Organizers of Superbooth – an annual trade show and festival for electronic musicans – have announced that Superbooth 2022 will be held May 12-14 at the FEZ in Berlin, Germany.
This year’s Superbooth was a scaled down edition because of pandemic realities, but the organizers tried to evolve the event to adapt to challenging conditions, making use of the grounds of the FEZ to set up outdoor tents and booths, decentralizing the event and allowing for increased social distancing.
“We tried to introduce a new concept of a trade fair combined with festival, which is more relaxed and spacious with all of its benefits and with strong focus on the quality of the experiences and encounters.
It was a very special edition this time, which was expected after this long break of more than 2 years, but probably the situation connected us even closer?!”
In addition to announcing dates for Superbooth 2022, organizers also announced that the inaugural SooperGrail, a new guitar-focused festival, will be held May 6-8, 2022, the week before Superbooth.
Expressive controller maker Keith McMillen Instruments has introduced a new version of their QuNexus MPE controller that adds a three-track arpeggiator and step sequencer.
The new features will also be available to existing QuNexus owners as a firmware upgrade in October.
The new QuNexus RED is a 25-key MPE keyboard controller and three track Arpeggiator/Step Sequencer with USB, MIDI, and CV outputs. The keys detect velocity, polyphonic aftertouch, and per-key tilt. QuNexus RED also features a new ABS-Polycarbonate finish.
They shared two demo videos to introduce the new features. In the first video, above, the QuNexus RED is used to sequence a modular synthesizer.
In the second video, below, the QuNexus RED is used as an arpeggiator to control Synapse Obsession.
Pricing and Availability
The QuNexus is priced at $179 but is currently listed as out of stock. See the KMI site for details.
This vintage synth review, via synth4ever, takes a look at the Crumar Multiman-S, aka the Crumar Orchestrator, a vintage synth from 1977.
The Orchestrator/Multiman-S is one of the more sophisticated string synths of the 70s, offering classic string synth sound, but also letting you create a wide range of sounds, with the immediacy of front panel switches and sliders. Using these controls, you can play and mix bass, brass, piano, clavichord, cello and violin. Additional functions, like the filter, can also be controlled via custom foot pedals.
00:00 – Intro 01:01 – Overview 02:56 – Left-hand instruments – Bass, Brass, Piano, Clavichord, Cello, Violin 06:17 – Right-hand instruments – Brass, Piano, Clavichord, Cello, Violin 07:51 – Vibrato 08:37 – Sustain 09:00 – All instruments together 09:54 – String timbre (bright to dark) 11:05 – All instruments together again 12:03 – Pitch control 12:48 – Final thoughts / conclusion
Check out the video and share your thoughts on the Orchestrator / Multiman-S in the comments!
A new study suggests that electronic music is the most “infectious” music genre.
According to a new Guardian report, a study at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada found that new music download patterns closely resemble epidemic curves for infectious disease.
Headed by lead author Dora Rosati, the study found that electronica had the highest R0 (or basic reproduction number; a disease’s ability to spread). Compared to rap/hip-hop (310), rock (129) and pop (35), electronica’s R0 was 3,430.
Curiously, the study also found that dance music – as distinct from the more listening-focused electronica sub-genre of electronic music – had the lowest median R0 score of 2.8.
To gain the results, the study explored a database of 1.4bn individual song downloads, measuring the top 1,000 songs downloaded in the UK between 2007 and 2014 against the standard model of epidemic disease, known as the SIR model. It focused on how the rate of the “spread” of genres among a population of music fans, rather than the overall number of songs downloaded.
“Diseases are limited in how they can spread by requiring physical interaction,” said Thomas Rawson from Imperial College London. “The reason why we might see some really sky-high R0s for songs is that you can just make a tweet and you have already infected a hundred people. You can spread a song disease far quicker than you could an infectious disease.
“There are probably a lot of people in a population that may already be immune to a genre like electronica, because of their existing tastes,” he added. “My nan, for example, is particularly resistant to the infection of trap and dubstep.”
IK Multimedia has released SampleTron 2 for iPad, 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.
Sampletron 2 for Mac & Windows was released earlier this year. IK says that SampleTron 2 for iPad is ready for iOS 15 and compatible with all iPad model sizes and AU Host apps.
Here’s what they have to say about it:
“SampleTron 2 for iPad comes with a vast library of over 400 “tracks” that can be loaded into any preset—up to 3 at once—and then individually processed with IK’s cutting-edge tape modeling DSP for ultimate tone-shaping flexibility.
While an extensive collection of new, original samples of vintage Mellotron and Chamberlin are included, SampleTron 2 for iPad also shines where it processes non-Tron material. Here users will gain access to exciting new sounds with the choir, strings, brass, organ, piano, bass, and even synths and vocoders that all come included.
