The vast majority of my recent photography has been done with the iPhone, but for the upcoming Outsound New Music Summit, I will need to use the SLR and lenses. So I’m getting back into practice with Sam Sam.
I think this one came out beautifully, especially as Sam Sam was being the perfect model. I recently got a new faster camera, and so far it has been a joy to use, especially with our existing portrait lens on manual. With the iPhone, I have forgotten both the fun and hazards of managing optics. When focused properly it really brings out the detail of her fur and puts the background in the background. Some shots work better than others, of course. This one was less than perfect, but I really liked her vocal expression.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t shoot some pictures of her scratch’n’roll.
Sam Sam definitely knows how to ham it up for the camera.
I will be on photography duty for most nights at the Outsound New Music Summit, or at least the nights I’m not also performing with my band CDP. You can find out more about the festival, including tickets, on the official website.
It’s our twelfth anniversary! It’s hard to believe that this little project I started as a lark in 2006 is still going and expanding. Here is that first picture of Luna that went up on July 19, 2006!
As always, we look to the anniversary as a moment for reflection and for changes. We don’t have compiled detailed stats this year, but we do have several high-level milestones. Most notably, we launched CatSynth TV last October, and since then have shared 74 videos! More are on the way. We have continued to develop our apps, including the original CatSynth: The App! and Highway☆, though there is so much more we want to do there, both with existing and new apps. And Sam Sam has blossomed into the new star of CatSynth! With so many facets competing for our attention, there has been less time for the long-form reviews that once dominated this site, though we still write long-form articles when we can. So with that, we make some announcements:
- Sam Sam finally takes her rightful place on the masthead alongside the late great Luna! It’s a change that is long overdue. And appropriately, we are featuring one of her scratch’n’roll poses.
- We are going to open up the site to new voices. We have already had a couple of guest music reviews, and of course the semi-regular Mensa Cats cartoon series. This is going to expand in the coming months. If you have an idea for an article you would like to contribute, please let us know.
- And as always, please keep sending us your cat-and-gear pics.
So please join Sam Sam and me in celebrating twelve years of CatSynth! We look forward to sharing many more with all of you.
It’s a good time to check in with Sam Sam. Life is good for her at CatSynth HQ, as she relaxes, gets brushed and cuddled, runs around, plays, explores…it’s good to be the cat!
Here we see Sam Sam on the upstairs balcony.
Behind her to the left is a painting/collage by Kasper Rodenborn. We acquired it at his solo show at Far Out Gallery here in San Francisco last year. You can read our review of the show and also watch our video (it was one of our earliest on the CatSynth TV channel).
Of course, Sam Sam never misses an opportunity to demonstrate her trademark “scratch’n’roll” move.
It’s irresistible and definitely gets my attention whenever I’m sitting nearby. She does love getting attention. For example, her she is yesterday in the studio while I was busy working on our latest synth-demo video.
We hope you are all having an enjoyable and relaxing weekend.
It’s been a stressful few weeks for us at CatSynth. Not bad per se, just stressful. During times like this, I often lie down to reduce psychic entropy and practice disintegration of thought. And Sam Sam is often lying down next to me.
Like most cats, Sam Sam is quite good at napping. One might even say she is an “expert sleeper”, but that might cause confusion with one of the modular-synth manufacturers we sometimes feature. She does have her own unique way of curling up, though, pull her tail close to her head and sometimes even grabbing it with her paw. It’s adorable, and it never fails to make me smile.
She enjoys the soft blankets, either the burgundy or gray. But she almost always chooses the same corner of the bed. This is not surprising, as all of us at CatSynth are creatures of habit.
We hope you all have a relaxing and enjoyable weekend. For us, it will be a bit stressful once again, but with very focused study and practice on both the technological and musical fronts. But I will do my best to keep Sam Sam’s example in mind as I work through it. We can learn much from our cats!
It looks like we have a new neighbor at CatSynth!
We have been noticing a new feline presence around CatSynth HQ, through sounds and bits of motion. But this is the first time we saw him/her on the patio ledge. It’s a little tuxedo cat, like Sam Sam.
This cat presumably lives in one of the apartments just beyond our patio. We often see him sitting on the ledge behind this glass-brick window.
As one might imagine, Sam Sam is rather curious about this new cat outside her windows.
She is a bit anxious and agitated by the cat’s presence, and often jumps up on this sideboard and even the window ledge above! Her is always fully fluffed during these encounters. I suspect she is feeling both intrigued and territorial at the same time. (We have already started clearing off the most fragile items and tchotchkes from the glass table).
