In These Hopeful Machines "James Gardner traces a personal path through the evolving world of electronic music – and meets some of the people who made it happen. In six content-rich episodes he looks at over 100 years of recording techniques, electronic instruments and gizmos, and their use in popular music, art music and their position in Western culture." [more inside]
Musician Charles Cohen (previously) hosts a workshop at Berlin's Schneidersladen, demonstrating the use of the rare and recently re-released Buchla Music Easel
In 1978 a tiny English company called Electronic Dream Plant produced their first product, the EDP Wasp synthesizer, the first of a short-lived range of creepy-crawly-named devices. In the golden age of big wooden and metal synths the wasp was made of plastic, battery-powered, with a built-in speaker, a keyboard with no moving parts, and used a brilliantly minimalist CMOS circuit design (in fact, people are still copying the Wasp filter circuit). It was the first analog synth to be truly affordable. The Wasp's accessibility, unique sound and portability saw it quickly used by musicians ranging from buskers to rock stars. [more inside]
Have you ever seen a synth and said "Man, what this needs is cartoon eyes?" A bit similar to the Buchla Box or theremin in that they don't have a keyboard to control the sounds -- it's probably closest to the Booper, invented by The Weatherman from Negativland (or, well, Circuit Bending), the Thingamagoop is a photosynthesizer... which means it basically uses light sensors to generate sounds. The signal's run through a couple oscillators and, well, it comes out as somethin' that's pretty dang awesome. I'm on the fence on pickin' this one up. On one hand, it's a really neat toy that makes noise... on the other hand, um.... um.... I dunno. It's not made of candy?
David Webber makes awesome sound art things from christmas trees, pot plants, household stuff, food blenders and hard drives. His good friend Ray Wilson builds awesome modular synths. Ray will also show you how to make your own Weird Sound Generator.
John "Paia" Simonton died late last week. His company, PAiA is one of the grandfathers of the DIY synth scene. I have one of his modular synths half-constructed in my garage. He helped create an American buzz for electronic music and DIY music gear in the 70s, and was highly influential till his passing away.
How to convert LPs to CDs. Many audiophiles will mock the software they suggest using as well as the hardware pictured, but this is aimed for the everyday people that don't have a laser turntable or ProTools. All in all, a decent introductory guide.