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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » 2018 » July » 11

Eurorack’s prices are dropping, as Herr Schneider laments

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 11 Jul 2018 9:15 pm

With the proliferation of modules, the phrase “Eurorack bubble” has been floating around for a while. But now it appears to be translating into falling prices.

The basic problem is this: more demand means more interest, which translates into more manufacturers, and more production. So far, so good. Then, more distributors pick up the goods – not just boutique operators like Schneider, but also bigger chains.

Where’s the problem? With too many modules out there in the marketplace, and more big retailers, it’s easier for the big retailers to start to squeeze manufacturers on price. Plus, the more modules out in the world, the greater the supply of used modules.

Andreas Schneider has chosen to weigh in on the issue personally. You can read his statement in German:

Jetzt auch XAOC bei Thomann ..

And in an English translation (with more commentary by Schneiderladen in English):

HerrSchneiders statement on current developments in the Eurorack market [stromkult]

There’s actually a lot there – though the banner revelation is seeing the cost of new modules suddenly plummet by 30%:

You asked for it: Due to the increased demand for Eurorack modules in Europe, even the large retailers for musical instruments are now filling the last corners of their warehouses and buying complete production runs from manufacturers and everything else they can get. Some manufacturers might be happy about this, but the flooding of the market already leads to a significant drop in prices here and there, some modules are already available with a 30% discount on the original calculated price and yet were still quite hot the other day!

As SchneidersLaden we have decided to go along with this development and of course offer corresponding products for the same price to our customers, although most of them have already bought them when the goods were still fresh and crisp! We’re almost a little sorry about that, but hopefully the hits are already produced and the music career is up and running? Nevertheless, sorry – but the decision for this way lies with the manufacturer and was not our recommendation!

By the way… we don’t advertise with moneyback-warranty… we’ve always practiced it. But please: get advice first, then buy – like in the good old days. Because it’s better to talk to your specialist retailer – we know what we are selling. And by the way: We do free shipping throughout Europe and there are Thursdays on that we are in the shop until nine o’clock in the evening …and real CHAOS serves creativity.

That had to be said – end of commercial break.

Okay, so some different messages. To manufacturers, with whom Schneider seems to place a lot of the blame, the message is to avoid glutting the market by selling so many units that then they lose their price margin. (That seems good advice.) There’s also a “dance with the one that brung you” attitude here, but that’s probably fair, as well.

To buyers, work with specialists, and please research what you buy so you don’t shoulder retailers and manufacturers with lots of returns. That seems good advice, too.

(Hope I’ve paraphrased that fairly.)

It does seem there’s a looming problem beyond just what’s here, though. For the community to continue to expand, it will have to find more new markets. It does seem some saturation point is inevitable, and that could mean a shakeout of some manufacturers – though that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The used market should also be a worry, though on the other hand, some people do always seem to buy new.

I’d echo what the two posts here say, which is the synth maker world will likely be healthy if manufacturers and consumers do some research and support one another.

Before anyone predicts the sky is falling, I’ve had a number of conversations with modular makers. Those with some experience seem to be doing just fine, even if some have expressed concern about the larger market and smaller and newer makers. That is, those with some marketing experience and unique products still see growth – but that growth may not translate to greener manufacturers who are trying to cram into what is becoming a crowded field.

Other thoughts? Let us know.

The post Eurorack’s prices are dropping, as Herr Schneider laments appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Mo’Wax, James Lavelle, DJ Shadow, and more in a new documentary

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 11 Jul 2018 8:48 pm

A new documentary is poised to take what looks like a personal, thrilling look at the UK turntablism revolution.

The film is “The Man from Mo’Wax,” a documentary set to premiere at the end of August, with a full digital release (disc and download) on September 10.

