Will the future of sample clearance be as easy as tagging friends on Facebook?

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When rapper Lil Nas X, the artist behind the viral chart-topper Old Town Road, together with record-label Sony, were sued in July over unauthorised samples in the song Carry On for $25 million, it served as a fresh reminder of the long-standing complications of sample clearance that numerous creators and producers face daily and the […]

Remembering the sounds of Casio VL-1, a pocket calculator with chiming noises

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When I first heard Kraftwerk’s 1981 album Computer World, it felt like the future was within my grasp. The album was a musical vision of how computers were infiltrating our lives and one particular track, Pocket Calculator, incorporated bleeps and blips from actual calculators.  Thanks to the electronics company Casio, a little bit of that […]

The ARP 2600 is still one of the most prized synthesizers today, here’s why

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Purchasing a hardware synthesizer has always been a bit of an investment decision, thankfully made easier by the cost-effective nature of some of the newer machines of the current age, so it’s always nice to consider a machine you’ll really get some use out of. Does it have the ability to create decent drum sounds, […]

Rediscovering the QY700, Yamaha’s large, mains-powered beast

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Yamaha’s QY700 dates back to 1996 and is a large, mains-powered beast, dedicated solely to creating MIDI compositions. Even now, with the renewed interest in hardware sequencing, there’s nothing quite like it on the market. The QY700 is made of plastic and being over 20 years old, some second-hand examples you’ll find won’t be as […]

Meet Depeche Mode’s first live drummer: the Boss Dr. Rhythm DR-55

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When it comes to drum machines, Roland has form; just about all of its TR-series drum machines have become iconic, with the seminal 808 and 909 leading the charge, of course, followed closely by the 606 and 707. But prior to the heady days of dance music, drum machines were loaded with very different responsibilities, […]

Here’s why Roland’s RE-201 Space Echo is the most beloved tape delay

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One of the things that I’ve always liked about the Eurorack synth industry is the eccentric naming that some modules have, often leaving no clue as to what the product actually does. Of course, I can hear the non-modular heads shouting: “What’s the point in an obscure product name?” Well really, there’s none at all. […]