CatSynth Pic: Sequential Prophet 6 and DSI OB-6

Black Cat, Prophet 6, OB6

This is one lucky cat, with both a Sequential Prophet 6 and an OB6 from Dave Smith Instruments.¬† And the keyboard versions at that ūüėĽ

Photo by Jon Sellers via the Facebook group Synthesizer Freaks.

The two instruments are quite similar in layout and overall architecture but have distinct sounds and other characteristics.  The P6 is a classic Prophet. while the OB-6 has the distinctive sound of its Oberheim filters.

You can read our past NAMM reviews of the P6 in this post, and the OB-6 here.

CatSynth Pic: Carmen and Malekko Manther

Carmen and Malekko Manther

Carmen returns, this time with the new Malekko Manther tabletop synthesizer, courtesy of Julia More, aka¬†The Synth Witch.¬† A bit on the manther from Malekko’s website:

MANTHER is a full featured, tabletop monosynth with an analog signal path, an advanced 64-step digital sequencer and onboard delay. The heart of this beast is a coveted CEM 3340 based VCO IC chip. The analog filter is based on an ssm2044 chip. The Source Mixer allows for total control over the Square, Triangle, Saw, Tri Shape, Noise and Sub levels and waveforms also include individual outputs. Dial everything from heavy basslines to screaming leads to stomping kicks. Manther growls like no other!

You can all of Carmen’s appearances on CatSynth via this link.  There is also a little of the Manther in this video from NAMM.

You can all of Carmen’s appearances on CatSynth via this link.  There is also a little of the Manther in this video from NAMM.

CatSynth Pic: Zook and Moog Sub 37 (and Yamaha CP4)

Today we have Zook posing next to a Moog Sub 37 synthesizer and atop a Yamaha CP4 stage piano.  Submitted by Scott Blasko via our Facebook page.

This is a beautiful photo, and the lighting and texture are incredible!¬† We can see Zook’s black fur, expression, and silhouette even against the dark background and the dark surface of the keyboard.¬† Well done!

House of Dreams Cat Shelter, Portland (with CatSynth pics)

Our Volt Divers Cat-tastic edition show in Portland this past month raised funds for House of Dreams, a no-kill cat shelter that specializes in older cats and those with medical conditions that may make them more challenging to adopt out.   I had the chance to visit the shelter and made this video from the experience.

House of Dreams is, quite literally, a house at a non-disclosed location in Northeast Portland.  Most of the space is dedicated to the cats, who have can move about freely in their respective rooms.  We saw cats doing what cats do: play, interact, eat, and nap.  And they certainly get a lot of love and attention from the all-volunteer staff.

The is a separate section of the house for cats who have tested positive for feline leukemia (FeLV).  FeLV-positive cats to have special medical needs, and should be with other FeLV-positive cats, but they can still lead happy and full lives.  Indeed, a couple of the most playful cats I met while I was there were in the FeLV section.

This is Snowball, probably the biggest ham among the cats.

These “CatSynth pics” of the cats at House of Dreams were taken by our friend and Volt-Divers host¬†Jeph Nor, a synthesizer virtuoso in his own right and human companion of¬†Runkl.

This is Sassy, who definitely had an attitude to match her name.¬† (She appears at the end of our video giving us a “look” ūüėł).¬† ¬†Below is sweet Spice.

Flicka was one of my “tour guides” who followed me around.

Flicka from House of Dreams cat shelter

All the cats seemed pampered and well-loved by the staff.¬† They had lots of personal attention (if they wanted it).¬† ¬†Plus, the entire space was immaculate and full of furniture and toys to both stimulate and comfort the cats.¬† As a small shelter focusing on cats with special needs, they have fewer overall adoptions – each one is a celebration, though often a farewell to a friend that the volunteers have grown to love.¬† But they do have a good track record of adopting out, and often keep in touch with their “alumni” and human caregivers.

We at CatSynth were happy to visit and support them, both through our video and through the Volt Divers show.  If you want to find out more about House of Dreams, including information on donations, please visit their website.