The film centers on James Lavelle and his label, the pioneering purveyor of trip hop, alternative hip hop, and other things involving vinyl. And because of Mo’Wax’s seminal role in the 90s UK music scene, you get Lavelle’s story, but a lot more. DJ Shadow, Joshua Homme, Badly Drawn Boy,
Robert Del Naja (3D), Ian Brown, Futura, Thom Yorke and Grandmaster Flash… you name them, they’re in this picture. And it’s a coming of age story about Lavelle, who launched his DJ career at 14 and the label at 18 – all the ups an downs.

And of course, a lot of what sampling and beat-driven music is today is connected to what happens in this film.

How you get to watch this – apart from the YouTube trailed we’ve embedded here – is also rather interesting. Via something dubbed ourscreen, you can actually order up a screening at a participating local cinema… erm, provided you’re in the UK. For the rest of us, of course, we can just wait some extra days and microwave some popcorn and make every crowd around our MacBook or something.

The real fun will be for Londoners on the premiere date:

On Thursday, 30 August at 20:30, London’s BFI Southbank will host a premiere launch screening alongside a live Q&A with James Lavelle and the filmmakers. The event will also feature a Pitchblack Playback of an exclusive mix from UNKLE’s new forthcoming album. Plus, join us for an after-party with a live DJ set from Lavelle. The Q&A with James Lavelle will also be broadcast via Facebook Live from the BFI.

Given the subject of the film, of course there’s also a lovely limited edition record to go with it:


If you can’t wait, though, here’s FACT’s two-parter on Lavelle from the label’s 21st birthday.

Images courtesy the filmmakers.


Thanks, Martin Backes!

The post Mo’Wax, James Lavelle, DJ Shadow, and more in a new documentary appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

FCC Application Fees Going Up

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Wed 11 Jul 2018 4:46 pm

The FCC yesterday released an Order announcing its adjustments to its application fees for commercial broadcasters and other FCC licensees. The fee schedule reflects a 3.7% cost of living increase in the processing fees that are paid when broadcasters file an application with the FCC. Fees for broadcast applications can be found starting at page 27 of the PDF containing the Order. The increases are modest – for example, the fees for a minor change, an assignment, or a transfer application increase from $1070 for to $1110 per station. These new fees will be effective 30 days after this Order is published in the Federal Register. So, if you are planning an FCC application that will be filed a few months from now, pay attention to the effective date of the new fee schedule to avoid having your application bounced for paying an incorrect fee.

FCC Requires Updating By Broadcasters of EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS) Form One By August 27

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Wed 11 Jul 2018 4:44 pm

The FCC recently released a Public Notice reminding all EAS participants that they need to file ETRS Form One by August 27, 2018. This form needs to be filed by all radio and TV stations, including LPFM and LPTV stations (unless those LPTV stations simply act as a translator for another station). While the FCC has not announced another nationwide EAS test for this year, the FCC still requires that the form be updated on a yearly basis – with a separate Form One being filed for each encoder, decoder, or combined unit used by any station or cluster.

The Public Notice provides information about where to file the form, and also links to this help page on the FCC website that provides information about completing the form. These Frequently Asked Questions are also helpful. They note the information that needs to be submitted in the ETRS form, including the geographic coordinates of the station (with latitude and longitude in NAD83), and various information about the station’s “designation”, monitoring assignments and “geographic zone” – all information that should be set out in the state EAS plan for the state in which the station is located. As it may take some time to locate all of the required information to make sure that any station’s Form One is current and accurate, stations should not delay in beginning to work on this form.

The strange, cartridge-powered speech of TI Touch & Tell

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 11 Jul 2018 4:23 pm

No, not the better-known Speak & Spell. TI’s 1981 Touch & Tell was a singular moment in speech synthesis. Here’s its story – and a beautiful circuit bent mod.

Before the iPad, the Texas Instruments Touch & Tell was a kid’s robotic learning assistant – a marvel of simple chip-based electronics combined with some Reagan-era toy design and mechanical engineering. As was the fad in home game systems, you added capabilities by popping in cartridges.

