We are celebrating our 500th episode of CatSynth TV! Hard to believe we have made so many of these, but we have and we’re still having fun with it.
This one features numerous synthesizers, including the Octave CAT, Pocket Gamelan, and various instruments from Arturia, Cherry Audio, Moog Music, Strymon, MOK, Buchla, Metasonix, Make Noise, and more. There is also an appearance by Sam Sam at about the 1-minute mark.
I have remarked on numerous occasions that this year seemed to go by exceptionally fast. There was hope, excitement, optimism giving way to a mixture of frustration, cynicism and resolve as the pandemic and political situations dragged on and darkened. I have seen the goodness in many people, while I have witnessed the worst in others. But our personal year at CatSynth was a rich one filled with many experiences.
Most notably, the new album Meow Meow Band is out. I am really proud of the music, the presentation, the collaboration with other musicians and everything out it. Please do take a listen if you haven’t already. It was also a chance to reconnect with the city, go out on the road and into the desert, and start experiencing live music again. Of course, most of the time this year was spent here at HQ with our music, Sam Sam, and Big Merp. I always value time alone with my cats, music, and ideas and this moment in time has provided ample opportunity for that.
It’s been another strong year of growth for CatSynth TV. The most popular videos continue to be our synth demos and tutorials, but I’m also proud of music videos, highway videos, and expanded review series. There were fewer videos total this year. We took more time to get them right, but also time off to focus on other things (like the album). Trying to find that balance between the drive to always do more and the limits of time and resources will always be a challenge. We close out the year of videos by spending some time with Sam Sam and Big Merp.
We at CatSynth are grateful to all of you who chose to join or continue this journey with us in 2021, whether here on the blog, on CatSynth TV, or on social media. It is a fool’s errand to guess what will happen in the coming year, but we do have many goals, aspirations, and hopes; we will take each day as it comes.
Wishing you all a Happy New Year and health and joy in 2022.
It was two years ago that Marlon, aka “Big Merp” came to live with us at CatSynth HQ! We had already known him for a while, but circumstances arose where he needed to find a new permanent home, and we were more than happy to oblige.
We first met him in 2018. He was living on the street in the Temescal section of Oakland, California.
Life on the streets can be rough, and it showed on his face. But he was incredibly friendly and loved people, and enjoyed coming indoors to hang out. He was clearly a former house cat, likely abandoned. We’re glad we found him and gave him a home. The posh indoor life has been good to him.
Big Merp is a “synth cat” – he loves to get up on the main instrument desk to be close to the action. There is the iconic photo lounging with the Novation LaunchPad Pro and Arturia MicroFreak above, as well as many others.
Although he bonded with the humans right away (including visitors), things were a bit more difficult with Sam Sam. She was not happy with this newcomer to her home and tried her best to avoid him for quite a while. Over time, however, her confidence returned and the two grew more comfortable with each other’s presence. They may not be the best of friends, but they do at least accept one another and share space.
Please join us in wishing Big Merp a very happy second Gotcha Day!
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.
It’s the 4th anniversary of Sam Sam’s arrival at CatSynth HQ. It’s hard to believe it’s already been four years, but it’s also hard to imagine life here without her.
On December 7, 2016, I brought Luna’s ashes home. On that same day, a friend drove up from Southern California to San Francisco to deliver Sam Sam. Quite a transition.
Sam Sam was rather timid at first, spending most of her time under the bed, but coming out to eat but also to explore and give her little characteristic squeaks. It wasn’t surprising that she was a little skittish. She was thrust into a completely new place and situation, after a serious of stressful homes. But she soon adjusted and become comfortable, and her goofy and sassy personality blossemed.
This was a paradise for her, and she loved being spoiled. But in 2019, her world was once again upended with the arrival of Big Merp. She didn’t welcome this new “interloper”. It has taken a lot of time and work from all of us at CatSynth HQ over the past year, but we got them to the point where they could at least tolerate one another, and now they can even spend time together, if not somewhat warily.
“Little Sam Sam” continues to delight us all with her little voice and her cute antics. We love her dearly.
Please join us in wishing Sam Sam a very happy 4th Gotcha Day!