
46:55 Sequencing plan
49:10 Building tension
51:50 Track transitions
53:00 Mixing and sidechain
53:55 Reverb on bass
55:40 Conducting the patch
57:00 Live mixing
57:50 Composing
58:50 Polyrhythms/meters
1:04:10 Recording setup
1:08:15 Mixing, mastering
1:10:30 Outro, more tips

You can see Bondar in action in this 90+ minute live modular techno performance:

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Keep the faith: bangers for Bandcamp Friday, even without the dancefloor

For every person cut off from their vocation, their livelihood, their reason to go to work, in any industry – it’s been a tough year. But if you need some dancefloor sounds to remind you what those can sound like, today there’s a surprising bumper crop of releases.

Now, first – a disclaimer. I am amazed that anyone would judge producers or labels for going silent a while. I know plenty of producers and DJs who are depressed. I know it’s tough to get inspired when you don’t have playing or dancefloors as motivation – not only in the abstract, but because a lot of people who play live even work out ideas as improvisation and bring them back to the studio. And there’s economic reason to put off releases for a while – labels and producers alike may not have the budget to press vinyl or hire PR or even pay for a couple hours mastering. And they may be busy with, you know, day jobs.

So I urge you if you’re in that category to listen to this music for yourself. Don’t worry about what you might have been putting out or feel you may be falling behind. If you give these a spin, do it entirely for your own mood and pleasure.

Here are just a few picks out of today’s bin. And hey, if you have been lacking some studio inspiration, do yourself a favor and mix a few of these together to make that sound happen again. Plus if you’ve got the cash to make a purchase, spread the love to some folks who probably need it right now.

Slikback is an early 2021 landmark – a hypnotic, all-encompassing event horizon of groove from the Nairobi powerhouse. Beyond heavy:

Not content with Barker topping lists with Utility [Ostgut Ton], now next up in the Leisure System revolution is labelmate Ned Beckett, with a hyperfuturistic rave energy that bleeds optimism. It’s a blast of light right when we need it, and it’s sure to hold up as a 2021 stand-out. (Barker is back on mixing duties.)

Flow State is simple a magnum opus from Shawn Rudiman, a textural journey with beats in between. It’s an essential follow-up to his Conduit last year and shows the Pittsburgh artist at the height of his powers, even in these dark times.

Ryuji Takeuchi is a favorite of mine, and what he describes as his take on “minimalism” is all punch. “No Life, No Music” – feel you on that.

Alan Oldham aka DJ T-1000 has made it to the bottom of the stack of reel-to-reels he resurrected from the legendary Generator imprint. And what a way to finish this amazing series – while we wait for him to fly back to America and get some DATs:

An extra track left over from the TXC-2 “20 Hours to Paradise” EP (GEN003), but so strong I thought it would work as a single-sided release. It came out with the same track on both sides because I was too cheap to pay for the full mastering and plating necessary to make a flat b-side. Both Pen (Level A) and I worked on this, but it was mostly him. He played the pads live while I mixed the track live using mutes. I don’t remember if it was the actual final thing we did together, but it was close. It holds up pretty well. Real old-school studio heads know that’s a Roland D-50 pad that is the main sound on this track. I leaned on that machine throughout my career until the Korg Karma came along in 2008. The pads on the D-50 were second to none. I’m completely in the box now, though, with no intention of going back to outboard gear.

While Alan goes through his reels, Ron S. of the epic Anode Records has been saving Pro Tools sessions. And it seems like the Pro Tools sessions of yore were just ahead of their time. Emerge into 2021, Pro Tools children:

Wunderblock Records is the massively underrated underground imprint out of Moscow, and label boss Mike himself comes out with some deep bunker s*** to lead an absolutely brilliant, dubby wonderland of a VA, which I would devour like a giant plate of buttery pelmeni. Sorry – that’s not me resorting to superficial stereotypes of Russia, I literally am thinking about a giant plate of buttery pelmeni I had last time I was in the Russian capital and I want it write now. Not journalism, just truth. And equally truthful – you should file away Lars’ feature track here and play it when clubs reopen to destroy everyone. That’s a massive hit if I ever heard one. (You can do it now in Russia as evidently the clubs are open and Sputnik V doses are available, so it’s Berlin that’s behind.)