The Smithsonian in Washington, DC found it important enough to put the Touch & Tell in its collections. And yes, gasp – the Smithsonian has a chip collection. (Sorry, there’s a link hole to destroy productivity for the rest of today.)


I spoke with Ivo Ivanov, who had for some years made gorgeous custom modifications of this and other 80s classics. He was giving them slick futuristic paint jobs and useful, expressive circuit bend controls for transforming and glitching out the sound.

He shares more tidbits about these gems:

Cartridges pose with one of Ivo’s mods.

Yes, the little cartridges are basically vocabulary add-on carts. They each have a specific theme, with words and phrases that pertain to the theme. My favorite is the “World of Transportation” (yellow cart) which talks a lot about space, planets, satellites etc. 🙂

There is even a ULTRA rare ET cart that has words and phrases from the ET movie – very hard to find, but very very cool.

OH and there’s even a version of this toy that was made for disabled people – it’s called the Vocaid:


The Vocaid has all kinds of “emergency” and “medical” words and phrases which, when bent, are super diabolical haha.

Anyway the cartridges are inserted into the device in a slot that lies under that panel on the left of the unit. Normally, you would need to insert a thin plastic overlay that matches the cartridge – this would activate the pins that give you access to the particular bank in question. I decided to modify that and completely removed the membrane pad so that I could wire up my own bank switches (top row of switches on the face of unit). This way, the user can basically select any bank of words/phrases without having any of the inserts. Much cleaner and more convenient way to access to all possible banks.

Last bit of info on these: the TI Touch & Tell uses a slightly different chip than the Speak & X family of toys. This one sounds deeper and more menacing, which is why I always preferred them. They are also lesser known, which made them a bit cheaper and easier to find.

And they have a nice open flat surface, which was perfect for my painted designs.

A slick, sexy all-black mod from Ivo.

Circuit bent instruments by Ivo Ivanov [Facebook]

Datamath has a nice view of the chips inside:

Reed Ghazala, father of circuit bending, personally designed the modifications of this instrument. What I find so lovely about them is that they deconstruct the voice synthesis in such a way that it really does begin to sound like an instrument – not just a special effect, but some weird, alien approach to producing noise.

Here’s a 2007 video by John Madere employing Reed’s bends:

And here are some other benders modding the VOCAID:


Yeah, fits the times reasonably well…

To check out these sorts of sounds in software, look no further than Plogue’s amazing plug-in:


The post The strange, cartridge-powered speech of TI Touch & Tell appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Musicians and the Revolution

Delivered... Thomas Burkhalter (Norient) | Scene | Wed 11 Jul 2018 6:00 am

The Egyptian Revolution of 2011 and the political turmoil in the years since have changed the country. How did underground musicians, DJs and songwriters from Cairo react, and how did the events influence their art? Thoughts recorded by Thomas Burkhalter in Cairo. From the Norient book Seismographic Sounds (see and order here).

United by gestures: How Revolutions May Look Like (Photo © by Maxpixel CC)


«I cannot concentrate. I can’t stop thinking. Normally I translate daily life experiences into my songs, at the moment I cannot do so. I’m paralyzed. My role as a musician was more important before the revolution. I provoked and asked questions that were taboo. This was more challenging than today. I don’t even want to try to document the revolution. It is not finished yet, and I don’t want to document it wrongly. In these times I am a citizen of Egypt first.» (4.3.2013)

Maryam Saleh is a singer and songwriter from Cairo who tours internationally.

«Just because I’m an artist doesn’t mean that I have to make music about the revolution. An artist should just be an artist and create his personal artistic world — without any guidelines.» (6.3.2013)

Hussein El-Sherbini is part of the electronica collective Wetrobots. He co-runs the Epic 101 studio in Cairo.

«This was the most emotional time of my life. I did not dare translate these strong experiences into music yet. They were holy in a way, so you cannot just make a track out of it. I brought my recorder to Tahrir Square though. One day, maybe, I’m going to use those recordings.» (7.3.2013)

Mahmoud Refat experiments with field recordings and electronic music. He runs the label 100copies and the 100copies music space in Cairo.

