Vangelis On The Double-Edged Sword Of Success

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In this short interview except, Vangelis shares his take on the double-edged sword of success in the music business.

From Vangelis, achieving mainstream success was necessary to be able to have the tools of his trade – a recording studio of his own, stocked with state of the art gear.

But achieving mainstream success also meant that he had to work 100% at being successful, and he was never interested in doing that. And having a hit meant that he was under pressure to repeat his success, when he was always interested in doing something new.

Art + Music + Technology Podcast Ends After 9 Years & 380 Interviews

After 9 years and 380 interviews – with musicians, artists, synth designers and developers – the Art + Music + Technology podcast is ending.

Host Darwin Grosse let us know he is discontinuing producing the podcast, because his health no longer allows him to continue.

The Art + Music + Technology podcast has a simple format – just two people talking. But the podcast has become a favorite of many synthesists, because Darwin listens intently to his interviewees and asks them intelligent questions, informed by his deep knowledge of art, music & technology.

In addition to being a composer & synthesist, he’s a leader at Cycling ’74 (developers of Max) and a hardware developer (Ardcore). This background means that he’s equally at home interviewing synth pioneers like Morton Subotnick, tech gurus like Native Instrument co-founder Stephan Schmitt and keyboard gods like Herbie Hancock.

Synthtopia collaborated with Darwin and the A+M+T podcast on two podcasts series. The first looked at The Art Of Synthesizer Design, and featured interviews with the likes of synth designer Tom Oberheim, synth industrial designer Axel Hartmann and E-Mu co-founder Dave Rossum. The second series explored Open Source Synthesis, and featured VCV Rack Creator Andrew Belt, Music Thing Modular’s Tom Whitwell and others.

Here’s what Darwin has to say about Art + Music + Technology and why he’d ending it:

Host Darwin Grosse is ending his Art + Music + Technology podcast after 9 years.

“For the last 9 years of my life, I have been involved in a long-form project that has redefined my life: The Art + Music + Technology podcast. It moved me away from the slap-dash network discussions about the differences between Roland models and toward discussions about how musicians became the artists they are, who their influences were, and how hard they work to achieve the results that they get.

I decided not to limit the breadth of interviewees, sometimes choosing to talk to (mostly, but not always) musical artists, but to also sprinkle in a strong dose of academics (and their exploration into sound and MIDI), instrument builders (learning about the translation of ideas into physical constructs) and even ‘agitators’ – the people that spurred the industry forward with standards expansions like the original MIDI and recently-added MPE specs.

Through all of this, I tried to be more of a listener than a questioner; because I thought I’d get more out of the discussion that way. And it worked! By giving people free space to talk at a technical level they were comfortable with, the interviews ended up with a real conversational tone that became ‘The Sound of AMT.’

While I wish this could continue, I’m afraid it no longer can. Two years ago, I was diagnosed with kidney cancer, and began treatments and procedures that have left me greatly fatigued. Initially, I was able to move forward because of exceptional tools provided by Libsyn, Rev.Com, Patreon and others. I had to trim back production by about half, but that didn’t seem to bother the listeners.

But early last week, it became clear to me that my health complications will prevent me from dedicating the time and concentration to AMT that I strive to achieve. As a result, I will be discontinuing the podcast production permanently.

Interviews, transcriptions, and related files will remain where they are, and Libsyn will continue to maintain the audio files for me . I’ve sincerely enjoyed interacting with the many interviewees and the listeners.”

The Art + Music + Technology podcast has been an epic project, offering listeners an unprecedented opportunity to hear musicians, artists and technologists share personal insight into their work.

Here are a few examples to give you a taste of what the podcast has to offer:

Herbie Hancock Interview:

Tom Whitwell (Music Thing) Interview:

Alessandro Cortini Interview:

You can listen to hundreds of interviews at the A+M+T site. And if you’ve enjoyed the show, or just want to say ‘Hi’, Darwin says that he’d love to hear from you.

Suzanne Ciani On Music Synthesis With Buchla Modular Systems

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In this video, Reverb Associate Editor Fess Grandiose talks with electronic music pioneer Suzanne Ciani.

Ciani has been associated with Buchla for five decades. In the early 1970s, she met Don Buchla and worked for him as a soldering technician, and that’s where she discovered her love for analog synthesis. Within a few years, she became one of the leading synthesists using Buchla systems, for live performance, recording and commercial sound design.

In the interview, Ciani discusses her current Buchla system, some of the pros and cons of 200e modules vs the original 200 series modules, how she uses iPads and Eventide H9s in her performances, the importance of quadraphonic sounds and more.

The interview is especially topical because of Buchla’s recent introduction of 200t modules for Eurorack, and their reissues of the original 200 series designs. Ciani discusses her preference for some of the original ’70s Buchla 200 series designs over the more recent 200e designs.