We hope you have a great weekend. And we’d love to hear about adventures your cats have with their feline neighbors 😺
Those who follow our Instagram are regularly treated to photos and videos of Sam Sam and her adventures around CatSynth HQ. For those who don’t, we can assure you that she is doing well and is being spoiled rotten.
Sam Sam has made this blanket one of her favorite spots for napping and relaxing. It is quite warm and soft. In this video, we see her kneading it and purring up a storm.
It’s good to be the cat!
Here we see her posing with our Korg Volca FM sytnhesizer.
This photo was taken while preparing for our recent video on the Volca FM, which you can check out on YouTube. One of the nice things about these small battery-powered synths like the Korg Volcas and the Roland Boutiques is that we play them on the bed. And if I’m there playing a synth, reading, or napping, Sam Sam is likely to follow.
We hope you have a fun weekend, however you define it. And if you are Instagram, please do follow us 😻.
Sam Sam has her usual spots, but sometimes she sits down in unexpected places. For example, yesterday she entered “kitty loaf” mode in front of an overflow shelf just outside the studio that continued several old E-MU modules.
The E-MU Orbit, Carnival and Classic Keys are all variants of the first generation Proteus. The Orbit, in particular, was iconic in its time, but all rather obsolete now. I do still use my Proteus 2000 module (a Vintage Pro with Mo’Phatt and Beat Garden expansion ROMS) quite often – you never know when you might need a few lines of Mellotron flute or strings or a classic highly-filter-swept drum loop. There are other ways to get these musical elements, but the P2K remains quick and accessible. The Morpheus also still has a place of honor in the studio.
Both of these later-generation E-MU instruments had more to offer, especially the z-plane filters that the Morpheus took to the extreme. These days, I do find myself experimenting with the Morpheus Eurorack module from Rossum Electro-Music more than the old E-MU box, which is just the z-plane filter with CV-controlled parameters. Even after using it extensively in recent shows, I still have a lot to learn and practice with it.
When we’re not up in the studio, Sam Sam enjoys spending time on the living room rug and perfecting her patented “scratch-and-roll” move.
I have too many photos of her in this pose now, it’s just hard to resist. Of course, what she wants is not a photo, but pets and then brushing. I am more than happy to oblige.
Sam Sam makes her cartoon debut in Boink Boink Basement!, our latest offering from artist J.B.
We think she fits right on with the myriad other fascinating elements in this surreal drawing. And snoopervising is one of the things she does best in creative settings, as can be seen in this previous post.
I have been spending a lot of time at the main software-development and video workstation of late. As we have seen before, Sam Sam loves to drop by and say hi.
She seems to really like the open shelves as much as I do.
As one can see, cat decor abounds in the studio. But we also have some other items on display in these shelves.
On the left (of course) is a Bernie Sanders action figure, made by Brooklyn-based FCTRY, as well as a signed card from the 1990s when we still just Vermont’s representative. And to the right of Bernie is our Lego recording studio.
The studio is from a series of Lego kits specifically aimed at young women, and I loved the idea of having a “studio in the studio.” It’s great the engineer is a woman, but we thought it needed one more addition.
Yes, that’s a little Lego black cat! A tribute to Luna, whom we still miss dearly. 💜
Apparently, even Lego cats shed. But our life-size studio tends to be entropy-prone as well, especially before and after live shows. It definitely needs another clean-up…but first we have a lot of creative projects ahead this weekend. We hope you all have a happy and productive weekend as well.
Sometimes Sam Sam ends up in CatSynth pics of her own, as when she recently got up to explore the redesigned studio space. She is fascinated by the new decorative shelves as well as the narrow band between the video/office corner and the modular synth.
Perhaps she is picking up some scents on the modular case from our recent live performances.
I have been having a lot of fun in the studio lately, especially making videos and exploring our synthesizer collection in greater depth. I really should be working on some more formal compositions, but it seems I am in more of experimenting and exploratory mood at the moment. I have also, unfortunately, been battling insomnia. It ebbs and flows, and on the worst night (about a week ago), I decided to sit up for a while and play with the Roland JP-08 boutique synth.
The size is actually ideal for playing in bed late at night. I spent some time exploring the architecture (it’s basically a Jupiter 8 with a few extensions) and came up with some new and unusual patches. We hope to share them with you in an upcoming CatSynth TV.