Shall We Play A Game?
Volume 13: Thermonuclear Macs
I wanna take you to a gay bar
I wanna take you to a gay bar
I wanna take you to a gay bar, gay bar, gay bar
Let’s start a war, start a nuclear war
At the gay bar, gay bar, gay bar
— The Electric Six — Gay Bar (1996)
The world has gotten a lot more interesting. If a sentient computer on a dial-up BBS asks if you would rather play a nice game of chess, I suggest you do so. About six weeks ago, I ordered a Eurorack module kit from an acquaintance in Ukraine, and all I can think is, WHERE IS MY FILTER MODULE?!?!?! I’m sure it will eventually show up. Or it won’t. I have three or four other blackboxes on my workbench waiting to be built.
As a child of the seventies, we GenX’rs aren’t worried about what will happen. Well, at least to us. To our friends overseas? That is a different story. One I don’t feel that I can do anything about. So I’m writing. And reading. And listening to music. And going to art galleries. And riding my bike. Okay, okay… I’m riding my bike mostly because gas is $4.75 a gallon. And Amazon just dropped off my stem lift extension so that my nearly fifty year old back can pedal in comfort.
And every time I decide to write, I want to write succinct little newsletters, a few articles of notes and move on, but when the world gets interesting, art seems to find its way to the forefront.
Side note: I apologize to my friends in Russia and Florida…the opening quote probably put me in a permanent time out. Sorry DeSantis, I know, We Don’t Talk About The Gays.
Let’s Talk Tech: Mac Studio
Designed exclusively for the creative artist, requiring a notarized signature affirming this fact, Apple released a Mini Mac from hell…if they stacked three up and welded them together. To be completely honest, my current setup still works well with a Hackintosh I put together a decade ago and runs 90% of my studio. Then again, it is mostly MIDI stringing together the half dozen synths I still have left and an 8-port audio interface. My four-year-old laptop blows that out of the water, and occasionally I will pull it open to make some orchestral arrangement with a Komplete library or edit tracks in an older version of Melodyne that doesn’t run on the frankenbeast.
And the M1Max chip in this Mini Mac would make the laptop feel as if it were an iPhone 6.
Instead of devoting too much time to this, let’s check out the rundown from other sites:
Nick Batzdorf’s Synth and Software: Are Apple’s Mac Studio Models a Good Fit for Music Studios?
The Verge: Apple’s Mac Studio
Gizmodo: Apple’s New Mac Studio Is a Compact Desktop With Groundbreaking Performance
With either an M1Max or an M1Ultra chip, 32 to 64 core GPU, up to 128GB of Ram, and up to 5x as fast as the previously released machines, this looks to be a worthy upgrade for any studio.
More Spotify Hatred: Bowie Producer Tony Visconti calls Spotify Disgusting over artist payments
K2700 Shootout: Kurzweil K2700 vs Yamaha Montage vs Roland Fantom vs Korg Nautilus!
Cancel Culture Ain’t Real: Morgan Wallen wins top honor at ACM Awards 2022 after ban for racial slur
Cancel Culture Is Too: The backlash over Kanye West’s Pete Davidson video
And most important: Muppets Spinoff Centered on Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem Gets Disney+ Series Order
The Muppets‘ unsung house band is stepping into the spotlight.
Disney+ announced Monday that it has handed a series order to The Muppets Mayhem, a half-hour comedy centered on Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem.
The series “will take audiences on a music-filled journey as, at long last, The Electric Mayhem Band records its first ever album,” per the streamer. Lilly Singh (A Little Late with Lilly Singh) will play the human lead role of Nora, the junior A&R executive tasked with managing and wrangling Dr. Teeth, Animal, Floyd Pepper, Janice, Zoot and Lips.
The series is being written and EP’d by Adam F. Goldberg (The Goldbergs), Bill Barretta (The Muppets) and Jeff Yorkes.
The Wayback Machine: Sonikmatter Interviews Lyle Mays (2001)
Composer extraordinaire Lyle Mays answered some questions recently for a 'virtual' interview via the internet. For those of you not familiar with his work, you may know him from the Pat Metheny Group with whom he composes and tours. Besides being a remarkable improviser (live composer), his work with synthesizers over the years has produced some truly unique textures for the PMG and also for his own albums. Lyle recently released an album based on his improvisations and orchestrated for synthesizers with a Yamaha Disklavier system, titled, Solo.
Instruments: the Therevox ET-5
Based on principles of the Ondes Martenot — meant to “be played with a metal ring worn on the right index finger. Sliding the ring along a wire produces "theremin-like" tones, generated by oscillations in vacuum tubes” with pressure switches on the ‘keyboard’.
Everything in this instrument is handmade, down to milling the wood used for the case, to honing the ring on a grinding wheel.
At a price less than $3000, it is as affordable as the first Kurzweil I purchased! Please note, as they are handmade, only about 20 are produced each year. Take a listen and then check out the website to see how these are made.
End of the Line: Yoko Ono Tribute Album
Frustrated with the public perception of Yoko Ono and her artistic legacy, Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard took it upon himself to put together the new tribute album Ocean Child: Songs Of Yoko Ono. The LP features contributions from heavy hitters like Yo La Tengo, Sharon Van Etten, the Flaming Lips, the Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt, Amber Coffman, US Girls, Jay Som, We Are KING, Thao, and Sudan Archives. We’ve already heard David Byrne and YLT’s take on “Who Has Seen The Wind?,” Japanese Breakfast’s “Nobody Sees Me Like You Do,” and Death Cab’s “Waiting For The Sunrise.”
Stream this album over on Stereogum.
Sonikmatter: Mind + Music + Technology
An occasional newsletter. Barely fact-checked and often wrong.
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Jim's online signature (which we can all learn from) was "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
God bless Jim and his family. May he rest in peace.