Art on Father’s Day

For Father’s Day, we have some “patrilineal” art to share. This assemblage was created by my dad, combining a painting of his with a handkerchief that belonged to my grandfather. The material of the handkerchief is decades old and decaying, and the tears and texture make for a very interesting blend with the colors and shapes of the painting below.

We at CatSynth wish a happy Father’s Day to all the human and feline dads out there.

CatSynth Pic: Oreo and Bella with Volca Modular

Oreo and Bella show off their Volca Modular synthesizer. By John Weiner via Facebook.

These two love the low octaves!!!!

You can see our first look at the Volca Modular from NAMM in this video – or read more in this article.

Wordless Wednesday: California City

The modernist pavilion at the center of California City’s central park. California City was one of the strangest towns I have visited.

CatSynth Pic: Octave Cat

A cat contemplates its namesake synthesizer, the Octave CAT. From Doug Terrbone via Facebook.

Not surprisingly, we have an original Octave CAT of our own. In fact, it was the first vintage analog synth that I acquired, all the way back in 2005. And it’s a powerful mono synth, with multiple simultaneously waveforms and a sub oscillator. It probably needs some maintenance, but otherwise still runs great – just need to let the oscillators warm up.

CatSynth Pic: Black Cat, Minimoog, EMS Synthi, Rhodes, and Doepfer

A black cat playing both a Minimoog synthesizer and a Rhodes Stage electric piano. Nearby is an EMS Synthi and a rack full of Doepfer modules. From Mark L. Greco via Facebook.

There are definite musical advantages to using all four limbs.

CatSynth Pic: Roland JD-800

This cat has decided to lounge and take a bath near a classic Roland JD-800. From Brandon M. Rogers via Facebook.

The JD-800 is a beast. It uses a similar synthesizer architecture to the D-50, but sports two rows of sliders making it easier to program and change timbre in real time.

CatSynth Pic: Orange Cat, Behringer Neutron, Arturia Keystep

A pretty orange tabby plays some notes on an Arturia Keystep and Behringer Neutron synthesizer. From Karl Garcia via Facebook.

In the middle of a patch this cat just sits down on the keyboard and gets the arpeggiator going lol.

Of all the synthesizers in Behringer’s growing catalog, the Neutron is one of the two that most interests me personally, the other being the new VC340 Vocoder. You can see my encounter with Behringer’s synths before NAMM in this video.

Wordless Wednesday: Panamint Valley Sunset

Sunset in the Panamint Valley after flash floods.

A beautiful sunset in the Panamint Valley after a flash flood. The Panamint Valley is another deep valley just to the west of its more famous neighbor, Death Valley, in California. This watery desert sunset was also the subject of a recent CatSynth TV with original synthesizer soundtrack.

Tiananmen Square Anniversaries

Ten years ago, I frequently traveling to China for work, and found myself in Beijing during the week of the twentieth anniversary of the protests and massacre in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. As the thirtieth anniversary is upon us, it seems a good opportunity to look back at that experience.

Tiananmen Square

Tiananmen Square is a YUGE space, mostly empty. It is bounded on the north by the Tiananmen Gate to the Forbidden City. On one side is the Palace of the Republic, the seat of the Chinese government, on the other is another imposing government building that I’m pretty sure was the culture ministry. To the south, before several temples, is the imposing tomb of Mao Zedong.

In front of the Forbidden City
Chilling out in front of Palace of the Republic
Gearing up for Expo 2010

What was most notable was how ordinary things were, just a mixture of Beijingers and tourists wandering about like any other day. Indeed the most subversive thing I saw during that visit was my own photo with our mascot in front of Mao’s portrait.

Mao and “mao”

There was almost no mention of the anniversary in any media. The big story around town seemed to be the preparations for Expro 2010 in Shanghai. One English-language newspaper had an article about the “last of the 1989 hooligans” being released from prison, but that was about it. My colleagues, who are younger and would have been small children at the time, barely even knew about it except as rumors. One did check out a video via internet tunneling and was shocked to know that her country could have done something like that – but she did accept that it was true.

It’s hard to say if my experience of young Chinese encountering Tiananmen Square as we know it is at all representative, as my friends and colleagues tended to be more educated, cosmopolitan, and a bit jaded. Indeed, one young woman from the more conservative countryside whom I befriended in Suzhou on that same trip seemed to be less cynical and more toeing the party line about respect for authority (and reverence for Mao). I suspect things are even tighter and more controlled now, given the current Chinese leadership under Xi Jinping. Only time will tell how the country comes to reckon with this particular chapter of its past.

CatSynth Pic: Esper in the Studio

Esper inspects a Cubase session in the studio with his humans. Submitted by Hope Tallen via our Facebook page.

Esper loves working with his Dad in the studio. He constantly plays on his synths and loves watching Cubase

We’d love to hear some of Esper’s music.