Gut Groove Labs Tap It

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Want an ubër cheap and compact silicon pad controller to pound out your beats on?

If so, you have one week left to help crowd fund Estonian wünderkind Gut Groove Labs’ latest creation, Tap It Music Pad, at http://www.indiegogo.com/TapitMusicPad

Tap It Music Pad is a USB powered MPC-style controller that bears a small resemblance to a child’s handheld calculator. Size-wise, it’s (L) 5.3″ × (W) 3.7″ × (H) 0.35″ and weighs only 0.26 lb., handy for sitting on the couch or onstage at a crowded bar. And if you are a lover of all things small, you’ll love the $18 price tag! Tap It also includes sounds and loop recording software for beginners, though more advanced users can use it with third party software of their choice.

***UPDATE***

Unfortunately Tap It Music Pad did not meet its goal.

Ich Bin Ein Auslander: Discovering Berlin

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After three days of wandering the stony streets of Berlin, I am leaving with sore feet and the desire to learn German for the next time I return.

For all the things we managed to squeeze into our brief stint there, many more remain undiscovered. Although we didn’t make it to the Museum of Musical Instruments, or hear Beethoven played at the Philharmonic, or dance to EDM at one of Berlin’s famed S&M parties, we did manage to visit a couple of musically relevant sites.

Upon arrival, we decided to beat our jet lag by powering through a second day without sleep. After a large latte macchiato (one of so many) we hopped on the subway to Kreutzberg, Berlin’s answer to NY’s East Village or Brooklyn. Located only steps from the Kotbusser Tor stop is Schneidersladen, a synthesizer museum and repair shop. Here you can sample a handful of boutique analog synths, sequencers, drum machines, and filters, all hooked up to a rack of headphones. You could get lost for hours in gooey analog knob twiddling trips, if time permitted.

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Around the corner, on Oranienstrasse, is a cool little music shop. Inside the innocuously named Central Music lives some truly killer rare gear, including a few old vintage tube radios repurposed as guitar amps by the friendly and quite knowledgable staff. I got to try an old Dearmond (fitted with humbuckers), a silver sparkle Ibanez Jet King with P90’s, and a fuzz pedal so boutique, I was told it was only the 26th of its kind in existence. The Sunnmachine Fuzz O))) delivers some nice dirt, which gets hairier at lower frequencies (great for detuners such as myself). It also offers a low pass filter and three different tone modes which feed different levels of low end into the circuit. Of course I found ‘Ultra Evil’ most fitting for my doom riffs.

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Misa Muse

I have never been able to get into Muse. That’s right I said it. I don’t get it. They’ve always seemed like Radiohead lite to me, and now they’re doing this U2 lite thing and for some reason kids are buying it.

I did catch their appearance on SNL last night however and was reminded of a very cool albeit super nerdy guitar innovation called the Misa Kitara. I’d seen it in youtube demos before but never in actual rock action.

It’s kind of like a Ztar but with a touchscreen. So instead of plucking strings you basically coax your sounds iPhone style. It’s got audio AND MIDI out, synth effects, and all sorts of nerdy goodness that should make more than one keytarluster salivate.

Bass dude from Muse had one of these bad boys in double neck bass form with an analog bass on the other side to boot. So I guess Muse gets geek points at least.

 

Straight Talk: Pedalphilia

I think it’s time to shed some light on an epidemic that is sweeping the world by storm, turning good hard working people into ravenous PEDALPHILES, lusting over guitar pedals day and night.

Much more insidious yet some might say just as addictive as crack cocaine, this addiction can start with a seemingly harmless gateway guitar effect, such as a Boss DS-1, and before you know it you’ve converted most if not all of your liquid funds into an endless array of sonic merrymakers. From the mundane to the wildly unnecessary, these little boxes of joy can worm their way into the hearts of even the most “plug straight into yer amp” purists who now all of a sudden want to be the next Kevin Shields.

Full disclosure: I MYSELF SUFFER FROM THIS TERRIBLE AFFLICTION.

But rather then go the autobiographical route, let’s instead consider the case of a young man, we’ll call him G, though he prefers to be referred to as ‘Lil Moses.’ Once a most prolific and creative writer, G now finds himself uncontrollably slavering over guitar pedals. He sends me multiple emails a day describing pedals for sale all over the net.

