Page 1

the deli

the magazine about emerging nyc bands Issue #48

On the Cover:

Vol. #2

Sofi Tukker Synth Expo Issue

Fall 2016

thedelimag.com


the deli

the magazine aboutthe emerging nyc scene bands everything about nyc music

p.6 Fresh Buzz p.7 Records of the Month

Issue #48 Vol. #2 Fall 2016 thedelimag.com Paolo De Gregorio Charles Newman Editor: Brian CHidester executive Editor: quang d. tran graphic designer: Kaz Yabe ( www.kazyabe.com ) Cover photograph: paul storey hip-hop editor: Jason Grimste (aka brokemc) Web Developer: Binod Lamsal Distribution Coordinator: Kevin Blatchford Contributing Writers: Ben Apatoff Dave Cromwell Olivia Sisinni Henry Solotaroff-Webber Zachary Weg Editor In Chief / Publisher: Founder:

Ryan Dembinsky Brandon Stoner Ashley Muniz Publishers: The Deli Magazine LLC / Mother West, NYC The Kitchen: Interns:

The Deli Magazine is a trademark of The Deli Magazine, LLC, Brooklyn & Mother West, NYC. All contents ©2016 The Deli Magazine. All rights reserved.

p.8 State of the Scene

p.14 Sofi Tukker

p.16 Cruel Youth

p.18-24

LGBT Hip-Hop

Notes from the Editor In the past, electronic music was deemed the sound of the future. Nowadays it’s the sound of freedom—freedom to forge one’s own identity, to discover your inner-self, in a nightclub, in your bedroom, without outside influence or controlling mechanisms. It is a timely sentiment, especially when many feel the almighty hand of homogeneity hovering at every turn. A featured artist in this issue—Teddy Sinclair (formerly Natalia Kills)—knows the sting of being non-conformist all too well; which is why her rebranding this year as Cruel Youth has also seen a reshaping of her musical style, centered around digital recording tools and a deeper sense of artistic freedom. It reminds me of something Frank Zappa wrote in his 1989 autobiography The Real Frank Zappa Book. He talked about how the old cigar-chomping label owners of the 1950s—e.g. Bob Keane of Del-Fi Records or Art Laboe of Original Sound (two labels Zappa recorded for, pre-Mothers)—were replaced by elitist marketing men in the Woodstock era. They were hired to improve the quality of music being released, yet for Zappa they were just dismissive, their ‘I-know-better-than-you’ attitude a thinly-veiled pretense for ‘This is what I like.’ Gone were sentiments like, ‘I don’t know what kids these days want, but, hell, let’s try it,’ and with them the nutty, absurdist 45s that could move the culture so drastically, so quickly. Since the late sixties it’s gotten worse, not better; and now with television shows (and their know-it-all hosts) picking mainstream talent, we’ve built up a tolerance to blandness and non-threatening junk. Artists not willing to whitewash their sound are told to expect rejection, or prepare to make music their hobby. Granted, computer technology played an outsized role in bringing down the record industry; yet homogeneity is equally culpable. The truth is: we live in a culture now of “no” men. Is anyone really surprised we have a Republican presidential candidate whose most famous words are: “You’re fired?” It’s time to fight back. To start inviting new things into our lives; weird things; things that sound foreign to our ears. Whatever. Just stop saying “no.”

New NYC Electro

p.25 Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival p.27-32 Brooklyn Synth Expo

And to that end, I can think of no better place to begin than at this year’s Synth Expo at Main Drag Music, where the emphasis is once again on ‘Try it! See how you like it!’ Indeed, try anything, friends. Just remember to live and let live. And also VOTE! Brian Chidester, Editor 10/16/2015

4

the deli Fall 2016

p.34 The Deli’s Pedalboard (Synth Edition)


1

3

1

Bailen

3

Sam Evian

Because of marquee artists like Bon Iver and Joanna Newsom we know that roots music and electro are perfectly compatible. Bailen builds off that concept, but goes in a different direction. Their trope is classic folk harmony paired to pop production and slobeats. Take “Something Tells Me,” for instance; it is harmonically crisp, yet strangely soul-inflected, like white gospel music. What’s more, they’re good performers, as evidenced by recents shows at Rockwood and elsewhere. (Paolo De Gregorio)

The solo project of Celestial Shore’s Sam Evian (née Sam Owens) showcases his transformation from quirky tunesmith to mature artist. Who could’ve guessed, given Celestial’s hard-rockin’ indie sound, that Evian would go so completely mellow and smooth (like a male version of Sade)? He did, and three singles of 2016—“Sleep Easy,” “I Need a Man,” and “Dark Love”—stay linear, despite odd tempo changes and dreamy production flourishes. Full album Premium is out now via Saddle Creek Records. (Paolo De Gregorio)

6

the deli Fall 2016

Photo: Enrico Brunetti

Fresh Buzz | New Artists

2

4

2

Pavo Pavo

4

serpentwithfeet

Since Pavo Pavo’s debut LP doesn’t land for another month, it’s difficult to say what, if anything, the first single “A Quiet Time with Spaceman Sputz” indicates direction-wise. For one, it’s instrumental, whereas previous singles were baroque-pop and harmonyladen. Second, its new video is mostly shots of colored flags and streamers, whipping around in the wind, soundtracked by the eeriest, most lyrical ballad this side of Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks. I, for one, would welcome an entire album of this. (Brian Chidester)

Seems everything in the world of serpentwithfeet (aka Josiah Wise) is lowercased, like that of e.e. cummings and eden ahbez. His biggest single, “blisters,” marries the solemn baroque of Anohni with the swelter of R. Kelly and Seal. Without the weirdness it’d be less interesting; without the soul: pointless. Single “four ethers” offers the couplet: “I know you learned some fuck up shit from your mother/Had you tuck in your dick/Had you hide the shit that really made you special”—an open wound and call to arms. (Olivia Sisinni)


Records of the Month 1

2

3

1 Bangladeafy Narcopaloma

It seems the same conscience that prompted seventies prog-rock also yielded nineties post-rock and psych-metal. NYC’s Bangladeafy conflates all three. Their new EP Narcopaloma features a caterwaul of mathy riffage played hard. “Termites” is the opener, a frenzied sledge-hammer of brutish jazz impulses; “Act Like an Adult” weaves through a variety of melodies, the concern laying both with extravagance and efficiency. (Each of the record’s seven tunes is under three minutes.) And lest one questions instrumental rock’s ability to touch a social nerve, closer “Trillionaire” wrings out the amorality of life at the top with irate precision. (Olivia Sisinni)

2 Gabriel Royal Gabriel Royal

Regulars of the Bedford L stop in Williamsburg will recognize Royal as the cello-wielding busker whose sweet sound floats through its cavernous center platform. His debut LP captures the live set’s melange of quarter-note triplets and mellow tenor vocals. Opener “G Major Suite” finds Royal crooning manifesto couplets like: “Let’s just make one thing this clear.” “Say It’s Right” and “Past the Flowers” continue the dulcet pace with aplomb; only “Morning Baby” and “So Glad to See You” depart from the baroque-soul formula, marrying delicate balladry to angst-driven lyrics like “I’m about to lose my mind” and a dropping of the F-bomb. (Brian Chidester)

3 Home Blitz Foremost & Fair

This album is emo pop-punk with heavy slacker overtones; yet its the bells and whistles that suggest a je ne sais quoi here. Like the castle illustration on its cover, Foremost & Fair is filled with odd musical tropes for a New Jersey rock band. Single “I’m That Key” mixes baroque keyboards with punky riffs, recalling the Stranglers of seventies UK vintage. “The Tide” offers moral maxims that also emphasize the lost pastoral. Hell, the singer’s voice even sounds British, which works especially well on opener “Seven Thirty”—a surfeit of jangly guitars and incongruent flutes. (Henry Solotaroff Webber)


State of the Scene | Hip-Hop

Mykki Blanco

8

the deli Fall 2016


How LGBT Hip-Hop Went Mainstream written By

jason grimste (a.k.a. broke mc)

Mykki Blanco is a cross-dressing queer rapper. For some this is novelty, if not downright outrageous for hip-hop. Taking the stage in silver booty shorts and combat boots, pasties and a wig, the artist assails unsuspecting audiences with her mashup of rap, punk, and drag performance. At one point she climbs atop the stack of speakers, throws herself down into the mosh pit, then spews rhymes so hard her lipstick is smeared with blood. Her presence is singular, yet Blanco is not alone as an LGBT hip-hop artist. The subgenre, in fact, has taken off over the last four years.

total effect is one of pushing back—against traditional safety nets, against labels, and especially against boundaries. In rap, that has meant a general disdain for homophobia and hateful slurs, though it no doubt still persists in some circles. Ghe20 Goth1k was the local scene that most recently addressed this shift in culture. It first birthed in 2009 and was described as the place “where fantasy meets reality.” It also became the latest place for disparate genres and people to be creative and party together under the same roof.