 

Weekend Cat Blogging with Sam Sam: E-MU

Sam Sam has her usual spots, but sometimes she sits down in unexpected places.¬† For example, yesterday she entered “kitty loaf” mode in front of an overflow shelf just outside the studio that continued several old E-MU modules.

Sam Sam with E-MU Carnival, Orbit and Classic Keys

The E-MU Orbit, Carnival and Classic Keys are all variants of the first generation Proteus.¬† The Orbit, in particular, was iconic in its time, but all rather obsolete now.¬† I do still use my Proteus 2000 module (a Vintage Pro with Mo’Phatt and Beat Garden expansion ROMS) quite often – you never know when you might need a few lines of Mellotron flute or strings or a classic highly-filter-swept drum loop.¬† There are other ways to get these musical elements, but the P2K remains quick and accessible.¬† The Morpheus also still has a place of honor in the studio.

Proteus 2000 (Vintage Pro) and Morpheus

Both of these later-generation E-MU instruments had more to offer, especially the z-plane filters that the Morpheus took to the extreme.  These days, I do find myself experimenting with the Morpheus Eurorack module from Rossum Electro-Music more than the old E-MU box, which is just the z-plane filter with CV-controlled parameters.  Even after using it extensively in recent shows, I still have a lot to learn and practice with it.

When we’re not up in the studio, Sam Sam enjoys spending time on the living room rug and perfecting her patented “scratch-and-roll” move.

Sam Sam scratch-n-roll

I have too many photos of her in this pose now, it’s just hard to resist.¬† Of course, what she wants is not a photo, but pets and then brushing.¬† I am more than happy to oblige.

CatSynth Pic: White Cat and Modcan Modular

Our white feline friend returns, sitting atop a large Modcan modular system as streaks of sunlight enter the room.

Submitted by our friend Davor Gazde via our Facebook page.

CatSynth Video: Just Can’t Get Enough

Adorable video of black cat covering Depeche Mode’s “Just Can’t Get Enough” from Speak & Spell.

From Gothicat on Facebook.

Depeche Meow – “I Just get cat Enough”
Shop: www.gothicat.net

Depeche Meow – “I Just get cat Enough”
Shop: www.gothicat.net

CatSynth Pic: Silvestre with Akai, Electro-Harmonix, Eventide

Black cat with Akai, Eventide, Electro-Harmonix

Black cat Silvestre sits with an Akai APC Key 25 controller, Electro-Harmonix 2880 looper, and Eventide PitchFactor pedal.  By forasteromagic on Instagram.

When in Rome: A Weekend in Portland

A week ago, I found myself back in Portland for the first time in four years.¬† Officially, I was there to headline the¬†Volt Divers¬†Cat-tastic¬†Edition show, but geat many other experiences large and small framed the main event.¬† There were synths, cats, food, drink, and rain.¬† Lots of cold rain.¬† And wind.¬† This is not unusual, but it did limit outdoor activities such as industrial and architectural photography.¬† Instead, we enjoyed some of Portlanders’ favorite indoor activities, starting with brunch.

Bloody Mary at Jam on Hawthorne

Portland may be an even “brunchier”¬†place than San Francisco, Oakland, or Brooklyn, judging by the lines I observed at popular spots, including¬†Jam on Hawthorne, not far from my home base in Southeast.¬† Fortunately, as a solo patron who doesn’t mind squeezing into a tight spot at the bar, I didn’t have long to wait to get served.¬† I quite enjoyed the spicy bloody-mary variant with Jam’s proprietary “aardvark sauce”, as well as the rancheros.

The sharper cheese sprinkled on top gave the dish an almost Italian quality, but it retained the hearty beans, spicy sauce, and simple eggs that made it perfect for a cold morning.  The view out to Hawthorne Boulevard displayed some of the local flavors, including that Charlie-Brown-inspired van in the first photo.

Then it was back to our temporary “CatSynth HQ” to relax for a bit.¬† Buddha, one of my hosts, made sure I felt at home.¬† He was rather friendly, and even demanding of attention.¬† I was happy to oblige.

