I Dream Of Wires: Hardcore Edition Trailer

I Dream Of Wires, modular synth documentary

I Dream Of Wires, a forthcoming documentary about modular synthesizers, featuring interviews with luminaries such as Chris Carter and Trent Reznor, has released an official trailer for its extended cut, ‘Hardcore Edition.’

This juicy 12-minute hardcore synth porn clip is but a sliver of the full 4-hour version of the film, which is available for pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD at idreamofwires.org.

Also for sale on their site is the exclusive IDOW edition batteryACID, a voltage controlled analog distortion module by hexinverter.net.

batteryACID, hexinverter.net, I Dream Of Wires

batteryACID is “loosely based” on the classic MXR Distortion Plus guitar pedal circuit. What makes this unit special for modular enthusiasts is that it comes in eurorack format, so it can be integrated right into a modular rig, and distortion can be modulated using a control voltage from another module. It also has a built-in compressor to keep those clipped peaks in check, which can be disabled if desired, or used on its own with distortion bypassed.

And now without further ado, here comes the trailer. Keep your pants on y’all.

“I Dream Of Wires (Hardcore Edition)” – 2013 official trailer.

“I Dream of Wires” (IDOW) is an upcoming, independent documentary film about the phenomenal resurgence of the modular synthesizer – exploring the passions, obsessions and dreams of people who have dedicated part of their lives to this esoteric electronic music machine. Written and directed by Robert Fantinatto, with Jason Amm (Ghostly International recording artist Solvent) serving as producer and co-writer, IDOW is set to receive it’s festival premiere, May 2013.

Preceding IDOW’s official theatrical release, we will be releasing this special, extended cut: “I Dream Of Wires (Hardcore Edition)” (IDOW-HE) will be released independently on BluRay / 2xDVD, and shipped to all IndieGoGo and pre-order customers, June 2013. IDOW-HE is for the hardcore modular synthesizer and electronic music fanatics, and will run approximately 4 hours long (!).

IDOW-HE is a strictly limited-edition item, available to order exclusively through idreamofwires.org from 2/11 – 5/31, 2013. It’s bound to sell out in pre-orders, so don’t sleep…
IDOW-HE BluRay / 2xDVD is available to pre-order now:

“Themogene (I Dream Of Wires theme)”, from the forthcoming IDOW original soundtrack album by Solvent, is available to listen/download in its entirety via Ghostly International on Soundcloud:

Additional music/sounds featured in this trailer: Container, Jack Dangers (Meat Beat Manifesto), Richard Devine, John Elliott (Spectrum Spools/ex-Emeralds), Gert Jalass (Moon Modular), Richard Lainhart, Solvent, Jon Sonnenberg (Travelogue), Keith Fullerton Whitman.

“Who said that?” (in order of appearance): Brad Garton, Dean Batute, Maggie Payne, Bernie Krause, William Maginnis, Terry Pender, Jack Dangers (Meat Beat Manifesto), Benge (John Foxx and the Maths), Vince Clarke (Erasure), Daniel Miller (Mute Records), David Kronemeyer, Jon Sonnenberg (Travelogue), Carl Craig, James Holden, Richard Devine, Luke Abbott, Tony Rolando (Make Noise), Flood, Trent Reznor (NiN/How To Destroy Angels), Dieter Doepfer, Dominic Butler (Factory Floor), Paul Schreiber (Synthesis Technology/MOTM), David Kronemeyer, Eric Barbour (Metasonix), George Mattson, William Mathewson (WMD), Tony Rolando, Eric Barbour, Daniel Miller, Drew Neumann, John Elliott (Spectrum Spools/ex-Emeralds), Andreas Schneider (SchneidersBuero), Eric Barbour, Scott Jaeger (The Harvestman), Andreas Schneider, Dieter Doepfer, Chris Carter (X-TG/Chris & Cosey), Charlie Clouser, Danjel Van Tijn (Intellijel), John Tejada, Drumcell, Legowelt, Alessandro Cortini (SONOIO/ex-NiN), John Foxx, Deadmau5, James Husted (Synthwerks), Paul Barker (Malekko/ex-Ministry), Container, Cevin Key (Skinny Puppy), Robert A.A. Lowe, Trent Reznor, Gur Milstein (TipTop Audio), Gary Numan.


