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A lot of the (sucky) music you hear today in movies, TV, and advertising is made with software synths and samplers. Sucky not because it's made with virtually but because it's made for business people, who want everything bland (except for the triphop between Adult Swim cartoons--that's good). Nowadays your average PC can imitate any synth and even convincingly reproduce symphonic instruments. 20 years ago a softsynth cost $50,000 and looked like....this.
From a website devoted to the now defunct German company PPG Instruments:
The Realizer may well have been the world's first virtual instrument, yet ironically some feel the stress of its development put PPG out of business. It was the last PPG product, and never got beyond the prototype stage. Still, its features were staggering, even by today's standards. (Check out the photo above to see it emulating a Minimoog.)Hat tip to G.K. Wicker, whose links also led to the images below, of the Space Invaders-style interface to the famous hexagonal Simmons drum kit. (Another defunct company.) Check out the little guy drumming, enlarged in the detail .
From the September 1986 issue of Keyboard Magazine, Dave Frederick wrote an article on the 1986 summer NAMM show stating:
"An impressive exhibit from PPG was the Realizer (about $50,000). This consists of software versions of familiar synthesizer configurations. It allows you to design your own analog, FM digital, and sampled sounds, patch any of the components of one instrument into another instrument, and then sequence or sample the resulting sound. Wolfgang Palm, designer of the Realizer and head of PPG Instruments, earns the the quote-of-the-show award for explaining how he designed it: 'I copied the circuit diagrams into software.' No easy task."
The picture above shows the Realizer control unit only. In addition to it were racks that contained the actual processing hardware.
"Fear and Tremolo" [mp3 removed]. The same instruments as "Drum Machine" (audio and video), but with a different tune, and a grittier, more industrial texture via the AdrenaLinn II "synchro-trem" beat modulated filter setting.
"Drum Machine (Audio Only)" [mp3 removed].
2005 Internet Top Ten: Special Blogosphere Edition.
Originally posted on Michael Bell-Smith's and Cory Arcangel's Year in the Internet 2005 page. Already started revising it (see below).
SCREENFULL. This blog is now an archived project but what a great run it had. Audiovisual graffiti, deconstruction as Xtreme Sports, internet addiction as a generative principle.
RIP del.ico.us? 2005 saw this link community's rapid rise to stardom and immediate fall into the sweaty embrace of Yahoo! Will the art/geek spirit survive?
Represent or die. Lots of great quirky and f-ed up videos: the flagship del.icio.us channel (for DTV) hopefully will not be turned by Yahoo! into internet MTV, with Quicktime clips of reality shows and beach contests.
Paper Rad Info. Their blog. Prediction: because it's very easy to update it could eclipse their main page. Mine sort of did.
jenghizkhan (John Parker) live at The Front Room. Not a blog; just wanted to mention it. Sub-Troggs, Sub-Stooges fuzzbox-grungy Monomachine and circuit-bent Casio performance clocks in at 33 minutes; chatty audience tries to see if it can make more noise.
Steve Gilliard: the most razor-tongued sunny optimist on the Net. Indispensable political commentary.
WFMU's Beware of the Blog. NY area cult radio station's in-depth music (and everything else) coverage thrives in blog form. One of my favorite past FMU djs returns with a fine conversational blog style: Rise, William Berger, rise.
Rhizome.org. Another welcome addition to the (re)blog world--hopefully they'll start archiving front page content and add comments in the new year.
Other great blogs that have launched or gone into high gear in the last year: Cory Arcangel, Paul Slocum, Michael Bell-Smith.
Flag on the Moon. Blog of Jack Masters, of castlezzt fame. The post specifically linked to, "1/30th of my pictures directory, in chronological order," has been
"Drum Machine" [Quicktime removed -- see embedded .mp4 version]
Regarding my artwork in the previous post, Kara had these questions:
--Have you photographed the backs of any of these? I'd be curious to see this nest of webs.On pieces of this type, I'm using lightfast inks (pigments as opposed to dyes) and framing the work behind UV-resistant plexiGlas. No fading has occurred. I like having them around to look at.
--BTW, how light safe or fade-proof is the ink you're using?
This is the back of a similar piece I posted a while back:
She also wondered what one might be missing by seeing my object-type artwork on the Internet. I'd say what you're getting is about 60% of the experience. But it sure beats mailing f*ing slides.
Cannibalized some older pieces to make this. Lots of scissoring and X-acto knifing. Dimensions are 24 1/2 X 19 inches; it's ink on paper--all rendered with the "vintage" program MSPaintbrush, printed, cut into pieces (repeatedly), and linen-taped on the back in a network resembling a nest of bricolage spiderwebs.
Adrien75, a West Coast turned East Coast turned West Coast musician who has been written about a number of times on this page (glowingly), has posted some new .mp3s. Nice to hear some of that experimental breaks influence come back in from the old days ('99) with "January's Tributaries," along with a dollop of Michael Karoli-like dreamy acid guitar. The pieces are all excellent: atmospheric, catchy, unpredictable, accomplished. If you like the Feelies, Krautrock, the Canterbury scene, and/or The Black Dog this is music you should be listening to. (Those are personal benchmarks anyway--my etymological way of saying "really good.")
Update, Jan 17, holy shit, I forgot to post a link to Adrien75's mp3 page. My five readers (Digby's phrase) need to help me out here a little bit.