New Noise Engineering modules, new platform: multiband dynamics, drum kit

One of the most creative modular and software makers at the moment, Noise Engineering has two very desirable-looking modules hitting today. And there’s a new “platform” concept behind them, too – one that might help you keep your modules fresh.

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Plenty of modules are now built on digital firmware. Here’s the twist Noise Engineering is offering: if you use any Versio or Legio module, you can swap the firmware to any other firmware for that platform, via their just-launched online portal. It’s a bold move, but could help the longevity of your modules and real ownership and control of gear.

Okay, firmware swapping or not, what really matters here is whether you want one of these modules in the first place. And NE is living up to expectations here. And listen – I am especially excited about that unique percussion module.

New modules

Poldactyl Versio is their stereo multiband dynamics processor – and they say they envision both as something you might use on one instrument to shape timbre or as the “clean up your mix” module at the end of the chain.

It’s not only “transparent” multiband processing, but also multiband saturation, plus noise gate and limiting, all in 10hp. Suggested retail US$355.

Tymp Legio is a new 6hp percussion module, and not the “let’s cram a bunch of samples into a module” sort that we frankly have too much of. No, they really tried to fit a bunch of interesting digital percussion into a compact module.

And it’s a beautifully economical design – with a clever “Wackitude” parameter. It’s just something that begs to be tweaked and patched, as you’d want in a module. There are three unique modes, “Boing / Cat / Boot.” From there, you get “Tang” control, and then Pitch, Hit, Wack, and Decay patch points.

List: US$79

Preorders start now; modules ship starting August 25.

More links:

Summer lineup:

Modules you can swap to whatever you want them to be

So what about all this firmware business?

Well, there’s Versio:

Versio is a shapeshifting effects platform. Turn your Versio into a clocked delay, ADSR-controlled VCA, or something completely different! Our firmware is always free for Versio owners, so change your Versio module whenever inspiration strikes! Forget menu diving. Say hello to a whole new building block for modular synthesis.

And Legio:

Legio is a stereo oscillator/effects platform. Turn your module into a unique dynamics processor, a stereo multi-algorithm oscillator, or something completely different as new firmwares are released. Firmware is always free for Legio owners, so change up your module whenever you want a new function in your system. Legio is a 6HP transformable powerhouse.

What’s beautiful is that you can swap in different firmware when you need them.

Wait, but what about the labels? They’ve got that covered, too – print out panel overlays or use an SVG template to make your own.

And then you can also develop your own modules with LibDaisy, their modular library – a hardware abstraction library that gives you access to audio, MIDI, and peripheral devices. So you can build your own interface elements, support connected hardware of various types, and reprogram the sound engine, too.

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It’s really the post-PC age of modular, now that you can get custom modules, swappable firmware, modules running Pd and SuperCollider and Csound and custom DSP code – all alongside unique analog-only modules, too. I also love that this means you could build a really tiny rack with some focused capabilities, not the budget-busting, back-breaking, airplane-and-bus-incompatible racks of old.

But more on all that soon.

Now diving into these latest NE creations, or possibly just getting distracted and messing around with the Ruina plug-in yet again.

Have a jam:

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Björk, Jlin, Mdou Moctar, more create original compositions on new podcast, Listening

A new ten-part podcast series, Listening, from Talkhouse and Mailchimp Presents will see renowned musicians create and discuss an original composition linked to a specific time and place in their lives.

Launched on Wednesday, August 10th, artists set to feature in the series include Björk, experimental electronic artist Jlin, Tuareg guitarist and songwriter Mdou Moctar and new age pioneer Laraaji. Other artists featured in the series include Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and his sons Spencer and Sammy, Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield and Neko Case. 

The Mailchimp Presents blurb for the series reads: “In our newest podcast, 10 of music’s most visionary artists share their world views by transforming the sounds around them into musical portraits. They each discuss how the act of listening has helped them make sense of these turbulent times.”

Mailchimp Presents’ Julie Douglas also spoke about the series in a statement. “The last couple of years have blurred the lines of how we live, what’s important and how we express ourselves,” she said.

“This podcast is a reflection of that, with amazing artists-musicians creating a kind of call and response to the world in the form of original compositions with companion commentary, and our friends and collaborators at Talkhouse acting as thoughtful translators and bringing these stories to life.”

Check out the Listening podcast here and here.

