Percussa’s SSP Eurorack powerhouse does 3D, plugins, SDK – and kind of everything

It’s a modular in a modular. It’s a multitrack recorder. It’s a multi-channel audio interface. It’s a hub for CV. And now it does 3D graphics – and a plugin SDK has attracted well-known developer TheTechnobear.

The Percussa SSP bolts serious computational and signal processing power into your Eurorack – so it’s any MPE-equipped polysynth, sampler, granular sound-maker/mangler, CV dicer-slicer, multichannel audio device you like. It’s just generally kind of insane – the sort of thing people dreamed about years ago, or that you’d find in some archaic and mind-bogglingly expensive black box in a research facility. (Hey, not everything about the future sucks.)

The Percussa page does a nice run-down of all those possibilities. So let’s talk about what’s new, which is what Percussa will be sharing at Superbooth this week.

There are now 3D graphics on this beast, with GPU-accelerated raytracing. That’s not just so you can gaze at spheres – they’ve created a new “3D wave scanning oscillator to match the fancy visualization. Basically, think wavetable oscillator with morphing across X, Y, and Z axes.

So sure, you could use a computer for some of this – physical modeling membranes, live granular FX, layered sampler, and whatnot. But the SSP is also a multichannel audio interface (24-channel USB in this latest update to be exact) for your computer, and on top of that you can use channels for CV/gate/trigger. In other words, it’s a mini-computer in your rig, and it’s a gateway from your rig to your computer – both.

They’ve also updated their plugin SDK, which also supports 2D/3D graphics via OpenGL ES.

Developer TheTechnobear has been at this for some time. That began in summer of 2020 with an adaptation of Mutable Instruments’ Rings to the SSP control layout and UI and platform (pictured). In recent days, Mark announced he’s got a batch of tons of new plugins and will be at the Percussa booth here in Berlin. He’s also contributing to the core software. So, Percussa, we better come pay you a visit.

See the full multi-year thread on his progress:

Note that while TheTechnobear has done a lot of open source work, Percussa is a closed-source project.

Mark does a great explanation of what this whole thing is about:

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Oscilloscope app by Thetechnobear.
Performance mixer.
Rings on SSP, early build. Now we’ve got nearly a dozen plugins to catch up with, and more on the way.

It’s a good time to catch up with Percussa generally, because we still weren’t up to full international attendance in the fall Superbooth, and they’ve been quite busy.

So, to recap:

  • New graphics rewrite
  • GPU acceleration
  • Plugin SDK support for OpenGL ES
  • Improved memory management and other fixes
  • 3D wave scanning oscillator with GPU-acclerated raytraced 3D graphics
  • Step sequencer, sampler, and direct-to-disk recorder improvements
  • 10 new plugins from TheTechnobear (performance mixer, matrix switchers and mixers, sample and hold modules, utility modules, and ports of open source modules such as Clouds, Rings and Plaits, for starters)

Beta by end of June; on display at Superbooth.

Premiere: D. Tiffany & Roza Terenzi ‘Liqourice Skritch’

D. Tiffany & Roza Terenzi will release a collaborative album, ‘Edge Of Innocence’, this month via Delicate Records. Listen to ‘Liqourice Skritch’ below. 

The debut LP from the Berlin-based duo follows a string of collaborations released via D. Tiffany’s Planet Euphorique label, and finds them tapping into styles ranging from downtempo and progressive house to electro and drum & bass, all with the classic trance-inflected techno flair they’ve become known for. Trippy samples and bubbling melodies dance about these eight tracks, gliding through tempos with the same giddy velocity as their DJ sets. Tough as nails, but never self-serious, the duo have mastered their knack for club tunes that go hard, but never at the expense of play. From the Balearic-goes-cosmic saunter of ‘Spiritual Delusion’ to the wriggly d&b of ‘Redemption Arc’, ‘Edge Of Innocence’ is full of little twists and turns that keep the vibe alive and spirits high. 

‘Liqourice Skritch’ runs on a ‘90s progressive house pulse and wobbly bassline, its familiar “beat on the drums” vocal sample giving way to a psychedelic, dubstep-like breakdown.  It’s a 10/10 heads-down club thumper. Check it out below. 

