Two of my favorite local institutions, the Vintage Synthesizer Museum and the Cat Man of West Oakland, are back together again for this photoshoot featuring a beautiful siamese cat and the Octave CAT synthesizer.
I particularly like seeing the CATStick, which I had a chance to play when I visited the Vintage Synthesizer Museum last year.
Cricket sits atop an Elektron Analog Rytm and next to a Sequentix Circlon synthesizer. Submitted by Steve Curry Bilek via our Facebook page.
The Eletkron Rytm (and the later Rytm Mk II) are well known as prized as analog drum machines. The Sequentix Circlon is perhaps not as well known, but it is a beautiful-looking multi-track sequencer. I imagine Cricket can make some great beats and other music with this pair.
Our first CatSynth pic of 2021 features an image from stretta on Twitter. A beautiful cat, with a Roland A-50 keyboard, a Cwejman S1 (semi-modular synthesizer) and several Make Noise modules (we have that Intellijel case here at CatSynth HQ).
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.