Danger Mouse & Black Thought: cracking the code

Hip-hop is ingrained in the work of American musician and producer Danger Mouse. Though he’s made records with Beck, Karen O, Gorillaz, Michael Kiwanuka, Adele and U2, whatever he does, there’s a beat-making sensibility buried deep in the music. “It’s a style I’ve always loved, it’s part of my foundation — I never really all the way leave it if I do something else,” he says. “Hip-hop is always there.”

A new collaborative record, ‘Cheat Codes’, finds Danger Mouse (real name: Brian Burton) teaming up with Black Thought (aka Tariq Trotter) — founding member of Philadelphia hip-hop outfit The Roots, solo artist and universally acclaimed rapper. Over the producer’s mesh of forgotten soul snippets, freaky psychedelic loops, dusted jazz and bluesy rhythms, the MC embroiders vivid poetic imagery, clever punchlines and slick metaphors. It’s a complementary mix that feels like a high point in both artists’ discographies — and is the first time Danger Mouse has made a long-form rap record since 2005’s ‘The Mouse And The Mask’ with the much-missed MF Doom.

“I feel like whatever Danger Mouse produces, it by default has a hip-hop aesthetic,” says Black Thought, talking to DJ Mag via Zoom while en route to Connecticut. “He’s a hip-hop producer, but he doesn’t create in a vacuum. I feel like that’s a sign of taste.”

Their collaborative project was originally mooted way back in 2006 under the banner Dangerous Thoughts, but the artists weren’t able to commit to recording time due to various other ventures. They finally reconvened in 2018, and ‘Cheat Codes’ is the long-awaited result. “It really was about wanting to work with Tariq in a bigger way,” says Danger Mouse from his home in New York. “I wanted to do a record that sounded like this, and he’s the only person that could make a record that sounds like this. The tempos, the rhythms fit really well with him.”

“There was a mutual respect for one another’s creativity,” adds Black Thought. “I was a fan of his production, and I was his favourite MC. Brian is a brilliant producer, so it went both ways. Our collaboration came together in an organic way — that’s part of what took some time, just getting to know one another while we were super busy with a thousand other projects.”

Though studded with impressive guest stars, including rappers Raekwon, A$AP Rocky, Run The Jewels, Joey Bada$$ and Conway The Machine, and singers Michael Kiwanuka, Kid Sister and Dylan Cartlidge, ‘Cheat Codes’ is often most impressive when it’s just Black Thought’s voice at the helm. ‘Close To Famous’ is a brief and blistering takedown of wack MCs over an addictive groove of eerie organ, spry bass, tough drums and vocal samples, while ‘Sometimes’ has a gorgeous Southern soul loop, over which he weaves lyrics loaded with detail, pop cultural references and meaning.

Meanwhile, first single ‘No Gold Teeth’ feels like a classic in the making, with its swinging library funk groove, blues licks, cymbal hissing beat and Black Thought’s fluid flows. “When I first heard that beat, it really resonated with me,” enthuses Black Thought. “It’s nostalgic in a way — it immediately put me in mind of a lot of the production that inspired me when I was a young person. Obviously it’s an Afro-bluesy sample, but it’s used in a way that very much made me think of Prince Paul, Native Tongues, Beatnuts, stuff of that era. My approach, the cadence that I use and the way that I write to it, was a throwback, but in a good way.”

SHERELLE details workshops for BEAUTIFUL x AIAIAI academy for queer and BIPOC artists

SHERELLE has unveiled further details of the recently launched academy initiative by her BEAUTIFUL label and Danish audio firm AIAIAI. 

Announced back in May, the initiative will see London DJ and producer team up with AIAIAI for a four-part series of free workshops, lectures and a production academy for aspiring queer and BIPOC artists, with sessions held in a new studio.

Now, the line-up of speakers and workshop leaders has been announced, with PinkPantheressLil Silva, LCY and Mura Masa among the names set to take part. Other guest speakers and facilitators taking part in the academy include journalist, author and DJ Marcus Barnes,  DJ and writer Elijah, DJ Lil C, Touching Bass’ Errol Anderson, DJ and broadcaster Zakia, artist manager Phoebe Gold, Revenant Earth publicist Mitch Stevens, United Talent agent Hannah Shogbola, and SHERELLE herself. 

Hosted by SHERELLE throughout October, the workshops and will give 15 students access to hands-on classes, lectures “about how to navigate the music industry, better their artistic craft and learn about electronic music and how ingrained Black and queer artists are in its history.”

