CatSynth Pic: Demons of the Studio

The title says it all.聽 Two laser-eye cats with modular and tabletop synthesizers by Elektron and Arturia.聽 From blush_response via Instagram.

CatSynth Video: Tom Hall’s Cat on MiniBrute 2S

From Orb Mag on Facebook.

Tom Hall’s Cat Knows the game聽 馃樅鈿★笍

We espy a MiniBrute 2S and RackBrute in use.聽 We are quite fond of our MinBrute 2 here at CatSynth HQ.聽

CatSynth video: Studio Update

Mr. Maximillion chills in Charles Whiley’s updated studio.

Submitted by Charles Whiley via Facebook.

CatSynth Video: Sophie’s Cameo (Arturia Matrixbrute, Studiologic Sledge, Alesis Samplepad, more)

Submitted by Chrissie Caulfied via Twitter and YouTube.

Another garden-based synth jam to celebrate Stuart’s purchase of an Arturia Matrixbrute and Studiologic Sledge 2.0 Me: Elektron Digitone, Novation Circuit, Alesis Samplepad pro (rather badly at the start!)

Wait for Sophie to appear at 2:46 馃樃

The Making of Lake Merced

Today we talk about Lake Merced, as well as the recent video we made featuring it.

Lake Merced is located in the southwestern corner of San Francisco, in the vicinity of the SF Zoo and SF State University.

Lake Merced in San Francisco

Despite its odd shape and the fact that it borders three golf courses, it is actually a natural lake.聽 It is fed primarily by an underground spring.聽 In the 19th century, the lake briefly had an outlet to the ocean, approximately where the Great Highway breaks off from Skyline Boulevard, just south of the zoo.聽 The outlet is long gone, but the lake’s ecosystem retains some of its saltwater heritage among the fish and other wildlife that inhabit it. Lake Merced and its surrounding park remain one of the last and largest natural spaces left in the city (in spite of the golf courses), and is home to a variety of plant and animal life.聽 On the day I visited to shoot video, I encountered this egret.

But it is definitely an urban natural space, with sounds and sights from the surrounding city mixing with nature.聽 I am particularly fond of this view looking east over the lake to some apartment buildings.聽 It brings to mind Flushing Meadows in the New York City borough of Queens.

I have been spending more time in the western neighborhoods of San Francisco of late, and Lake Merced is one of the spots I revisit.聽 This is what inspired me to make it the subject of a CatSynth TV video, complete with original synthesizer music.

Here is see the final post-production on the video in Pro Tools.聽 Front and center is Tracktion’s BioTek software synthesizer, which I reviewed during NAMM 2016.聽 It was among the primary instruments used in this video where I blended its mix of natural and traditional-synthesizer sounds with the sounds of the field video.

I also made extensive use of the聽4ms Spectral Multiband Resonator聽and Epoch Modular Benjolin (designed by Rob Hordjik).聽 They both have very elemental sounds that resemble air and water.聽 The Benjolin is chaotic by design, and a small turn of a knob can change it from liquidy to screeching, so it’s sometimes a challenge to get a good recording that fits the concept of the music.聽 The SMR is a lot of fun to play, especially using alternate tunings and changing the spread and morph parameters.聽 A clock is used to constantly shift the bands.

Rounding out the sound palette were the聽Arturia MiniBrute 2,聽Mimimoog Model D, and聽Metasonix R53聽vacuum-tube waveshaper and ring modulator.

The Moog Model D, the MiniBrute and several of the modules make cameos during the video, as does Sam Sam.聽 Watch the video all the way through to spot her 馃樅

This was a fun video to shoot and put together, something a bit more creative and abstract than our usual demos or live-show reports.聽 I have more of these waiting in the queue to be made…

 

CatSynth Pic: Charlotte and Arturia MiniBrute, Roland SH-101, and Korg MS-2000

Charlotte returns and shows off her Arturia MiniBrute, Roland SH-101 and Korg MS-2000 synthesizers.聽 Submitted by Lee Tizzard via our Facebook page.

CatSynth Pic: Cat and Arturia MiniBrute

Our black-and-white feline friend returns in this black-and-white photo featuring the Arturia MiniBrute, first edition.聽 Submitted by Steve Peglar via our Facebook page.

We at CatSynth have been having a lot of fun with the Arturia MiniBrute 2, which builds on the original’s unique sound (and “brute factor”).聽 You can see our video demo here.

CatSynth Pic: Zelda the Grey with Ableton Push and Arturia Keystep

Zelda the Grey returns, with an Ableton Push controller and Arturia Keystep.聽 From聽skaterdays聽on Instagram.

@zelda_the_grey聽is sleeping on the job again in the music studio.

 

CatSynth Video: neu路ro路trans路mit路ter (Mr. Maximilion in the Studio)

A new video from our friends Mr. Maximillion and Charles Whiley, featuring a beat-based jam with sundry synthesizers.

Between the fast pans and cute shots of our feline friend, we at CatSynth were able to identify the following instruments:

  • Novation Peak
  • JoMox Alpha Base
  • Arturia MatrixBrute
  • Novation Super Nova
  • Synthstrom Deluge
  • Oberheim Matrix 6R
  • Erica Synths Acid Box II

What other synths can you find in the video? 馃樅

House of Dreams Cat Shelter, Portland (with CatSynth pics)

Our Volt Divers Cat-tastic edition show in Portland this past month raised funds for House of Dreams, a no-kill cat shelter that specializes in older cats and those with medical conditions that may make them more challenging to adopt out.聽 聽I had the chance to visit the shelter and made this video from the experience.

House of Dreams is, quite literally, a house at a non-disclosed location in Northeast Portland.聽 Most of the space is dedicated to the cats, who have can move about freely in their respective rooms.聽 We saw cats doing what cats do: play, interact, eat, and nap.聽 And they certainly get a lot of love and attention from the all-volunteer staff.

The is a separate section of the house for cats who have tested positive for feline leukemia (FeLV).聽 FeLV-positive cats to have special medical needs, and should be with other FeLV-positive cats, but they can still lead happy and full lives.聽 Indeed, a couple of the most playful cats I met while I was there were in the FeLV section.

This is Snowball, probably the biggest ham among the cats.

These “CatSynth pics” of the cats at House of Dreams were taken by our friend and Volt-Divers host聽Jeph Nor, a synthesizer virtuoso in his own right and human companion of聽Runkl.

This is Sassy, who definitely had an attitude to match her name.聽 (She appears at the end of our video giving us a “look” 馃樃).聽 聽Below is sweet Spice.

Flicka was one of my “tour guides” who followed me around.

Flicka from House of Dreams cat shelter

All the cats seemed pampered and well-loved by the staff.聽 They had lots of personal attention (if they wanted it).聽 聽Plus, the entire space was immaculate and full of furniture and toys to both stimulate and comfort the cats.聽 As a small shelter focusing on cats with special needs, they have fewer overall adoptions – each one is a celebration, though often a farewell to a friend that the volunteers have grown to love.聽 But they do have a good track record of adopting out, and often keep in touch with their “alumni” and human caregivers.

We at CatSynth were happy to visit and support them, both through our video and through the Volt Divers show.聽 If you want to find out more about House of Dreams, including information on donations, please visit their聽website.