Guitars are very important to me. I have spent a large portion of my time and emotional energies in guitar stores, looking for the new, novel and personal. It is this fascination that brought me to Tim Van Tassel’s house in Golden Valley, Minnesota. My girlfriend’s family comes from Minneapolis and we were going to see them. Our journey planned for August, I picked up the phone and called Tim out of the blue. I said I was a fan of his work from England and wanted to help out, could we meet? He seemed keen though a little surprised and frankly I felt the same. I could sense that feeling familiar to guitar fiends of being reeled in on the hook that one has baited.
We’ve been at NAMM 2014, the leading music gear show, that takes place in Anaheim in California. We’ll be bringing you choice cuts of some of the 5,000 brands that were exhibiting, and a taste of the exciting instruments and technologies that lie in wait for the coming year. Here are some early highlights and short videos from the preview day. Follow us on twitter, and check out Facebook for more updates.
While the Apple Music launch has been attracting a lot of attention, Apple has also just put out a new version of GarageBand for Mac with features aimed at dance and hip-hop music-makers. These include new loops, patches and drum kits as well as the ability to share from GarageBand straight to Apple Music Connect via the iOS app.
Music Tech Fest is back, from 29-31 May in Umeå, Sweden. With the latest in music tech, plus performance, a hack camp and jam sessions, it’s another don’t miss event. Artists already confirmed include Scanner, Laura Kriefman with Guerilla Dance Project, and Kenneth Alewine’s Performing Melancholia, a visual music experiment with an automaton. Exciting new band merch technologies, sound artists, instruments and digital platforms are all featured too, and tickets are free. Here’s a look at some of the highlights from Music Tech Fest Paris to give you a feel for what to expect.
The iRig Mic Studio is another IK Multimedia triumph - a beautifully-engineered, super compact, high quality USB condenser microphone that’s great to use.
Like a music innovation adrenaline shot, Abbey Road Studios launched music tech incubator scheme Abbey Road Red with a bang. The night included a groundbreaking first project, a standout performance featuring Matthew Herbert, and a chance to get hands on with some great gear, all showcased in the historic Studio 2 where The Beatles recorded.
The iRig Mic Field promises to make field recordings rock - whether they are band videos, music recordings, or audio of things in fields. We tested it in different situations and found it to be a brilliant and compact piece of kit, great for all kinds of high quality field recordings.
Olaf Diegel is the world’s 3D Printed Guitar guru, marrying innovative structures and designs, with tried and tested guitar hardware. His highly customisable 3D Printed guitars made with 3D Systems caused a sensation at the 3D Print Show in London, and will be shown at The Namm Show in California for the first time this year. We talked to Olaf about his plans for 2013 and heard about some amazing new ideas.
I’ve played drums for 12 years, have lived in London for 3 years & love leering at shiny drum kits that i’ll never be able to afford. Somehow these things have never culminated in me going to The London Drum Show. Finally, last weekend I went to the place that, in theory, should be utopia for me. I think that any place that hands out ear plugs as standard on arrival you can’t quite describe as utopia, but it’s definitely how I picture my afterlife.
ROLI has just launched the Seaboard RISE and it’s a dream to play. A groundbreaking, beautiful, and sleek piece of design with unique features, that’s the most affordable expressive MIDI controller and instrument yet.
It’s always great to see something truly innovative, and today sees the launch of REV, designed by Gregg Lehrman and his team at Output. It’s going to get producers, composers and artists really excited - saving hours of time - as it offers you tons of instruments, loops, rises, pads, pulses, and swells all in reverse, in real time. Not to mention the supersonic stutters!
Music Tech Fest London 2014 launched with an incredible mix of technology, performance and probing of the future of the music industry. With everything from brain hacking to playable interactive artist merchandise, wearable tech and new business models, it was a compelling first day.
The first Music Tech Fest, run by Ravensbourne College and Stromatolite in London gathered sound gurus, hackers and musicians together to make, talk and play. From synth legend and 3D sound designer Martyn Ware (The Human League, BEF, Heaven 17) to the dance demon that is Coldcut/Ninja Tune’s Matt Black, and new app designers, minds were well and truly expanded, if not blown! There’s even a free Synaesthesia app.
Guitar makers have been pulling out all the stops at recent shows, with eye-catching new axes - one-offs, limited editions and full production numbers. We’ve pulled together some of our favourite designs.
