This is by far one of the coolest Raspberry Pi builds I’ve ever seen. Make sure you watch the performance at the end. This is completely amazing work. I love it! Otem used pure data for the programming and is available on his Github page. https://github.com/otem/Raspberry-Pi-Looper-synth-drum-thing
Robert T. describes Spectrum as:
“Spectrum is a series of tracks that have glossy synths and foreboding basses gurgling alongside analog beats. This is a varied album hence the name, featuring many different instruments and tones which showcase my constant search for new sounds and textures. Vinatge samplers and analog hardware meld together in this sonic voyage.”
This sounds fairly promising, but for the most part I don’t hear many interesting sounds or textures going on through much of this release, there are some bright points though which I will go over, so read on.
The album starts off with Format XII, which contains some mid tempo electronic beats that sound like maybe Robert was going for a Synthwave type feel, but the choices of sounds are a little too dry and sound a little too preset-y to make a lasting impression. The second track Cyberfeeder, dives more into minimal house territory, and I think this realm is much more comfortable for Robert T. There’s a nice chill pulse with just the right amount of melody to make you want to move (if I could dance, which I can’t).
L/4,5 is another slightly dancy one, but doesn’t hold up for me as well as Cyberfeeder. Again, there’s the very dry preset sounding sounds that just do not sound very interesting to me. Weisbaden 455 has some pretty cool sounds going on, but doesn’t ever seem to develop into anything concrete. FormatXI starts out as a promising dark ambient piece, but again just seems to develop to full maturity in the first measure, then never really blossoms into anything emotional or that conveys much feeling.
Finally at 380mm, Spectrum starts to deliver. This and Format9 are easily the two best tracks on the album. 380mm it starts out with a purely sinister sounding drone that becomes wrapped in various pulsating arpeggios and hi hats. Unlike most of the previous tracks, this one pulls out a few surprises, sounds morph and fade in and out. And even though they are all still very dry, there’s a more overdriven sound on the snare drum and overall it’s just a cool driving beat.
Format9 takes the overdrive to another level and maybe is the best track on the album. It seems the meaner and dirty Robert gets, the better he is at true experimentation. This track almost sounds industrial at times, though doesn’t fall into the stereotypical trappings of the genre.
One thing I should mention is that Robert T created all of this music in real-time, which can be fun for the performer and at a show, but doesn’t always sound like the most carefully constructed music as an album. Mostly because it wasn’t constructed at all, but more like improvised using various electronics. So for this I give Robert some credit for making and at least listenable album this way. I do think however if he is going to continue on this path, to invest in some multi-fx units to ad some more depth to his textures, as well as maybe creating some more structure ahead of time to keep things from getting too meandering.
3 out of 5. Worth having for the last two tracks along. So go ahead and download it here!
I stumbled across this amazing video of the Bandmaster Powerhouse drum machine, made in Scotland in the mid 70s that was a modified 8 track tape player that came with changeable tapes that featured different loops!
You could mix between loops, change the tempo and select different patterns. So basically it’s a fully analog tape looping drum machine! How cool is that? Not to mention it also sounds awesome.
I knew the unit didn’t sample on its own, but I didn’t know it was iOS only. That’s pretty stupid. They should have at least given you a way to just connect usb to a windows machine. I still think it’s a cool device, but I have no plans of ever getting an Apple product.
The KORG volca sample is a fun-looking sample “sequencer” – it can play back, modify, and mangle pre-recorded samples in a step sequencer. But it requires a dedicated iOS app to do the actual sampling.
That makes for a mixed bag, straight out of the gate. As KORG says:
“The new volca lets you recapture the excitement of the first generation of samplers, in which any sound — vocals, spoken words, ambient sound, or glitches — becomes material for your creations!”
– right, but then it leaves out one of the best things about those hardware samplers, namely – sampling.
With that disappointment out of the way, the volca sample otherwise is full of some cool ideas. Let’s have a look at what it can do.
The heart of the beast is the sound parameters, which you can then map to individual steps:
Sample select, start point, length, hi cut
Pitch: speed, envelope, attack, decay
Amplitude: level, pan, attack, decay
And you can motion-sequence each of these.
There’s also per-sample reverse and reverb, plus overall reverb mix and swing.
The “Analog Isolator” gives you bass and treble controls. (UK-style, that’s “Analogue Isolator” on the front panel.)
I keep seeing more and more posts of people making Acid beats like this one by Honeysmack.
I think all the new inexpensive hardware synths and sequencers are partly responsible for this revival, but it’s cool… whatever the reason is.
There’s definitely a plethora of cool toys out there right now and a lot of people using them in cool ways.