Today we will make a roundup on cool new gear that will trigger your creativity in electronic music production. So please treat this as a micro guide to some of the more intriguing things that has been released during 2019. Starting off with this little beast.
KORG VOLCA MODULAR
Bob Moog and Don Buchla were both developing synthesizer technologies in the 1960s on different sides of the USA. Moog started his work in New York, whilst Buchla was over in California. They both had distinct styles and their geographical polarity gave them the monikers, East and West Coast. Moog’s style centred around subtractive methods involving the now ubiquitous oscillator, filter and VCA topology. Buchla’s techniques employed wave folding and frequency modulation to control harmonics, and used low-pass gates and function generators instead of filters, envelopes and LFOs.
Korg have packed a lot in: a dual oscillator, capable of wave folding and frequency modulation, two function generators, two low-pass gates, a utility module, a ‘Woggle’, a splitter, a sequencer and a digital effect simply known as ‘Space Out’. Many of the modules are internally connected, allowing the synth to be used without pin cables. Being a modular, there is of course a need for many more inputs and outputs — 24 inputs and 26 outputs to be precise. The size of the Volca means that Eurorack mini jacks are out of the question, and so Korg have opted to use small pin connectors. A generous bag of mini patch cables is included. Each cable has a sharp pin on each end which slots neatly into the sockets spread around the front panel.
ANALOGUE SOLUTIONS IMPULSE COMMAND
Tom Carpenter’s described his new analogue machine as “part drum synth, part modular loop producer and part pattern generator.” It outputs in stereo, there’s a 16-step sequencer, stereo effects, stereo filters and ReOrder melody generator.
Here’s what Analogue Solutions has to say about Impulse Command:
“The synth has been designed by Tom Carpenter, a musician and a big fan of electronic music. He knows how to program a synth and what should be expected. It was not designed by an engineer or steered by committee or men in suits. Design wasn’t constrained in order to bring maximum profit to share holders! So, the modulation choices and range of sounds they produced have all been carefully thought out and quickly give you those sounds you want: huge bass, synth leads, percussion, effects, modular style sounds.”
CONDUCTIVE LABS THE NDLR
Its makers describe it as “like having eight hands on your synths”. With two sequenced arpeggiators, a polyphonic PAD player and a drone, all synced and in key, no computer is needed. A unique sequencing method lets even the most clueless make complex melodies.
This new, compact touchscreen sampler and sequencer will allow you to compose entire songs and navigate through your work via the four knobs that change function depending on what controls the screen presents at any given time. The Blackbox shares a lot of DNA with their touchscreen Eurorack modules, especially Toolbox and Bitbox. That means that it offers powerful standalone sample workstation capabilities – but can also be integrated with your hardware and even modular gear.
EMPRESS EFFECTS ZOIA
After its introduction at NAMM 2018, it took Canadian builder Empress Effects more than a year to finalize their noteworthy modular stompbox Zoia, but it was worth the wait: this is a pedal like no other, with truly infinite potential. If you love hardware but pine for a DAW’s plugin-crammed channels, the Zoia is here. Build modular effect chains within the confines of a guitar pedal-sized device. And it’s more than just an FX machine. You can build your own synth within it or use it as a midi controller, too.
MAKE NOISE MORPHAGENE
The Morphagene is a next-gen tape and microsound module that lets you create new sounds from those that already exist. Record or sample clips up to three minutes long and apply tape-style control in micro detail to make mutations of your original material. Morphagene is Make Noise’s attempt to take creative tape splicing and microsound exploration into the 21st century. Instead of actual tape, a 4GB MicroSD card is provided, which can store up to 32 reels. The audio recorded on to these reels is stereo, 48kHz and 32-bit — in other words, high quality.