Orange OPC: A Computer/Amplifier Mashup

Orange, Orange Amplifier, Orange Personal Computer, Orange PC, Orange OPC, OPC


The Orange OPC is a strange beast indeed. What we have here is a classic Orange Amplifier exterior, but instead of tubes and all that good stuff, they PUT A COMPUTER INSIDE. Yes, you read that right. Yup. MIND BLOWN.

It’s hard to get your head around the idea of an amp company building personal computers, but the more you think about it, the OPC starts to make sense. This is a machine for a guitarist that just wants to make some music, like NOW. If you’re cool with an all-in-one-stop-shopping solution, then you’re all set.

The OPC is packed with a solid state Orange amplifier and a stereo pair of JBL 6.5″ studio reference speakers. The dedicated audio interface has guitar/bass & mic jacks that provide 24bit recording with only 1ms of latency. There is also 5.1 surround support and a way to plug your iPod/MP3 player directly to the speakers, bypassing everything else.

Then there is the actual computer part of the thing. The OPC features the Intel Core series i3 processor (i5 and i7 options also available). A 7200RPM/500GB hard drive sits inside a thick rubber shock resistant mounting, which fits full size desktop or laptop sized drives. There is built in Wireless-N and Ethernet, and a slot-loading DVD drive. The AMD Radeon 7750 graphics card is good enough for gamers and includes 1 VGA and 2 HDMI outputs. If you feel like upgrading, all the parts are easily accessed and swappable. Best of all, the OPC comes preloaded with an interesting selection of music software: Amplitube 3 with (additional Orange Amplifier models), Presonus Studio One (Orange Edition), Acoustica Mixcraft 5, Toontrack EZdrummer Lite, and LickLibrary Guitar Lesson Center with pre-loaded video guitar lessons! The OPC is a Windows 7 machine, but let’s not hold that against it (while I do use PC I’m still a Mac snob at heart); it seems like a pretty complete package for someone who wants to get into guitar and digital music production.

Orange, Orange Amplifier, Orange Personal Computer, Orange PC, Orange OPC, OPC Orange, Orange Amplifier, Orange Personal Computer, Orange PC, Orange OPC, OPC

The OPC will be available by end of April for $1,125 and can be ordered from Orange in the US.


NAMM, NAMM Show Anaheim, music trade show,

This past weekend the music world met at the NAMM show to ooh and ahh over lots of shiny new toys. And sadly I was not among them. But! My buddy and talented producer Drew Skinner (aka Duskrider) was on the scene to capture some gear pics for the rest of us to fawn over.  Behold:

Moog Voyager, Moog 10th Anniversary Voyager, Moog gold voyager, gold, synth, NAMM, Drew Skinner

Moog 10th Anniversary Gold Minimoog Voyager

Moog Booth, NAMM, Bob Moog, Moog couch, Drew Skinner

I need this couch for my studio

Korg MS-20 mini, NAMM

Korg MS-20 Mini

Modular synths, NAMM

I really wanna get weird with Wiard Modulars

Koma, Modular, NAMM

Going into a Koma

Radial 500 series 

Analog Alien, Alien Twister Fuzz,

Alien Twister Fuzz from Analog Alien. Even the photo is fuzzy! Another boutique builder I have never heard of. I wonder if this is what aliens sound like?

And! Here are a few of my favorite NAMM blurbs from around the web:

Fender, Diamond Legend Cabronita, telecaster, diamond studded guitar, Yuriy Shishkov, NAMM

Via themusiczoo: The Fender Diamond Legend Cabronita, built by Yuriy Shishkov, could be yours for only $120,000.