“Some bitches came,” Blanco raps on “Haze Boogie Life,” a track off her Cosmic Angel LP, “Some bitches conquered/Some bitches got laid down in the slaughter.” The sentiment is both personal cry and manifesto piece, capturing the battle she and her confederates have waged to get here. Indeed, in a genre largely defined by hyper-masculinity, Blanco and others defy the odds as a “multi-gendered” people.

Ghe20 matriarch DJ Venus X told an interviewer with OPEN-ARTI in Italy several years back that the idea was to advocate every expression of individuality, “from 18 year olds to fifty year olds, from radical feminists to extremely misogynistic rappers.” In short order, celebrities like Diplo and Liv Tyler began showing up at events, which X says she was cool with; until the former pulled out a camera and tried to record her set.

Looking back, hip-hop has deep roots in the punk and counter-culture ethos. It came out of the same late seventies period, with a depressed socio-economic climate at the forefront of urban life—especially here in New York City. Artists like Run DMC, the Rammellzee, and Afrika Bambaataa were all steeped in new-wave and synth music, sampling artists from Kraftwerk to the Knack, and expanding the limits of early hip-hop as a voice in the new underground. The genre also grew up around NYC’s discotheques, speakeasies, and illegal warehouse parties, where straight and gay culture co-mingled in a free environment outside the watchful mainstream eye.

Things were further aggravated in 2014 after Rihanna started vamping up her own “Ghetto Goth” steez, which is when X shut the Ghe20 Goth1k party down. Yet the underground rap/soul/goth hybrid had become too popular by then to die off completely— especially with LGBT young people—and it has re-emerged gradually over the past two years. New Ghe20 Goth1k events are, in fact, sponsored by corporations from Ray Ban to Red Bull these days; there is even a Ghe20 Goth1k retail store in Bushwick. A case of virtue gone to seed?

At some point, the cord was cut and hip-hop, especially by the 1990s, became inextricably linked to machismo, chauvinism, and the celebration of thug life. At its core, the genre’s philosophy of “expression at all costs” meant many things to many different artists. But it almost never meant being queer.

More than anything, the artists who have broken out of it are beginning to find themselves at the forefront of a new craze: the more soberly appellated “Queer Hip-Hop.” Its unique blend of electro-clash, shoegaze, hip-hop, punk, and disco-pop has engendered any number of talented cross-dressers and trans females to show off their skills as musicians and performers.

Over the past five years, however, as more millennials have stepped into the spotlight, and as hip-hop continues its twodecade dominance over music charts and sales, new genres have emerged to meet the current generation’s sense of diversity, adversity, and a need for new figureheads. And because they’ve grown up with every kind of music, from punk to glam to club to rap, crammed into intuitive, synchronistic technologies, the sum-

The aforementioned Mykki Blanco is thus far the standout of Ghe20 Goth1k artists. She is the construct of artist Michael David Quattlebaum, who built her alter-ego pixel by pixel, beginning as a Facebook page, with some simple videos, and finally evolving the character into the celebrity he now calls upon at will. He is she, and vice-versa; Blaco sometimes dresses both—half-man, half-woman—as in a recent photoshoot for the Village Voice. The

the deli Fall 2016

9


Ghe20 Goth1k was the center of localized LGBT hip-hop—a place for disparate genres and people to be creative and party together under the same roof. More than anything, artists who have broken out of it are beginning to find themselves at the forefront of a new craze: the more soberly appellated “Queer Hip-Hop.” work is so well-conceived, in fact, it’s often difficult to know where fiction ends and fact begins. Blanco’s music videos are enigmatic and enthralling; they fall somewhere between David Lynch and Basquiat, overflowing with vivid colors and unsettling angles. Each are evidence of the passion these performers have, which easily transcends mere musicianship. Blanco’s ability to blend visual presentation with fashion, marketing, and aural craftsmanship, for instance, is like a page out of the David Bowie/Marilyn Manson school of shock and shifting personas. Another artist from the Ghe20 Goth1k scene whose alter-ego is the object of careful curation is Zebra Katz (née 26-year-old Ojay Morgan). He refers to himself as “black, queer and other,” and his music as “minimal hip-hop.” Sound-wise, he draws influence from Grace Jones, Missy Elliot, and Nina Simone, among others, and has been a hot minute since Dazed magazine editor Rick Owens threw him into the spotlight in early 2012. Since then, Katz’s sound has evolved significantly. His most recent EP—titled Nu Renegade—was produced with UK artist LEILA and is a foray into the darker side of the artist’s psyche. Accompanying videos are equally stark, introspective, and haunted. Zeb ra Kat z DRK LNG (2013)

“You a late scene in my first act,” Katz intones on “What U Want,” the third track from the EP (and accompanying seamless video). As one of the most vocal defectors from the ill-conceived “Queer Hip-Hop” wave, Katz shrugs off any potential pigeon-holers by stating simply: “I’ll be Z.” His artistry, like many Ghe20 Goth1k peers, is poised to transcend categorization, because, like most, shape-shifting remains his hallmark. Another mainstay of the scene is Cakes da Killa, who has gone on record saying the only labels he is concerned with are the ones on his flashy wardrobe. In an interview with Ecclectic magazine, the artist continues: “Now fashion is such a big thing in hip-hop, with rappers having their own brands and sitting [in] front rows at couture shows; that didn’t happen back in the day.” Eschewing the term “queer,” he favors “cunt” which da Killa considers more representative of gay punk. It hasn’t hurt that punk culture recently celebrated something of its own renaissance in the fashion world, via careful curation at the Metropolitan Museum’s punk retrospective and the bevy of punk-themed Broadway shows. Cakes is all for it.

Mykki Blanco Mykki (2016)

Blanco

Being liberated from the expectations of mainstream rap, he says, gives him the freedom to rap about whatever he wants, “and to wear a skirt doing it.” And, despite the media’s inevitable efforts to exploit his sexuality, da Killa has shown he has the musical talent to back the hype. For some, though, it’ll never be enough. In the same interview, da Killa goes on to say: “A lot of straight artists are weird about working with me. Perhaps they don’t want to be perceived as gay. It just shows you how fucked up the world is. But I love straight people; all my boyfriends are straight!”

10

the deli Fall 2016


NEW YORK STUDIO FACTORY

Studio Space for Independent Audio Producers and Engineers.

Sound Isolation. Acoustic Treatment. All Inclusive.

NYStudioFactory.com

@NYStudioFactory

718.514.2688

info@NYStudioFactory.com


“A lot of straight artists are weird about working with me,” says LGBT performer Cakes da Killa. “Perhaps they don’t want to be perceived as gay. It just shows you how fucked up the world is. But I love straight people; all my boyfriends are straight!”

