The State Of 21st-Century Synthesis

This video captures a panel discussion on The State Of 21st-Century Synthesis, held at the 2014 NAMM Show.

Led by author Mark Vail (Vintage Synthesizers, Beauty In The B, The Synthesizer), the panel features industry leaders offering their take on the state of synthesis.

The panelists, from left to right, are:

  • Composer/synthesist Drew Neumann (Aeon Flux, The Wild Thornberries)
  • Composer/producer & Continuum expert Edmund Eagen
  • Synth designer and MIDI creator Dave Smith
  • Synth designer & sound designer Eric Persing (Roland, Spectrasonics)
  • Gerry Bassermann (E-Mu, Opcode, Be, Propellerhead)

The video is close to 90 minutes long and offers some great perspectives from true gurus of synthesis.  Continue reading

Mark Vail – The Synthesizer

Mark-Vail-the-SynthesizerAt the 2014 NAMM Show, we had the chance to talk with writer Mark Vail, who has written extensively for Keyboard magazine and is the author of two books found in a lot of keyboardists’ libraries, Vintage Synthesizers & The Hammond Organ: Beauty in the B.

Vail was carrying a proof copy of his latest book, The Synthesizer: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding, Programming, Playing, and Recording the Ultimate Electronic Music Instrument.

With a title like The Synthesizer: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding, Programming, Playing, and Recording the Ultimate Electronic Music Instrument, you might get the idea that the book covers a lot of territory. In fact, Vail’s book is an epic 432 page, profusely illustrated tome.

Or, as Vail told us, “it’s got thump”.

The book is not yet available, though you can pre-order it at Amazon. Based on the brief look we had at it, though, it looks like it will be another must-have for electronic musicians.  Continue reading

The Journey Of The Drum Machine


NPR’s Morning Edition today takes a look at the history of the drum machine and a new book, Beat Box: A Drum Machine Obsession.

Joe Mansfield’s new 200-page Beat Box: A Drum Machine Obsession is coffee-table book that features 75 drum machines. It includes more than 200 photos. The book explores the machines, the musicians that used them and their impact on music.

The publisher describes Beat Box as ‘part encyclopedia, part coffee-table photo book’.  Continue reading

The Mothership Has Landed – TONTO Synthesizer Finds New Home At National Music Centre


The mothership has landed. TONTO (The Original New Timbral Orchestra), described as ‘the first multitimbral polyphonic analog synthesizer’, has found a new home.

Calgary’s National Music Centre (NMC) has announced ‘a major acquisition’, the giant TONTO modular synthesizer of inventor and owner Malcolm Cecil. Continue reading

Tom Oberheim Demos The Two Voice Pro, Talks Analog Revolution & Answers Synth Questions

Reader Amy Lee (Ani) let us know about this new video of synth pioneer Tom Oberheim, who was filmed demoing his brand new Oberheim Two Voice Pro and talking about his experiences in the world of synths and music.  Continue reading