This VA – get it. And get Dave Terrida’s genius Destroyer of Worlds from December while you’re there.

Chicago’s Grid Based Beats has this oddball, pumping peak-time angled synth business made by Frankie Vega and Tim Vitek. This is the kind of mouth-watering synth-centric stuff that gets me, even if I’m not totally sure how to describe it. But lovely. Be the first to buy it after me, it seems. It’s a preorder, but I’m sold on these two tracks anyway. $2 well spent?

“Tracks will probably slow down and get gentler after the pandemic.” Sure, maybe. No, not at all. Tensal is veteran Spanish producer Hector Sandoval and – you’re allowed to use distortion and go fast if it grooves along like this. Plus you do get the feeling the Dutch folk are up to go crazy in the streets, even the ones who have been good lately and staying at home in Rotterdam. Hello, ARTS, this is some proper brutal rave business:

Not to be outdone, Rotterdam rival label mord is going dark, wild, and crazy with another veteran – this one from Bari, Italy. (That’s meaning I guess “Kaiser” is not a reference to the former German mid-range grocery store chain, though who knows, things happen when you get hungry after a German rave).

Mediterranean manic dark techno filtered through Rotterdam is go, I see.

For a perfect example, though, take this hyperactive madness from the always-excellent OCD, launching this compilation like it’s a Soyuz outta Hell:

Machine Label out of Australia is totally new to me. I like the tracks not featured on Bandcamp, especially for some bone-dry grooves mixed into the darkness and the fast, crisp “Exciter.” Nice stuff from Ranjit Nijjer:

Dark Carousel continues their assault on our ears with a deliciously violent release by Zander PSR, with some rich timbres and fantastic rhythms. Stomp on this:

Reece Cox is a bit more on the abstract side, but like a bright beam of sunlight – including those remixes – enough so that it has the feeling of a raveL

Weird, dark, fast, OnScreenActor has this lovely two-track outing for Peder Mannerfelt, with a B-side to catch your breath:

Finally, not one but two festivals have done big releases of all their music on Bandcamp, which is a great way to bring the festival to your headphones. From Uganda, there’s the now increasingly legendary Nyege Nyege and their accompanying label Nyege Nyege Tapes. They’re apparently joining the “don’t buy digital” or “price digital like an NFT” bandwagon but uh, the cassette is at a reasonable price:

Unsound gives us the festival we missed, the lineup that never would be. SOPHIE, Jlin, Ben Frost, 33EMYBW, Moor Mother, Slikback, DeForrest Brown, Zosia Hołubowska, and the list goes on:

Bonus track – I have no idea what this is. I think it probably got posted to a group on Facebook where it doesn’t belong. But you’ve scrolled down here, so you deserve to have something that came from Tokyo’s stranger corners. I mean, I’m glad it features Nanyara Idol, I assume that’s a plus?

Yes, you scrolled to the end bonus!

Roland Intros JD-800 Model Expansion

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Roland has introduced the JD-800 Model Expansion, the latest addition to their ZEN-Core Model Expansion lineup, available through Roland Cloud.

Based on Roland’s JD-800 hardware synthesizer, released in 1991, the JD-800 Model Expansion makes the design available through the ZENOLOGY Software Synthesizer and the Roland hardware instruments that support the ZEN-Core Synthesis System.


  • ‘Authentic sound’ with advanced modeling and original JD-800 waveforms
  • Includes 64 presets from the JD-800, plus 64 all-new presets
  • Detailed recreation of the JD-800’s two-stage multi-effects section
  • Over 90 onboard effects processors including JUNO and CE-1 choruses, SDD-320 Dimension D, SBF-325 flanger, and more
  • Clear, intuitive interface for free-flowing production
  • Expanded polyphony versus the original hardware
  • Swap Model Expansions and load sounds instantly

The JD-800 Model Expansion is currently supported with Roland’s ZENOLOGY and ZENOLOGY Pro software instruments and JUPITER-X and JUPITER-Xm hardware instruments.

Audio Demos:

See the Roland site for details.

Behringer Oberheim Trademark Registration Refused, Because It ‘Falsely Suggests A Connection With Tom Oberheim’

Behringer head Uli Behringer

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has refused an attempt by Behringer/MusicTribe to register a trademark for ‘Behringer Oberheim‘.

