CatSynth Pic: Black Cat and Elektron Analog Keys

Black Cat and Elektron Analog Keys

Black cat with Elektron Analog Keys.  Instagram by anika_or from St. Petersburg, Russia.

The Elektron Analog Keys is a four-voice analog synthesizer that can also be used as both a MIDI and CV keyboard controller.  You can read more about it on Elektron’s website.

You can find more Elektron photos and our NAMM reviews via this link.

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.

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.

Voltage and Verse: Ruth Weiss/Doug Lynner/Hal Davis, Pitta of the Mind, Ramon Sender at Adobe Books

It’s been a busy season for Pitta of the Mind!  We had three shows in the span of two months, beginning with our blue set at Pro Arts and culminating with ¡Voltage and Verse! at Adobe Books in San Francisco.  You can get a taste for the show in our CatSynth TV video.

It was an honor to once again share a bill with ruth weiss.  A Holocaust survivor and founding member of the San Francisco beat poet scene in the 1950s, she is still going strong, performing and supporting local institutions and artists.

Maw Shein Win, ruth weiss, Amanda Chaudhary

We were glad to see that she is continuing her collaboration with our friend and synthesizer virtuoso Doug Lynner.  Together with log percussionist Hal Davis, they performed a set of poetry and music that simultaneously evoked earlier eras and the latest electronic experiments.  Davis’ log drum provided an expressive metronome, undulating between a trot and a gallop.  Lynner’s synthesizer lines filled in the spaces, sometimes with rhythmic appeggios and at other moments with long eerie drones.  The synthesizer timbres and phrases complemented the words in multiple ways, sometimes underpinning the narrative in the manner of a good film score, at other times emphasizing the rhythm of the words and making them into a musical whole.

ruth weiss and Doug Lynner

Our Pitta of the Mind set was part of a month-long celebration for the release of Maw Shein Win’s new book of poetry Invisible Gifts.  The book is divided into four sections based on different colors.  This works perfectly for our use of color themes in our performances.  For this night, we chose silver and performed selections from the silver section of the book.  There were some familiar poems that we have performed before, and some that were new to me.  There were a variety of styles and subjects in the words that inspired different musical backings, from jazzy electric piano (my favorite) to abstract synthesizer explorations.  I was able to reuse some of the modular patches I had developed for my recent show in Portland and make them work with the rhythm of the texts.

Pitta of the Mind

Maw and I have performed together so many times now that it has become almost second nature to realize a new set; our three shows this season went off (nearly) flawlessly, and have been among the best we have done in our nearly seven years of collaboration!  We have developed a toolset and pallete of instruments (including the Nord Stage and Prophet 12) and sounds that we can quickly turn to with each new text, which makes the process of learning new pieces both simple and fun.  I certainly hope we can keep up the momentum in the remainder of the year, even as I turn my own attention to other musical projects.

In between our set and weiss/Lynner/Davis, we were treated to a presentation by Ramon Sender.  Sender was a co-founder (along Morton Subotnick and Pauline Oliveros) of the San Francisco Tape Music Center in the early 1960s, but on this evening he regaled us with stories of his time at the Morning Star and Wheeler ranches in Sonoma County in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  Morningstar, founded by Lou Gottlieb, was a radical experiment in communal living, populated by an interesting cast of characters along with folks who “commuted” between San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district and the ranch west of Sebastopol.  It only existed in its communal form for a short period of time before being shut down by Sonoma County. Sender and others then moved to the nearby property of artist Bill Wheeler, who followed Gottlieb’s lead and opened his ranch as a commune open to all.  I found myself fascinated by Sender’s stories, and would love to learn more about the history of the area and these communal experiments.

It was a fun night of music and words that lived up to its billing, and I certainly hope to have a chance to perform with everyone again.  And thanks to Benjamin Tinker and Adobe Books for hosting the event!  Please support your local bookstores and performance spaces.

[Photos not marked “catsynth.com” in this article courtesy of Maw Shein Win.]

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.