CatSynth Pic: Tuxedo Cat and Roland SH-101

Cat with Roland SH-101 synthesizer

Pretty picture of a tuxedo cat that bears a strong resemblance to Sam Sam (minus the nose smudge) with a classic Roland SH-101 synthesizer.  From verzerrung on Instagram.

Sam Sam does not have access to an SH-101, but she does seem to like the Roland Boutique synths, so maybe we will get an SH-01 for her at some point 😸

CatSynth Pic: Korg M500 Micro Preset SN 770329

Korg M500 Micro Preset SN 770329

Originally rom a now completed listen on Reverb.com, today’s pic arrives via matrixsynth, where you can see more pictures (sans cat).

The Korg Micro Preset synthesizer is a curious late 1970s beast with a slightly bizarre matrix of pre-set sounds, including woodwind and similar noises and a keyboard all housed in a wooden box! It’s a 32-note monophonic preset synthesizer with 6 push-button presets including voice, synth1, synth2, brass, string, and wood. Its single-oscillator design has only rudimentary decay/release envelope controls and no access to the guts of the sound generation stuff.

Once you’re past the outward appearance, a bit of probing will reveal a noise box that sounds remarkably similar to the MS-10 at times. There is a lot of fun to be had with the ‘traveller’ control, a sort of filter and resonance control rolled into one, offering interesting squelchy acid-style bass run effects. In fact, like the MS-10, bass is the best of what you get out of this guy along with lots of other useful noises. Add N To (X), The Human League, OMD, Jean Michel Jarre, OMD, Pop Will Eat Itself and Brian Eno are thought to have used the Micro Preset.

A few of the presets are slightly quieter. Easily addressed by turning the volume up. Since this Keyboard was only ever used in our smoke free studio, we never had a tech fix it. Our tech HAD seen this issue before and did say the fix would take 1hr and require minimal parts he, and thusly most techs, should have. This thing sounds amazing straight into a delay pedal and then a DI. Only selling it because we loved it so much we bought 2 but need only one. It’s killer for when you want a simple MS-10/20 sound but don’t want to fuss about. It’s been on a ton of records made here. Great and affordable addition to any collection and would be a great first synth.”

Women’s March 2018 in San Francisco

Today marks one year since Trump took office and one year of resistance to current regime (which seems like a more appropriate word than “administration” under the circumstances). To mark the occasion and kick off another year of resistance and civic/political engagement, we at CatSynth took part in the Women’s March.

Thousands gathered on a chilly but clear day in San Francisco’s Civic Center for a YUGE rally, before marching up Market Street towards The Embarcadero. Here are a few scenes, including a few of the many colorful signs.

And here is our video documenting some moments from the event.

Marches like this of course just an initial step.  The most important steps will be continued political engagement, especially but not limited to voting in a better set of leaders in 2018.  We will see how things unfold.

 

CatSynth TV: Wicks Looper (with Korg Delay Monotron)

One of our CatSynth TV episodes this week featured a close-up demonstration of the Wicks Looper by Rarebeasts, a tiny musical instrument that can make beats, loops, and all sorts of noises.  We also added a Korg Delay Monotron for filtering and delay effects in the last portion of the demo.

The Wicks Looper is a fun instrument that I have used in several live performances, though less so lately.  Its audio jack is a bit fussy at times, but as long as I remember I know how to make it work reliably.  Both it and the Monotron should see more use again this year as I plan out new ideas for solo performances.  And we still love that cat logo that looks so much like our dear Luna.  But there is also a (non-black) Luna who lives with the human who created the instrument, a fact involved in our discovering it in the first place.

Rarebeasts has moved on to newer custom electronic instruments that are quite sculptural in nature.  You can see their work at their Etsy shop.

Fun With Highways: Downtown Atlanta on #MLKDay

It remains to be seen whether this Martin Luther King Day is more surreal than last the one last year. But in the meantime, we take a virtual trip to downtown Atlanta in the vicinity of the historic and social institutions celebrating Dr. King’s legacy.

Georgia State Route 10The Downtown Connector carries Interstates 75 and 85 through the heart of the city, with downtown Atlanta to the immediate west. Aesthetically, we at CatSynth have a fondness for urban freeways, but we cannot ignore how the adversely affect neighborhoods and displace residents. The Downtown Connector cut the Sweet Auburn neighborhood into two. The historic neighborhood is also bounded by the Freedom Parkway (Georgia State Route 10) to the north, and Blue Line of MARTA to the south, which serves the district via delightfully modernist King Memorial station.


[By Keizers (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons]

Sweet Auburn is Dr. King’s neighborhood. His childhood home is at 501 Auburn Ave. The Ebeneezer Baptist Church is about a block or so away. The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park covers these and the space in between. On the south side of Auburn Avenue is the King Center (formally, the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change). Martin Luther King Jr’s tomb is on the site. But it is also worth noting that the King Center is not simply a museum, with ongoing research, education programs, and activism.


[User:Sjkorea81 [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons]

Many of us are perhaps approaching this day with bated breath, hoping a certain openly racist leader with a tendency to make everything about himself doesn’t make things even worse than they already are. But it might be better to reflect on some of King’s darker words that seem prescient in the moment, such as the Mountaintop Speech or “It’s A Dark Day In Our Nation” (primarily about the Vietnam War). We leave this as an exercise to the reader.

See more of Atlanta and many other fine places across North America in our Highway☆ app, available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Highway☆ on Apple App Store .   Highway☆ for Android