Theremin

Ghostly sound. I bought myself a theremin, a belated birthday present. A theremin is an electronically musical instrument controlled without physical contact by the player. The exact date of the theremin’s invention is unknown, historians place it somewhere between late 1919 and early 1920. It’s named after its inventor, Léon Theremin, who patented the device in 1928. The instrument has been used in movie soundtracks (such as Bernard Herrmann’s The Day the Earth Stood Still and recently Justin Hurwitz’s First Man), concert music, popular music, television and video games, (info Wikipedia). Feel free to check out some clips on YouTube.

I used a friend’s theremin years ago for a few musical and sound design projects. I never became a professional player but I loved using the device. Now it will be mostly used as decoration. As you know from previous posts, my house got a complete makeover. I created an industrial style living room and the theremin will look very good on the dresser.

Mr. Bowie was also very interested in the device. Or maybe he was only waiting to get into the box? Rock on, Mr. Bowie! Right now I’m working on an experimental electronic piece, maybe I can throw in some theremin sounds?

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding. 

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Kraftwerk hat es geschafft! Kraftwerk, the Beatles and godfathers of modern synthesizer music, arrived last Saturday at the Elisabeth Center Antwerp (Koningin Elisabethzaal) with ‘The Catalogue 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8’ show. The brand new Queen Elizabeth Hall offers a wide range of concerts, musicals and other events. It’s located in the heart of Antwerp, adjacent to Antwerp Central Station. In 2014 the British-American magazine Mashable awarded ‘Antwerpen-Centraal’ the first place for the most beautiful railway station in the world.

‘The Catalogue 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8’, is a spectacular, maybe a little weird and retro, multimedia 3-D concert inspired by and touted as an art installation. Kraftwerk calls it “Gesamtkunstwerk” (total work of art). Their music may sound complex, electronic, or inaccessible at first sight. But they inspired a lot of people, musicians, rap artists and bands like David Bowie, Depeche Mode, New Order, Daft Punk and even Coldplay. Kraftwerk was the main reason why I started to build, play and buy synthesizers when I was a kid.

The audience received 3-D glasses with which to watch the projected performance, vintage video and film footage. During ‘Spacelab’, satellites and a flying saucer seemed to hover over our heads. The first encore song, ‘The Robots’, was an amazing moment in the show with Kraftwerk replaced by moving, lifelike mannequins dressed as their younger selves. It was a breathtaking, challenging, unique and yes, a very fun evening.

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

While I was working on this post I heard the tragic news about a suicide bomber killing at least 22 innocent people, including children, in an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester UK. My thoughts are with all those who have been affected. 

OB-6

How to make a cat and his human happy. A big box from San Fransisco arrived yesterday. Sender: Dave Smith Instruments. Hallelujah! Dave Smith Instruments is an American company based in San Francisco, California which manufactures electronic musical instruments. Inside this box: the OB-6 Desktop, a 6-Voice Polyphonic Analog Synthesizer. The OB-6 is a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration between the two most influential designers in poly synth history, Dave Smith and Tom Oberheim. The OB-6 sound engine is inspired by Tom Oberheim’s original SEM, the core of his acclaimed 4-voice and 8- voice synthesizers.

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This is an example of an activity we both enjoy, making music and a studio technician living in a box. Our aim, as I told you before is to rock you, some day soon.

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Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

Back to Work

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A working studio technician is a happy studio technician. It’s Monday and Mr. Bowie is getting himself back in the groove, after taking some time off on the sofa. Getting great work done isn’t always just about finding a rush of inspiration, it’s also about defining your goals and setting yourself up in a productive work environment.

Mr. Bowie thinks it’s about time to buy a new box with a synth inside. He’s checking out the new Prophet-6, a 6-voice polyphonic analog synthesizer with a modern twist.  It’s Dave Smith’s tribute to the poly synth that started it all—the Sequential Prophet-5. But please, Mr. Bowie, I told you before, you must keep an eye on the studio budget. A studio technician usually performs this routine task. Get back to work, Mr. Bowie!

Virus

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Contagious. Watch out Mr. Bowie! This box contains a dangerous German Virus…

Don’t worry, Mr. Bowie! This Virus is not contagious and cannot be spread between cats or humans. This is a multiple award-winning TI Desktop hardware synthesizer, made by the German company Access Music GmbH, known as much for its flexibility and powerful sound as for Total Integration, a way to interconnect a hardware synthesizer with a DAW. The first Virus was released in 1997 and each new iteration has added more features more powerful hardware, and greater musical potential. That evolution explains why the Virus TI series is so sought after and why it receives such praise from owners, press, and fans all over the world.

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But please, Mr. Bowie, you must keep an eye on the studio budget. A studio technician usually performs this routine task. In the meantime, we will rock you…

Minimoog

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Introducing the Minimoog Voyager. The recording studio still needed a finishing touch. After 2 months waiting patiently, the Minimoog Voyager finally arrived yesterday! All Moog instruments are lovingly handcrafted by real people. The Minimoog Voyager Performer Edition is an all-analog performance synthesizer that incorporates the features and incredible sonic range of the original Minimoog, while adding a vast number of new functional improvements to its design. Many people feel that the Minimoog is probably the best analog synth ever built. Minimoog Voyager users include: Herbie Hancock, Rick Wakeman, Chick Corea, Bernie Worrell, Brian Eno, Stevie Wonder and Mr. Bowie.

© Moog Music Inc

© Moog Music Inc

© Moog Music Inc

© Moog Music Inc

The minor issues regarding the communication between the MIDI interface and the synthesizers are almost solved. I met a specialist in a music store who probably knows how to fix a remaining problem. Meanwhile, Mr. Bowie seems to be quite enthusiastic about the new Moog synth. And the big boxes. I liked the Bob Moog quote on the box.

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“To be human, to be fully human, is to need music and to derive nourishment from the music you hear. What you do with our instruments helps us to be more human too, and I want to thank you all for that.”

Boys Keep Swinging

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“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” – Pablo Picasso

Boys always work it out. The recording studio is almost up and running. I’m experiencing some minor issues regarding the communication between a MIDI interface and the synthesizers. A MIDI setup is the physical connection between all the MIDI devices and the computer. A typical setup consists of a MIDI interface, a computer, and the actual MIDI equipment such as keyboards, sound modules and synthesizers. I’m working to find fixes for the problems. Meanwhile, Mr. Bowie is passionate, excited and eager to learn to play the synthesizer…

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