Wheelharp, Antiquity Music, baroque synth, steampunk synth, NAMM

Via catsynth“There are analog synthesizers, and then there are instruments that are even more analog than analog. The Wheelharp from Antiquity Music falls in this category. The Wheelharp is an electromechanical instrument in which a performer accesses 61 bowed strings via the keyboard. There is a cylindrical version, as illustrated in the photograph below, as well as a standard linear-keyboard version. The instrument evokes the Baroque era in its appearance, both the reversed coloring of the keys and the details of the construction and wood finish. The sound of the bowed strings in response to pressing the keys is quite eerie. This video shows part of the mechanical system that drives the Wheelharp as it is being played.”

Also via catsynth: Synthesist extraordinaire, Richard Devine, performing bleeps and bloops on Make Noise modules at the Analog Haven booth.

Visionary Instruments, video guitar, NAMM

You should probably head over to catsynth.com sometime, they’ve got lots of quirky stuff from NAMM that is right up my alley, like this Visionary Instruments video guitar.

Via synthtopia: The Buchla Music Easel comes in its own suitcase for easy traveling. This little Electric Music Box holds a special place in my heart, as I once got to use one of the original Buchlas while at NYU studying electronic music synthesis.

The good news is this doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of all the crazy new music tech out there, so we can keep talking about this stuff indefinitely. Care to share any of your fondest NAMM moments?


All Aboard Audiobus!

Audiobus, iOS audio, iPad audio, audio routing, iPad audio app

Since the announcement of its Dec.10th launch date, Audiobus has been the talk of the town in music tech land. And for good reason – it’s a true game changer. iOS music enthusiasts have long been waiting for a way to tie together all the promising apps they have bleeping away on their tablets, without having to resort to a computer DAW. You see, kids these days want to do it all on their mobile devices. Computers are for old people!

Audiobus allows internal routing of audio between apps, so you can combine several sources in a performance or send them all to a recording app such as Loopy. While only 12 apps are currently supported, Audiobus’ creators say 750 developers are lined up to receive the SDK so they can add this functionality to their apps.

Here’s an up to date list of supported apps: http://audiob.us/apps/

If you still don’t know what Audiobus is, watch this:

You can use Audiobus to filter audio from one app through effects in another. Here’s a less obvious usage:

Audiobus was created by Michael Tyson (a.k.a. A Tasty Pixel, maker of Loopy HD), and Sebastian Dittmann, (maker of Soundprism). Read the inspiring tale of how Tyson discovered the loophole that would become Audiobus over the course of thirteen months, while traveling through Europe in a motorhome http://atastypixel.com/blog/thirteen-months-of-audiobus/

Buy Audiobus for iPad

Buy Audiobus for iPhone

MR-808 Reproduces 808 Sounds With Robots

Often, digital emulations of analog instruments are just horrid. It’s far more interesting when someone attempts to reproduce sounds of digital origin with analog instruments. This is exactly what Moritz Simon Geist pulls off with the MR-808, the first drum robot that recreates the classic sounds of the 808 drum machine in the physical realm.

Electronic music is usually repetitive by nature. Our brains get bored very quickly of hearing the same exact sounds over and over, and tend to tune them out. To create something interesting, composers are thus compelled to introduce variation and randomness, so called “human” qualities, into their music.

By turning what was once just a computer generated sound into a mechanical process, Geist has managed to inject a bit of unpredictability into what has by now become a recognizable artifact of eighties music.  And he does it with style, building it all into a large scale model of the well-known little drum box. The MR-808 uses an Arduino Microcontroller and MIDI to trigger motors and solenoids which hit drums and percussion instruments. MAX/MSP was employed to deal with latency and a lighting control system.

MR-808 – mechanic drum robot Filmography: David Campesino on Vimeo.