‘Edge Of Innocence’ will be released on 19th May. Pre-order it here.

New vinyl pressing plant by Vinyl Me, Please to open in Denver

Online subscription record service Vinyl Me, Please are opening a new vinyl pressing plant in Denver.

According to Denver news outlet Westword, the plant is set to open across from music venue Mission Ballroom in the River North Art District (RiNo) of the Colorado capital in the coming months.

Operated by Gary Salstrom – a vinyl manufacturing veteran who previously managed Kansas’s Quality Record Pressings – the 14,000 square feet plant will also feature host listening areas, guided tours, as well as a daytime cafe and a full bar. It will also boast a plating operation, where it will lathe the stampers that press records – making it one of few plants in the U.S. capable of doing so.

Speaking to Westword, Vinyl Me, Please CEO Cameron Schaefer said: “What we’ve seen is, essentially, the demand for pressing vinyl over the last two years far outpacing supply for pressing records. About a year ago, we were really digging in on this analysis, because obviously, the vinyl supply chain was pretty critical to our business.”

“As we started interviewing heads of major labels and heads of pressing plants and distributors, we learned that last year at this time, there were about 300 million units of pressing demand worldwide, chasing about 150 million units of global capacity.”

The Vinyl Me, Please plant aims to be operational by October, with the bar, lounge and tour to follow by the start of next year.

Back in February, DJ Mag’s digital tech editor Declan McGlynn explored the problems facing vinyl today, as well as a new pressing machine that can turn short runs around in as little as four weeks. In another recent DJ Mag feature, Will Pritchard investigated whether manufacturing delays and rising costs could spell the end of the end of the vinyl revival.

Avicii, Honey Dijon, Above & Beyond remixes of Madonna compiled on new retrospective collection

Madonna has announced a new career-spanning compilation, featuring remixes by a wide range of producers and DJs.

Marking the first release in a new, multi-year reissue initiative with Warner Music, ‘Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones’ will be available as both 50 and 16-track versions, digitally, as well as on both CD and LP.

Released physically on 19th August, the retrospective compilation will feature a chronological string of Madonna classics, as well as over 220 minutes of remixes by the likes of Avicii (‘Girl Gone Wild’), Honey Dijon (‘I Don’t Search I Find’), Above and Beyond (‘What It Feels Like For A Girl’) and William Orbit (‘Justify My Love’).

Released to mark Madonna becoming the first and only recording artist to have 50 #1 hits on any single Billboard chart – the Dance Club Chart – the newly-remastered compilation will also feature various rare and unreleased versions of original tracks and remixes. 

The 16-track version of the release will be available to stream on 24th June.

Tubbutec OrganDonor Adds MIDI To Vintage Organs, String Machines & Polysynths

Tubbutec has introduced OrganDonor, a universal midi interface for electronic organs, string machines and polyphonic synthesizers.

It can be used to midify machines where other approaches fail.

OrganDonor uses analogue switches to directly simulate keyboard presses. A large voltage range of up to +-20V allows interfacing with most vintage machines. In addition, parameters such as filter cutoff, glide or preset selection switches can often be interfaced as well.

The modular approach lets you add as many analogue switches as needed. This allows even large polyphonic synthesizers or organs with several manuals to be interfaced.

Here’s a demo with a Korg PE-1000 Polyphonic Ensemble:

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Pricing and Availability:

OrganDonor is available now for 294,00 €.

Kendrick Lamar releases new single, ‘The Heart Part 5’: Listen

Kendrick Lamar has released his first single in four years, ‘The Heart Part 5’. Check it out, along with its video, below. 

Having shared a new teaser for his forthcoming album, ‘Mr Morale & The Big Steppers‘, last week, the rapper’s new single doubles up as the latest in his ‘The Heart’ series – a 12-year run of songs released to mark a bigger project – it’s Lamar’s first single as a lead artist since 2018.

The single is accompanied by a video, directed by Lamar and Dave Free, and features deepfake work by Deep Voodoo. In it, Lamar’s face morphs into the face of celebrities including Will Smith, Kobe Bryant, OJ Simpson, Kanye West and more. Watch it below.