Whereas da Killa is a party rapper, and Katz and Blanco are created personas, the artist known as Le1f takes a more political tone. In a recent Pitchfork interview, he made his aesthetic direction clear: “If people can make records about cars, drugs, women, and money, and that makes sense, then I can make songs that are about misogyny, misandry, homosexuality, transphobia, Black Lives Matter, and all that should makes sense, too.” [SIC] On Riot Boi, Le1f’s new album (released earlier this year), the artist vacillates between Diplo-inspired club romps and the darker more introspective songs of indie- and alt-hip-hop. Though he says he’s a fan of the Ghe20 Gothik parties, he doesn’t necessarily consider his music affiliated with the scene; he prefers the handle “post-genre.” Riot Boi is, above all, an illustration of his deep musicality. Having produced in the past for mainstays such as Spank Rock and Das Racist, Le1f is deeply familiar with the way in which experimentation works in contemporary hip-hop. The term “post-genre” in hip-hop has been most famously applied to artists like Outkast and Kanye West, both of whom have pushed its boundaries for over a decade now. Though Blanco and Le1f— the two most progressive in LGBT hip-hop—have dynamic albums, their sound isn’t quite that groundbreaking so far. Comparisons to Saul Williams LPs like Niggy Tardust or Martyr Loser King are easily made. Take away the queer element—i.e. the novelty—and the actual artistry has room yet to grow.

Le1f Riot Boi (2016)

The truth is that hip-hop, overall, may finally be at the point where it can branch off into pretty much anything. Heems (formerly of Das Racist) recently rapped over synth-washed electro beats by Small Black on their Moon Killer EP, while mainstream artists like Lupe Fiasco devote whole albums to the eighties sound. Bisco Smith, in 2011, teamed up with techno-pop producer Cassettes Won’t Listen for the Hamster Boy EP, released under the moniker Freeze Tag. DJs galore are mashing up hip-hop chants with incongruous genres and samples with ever-increasing elacrity. They rarely if ever sound like novelty anymore. Though being queer isn’t exactly a novelty either, even if its recent inclusion in the uber-masculine genre of hip-hop is.

Cakes da Killa The Eulogy (2014)

The work of Zebra Katz, Le1f, Cakes da Killa, Mykki Blanco, and others from their community, is a signifier of the generational shift, though not of new things in gender or sexual identity. Artists like this have always been here; it’s just that now they’re allowed to step into the spotlight. And it isn’t because their sexuality is their lone vehicle either, so much as the fact that it’s less an obstacle than at any other time. Le1f surmised the sentiment in a recent poetical tweet which read: “slowly accelerating/filling up my void with myself./i am that gas.” Let it ride yo. d

12

the deli Fall 2016


“Sonically stellar performance” — Kevin Becka, Mix

ACCURACY

MEETS INSPIRATION Until now, making music on headphones meant living with flat, uninspiring sound in the name of accuracy. Blue’s visionary headphone design changes all that. The combination of radical ergonomics and big custom 50mm drivers delivers sound that’s both accurate AND inspiring—making your music feel dimensional, not flat. That’s inspiring.

BLUE HEADPHONES

BLUE-HEADPHONES.COM

Introducing the Organelle™ The Organelle makes it easy to explore new sounds and experiment with new ways of making music. It combines playful and intuitive controls with a powerful and flexible sound engine. It’s limitless in musical possibility and a joy to play!

Learn more at: critterandguitari.com


Cover | Feature

14

the deli Fall 2016


Sofi Tukker’s Viral Hit “Drinkee” and Brand New EP written By

Ben Apatoff /

“A lot of music sounds like a lot of the same,” suggests Tucker Halpern with all the earnest and naivete of a young artist. “We’re doing something that didn’t exist.” If the over-confidence strikes some as pompous, it may in fact be the key ingredient in Halpern’s music and current success. A towering former college basketball player with a bleached-blond pompadour and chiseled good looks, he now records and performs full-time as one-half of bossa/synthpop sensation Sofi Tukker. For Halpern, the songs they make are based in emotions he and co-conspirator Sophie Weld-Hawley have on any given day. “It’s not like we say to ourselves, ‘This is going to appeal to these people,’” he muses more humbly. “It’s just a self-expression of us.” Hawley-Weld, a German-born songwriter who studied Brazilian poetry at Brown University (where she and Halpern where first introduced) is equally effusive about what makes a hit song. For her, the pair’s 2015 viral single “Drinkee” was based on a trance-like riff and several layers of thick beats, which she says works in accord with its repeated, monotone lyrics. Sung in Portuguese, they are based in a poem by Brazilian poet Chacal, whose stanzas of beautiful syntax “lend themselves to being sung and repeated,” she says. Hawley-Weld and Halpern met during their senior year. She was a budding songwriter; he was learning music production following a long case of mono which had taken him out of basketball. “I learned to use computers,” Halpern recalls, “to produce DOWs and all sorts of things that you don’t have to move to do.” He says he first started producing songs she wrote herself, none of which were satisfactory. “It wasn’t until we started trying to create songs together,” he remembers, “that it was something better than what we could do individually.” Blending Hawley-Weld’s bossa-nova and folks sensibilities with Halpern’s encyclopedic grasp of house and techno, the duo began recording as Sofi Tukker in 2014 and quickly took their act to New York City. This year they filmed a music video for “Drinkee,” in a Bushwick warehouse decked out in plastic rain forest props, equal parts Rousseau and John Waters. Before the song went viral on Spotify last year, some Apple Inc. representatives apparently found it on Soundcloud and e-mailed the duo about using it for their Apple Watch launch campaign. (“Drinkee” is now prominently featured in the organization’s video ads.) “That was before we had a manager or a lawyer,” confesses Halpern. “We were like, ‘This is happening, we need to get our shit together.’” Not knowing how to handle proper business deals, he says they quickly assembled a team to work it out. That team, which now includes a manager, lawyer, business manager, and agent, helps the band (in Halpern’s words) “focus on what we need to focus on, which is the art, the performance and connecting with people every day in the audience.” Audiences are in fact growing. The duo recently toured Europe and the States with French electro stars M83 and with Brooklyn synthpop darlings St. Lucia. Appearances at upcoming festivals like Treasure Island, ADE, and SnowGlobe should further their mainstream exposure. On stage, Hawley-Weld and Halpern—both multi-instrumentalists—

Photo by

Paul storey

play guitar and work from digital setups; their most famous performance trope, however, is the looming, circular, tree-like percussion instrument which the duo created themselves and call “the book tree.” “We’ve put it in all our videos,” exclaims Halpern. “It’s made up of books with contact microphones inside them that are all connected to a converter.” The MIDI, he says, goes into a computer and plays different samples on the books. “We try to embody the music and perform the songs rather than just play them on instruments,” he concludes. The duo has plans now to tour their debut EP, Soft Animals, which includes “Drinkee” and five other tracks exhibiting the same sambameets-synthpop sound of their initial hit. “Hey Lion” is one that is both anthemic and timely; it concerns assault and consent, an increasingly hot-button issue in the current news cycle (because of a certain leaked YouTube video). Hawley-Weld is hesitant to discuss the song’s specifics, though she offers that: “They’re words I needed to hear. It’s quite empowering for me to repeat them to myself. That’s the thing about personal things—anything that’s deeply personal tends to be universal.” The former poetry student says she also puts as much poetic care into her music as she does her lyrics. Metre shifts, melodic progressions, and layered beats are all vital to the Sofi Tukker style. And in effort to further distance themselves from simple dancefloor escapism, Hawley-Weld insists on revealing the source of Soft Animals’ title. “It comes from a poem called ‘Wild Geese’ by Mary Oliver,” she states flatly, before reciting: “You do not have to be good/You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” Without knowing it, perhaps, Hawley-Weld has swapped one escapism for another: the live-out-loud ethos of NYC for the pastoral sentiment of rural remoteness. That the twain might congeal inside the imagination is one of the success stories of current electro music. Transcendentalism in a digital package. That’s Sofi Tukker. d

What are Sofi Tukker’s favorite synths?

