I stumbled on to a live video of this cool piece called “Amphis” by Luke Abbott. Enjoy.
Luke Abbott live performance of 'Amphis', filmed at Wysing Arts Centre on 8th March 2014. 'Amphis' features on the forthcoming Luke Abbott album 'Wysing Forest', to be released by Border Community on 23rd June 2014.
My name is James Jaret Kojac / Syndicate Synthetique. I'm a Sound Designer and one of my latest projects has been w,’orking with DSI on the Tempest Drum Machine.
This video is primarily a showcase of what my friends and I have been calling "beat flipping" on the DSI "Tempest". Beat Flipping is essentially an exercise in live improvisation to see how far one can take the same 4bar pattern on one device. All Patches/Sounds and patterns are all designed from zero'd out custom patch initializations and designed by myself for DSI and/or Myself.
This video is 100% Live Tempest. It was recorded into an MBox2 into Reaper at 48/24 .wav with no pre- or post-processing except normalization. In this video I demonstrate use of polyphonic synthesis, reverse, beat roll, pad pressure modulation routing and obviously a bunch more. As time goes on and I add them, the timed comments should go over a few things as I do them. Enjoy! More to come...
Tempest OS 1.1
DSI has also updated Tempest since my last post on this to OS 1.1 which now allows you to play use MIDI notes to play the synth engine as assigned to pads. You can see what’s new in the 1.1 ademdum pdf here.
Early last week I got a message from Denver Sound Designer James Kojac of Syndicate Synthetique. "I happen to have a pre release DSI/Linn Tempest sitting in front of me… I figured you may want to swing by and check it out.”
Duh! Of course I jumped at the chance to see one of the first Tempest Drum Machines in the wild - #0026 to be precise.
While I was there, James was kind enough to take me through the paces, show me some of the kits he had created so far, and let me play and do a little sound design with it. Before I talk about first impressions let me give you a brief rundown on the core features.
Top Feature Summary
The Tempest is an analog drum machine first introduced in at the Winter 2011 NAMM and is a collaboration between Dave Smith and fellow instrument designer Roger Linn.
16 velocity and pressure-sensitive pads arranged in an 8 x 2 array to facilitate both real-time and step entry of beats.
Two pressure and position-sensitive Note FX slide controllers 6 analog voices each with 2 analog oscillators plus 2 digital oscillators (with a large bank of included samples)
Dave Smith’s classic analog low-pass filter with audio-rate modulation, an additional high-pass filter, analog VCA with feedback, 5 envelopes, 2 LFOs, a variety of analog modulation routings. “Although optimized for drum sounds, it excels at tuned sounds as well, and even doubles as a 6-voice analog synth.”
In addition to the 6 direct voice outputs, there are stereo mix outputs and phones outputs, plus 2 inputs for foot switches or expression pedals, MIDI in/out and USB
90 panel controls, and bright 256 x 64 OLED
A variety of unique effects are provided while maintaining a pure analog signal path:
Stereo analog compressor and distortion circuits affect the stereo output mix
Beat-synced delay is achieved by generating additional delayed note events within the sequencer
A beat-synced "stutter" effect is created entirely within the sequencer by looping short portions of the drumbeat on demand.
I’ve played a lot of drum machines and synths in the past 20 years and found Tempest exceeded my expectations. It has great GUI design and is extremely expressive, and to me was instantly addictive. I planned on stopping by for a quick look and ended up spending like 3 hours jamming! The Tempest was so cool, I think I would have stayed longer if I didn’t have to get up 6:00am the next day – lol.
The OLED display is vivid, the machine looks great in the dark and offers visual feedback from the pads. The pads feel great, are taught and not spongy, don't travel down much and respond well to pressure. Once you spend a little time with the GUI you'll find the dual-function “shift” concept to be quite brilliant and flexible and as it offers quick access to deeper parameters without interrupting performance workflow. I certainly didn’t master it in 3 hours, but definitely started to “grok” the concept and it didn't take long at all to start making interesting music and sound. I got some immediate results with the analog synth architecture and created an interesting snare drum that James was kind enough to name after me in one his kits – woot!