Also included are vintage digital sample-based instruments such as the Mattel Optigan, Vako Orchestron and 360 Systems Digital Keyboard for more creative options than any other Tron collection. In addition, users will find the full content of the much-revered original IK SampleTron product.”
2.5GB virtual instrument collection of sought-after vintage and tape-based samplers
Over 400 tracks sampled from vintage Mellotrons, Chamberlins, Optigans and more
Each preset can load 3 tracks to split, layer and solo from over 400 available
Features 11 modern non-Tron and vintage digital sample-based instruments
Import Sample function creates user Tron sounds with IK’s tape modeling DSP
Includes the full content of IK’s original SampleTron updated for legacy users
11 selectable effects with Channel Strip, Tape Echo, Multimod and new Vintage Plate
Assignable MIDI continuous controllers for use with external controllers
Works as an AUv3 instrument plug-in and as a standalone app
Pricing and Availability
SampleTron 2 for iPad is now available now with an intro price of $69.99 USD (normally $99.99).
Between the timeless seal on his music and his obvious influence on today’s crop of producers, Avicii still remains ever-present within the dance music space. Moreover, his father, Klas Bergling, has taken it upon himself to carry his son’s legacy by way of the Tim Bergling Foundation, bringing awareness to the often stigmatized issues that burdened Avicii toward the latter part of his life, as well as millions of others. Now, a new documentary is set to land in 2023, chronicling the Swedish superstar’s meteoric rise and the pressures that came along with being the sound of a new generation. The yet-to-be-named documentary project aims to look at the “music and the artist who defined an era and changed the world of music forever, and is an up-close, intimate, and epic story about [Avicii’s] unparalleled successes and his struggles to cope with the pressure.”
The forthcoming doc, shot by Swedish director Henrik Burman and produced by Swedish director Björn Tjärnberg in conjunction with Swedish National Television, won’t be the first about Tim Bergling’s life. While 2017’s controversial Netflix-championed True Stories gave an inside look at Bergling’s mental and physical health collapsing in what turned out to be near the end of Bergling’s life, Burman’s vision for the film skews in a much more positive direction. Says Burman,
“My goal is to provide an honest and new perspective on both the artist Avicii and Tim’s life. I want this to be a film that surprises the audience and challenges the public’s image of Sweden’s biggest international artist of today and, in doing so, also shine a light on what his music has meant to so many people.”
The upcoming feature will include newly produced interviews with Bergling’s family, friends, colleagues and contemporaries, as well as never-before-seen footage of Avicii himself. An official release date has yet to be announced.
Soichi Terada will release a new album later this year.
The Tokyo house producer will release the ten-track ‘Asakusa Light’ via Rush Hour on 13th December. It marks the follow-up to 2015’s ‘Sounds From The Far East’, and his soundtrack to Ape Escape 3 in 2016.
“I tried to recall my feelings 30 years ago, but when I tried it, I found it super difficult,” said Terada about the making of the album. “I tried different methods, including digging up my old MIDI data and composing by remembering old experiences.”
To mark the announcement, Terada has released lead single ‘Bamboo Fighter’. Stream it, and check out the album’s artwork and tracklist below.
Revisit our longread interview with Terada and Shinichiro Yokota here.
In fragmented, alien futuristic materials, FRKTL – aka Sarah Badr – has produced another spectacular release. This project fuses her evocative sound design with increasing virtuosity in digital visuals, as generated surfaces melt into synesthesia.
Sarah to me was already pushing the envelope of sound design in organic, flowing compositions, and now all the little tidbit etudes she’s been posting to social media come together in a single immersive audiovisual release.
There is a narrative here – the Egypt-born artist is for now based in Riga, Latvia, and curator Leyya Tawil evokes a series exploring displacement and diaspora. It fits the experience, with interwoven fragments of clanging percussion or mournful-sounding tunes atop stretched-out granular textures that grown and ache, like deeply felt dreams. As the curatorial statement puts it:
Presented as part of the fourth installment of the Nomadic Signals series by Leyya Tawil, ISSUE Project Room’s 2020 Suzanne Fiol Curatorial Fellow. A vessel for performance operating in what Tawil refers to as the ‘diasporic imaginary’, this programme of sonic and visual illusory spaces explores how sounds change in the diaspora; how they tether to their environment, accumulate, synthesise, and adapt.
But the experience for eyes and ears is visceral and moving enough that honestly I imagine we would all even settle for “here is some alien molten goo making wild noises” as a statement and be equally pleased. Neither visual nor sound feels like an afterthought – the visuals playing on mute ooze sonic possibilities; close your eyes and lose yourself in the score and you’ll surely see these dancing fluids and shifting bodies colliding.