Design guru Scott Summit and 3D Systems’ Abe Reichental whipped up a storm when they launched the world’s first 3D printed acoustic guitar. Scott is an award-winning industrial designer who counts Apple, Nike, and Palm among his clients at Summit ID, and is known for revolutionising the world of medical prosthetics. Yet he loves playing guitar, has been in bands, and recorded albums. We had an in-depth chat with him at London’s 3D Print Show where he was showing his instrument designs, and he told us about building the acoustic prototype, spectral analysis of The Clash’s London Callling, and future plans for democratizing production.
Ableton has announced the immediate release of the new Push, alongside Live 9.5 – a free update for all Live 9 users. It’s inviting owners of the original Push to take part in a trade-in that offers a saving on the new version, plus Ableton is introducing Link, a new technology that lets you play in time with multiple instances of Live and a growing number of iOS apps.
Pop-up shop mania hit London last week as London Fashion Week and London Design Festival collided in a maelstrom of party madness. So hats off to Nineboys Guitars who launched a guitar pop-up called Downhome for their new Downhome range, as well as show-casing prototypes like a crazy Jack Daniels machine. The launch party featured filthy blues and metal from the Tin-Tone Army - Motorhead’s Ace of Spades on biscuit tin guitars was brilliant. Josh from Nineboys jammed using the hit of the night, The Wedge, and Stu and Chris Da Lipz played cigar-box guitar and harmonica. Downhome runs at 64 Clerkenwell Road, EC1M 5PX until 9th October, and here are some pics of the latest kit.
Two amazing artists, Amir Amor - a top Producer who is also in the blisteringly hot band Rudimental - and acclaimed multi-instrumentalist Laura Kidd from She Makes War, launched our Kit Session video series with a visit to Roland UK and a good look round the new Jupiter-50 synth. Gareth Bowen from Roland, who also plays with Tricky, showed them all its special features for studio and live, and they asked the questions - finding out the things that artists need to know.
The 2013 Music Tech Fest was an incredible event, especially on the final day when the Music Hack Camp awards were presented, with hacks ranging from new instruments to a remix. Here are some of our highlights from Day 3, including Ableton’s new Push instrument, and guitars and synths made from ‘upcycled’ computer game instruments. The sessions were filmed and the videos are on the main Music Tech Fest site. We will be bringing you a second report as there was so much going on!
Bands and artists we’ve interviewed, from Sleaford Mods and Martyn Ware through to newcomers Deux Furieuses and dressmaker, tell us what they want under the Christmas tree - from things practical to spiritual.
There’s been a big development in Apple’s GarageBand app, that’s opened up a whole load of exciting new musical horizons. You can now join your favourite apps up and record them into GarageBand for the first time. We checked it out with Yellofier and made some tunes.
The second day of the amazing Music Tech Fest was full of surprises. Here are some of our highlights including new instruments such as The Seaboard Grand, music economy inspiration from Brazil, performances and very practical band help. All the while Music Hackers were mixing top bands’ stems, cocktails, and coding. Our report from Music Tech Fest - Day 1 is here.
One of the most exciting pieces of kit we saw at NAMM was the world’s first wireless hand-held MIDI controller with accelerometer. It’s by Numark who make a ton of kit for DJs but we think it has huge potential way beyond DJs, and the ‘game-controller on steroids’ approach makes it really easy to use.
There was loads of hot kit at the recent music trade show in Frankfurt - Musikmesse - and some top drummers playing it too. Here are some of the things that caught our eye.
The Music Production Show at Emirates Stadium in London is a hot ticket - the global launch of Steinberg’s Cubase 7 is a huge draw, but there is plenty more on offer. We went along on the first day with Paul Rez - Producer, multi-instrumentalist, acclaimed ‘Analogue Witchcraft’ sample library creator and Vuvuvultures band member, to check out the latest kit. The event runs today - Saturday - too.
The latest new instrument to catch our eye is TouchKeys, currently going down a storm on Kickstarter. It turns a piano-style keyboard into an expressive multi-touch control surface, using sensors and software to give you power over pitch, volume and more on any individual key. It gives you a range of new sounds, and you can use it with synth emulations too. You can fit it on your own keyboard or buy one ready-made. We talked to creator Andrew McPherson.
We met the Thunderplugs inventors at the NAMM show and loved their nifty attenuated (filter) earplugs. We found out more about their story, and also tried them out. Here’s the info, and you can WIN some in an easy to enter competition too.