CatSynth 11th Blog Anniversary

Luna on iPad at 11:11

It’s been 11 years since we started CatSynth on a bit of a lark, and since then it has grown into something that we treasure, and quite seriously. But not too seriously. As always, we mark the annual milestone with a few stats.

3210 Posts
14358 Comments
4.47 Comments Per Post
1202 Cat-and-synth pics
474 Reviews and related posts

Comments and interaction on the blog has continued to decline (from an average of 4.7 to 4.47 comments per post). This is not surprising as interaction has largely moved to social media platforms.

Our most visited post this last year was our Sad Farewell to Luna, both on the blog itself and on social media. This, too, is not surprising, and we continue to be very grateful for the outpouring of emotional support we have received.

Other individual posts that were widely read and shared including our explainer on Lake Oroville, our review of James Chance and the Contortions in San Francisco, and of course our annual NAMM coverage.

Every year we share the photo that started it all on July 19, 2006. It featured Luna in the beanbag chair along with a Novation keyboard. We feel its still appropriate for this day.

Luna with Novation Keyboard

We continue to grieve for Luna, but we also welcome Sam Sam who we hope with be with us and featured on these pages for years to come.

Emphatic Sam Sam

CatSynth: The App! 2.0 for Android released.

We are excited to announce the release of CatSynth: The App! 2.0 for Android.

Screenshot_20160315-141058   Screenshot_2016-01-14-15-25-43

It provides the features that iOS users currently enjoy like creating and sharing recordings with Mystery Synths and following other users, and a beautiful new material-design interface. Indeed we think this new Android version looks better than the iOS version ūüėČ – but don’t worry iOS folks, an update is coming soon.

If you have an Android device running Lolipop (5.0) or later, please check it out! You can get the download and more info at the Google Play Store.

CatSynth: The App! for iOS 1.4.142 is released!

CatSynth: The App

CatSynth: The App! for iOS

We’re happy to release the first major update for the iPhone/iPad version of CatSynth: The App!. 1.4.142 (yes, it’s the square root of 2) has the following new features and improvements:

  1. New Mystery Synth #3!
  2. Facebook or email login for comments, favorites and more.
  3. Numerous bug fixes and under-the-hood improvements

It’s that last one that really took the longest: the under-the-hood improvements using a completely rebuilt backend. We might have more to say about the technology that went into it (it’s pretty cool from the point of view of a computer-science geek), but for now we simply ask that if you have an iPhone or iPad, please download and enjoy the new app.

And yes, 1.4.142 for Android is coming soon, too!

CatSynth: The App! now available for Android

catsynth-android-logo

We at CatSynth are happy to announce that CatSynth: TheApp! is now available for Android. You can get your copy on the Google Play Store.

It has all the same features as the initial release of iOS, including an Android-optimized reader and manager for the blog, and of course a couple of Mystery Synths ūüôā

Screenshot_2015-02-20-13-47-17 Screenshot_2015-02-20-13-45-31

So please download, leave us a good review, and share with your friends. But most of all, just have fun with it.


Get it on Google Play

Report from BPOW!!! Part 2: The Concerts

Today we conclude our reports from the Battery Powered Orchestra Workshop (BPOW!!!) in Portland, focusing on the evening concerts. Like the workshops, which we covered in Part 1, the concerts focused on DIY technologies, as well as analog synthesis.

The Saturday-evening program opened with Stephanie Simek performing on her custom multi-armed turntable.

20130810-IMG_9779

The arms on the turntable were outfitted with contact microphones which picked up vibrations from the grooves of hand-cut records. Each arm fed a separate audio channel, creating a multi-track, spatialized performance from a single record. Musically, the repeated sounds of jungles, space, human activity and instrumental sources formed complex rhythms with changing syncopations and graduation motion over time. The effect was quite hypnotic. Even with the enveloping sound system, there was something intimate about the performance, probably related to the visuals and distinct sound of the record player.

Simek was followed by F-DT (Future Death Toll). F-DT is an artist collective and performances feature a rotating lineup, but on this occasion it included Edward Sharp and Nathanael Thayer Moss. F-DT describe themselves as “a throbbing mess of noise that eats technology and shits performance art.” And it was certainly a performance filled with loud noise in a variety of aural ranges – high electrical noises and pounding low-frequency patterns – set against a relentless stream of glitchy visuals and text.

20130810-_MG_9783

Although it is hard to tell from this photo, much of their gear was colored orange, which seems to be an important part of the group’s identity. The music and presents is undeniably challenging, but well worth for those who make the effort.