Read part of Geist’s Sonic Robots manifesto “Robot Vision”

What would Asimov say? The vision is to have a decent electronic pop-band where no sound is generated inside a computer, but where robots play the structures humans are not able to. We want the haptics, the error and the visual behavior of machines playing the beats and notes! We want a crowded and dirty stage with cables, machinery and lights all over, pulsating like a single heart. Drums are the base of music, with the “MR-808″ we created an awesome drum machine to start with.

I think the key phrase here is “robots play the structures humans are not able to,” for what would be the point other than to relieve humans of the job of keeping the beat? It’s interesting and a little bit scary to think of what the next steps for computers and robotics will be once artificial intelligence is fully realized. There are already computer programs that can analyze music and write new pieces based on learned qualities and patterns. What happens when a computer is so powerful it can analyze all music in existence and spit out something no human would be capable of producing? And what happens if it’s actually good?

Learn more about Sonic Robots at http://sonicrobots.com/mr808-eng/

Moog 500 Series Analog Delay

Moog Analog Delay 500 Series

Moog has announced the late December release of it’s flagship analog delay designed specifically for 500 series studio rackmount systems. 

So now producers will have the option to insert Moog’s famous all analog echos into their hardware chain right next to their “lunchbox” API or Neve microphone pre-amps. In addition to being more studio fitting than its Moogerfooger counterpart, the Moog 500 series Analog Delay will have an accompanying VST/AU/RTAS plug-in editor, which can be used to control “Tap/CV input routing, Keyboard Control settings, Clock Divisions and a Delay Multiplier for access to illegal times up to 4x the front panel position.” Illegal times! So wrong it feels right! Now that is just downright sexy.

Here’s more detailed info from Moog:

The Moog Analog Delay is the world’s first delay designed exclusively for the 500 series format. It is a MIDI syncable module that features a 100% analog signal path, front panel MIDI, and an assignable Tap Tempo/CV jack. Included with each unit is a free VST/AU/RTAS editor for easy implementation into any recording, live, and performance situation.

Out of the box you get 800ms of the warmest, and most musical delay on the planet. No emulation plugin can impart depth and life into your mixes like the Analog Delay.

The Analog Delay has been designed with tone, connectivity, and flexibility at the forefront. Moog’s engineering team worked tirelessly to deliver a 500 Series module with an incredibly clean front end that could easily pushed into a warm, natural overdrive for saturated delay trails or beyond for more distorted effects.

Though not on the front panel, the Analog Delay features a 6 Waveshape LFO that allows you to create other time based effects such as tape delay, chorus and extreme modulated sounds. The LFO can be easily accessed via MIDI or the free VST/AU/RTAS Analog Delay plug-in editor.

Also accessible via the editor are advanced features like Tap/CV input routing, Keyboard Control settings, Clock Divisions and a Delay Multiplier for access to illegal times up to 4x the front panel position. The Tap/CV input also can be fed audio from a click track to act as a tap tempo source.

The 500 series Analog Delay combines the sound of the ultimate analog delay with convenient digital control and flexibility to create the perfect recording and live sound tool.


• 40-800ms Analog Delay Time

• .5x/1.0x time and filter switch

• 32dB of input Drive

• Assignable ¼” Tap Tempo and CV input

• MIDI control

• 6 Waveshape LFO

• Free VST/AU/RTAS editor (AAX coming soon)

• Stereo Linkable

Gut Groove Labs Tap It


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.


Unfortunately Tap It Music Pad did not meet its goal.

Ich Bin Ein Auslander: Discovering Berlin

10.12.12 On a train from Berlin to Paris20121018-151100.jpg

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.




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.


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.


Portishead’s Adrian Utley Shows Off Synths

Some videos from Source Distribution interviewing Adrian Utley of Portishead fame have been making their way around the web. In the first clip Source gets Utley’s first reactions to the Arturia MiniBrute, and in the second Adrian gives a tour of his personal home studio synth collection. Analog synth porn below!

Buy Portishead: Third