Farewell to 2020, a year like no other

How does one summarize a year like this? Words like “unprecedented” seem trite, and we learned from our experience with 2016 that even a difficult year has its beautiful moments. 2020 started out normal enough, with our annual pilgrimage to NAMM but quickly veered into surreal territory, and that was before the first COVID-19 lockdown was announced…on my birthday. Everything that has happened since has happened in the shadow of the pandemic. Perhaps the lowest moment was losing our dear friend Serena Toxicat. But the year has also brought unique experiences and opportunities, such as making music with musicians I admire together on opposite sides of the country. Indeed, as I was grieving the sudden loss of Serena, I received a call from my then-new collaborator G Calvin Weston offering comfort and support, and we have developed a closer friendship along with our musical collaboration. That moment perhaps summarizes the complexity of 2020 as much as any.

It has also been a banner year for CatSynth TV with rapid growth in viewership and subscriptions, but also the craft of making the videos in a variety of structures: synth reviews, interviews, documentaries, and art pieces. Of course, a few things remain active on the blog, our cat-and-music pics, Wordless Wednesday, and the occasional article. But for the most part, the transition from blog to video is complete.

The year ends on a note of optimism for 2021. The vaccines are arriving (we just need to make sure people take them); things are a bit more hopeful politically in the country, and we can start to repair the damage of the past five years. The album I have been working on – a musical statement – is coming together and will be released in the first part of the new year. Our little household at CatSynth HQ is safe and healthy and closer than ever – even Sam Sam and Big Merp seem to be getting along better now. And of course, we’re going to continue to share more videos, images, and ideas.

2020 has reminded us that we cannot know what is in store, and that improbable things can have a tremendous impact on our lives. We will face what comes as best we can, and focus on what is most important. And thank you for continuing to be a part of this journey with us.

Cat and Modular (Make Noise, Instruo, SOMA Laboratory, Erica Synths, more)

A very pretty cat framed by a wide variety of modular synthesizers, including offerings from Make Noise, SOMA Laboratory (the Lyra-8 in the lower left corner), Instruo, Erica Synths, Mutable Instruments, and many more.

From Simon RD via Facebook. You can see this cat’s previous appearance here.

CatSynth Pic: Mae and Sonic Pi

Mae returns to the pages of CatSynth. This time she is reviewing code in Sonic Pi, a popular live-coding music system.

Submitted by Alessandro Cilano via our Facebook page.

I have never used Sonic Pi myself, but I am now curious to take a look at it given that it combines my interest in programming languages and electronic music.

You can see Mae’s other appearances via this link.

Boulinette and Novation Summit

A lovely scene with Boulinette posing in the window behind a Novation Summit synthesizer. There is a certain painterly quality about this image that I quite like.

From hgprs via Instagram.

Would you rather be a big fish in a small pond, or a small fish in a large pond? 🐠

D R E A M L A N D: Two Cats and a Massive Modular Synth

We kick off this week with an epic photo featuring two cats and a massive modular synthesizer system. One of them has decided that the modular is a great spot for a nap.

From blush_response via Instagram.

dreamland🌫

CatSynth Pic: Cat and Novation LaunchPad

We conclude this week with another beauty. This cat poses with a Novation Launchpad in a bath of colorful psychedelic lights.

From animalsarebeauty via Instagram.

ROBOTSPEAk, Moog Mother-32, Modular

A moody image featuring cat, Moog Mother-32, and modular synthesizers. From Steve Taormina of ROBOTSPEAk, our local synthesizer store in San Francisco.

Watch this video from ROBOTSPEAk’s 16th anniversary show.

CatSynth Pic: Orion and Sequential Prophet 12

This handsome fellow is orion.s.cat on Instagram, and poses with what I believe to be a Sequential Prophet 12, a personal favorite of mine.

This new room is awsome, meow, I really love it!! There, I found a very strange toy… I don’t know what it is but his black and white buttons make sound when we push them, amazing 🙀😻!

My daddy call it a “synth” and it makes “music”! So I like to play music with my daddy! And you my furriends? Do you like to listen and/or play music with your humans?

Have a good night everyone!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CICFK19qcmF/

CatSynth Video: Arturia MiniLab with Tony and Frankie

One from a treasure trove of performances on the Arturia MiniLab by cats Tony and Frankie on Instagram and TikTok. Listen to the accompanying mews in this one.

CatSynth Pics: Roland and Yamaha DX27

Roland the cat sits on top of a Yamaha DX27 synthesizer. From Leanne Pattinson via Facebook. Here is another photo of him when he was younger.

Although we see Roland with a Yamaha synth, we are informed that he also has several namesake synths as well.