MicroKorg XL

Moog Minotaur

Tucker Halpern: I love synths, playing around with them and making different sounds; although in Soft Tukker production we don’t use much synth work. The one synth that is in almost all of our songs is the Moog Minitaur. It’s my favorite instrument to create the right bass sounds. Most of the pad-like sounds in the songs are Sophie’s vocals that we use instead of synthesizers to build drama within the songs. I am also a big fan of the Microkorg XL, which has found its way onto a couple of our tracks as well.

the deli Fall 2016

15


Electro-Soul | Feature

16

the deli Fall 2016


The Return of Cruel Youth’s Teddy Sinclair written By

Brian CHidester

In March 2015, singer/songwriter Natalia Kills and her husband, solo artist Willy Moon, became more infamous for a quick television quip than for their music. The show was X-Factor New Zealand and Kills, as a celebrity judge, lit into contestant Joe Irvine for imitating Moon’s pithy mod-ish fashion sense. Moon, also a judge, concurred. Within hours the footage went viral, with even television’s king curmudgeon Simon Cowell issuing a reprimand. In short order, the couple wrote public apologies, then found themselves booted from the show. By June, Kills had changed her name to Teddy Sinclair and the pair relocated to New York City—to Greenwich Village (where they live today). Sinclair’s record label, Cherrytree/Interscope, dropped her contract just as new songs by her were being recorded by Madonna and Rihanna, and her own single “Trouble” was still climbing the Billboard charts. On September 16, 2016, Sinclair and Moon officially released +30mg, their first EP as the new group Cruel Youth. It was self-produced and issued on their own label, the appropriately-named Disgrace Records. I met Sinclair recently for a midday interview. Moon was scheduled to appear as well, but mysteriously didn’t. (I did not press the case.) Despite the interview being set up by management and by a PR firm, Sinclair didn’t seem coddled in the least; nor were there any signs narcissism. When I asked about her current label, she responded plainly: “I have no label.” Pressed to expound, she continued: “Disgrace is not a real label and we’re not a real studio. It’s just a small setup in our house, or duplex, or whatever you call it.” As if taken by her own honesty, she then quips: “Does that surprise you?” Only someone unfamiliar with the X-Factor clip would be caught off-guard by Sinclair’s candidness. Of the new EP, she told one journalist: “It’s the Ronettes on oxy,” referring to the prescription opioid/painkiller. She confirmed to me the heavy influence of Phil Spector and the Beach Boys on the EP, adding Outkast’s unpredictability to the list of aspirations. The cover—with Sinclair in round, reflective sunglasses, looking straight out—further confirms the confluence of decadence and confidence. She says it was based on the poster to Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous, which featured a similarly-posed Kate Hudson as the hippie urchin Penny Lane. The link between Cruel Youth and retro culture seems obvious enough; though the music is scarcely pastiche.

“Mr. Watson”—its first single—is a girl-group anthem laced with psychedelic production twists. Sinclair’s vocals start out Motown, though by the first chorus—dreamy and stuttered rhythmically—it’s hard to tell what’s holding it together. Others, like “Everything Was Beautiful,” with its recurrent line, “Crush it, cut it, cook it, work it out/Put it in my mouth,” are only faintly R&B. The sense of anxiety is dramatic and dark, like nineties Portishead. It ends quickly, melding inexplicably into “Alexis Texas”—a spacey soul jam whose lyrics offer: “You make me wanna take off off all of my clothes” and “Never felt like this before,” then switch fleetingly to sentiments of S&M, cocaine, and cowboys. The rest of the record continues apace, like Amy Winehouse on steroids. Thus far, the group has given it away on Soundcloud and Spotify. Sinclair says she’s many more songs to record; also a private literature that includes poems, short stories, even a screenplay. She is currently working with girlgroup hero Ronnie Spector, as well, who was last produced by Joey Ramone on a pair of DIY albums in the late nineties. Sinclair talks freely about her rough upbringing; about her father’s time spent in prison and the fact that she was homeless at 14. The sense of responsibility, she says, often drives her work. “The greatest gift my parents gave me,” the artist proclaims, “was their not being proper adults. It allowed me to grow up having empathy for situations where most don’t have compassion.” The conversation becomes suddenly animated, as though a spate of pent up emotion had rushed to the fore. “People have an adverse reaction to dichotomy,” she opines, then blurts out: “I love words!” “Whose words?,” I ask. “Sylvia Plath,” she says. I quote Wordsworth—a poem on the loss of idealism—which she doesn’t relate to. For Sinclair, “Everything becomes history; we become an obituary, a village folklore, and I choose to commemorate terrible things with only the most beautiful words.” Lubricious as that sounds, she knows her songs must transcend the limits of perversity and shock value to strike a real chord. Hence the obfuscation, and the apparent identity crisis (which Sinclair admits is purposeful). “It’s about freedom,” she concludes with a voice bordering on tears. “We should all have that option—to develop ourselves the way we want to.” A subtle laughter. A deep breath. (Viva la revolucion.) d

the deli Fall 2016

17


Soundbites | New NYC Electro Synthpop

Corbu Inspired by a life of vivid dreaming, Corbu takes the concept of dream-pop to extremes. New single “Polygon Forest” is layered in ethereal synths and cotton/psych vocals, with a narrative straightforwardly told. Debut album Crayon Soul incorporates further incongruencies in the area of percussion and techno beats, with “Through Emptiness” its most classically synthpop. Lead singer Jonathan Graves recently granted The Deli an interview to discuss his sound. First off: how do you translate your records to the stage? We’ve been playing live as a 3-piece lately, with me on vocals/guitar/keys, Amanda [Scott] on synths, and Todd [Hoellerman] on drums. Our music is really synth-heavy and we’re trying to perform as many of those parts as possible on stage.

And the surround sound aspect? The stereo mix of the synth and sampler go through a BOSS RE-20 Space Echo Pedal, which glues everything together. My live synth rig is a lot simpler; I’m mainly on vocals and guitar, with occasional synth parts. I use an iPad with an iConnect Audio4+ interface, controlled by an Akai MPK mini. Inside the iPad, I’m using Beatmaker 2, Animoog, and JamUp Pro for effects. Everything is managed by a great app called Midiflow, which acts as a preset manager for the entire iPad. (Brian Chidester)

Photo: Erika Mugglin

“Electro-psych” is the descriptor I saw on NPR recently. Just wondering what equipment is used to make it sound so far out? [Amanda’s] rig is split between a synth and a sampler, which run both through a stereo delay pedal. It starts with a DSI Mopho X4 analog synth—the perfect size for gigs. It’s also versatile enough to replace a lot of the recorded guitar parts, so we don’t feel like anything’s missing. We use Intua’s Beatmaker 2 for iPad for live mixing and sampling. I can’t say enough good things about BM2, which is so flexible as a sampler and probably the best portable DAW anyone makes.

Amanda’s setup: DSI Mopho X4 synth BOSS RE-20 Beatsurfing control surface

Jonathan’s setup: AKAI MPK Mini (bottom) iConnect Audio4 (top left) iPad (top right)

The Landing Bedroom pop isn’t dead. Indeed, in a city of more consumers than producers, Brooklyn solo artist the Landing produced two homemade singles that topped the HypeM charts in 2015. He returns with “Stars in Motion,” a terrifically melodic song much expanded in the area of arrangement. Mock the frippery for reaching too hard for mainstream success, but first hear the artist himself out (below). Given how tight your productions are, what synths or gear components define your sound? 99% of the synth sounds you hear in my recordings can all be found in the stock Logic 9 package. On my latest track, “Stars in Motion,” I did use an old Yamaha PSR-12 from the early nineties. It’s basically a toy, which I used to record part of the recurring synth bassline. Also, for getting that Rhodes sound without emptying your wallet or cramming your apartment, the EVP88 does just fine for me. Talk about records that were crucial to your development. Illinoise by Sufjan Stevens, which is able to weave six different melodic lines, each played by a different instrument, each adding to the whole, without sounding cluttered. Other Worlds, Other Sounds by the original “space-pop” artist, Esquivel. Off the Wall by Michael Jackson; the recorded lectures of Carl Sagan and Neil Degrasse Tyson; the fantasies of Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov; the philosophies of Fritjof Capra and Alan Watts; the idealism of Buckminster Fuller and Jean Luc Picard; the adventures of Mulder and Scully. Any effort at informing the human condition while not taking oneself too seriously. What’s the latest tool that you just can’t get enough of? I recently got my own microKORG and have been having a lot of fun playing with its sounds, but have yet to lay down any tracks with it. Once I get a mic for the vocoder that will all change. (Henry Solotaroff-Webber)

