Megan and I went to a great concert last night to see Heilung. Heilung is a sort of folk Scandinavian pagan band. I discovered them on Youtube about a year ago by accident. They were somehow recommended to me through Youtube's recommendation system, and I stumbled into watching an entire concert by them.
They are doing their first US tour right now and Megan and I jumped at the chance to see the show. We thankfully got tickets and they sold out very quickly. So fast in fact that the show changed venues from the Vic to the Riviera Theatre.
So the show was a 7:30 show and Megan and thought we would get there early, around 6:00 to get in line. Little did we know, the line extended around the block on three sides. Thankfully we got in pretty early and Megan grabbed some fantastic seats in the balcony.
As most of you know, I have spent the past year changing out my music setup. I have finally put away my EMU Command Station and Korg EMX-1 into storage. I just haven't found any inspiration with them. In the meantime I have really tried to put some time into the Synthstrom Deluge. I have really had some mixed success get my head wrapped around it, but thhe battery powered portability of it is pretty cool.
What I have found with the Synthstrom (and the Novation Circuit) is that I need to manage a sample library. I never really had to bother with this before with my previous groove boxes. The Command Station in particular has a really robust percussion library that I have used for years.
I have found the whole sample management process in general to just be a tedious mess. I bought the superb Samples From Mars master pack that was on sale over Christmas. Having to pour through the samples though to organize them and then load them onto the Deluge is just a truly frustrating process, and it isn't the fault of the deluge. I just don't enjoy sitting in front of the computer for hours on end listening to samples.
I'm going to try and hunker down this week though and just get through it. I think once I get the sample library setup properly on the Deluge, I an hopefully never need to touch it again.
I was lucky enough to strike a Synthstrom Audible Deluge a couple of weeks ago off of Reverb.com. The Deluge is a groove box, all in work music production workstation. Most of the music I create is with groove boxes. My E-MU Command Station and Korg EMX are also considered groove boxes. They have a sequencer combined with a synth engine that has multiple voices.
Since the move in January I have been pairing down some of my gear. I sold off a number of pieces of gear and my core setup is now just the Command Station and EMX. Some consideration of those two have made me come to realize that I was able to accomplish just about all of the sounds and sequencing I needed with those.
I also wanted to to begin building another music setup. If you recall, last fall I purchased the Novation Circuit and Mono Station. I found out that the Circuit was not a good fit for me, something which I go into detail about over on Youtube.
I have had my eye on a Deluge for almost a year now. It is a boutique synth, so rather hard to come by and the initial shipment of units sold out quickly.
The Deluge has flat out blown me away in these first two weeks, so much so that I am changing how I am putting together some of my music gear. It truly is a standalone groove box. The minimalist grid based interface is remarkably intuitive and there is no hard limit on the number of notes, the length of the sequences or the number of tracks it can produce. I have been often so frustrated with many other synths and their limitation of 64 steps in their sequencing. It also has a built in sequencer and two synthesis types.
Now, the weakest link right now is probably the synthesis engine on the unit. It is pretty basic right now, but I hope that can be improved with some future software updates. One of the coolest things on the box though his that it is battery powered. It is also very small, about the length and width dimensions of a piece of paper. That means it is extremely portable. I can see myself taking this with me on planes or other long distance travel routes to get some music created on a pair of headphones.
It is with that in mind that I really want to keep it as just a stand alone, portable box for creating on.
My Command Station and EMX will continue to exist as they have much deeper sound palettes. The question though is what do I do with the Monostation? Do I keep it? Do I build a modular synth to go with it?