The sound and performance possibilities are simply stunning! It can sound huge and punchy. It can also sound nasty without sounding brittle – and I mean nasty. It also can sound silky and warm. The modulation matrix combined with modulation sources including inputs from pad strikes and pad pressure, slide controllers and knob movement make the Tempest a live performance monster. And since your controlling parameters driving instances of analog synths, it’s insanely expressive. In other words it has a massive sonic range and the potential for unique output based on an individual performer. It is truly a musical instrument and not some sort of cookie cutter sample-based drum machine ROMpler.
Besides live playing on pads, you can sequence and step sequence patterns. There is a performance mode that allows you to to assign patterns to slots and trigger them from the pads – plus play over the top. There are also modes that allow you use the pads to play pitch intervals and set scales.
After a three hours session (without cracking open a manual) I feel like I just dipped my toe in the water and there are lot of other features under the hood that I didn’t experience.
Video of James Jaret Kojac Playing the Tempest
James (Syndicate Synthetique) has been working with the Tempest for a few weeks and was kind enough to let me film a quick jam which I think illustrates the potential and sonic range of Tempest. In this video James is jamming with some of his sounds with some sounds also initially designed by colleague Al Nesby of A23P and Acid Allstars. The video really shows off the range and performance aspects of the DSI Tempest analog Drum Machine.
From what I hear the unit should be available any day now. My friends at Sweetwater list the price at $1999.00 http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Tempest (note I don’t benefit from sales of Tempest – just love Sweetwater and recommend you ask for Jeff Green).
This is not a comprehensive review since I only had three hours with the unit. I will say I was blown away by Tempest. Before I played it I thought 2K was pretty damn expensive for a drum machine. After playing it I realized this was way more than a drum machine and is an outright performance instrument with a massive sonic range. Expensive? Yes. Worth it? If you are looking for a desktop analog drum machine that doubles as an instrument this seems like a good value and I think it's worth a look.
With the great analog synth elements from Dave Smith combined with the design of Roger Linn, Tempest is more than a luxury synth item – it’s a tool that will allow you to uniquely express yourself as an electronic/experimental musician for both beat and synth oriented work. I also see Tempest being well suited as a companion throughout the entire process of making music from composition, to production through to performance.
I'm not immediately in the market for an analog instrument, but after playing Tempest, I'm quite intrigued and would put it on my wish list if I decided to add an analog performance instrument to my hardware rig.
Duran Duran played a great show last night at the1st Bank Center in the Denver (suburb of Broomfield which is about 15 minutes from Boulder). To put it simply, the band sounded fantastic, Simon’s voice was strong, and the mix was fantastic and I could clearly hear all the players including Nick Rhodes’s synths. I was a bit far back, but it looked like Nick was playing the gear noted in this recent Keyboard Magazine article:
MOTU MIDI Timepiece
Roland V-Synth GT
Roland V-Synth GT
Prior to the show starting the twitter hashtage #duranlive was displayed and selected tweets were scrolled on the screen. Here was my stream with a few tweets and :^)
The set list was a nice mix of past hits and new material which the smartly peppered throughout the set. The new material sounded great and included tracks such as “All You Need is Now”, “Girl Panic!”, “The Man Who Stole A Leopard”, and “Leave a Light On” which they are promoting as their next single.
The band played about two hours and finished out the set with an encore of “Wild Boys” with a bit of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax” spiced into the break followed by “Rio”. Songs missing in action from the set were “Girls on Film”, and “Save a Prayer” but I’ve seen videos of them playing these this year so I’m sure with such a large catalog they rotate songs every night.
I took some photos with my iPhone 4 and placed them in a Flickr set.
There are plenty of tour dates left in the US and then they head off Brazil then the UK. If they are heading your way I recommend you check out this show as you’ll get to see a well rehearsed iconic band at the top of their game!