«Many songs were created on the spot. They were not meant for eternity. It was about freedom of expression. This is what made these songs important.» (10.3.2013)

Dina El-Gharibis a visual artist from Cairo. She DJs weekly in the After Eight club in downtown Cairo.

«With the start of the revolution, international media became fascinated with our female metal band. Now we give loads of interviews and we perform abroad often.» (8.3.2013)

Sherine Amr from Cairo is the front singer of the metal band Massive Scar Era

«In Egypt you need permission from the military to leave the country. This creates huge problems for me because the military does not like me at all. I had thirty international tours lined up, but I was allowed to leave the country three times only. And the next problem is coming. When I finish my studies in two years I have to go to the army. It is going to be the nightmare of my life.» (5.3.2013)

Ramy Essam is a singer and songwriter from al-Mansura. Time Out listed his song «Irhal» (leave)—that Essam sung on Tahrir square—among the ten most influential political songs of all time.

«My dream is to have a passport. I want to travel, to develop and show my music. I live for my music.» (10.3.2013)

Islam Chipsy received his Egyptian passport in 2014. Today, the keyboard player tours abroad regularly—he also performed at the 6th Norient Musikfilm Festival in Bern, Switzerland.

«I have a lot of hope if we stay like this. Riot police beat me a lot. Nevertheless I will go down again tomorrow. If they want war, we want peace. I am just trying to regain some of my nation’s dignity.» (via Facebook, 26.1.2011, 10 pm)

Ahmad Basiony taught sound art at Helwan University. He died of gunshot wounds inflicted by snipers from the Egyptian Police Forces on Tahrir Square on January 28, 2011.

The text was published first in the second Norient book Seismographic Sounds. Click on the image to know more.

Read More on Norient

> Carl Cappelle: «Tamer Hosny – The Army, the Revolution and His Fans»
> Eric Mandel: «Tamer Ghazaleh – Ambassador of Cairos Underground»
> Thomas Burkhalter: «The Arab Avant-Garde – Music, Politics, Modernity»

RX950 Classic AD/DA Converter comes to iOS AUv3

Delivered... Ashley Elsdon | Scene | Wed 11 Jul 2018 12:02 am

This is an unusual new audio unit, but then that is one of the nice things about iOS, that you can find some pretty strange to add into your host, and now one of those can be the RX950, which is of course an Akai S950 Emulator, that you can use to recreate the sounds of the kinds of classic machines which defined the sound of Lo Fi House and Hip Hop. If that’s what you want of course.

The RX950 shows some fairly close attention to detail in how the app has been developed and put together.

So let’s have a look at the app’s features:

• Legendary 12-bit resolution
• Perfect modelling of the S950’s audio signal path
• Adjustable audio bandwidth (and thus sampling frequency)
• Original steep 6th-order low-pass Butterworth filter
• Stereo or mono operation
• Low CPU consumption
• Supports AUv3 and Inter-App Audio

And here’s how it works:

The Input Gain Knob makes your sound loud’n’proud with the S950’s unique grit and warm distortion. It’s powerful and will help anything stand out in your overall mix.

The Audio Bandwidth Knob controls the target sample rate and analog-to-digital conversion circuitry with an exquisite, yet remarkably subtle, aliasing effect.

The Filter Knob controls the S950’s infamous steep low-pass filter. Use it on separate elements, or on any output bus or master section.

The Mono switch button is for mono operation (as the original S950) with a 50/50 mix. Great for checking your mix.

The RX950 isn’t an app that’s going to appeal to everyone, but for some users it will be a joy to hear that it’s arrived. If it’s your bag then that’s awesome. If not, then probably just move along and there’ll be another audio unit along soon enough.

RX950 costs just $1.99 on the app store now

The post RX950 Classic AD/DA Converter comes to iOS AUv3 appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

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