The score shifts between acoustic-sounding references, recognizable snippets of melody and instrument, and thick blankets of abstract sound and drone. But many of the sounds mirror the visuals – shapes between coalesced geometry and disintegration, materials that drift between liquid, cloth, metal, and digital de-resolution.
The presentation was accompanied this week by a live-streamed performance, but please do book Sarah live as we gradually climb our way out of pandemic restrictions.
And lastly here are some excerpts from FRKTL’s Instagram feed. I think it’s a great model, in that – this doesn’t just read as advertisement, but a kind of public display of practice as she iterates on her work. (That is model as in, here is a better way to use Instagram, and practice as in – she put in a lot of work here, all I believe using the open-source Blender.)
Last year’s release was essential, too, in case you missed it, certainly for many of us a top release of 2020:
And, well, if that doesn’t sum up creating digital music and creating digital motion, I don’t know what does. I’ll call it for today, accordingly.
Oh PS one last note – in addition to working intensively on her solo work and making everything (visuals, sound, release, the lot), Sarah is also very active surfacing excellent work by other people. Follow her on Twitter and she’s constantly supporting other folks, and you’ll do well to find other futuristic sounds via sources like her regular residency on the excellent international hub that is Hong Kong Community Radio – latest episode:
Add free, open-source visual programming on the GPU to the free-for-noncommercial-use vvvv – and get materials, lighting, effects, particles, and generative geometry. Here’s the twist: you do all of that without code or scripts, and it’s all on the GPU, live.
Elevator pitch: “FUSE is a library for visually programming on the GPU, built to enable rapid workflows and modular approaches to accelerated graphics, logic and computation.” Oh yeah, and it runs on vvvv gamma, the next-generation vvvv visual platform which got some major releases while the pandemic raged – see https://visualprogramming.net/. (Windows-only – hey time to build that box with a new NVIDIA GPU, huh? Pronounced “vee-four” or “v-fier” or sometimes a percussive “v! v! v! v!”)
The team is made up of artists known in the creative world – Kyle McLean, Natan Sinigaglia, and Christian Riekoff – and runs on vvvv, the powerful visual dataflow environment. Their background in things like sculpture and digital art and contemporary dance and sound also means a tool and documentation that is sympathetic to what us artist-types need, not only the math-whiz 3D crowd. And yeah, it runs on vvvv, in that family of “make stuff by connecting boxes to other boxes.” The library is free, and vvvv is free for noncommercial use (and inexpensive to license commercially), so accessible in tough economic times.
But the real breakthrough here – apart from bringing new eye candy magic to vvvv and its community – is that FUSE is through-and-through “always-runtime.” In the age of live coding and realtime experience, that means you do your visual patching and everything responds instantly. You can even work with compute shaders without writing shader code.
So, apologies if you just bought a nice clicky mechanical keyboard; this is a mouse affair.
The competition is fierce as this category matures, but there’s plenty here to recommend:
Accelerated procedural functions
Native support for signed distance fields – basically a way to get beyond that usual geometry
Compute shaders for logic and algorithms – whoa, so you can actually run your stuff on the GPU without coding
Game engine-style materials, lighting, and whatnot – because it’s built on Stride, a next-generation, high-performance, VR-ready game engine. Only here, you can use vvvv instead of a bunch of C# scripts.
They also promise “beautiful documentation” – there’s constant assistance as you’re learning, and they even tout FUSE as a way of understanding these visual techniques. You could learn stuff to apply elsewhere, that is.
Code, of course, can be expressive, too, but that combination of visual interaction and real-time feedback is often better suited to artistic use cases. “Hold on while I write some code” tends not to work in a modern dance studio. (Neither does “oh, I need a bunch of money to buy a license,” so both those aspects fit here.)
Technical aspects aside, though, maybe the most promising thing about FUSE is just its open nature and community support. The vvvv community has matured over years not just as a strong support network for its own tool, but media art and electronic performance more generally. They’ve been a hub for teaching, sharing, and art – see the NODE Forum.
It’s great to see this small FUSE Lab take up that tradition and bring the kind of visual expression that has been largely limited to industry-focused tools for motion graphics and visual effects. I think it might benefit everyone – even outside the tool itself.
They’ve got the videos to get you started, too. So let’s have at it:
Future Retro’s Jered Flickinger shared this extended preview of their upcoming Vectra synthesizer.
The Future Retro Vectra promises to offer a unique take on synthesis, with a keyboard that appears to build on their 512 capacitive touch keyboard, and an interface that features four joystick-style controllers.
“I started working on the new Vectra synthesizer the first day of 2021,” notes Flickinger, “and every day since has been consumed with coming up with the concept and design for this instrument, writing the software, designing the hardware, laying out the PCB’s, building the prototypes, and developing the sounds. Still a few refinements to be made, but overall very pleased with the results. Truly a unique instrument, with innovative features most have yet to experience.”
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