18

the deli Fall 2016

Yamaha PSR-12

Korg MicroKorg


Read the full interviews here:

thedelimag.com/bands-gear

Retail Space Brooklyn duo Retail Space—Isabelle Burnet and Jacob Rosse—play “folkinfluenced synthpop that’s heavy in harmonies and warbled guitar tones,” a descriptor that doesn’t quite capture the protean melodies of their debut LP In the Lotia and new EP If I Go. “Midday Moon,” from the latter release, lingers over dappled synth lines and chiming, spectral guitars; closer “Jellyfish” is lush and bright, like sweet, golden mead. See below our recent email interview with the group: What can you tell me about your recording process? The majority of songs from In the Lotia were written on our Crumar Orchestrator, also known as a Crumar Multiman-S. We had only used DAWs before this record and it was freeing to know that half of the decision making process was already made for us. Since we knew we were going to be making this record for vinyl, we had to write songs that started off louder at the beginning and quiet by the end; the reason being that the closer to the center of a vinyl record, the less volume and bass you can have. Given the analog format, did you use any old analog equipment on the LP? An old Altec 1567a mixer had been overhauled and refurbished right before recording In the Lotia. At the time we were most excited to use it on the rhythm section because of its legacy of being the mixer used primarily on old sixties Motown hits. Talk about how you balance between synths and guitars on both the album and your newest EP. The Crumar was the only synth used on the album. To enhance the already magnificent sounds it makes we used an EHX Clone Theory and an MXR Carbon Copy. The tank on our sixties Princeton Reverb also helped mix it with the other instruments in the arrangement. (Paolo De Gregorio) Crumar Orchestrator

Violet Sands Pairing mellow vocals to atmospheric fret-work and shimmering synths, Violet Sands vividly brings to life the exhilaration of cut and paste songcraft. Their stuttery, woozy sound on songs like “Coming Back” and “Modern Ruins” builds off of Washed Out, whose style is now in the water supply; yet they also reach for bigger choruses, making their debut EP something of a pop crossover hopeful. Here’s our interview with the trio. How did this project come together? Deidre Muro (vocals): My brother Derek [Muro] and I have played music together in various formations since we were kids; and David [Perlick-Molinari], my husband, and I have been making music since we met. We came together over shared interests in music and in ideas we were personally exploring.

What equipment do you guys use to get such sprightly sounds? Deidre: The Ableton Push has opened up a lot of possibilities—in the writing process and also in live performance. Sometimes we’ll write at a computer while simultaneously recording. Other times we just write in a room together with instruments. What is it that most frequently gets a song going for you? David Perlick-Molinari (synths/production): All the jamming and improvisation starts coming together when the words marry with the feeling of the harmony/groove. In a moment the song is revealed.

Can you talk about the effects you use to get that cool guitar sound? Derek Muro (guitar): On the EP I used Deidre’s Gretsch Electromatic, my Fender Telecaster, and sometimes a vintage Hagstrom electric 12-string. A lot of it came from the mixture of an amp mic’d far away and a stereo direct signal coming out of the pedals. Some favorite hardware effects are the Eventide PitchFactor and the Black Arts Pharaoh Supreme.

Any hardware/software you’d like to add to the setup? Derek: An Elektron Monomachine. We’re all really into SOPHIE’s music and recently saw him play here in Brooklyn. David: A Mighty Wurlitzer! (Paolo De Gregorio)

Eventide Pitchfactor

Ableton Push

the deli Fall 2016

19


Soundbites | New NYC Electro Synthpop

Yoke Lore “Develop an individual style and stick to it.” wrote composer Frederick Delius. “Then the world is your oyster.” Brooklyn artist Yoke Lore is almost there. His quirky, melodic sound took off recently with the single “Hold Me Down,” which garnered 2 million Spotify plays. Weird thing about it—and all four songs on his first EP—is how it starts out roots, then goes dubstep and synthpop in a flash. Here’s the artist to explain. What comes first: music or lyrics? Depends on the day, the temperature, the movie I watched the night before. Art-making is about making the mundane meaningful–-taking everyday things, feelings, urges, voices, and indulging and exploring to the point where anyone could identify with it.

Photo: DeSean McClinton-Holland

How do you begin a song? Songs should be able to be played on one instrument and be just as powerful as when recorded with 20. I have scores of crappy Garage Band demos that show the conception of each idea with just me: a banjo, sometimes just claps and stomps that later become songs with synths, four voices, kettle drums.

Any real instruments that recently helped you rediscover your playful side? I found an organ on the street a few weeks ago. A couple was moving out down the block and they put a bunch of free stuff on the street. I happened to walk by and snagged it. It’s making me want to write Gregorian chants. One of my favorite toys lately is the ARP Odyssey. It hits the bottom of whatever surface you’re exploring and gives a platform from which to ascend.

One piece of hardware/software you’d like to add to your set-up? Always wanted to learn to play the musical saw. I know it’s not necessarily software/hardware, but it’s a sound that I think is so haunting and distinctive. I feel like everyone knows where they were when they first heard In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Arp Odyssey

Nola Wren If Kate Bush had more hip-hop and street influences, Brooklyn songwriter Nola Wren might be her twin. Instead the likeness is reminiscent. Regardless, Wren had a minor hit this past spring with “College (Lucian Remix),” which begged the question on every young person’s lips these days: “Oh why’d I go to college?” The disillusionment resonates, yet so does her anger and insight—the latter an offshoot of years spent in folk music. Your older material sounds a lot more singer-songwriter. What happened between 2012 and 2014, when you started releasing synthpop songs? From 2010 to 2013 I worked with two producers named Rick DePofi and John Leventhal who are primarily folk and country. At the time I was more focused on writing songs on guitar and a little bit on piano. Eventually I started itching to go down a different path. This was around the time I graduated from NYU. I had a rudimentary understanding of GarageBand and Logic; what followed was a string of trials and errors. What records inspired those transformative years? If I had to pick ones in the electro-synth direction, they’d be: Saturdays = Youth by M83; Manners by Passion Pit; 808s & Heartbreak by Kanye West; Phrazes for the Young by Julian Casablancas; and the Drive soundtrack. Sometimes I’ll listen to the same two/three albums interchangeably for months, until I move on to something else. I might be venturing into a Bruce Springsteen or Buzzcocks kick any day now. Who knows? What pedals and plug-ins you are having the most fun with? Omnisphere by Spectrasonics is one of my favorites. I don’t use it exclusively in Ableton, but it’s one of the plug-ins I use most. I’m also learning how to use: Digitech JamMan, Line Six DL4 delay modeler, Ibanez Tube Screamer, and Electro-Harmonix Stereo Pulsar. (Paolo De Gregorio)

20

the deli Fall 2016

Electro-Harmonix Pulsar Tremolo

Spectrasonics Ominsphere


Read the full interviews here:

thedelimag.com/bands-gear

Electro-Soul

Kevin Garrett Kevin Garrett emerged in 2015 as one of NYC’s most promising young songwriters. Unapologetically moody, soulful at heart, incurably balladprone, the artist’s songs recall the old time classics; yet their electrofused production is as modern as it gets. We’re told it’s all centered around Garrett’s home studio. Here’s a quick Q&A with the artist about his recording process. What comes first: music or lyrics? It’s music first about 80% of the time. Sometimes I’ll have lyrics going into it, but there’s really only been one song I’ve written where I’ve had the lyrics totally mapped out before ever picking up an instrument, and that song isn’t mine anymore. Where do you look for inspiration? I look at particular moments that have gotten to me, very personal experiences. That’s my game right now, being as vulnerable as possible. Since I don’t really open up otherwise, my songs are the best way to try and cut me open. I hear you’re a one-man band, right? So what’s your DAW of choice? I work in Pro Tools, and that’s because that’s just where I started. I like Logic and Ableton too. I just know Pro Tools the best. I’m almost always writing on a guitar or piano before I even open a session. It’s too much of a distraction. I just end up making beats. Write a song first, that’s what will set you apart from everybody else with a laptop. How about synths? Goodness I adore synths. On the records, the Moog SubPhatty is all over the place. I use a Roland Juno 106, a couple different prophets from Dave Smith. I love the Optigan. If I could own one of those Optigans that would be amazing. Some creation by Austen Hooks. Or really an actual grand piano is probably the dream purchase. Hardware/software though, let’s see. A real plate reverb would be sweet. Software, if I could have all of the UA plugs I don’t already have that would be nice. All of the Strymon pedals. Better kick drum samples. I have a lot of work to do it seems.

