Fresh Stories

Arturia DrumBrute – First Impressions

For this Holiday season’s gift to the studio, I decided on the Arturia DrumBrute. An analog drum synthesizer and sequencer, the DrumBrute simply demands to be played, considering its host of performance features and a classic drum machine sound, ala the TR-808 and TR-909 — all at a street price of $449. More esoteric functionality […]

Recording Digest: Church of Hed — Brandenburg Heights

Editor’s note: Jerry Kranitz published Aural Innovations magazine for nearly twenty years until retiring earlier in 2016 to work on a book project. No other entity did a better job covering the worldwide psychedelic music and spacerock scenes. He typically interviewed me every few years about Church of Hed and Quarkspace, my two primary musical […]

Space Out with the TC Electronic T2 Reverb

Effects pedals haven’t been the sole domain of guitar players for decades. Increasingly, keyboardists and synthesists use pedals to transform their sound for a variety of purposes. Reverbs and delays are especially useful when paired with a synth, as they facilitate travel to the outer regions of space and time. My Moog Sub 37 pairs […]

The Korg SQ-1 is a Perfect MIDI Sync Traffic Cop

Korg released its SQ-1 sequencer originally as a pair with the re-imagined MS-20 synthesizer. Faced with two Volcas, a Monotribe, a Moog Sub 37, and a Teenage Electronics PO-12, I wondered if the device could essentially serve as a sync traffic cop; keeping all five instruments in rhythmic “harmony” suitable for some long-form Berlin School […]

Three NAMM 2016 Synths that won’t break the Bank

Each year, the NAMM show serves as a second Christmas for musicians both in attendance and watching from afar. This year’s edition didn’t disappoint, with a wide array of innovative products being introduced. The synthesizer world saw many new intriguing models, with the growing Eurorack scene well represented. Three NAMM 2016 synths piqued my interest, […]

The Teenage Engineering PO-12 puts the Beatbox in your Pocket

Teenage Engineering has earned accolades for their product line featuring great sound and innovative features. Their Pocket Operators, originally introduced last year, included three devices covering the Holy Trinity of Beatmaking — synth, bass, and drum machine — with each looking more like a handheld calculator than a musical instrument. The PO-12 drum machine’s LCD […]

VirSyn’s Cube Synth makes Additive Synthesis a Breeze

Over the last year or so, I’ve been focused on recording the new Church of Hed album, Electric Sepulcher, with hardware synths typically being my gear of choice compared to the venerable iPad 2. As such, I am about a year late with this profile of VirSyn’s excellent Cube Synth, which brings the esoteric world […]

The Waldorf Streichfett: the Modern String Synth of Creamy Dreams

Two-thirds of the way through recording my new Church of Hed album, I thought some tracks needed a bit of icing. I previously noted Waldorf’s new Streichfett string synthesizer; digested some online sound samples, and felt confident it would serve nicely in this role. After discovering its street price was under $400, I decided to […]