On Thursday, the USPTO published a ‘Notice Of Non-Final Action‘ that states that they are refusing the trademark application.

The USPTO determined that the term ‘Behringer Oberheim’ may falsely suggest a connection with Tom Oberheim. They note that, “Although the person is not connected with the goods provided by applicant under the applied-for mark, Tom Oberheim is so well-known that consumers would presume a connection.”

The refusal notes that “The evidence indicates that, due to his fame in the relevant electronic music instrument industry, the surname Oberheim uniquely and unmistakably points to Tom Oberheim and a connection with Tom Oberheim would be presumed when applicant’s mark is used on its goods.”

Behringer has previously announced plans to make inexpensive copies of the Oberheim DMX drum machine and the OB-Xa synthesizer. Photos of the ‘UB-Xa‘ prototype shows that Behringer plans to closely copy the original OB-Xa’s design and look, but modify the build to make it less expensive to manufacture.

Based on the company’s attempt to trademark ‘Oberheim’ and ‘OB-Xa’, it appears that they hoped to market their copy with the original’s look and name, similar to what they’ve done with knockoffs of the Octave The Cat and EDP Wasp synthesizers.

Behringer has six months to respond and contest the USPTO’s decision, or the application will be abandoned.

Major Lazer continue release run with Guaynaa-supported ‘Diplomatico’

Major Lazer continue release run with Guaynaa-supported ‘Diplomatico’74657585 535395277029578 4217099284005575332 N 1

Go big or go home, says Major Lazer‘s latest collaborative stunt. The latest release from the trio of Diplo, Walshy Fire, and Ape Drums taps Puerto Rican rapper Guaynaa for a reggaeton burner, following closely behind the dancehall outfit’s earlier 2021 original “Pra te Machucar” which, in a similar vein, united a heavy hitting ensemble including Ludmilla, ÀTTØØXXÁ, and Suku Ward.

Like its Diplo-referenced wordplay, “Diplomatico” exudes a playful character spearheaded by Guaynaa’s brazen verses. In its short span, the track delivers mischievous, yet sultry subtleties with its electronic-injected percussive patterns and sparing use of brass. Stream below.

The post Major Lazer continue release run with Guaynaa-supported ‘Diplomatico’ appeared first on Dancing Astronaut.

Xavi’s debut album ‘To The Endless Searing Skies’ is a must-listen of 2021 [Q&A]

Xavi’s debut album ‘To The Endless Searing Skies’ is a must-listen of 2021 [Q&A]Javier

“I feel that this album is stronger than anything I’ve ever made, and that it truly represents all of what I have to offer” Xavi.

When an artist expresses a sentiment of this nature, you should listen. On March 5, the date of To The Endless Searing Skies’ release via Ophelia Records, that’s precisely what we at Dancing Astronaut are doing. And after digesting To The Endless Searing Skies in its 10-track entirety, it’s apparent that the LP—Xavi’s first—is a powerful record of personal reckoning. From top to bottom, the album—which deals quite powerfully in metaphor—lyrically and vocally confronts “thoughts and experiences” that Xavi has had, he told Dancing Astronaut.

While Xavi has constructed his career to date on the dynamic distillation and subsequent marriage of elements extracted from synthpop, electro-pop, indie, future bass, and mid-tempo and melodic dubstep, he’s also founded it on artistic authenticity. Creative wrestling, a pledge to develop sound that he enjoyed, a little serendipity, the support of a label that has stood behind him since he made his Ophelia debut on Advent Volume 2, and his own innate experimental and exploratory electronic acumen have culminated in a rich, vibrant project that boldly bespeaks Xavi’s presence in the dance space.

Dancing Astronaut connected with Xavi ahead of To The Endless Searing Skies’ arrival to look back on the production choices and personal perspective that yield an LP that can equivocally be declared a must-listen of 2021. Find both the full Q&A and album below.

You’ve expressed your feeling that this album “is stronger than anything” you’ve “ever made.” What specifically about the LP inspired this sentiment, and how does To The Endless Searing Skies differ from the music that you’ve made in the past?