According to the initiative, the main premise of the workshops is “to help give people a foot up in their career in music, nurture their development and educate them in both the business and creative aspects of the music industry. They are specifically aimed towards queer and BIPOC students from various economic backgrounds.”

Artists can enrole in the workshop here. The submission date closes on August 22nd.

Last May, SHERELLE – who is also the label boss at Hooversound – launched BEAUTIFUL as a platform designed to cultivate new music and scenes within the Black and LGBTQI+ music community.

House of Pain announce 30-year anniversary deluxe vinyl reissue of 1992 debut album

House of Pain have announced a 30th-anniversary edition of their self-titled 1992 debut album.

On September 2nd, Tommy Boy Records will release a deluxe edition of ‘House of Pain (Fine Malt Lyrics)’ by the hip-hop trio, who formed in L.A. in 1991. Remastered and released on limited-edition 180g, orange and white opaque vinyl, the reissue is being released to mark 30 years since its original release via Tommy Boy on July 21st, 1992.

Featuring producers including DJ Lethal, Cypress Hill’s DJ Muggs, the original 18-track LP included singles ‘Shamrocks and Shenanigans’ and their classic hit ‘Jump Around’. It has been certified platinum in the U.S.

The upcoming 2xLP anniversary edition of ‘House Of Pain’ will be available in custom printed sleeves in a gatefold jacket with matte lamination, spot UV gloss, foil and limited edition numbering and sculptural embossing. Pre-order it here.

Comprising members Everlast, Danny Boy and DJ Lethal, House of Pain disbanded in 1996. The trio briefly united in 2010 for a world tour and in 2017 for a 25th-anniversary tour.

Bleu Clair gives Louis The Child, Royal & the Serpent’s ‘Talk’ a tech-house revision

Bleu Clair gives Louis The Child, Royal & the Serpent’s ‘Talk’ a tech-house revision292140699 1107308883543579 5760526688372720427 N

At the beginning of May, Bleu Clair opened his Instagram to find an out-of-the-blue request from Louis The Child. The duo had been so impressed by his take on Tchami and Daecolm’s “Proud” from Dancing Astronaut‘s 2020 Album of the Year that they knew they needed him to do thevery same for their To Believe EP cut with Royal & the Serpent, “Talk.”

And ahead of back-to-back nights at The Brooklyn Mirage—where he’ll assume opening duties for Zedd—the Dancing Astronaut Artist to Watch in 2021 is back with his second remix of the year and follow-up release to “Aura.” In reconfiguring Louis The Child’s blithesome original that still leans into house in its own right, Bleu Clair gives “Talk” a funk-anchored, tech-house overhaul that we’ll hopefully get to hear in person when he makes his New York City return on August 12.

Featured image: Greg Torres

The post Bleu Clair gives Louis The Child, Royal & the Serpent’s ‘Talk’ a tech-house revision appeared first on Dancing Astronaut.

Missy Elliott to be honoured with street name in Virginia hometown

The name change was originally proposed by Erin Carter, a family friend of the multiple-Grammy-winning artist.

During Tuesday’s council meeting, Carter said: “We don’t do a good job recognizing our own heroes that’s right here from Portsmouth. Growing up I learned that this same girl who’s received all these awards, performed at the White House… she grew up right here in our city of Portsmouth. Children shouldn’t have to look to another city to see greatness, because greatness resides in Portsmouth.”

The news comes a few weeks after it was announced that Beastie Boys will finally be honoured with their own street name in New York City’s Lower East Side. Last year, a street in Long Beach, New York was named after the late MF DOOM.

Late last year, veteran producer Timbaland teased a new album with Elliott. The pair have worked together throughout Elliott’s career, notably on acclaimed albums including ‘Supa Dupa Fly’, ‘Da Real World’ and and ‘Miss E… So Addictive’.

Nina, 12-voice analog polysynth with motorized controls, now in preorders

What’s new in analog synths? Melbourne Instruments has one answer – a luscious vintage-inspired poly that adds path recall and automation. That’s motorized automation. And now they’re accepting pre-orders.

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Melbourne Instruments has certainly nailed the look – vintage-inspired chic, bright colors, modern retro. (I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nina show up on the second season of Severance.)

And their creation, a velvety, feature-laden polysynth, became belle of the ball at NAMM 2022. That allowed them to skip something like Kickstarter, they say, and head straight to traditional pre-orders.

