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…

Yamaha DX7 (w/ 5 ROM Cartridges!) Digital FM Synthesizer 1983 + Sustain Pedal

Cat and DX7

Cat posing with a classic Yamaha DX7 FM synthesizer. Via this auction, via matrixsynth.

Comes with cartridge 3, which allows you to factory reset the DX7. Also I will send you my sysex library which includes patches I’ve found and made. You can easily send sysex patches to the DX7 via MIDI and a sysex librarian program.

Cartridges Included

• Yamaha 3, 64 Patches

• Yamaha 4, 64 Patches

• Yamaha DX7 Data Cartridge, 32 Patches

• Bo Tomlyn’s Best of the USA, 64 Patches

• Bo Tomlyn’s Top Forty, 64 Patches

This was the coveted instrument in the mid 1980s that I didn’t have, though I did get a TX81Z module which I have to this day. These days, we at CatSynth also have a Yamaha TX802 module (essentially a multitimbral timbral module that shares the DX7’s 6-operator FM architecture), so not much need for another. But if you are looking for this (in)famous instrument, this auction might be worth a look.

CatSynth Pic: Bok Choy and Casio SK-1

Please welcome Bok Choy, making her long awaited debut on CatSynth.

Bok Choy and Casio SK-1

Here we see her checking out, and showing a bit of disdain for, a Casio SK-1.

Bok Choy and Casio SK-1

The Casio SK-1 is actually an awesome little instrument we have used many times.

Bok Choy is the cat that lives with Maw Shein Win, our longtime collaborator in Pitta of the Mind. And on that note, Pitta of the Mind will be performing next Friday at Nomadic Press in Oakland (23rd and Telegraph).

Join us for an excellent Uptown Fridays featuring readings by Norma Smith and Sofia Lopez, with musical guest Pitta of the Mind featuring Maw Shein Win and Amanda Chaudhary. Emceed and curated by Reńe Vaz .

Suggested donations of $5-25 collected at the door, but no one turned away for lack of funds.

Red wine and Red Bay coffee will be available.