Exhibit A – witness the most recent post from G’s blog:

Not to get everyone too excited….but I have a pedalboard. The Pedaltrain Jr. Not so big, not so small. Enough for a Crybaby, my fuzz/overdrive and a booster, tremolo and a delay–and maybe a beer cozy?

And I realized something hunting down delays the other day that I thought was amazing and important to share.

You know, I’m not a delay type person. I just want a little slap back for solos and some ambient stuff that is light. But Lordy did I try a lot of them! Did you know that there’s a used Fulltone Tape Echo at Guitar Center for about $900. It sounded amazing. But not practical at all if I’m also going to have a beer cozy on the floor when I gig.

That is the sound. And if you can’t get analog tape because its not practical to gig with? Who emulates it the best? I came across the Strymon El Capistan and it does sound oh-so-gooey and good.

From what I understand, the thing that separates a good tape emulator from a bad one is how close it can mimic the residue sound of the analog tape with “wow and flutter” which is almost like a modulation of the trailing delayed notes that you hear in real tape. Some sound real good like El Capistan. Some use a chorus type modulation or vibrato, like Electro Harmonix, and that sounds odd. Even the Empress Vintage Mod thing or Wampler, not so good for my ears.

The thing about tape echoes, is that they are so ethereal and gritty at the same time. I don’t know how else to describe it, but if sexual asphyxiation had a sound–no, not the muffled sound, but what the experience seeks to achieve–this would be it, aurally.

And i want that sound. Oh do I ever. I don’t want the sexual asphyxiation so much.

And after trying out different pedals, and not really being sold on any, I realized I’ve got this Bigsby on the guitar that I rarely use. But that is the sound! That light tremolo, slightly pressing it gives the sound of the modulated tape “wow and flutter” better than anything. (its still early in the game, but I think I’m right about this).

How about that! So I can pick up that TC Electronics Flashback Delay for now, because it sounds fine for the slap back and light ambient stuff, and use the Bigsby for the “wow and flutter.”

Why the Flashback? Its sounds as good as others for subtle use, but also has a looper on it! Like 30 seconds, so that if I hammer it out, I can nail a live situation with Fred where I put down one JB guitar line and play the other on top.

Yes.

And then I can squash this shopping spree that’s taken over my mind..this is what happens with free time in the Fall. I pedal shop instead of actually practicing to get the sound I need. That, and I watch John Boorman’s Excalibur at least twice.

Oh, I want this:

http://youtu.be/YxAnchmi5ww

And thousands more

Best, Me.

Please, if you or someone you know is on this road to nowhere, let them know that with herculean self control and possibly lots of therapy, they too can lead a (relatively) pedal free lifestyle. As a recovering pedalphile, I am now limiting myself to only 5 pedals at a time.

Or on the other hand, if you’d rather say YOLO, go feed the demon with the NYC pedalphile contingent at the CMJ Stompbox Exhibit at Main Drag in Brooklyn Oct.19-20th.

Death Grips Epic Battle

Death Grips No Love Deep Web album cover censored

Death Grips is in the midst of a war with their label Epic after leaking their own album today.

According to their twitter yesterday, “The label wouldn’t confirm a release date for NO LOVE DEEP WEB ’till next year sometime’,” [so] “The label will be hearing the album for the first time with you.” At 12am PST they released No Love Deep Web via their website, thirdworlds.net, which prompted Epic to shut it down.

In an age where most are complaining about dwindling album sales, Death Grips’ marketing tactic is just hilarious, not to mention the uncensored version of the album art featuring a penis with the title written on it in black marker. Gotta give it to Death Grips for being punk as fuck! It will be interesting to see how the rest of this debacle plays out. In the meantime you can stream the album via the band’s soundcloud, or follow any of the number of links showing up on twitter.com/deathgripz, unless that too gets shut down somehow.

Buy Death Grips: The Money Store

***UPDATE***

To disavow allegations that this was all a publicity stunt, Death Grips posted cease and desist emails from Epic on their facebook page, and were subsequently dropped from the label.