CatSynth Pic: Ok Housecat

Our friends at Ok Housecat are at it again!

This is awesome you’re going to hate it 🆗🏠🐈vids tomorrow

And here is the promised video.

And here is the promised video.

Both the photo and video came to us via Ok Housecat’s Facebook page. Follow them for more DIY and circuit-bending fun.

CatSynth Video: Keromin

From keromin papa on YouTube.

Translated text:

“It is a video that plays the mouth and plays the cat in the voice of meow. In addition, authentic school which can set various tone colors such as violin sound, organ sound, frog voice, etc. The difference from keromin line is that the pronunciation when turning on the power is meow. Others, Sora Momo mode, drum mode, various types of setting are the same as Cokeromin · Lime. Reservation reception starts on 20th year new release, February 22nd  Nyan pussy cat’s day)! It will arrive in about 22 days from reservation. www.keromin.com

Original Japanese text:
口をパクパクしてニャーの声でネコふんじゃったを演奏する動画です。 その他、ヴァイオリン音・オルガン音・カエル声など様々な音色の設定が可能な本格派。 コケロミン・ライムとの違いは、電源オン時の発音がニャーになっていることです。その他、そらももモードやドラムモード、各種設定の種類はコケロミン・ライムと同じです。 2015年新発売、2月22日(=ニャンニャンニャン=ネコの日)に予約受付開始! ご予約から約22日でお手元に届きます。 www.keromin.com

CatSynth Pic: Ok Housecat

ok housecat

Today’s pic comes from Ok Housecat on Facebook.

This effect makes your music smell like cat litter 🆗🏠🐈

Please visit their page for more custom-electronics fun 😺

Please visit their page for more custom-electronics fun 😺

CatSynth Pic: Cat Mug and TTSH (Arp 2600 Clone)

Cat mug with a TTSH, a clone of the Arp 2600 synthesizer.  By Alexander Henriksson‎ on Facebook.

And another cat has found its 🏠

The TTSH is an Arp 2600 clone that can be built as a DIY project, as described by The Human Comparator.  San Pedro Labs builds full versions, including wood casings. (They used to be here in San Francisco, but have recently relocated to New Mexico.)

The TTSH is an Arp 2600 clone that can be built as a DIY project, as described by The Human Comparator.  San Pedro Labs builds full versions, including wood casings. (They used to be here in San Francisco, but have recently relocated to New Mexico.)

 

CatSynth Video: Charlotte and Circuit-Bent Big Mouth Billy Bass

Charlotte the cat contemplates the horror that is a circuit-bent Big Mouth Billy Bass.  From Ok Housecat on YouTube.

I was often sardonically amused by this fishy contraption since the commercials in the 1990s.  But now I am genuinely intrigued by its circuit-bending possibilities.  At the very least, it could make for a fun CatSynth TV episode.  I found at least one set of instructions here, but it might be even more fun to just take it aport and just explore with alligator cables.

The Horror…The Horror…

From Ok Housecat. Visit their website okhousecat.com, where you can see an amazing array of circuit-bent and other custom electronic instruments. We at CatSynth are going to spend some more time exploring the video demos 😻

NAMM 2018: Yudo KAMI-OTO and Neuman

We are always on the lookout for something (or someone) different at NAMM, especially in the deep dark depth of Hall E.  This year we found it in the booth of Yudo, a company out of Japan that presented prototypes for two radically different concepts.

The flagship Neuman synthesizer features a standard keyboard with an instrument-spanning touch screen.  It looks like an iPad stretched out to fit a full-sized keyboard.

The keyboard plays well, and there were standard sounds such as electric pianos, brass, etc.  The touchscreen controls for the patches were fascinating, but not particularly intuitive.  It was hard to see using it for sound design in its current incarnation.  But it is a prototype with an estimated two years or more of development ahead, so we will see where things go.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is the KAMI-OTO, a small cardboard based keyboard controller to use with iPads.  It is a simple cardboard cutout that folds around a simple electronic main board and includes a stand for your tablet.  There are wired and Bluetooth models that go for $28 and $36, respectively via the company’s Kickstarter campaign.

We did have a chance to try it out.  It is adorable, and it does look like a fun and simple DIY project to assemble. And there is some delight in being able to decorate it in whatever manner one desires.  As a keyboard, however, the latency was extremely high, which would render it less than usable for us in a performance setting.  Nonetheless, for composing on the run, it could come in handy.

More info about both products can be found at https://www.yudo.jp/en/.

CatSynth Pic: Mister Kitty and RE-303

Our pal Mister Kitty returns to the pages of CatSynth with his new RE-303 bass synthesizer.