It’s got an open source core, powered by Elk Audio – meaning it’s hackable. In addition to digital wavetable oscillators and an analog signal path – nice combo there – you get transistor ladder filter with voice-level overdrive, tons of modulation, morphing, and even sampling capability. I want to know more about all of that, so I’ll follow up with the designers soon. (see specs below for a little glimpse though I’m sure we’ll have some questions…)

The first 500-unit run opened to preorders this week, with a discounted price of US$3000 (before taxes) for the initial 100 Early Bird units. The price will rise through the fall to its final $3500. They’re also offering flat rate shipping, even internationally. And if you’re in Melbourne – this isn’t like (Australian band) Architecture in Helsinki. Melbourne Instruments is in Melbourne, and they offer pickup.

Synth tourism, anyone? Melbourne has this company and the vintage haven that is MESS.

Here’s a look at that neat-and-tidy top panel:

And the specs:

12 Voice Polyphony.

Fully analog signal path.

Motorized recallable and automatable control panel using long lasting zero wear encoders with the feel and precision of analog pots.

Variable shape triangle oscillators. Continuously morph wave-shape between triangle and sawtooth to find new timbres. Different to a traditional blend.

4 pole transistor ladder VCF with modulatable resonance.

Huge voice-level filter overdrive.

Digital Wavetable Oscillator.

Sampling capability.

Deep Modulation Matrix. 16 sources to 27 destinations.

Patch morphing for complex expressive effects.

Stereo 4 Quadrant VCAs with Infinite Panning effects.

Onboard digital effects.

Multitimbral, layered, split, or overlapping.

Hackable Open Source software built on a powerful Raspberry Pi 4 running Elk Audio OS.

Plus thanks to that RasPi, you get USB host as well as other connectivity – and hey, a mic in?

4 x assignable combo audio + CV inputs, including 1 Mic.

Connect class compliant USB MIDI controllers directly.

Connect NINA as a class compliant USB MIDI and audio device for direct automation and integration with a DAW.

Standard DIN MIDI IN, OUT, and THRU.

4 x assignable line outputs.

Headphone output.

It’s just wonderful to see new design and new ideas, especially now in what has been a tough year for the synth industry, losing friends and legends and facing ongoing challenges to the pandemic. It’s a reminder that synthesis isn’t done with new instruments yet – not by a long shot. And while I sure don’t have three grand burning a hole in my pocket, the fact that this business is still going is part of why I’m still going in this business.

Hope to see the folks from Melbourne as they make it to Europe later this year.

Got questions for MI – either about the instrument or their process as an independent instrument maker? Let us know in comments.

Premiere: Jennifer Loveless ‘Reverse Cowgirl 2’

Jennifer Loveless will release a new EP, ‘Around The World’, via Butter Sessions next month. Listen to ‘Reverse Cowgirl 2’ below. 

Set for release on 16th September, the six-track EP is described as “a hot, hot rush of sun-kissed and heavily misted summer anthems”, packed with “slap-happy basslines and bucked up beat downs” typical of the kind of hard-hitting house for which the Toronto-born, Melbourne-based artist has become known in recent years. 

It’s Loveless’ second EP on Butter Sessions, following March 2021’s ‘Water’, which saw her producing hard-hitting house and techno grooves inspired by the force of water.

Pre-order ‘Around The World’ here.

Berlin techno club Tresor’s history explored in new archival book

The early years of Tresor is to be explored in a new archival book.

In the midst of the club’s 31st anniversary celebrations, Tresor: True Stories will trace the formative years of the clubbing institution, from its founding in a former department store in Mitte in 1991 onwards, comprising 400+ rare photos and 40 stories, as well as flyers and additional documents.

Originally teased last year as part of plans to mark its anniversary, the 352-page, limited edition features contributions from a host of names pivotal to its rise, including first-hand accounts by the likes of Jeff Mills, “Mad” Mike Banks, Electric Indigo, Mark Reeder, Alexandra Dröhner and more.

It also features personal accounts by Carola Stoiber, who managed Tresor Records and A&Red Underground Resistance’s “X – 101,” and the late Regina Baer, who co-founded the Kraftwerk and Tresor, which she managed from 1991 until 2005. 

Set to ship on or around September 9th, Tresor: True Stories can be pre-ordered now. Check out some images from the book below.

Revisit DJ Mag’s 2021 piece on Tresor’s 30th anniversary here.