Then it was my turn to take the stage. My setup focused on the analog modular synthesizer, along with another analog synth, iPad, the dotara (Indian string instrument), and Skatch Box. I also used the Synthrotek 4093 NAND synthesizer that I built during one of the workshops earlier in the day.

catsynth_bpow

The 4093 worked flawlessly, as did the modular and the Luna NT analog synth. The acoustic instruments (dotara and skatch box) also worked well. As with any experimental electronic improvisation performance, there were a few technical glitches and a few things I would have done differently in hindsight. But overall, I thought it was a good performance, and it was very well received by the attendees. You can see and hear it in its entirety in the video below:

CatSynth (Amar Chaudhary) at BPOW, August 10, 2013 from CatSynth on Vimeo.

The final act of the first night was Mechlo. His performance combined lo-fi glitch audio and video from an NES console.

20130810-_MG_9785

Clearly, there were modifications made to allow the system to be performed in a way that a traditional NES could not. Nonetheless, the graphics and audio were reminiscent of what one would expect from the classic 8-bit games. There were repeated modulating patterns, some of them more melodic, some noisier, with occasional glitches and pauses.


The Sunday evening concert opened with a performance by analog modular virtuoso Jeph Nor with Dan Green on analog video. Green brought an LZX modular video system, while Nor had a large collection of audio modules from different manufacturers.

jeph_nor_c

Nor built complex patterns of sound that went from sparse and resonant to thicker and more pad-like. There were moments of eerie ambience and others that had a machine-like precision. Overall, he was able to give his improvisation with this instrument a musical and even narrative quality. The visuals focused on patterns of colors, curves and lines that were constantly changing, but occasionally slowing to a standstill before shifting rapidly and switching to a completely separate collection of shapes.

Next was Mike Todd performing custom visuals and sounds. Unlike the sharper edges from Nor and Green earlier, or the noisy intensity from F-DT the day earlier, Todd’s performance was software and more organic. The visuals, based on his own software, were composed of curving liquidy shapes that seemed alive. Similarly, his music had an equally liquid quality, with more open space between fast elements, as if a swarm of moving organisms.

20130811-IMG_8673

Todd was followed by JMEJ, who assembled sonic circuits live on stage. One can think of this as “analog live coding”.

20130811-IMG_8676

The process was fun to watch. As one might expect, the sounds were a bit on the noisier and unpredictable side, but with a lot of good crunchy lo-fi texture. As the performance continued, the circuits grew more complex and culminated in this tangled product:

20130811-IMG_8678

The final performance featured Claus Muzak performing some of his electronic-music compositions.

20130811-IMG_8680

This was a more structured performance, divided into songs. His music had a strong rhythmic and harmonic foundation, realized with a diverse collection of synthesizer and drum-machine sounds. It was dark and richly textured, and at times danceable, especially when he employed rhythmic lines with high-Q filters. It was probably the most “traditional” of any of the performances on either night, well crafted electronic music that would be at home in a club setting. But it was a fitting conclusion for evening’s performances and for the festival as a whole.


You can see and hear brief excerpts from all the performances in this video:

BPOW!!! Battery Powered Orchestra Workshop – Aug 10-11, 2013 from Molecule Synth on Vimeo.

Overall, both the concerts and workshops from BPOW were a rewarding experience. It would be great to visit again to participate in future events, and in the meantime I look forward to hearing more from the artists involved. Thanks to Travis Feldman of moleculesynth for organizing BPOW and Myles de Bastion of Cymaspace for hosting.

CatSynth 7th Anniversary!

Today we mark seven years since CatSynth first went online!

Here was the photo of Luna from that first post on July 19, 2006.

Luna_Keyboard_resized_c

 

As we do every yeah, we celebrate this occasion with some stats.

2,278 posts.
12,218 comments.
538,771 visitors.
760 “cat-and-synth” posts.

Some overall stats for the past year:

Our top day for visitors was January 26, 2013. This was during NAMM.
The greatest number of visitors came from the United States, followed by the United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany.
The top cities are San Francisco and New York. The top city outside the U.S. is London.
iOS and Android are among the top five platforms used by our visitors, surpassing Linux.