Buddha the cat

After some quality cat time, it was back out to Hawthorne, this time headed over the bridge to downtown.  Downtown Portland is somewhere between the downtown sections of Oakland and Brooklyn in terms of cityscape and vibe, though on a smaller scale than the latter.  It has a regular grid cut by the I-405 freeway and Burnside Street, and a mix of contemporary, mid-century and older buildings.  It was at the base of one of the older buildings that I found a small hair salon that was able to fit me in for a last-minute blowout Рthe weather was not kind to my hair, and I needed to look purrfect for the show that evening.

The next stop took me eastward from downtown to the ragged edges of the city along SE 82nd Avenue (State Route 213).  I was here to pick up a borrowed Nord for the show.  A mixture of auto-shops, low-rise apartments, and shopping centers made this area feel more like Los Angeles (except for the weather) or the far eastern sections of Queens.  But it was still fascinating in its way, and there was an interesting row of shops, bars, and eateries along Stark Street РI wish I had a chance to stop at The Country Cat, but time did not permit this.

With hair done and keyboard secured, it was time to prepare for the show, which back in the industrial section of Southeast along the river at The Lovecraft Bar.

Inside the bar, it was dark.  Really dark.  It took me a few minutes before my eyes adjusted and I could see everyone else busily setting up their mostly modular rigs.  It was all business after that as I set up for the show, but I did have some moments to check out the Lovecraft and horror-themed decor.

I will be covering the show itself in detail in a subsequent article.  But we already have a video published on CatSynth TV, which you can view below.

The next morning I found myself in the Hollywood neighborhood.  It was actually the first time on this particular trip that I found myself north of Burnside in the northeast sector of the city.  Sandy Boulevard was lined with a diverse collection of low-rise businesses.  I crossed I-84/US 30 into the adjacent Grant Park district, which reminded me again of residential neighborhoods with larger lots at the edges of New York City into Westchester and Long Island.  I had some personal appointments that morning but then remained in Northeast to visit House of Dreams cat shelter at their secure undisclosed location.

House of Dreams is a no-kill shelter specializes in cats that have difficulty finding homes and has space dedicated for FelV-positive cats (i.e., those with feline leukemia).   Our show the night before raised funds for their shelter and work, and I of course wanted to come visit the kitties.  We will dedicate an upcoming article and video entirely to House of Dreams, but for now here is a cute picture of Flicka, one of the many sweet cats I met there.

Flicka from House of Dreams cat shelter

We then hopped onto I-84 back west towards the river, passing the convention center and on to Mississippi Street, a trendy area of boutiques, pubs, and restaurants.  This is also the home of Control Voltage, a premier shop for synthesizers of all sorts.  It was relatively easy to find with the sidewalk signage.

Among the many keyboard and modular displays was this rack featuring modules from FolkTek, one of several local makers in the Portland area.  They do have a gorgeous design.

I chatted with the staff and shot some video for an upcoming CatSynth TV, but also walked away with one of the FolkTek modules, a quad envelope follower that I know will come in handy for some upcoming music projects.

FolkTek quad envelope follower

I wandered a few blocks south on Mississippi to StormBreaker Brewing, which I had remembered from a previous trip. In addition to their beer offerings, they had several suggested beer-and-whiskey pairings, which I of course had to try.

Beer and Whiskey pairing oat StormBreaker Brewing

One of the daily specials, a cream-of-asparagus soup, was perfect for that cold and rainy afternoon.

Cream of Asparagus soup

Although this trip took me to quite a few corners of the city, I still felt there was much undone, especially meeting more of the local synth community, and spending some time outdoors.  So I do expect to be back much sooner than last time.

See more of Portland, Oregon and many other fascinating places in our Highway‚ėÜ app, available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.¬†

Highway‚ėÜ on Apple App Store¬†.¬† ¬†Highway‚ėÜ for Android

CatSynth Pic: Sequential Prophet 6 Desktop

Cat showing off a Sequential Prophet 6.  By maxeredussence on Instagram.

We at CatSynth are a bit envious of this kitty, as we covet the Prophet 6 (and the Rev 2).  I love my Prophet 12, but these are completely different instruments and complement one another.  You can read our NAMM 2015 review of the Prophet 6 here.