The RE-303 is a replica of the infamous Roland TB-303.  This one was assembled by Mister Kitty’s human, Prophei (aka Michael Dietel).  We at CatSynth approve of their choice of the black case. Oh, and it sounds great, too.

As a replica, the circuit board and CPU are compatible with the original TB-303, which suggests the parts can be used to refurbish vintage instruments in addition to building new ones. You can read a bit more in this Synthopia article from 2015.  Clearly, the statement about DIY kits turned out to be wrong, as evidenced by this article.  You can find out more about the RE-303 and kits here.

Meanwhile, we wonder what Mister Kitty may have in store for us next…

CatSynth Pic: Zelda the Grey British Blue

Zelda the Grey British Blue

Meet Zelda the Grey British Blue, who approves of the studio updates that include painted 1U panels, a microKORG, Roland rhythm box, and intriguing little DIY synth in an Altoids box, and more. From skaterdays on Instagram.

Outsound New Music Summit: Touch the Gear

The 2017 Outsound New Music Summit kicked off this Sunday with the annual Touch the Gear event. As always, there were several musicians and instrument-makers were on hand to demonstrate their setups or inventions.

alphastare

Above we see Alphastare demonstrating his setup for processing of synthesized and recorded sounds that he uses in his live shows. Below, CDP bandmate Tom Djll shows his analog modular synthesizer setup with sundry external boxes for expressive control of sound.

Tom Djll

I opted to show my modular synth as well this year, along with the Moog Theremini.

CatSynth setup at Touch the Gear, with Modular and Moog Theremini

The theremin is always a popular item at this event.

Kim Nucci demonstrated some custom modules alongside a Korg MS-20 mini and a DIY metal instrument with sensors.

Kim Nucci

I have always found metal plus electronics a musically interesting combination.

Among the more unusual and surprising instruments this year was Dania Luck’s musical chessboard. It contained sensors for the magnetic chess pieces, with each square of the board triggering a different synthesizer in a SuperCollider patch.

Dania Luck.  Chess board and SuperCollider patch.

This wasn’t the only SuperCollider program being shown, as our friend Tim Walters demonstrated his patch and controller setup. It is the setup he will use as part of Usufruct in the opening concert for the Summit.

Tim Walters.  SuperCollider and controller.

Tim Thompson was on hand with the latest incarnation of his electronic-music instrument, the Space Palette Pro.

Tim Thompson.  Space Palette Pro
[Tim Thompson demonstrates the Space Palette Pro to Outsound director Rent Romus.]

It uses the same software as previous versions of the Space Palette, but with a new more compact interface based on new touch-sensitive pads from Sensel Morph. These pads are quite impressive in both response and feel, and we at CatSynth will definitely be looking into them.

Not all the demos included electronics. There were several acoustic instruments demonstrated by the Pet the Tiger collective (David Samas, Ian Saxton, Tom Nunn, Derek Drudge), including this beautiful kalimba tuned to 31edo.

Kalimba with 31edo tuning.  Pet the Tiger

I would love to write a piece for it one of these days. There was also a large metalophone with a deep resonant tone, interesting tuning, and some satellite “bass” notes.

Pet the Tiger.  Metalophone.

Back inside the hall, Motoko Honda demonstrated a network of electronic devices processing voice, along with a fun circuit-bent instrument.

Motoko Honda

Matt Davignon brought his setup for expressive manipulation and processing of samples and other pre-recorded sound materials.

Matt Davignon

We would also like to thank Matt for his efforts organizing this event every year! We would also like to thank the folks at VAMP for co-presenting and bringing a pop-up shop of records and sundry vintage and musical items.

It was a fun afternoon as always, and it was great to see families in attendance. And there were multiple things to inspire me musically and technologically. We will see where that goes. Next up, the concerts…

Church of the Superserge at Robotspeak: Djll, Day, Normalien

The monthy Church of the Superserge event at Robotspeak in San Francisco has been going on five years. We at CatSynth were on hand to mark this milestone during the May show.

Musically, the highlight was a solo set by Tom Djll on modular synth and mini trumpet. It was quite musical, blending rhythms and phrases with the timbral elements, even a “melody” of sorts from the processed trumpet.

The afternoon opened with a set by Normalien, also on modular synthesizer. Some delightfully weird sounds with rhythmic elements.

And Carson Day closed things out with a forceful set that included Novation and Dave Smith instruments.

It’s always a fun afternoon at Robotspeak. Not only do I enjoy the music and technology in the performances, but also just browsing the display cases on the wall, seeing what instruments I should covet next. This little DIY synth stood out this time, especially juxtaposed between the giant vacuum tube and the WMD pedal.

We look forward to next time, and perhaps playing again soon.