Muff Wiggler’s Mike McGrath passes away. Vinyl goes wireless. Pioneer launches SQUID.
RIP Mike McGrath. The founder and head administrator of modular synth forum Muff Wiggler, Mike McGrath, has passed away. Admin Stephen Drake shared the news on the forum, stating, “Mike McGrath, aka Muff Wiggler, has passed away. He was the head admin and founder of this forum. I don’t know many details, and nothing I want to share. This has been terrible news for me and many others.” Muff Wiggler became one of the largest forums for synthesisers, and especially modular gear, since launching in 2006. More here.
Moog Matriarch. Moog has introduced a new patchable 4-note paraphonic analog synthesizer with a built-in Sequencer, Arpeggiator, stereo Ladder Filters, and stereo Analog Delay called Moog Matriarch. It’s capable of immediate chord patterns with “no patching required,” features 90 modular patch points, and is based on the circuitry of classic Moog synthesizer modules. It also features 4 analog VCOs, which can be split into 4 notes of paraphony that can be sequenced, shifted, and stored with Matriarch’s 256 step sequencer, or stacked in unison to create a 4 oscillator mono synth. Matriarch is available for preorder now, costing $1,999 USD, and begins shipping in Summer of 2019. Watch a demo video below.
Wireless vinyl. You might soon be saying goodbye to record needles and cartridges, as Shure drops its new wireless vinyl technology, Phase. It works by capturing the rotation of any record using remotes with built-in sensors, which are placed on top of each vinyl. The remotes communicate with a receiver, sending your movements and the record’s track information to DJ software like rekordbox, Serato or Traktor. Phase comes as Shure discontinues selling record cartridges and needles, and starts at €299 for two remotes with a 10-hour battery life. Watch DJ Jazzy Jeff demo Phase here, and buy it on MWM.
Easy key. For help matching the key of your music and sample library, Mixed in Key has announced a Studio Edition. In essence, it imports its DJ software technology to your DAW as a plug-in, working either as an analyzer to help you key match samples and loops, or in real time on individual track channels or the master bus. Mixed in Key also promises drum sample pitch identification, and the ability to see key changes inside your audio source. Try it or buy it here.
Loopcloud. With an update to update to version 4.0 of Loopmaster’s Loopcloud, users now have a comprehensive Loop Editor that allows for auditioning, choping, rearranging and remixing of loops from the vast Loopmaster store through a cloud-connected plugin. Drag your edited loops straight into your session, and play with their key, BPM and time — all before you buy. Once you’ve found an edit that works, Loopcloud allows you to use the pattern as often as you like with any sample in the Loopcloud store or your personal sample library. Watch a demo video below to see Loopcloud in action.
New Prince. A new album featuring 15 previously unreleased Prince demos is coming to TIDAL on June 7th. Called Originals, the album is comprised of songs written by Prince that later were recorded by artists like Vanity 6, Sheila E., the Bangles, Apollonia 6, and others. Released by The Prince Estate and Warner Bros. Records, Originals will be available on CD on June 21st, then vinyl on July 19th. Prince originals like “Manic Monday” and “Nothing Compares 2 U” became major hits with The Bangles and and Sinead O’Connor, respectively, though this will be the first time they will feature on a Prince album. Jay-Z helped select the tracks on Originals with Prince Estate’s Troy Carter. See the full tracklist on Pitchfork. You can buy Prince’s amazing biography by Matt Thorne here.
The SQUID. Pioneer DJ has announced a multitrack sequencer called SQUID. Short for “SeQUencer Inspirational Device,” SQUID is able to sequence 16 instruments at once, making it ideal to control hardware in your studio or live setups. Part of the TORAIZ series, SQUID records in the background so you can recall those “happy accidents” with the Time Warp feature and save them for your next track. Its 16 multi-coloured pads are designed for jamming, while automated features like Interpolation, Harmonizer and Transpose mode allow for on-the-fly adjusting. You can also change the direction and speed of a groove with Groove Bend, which Pioneer says is “the first-ever function on a sequencer to change trigger timing in real time via a slider.” There are also several inputs, including two CV/Gate, DIN sync and USB and MIDI terminals, but SQUID does not store any sounds, so there are no audio outputs. See a walkthrough of SQUID below.
More Ultra trouble. Ultra might be forced out of its new island location at Florida’s Virginia Key Beach Park, where it moved for this year’s edition, due to environmental concerns. A study showed that marline life around the festival site suffered excess stress levels due to the event’s loud noise levels — more so than when chased by a predator. This week The Virginia Key Advisory Board decided that that the City of Miami should “revoke its license agreement” with Ultra, and a vote is expected from the City of Miami Commissioner’s Office on May 9th. This year’s edition Ultra made headlines when thousands of revelers were stranded due to improper transportation planning. Now it seems the future of Ultra in Miami is hanging in the balance.
Superstruct goes large. James Barton’s Superstruct Entertainment group has purchased Global Media & Entertainment’s festival portfolio, giving it control over Victorious Festival, South West Four, Kendal Calling, Truck, Tramlines and Boardmasters, as well as Hideout festival in Croatia. Barton is formerly president of electronic music at Live Nation, and owns Superstruct with Paul Bedford, who was previously the financial director of Impresario Festivals. Over the past two years, Superstruct has also acquired stakes in Elrow, Sónar and Flow Festival. Last July, Bedford said they have a “federation of festival brands” in mind, and that “there is some strength in numbers in this game.”