CatSynth Pic: Cat, Moog Voyager, and Nord

Cat playing a Nord keyboard and checking out the current patch on a Moog Voyager. From Zoltan Pinkola via our Facebook page.

Matzoh Man and Thoughts on Passover

Passover is, perhaps, the most “visible” Jewish holiday for me. After all, we have featured the Matzoh Man in many photos and short video clips here on CatSynth, and now twice in a row for CatSynth TV.

For this year’s episode, we took audio output from our mechanical friend via a contact mic and sent it into the KOMA Field Kit. We then split the signal into audio, which was run through our modular synthesizer – specifically, the Rossum Electro-music Morpheus – and the Field Kit’s own envelope follow and actuator section, ultimately driving the solenoid. It was a fun little demo both to make and to watch.

Matzoh Man joins the synthesizers in a ritual of devotion and irreverence.

I also included a little demo of the ritual diet, with matzoh, prepared horseradish, and Kedem grape juice. But beyond that, anything is fair game for me during Passover as long as there are no piggies or shellfish, or leavened bread. No beer allowed, but non-kosher wine and spirits are fine. It becomes a bit of a game to see if for eight days I can follow these simple rules. To someone more Orthodox, or even the least bit devout, this simple approach could be transgressive, or even blasphemous. But from my point of view, not only is it plenty but I also sometimes wonder why I both at all. It’s not like I believe in the literal truth of the Biblical story, or have any fear of or respect for any religious authorities.

Somehow, though, I still feel compelled to participate. And not just participate, flaunt it, reminding friends that I can’t share pastries or bread products over the week because I’m Jewish. That feels important to remind people of. And it sometimes makes its way into my music, through titles like Kislev and Donershtik (Yiddish for Thursday) or organizing structures in stories. It’s fun. It’s “cool”. But also it feels more urgent, as the world around us seems more anti-Semitic now than it did during my youth. I’m deeply bothered by the attacks that seem to be increasing against Jews, both verbal and violent. But I’m also concerned with an increasing religiosity and sense of obedience among many who identify as Jewish. If being Jewish is just about being religious, or being obedient to a text or patriarchal authorities, then it does truly become time to ask “why bother?”. But for now, we do our best to both persevere and enjoy.

Chag Pesach Semeach.

CatSynth Pic: Quasimidi Sirius

Cat with Quasimidi Sirius sytnhesizer.

Orange cat showing of a rare Quasimidi Sirius synthesizer. Via this listing on Reverb, and also seen on matrixsynth.

“Amazing 90’s “groove-synth”/workstation with:
Fast and fun sound design: plenty of knobs, including ADSR macros for Amp and Filter envelope. Modulation wheel can map up to 5 knobs.
DTE (“difficult to explain”) synthesis somewhere between virtual-analog and rompler sounds.”

“28 voice polyphony across 7 tracks: kick, snare, hi-hat (2 voice), percussion (12-voice kits), and 3 parts for mono- or poly-synths.
expressive 11-band Vocoder, allowing any combination of internal or external parts to be carrier and/or modulator
Quick Pattern-based system, stores 16 songs, where each song has 8 Parts (as wells as 4 Fills and 4 Variations) that assign programs and pattern motifs across to the 7 tracks. Mix and match for quick variety.
2 assignable FX busses: apply any track to either effect, including choruses, flangers, reverbs, and delays. Mix and match for wild ambiances.
Tons of sounds: 3 banks of 96 Rom, and 1 bank of 96 User Patches (for EACH Track-type), divided neatly into 6 categories 16 patches with nice direct-jumping between patches. Also has 1-touch Patch Randomizer for endless inspiration. 
Pattern sequencer allows creating custom patterns by step or real-time recording, with random remixing of new sounds and motifs.”

I will admit, I am curious about this – more the synth than the sequencer/pattern part. I am most intrigued by the vocoder, as I have become a bit of a connoisseur of the instruments. The listing is local only for the Philadelphia area, so if I anyone from the city of brotherly love acquires this instrument, I would love to get a report.

Wordless Wednesday: Montgomery

Cat art on Montgomery Street

Feline street art at the corner of Montgomery and Broadway in San Francisco.

CatSynth Pic: Moog Minitaur

Lovely Persian cat with a Moog Minitaur synthesizer. From khy_wasp via Instagram.

khy_wasp
🎶”What’s this? What’s this? There’s color everywhere…”🎶

CatSynth Video: Cat on a Piano

Cute cat sitting behind the keys of a piano and clearly enjoying the jazz/bluey music. Via Classic FM on Facebook.

This piano is purrfect 😻

We at CatSynth agree. And for anyone who protests that a piano is not a synth: yes, this is true, but we recommend just chilling and enjoying the music like this cat.

Weekend Cat Blogging: Cat Town

We recently joined our friend Serena Toxicat for a visit to Cat Town in Oakland. Our visit was featured in a recent episode of CatSynth TV.

Cat Town is an organization that helps foster and adopt out cats in the East Bay, with a particular emphasis on cats with special needs or those who otherwise have a hard time in a traditional shelter setting. From their official website

Cat Town Adoption Center and RAWR Cafe are dedicated to helping cats in Oakland and the surrounding areas find both foster and forever homes. They are particularly focused on cats with special needs or who otherwise don’t do as well in a standard shelter setting.

https://www.cattownoakland.org

The way it works is that you come to the cafe, order coffee and other treats, and then move into the cat area during a reserved appointment time. One initially comes into the bright and spacious open play area, adorned with murals and unique cat furniture depicting Oakland landmarks and local color.

Serena Toxicat with one of the denizens of Cat Town

But the cats are the real stars.


Many of the cats have the “clipped ear” suggesting they were fixed as part of TNR programs for outdoor cats.


The cats are well cared for, and are doing well in this environment where they receive a lot of individualized attention. In addition to the play area, there are quiet spaces for rest and alone time, as well as a newer second adoption space with rooms for the cats. This space, too, is adorned with interesting feline-and-local-themed murals.

Cat Town works closely with local animal services, as well as Adam Myatt — aka the Cat Man of West Oakland who co-founded the space. We have encountered and supported work documenting the street cats of his neighborhood over the years.

If you are in Oakland or the surrounding areas, we do recommend a visit to Cat Town. Bookings and purchases at the cafe support the cats, and you might end up with a new companion. For more information please visit cattownoakland.org.

CatSynth Pic: Sequential in Saskatchewan

Cat in a studio featuring a vintage Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 along with a more recent Sequential instrument, the Tempest. From barrettmross in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan via Instagram.

barrettmross
Helping produce my cats debut album. #sequentialcircuits #roland#synthesizer #catsynth #vintagesynth#prophet5

CatSynth Pic: Pompey

From ghorgo on Instagram.

ghorgo_
Pompey 🎶🎹
#catsynth #catsofinstagram #catstudio#synth #ghorgo

CatSynth Pic: Mr. Maximillion on a Stump

Mr. Maximillion holds court on a stump in Charles Whiley’s studio.

Pow! It’s Mr. Maximillion 💖