Korg Monotribe Review

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Just a quickie review of the wonderful Korg Monotribe that has been in my hands for a month now.
I LOVE IT!
I got rid of the heavyweight Korg Electribe ESX six months ago, and have been missing SOME kind of drum-machine. Where the Electribe was a STUFFED FULL of features, FX, loads of samples, sounds and lots of tweaking possibilities, I found it slow to use, annoying with menus and some serious irritating lack of functionality (having to stop to enter certain menus, sample start points being impossible to tweak..)the Monotribe is the opposite. Its fun iand intuative from the moment you turn it on.

Firstly the sounds, the drum section is just hi hat bass drum and snare, as it should be in an analog kit the snare is VERY SIMILAR to the hi hat, and the bass drum is punchy and cool.

The Synth is fantastic, with the ms20 filter and various LFO shapes (including the slightly hidden S+H that came in the version 2.0 update) Its sounds totally fantastic! The Q peaks as it should with no distortion as you go into oscillation, the square wave is my favorite, but with the saw you can really WANG it out with a dubsteppy wobble.

Construction
TANK.. Metal.. hear me? METAL!!!!

Cool hidden features:
The flux thing is interesting, turning the keyboard into a continuous slide, for theremin effects.
The fact that there are “in between notes” resulting in a double resolution effectively 16 steps.
Audio in to the filter.
A nifty shortcut to half speed the whole machine. (nice when you are sending clock to it from a looper and don’t know what speed the drums will come out)
And the killer… ALL sounds can have beats removed… not just muted, but SKIPPED, so you can start a track with totally poly rhythmic mayhem, making no sense.. but then add back in the beats you are skipping, till suddenly it all gels. fantastic. Plus being able to make really long sequences, by skipping ONE beat, on the synth, it effectively only comes BACK INTO sync with the drums once every 4 bars, which gives a really cool and lazy feel.
Rolls.. not VERY realistic, but can be cool, but tends to be good by accident, so an UNDO feature here would have been nice, as you have potential to fuck up your cool groove.
Gate time on the synth can be adjusted by a weird key combo and sliding on the keyboard.

Programming is real simple, just add in notes on the grid. plus they can be “played” on the keyboard.

Slight Gripes:

Whereas the Electribe have MASSES of programs where you could save stuff (but almost never did) The Monotribe is NOT meant to be a “programming tool” its a live tool. BUT I would have liked a way to save (you can save ONE rhythm, that it wil start-up with) not many, maybe 16 or 32 spaces… but something.
No Midi, was fine for me, cos I have a midi to trigger box that I dug out. Plus there are some add-ons available that are highly recommended. I MAY get that later.
No separate outputs for the drums and synth. COME ON.. thsi ones basic.. HAVE to be able to process the drums and synth separately!!! Luckily there is a simple circuit bend I may attempt. Just to take outs from the volume pots of the two sections. YOu gotta have delay on the synth (maybe distortion too for the techno thing).
But my MAIN gripe is… THE 9VOLT ADAPTOR MUST BE A KORG ONE!!!! Doesnt come supplied, BUT even though it takes completely regular 9v DC. They have a socket on the back that is not the standard Boss style Center negative. So I ordered an adaptor from Diago, I thin Center Positive, but that didnt fit either. Nowhere in Norwat can I just BUY a korg PSU. There is absolutely NO NEED to have a special PSU, so why they do that I HAVE NO IDEA. On the upside, the thing goes to sleep after 15 mins on inactivity and I have only changed the batteries once, so they last quite well.

POLYFØKT!!!

On Thursday Jens and I played at the Polyføkt festival in Torshov, and it went pretty well. Ill be posting video and sound of our “show” soon. There was many cameras all over the place, (Noise nerds like to document) so I may even be able to do a multi camera edit, we´ll see if the music/recording was really any good!
Heres the poster!
polyføkt postwr
And here are the videos:
PART ONE

PART TWO

Trento Gig Report


Last weekend I played in Trento, Northern Italy.
HERES THE RECORDING OF THE GIG.

Our performance was part of an Italian/Norwegian exchange. As such we played in an exhibition space about skiing and winter sports, through the ages. Trento is high in the Italian Austrian mountains, and is surrounded by wonderful mountains.
I had a absolutely fantastic time, and the gig was great! The original plan was that Massimo and I would be backed up by a trio of Trento musicians. Carlo La Manna, Corrado Bungaro and (insert name here). But after having some laptop/keyboard problems, we decided that we would all just play together. And what a great decision. It was a fantastic blend of their ethnic virtuosity and me and Massimos electronic noises.

The Players:

Massimo Barberi
Massimo played loops and manipulated my videos live, including one with Hilde singing (The Spykkeskjaenhytte film)
Carlo La Manna
Fretless Bass
Corrado Bungaro
Played Violin, Nyckelharpa, Steeldrum, percussion
Giordano Angeli
Saxophones, percussion
Mark Francombe
Baritone guitar, electronics

Its just Kaoss here!

I have just bought 2 Kaoss pads!
Im loving them… with some reservations/wishes!

I have NOT been so interested in them before now, as..
A) Im a guitarist with only 2 hands. Although I have seen the thing where they have been inserted into some guitars, but only as USB trackpads I think…
B) They are quite a bit of desk-space and Ive been more into space-saving racks tingys

Anyway, I have had my eye on the Kaosscilator, as a synth that can add a quick sound into the looping mix, in a pretty improv way, not much pre-planning. But was put off by the original cos of no midi sync…
But along comes the Kaosscilator PRO.

