Cat with an epic wall of modular. Submitted by Steve Taormina of ROBOTSPEAk, our local synthesizer store in San Francisco. You can see many posts previous posts here, as well as several videos on CatSynth TV.
Meet Sniff. He is a Maine Coon and the son of Zatoichi who previously appeared with Metsonix gear. Sniff poses proudly with a Metsonix D-2000 and S-2000 along with several black modules. An impressive collection indeed!
Submitted by Palle Dahlstedt via the Metasonix Users Group on Facebook.
That is one handsome cat. And we at CatSynth are fans of Metasonix – I would like to have a D-2000 in the collection at HQ some day.
Our friends at Metasonix are notorious for the colorful names on their products (especially the pre-modular pedals). Here we see Zatoichi the cat posing with the G-1000 “Fucking Fucker”, a mangling tube-based guitar amp.
Big Merp jumps up on the ledge behind the modular synths (the main system as well as the RackBrute). Also present are the Deptronics Thunderbell, Moog Mother 32, Roland Boutique VP-03 (with owl), and the Korg Volca Beats.
Poor Merp has had to wear the cone of shame since his surgery on Friday, but as this picture shows, by Wednesday he was feeling much better and back to his regular mischievous self. So we decided to liberate him from the cone.
A beautiful white cat sits atop a Crumar Bit 99 synthesizer, and beneath a Roland Juno 106 and Korg MS-20. We also see some Eurorack modules, including some Doepfer and a Metasonix yellow module – most likely an R-53 like the one sitting near me as I write this.
Today we talk about Lake Merced, as well as the recent video we made featuring it.
Lake Merced is located in the southwestern corner of San Francisco, in the vicinity of the SF Zoo and SF State University.
Despite its odd shape and the fact that it borders three golf courses, it is actually a natural lake. It is fed primarily by an underground spring. In the 19th century, the lake briefly had an outlet to the ocean, approximately where the Great Highway breaks off from Skyline Boulevard, just south of the zoo. The outlet is long gone, but the lake’s ecosystem retains some of its saltwater heritage among the fish and other wildlife that inhabit it. Lake Merced and its surrounding park remain one of the last and largest natural spaces left in the city (in spite of the golf courses), and is home to a variety of plant and animal life. On the day I visited to shoot video, I encountered this egret.
But it is definitely an urban natural space, with sounds and sights from the surrounding city mixing with nature. I am particularly fond of this view looking east over the lake to some apartment buildings. It brings to mind Flushing Meadows in the New York City borough of Queens.
I have been spending more time in the western neighborhoods of San Francisco of late, and Lake Merced is one of the spots I revisit. This is what inspired me to make it the subject of a CatSynth TV video, complete with original synthesizer music.
Here is see the final post-production on the video in Pro Tools. Front and center is Tracktion’s BioTek software synthesizer, which I reviewed during NAMM 2016. It was among the primary instruments used in this video where I blended its mix of natural and traditional-synthesizer sounds with the sounds of the field video.
I also made extensive use of the 4msSpectral Multiband Resonator and Epoch Modular Benjolin (designed by Rob Hordjik). They both have very elemental sounds that resemble air and water. The Benjolin is chaotic by design, and a small turn of a knob can change it from liquidy to screeching, so it’s sometimes a challenge to get a good recording that fits the concept of the music. The SMR is a lot of fun to play, especially using alternate tunings and changing the spread and morph parameters. A clock is used to constantly shift the bands.
Rounding out the sound palette were the Arturia MiniBrute 2, Mimimoog Model D, and Metasonix R53 vacuum-tube waveshaper and ring modulator.
The Moog Model D, the MiniBrute and several of the modules make cameos during the video, as does Sam Sam. Watch the video all the way through to spot her 😺
This was a fun video to shoot and put together, something a bit more creative and abstract than our usual demos or live-show reports. I have more of these waiting in the queue to be made…
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.
No visit to NAMM is complete without a stop at the booth of Big City Music. There were familiar faces and instruments, but a few new things as well.
The Mellotron micro is the latest in the Mellotron series. It’s small and compact, and with an expected price $800-$1000 USD it’s more affordable than the others in the series (although still quite pricey).
Metasonix is at it again. The big yellow box that Big City Music always brings to the show sported some new modules in silver.
Among them was the RK2 XSVCA. It’s not just a VCA, but has distortion, feedback and out-of-phase outputs among other features. The marketing material is everything we have come to know and love from Metasonix.
There are always some odd and unusual pedals. These pedals from Indu Trielectric were quite visually intriguing.
The maker’s descriptive text – much less colorful than Metasonix’s – suggested that this was a bit of a Swiss Army Knife with lots of features, including “chaotic reverb” but it also came with the admonition to the user to expect weirdness and imprecision, traits that can be quite useful for music. I wasn’t able to hear it at the time, but might get a chance to later.