Category: Review

Near Earth Object – On and On Inside

Hungry for the summer yet? This’ll make you!

Cover: Near Earth Object - On And On Inside

This track is a groovy house track with a vibe that will appeal to many dance music lovers. A warm bassline, vocal samples and a summer feel. Not quite the style that Near Earth Object is known for, but still, as always, dancefloor material with a twist.

I personally endorse this tune cause, well, it’s good! Really good! I suggest snapping it up before his Bandcamp page runs out of downloads. One of the hottest summer tracks of 2014.

 

Store link: http://nearearthobject.bandcamp.com/track/on-and-on-inside

 

Preview: Caustic 3 (Android)

Caustic 3, Android’s most advanced music workstation yet

Caustic 3 Mixer

Some of the improvements are a more detailed piano roll (32/64th notes anyone?!), being able to reorganize devices and of course new sound sources. In fact, many new devices! An organ emulator (pictured far below), an FM synthesizer and even a fully modular synthesizer (pictured below) to name a few. The master section, pictured left, has also been expanded with a new parametric equalizer and limiter while the original master reverb/delay combo is still in place, however with much more controls and much improved reverb/delay algorithms. Which is a posh way of saying “they sound better”.

 

Caustic 3 Modular Frontside

 

For what the app has to offer it feels like having Reason in your pocket. Caustic’s virtual rack might not be as modular as Reason’s it does compare nicely in sense of completeness. But it has it’s own merits that Reason doesn’t have, like a static flanger, Organ synthesizer* and of course ‘fitting in your pocket’. (*Reason might have those features now-a-days, I’m familiar with Reason up to version 5.)

 

Caustic 3 Modular Backside

 

If you buy an unlock key for Caustic 2, it’ll also work on Caustic 3. The price will surely rise when the third installment comes out (if not, it deserves a price-raise), so get in early and familiarize yourself with the controls of Caustic 2.

For more info about Caustic, like news updates, it’s manual, and a user forum head on over to http://www.singlecellsoftware.com/.

 

Caustic 3 Organ

Note: The pictures in this preview say RC3, however I’m currently already on RC4. Improvements and maybe even enhancements beyond RC4 can still be made, and as such I might do a review on the full version later.

Review: Doremimate – Paradise EP

My 3rd hometown, Osaka, delivers some fine-*ss tunes!

Doremimate - Paradise EP

You might remember Doremimate from the Cassette Records compilation ‘The World Is Spinning At 33 1/3 RPM‘, where the track ‘Gymnopedia’ delivered us a really fresh sounding rendition of Satie’s Gymnopédie No. 1. For this release, however, Doremimate goes for a filter-house/techno sound based off of (classic?) Japanese disco. (If anyone knows where the sample is from, let me know!) With 2 versions of the title-track Paradise and two more tracks, namely Lust Disco and 69, to finish the EP. Well worth checking out! Have a listen and let me know what you think below.

 

 

Related posts:

Review: Cassette Records – The World is Spinning at 33 1/3 RPM

 

Review: Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

Leaked after all..

Album cover: Daft Punk - Random Access Memories

I kinda feel bad for Daft Punk, having their album leaked so shortly before the release. And I can tell a lot of love went into making this. They wanted to make something authentic, something retro, something to shake-up the currently ‘hardly breathing’ EDM scene.

But there’s only one thing missing from this album. Power. It’s a good album for lovers of 70’s vocoder-disco but for the original Daft Punk fans like you and me, there’s absolutely nothing to be found here in terms of filtered samples or 909 beats. It’s something the Punksters can be proud of, cause “they went back to move forward”. Taking dance music back to a time when drummachines and synthesizers were just an addition to the band. Hopefully, bringing much needed change/movement to the electronic music scene. (I’m talking about house and techno, fuck off dubstep wankers… You guys aren’t invited to the EDM party!!)