Can you talk about translating your records to the live stage, particularly the equipment aspects? The Roland SPD-Sx drum pad is very helpful; it helps fill in some sonic cracks that three dudes can’t always fill. Moog SubPhatty again. Makes everybody shake in the crowd. The Roland Juno 106 also gives us a lot of the pad sounds that live on the records. And I use a TC Helicon vocal pedal to give me a couple harmonies, but I like it because it’s still honest. You still need to sing in tune. Any vintage analog formats you’d like to work in looking ahead? I want to put music out on vinyl for sure. I still buy records a lot. It’s just a different experience. You’re buying so much more than the music with a vinyl, but the music is all it really is right? But if Kanye isn’t making CDs anymore then maybe we should all go totally digital. How about comments on the current state of music and art in NYC? NYC has always been a hotbed for creativity and good music. I think it’s become harder to weed out what’s good from what’s catchy, but that’s not just NYC; that’s everywhere. The thing is everyone can at least try to do it now. I should say: I think music and art are very much alive and thriving in NYC, but we could be more responsible with our ears and our eyes. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Moog Sub Phatty

Strymon Pedals

the deli Fall 2016

21


Soundbites | New NYC Electro

Read the full interviews here:

thedelimag.com/bands-gear

Experimental

Ela Minus In a recent Duck Sessions video posted to YouTube, Brooklyn-via-Bogota artist Ela Minus whispers in strange, gossamer vocals over the sparsest of beats. Cute like Bjork, she’s also novel, and because anarchy comes unexpected in such small packages, the artist is free to break the rules at her discretion. Why does bright and bubbly sound so creepy? And where is she going with this? Minus recently discussed her craft with The Deli. I know you play drums in the band Balancer, but what was the impetus to go solo? They are two completely opposite experiences. I like being on my own mainly because the freedom and being able to change.

Photo: Camilo Castaño

You have quite the set-up when you play live. What gear do you employ for that and for your recordings? I like machines. I don’t use a laptop—neither to produce nor to perform. They do not inspire anything in me. For me it all starts on my Akai MPC 1000, or drum machine: the Elektron Analog Rytm. What’s been inspiring you lately? Lately the Organelle [Critter & Guitari] has been inspiring a lot of new songs and live improvisations. My main focus is to reduce the inspiration to one thing and really focus on exploring it. For example, this past EP, it’s been minimalism. A lot of the music out there, especially electronic music, tends to be “maximal,” and I’ve found I tend to go against currents without thinking about it really; it’s just something that comes naturally. Any electronic tools in your set-up, or that you’re itching to buy? Akai MPC 1000, Analog Rytm Elektron, MOOG Minitaur, Strymon Timeline, Waldorf Blofeld, Korg Volcabeats, Oto Machines Biscuit. I want a new sequencer right now. Maybe a Pyramid. I’m not sure yet. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Elektron Analog Rytm

AKAI MPC 1000

Olga Bell Born in Moscow, raised in Alaska, Olga Bell is a classically trained pianist who composes, produces, and performs now in Brooklyn. Unafraid to venture new sonic territories, hers can be seen as an effort to defy cliche. “Tempo,” from her latest LP, plays at the sordid fringes of EDM, sounding tripped-out and frankly ravenous. Everywhere you look it’s eclectic. Your new album is, to put it mildly, peculiar. Talk about what electronic gear you use here. Although electronic gear could mean many things, I made this record like a lot of people make records today: on the computer, with samples and virtual instruments.

Photo: Nicholas Prakas

How did you choose your palette of sounds? It’s very eclectic. I was listening to lots of nineties club music while writing. But I thought it might be fun and destabilizing for the album to register as contemporary, maybe a little EDM, in the grossest way possible. If the sound side of it reads as commercial, I thought this would be a counterpoint to all my weird melodies and chords. What electronic instrument, real or virtual, left the biggest mark on this record? Spire. I read about Spire on some random forum, bought it, and went right for the big-room house presets, tweaking them until they became lovable and awkward. My favorite was a preset called “Guetta Bitch,” a stepper that appears in the middle of “Randomness.” Also Teenage Engineering Op-1. I love that thing with my whole heart; have had it for years; it’s like a family member. Anybody else instrumental on the production side? Seth and Keith at Machines with Magnets. It’s the third project we’ve mixed together. Also mastering with Matt Colton was amazing because he’s worked on so many records that inspired this album in the first place. (Brian Chidester)

22

the deli Fall 2016

Teenage Engineering Op-1

Reveal Sound Spire


ENTER TO WIN NEXT ISSUE’S

EXPOSE YOURSELF

Submit to: thedelimagazine.com/exposeyourself for the chance of winning an online interview with The Deli and having your band’s photo featured here in the next issue.

CHECK OUT AVAILABLE SPACES AT MUSICBUILDING.COM


Photo: Augustin Doublet

Soundbites | New NYC Electro

Janelle Kroll

Forma

Because Kroll is relatively new, reviews of her work aren’t yet plentiful. My take is that her modern-style disco seeks the anthemic, but is still garden-variety. The vocals, however, are a definite highlight. She quavers like ’80s MJ; the soprano voice is a dead-ringer for Ellie Goulding, and her full pipes like Dolly Parton. Together it transmutes into complexity.

Instrumental combo Forma released their third LP, Physicalist, this September. A hypnotic affair, it is largely built on the group’s trio of synchronized arpeggiators and atmospheric pad sounds, which, like leader M. Dwinell’s recent Golden Ratio (2015), lean heavily ambient, ala side-two of Kraftwerk’s Autobahn. Flute solos on later tracks are a welcome addition.

Negative Gemini

Pool Cosby

The brainchild of Lindsey French, Negative Gemini has been bubbling around for a few years now, but only peaked on recent releases. New full-length Body Work is 100% electronica, with a strong psychedelic tang (think Small Black meets Cocteau Twins). Hark! We’d quote a few lyrics, but they’re so warbled it’s impossible to be sure. (Adriana S. Ballester)

Sample-heavy trio Pool Cosby has a cool new single titled “Little Do They Know”—equal parts emotional, loungy, and delicate. Unintelligible lyrics, sung Mickey Mouse style, may seem counter-intuitive; yet the song’s deft production confirms a winning formula which already took their first single (“Lookin’ Up”) into Spotify’s Viral 50. Both are Tri-Angle Records-esque, minus the foreboding. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Mothica

I Am Snow Angel

McKenzie Ellis—aka Mothica—has a smoky, soulful voice, which works best on her happy, dubstep-inflected single “Clear.” Elsewhere, she is more gloomy, as on “Molt” (from 2014) and “Scared” (2015). Recent single “Anywhere” (with Owen Bones) is frenzied experimental electro, rescued from oblivion by Mothica’s soaring, heartfelt singing. (Patrick Wolff)

2016 was a busy year for this artist, who released an EP, four singles, and a short remix set. Real name Julie Kathryn, she is her own producer as well as singer/songwriter (and multi-instrumentalist). The sound is completely digital, though it never undercuts her humanity. Newest single, “Factory,” is a dead ringer for eighties rare bird Jane Siberry. (Brian Chidester)

(Ashley Muniz)

Photo: Glam Glare

(Brian Chidester)

24

the deli Fall 2016


Extra I BEMF

Welcome to the Jungle BEMF 2016

Brooklyn Electronic Music Fest (BEMF) is, for New Yorkers, the autumn stepchild of summer’s Electric Zoo. Call it the more-affordable option; the paired-back DIY version; or the EDM festival that focuses on eclectic talent. It runs this year from November 4-12th, at a variety of venues in the hipster borough, including the Good Room in Greenpoint, Analog BKNY near Red Hook, and the Music Hall of Williamsburg (where the biggest acts will perform during the festival). Alas, since we are still a few weeks out as of this magazine’s print deadline, here’s the rundown of extra-special local acts to look out for this year:

Turtle Bugg

Mike Servito

Kerry Chandler

Turtle Bugg (from Brooklyn) is, like most artists associated with Bunker Records, of the retro/’80s house persuasion. He plays Analog on the 12th, alongside other locals Mike Servito, Black Madonna, and Honey Dijon. The latter, BTW, is probably the most completely retro house artist at BEMF this year, what with her use of fullthroated soul singers and hard 4/4 beats, which sound life-affirming and totally non-cliché.

