This all-new hybrid from Britain raises the bar for the hardware synth renaissance.
There’s no doubt that the resurgence of interest in hardware synths over the last few years has revitalised the market from top to bottom. You can’t have missed the countless new hardware releases from medium and large manufacturers over the last few years, but what you may not realise is the impact on smaller boutique ventures; the increased market for quality synth hardware has given the little guys a shot in the arm too. Most of the products we’ve seen from small-scale manufacturers are relatively humble – Eurorack modules, perhaps, or fairly affordable mini synths. The newly announced Modulus.002 from Bristol-based Modulus Music is a different matter entirely.
The Modulus.002 is the brainchild of Paul Maddox, a British synth designer previously responsible for the VacoLoco Zira synth and the GorF and Tron sequencers. The Modulus.002 is a huge step up from those previous designs. It’s a high-end 12-voice polyphonic synth will full multitimbrality, based around numerically controlled (digital) oscillators which lead into a fully analogue signal path, including custom-designed 24dB/octave transistor ladder filter.
The spec sheet reveals that the Modulus is a whole lot more than the average rehash of vintage synth features. There are genuine 21st-century innovations here, not least the inclusion of an Ethernet port to allow updates and patch sharing over the internet directly from the keyboard itself.
Whether you’re a potential customer or not – and, let’s face it, given the hefty asking price it’s not likely that many of us will be able to afford the Modulus.002 – it’s exciting to see the emergence of small companies designing and building innovative new synths. If this is the shape of things to come, we can’t wait to see what else Modulus have in store.
The Modulus.002 will go on sale at £2,995 ($5,200/€3,750), not including shipping or taxes. You can find more info and listen to sound clips on the Modulus Music website.
Check out more photos of the Modulus.002 and the full spec below (click the images to enlarge). (more…)
This week’s top mixes include Surgeon’s ambient set, Seven Davis Jr’s Worldwide Family Mixtape and DJ Barely Legal getting tropical.
Seven Davis Jr‘s Worldwide Family Mixtape. Producer and vocalist Seven Davis Jr drops some exclusive tracks of his own, alongside some gems from musicians that have influenced him for Gilles Peterson Worldwide. Stream above, track listing here.
Surgeon’s ambient set. “This hybrid DJ / Live Set was recorded in a yurt structure at the Freerotation Festival in Wales. This time my idea for the set was to take us all much further out, much deeper inside than the set from last year. A more disembodied experience.” Stream and download above, track listing here.
Jamie xx guest presents. Jamie Smith steps in to guest-present Benji B’s Radio 1 show. There’s exclusive mixes from John Talabot & Nic Tasker, Modeselektor pick three records and James Blake swings by and drops off some exclusive new music. Plus there’s music from Midland, Gil Scott-Heron, Talaboman, Aebelo and more. Steam in full here.
Raw, hard and soulful. Stacey Pullen spent the 1990s helping to both continue the legacy of his friend and collaborator Derrick May’s generation, while also opening it up to influences like broken beat. Although he was at his most prolific in the 90s, Pullen still regularly releases music and runs his own label, Blackflag. Stream and download his raw, hard and soulful FACT mix above, track listing here.
DJ Barely Legal gets tropical. Rooted in grime and garage, Chloé Robinson aka DJ Barely Legal has been smashing up dancefloors since the age of 19 and has been championed by BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra and Rinse FM, playing alongside the likes of Four Tet, My Nu Leng and Wiley to name but a few. Stream and download her i-D debut with Music to… get tropical above, track listing here.
Logos on Solid Steel. “I really enjoyed constructing this mix for Solid Steel, which is a blend of the stuff I listen to a lot at home and some banging material you might catch me playing in the club. Look out for a couple of tracks from the forthcoming EP of weightless material on Different Circles, which is the new label me and Mumdance are launching shortly, along with a track from my forthcoming split EP with Rabit on Glacial Sound…” Stream and download above, track listing here.
Independent labels’ Fair Digital Deals Declaration, Pioneer’s modern classic, DSI’s Curtis filter For Eurorack, and every touchscreen a controller with Tuna Knobs.
Pioneer’s modern classic. Pioneer mark 20 years in the DJ industry with the launch of their PLX-1000, a professional turntable precision engineered for the booth, drawing on 50 years of experience. The result is a familiar layout with some next generation improvements, including a high-torque direct drive system, multi-pitch control, club-grade build and sound quality, and detachable power and audio cables. Check it out above. Peter Kirn of Create Digital Music compares the PLX-1000 to the classics Technics SL1200 in this excellent breakdown.
Mathew Jonson’s Slices Tech talk. Electronic Beats pay Jonson a visit in his well-equipped Berlin studio to talk technology and approach. Watch the video above and check out our My Studio feature for a closer look at some of the amazing gear on show.
