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Brief Blogs for Week Ending 2013-04-25

Written by v on April 25, 2013 – 9:00 am -

  • Paul's Extreme Sound Stretch lets you stretch any audio file out to any length of time. Good for making textures – http://t.co/GXHq7R4eXl ->
  • Hospital installs room designed by Brian Eno, godfather of ambient music, after calming doctor's mother-in-law – http://t.co/muO4Ad9pHx ->

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Brief Blogs for Week Ending 2013-04-11

Written by v on April 11, 2013 – 9:00 am -

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Brief Blogs for Week Ending 2013-03-14

Written by v on March 14, 2013 – 9:00 am -

  • Behind the Scenes – the making of Calvin Harris's music video – "Ready for the Weekend" – http://t.co/uiCEnM1db0 ->

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Brief Blogs for Week Ending 2013-03-07

Written by v on March 7, 2013 – 9:00 am -

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Brief Blogs for Week Ending 2012-09-13

Written by v on September 13, 2012 – 9:00 am -

  • Large Australian musical instrument retailer Allans Billy Hyde goes into receivership:
    http://t.co/2HZUeBJV ->
  • Slashdot: More evidence that musical memories are stored in a different part of the brain compared to other memories: http://t.co/M7FdfGcb ->

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Brief Blogs for Week Ending 2012-05-24

Written by v on May 24, 2012 – 9:00 am -

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Google Honours Robert Moog’s Birthday with Playable Analog Synth

Written by v on May 23, 2012 – 12:41 pm -

Google Honours Robert Moog's 78th Birthday with a Playable Analog Synth Keyboard and 4-Track Recorder

Today is the 78th Birthday of the late Electrical Engineer and Electronic Music pioneer Robert Moog, who died in 2005 at the age of 71.

Google has marked his birthday by placing a playable analog synth keyboard above the search box on its home page. Using your mouse you can play the keyboard by clicking on the keys as well as adjusting the oscillator waveforms, filters and a bunch of other settings. To the right, there is a 4-track tape recorder that you can use to record, playback and even share your tunes.

Robert Moog is most famous for inventing the Moog Synthesizer – one of the most influential analog subtractive synthesizers – made popular by Wendy Carlos’s Album “Switched-on Bach” and his work on Stanley Kubrick’s film “A Clockwork Orange”.

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Electronic Disco Music Diva Donna Summer Dies at 63

Written by v on May 17, 2012 – 11:00 pm -

In sad news, Donna Summer lost her life to lung cancer earlier today at the age of 63. Born into an African-American family from Boston Massachusetts, she started singing in church choir groups before progressing into musicals, psychedelic rock and finally achieving great fame in the disco music era of the 70’s.

For me, her greatest work was from her collaboration with Italian producer and electronic music pioneer Giorgio Moroder, with whom she made her classic and highly influential hit “I Feel Love” [1977] and the lesser known “With Your Love” from the “Thank God It’s Friday” soundtrack [1978].

I Feel Love:

With Your Love:

Her other big hits include “Love to Love You Baby” [1975], “Hot Stuff” [1979], “Last Dance” [1978] and the post-disco “She Works Hard for the Money” [1983]

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The Fairlight CMI

Written by v on February 14, 2012 – 12:29 pm -

Fairlight CMI Series II

The Fairlight CMI (Computer Musical Instrument) was the world’s first polyphonic digital sampling synthesiser. It was developed in Australia by Peter Vogel and Kim Ryrie and first released in 1979.

It could record natural sounds from a microphone, then allow the user to view and modify the waveforms on a monitor using a light pen. Sounds could also be constructed from scratch by drawing a waveform on the screen. There was also a large library of pre-recorded samples on floppy disks, which became staples of 80’s pop music.

To understand how revolutionary the Fairlight CMI was at that time, most electronic musicians were still using analogue synthesizers that required manual patching of cables or setting lots of switches and dials.

The Series I Fairlight was equipped with a 73-key velocity-sensitive keyboard and supported 8 voices, each with a sample memory of 16kB, allowing sounds to be sampled at 16kHz with 8 bits of resolution. By the mid-80’s, later models had increased this to allow 16-bit sampling and higher sample rates.

Due to its use of cutting edge technology, the Fairlight CMI was very expensive, with a base price around $25,000 in 1980, and was only affordable by big-name musicians, production studios and universities. Famous users of the Fairlight include Peter Gabriel, Stevie Wonder, Kate Bush and Thomas Dolby.

Here in Australia, the Fairlight was famously used to create the sounds on John Farnham’s hit “You’re the Voice”, released on his “Whispering Jack” album in 1986.

Despite the high price of the Fairlight CMI, it remained popular long after cheaper alternatives like the E-mu Emulator and the Ensoniq Mirage entered the market, and has left a lasting legacy.

Here are my favourite videos of the Fairlight CMI in action

Peter Vogel and Michael Carlos demonstrate the Fairlight CMI on ABC TV in 1980

Art of Noise – Moments in Love

The “Orchestra Hit” sample is a classic sound:

Herbie Hancock demonstrates the Fairlight CMI on Sesame Street

Herbie actually demonstrates quite a few of the capabilities of the CMI, including Waveform decomposition and vocoding. Who says Sesame Street is just for children?

For More Information

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Brief Blogs for 2012-01-16

Written by v on January 16, 2012 – 2:00 pm -

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