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.   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.  Most of the space is dedicated to the cats, who have can move about freely in their respective rooms.  We saw cats doing what cats do: play, interact, eat, and nap.  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).  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.  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 Jeph Nor, a synthesizer virtuoso in his own right and human companion of Runkl.

This is Sassy, who definitely had an attitude to match her name.  (She appears at the end of our video giving us a “look” 😸).   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.  They had lots of personal attention (if they wanted it).   Plus, the entire space was immaculate and full of furniture and toys to both stimulate and comfort the cats.  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.  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.  If you want to find out more about House of Dreams, including information on donations, please visit their website.

 

CatSynth Pic: Teenage Engineering OPportunity-1 (in space)

OPportunity-1

OPportunity-1
Cats On Synthesizers In Space

Via the Cats on Synthesizers in Space Facebook Page.

CatSynth pic: Cat and Teenage Engineering OP-1

Teenage Engineering OP-1

From Cats on Synthesizers in Space.

OK Cat People…… I just love this one ….. A serious looking, orange and white, tabby cat with a Teenage Engineering OP-1 Synthesizer experiencing zero gravity in a Space Ship. The OP-1 looks like a toy, but it is actually very powerful, feature packed little Synthesizer.

We have long been intrigued by the OP-1. Here is our visit to their NAMM 2014 booth.

We have long been intrigued by the OP-1. Here is our visit to their NAMM 2014 booth.

CatSynth pic: Pittsburgh Modular and Teenage Engineering

Cat, Pittsburgh Modular and Teenage Engineering

The cat is definitely curious about the Pittsburgh Modular system. From Iam Laptopboy on Facebook.

CatSynth pic: Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator

Teenage Engineering pocket operator

Submitted by John F. Elberstein via Twitter.

“OK, it’s just a pocket synth, but there’s a cat with it ^^

Amidst the overwhelming abundance of synths at NAMM, we managed to miss this. If you have experience or opinions on the Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator series, please share.

CatSynth pic: Teenage Engineering OP-1

10011772_10153092619689625_1680246064_o

Submitted by Brandon Douglas via Facebook. Cats and the OP-1 make a great combination.

NAMM 2014: Teenage Engineering OP-1 and OpLab

Our friends at Teenage Engineering were back at NAMM, with the latest iterations of the OP-1 and OpLab.

20140124-IMG_9934

The little screen on the OP-1 continues to delight, with one of the most unique interfaces from a non touch screen.  They added a new module that allows one to use the device as an Etch-A-Sketch and draw out pitch contours.  It even includes the shake-to-erase gesture.  The little cranks that go on top of the knobs are also new.

The OpLab, including some branded sensors, seems to finally be ready for prime time.

 

20140124-IMG_9935

The OpLab does allow one to use alternative sensors, and outputs control voltage suitable for analog modular synths in addition to controlling the OP-1.

Teenage Engineering OP-1 and Oplab

Teenage Engineering is always fun. That goes for both playing the instruments and visiting their both at NAMM. We remember the OP-1 from the previous show:

Teenage Engineering introduced Oplab this time around. It’s a DIY system with a small versatile connectivity hub and variety of available sensors, including this shoe:

The heart of the system is the Oplab device itself, with CV inputs and outputs (in a format that connects easily to Eurorack format modules, the OP-1 and other devices), MIDI and USB. The USB can used to connect to an iPad to control synth apps or receive control data. Similarly, the analog CV and custom digital connections serve both directions. In addition to the shoe, they have several available sensors, including pressure, tap and rotation, though they strongly encourage users to bring their own.

The little eviscerated hard-drive on the right is an example of the DIY spirit of the system. It turns out one can spin the disk inside a hard drive and generate useful pulses for temporal control. I had never thought of using a hard drive as a controller before.

The Oplab and its related devices should be available later this spring. I’m definitely intrigued.

CatSynth pic: Go$$ip by Luke’s Anger – a Teenage Engineering OP-1 Track

Photo from luke sanger to accomapny his track go$$ip, a whispering op-1 groove…. Follow this link for more info – the track can be heard below.

Via matrixsynth.

Duke Slammer: Go$$ip by Luke’s Anger

CatSynth pic: Jackson and the OP-1

Another photo of Jackson with the Teenage Engineering OP-1, from Maggie Osterberg on flickr. You can see a previous post of Jackson here.

If you would like to submit your own cat+synthesizer picture, you can post on facebook, tweet us at @catsynth, or use our submission form.

Cats on Tuesday.