Monday, October 29, 2012

Arturia Minibrute : Early Impressions

This isn't a review per se, I don't own the instrument. Just my thoughts after monopolizing it for an extended period of time at the shop.

The Minibrute is Arturia's first analog synth, quite an interesting move for a company formally specialised in software. It's small and it's cheap, but is it good? And does having yet another monophonic analog synth on the market matters anyway?

Well, it does matter, because there aren't that many companies invested in producing affordable analog synths, apart from Dave Smith Instruments. And the Minibrute is a wonderful instrument. To begin with, it might be somewhat inexpensive (as analog goes), but it feels pretty solid. It's surprisingly heavy for an instrument of that size. The knobs have a reassuring sturdiness, although the slidebars are a bit light. All in all, it's a synth that you won't be afraid to carry around.

The Minibrute only features one oscillator, but multiply the waveshaping tricks to make the best out of it.You also get a beefy sub-oscillator that's bound to shatter some glass. Soundwise, the synth certainly delivers. Some have questioned the use of the obscure Steiner-Parker filter design, but I totally support it. If you want a Moog ladder design or a CEM-style filter, well, go buy a Moog or a DSI. We don't need yet another Moog-like analog synth. It's a bold move from Arturia, but it absolutely makes sense, because it sets the Minibrute apart from the competition. Whether you like its sound or not is a matter of personal taste. When it comes to modern monophonic analogues, the Moog Little Phatty has a round, warm tone, and Dave Smith's synths sport that sophisticated, well-educated analogue sound. By contrast, the Minibrute, is punchy and gritty, and it has range, from analog ground-shaking basses to experimentally harsh screaming leads and other-worldly textures. It's an aggressive synth, that you can make to sound warm and soft or screeching digital.

The level of control is understandably great : one knob per function. You don't have any preset memory, everything is on the synth and the possibilities are numerous from an instrument in that price range. The arpeggiator works like a charm, and even features a swing mode.
Now the problem will be to actually buy one. The Minibrute I've played in the shop is the ONLY unit they've got at this point. They manage to get a couple units from time to time which are of course pre-ordered. Production levels are ridiculous. I know that Arturia isn't Roland, Yamaha or Korg, but it's still a bit jarring to see how they managed to mess the release that badly, after so many delays. Anyway, if you can find one and fancy adding a mean sounding, portable and programmer-friendly analog synth to your setup, go for it. I'll probably do when they actually build them in decent quantities.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Me and the Devil

Man was singing out loud Robert Johnson's blues "Me and the Devil".

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cover du Jour : "Creators of Rain"

One of my favorite late 60's pop songs, most famously covered by Claudine Longet.

Gforce M-Tron Pro w/Chamberlin for most of the sounds.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Demo du Jour : "Snowfall"

To be recorded later on by Miss Roxanne.

"The angel came
To nurse this heart
Beating too slow
I grieve for the day
Yet the wounds do not show

Rain turns to snow
Fall the starry roads
The tears shed in vain
The ghost of yesterday
Lying on the plain

The world is gray
The pale moon rests
The stars fade away
But in the distance
I think I saw your face

We hurt again
But the wounds do not show
The pain will go
Fall the starry roads
The tears shed in vain
Grieve for the heart
The ghost of yesterday"

Friday, October 5, 2012

Cover du Jour : "Man with the Gun"

A favorite song of mine from my favorite singer.

Gforce M-Tron Pro for the strings.

"I'm out of my senses
I'll only smile
The night I meet the man with the gun

Not that I'd be defenceless
But I don't think I'll fight
The night I meet the man with the gun

Maybe I'll say what kept you?
I knew you would come
I somehow didn't expect to
Be spared for so long

Was it a whim of fortune
Or was I hard to find
What's the routine of a man with a gun

Was it a kind of torture
Have you been out of town
What is like to a man with a gun

Maybe I'm glad to see you
It's hard to believe
But standing here beside you
Is such a relief

This is gonna hurt me
I do know why you've come
But I got this feeling
That it's already been done"

Monday, October 1, 2012


"She came to the river
To quench her thirst
To leave this all behind
And drown desire

We glance upon
The times we’ve known
Deep in her thoughts
She’s sinking down
We chance upon
The things we’ve done
Buried in sleep
And sinking down

We stare upon
The joy we’ve known
The forgotten scene
From a long lost film
We sigh upon
The things we’ve lost
Drowning the tears
And sinking down
We glance upon
The times we’ve known
Deep in her dreams
She’s sinking down"

Drums&Bass : DSI Tempest
Gforce M-Tron Pro, VSM