Mike Servito (also Bunker) mixes house music too, though a bit more on the moody side—at times dialing in elements of trance and nineties jungle. Local Justin Cudmore, who worked with Servito on a 12” earlier this year, plays the Good Room on Nov. 5th, with Gunnar Haslam, another Brooklyn-based deejay whose sound runs more ambient (with shades of darkwave and industrial).

Continuing on in the psychedelic milieu, native Kerry Chandler’s strange, compelling work mixes ’80s acid house and deep-house, with exotic percussion. He plays at Analog Nov. 5th as well. Expect his usual spate of sound effects—people talking, cars honking, general tones of urban life—which are known reduce the species to a wonderland of microcosms.

And speaking of world percussion: DJ Jubilee plays opening night of this year’s BEMF, at the Bad Room (upstairs from the Good Room). Her latest album, Magic City II, is one of the oddest releases in EDM in recent memory; it sounds more like straight field recordings, taken from some pygmy village deep in the Congo, with only mild digital elements (which rise to the fore when dancefloor denizens least expect it). For a full calendar, check the BEMF website or FB page. (Brian Chidester)

the deli Fall 2016

25


Brooklyn Synth Expo Main Drag Music, Nov 12-13

I say synthpop, you say electro. I say EDM, you say techno. I scream, you scream, we all scream for dark-wave. The nomenclature varies, but since at least the late seventies, synthesizers and electronic instruments have been the dominating force in dance music. Since the turn of the millennium, however, electronics as applied to music have evolved immensely. Synths and other creative audio tools made their ways into computers. So much so that the term “electronic” is now often separated from the word “synthesizer,” thereby allowing converted electronic artists like Bjork and Radiohead to explore a full range of new possibilities. At some point many musicians thought hardware synths weren’t even necessary; that you could just have a software synth on your laptop and play it through a Midi controller. Until they realized it’s wasn’t the same; which didn’t take long. Nowadays synths are back, big time. In 2015, the second annual Brooklyn Synth Expo brought almost 1200 electronic music mavens to Main Drag Music, versus the roughly 1k mobi-

lized by the more established Stompbox Exhibit. If you’re wondering what’s behind this shift, I’ll give you my opinion. In the last few years, many synth manufacturers have released entry-level, affordable, great-sounding products that feel close to toys with knobs. This is something that doesn’t translate to any other musical instrument in quite the same way. The thing about toys is that they differ from your regular instrument in one very crucial way: they are easy and fun to learn. Ergo, young creative types can get their hands on a fully-featured synth for a few hundred dollars and start making music in Garageband within hours. Those who, instead, decide to get themselves a guitar, or a bass, or a drum kit, have years of learning ahead before they can perform or record anything acceptable. From this perspective, synths give us all the pros of creativity, including full control of our art, without the high risk factors of being in a band, which is pretty darn awesome. If these machines could only move and look hot on stage! (Paolo De Gregorio)

MINI SYNTHS

Moog - Minimoog Model D

Korg - Monologue

• This 3-oscillator, monophonic synth was was the world’s first portable synthesizer when initially released in the 1970s. • Maintaining the original’s sound engine and signal path, the Model D adds Fatar keybed with velocity, and after pressure available via top panel CV jacks, a dedicated analog LFO with triangle and square waveshapes, CV outputs for pitch, gate, velocity and after pressure, basic MIDI integration, and a mixer overload modification.

• New Korg Mono Lead synth unveiled at the Brooklyn Synth Expo! • Completely programmable, true-analog monophonic, for just $299.99! • Features new voicing and sound sculpting abilities, an updated step sequencer, an all-new micro-tuning feature, and more.

Yamaha - Reface YC

Critter and Guitari - Organelle

• A series of mobile musical instruments with intuitive controls designed for musicians on the go; the Reface YC (combo organ) is pictured here. • The other models include: CS (analog synth), DX (FM synth), and CP (electric piano). • Features built-in stereo speakers and can be battery powered.

• A synth, sampler, and effect that combines playful and intuitive controls with a powerful and flexible sound engine. • Features sound input and output and mappable knobs. • The entire system runs open source software and may be customized at every level.

the deli Fall 2016

27


MODULAR / SEMI-MODULAR SYNTHS Moog - Mother 32 • A semi-modular tabletop synth that adds raw analog sound, sequencing and extensive interconnectivity to any electronic or modular system. • Featured voltage controlled 32 Step Sequencer with 64 sequence locations and low pass/high pass Moog Ladder filter, with voltage controlled resonance. • External audio input for processing outside sound sources.

Dave Smith Instruments Feedback • Dave Smith Instruments’ third offering for modular synthesizers, unveiled at the Brooklyn Synth Expo too! • Features a tuned feedback line with adjustable parameters for amount and tuning, and a newly-designed, resonant, lowpass filter for further signal processing. • Offers a noise source with Trigger-In, as well as Attack and Decay envelope controls to allow Karplus-Strong-type plucked string synthesis.

LARGE FORMAT SYNTHS

Yamaha - Montage • A hybrid synthesizer that combines subtractive synthesis and frequency modulation. • Motion Control uses Super Knob, Motion Sequence and Envelope Follower to facilitate evolving sound creation. • Seamless sound switching lets you change performances in realtime without any cut-off of envelopes or effects.

Arturia - MatrixBrute • The most powerful analog monophonic synthesizers on the market. • Features the flexibility of modular systems but offers presets thanks to the Matrix concept. • Offers three Brute oscillators, a Steiner-Parker filter, and a ladder filter, plus five analog effects.

Casio - PX-560M • Not only a full-fledged synthesizer, but a highly capable stage piano. • Easy-to-use interface. • Features three real-time control knobs, as well as a modulation wheel, all of which can control up to two assignable parameters at once.

Dave Smith Instruments - OB-6

Roland - System 8

• A collaboration between Dave Smith and Tom Oberheim, inspired by the original Oberheim SEM vintage synth. • Utilizes true voltage-controlled oscillators, 2-pole filter, adding dual effect section, a polyphonic step sequencer, an arpeggiator, and more. • 500 permanent factory programs and 500 rewritable user programs.

• A versatile performance synthesizer with advanced ACB technology and 49 full-size keys. • Its internal sound engine delivers classic analog tones and dynamic modern sounds with analog vibe. • Advanced low-pass, high-pass, and side-band filters with high-resolution controls.

28

the deli Fall 2016


Malekko - Variagate 8

QU-Bit - Rhythm

• Designed to be the ultimate compact sequencer and control station over an entire Eurorack modular system. • Features eight channels of gate outputs with up to 16 steps per channel, two independent CV outputs for custom scale quantization, easy recall of ten storage banks, and 100 channel presets, random functions, and mute functions.

• A 4-channel pattern generator with BPM display. • Ships with a multitude of genreoriented rhythms that can be altered on a per-channel basis, each parameter under voltage control, plus an unlimited number of permutations. • Removes the intricate patching necessary for crafting complex drum beats and allows the user to focus on composing and performing music.

RHYTHM / SEQUENCERS / CONTROLLERS Novation Circuit

Arturia DrumBrute

• A groove box with two polysynths and a four-part drum machine, combined with an intuitive grid-based sequencer. • New firmware unlocks new useful functions like Sample Flip, which lets you place multiple samples on the same drum track, and a more streamlined workflow. • A new editor also allows you to design complex patches from the comfort of your computer screen.