Our top commenters over the past year:

Tillie and Georgia 187
meowmeowmans 142
Gattina 70
Snowcatcher 57
Kitty 56
CatSynth 53
Beth F 45
Sukhmandir Kaur 42
AVCr8teur 42
Louis la Vache 40
Sue St Clair 39
KatzTales 37
Cafe au lait 34
Marilia 33
The Chair Speaks 29
Sweet Purrfections 27
Cats of wildcat woods 25
Marg 24
Team Tabby 23
Beth @ 990 Square 22
SandyCarlson 22

It’s great to see longtime readers continue to participate over the years, and always good to see newcomers as well. ¬†Interestingly, the number of comments has gone down significantly over the past year. ¬†My conjecture is that an increasing amount of the engagement around CatSynth has migrated to our Facebook page, and to Twitter, where we have lively communities of commenters. ¬†In terms of Facebook, here are our most shared/liked posts over the past year:

The Green Wood, an opera by David Samas 64
CatSynth pic: Brian Eno Purina ad 44
Weekend Cat Blogging: Good News from PAWS 38
Pitta of the Mind, Red Thread, and Pet the Tiger at Turquoise Yantra Grotto 36
CatSynth pic: Gary Mew-man 33
CatSynth pic: Moog Little Phatty 31
Superb Owl 29
Outsound Music Summit: Fire and Energy 28
CatSynth pic: Chewie on Ensoniq EPS 26
CatSynth pic: Pinto and Moog Little Phatty 25
Jay Korber Benefit Performance, Berkeley Arts 25
The Fashion World of John Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, De Young Museum 23
CatSynth pic: Maggie Monotron 23
Military Cats 20
CatSynth pic: Schnuffi and Modular 19

It’s gratifying to see a mixture of “cat-and-synth” posts and art/music reviews in this list. ¬†It supports my belief that mixing all the different topics together into one stream is worthwhile. ¬†I particularly enjoy our many cat enthusiasts commenting on the music reviews or highway posts.

We hope to continue this project for a long time, and hope it continues to be a valuable and worthwhile resource.  And a big thank you to all our readers and fans!  You make this a joy to work on.

CatSynth 4th Anniversary

Another year has past since we started this site four years ago.  Thanks to everyone who already wished us a happy anniversary, and to the folks at the Cat Blogosphere for their shout-out today.

And just as we have with previous anniversaries, we are celebrating with statistics of questionable import.

Over the past four years, we have written 1220 posts, and readers have contributed 6699 comments. ¬†We have received 293,916 visits. ¬†This comes out to about 5.5 comments per post, and about 43 visits for every one comment left. ¬†We also have about 270 “catsynth pic” or “catsynth video” posts. ¬†Make of these numbers what you will.

In terms of tags and categories, there are not really any surprises.  These top terms do reflect what the site continues to be about:

Cats (cat) 704
Synthesizers 449
Luna 277
Music 246
Art 190
weekend cat blogging 183
WCB 181
San Francisco 160
Personal 153
News 151
Wordless Wednesday 147
Reviews 134
Photography 132
Modernism 91
Highways 82
Art 74
analog 74
video 74
cats on tuesday 70
electronic music 62
synth 62
performance 55
carnival of the cats 45
Travel 45
black cat 44

We now turn to stats specific to the past year.  The top five days for visits since July 19, 2009 are:

November 6, 2009 1036
April 18, 2010 859
May 11, 2010 808
October 15, 2009 787
March 22, 2010 780

Hmm, November 6, 2009. ¬†Who knew our post on Reconnaissance Fly and Noertker’s Moxie at the SIMM Series would get so much attention ūüôā

The posts that received the most comments over the past year:

Wordless Wednesday: Morning Sunshine 36
Wordless Wednesday: Cooper River Bridge, South Carolina 32
Wordless Wednesday:  High Line 32
Dona Nobis Pacem: Blogblast for Peace! 31
Wordless Wednesday: Asians.com 28
Wordless Wednesday:  Bay Bridge from Pier 14 25
Wordless Wednesday: Yan’an Elevated Road, Shanghai 25
Wordless Wednesday:  Before Winter 24
Wordless Wednesday: 5946 (Vacant Lot, California) 24
Wordless Wednesday:  Three Circles 23
Wordless Wednesday: Coffee Cup on the Patio 23

And the top commenters over the past year:

kitty 203
Mickey 143
CatSynth 96
Gattina 75
SandyCarlson 51
Sukhmandir Kaur 50
Robin from Israel 38
Beth @ 990 Square 37
Katz (And Other) Tales 32
cindy 31
AVCr8teur 30
jams o donnell 47
Carver 26
Sniffie and the Florida Furkids 23
Beth F 23
Cats of Wildcat Woods 22
Ms. Latina 20
Snowcatcher 19
Digital Flower 18
Susan Adcox 18
Cafe Au Lait 17
The Chair Speaks 16
Harry Spotter 16
Jewelgirls Katz 15
Judi 15
Nikita Cat 15
jason 12

These are the stats that change the most from year to year, as we welcome new readers and others fade away for any number of reasons.  One interesting thing to note is our two top commenters (who have retained those spots for the last two years running) are both from Canada.

