CatSynth Pic: Robotspeak

We espied this photo on the Facebook page of Robotspeak, our local synthesizer shop and informal gathering place for monthly shows here in San Francisco.

I have myself dropped quite a bit of hard-earned money there (but don’t regret any of it), and I have played there on a few occasions, including the Analog Ladies showcases.  You can read about past visits to Robotspeak via this link.

CatSynth Pic: Nemo and Novation Bass Station

Meet Nemo!  He is showing off an original Novation Bass Station keyboard synthesizer.  Photo submitted by Arthur Schmitt via our Facebook page.

Many readers will be familiar with the popular Bass Station 2.  The original Bass Station was released in the early 90s, first in this keyboard form and later in a more popular rack form.  (It was the 90s, so we still all had collections of 1U-3U rackmount instruments and signal processors).  From Vintage Synth Explorer:

Before the famous Novation Bass Station Rack module came the small and portable Bass Station keyboard! This synthesizer uses digitally synchronized analog oscillators (DCO’s) to reproduce the sounds of a monophonic dual-osc analog synthesizer with simple and intuitive controls via 17 knobs, 10 switches and 2 Moog-style pitch/mod wheels. Think EDP Wasp and ARP Odyssey.

CatSynth Pic: Gracie, Moog, PPG Wave, and More

Gracie returns!  This time we see her testing out one of her Moog synthesizers (a Sub37 or Subsequent 37).  We also see a Korg vocoder below, and an Oberheim in the back.  In the background, we see a PPG Wave, a rare DK Synergy below it, and a few other synths that we leave as exercises to the reader.  Gracie always has such an impressive collection 😸

From Alsún Ní Chasaide via Facebook.

Weekend Cat Blogging with Sam Sam: The Blanket (and Volca FM)

Those who follow our Instagram are regularly treated to photos and videos of Sam Sam and her adventures around CatSynth HQ.  For those who don’t, we can assure you that she is doing well and is being spoiled rotten.

Sam Sam getting pet

Sam Sam has made this blanket one of her favorite spots for napping and relaxing.  It is quite warm and soft.  In this video, we see her kneading it and purring up a storm.

Biscuits 😺 #catsofinstagram

A post shared by CatSynth / Amanda C (@catsynth) on


It’s good to be the cat!

Here we see her posing with our Korg Volca FM sytnhesizer.

This photo was taken while preparing for our recent video on the Volca FM, which you can check out on YouTube.  One of the nice things about these small battery-powered synths like the Korg Volcas and the Roland Boutiques is that we play them on the bed.  And if I’m there playing a synth, reading, or napping, Sam Sam is likely to follow.

We hope you have a fun weekend, however you define it.  And if you are Instagram, please do follow us 😻.

 

A Day in Wine Country (2018)

I found myself back again in Napa Valley wine country a couple of weeks ago.  Specifically I was in St. Helena to meet Elsie the Library Cat.  I am not a morning individual, but Elsie apparently is, so at the early hour of 7AM, I headed up from San Francisco, crossing two bridges before exiting the I-80 onto Highway 29.

I have written about traveling through the Napa Valley on Highway 29 before, specifically in a post from 2007.  Once again Highway 29, multiplexed with Highway 12, was a parking lot south of the city of Napa, so I was once again able to snap a photo at almost the same exact location.  It was quite theraputic to do so, chasing away some of the demons of 2007, which themselves chased out the demons of 2000.  The road has been upgraded into a better expressway, and Highway 221 (just a short connector to downtown) is now signed.

Highways 29, 12, and 221 in Napa

The traffic thinned out north of Napa as the road narrowed north of Yountville.  Here the landscape is dotted with modest vinyards and over-the-top mansions and tasting rooms.  Finally, I arrived in St. Helena, my favorite town in the region.  I pulled into the library parking lot around 9AM, just in time for my visit with Elsie.

Elsie is a very sweet cat, and quite playful at times despite her advancing age.  With her black coat, she reminded me a bit of Luna, though Elsie has mismatched-colored eyes compared to Luna’s emerald green.   She and the staff of the St. Helena Public Library were great hosts and extremely welcoming of me and my video project.  If you haven’t already seen our CatSynth TV feature on Elsie, you can watch it here.

It was still relatively early when I finished at the library, so I headed to the main street in town for brunch – a protein-heavy heuvos rancheros and some additional coffee seemed like a good idea after the morning video shoot and before heading out for wine tasting.

