Blixa with Arturia, Roland, Behringer, Eurorack

Blixa returns to CatSynth today. We see an Arturia Drumbrute and Rackbrute stuffed with sundry Eurorack modules; a Behringer TD-3 (yellow edition) and a Roland TR-8s.

From Neil Parker via Facebook.

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.

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.

Black Kitten with Arturia MicroBrute (Red), Behringer Model D, Theremin

Cute black kitten sits atop an Arturia MicroBrute (red edition), above Behringer Model D synthesizer and next to a theremin. From Sinclair Castro via Facebook.

Arturia DrumBrute and Korg Minilogue xd

This cool calico cat has managed to play both the Arturia DrumBrute and Korg Minilogue xd at the same time 😸

From Drew Millar via Facebook.

CatSynth Pic: Arturia Keylab and BeatStep Pro

Cat sitting on a white keyboard, one of two in this studio. We see an Arturia Keylab 61 on the lower level, along with a BeatStep Pro (also from Arturia) and an M-Audio I/O. There are quite a few printouts for keyboard configurations and maps, which will surely come in handy for both human and feline 😸

From Pierre Rosique via Facebook.

CatSynth Pic: Roland, Moog, Waldorf, Korg, Arturia, and More

This cat sits proudly atop a four-level stand of keyboard synths. On Row 3 (below the cat), we see a Waldorf Blofeld and Moog Little Phatty Stage Edition. Below that a RolandJX-8P and Korg MS-20. On the bottom row is another Roland keyboard. And on top, the cat’s paws are sitting on an Arturia Spark. The instruments behind the cat are left as an exercise to the reader.

From Dimitri Chatzigiannakis via Facebook.

CatSynth Video: Meditation with Korg, Arturia, and White Cat

A very meditative piece from our friend Kemal Sabran. The little white cat is definitely relaxed by these calming sounds.

Gucci Boy KOMA Field Kit, Arturia BeatStep Pro, Modular

This cat is posing purrfectly with a Koma Field Kit and Field Kit FX, Arturia BeatyStep Pro, and modular synthesizer. I espy a Qu-Bit Chords and a Mutable Instrument Plaits (right between the ears).

From Jared Grim via the Facebook group KOMA Field Kit Users. Update: this handsome cat’s name is Gucci Boy.

If you haven’t done so already, please check out our intro to the KOMA Field Kit.

CatSynth Pic: Behringer Poly D

This cat has found a nice napping spot on top of a Behringer Poly D. We also see an Arturia keyboard and a Rolland VP9000 voice processor. From Steve Jones via Facebook.

The Behringer Poly D takes their Model D and expands it to four voices along with a wood-paneled keyboard reminiscent of the original Minimoog. The Roland VP9000 was released in 2000 as one of the first samplers to allow vocal manipulation of speed, pitch, and formant independently in real time.