Loving it, great sounds, fast to use. Even Nikolas (5 yr old) is knocking up some pretty cool things on it. It has 8 banks of sounds, divided into leads, Acoustic, basses, chords, soundFX, drums, patterns and vocoder. ALL of the sounds I can use, some for more silly weird shit than others admittedly, but basically no fluff. Picking the right scale took some time for me, nothing quite worked with what I play on the guitar, (not knowing exactly what THAT scale is really!!!) In the end I wrote down MY scale, and found that Aolian was the closest, now it always sounds great with what Im doing on the guitarm and I dont have to worry about WHAT to play ha ha… wonderful time we live in…
I think that the way to save and recall sounds, and loops onto the card is a bit headachy, and I cant quite figure out HOW I wanna do that, Im not sure that Ill save any loops though… well maybe… maybe Ill save some drum loops, if I have made them from scratch… but TBH I dont thank that will happen untill it gets undo… its too easy to make a mistake, for me to want to KEEP that loop… Id much rather make loops on the flay and accept the individual quirks I create.. (rather have UNDO tho… see below) Of course ALL saving ystems are limited when all you have is a little green alpha-numeric screen and not a “proper” LCD with good space to write you patch names…

And then the Kaossilator QUAD.


I got instead of the KP3, cos I was interested in 4 simultaneous effects, as I wanted something to put right on the end of my chain, that EVERYTHING, guitar, guitar synth, loopers (3) and the Kaosscilator would go through.

After a few days play I have a few things I would like Korg to take note of, and CHANGE. In the Kaosscialtor Pro, that can send out a new firmware update, as a fix, with the Quad, it will have to be another version of the box, as the Quad has no midi or USB.. or nutting, so no updating there (See gripes below)!!

Heres the Gripes:

Kaoscilator.
1. NO UNDO!!! Please fix this!! I need to be able to fuck up an over dub on a loop and then go back one step to before the fuck-up. Even if it was only implemented on the PRESS REC button way of recording, so if you didnt like a loop, you could hit del after insted of Rec one more time, and then remove the new layer…
2. Need a quicker way to delete all, to clean slate… currently its Hold Del, press on all tracks then fumble to the little flashinh write button… whats wrong with a long (2 sec) press of Delete? or Delete AND REC for 2 secs?
3. Hissy on the mic channel when you are NOT kaossing, might just be my mike, but why is the sound OK when I am effecting it?
4. The main criticism is something I wouldn’t have known about if I hadn’t read some Kaoss forums. Apparently the ORIGINAL Yellow or pink one, apparently had a feature where you could get ARP PATTERNS… where are they on the PRO version?
Never remove a feature for the PRO version… ADD features!
If this can be implemented, the ARP PATTERNS could be sorted into banks, like the sounds, but maybe you must press ARP while you press a bank to access them?, once pressed, the ARP button could flash showing you are in pattern select mode, you select one, and then its loaded, and maybe the slider selects variations on that Pattern?
5. Just a gripe about the screen… Can anyone else memorize 200 patches… (not something they can fix NOW tho)

KP4
1. Obvious but… no midi!! No midi synch (Tho I must say that’s not a prob as it syncs wonderfully to input audio, and sometimes its nice to take it off auto sync and hand crank the bpm button.. cool) NO the real reason, is that there’s no update possible, so what we have.. we are stuck with!
2. Why OH WHY??? Cant they have kept the KP3 “record touch” function (or whatever its called). Being able to record your finger movements and play them back would ahve solved for me the “well you are a guitarist” thing… BUT.. I hear that on the KP3 its not possible to sync to the beat via midi or audio, this is silly, I would LOVE to be able to record a finger motion and have that motion “quantise” to the loop. Are we sure it doesnt do that? Ill have to borrow a kp3 to check… Again.. why TAKE AWAY features??
STUPIDO!
3. theres no 3rd gripe!

Overall I LOVE thse 2 boxes, I just need to memorize 200 patch numbers!

Music and how it is currently distributed.

This depressing chart I wanted to post on my blog, just so I remember it. My friend Andy pointed out that maybe Spotify is not THAT bad, as its more correct to think of it as radio, and not as a sale, and you get paid everytime they play something, not just once per sale… still bad cash tho… Was better in the old days… like last week…

Concert – supporting John Weise

I will be supporting noise guy John Weise at Blå on the 6th of February.
Im a bit nervous cos I didnt play at all last year… and he is doing noise… just noise, kinda ok though sort of rattly noise. This year I have been getting away from noise and drone stuff and returning to purely live looped guitar. However, this is probably a glitch, as the most recent stuff Ive done has had distortion sneaking back in, and pitch shifting everything, in almost a funny way… thats funny ha ha, not funny peculiar .

READ MORE>>>

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My music on a weird film from Brazil

A track that I had posted on my page at FREESOUND, that was called Koran Cats and Kids, has been used on this film by bagadefente in Brazil!!!

HURRAH, funny film too.. half the sound is from MY track, (including ominous out of tune piano, and pitch shift child, which I think is my step-granddaughter Lona) and the other half is a recording of a children´s toy… that actually we have too!! ha ha!!!