Synthesizers + The Undead Meet In Zombies 1985


Synthesist Tara Busch let us know about a Kickstarter project she’s involved with, Zombies 1985.

The project is to help fund a short film, set in 1985, about a self-obsessed man who fails to notice the Zombie Apocalypse happening around him. The film will have a live score by Busch and Benge Edwards.

Project backers, at all levels, will receive digital copies of the score, with backers at higher level getting physical copies, signed copies of the script and the opportunity to take part in the film as a zombie extra.  Continue reading

OWL Programmable Effects Pedal Is Open Source + Open Hardware

owl-programmable-effects-pedalThe OWL is an open source, open hardware, reprogrammable effects pedal designed for musicians, coders, and hackers.

With some coding and DSP knowledge, the OWL can become any kind of audio effect that you can imagine. Effects can be combined in any number of ways by chaining or switching between them.

Key Features:

  • For musicians:
    • Load patches from your computer via USB
    • Collection of sample patches available and growing
    • Standard guitar pedal inputs/outputs
  • For developers:
    • Write code for a hardware DSP architecture in plain C/C++
    • no hardware specific coding required
    • Open source platform and tool chain
    • Access to all low level ARM functions

Here’s the project intro video: Continue reading

Antiquity Music WheelHarp Kickstarter

wheelharpAntiquity Music has announced a Kickstarter project to fund development of the Wheelharp – a new electromechanical keyboard.

Antiquity Music is seeking to raise $50,000 in order to launch the Wheelharp, a musical instrument that gives you the ability to bow a full chromatic set of real strings using a keyboard.

The Wheelharp is designed to put the actual sound of multiple bowed string instruments at the player’s fingertips.  According to the company, “the Wheelharp gives its player a rich sound palette of actual bowed strings that cannot be matched by synthesis or sampling.”

Here’s the official Kickstarter video: Continue reading

Keith McMillen On Kickstarting A Music Controller Revolution

keith-mcmillenKeith McMillen (right) has been exploring new ideas for electronic music instruments for nearly 35 years, starting in 1979 with his company Zeta Music and more recently with Keith McMillen Instruments. His most recent creations are the QuNeo and QuNexus controllers, both developed using a ‘crowdfunding’ approach.

Synthtopia’s Elisabeth Lewin talked with McMillen about new instrument design, new music and how they intersect.

Synthtopia: Over the last 35 years, you’ve designed new electronic stringed instruments, MIDI mixers, created high-tech violin bows,  MIDI foot pedals, a pad controller and now the QuNexus keyboard controller. Why focus on new instruments?

Keith McMillen: Being able to transition from amplified acoustic instruments into a new era of music where the computer is an interactive participant in a performance is significant.

Pretty much everything is organized around the theme of being able to play live computer music in an ensemble. It’s a complicated request that requires many components. And I’ve been chipping away at it for 30+ years. The vision gets clearer as I get closer to the goal.

Synthtopia: It seems, with Moore’s law, that what is possible grows exponentially each passing year. Does your vision of an electronic music ensemble broaden or narrow as the technology gets better? Continue reading