The long-awaited follow-up to his Pulitzer-winning fourth album, ‘DAMN.,’ ‘Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers’ is Lamar’s final project for his long-time label home, Top Dawg Entertainment. Set for release on 13th May, the album is tipped to be double album, due to the two CDs that appear in the latest image on his Oklama website

Beyond his new album, Lamar is currently working on a new live-action comedy film with South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Production on the as-yet-untitled project is due to begin later this year.

Listen to the sound of a black hole, recorded by NASA

NASA has released an audio recording of a black hole.

Recorded by the agency’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, the recording is of pressure waves sent out by the black hole within the Perseus galaxy cluster, which causes ripples in the cluster’s hot gas. The new “sonification” – which was released as part of NASA’s Black Hole Week this year – is essentially a translation of astronomical data, scaled up 57 or 58 octaves above their true pitch so it can be heard by humans.

“The popular misconception that there is no sound in space originates with the fact that most of space is essentially a vacuum, providing no medium for sound waves to propagate through,” said NASA in a statement. “A galaxy cluster, on the other hand, has copious amounts of gas that envelop the hundreds or even thousands of galaxies within it, providing a medium for the sound waves to travel.”

“The sound waves were extracted in radial directions, that is, outwards from the center. The signals were then resynthesized into the range of human hearing by scaling them upward by 57 and 58 octaves above their true pitch.”

“Another way to put this is that they are being heard 144 quadrillions and 288 quadrillion times higher than their original frequency. The radar-like scan around the image allows you to hear waves emitted in different directions. In the visual image of these data, blue and purple both show X-ray data captured by Chandra.”

Check out the recording and visual image below.

The discovery comes a month after NASA unveiled a recording that revealed that Mars has two speeds of sound. Back in January, New Scientist revealed that a “mysterious object” was blasting radio waves in space.

In November, NASA shared a musical representation of a nebula in deep space – the Butterfly Nebula – using data sonification, which involves converting data to sound.

Ibiza introduces strict new alcohol restrictions with fines up to €600,000

The Balearic Islands’ government has imposed new restrictions on alcohol consumption in Ibiza and Mallorca.

The new rules will restrict tourists’ alcohol consumption on both islands, in the popular resort areas of San Antoni de Portmany, Magaluf,  El Arenal and Playa de Palma. They also affect all-inclusive holidaymakers across the islands.

Approved in early 2020, the decree-law stipulates that 2-for-1, happy hour and free bar offers are officially banned. This extends to advertising such deals and offers. Bars and restaurants that serve food, as well as all-inclusive resorts, are also restricted to a daily “six-drink rule”, namely serving a maximum of three alcoholic beverages at lunch or dinner per customer.

Elsewhere, retail outlets that sell alcohol such as off-licences will be closed between 9.30pm to 8am every day, while the prohibition of pub crawls and party boats remain in place.

Beyond alcohol restriction, the act of “balconing” — or jumping between or from balconies into swimming pools — is also banned. According to the government’s official bulletin on the matter, anyone caught breaking the rule will be “expelled with immediate effect”.

Tourists found to break the new rules could be fined between €1000 to €6000, while establishments are at risk of facing fines between €60,001 to €600,000, along with closure for up to three years.

Approved as a means to shake the stereotype of Ibiza as a hotspot for binge-drinking and party culture, the rules — which are initially in place until 2025 — coincide with the Balearic Islands’ government adding Ibiza to their joint campaign with the British embassy to promote the islands as a safe destination, free of uncivil behaviour.

Live Modular Space Music Performance

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Synth guru Chris Meyer (Learning Modular) shared his April 1 2022 Alias Zone live modular performance of The Cave, from SynthFest France.

Meyer describes The Cave as “a mythical, musical exploration of the Lod Cave in Thailand, with the various musical parts rushing off to explore its various chambers and celebrate its mystery and beauty, while others are more apprehensive and suggest caution.”

Here’s what Meyer shared about the technical details:

Pandora’s Box (modular synthesizer)
Ableton Live
Korg Wavestation and Arturia Pigments virtual synthesizers
cave ambience by Marcel Gnauk of FreeToUseSounds
wordless vocals by Holly Drummond via Black Octopus
graphical treatments: Trish Meyer