The FT reports that a small London bank called Anchorage Captial is seeking investment to buy vintage guitars, having noticed that the Vintage Guitar Magazine price index "averaged returns of 31.6 per cent for the past 17 years". Anchorage is run by guitar enthusiast Thomas Byrne, who is also behind BJ & Byrne Guitars, a new company hoping to build guitars in Britain (actually, in a workshop on Denmark Street in London) and sell them for £500-£900. If anyone out there has £55m to spend on vintage guitars, just send me the cheque and I'll pass it on. (Thanks, Fabio)
If you can get hold of a copy, I recommend the April 2008 issue of Sound on Sound, which includes Steve Marshall's epic 12 page history of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, which was founded 50 years ago in April 1958. His piece is full of goodness, but the thing that really amazed me was this "We have also sound-houses" quote from Francis Bacon's 1626 book 'The New Atlantis', which Workshop founder Daphne Oram had pinned on the wall of the Workshop. It's all there: "We represent small sounds as great and deep" = Waves Ultramaximiser, "We represent and imitate all articulate sounds and letters" = a circuit-bend Speak'n'Spell, and "divers tremblings and warblings of sounds" pretty well describes my entire musical output.
INFO: 01. Anthony Hamilton - Do You Feel Me 02. Lowell Fulson - Why Don't We Do It In The Road! 03. John Lee Hooker - No Shoes 04. Bobby Womack - Across 110th Street 05. Anthony Hamilton - Stone Cold 06. Sam & Dave - Hold On I'm Comin' 07. The Staples Singers - I'll Take You There 08. Public Enemy - Can't Truss It 09. Hank Shockiee - Checkin' Up On My Baby 10. Hank Shockiee - Club Jam 11. Hank Shockiee - Rail Road 12. Hank Shockiee - Nicky Barnes 13. Marc Streitenfeld - Hundred Percent Pure 14. Marc Streitenfeld - Frank Lucas
This is Peter Neubäcker from Celemony. You've probably already seen this promo video of his new product, Direct Note Access. It's a new version of the autotune-type pitch correction software which - it appears - can work with polyphonic sound. Record a chord, and it lets you explode that chord and re-tune individual notes. I thought that this was impossible. Peter Neubäcker says "What doesn't work in theory can still work in reality."
Well, maybe. In May 2005, a startup called Zenph Studios claimed to have cracked the problem of polyphonic transcription. They analyse old piano recordings (i.e. Glenn Gould playing Goldberg Variations in 1955) and produce a high-resolution MIDI-type file with exact pedal movements and note/pressure data. They feed that into a Disklavier MIDI grand piano, and record the results. They've had good reviews (at least in audiophile mags) for the recordings.
The potential of this kind of polyphonic transcription is enormous - it would let you sample a performance, not just the recording of a performance. Zenph may be able to do it in a slow, precise, way - presumably with a considerable amount of human help, and they're just pulling out note data, not separating the actual sounds of the notes. Celemony are claiming a lot more. If it works, it's a revolution. It shouldn't be long before you can separate any mixed recording into unmixed tracks. You'll be able to turn any guitar into a guitar synth with no special hardware.
It's very exciting. Does it actually work? I can't imagine how it could, but I know almost nothing about signal processing or the theory of sound. That's where you come in... (More coverage at Create Digital Music)
This looks fantastic: An official, Korg-sanctioned Japan-only MS-10 for the Nintendo DS. It has two synth engines, a drum machine, and a 6-track XOX sequencer, complete with little draggable patch cables. No sign of MIDI in, but you can link several systems wirelessly to play together. I think I need a DS... (Thanks, David)
I have a MFB Synth II, which I really enjoy - a little blue Minimoog with a sequencer. It's wonky, lo-fi thing (I have to tune it with a guitar tuner) but I really like it, so I'm intrigued by the MFB Synth 3, which is launching at MusikMesse this week. It's basically a bunch of their eurorack modules in a desktop box. No patch storage (which I never use on the Synth 2) and no sequencer (both of which I use a lot) - it comes with a built in MIDI-CV converter. It's got to be the most knobs and patch points ever sold for €580.