My main winery destination was Flora Springs, also in St. Helena.  In 2014, I had come here for both wine tasting and a photo shoot – you can see one of the photos in this old Wordless Wednesday post.  I had selected it because of the modernist architecture and interior design, but I enjoyed the spicy bold reds as well.  Plus they have a patio that is lovely on a warm afternoon.

Patio at Flora Springs Tasting Room

The same qualities that attracted me to this winery four years ago were in play again – the modern style and bold red wines.  I particularly liked the Trilogy red blend and the Holy Smoke single-vinyard cabernet from Oakville.   This visit was also featured on CatSynth TV.

Having enjoyed a full glass of both the Trilogy and Holy Smoke along with tastings of the standards, I decided I shouldn’t do anymore tasting for a while.  But I still wanted to some more exploring.  So instead of heading straight back south, I turned east onto Highway 128 in Rutherford towards Lake Berryessa, with the goal of finally completing the route.  (Yes, I am weird that way.)

The narrow but well maintained highway took us out of the valley and into the hills to the east, winding our way through several canyons.  The central towns of the Napa Valley were largely spared from last fall’s devasting fires, but here along Highway 128 one could still see some of the scars from the Atlas Fire.  The green wooded hillsides were periodically streaked with bands of ashen gray and bare trees.  But even within those bands, one could see bits of green.  Some of these were trees that were spared during the fire, which jumps from one tree to another, as well as new growth replacing the burns.  It’s amazing to see how quickly nature bounces back, especially compared to human development.  It will take a bit longer to replace the homes, wineries and other businesses, and the mental and emotional scars may never heal.

Eventually, the highway aligns to the southern shore of Lake Berryessa, an artificial lake created by damming the Putah Creek.  It’s quite large and major center for water recreation.  I was just there for the visual aspect – I was particularly curious to see the “Glory Hole.”

The Glory Hole, which as also featured in a recent Wordless Wednesday post, is an internal spillway for the reservoir. When the lake gets too full, the water drains out through it like a bathtub.  This happened in 2017, and must have been amazing to see.

We followed the highway down from hills into the Sacramento Valley, where it ends in the town of Winters.  I had stopped here on the way to Portland a few weeks earlier, so had already shot some video.  But that one is still a work in progress…

 

See more of California’s Napa Valley Wine Country and many other fascinating places in our Highway☆ app, available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. 

Highway☆ on Apple App Store    Highway☆ for Android

CatSynth Pic: Cats, KingKorg, and White Wine

Cats, KingKorg and White Wine

Two fluffy cats posing with a Korg KorgKorg synthesizer and a box of white wine (crisp and refreshing).

By Sayer Seely in the Facebook group Synthesizer Freaks

Just arrived… and cat approved… KingKorg!
Came up for sale locally at a great price. Just got the Novation Peak on Friday and now this. The wine in the box matches the color of the KingKorg! 

I can’t resist including a link to one of my performances of my composition White Wine 😸

CatSynth Pic: Otto, Moog, and Keyboard

Some new pictures from our friend The Synth Witch, this time featuring Otto sitting atop a Moog Sub 37.

He certainly is a handsome fellow, and clearly knows it.

 

If you have a cat-and-music-gear picture you would like us to share, you can submit it via our Facebook page, tag #catsynth on Instagram, or tweet us @catsynth.

CatSynth Pic: Mr. Maximillion, JoMoX Alpha Base, Novation Peak

Mr. Maximillion with JoMoX Alpha Base and Novation Peak

Mr. Maximillion returns, this time with his JoMoX Alpha Base and a Novation Peak synthesizers.  Submitted by our friend Charles Whiley via Facebook.

Mr. Maximillion has quite the synth collection, and we always look forward to seeing more of it.

CatSynth Pic: New Eurorack From ALM

Via matrixsynth, we have this announcement from ALM of a new module that was revealed at Superbooth 18.

Sadly, we were not able to attend Superbooth – hopefully next year.  But we did find this video about that included an overview of ALM’s new offerings, including the Quaid Megaslope.

CatSynth Pic: DSI Evolver

Handsome tabby cat with an Evolver from Dave Smith Instruments.  From anika_or on Instagram.

I will confess I haven’t been using my Evolver as much of late as I used to.  It’s probably time to take a fresh look at what it has to offer.