However, the biggest achievement here is not the music. It’s the anticipation they build-up to the release of the album. How long has it been since you last waited for an album to drop? It’s probably been more than ten years for me. Even the radio (that thing with an antenna, with sounds coming out of it. Mostly noise if not operated right) is playing the new album and I’ve caught myself turning on the device so I can listen to what they have to say about the album. Waiting for an album release? Radio? RADIO?!?!? Am I back in the 90’s?!

Stream and pre-order on iTunes.

Stream on Spotify.

What do you think about the album? Enjoyed it? Hated it? Drop a comment below, or hit me up on Twitter!

 

Review: MFB 522 Drumcomputer

MFB offers a cool boom for little buck

Being very positively impressed by both the Nano- and Microzwerg, I decided to have a go with the little 522 as well. Offering a full drumkit with it’s kick-drum, snare, clap, tomtom, conga, cowbell, clave, cymbal, hi-hat and rimshot (but no clash) I decided to see what makes it tick. (Cue: Rimshot, Cl… ah dammit!)

MFB-522 Drumcomputer

Offering the same sound-set as the Roland TR-808 it offers instant appeal to producers on a budget, so let’s round up the similarities and differences: Like the 808 the tomtom and conga cannot be played simultaneously. The 522 offers midi however and has separate outputs for the kick, a combined output for snare and rimshot, clap, hi-hat and a combined stereo output for the sounds without a separate output or without a patch-cable inserted. The TR-808 has an output for each sound. Unless patched every sound comes out of the stereo output by default. So, does it sound like the 808? Mmmyeano, probably not. Maybe. You can expect similar results from the Propellerhead Kong drum designer by using the analog parts or with an analog (semi-)modular synthesizer. It sounds thinner and less tinny than you might be used to from an 808, but then again, most 808 sounds and samples out there have already been processed with compression or amplification. The 808’s inner circuitry probably had a lot to do with it’s familiar sound and like the Roland TB-303 there are already too many discussions on as to ‘why it sounds like it sounds’. Plugging the MFB-522 into a distortion pedal or compressor yields very similar results as you might expect from the ol’ Roland. And there the comparison should end. The MFB is a drumcomputer in it’s own right albeit probably marketed at people who lack an analog 1980’s model in their collection.

It’s a joy to just plug in a midi-cable and go to work. The midi-cc’s are neatly sorted making mapping easy. I use each output separately mixing and EQ’ing them back together on a mixer, adding extra crunch to the sound before it’s fed into my audio-interface. Some of the sounds can’t play together because of analog limitations making it impossible to play a snare and a rimshot on the exact same note, same goes for the cowbell and clave and of course the tomtom and conga because you have to flick a switch to choose between them. You can change the tone, tune and envelope of the sounds but playing live might be a bit cumbersome given it’s small knobs and featherweight design. The kick and clap come in two variants, shot and long, adding to the options of possible rhythms, and for some reason I was able to get four notes out of the tomtom and conga while the manual clearly states there should only be three. Oh well, bonus drum for me I guess! The 522 has three shuffle settings when using the internal sequencer, and can be synced to incoming MIDI-clock messages. Some of the sounds are great while others sound underwhelming, this is where layering and effects will make it shine again. It’s these imperfections that give you, the producer, a small challenge to make it do what you want. It might be a turn-off for some, but I kinda like that.. The Adafruit x0xb0x is a perfect clone of the TB-303 and yet it also needs a little work to sound like you remember a 303. Consider that before you give this a pass because maybe after ten years of sitting in smokey, moldy studios, basements and attics these machines’ll start sounding exactly alike, or even’ll start (mis)behaving in their own peculiar way.

The MFB-522 drumcomputer by MFB is an attempt to give us back the joys of analog circuitry and tweaking knobs to fine-tune the percussion contained within. Mimicking, although not perfectly, the sounds and controls of the 808 for a very, VERY reasonable price.

 

Related:
MFB Nanozwerg Review

MFB Microzwerg Review