Our Facebook page gives us a new source of questionable stats to reflect upon. ¬†We have received ¬†about 30 contributions (pictures or videos). ¬†The city with the most declared CatSynth fans is New York. ¬†The countries with the most fans (after the United States) are Canada, the United Kingdom, and Finland. ¬†These are all plausible, but I am a bit skeptical of Facebook’s data gathering and presentation tools.

Thanks to everyone who has read and supported us, wherever you happen to be, and we’ll look forward to more over the next year…

CatSynth 3rd Anniversary

Well, this site has now been running for three years. And we’re marking the anniversary the best way we can think of: with stats of questionable significance.

886 posts.
195,501 visitors.
4638 comments.
Over 15,000 spam comments squashed.
Over 400 cat-and-synth pics and videos

The top 20 terms (a term is either a tag or a category or both):

Cats   516
cat   356
Synthesizers   297
Luna   215
synthesizer   185
Music   171
News   146
weekend cat blogging   136
WCB   134
Personal   120
Art   115
Wordless Wednesday   96
Modernism   72
San Francisco   68
synth   61
Photography   61
Highways   60
electronic music   52
Reviews   40
cats on tuesday   48

The 11 most commented posts:

Dona Nobis Pacem   48
Wordless Wednesday: La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona   43
"Wayback" Wordless Wednesday: Green Kitties   42
Wordless Wednesday: A Great Moment   41
Wordless Wednesday: Luna Sun Triangle   41
Dona Nobis Pacem: BlogBlast for Peace!   40
Wordless Wednesday: 43   39
Wordless Wednesday: Cat and Geometry   38
Wordless Wednesday: Centered Cat   37
Wordless Wednesday: Alley behind 49 Geary   37
Wordless Wednesday: Maneki Neko   37

And the top comment contributors:

Kitty   451
Mickey   179
CatSynth   138
Gattina   136
whaleshaman   81
Andr√©e   73
Daisy   71
Dragonheart & Merlin   71
sher   65
SandyCarlson   60
jams o donnell   44
The Right Blue   44
kitikata-san   42
Hendrix   41
parker   40
Matthew James Didier   40
Katie   32
Randall   31
HotMBC   30
Gandalf & Grayson   30
Dennis the Vizsla   30

This list includes sites that are no longer active, and at least one person who has passed away.

I did also go back and look at those early posts from July and August of 2006, expecting to reflect on how much things have changed over three years. But instead I found myself noticing how much things on the site have stayed the same…

CatSynth 2nd Anniversary (and Weekend Cat Blogging)!

July 19 is the Second Anniversary of CatSynth!

And by coincidence, we are hosting Weekend Cat Blogging (really, it is a coincidence). So we invite all our friends to participate and celebrate with us. As always, please leave a comment with your link, and we’ll post it during the roundup later this weekend.

Of course, we must post the photo of Luna that started it all on July 19, 2006:


`
and some fun stats for the occasion. Over two years at CatSynth, we have:

657 articles.
2,476 comments.
106,000 visitors.
298 “catsynth pics.”

The latter is using some custom analysis tools I created for the occasion, which also provide the top 33 tags/categories here at CatSynth:

cats 738
synthesizers 444
luna 280
music 169
news 136
wordless wednesday 101
weekend cat blogging 97
wcb 94
art 90
highways 85
personal 79
modernism 54
san francisco 50
stats 39
electronic music 35
experimental 34
carnival of the cats 32
mathematics 29
podcast 29
mp3 28
kitty 27
keyboard 26
friday ark 25
analog 23
photography 22
reviews 22
video 22
cotc 21
black cat 20
cats on tuesday 20
festival 19
california 18
chaos 18

Some tags, such as “photography”, should really be much higher.

Many readers may recall that last year, on our first anniversary, the site went down due to a rather annoying problem with our service provider, and we were sent into exile at the CatSynth FEMA Trailer. So we are leaving an anniversary post at the trailer as well.

A year ago, we at CatSynth had no idea what was going to be in store for us over the next year. A new job, a new home, a new life.

We traded the sun and greenery of our old home:

for our new home:

and life in the big city:

But some things remain the same. Luna, of course, is always here. And our friends and family. And CatSynth!

And we’ll still be here, continuing to do what we always do…


Some other significant milestones this weekend:

The 200th Friday Ark boards this weekend at the modulator.

Our friend Dragonheart is two years old today.

This is week also includes several birthdays for friends, whom we won’t embarrass by announcing their ages on our rather public forum…

It’s only one weekend after the Bad Kitty Cats Festival of Chaos first anniversary, so let us include it as well. This weekend’s edition will be at Life from a Cat’s Perspective with Samantha and Tigger.