A compelling and truly engaging new voice to the contemporary hip-hop space is the German-raised duo of Vigo and Jones, known as Vigo Blax.
Now based between Germany and London, the international duo kept the flames burning over the lockdowns, trading ideas back and forth online and taking the events of the past year as extra metaphorical firewood for their hard-hitting, thought-provoking efforts.
Their third single of the year, “21st Human” was born off the back of the consensus and deep desperation regarding the George Floyd protests in 2020, with Vigo elucidating in an email statement that “growing up in Germany as a black kid I was confronted with racism throughout my entire life. Which is why I started thinking about the problem pretty early. I was trying to understand people’s motives and to find a solution. Which made me realize how deeply rooted the problem really is. The song is my letter to everyone regardless of origin, color or political standpoint to really see and be aware of other people. To accept another persons appearance without comparing it to oneself. To see each other for what we are. Human beings.”
That contemplative and important message is heartily delivered by the sullen, moody and at times confrontational delivery and lyricism. Vigo melodiously ruminates to the matter, dropping one standout line after another with a sense of just exasperation, with the visual further compounding their motivations by communicating an awful lot whilst utilising very little.
Despite the heavy, and important message, Jones balances the energy of the track with upbeat aplomb, utilising their hallmark atmosphere to wholly envelope your mind, and urging further focus to the vocal. Their disparate influences intersect as much as the ones they share, creating a sound that touches on all manner of different shades, rock, pop and even gospel to name but a few, with hip-hop an effortless focus and prominent backbone.
Despite being relative newcomers, this inspired duo has achieved a healthy back catalogue of music in a short amount of time, so keep your eyes peeled for the next no doubt stand out release from them in the near future.
16-year-old Moore Kismet is no stranger to avant-garde dance music, now offering an experimental fourth single from their upcoming debut LP. Dancing Astronaut’s Breakout Artist of 2020 dropped “Autonomy,” the third single from the progressively expanding album, back in April. Now, the recently billed Lollapalooza performer bequeaths a head-turning breakbeat collaboration with UK producer Laxcity.
Released via Thrive Music, “Flourish” arrives as the flagship offering alongside two other collaborative singles, “Ultraviolet” with Chuck Sutton and COOKIE. and “Quest” alongside Summet. The focal point of the release, however, is the long overdue collaboration between Kismet and Laxcity. The duo met back in 2018, following the release of Kismet’s Never Say Die. The premise for “Flourish” materialized during a productive Discord call between the two in 2020, the goal being to write the tune as if it were a “blossoming flower.” Well, it’s safe to say that the metaphor holds true.
IK Multimedia has introduced SampleTron II, a new version of their virtual instrument that goes beyond emulating the Mellotron and other early sample-playback keyboards by letting you create ‘new vintage’ sounds, based on your own samples.
The core of SampleTron is based on deep sampling of vintage sample-based instruments, including the Mellotron, Chamberlin, Optigan and other keyboards. It goes beyond the original keyboards, though, by letting you combine sounds from different sources, tweak the sounds with synth functions, add a wide variety of effects and more.
You can also load a custom sample across the keyboard, or a folder of samples, and play back your sounds with SampleTron’s modeled Mellotron characteristics.
8GB virtual instrument collection of sought-after vintage and tape-based samplers
Over 400 tracks sampled from vintage Mellotrons, Chamberlins, Optigans and other rare pieces
Each preset can load three tracks to split, layer and solo from over 400 available
Features a collection of modern non-Tron and vintage digital sample-based instruments
Includes the full content of IK’s original SampleTron updated for legacy users
Sample loading function creates user Tron sounds with IK’s tape modeling DSP
Rack effects include Channel Strip, Tape Echo, Multimod and new Vintage Plate
Standalone operation or SampleTron 2 can be played as a library inside SampleTank 4
Pricing and Availability
SampleTron II is available now with an intro price of $199. Existing customers should see the site for upgrade pricing.
Sinevibes developer Artemiy Pavlov is best known as a developer of audio effects for macOS, and of custom oscillators and effects for the Korg Prologue, Minilogue XD and NTS-1.
His latest release, though, is Revelation, a sound library for Korg Prologue. Unlike his previous releases that extend the Prologue’s synth engine, Revelation is designed to showcase the potential of the synth’s built-in capabilities.
Here’s what he has to say about it:
Many months in the making, this sound pack only uses prologue’s standard synth engine, taking it to the maximum of its capabilities. Revelation delivers a wide range of highly polished presets: bass, lead, poly, keys, pads, motion sounds, combinations, and more. Every sound has been designed to be a joy to play – and immediately inspire new musical ideas. The pack contains a total of 110 presets.
Pricing and Availability
Revelations is available now for $39 USD. More audio demos are available at the Sinevibes site.
The Elektron Octatrack has a reputation for being notoriously difficult to learn, in part because the machine is so powerful, but also in part because there are a lot of features that are hidden behind several menus.
In this Patchwerks Seattle video, Jeremy Blake (Red Means Recording) gets an intro from Patchwerks’ Matthew Piecora (EZBOT).
If you’re an Octatrack user, check it out and share your thoughts on the video in the comments. If you’ve got your own recommendations for learning the Octatrack, share your feedback below, too!
In his latest gear review, Martin Stimming takes a look at the latest project of Native Instruments founder Stephan Schmitt, the Nonlinear Labs C15.
The C15 is a polyphonic instrument, based on digital sound synthesis, and provides users with boundless sonic possibilities. The instrument was initially designed for real time performance by trained musicians and therefore Nonlinear Labs decided to craft the synth without MIDI when it came out. This was often criticized, the company has since taken this on board and now offers the synth with MIDIU capability. For those who own one already, it can be retrofitted.
Stimming has been a proud owner of the C15 for quite some time now and has used it in many of his productions. We thought it’d be a good time to cover this one, now with the midi implementation it’s opened up the machine to a wider audience and is a truly intriguing synth capable of producing a broad spectrum of sounds from organic and acoustic to experimental and electronic.
Check out Stimming’s review and share your thoughts on the C15 in the comments!
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