This week’s top mixes include early morning Scuba, Nguzunguzu’s new batch and Jackmaster and Oneman’s Can U Dance.
Nguzunguzu’s new batch. LA duo Nguzunguzu spin a colourful batch of bottom-heavy millennial R&B, soul and rap for their new mix for THUMP, celebrating their eclectic tastes. Stream above, track listing here.
Looking for the perfect beat in LA, a message from Beatport’s new president, Machinedrum’s live session and a Komplete Frenzy.
Sole selector Ben UFO. Dutch dance festival Dekmantel tell their performers’ stories in their new video interview series Sole Selector, which begins with Hessle Audio label co-founder Ben UFO speaking on the roots and motivations behind his music, in the video above.
This week’s top mixes include Mr Mitch’s grime contemporaries, DJ Clent’s history of footwork and the latest from Pearson Sound.
Seven Davis Jr drops a Fact mix. Classic cuts like ‘Shari Vari’ and ‘Promised Land’ rub shoulders with newer material from Jamie Jones, Adam Feingold and Davis’s own remix of Four Tet’s ‘Buchla’.
Theo Parrish & Gilles Peterson in conversation, Roland reproduces SH-101 as software, Four Tet on Glastonbury’s Park stage…
Theo Parrish & Gilles Peterson in Conversation. Theo went to the Brownswood Recordings basement to have a short chat with Gilles in preparation for Worldwide Festival 2014, sharing some memories and selecting a few of his all-time favourite tracks. Listen above, full track listing available here.
...and Theo chats about his live show. “I guess in a sense live musicianship has always been around me, however I never guessed as a youth that I’d be touring a band.” Talking to Red Bull, Theo lays out the plan for his live performances this summer. Tickets for the shows in London and Manchester on the 14th and 15th of this month are available now through SeeTickets or TicketWeb.
This week’s top mixes include a Jamie xx rooftop Boiler Room session, a Sound Pellegrino label mix by Teki Latex, Zinc mixing ’92 proto-jungle and Matthew Dear at Sonar.
Jamie XX rooftop Boiler Room session. Jamie XX’s Boiler Room session from the Young Turks roof terrace in London. A homage to London, this one’s a whip through the nostalgic touchstones of UK club music, laced with some new material. Watch above.
Ask Plastikman anything, Tiësto Explains the EDM Universe, Pinch in conversation with Mumdance and Blawan’s new London club night.
“Conceptually the idea for the next Decks, FX & 909 has been lying around for a few years… just gotta find a moment to record it!” Richie Hawtin answers the public’s questions in a Reddit AMA, telling of his love of sake, art, and techno as he releases his new Plastikman LP, EX. Check it out it here.
This week’s top mixes include TV themes by µ-Ziq, Rabit’s tuff jam session, Robert Hood rocking the boat and Beneath playing truant.
TV Themes by µ-Ziq. Planet Mu label boss Mike Paradinas drops a nostalgic mix of 70s and 80s TV themes featuring over 100 tracks and audio snippets that shaped his approach to sound. “TV themes in the seventies and eighties used synthesisers liberally. In hindsight, I can pinpoint almost my entire sense of melody to the music, mostly made by library musicians, that I heard on television between 1976 and 1986.” Stream and download above.
Mixed by Jesse Lanza. Hyperdub singer and producer Jessy Lanza, whose debut LP Pull My Hair Back received much acclaim in 2013, delivers a stellar mix of R&B, house, footwork and hip-hop, peppered with her own new material, in advance of a new album on Hyperdub, which is said to be dropping before the end of this year. Stream and download above, full track listing here.
Beneath playing truant. The No Symbols label don’s Truants mix is as deep and expansive as his productions, which have graced respected imprints Keysound Recordings and PAN, and goes in some directions you won’t be expecting. On his mixing style, Beneath writes: “I’m starting to bring my other influences into sets and stuff that generally just fits with the vibe I like – so this mix represents that shift maybe.” Stream and download above.
Rabit’s tuff jam session. The Houston-based producer behind some of the most far-out abstract grime instrumentals heard lately, which have been fully backed by Keysound Recordings and Glacial Sound among others, Rabit begins by spinning some old-school soul and quickly progresses into tougher territory in this LA Boiler Room session. Watch above.
Lena Willikens’ deeply singular style. Cologne-based musician and resident DJ at Dusseldorf spot Salon Des Amateurs Lena Willikens defines her unique style in the latest RA podcast, every track – whether it’s the 100bpm beat-downs at the start, or the druggy techno near the end – has some little quirk or eccentricity that makes it pop. As the mix makes clear, she has both the skills and the record collection to become an underground favourite. A stream, download and full track listing is available here