• Boasts 17 distinct, fully analog drum and percussion instruments, with an intuitive sequencer, massive connectivity, a two-mode SteinerParker filter, and dynamic performance controls. • Features advanced 64 step/64 pattern sequencing possibilities and effective performance controls. • Create energetic and exciting drum beats, with a single, user-friendly device.

Novation Launchpad Pro • The Launchpad was the first device to introduce the now universally-adopted grid system in a hardware integration for Ableton Live. • Features enhanced RGB LED feedback and velocity, plus pressure-sensitive pads. • New scale mode effortlessly lets you assign various scales to the grid so that it can be played like a keyboard.

Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S25 • The smallest in the series, which includes 41, 61 and 88 key models. • Acts as a perfect controller for any Native Instrument’s software synths, and many other virtual instruments and tabletop synths. • It comes bundles with NI’s virtual instruments “Komplete Select.”

Roland TR-09 • A modern, updated, compact recreation of the classic TR-909, that retains the sound, character, and user interface of the original. • The original sound can now be edited and tweaked through Roland’s new ACB (Analog Circuit Behavior) technology. • Greater control over the classic Step and Tap write modes, plus 16-step sequencer.

Future Retro 512 Midi Controller • A capacitive touch keyboard, packed with a unique blend of musical features to facilitate creativity. • Acts as a keyboard, arpeggiator, sequencer, MIDI to CV converter, or MIDI to MIDI converter, plus provides nine octave ranges for the 29 full-sized keys. • Available with or without the optional rack ears that allow it to fit in a standard 19” rack enclosure, taking up only 4u spaces. the deli Fall 2016

29


TABLETOP SYNTHS + EFFECTS

Make Noise - 0-Coast • Single voice patchable synth utilizing techniques from both the Moog and Buchla paradigms. • Operates with or without the use of patch cables, and can be controlled via Midi or CV. • Features dual mode MIDI-controlled arppegiator, triangle core analog VCO, and audio input for external sound sources.

Studio Electronics Boomstar • Powerful synth featuring two oscillators, two envelopes, one LFO, and model specific filter: different color = different filter. • Deep set of parameters cover a huge range of options, including filtering of outside sources. • Overflow mode allows you to connect two or more boomstars to get polyphony.

Elektron - Heat

Eventide - modfactor

• A tabletop effect + 2 in/2 out audio interface featuring eight different stereo analog distortion circuits, analog filtering and EQ. • It can be used as a VST/AU plug in through the Overbridge extension. • Analog filter features 7 types, with Frequency and Resonance controls.

• A complete, fully-featured studio quality modulation effect featuring two LFOs. • LFO rates can also sync to tap tempo and MIDI clock. • Real-time control with ten knobs, MIDI or expression pedal.

Waldorf - Streichfett • Fully polyphonic string synth with a dual sound engine, plus an eight voice solo section. • A series of effects add character and richness to the sound. • Twelve patches can be stored and selected in the memory section.

Dreadbox Erebus

• A powerful but affordable duophonic (or paraphonic) analog synth with a small patchbay. • Features two oscillators, a distinctive VC low pass filter, two envelope generators, and VC LFO and delay/echo. • The patchbay allows extra features and makes it compatible with Eurorack systems.

Twisted Electrons - Acid 8 • Fun and easy to use hybrid digital/analog synth controlled by a powerful step sequencer. • 8-bit oscillator offers 16 waveforms to choose from, even allowing you to redraw your own! • 5 dsp effects can be applied at once, invert bits of the digital signal for weird harmonics and effects, link the env mod to pitch for percussive sounds and more. • All signal beyond the oscillator is 100% analog offering a punchy VCA and gritty resonant low pass filter.


GADGET SYNTHS

Suzuki Omnichord • A synth playing major, minor, seventh, augmented, and diminished chords, and a touchplate-triggered arpeggiator. • Ten pre-programmed drum beats with optional basic arrangement arrangement. • On-board Chord Computer allows to record a sequence of chords.

CUBE Works/ Maywa Denki Otamatone BASTL instruments Kastle

Critter and Guitari Black & White Video Scope

• A lo-fi, mini modular, portable synth with two in/ out ports for interfacing other gear. • Open source DIY project with several firmwares that behave differently. • The synth version combines complex oscillator and LFO with stepped waveform generator.

• A video synthesizer that generates visual patterns in response to sound. • 16 patterns, including strobe effects, flashing squares, rotating blocks, and random pixels. • Randomizer mode changes the modes randomly at a selectable rate.

32

the deli Fall 2016

• A silly but fun monophonic toy synth that you play by sliding or tapping your finger on the instrument’s neck. • Opening and closing the instrument’s “mouth” adds an extra filtering effect. • Switch in the back gives you three-octaves options.


BEAT DrumBrute is a powerful all-analog drum machine & sequencer built for performance and in-depth sound editing. No menus, no presets, no limits on your creativity. Give your beats the Brute power they deserve.


the deli's pedalboard

Hologram Electronics Dream Sequence • A super-creative pedal featuring a sequencer, an envelope shaper, a pitch shifter, a sampler, and more. • Pattern sequence and rhythmic gate, with tap tempo, allow you to transform the input intro complex sequences and textures.

Synth Edition !

Here’s a few stompboxes synth geeks should find interesting...

Dandy Job The Whipple Wah

Subdecay Prometheus DLX

Electro-Harmonix 8 Step Program

• The wah is the (pedestrian) grandfather of the low pass filter, with set resonance. • When your hands are too busy turning knobs, it might be useful to have a wah pedal (or two?) that you can control with your foot! • The pedal is based on a faithful recreation of the late ’60s Vox Wah component, which produces a smooth, never shrill sweep.

• Digitally-controlled analog filter envelop/step sequencer affecting a wide spectrum of audio frequencies, with nine functions and seven LFO shapes. • Lowpass, bandpass, and highpass filters options, plus tap tempo controlled sequencer. • An internal switch lets you add a dry signal blend to the bandpass filter.

• A tap tempo controllable pedal that delivers sequencer control over parameters which respond to expression pedals or CV generators like oscillators, filters, delay parameters, etc. • Six tap tempo divide modes provide rhythmic diversity. • Also features four sequence direction modes: Forward, Reverse, Bounce, and Random.

PRIVIAPIANO.COM

The Privia Pro PX-560 // A Stage Piano Unlike Any Other. The PX-560's piano prowess is truly impressive, but look deeper. Its Hex Layer synthesis engine delivers sound design potential that will continue to be explored for years to come. 256-note polyphony 5.3" color touchscreen and three real-time control knobs Arpeggiator with 100 preset patterns Up to 13-stage envelopes and 5 filter types Tri-Sensor II scaled hammer-action keys Weighs only 26 lbs. Powerful modulation and effects 16-track MIDI recorder plus USB recording USB-MIDI plus 1/4" inputs/outputs


SYSTEM 8 | THE NEW LEGENDARY Powerful and deep, the SYSTEM-8 delivers a vast palette of sounds inspired by over four decades of legendary Roland synths. Its next-gen Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB) engine powers an eight-voice, three-oscillator monster with stunning filters and effects, highly versatile LFOs, and a massive array of high-resolution knobs and sliders to control it all. Support for three PLUG-OUT synths means the SYSTEM-8 can host spot-on recreations of numerous Roland classics, and JUPITER-8 and JUNO-106 PLUG-OUTS are even included with purchase.

Learn more at www.Roland.com


The H9 MAX is the right pedal for every situation. Packed with Eventide’s iconic reverb, delay, modulation and pitch-shifting effects. It delivers the pro-quality sounds you’ll need on the road or in the studio. Visit eventideaudio.com/h9

Eventide is a registered trademark of Eventide Inc. © 2016 Eventide Inc.

The Deli NYC #48 - Synth Expo 2016, Sofi Tukker, LGBT Hip-Hop  

Special synth/electro issue, featuring samba/synthpop favorites Sofi Tukker on the cover. Additional coverage includes: feature stories on L...