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15 March 2013

ROB PAPEN EDM SYNTH BUNDLE | £169 / €199 / $239
ROB PAPEN URBAN SYNTH BUNDLE | £169 / €199 / $239



REVIEW ROUND-UP
Featuring the Rob Papen dance posse…
Predator synthesizer
Punch drum synth
Blade additive synth
SubBoomBass bass synth

Music journalists are fond of two things: Dreaming up musical genres to use as shorthand when hypothesising that modern music is going down the toilet; and bemoaning music's actual slide down the pan. The deaths of pop, rock, nu oom-pah and more have been reported frequently and widely for years, usually when a journo has taken to a new act that he or she is priming to be the saviour of music itself.

Pick up a music rag, read the writers' angst-ridden reports and meet another bunch of young hopefuls armed with a red guitar and a good PR, all the while attempting to decipher their place in the genre-sphere as defined by hand-wringing journos. By comparison, music-technology journalism is a doddle.

All you need are the facts about a product, some hands-on time, a view on potential and an idea of whether or not the price tag is justified (vast knowledge of music tech and the ability to do writing may also come in handy). As to what the end user gets up to with the gear, who knows? However, it's a fair bet that a software instrument will end up being used to make dance-friendly timbres somewhere along the line.

05 March 2013

TOONTRACK EZKEYS CLASSIC ELECTRICS | £111 / €139*

REVIEW
The story arc for Toontrack's EZkeys line of keyboard-based instruments appeared to be following a predictable path. We began with acoustic pianos, both grand and upright, establishing sample-based sound libraries front-ended with an educative interface introducing learners to such concepts as the circle of fifths, the suspicious fourth and augmented, diminished and demented ninth. With stabilizers. In a word, theory.

Songwriters are also catered for by drag-and-drop MIDI files in core libraries of stock phrases, while the Transpose and Chord Wheel come in more than handy when seeking new directions for melody and harmony.

MuzoBlog offered opinion on the Grand Piano and Upright Piano last year, so skip back and mug up if new to this product. Since then, Toontrack has been gamely adding to its range of keyboardian MIDI libraries, issuing Blues, Gospel, Pop/Rock, Jazz and R&B phrases at £19.95 a throw via UK/Euro distributor Time+Space and direct from its online shop, but priced in something known as Euros.