New Interview With Steve Porcaro Of Toto

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In the latest episode of Rather Have the Story, host Brian Kehew interviews composer & synthesist Steve Porcaro of Toto.

Porcaro discusses his work in the early days of studio gigs with synths, the struggles of working with 70s gear, his work with Toto and more.

Video Summary:

This week we welcome Steve Porcaro, of Toto, of film and TV scoring, co-author of “Human Nature” for Michael Jackson, session musician – and much more.

We talk about the world and work of session musicians, Jeff Porcaro growing up and in the studio, the Rosanna solo, making the Toto albums in the studio, our tributes to the GREAT Keith Emerson, film and TV scoring, James Newton Howard, Roger Linn, Greg Ladanyi, Tommy Mars…

The Roland Microcomposer and early sequencers and synths, the venerable Yamaha CS80, DS1 and 2, the DX7, Polyfusion modular synthesizers, “The Blip” (Steve’s creation of complex attack sounds) based upon Frank Zappa and his synthesizer horn sound, and much more!

Inside Robert Rich’s Soundscape Studio

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The Electro-Music Performers Organization (TE-EMPO) hosted a live streaming workshop and discussion with synthesist and ambient music artist Robert Rich last Sunday, and has now shared the video from the event, embedded above.

Robert Rich has been making music for over 40 years, creating unique soundworlds of microtonal tunings, DIY acoustic and electronic instruments and intricate rhythms. He’s released more than 50 albums, starting with Sunyata in 1982, and including collaborations with a wide range of ambient artists, including Steve Roach, Ian Boddy, B. Lustmord and others.

Rich also has an active career as a sound design, including work for film; presets and wavetables for hardware synths from E-Mu, Sequential, Synthesis Technology and others; and presets for software synths, including Camel Alchemy.

Rich, along with Carter Scholz, also developed the MIDI Tuning Standard, which supports microtuning on hardware and software synthesizers.

The two-hour workshop starts with an introduction from host Michael Hunter and then a discussion about Rich’s approach to sound design, microtonality, composing and more. This is followed by a wide-ranging Q&A session.

You can find out more about Rich and his music at his site.

New Interview With Fatboy Slim

The latest episode of the midierror meets… podcast features an interview with Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim.

Over the last 25 years, Cook has released a succession of ‘big beat’ albums, including Better Living Through Chemistry, You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby and Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars, featuring hits like The Rockafeller Skank, Praise You,  and Right Here, Right Now.

He’s also had a successful remix career, collaborations with the likes of David Byrne and has won the Guinness World Record for most top-40 hits under different names.

The midierror meets… podcast features interviews with electronic musicians and others working within the areas of sound and music. Previous guests have included Andrew Huang, DJ Rap, Infected Mushroom and Tim Exile.

In this episode, host Chris D [midierror] talks with Norman Cook about his career, the legendary Big Beat Boutique, his love of retro tech and more.

You can listen to the interview below or via Soundcloud:

The Story Of MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression)

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The latest episode of the Gaz Williams show features an extended interview with polymath Geert Bevin, discussing the story of MPE.

Bevin wrote the original MPE standard (originally for Multidimensional Polyphonic Expression), which was updated and adopted in 2018 by the MIDI Manufacturers Association as MIDI Polyphonic Expression.

Bevin is Software Engineering and Product Manager for Moog Music. He’s also helped develop the firmware for the Roger Linn LinnStrument and the Eigenharp; created the CableCube patch cable organizer; created Geco MIDI, a gestural controller for the Leap Motion; created command-line tools for MIDI; used 3D printing to create PPE face masks and more.

Alessandro Cortini Interview On The Art + Music + Technology Podcast

Synthesist Alessandro Cortini (NIN, Modwheelmood, Blindoldfreak) is featured in the latest interview of the Art + Music + Technology podcast.

Host Darwin Grosse talks with Cortini about his recent work, including his new album Scuro Chiaro and partnering with Make Noise to develop the Strega synthesizer; his modular systems; seqeuncing and more.

You can listen to the Alessandro Cortini interview via the embed below, via the AMT site or by subscribing to the podcast (add in your podcast application):

The History Of The Cat Synthesizer

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In the latest Fortress of Sound video, host Karl takes a look at the Octave Electronics The Cat, a monophonic synthesizer from 1976.

The video features an overview of synth, plus an exclusive interview with the creator of The Cat, Carmine Bonanno.

Topics covered:

00:00 Introduction
00:30 Multi-Track Song
01:20 Feature Breakdown
02:42 Slime
03:13 Demo Dungeon
06:55 The Cat is untamable
07:45 Carmine Bonanno Interview & History
16:07 This Cat can Purrr
17:05 The Beards & The Bees featuring Spaceman
17:50 The Bad & Key bushing/contact repair
19:20 Behringer Copy Cat
19:41 Does it Tuba?
20:3 Outro
21:00 Multi-Track Song Outro Jam

If you’ve used The Cat, leave a comment and share your thoughts on it!