Xavi: “I’ve never really been given the chance to release anything as large and interconnected as this before, and it’s really given me an opportunity to shine in areas I’m proud of and areas I’ve also never tackled before. No songs I’ve ever created have worked together as well as the songs of this project do, and I think that upon listening, it’s easy to see why I’d say that. Also, lyrics add a power to music that instrumentals cannot always carry. “

All 10 songs on To The Endless Searing Skies are written and sung by you. What motivated you to use your own vocals on the entirety of the project, and can you tell us a bit about your writing and vocal process as you crafted the album?

Xavi: “These vocals are extremely personal. Although many of them are quite metaphorical, they all represent thoughts and situations I’ve experienced; I don’t think it would be as personal to have someone else say (or sing, in this situation) my own thoughts—it would feel a bit disingenuous. 

As far as working with the vocals goes, I’ve never had to work with them before, and the process of learning how to work with them was pretty arduous (in fact, the song I easily spent the most time on as far as vocals go didn’t even make the final cut because of how rough it sounded). The writing process was interesting as well because not only have I never wrote before this, but I also had to take myself seriously enough to create lyrics that had true meaning. I’m quite goofy usually, so this was trying at first!”

What is the story behind the album’s title? The titles of the individual tracklistings are also very specific, how did you select them?

Xavi: “The album’s original title was actually From the Heart to The Soul To the Endless Searing Skies. This name is based on some of my personal experiences with death and losing loved ones and was born from my constant ponderings on the idea of where we go when we pass and what are we supposed to do in the meantime before we venture into the endless. The title of each track reflect the sentiments found in the lyrics or emotions contained in that song.  The lyrics would be written and sung before the track titles were decided, so I was able to use them as a representation of what’s found inside.”

In February, you tweeted that you never really felt you “had a true voice in music” until now. What changed, and how did you get there?

Xavi: “I’ve always experienced a large amount of imposter syndrome, to the point where I was always trying to push everything as far as I could just to prove myself to, well, myself. My music became my burden. I would constantly try to ‘one up’ each previous song I had created, to the point where I was basically losing my mind as I worked.  One day, something snapped, and I decided that my sanity wasn’t worth the constant attempts to impress my audience. I decided to just create something I truly enjoyed, beyond the technical aspects of production, something solid that might not be the next major step in being a technical wizard but would stand on its own legs without technicality.  This is around the time that I decided to do my own vocals, and it was when I realized that I had accidentally stumbled onto exactly what I wanted to make.”

Porter Robinson notably dropped your remix of Madeon’s La Lune at EDC 2016. What significance did this hold for your career at the time? 

Xavi: “One of my first major influences on my sound was Worlds, so that was a massive, huge deal to me. That being said, I usually take a very stoic approach to victory, so after the initial shock, it was basically me saying to myself ‘cool, that’s a great victory. Okay, let’s keep going and see what we can do next.’ 

I’ve never been one to rest on laurels from previous wins, so I just kept chugging along (of course, after the initial shock of that happening to me passed. Even if I’m stoic about these things, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t a huge deal to me still!)”

How did you get connected with Ophelia, and what lies ahead for you with Ophelia?

Xavi: “Funny story, that. They actually reached out to me at first, asking for a track to release on their Advent Volume 2 compilation.  I misread the email completely and sent them my in-progress EP, and they responded with ‘thank you, but we’re actually just looking for singles right now.’

In my infinite wisdom, I THOUGHT I responded to them saying okay, but I’d just created a draft instead; lucky me, because then about a week passed before they shot another email back telling me they wanted to release an EP. After another round of misunderstandings (I sent tracks for Advent, they thought I wanted to use those tracks to make the EP an album, and I did want to make an album, but not using those tracks, so I made four tracks within one month), the album was complete. 

As far as what lies ahead, I hope many things. I absolutely love Ophelia to death and could not have asked for a more understanding and amazing label to work with, and I am already beginning to work on my next possible project.”

Editor’s note: Ophelia Records disclosed the following about the “extra tracks” that Xavi mentions in his response to the final question of the Q&A: “We knew that the extra tracks were for Advent but Jeff (Seven Lions) liked them so much, we wanted to see if Xavi would be open to creating an album, which is how we ended up here! :)”

Featured image: Calvin Hoeun

The post Xavi’s debut album ‘To The Endless Searing Skies’ is a must-listen of 2021 [Q&A] appeared first on Dancing Astronaut.