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19 August 2013

ROB PAPEN THE 4 ELEMENT SYNTH Review Feature | £25.95

It's common enough to find that, although one knows a fair bit about a subject, trying to explain it to someone else causes the brain to seize. What appears so clearly mapped out in one's own understanding doesn't bear structured exposition, hence a lot of "y'know?" and "sort of", even though the audience doesn't know anything of the sort.

The internet is particularly good at imparting fractured information - so much knowledge; so little understanding, as the phrase goes, y'know? Hence, when there are oceans of info on all manner of synthesis types surging across the world's servers, you really need something to channel it into a readily navigable, easy-to-swallow form that won't make you seasick.

That's why the Synth King himself, Dutch software developer Rob Papen, has produced a piece of hardware called a book. Well, the covers are hard, at least, and tacked inside them are four DVDs with explanatory audio and video by which to ensure understanding is beaten into your brain as painlessly as possible.

The 4 Element Synth, at more than 200 pages and 10+ hours of video, is a weighty and well-crafted tome that, it transpires, took Rob more than eight years to author, possibly because there were few other titles about to serve as example.

09 August 2013


Electronic dance music has an increasingly voracious appetite for heavy beats and thunderous bass. Dubstep, and its deranged sibling brostep, are consequences of the dance producer's penchant for filling every frequency gap below 200Hz while honking midrange in your face with splat, wow and parp.

As PA manufacturers figure out ever more inventive ways to disembowel clubbers with low-frequency emitters, those at the munitions' supply end of sonic-attack are busily plumbing the depths of the sub-woofer domain with rich, analog tones from hardware synthesizers and the more cost-effective welly of certain soft synths. Native Instruments Massive is a key example of the latter, living up to its name when wobbling bottom, but it could be that Impact Soundworks has devised a more focused driving experience in Juggernaut: Cinematic Electronic Scoring Tools. Let's take it for a trundle...