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Exclusive news from UK Electronica, plus all the latest in the world of MIDI music

UK Electronica '89

The UK's only regular event for synthesizer, New Age and computer music, UK Electronica is now in its seventh year and looking more spectacular than ever before. Micro Music readers can get a special discount on tickets for the event, which offers almost eight hours of high-tech music, computers, synthesizers, lasers, giant video and slide projections and much more.

Every style of computer music from fast sequencer pieces to slow, floating, ambient sounds, heavy synth rock and exotic percussion will be featured, and this year there are eight synth acts from the UK, France, India and Brazil. Astonishingly, they've ALL been using micros - mainly Atari ST's - while the show's graphic displays will be created on Commodore Amigas plus a Fairlight Computer Video Instrument. A huge laser show by Golden Light will be controlled by an IBM PC AT clone.

Ashok Prema

One of the founders of UK Electronic's organisers, AMP Records, with two cassette albums and appearances on AMP Records compilations to his name, and like many of the artists at UKE '89 due to release a new album on the day at a special offer price. Performing a selection of new and existing music backed by Indian percussionists, he combines Tangerine Dream-influenced sequencing with touches of Indian music and is currently working with an Ensoniq EPS sampler and ESQ-1 synth controlled by C-Lab Creator on a 1040ST.

Stardancer II, Ashok Prema

Stardancer II

Stardancer II is an occasional collaboration between Mark Jenkins, cofounder of AMP Records and sometime Technical Editor of Melody Maker, and Chris Jenkins, computer music journalist and (by coincidence?!) his identical twin. Both have cassettes and albums available through AMP Records and will be presenting a selection of the best music from each accompanied by dancers and special guests. Mark uses a Korg M1R rackmount synth, Passport Master Tracks Pro software on the ST and a barrage of MIDI and video equipment, while Chris uses C-Lab Supertracks on the Commodore 128 and C-Lab Creator on the ST, plus an enormous variety of analog and digital synths.

John Costello

John is a member of the Network 23 synth composers' organisation, hails from Coventry and is due to release his first album at UKE '89. He uses an Atari 1040ST running C-Lab Notator, a Kawai K1 synth and an Akai S950 sampler, and his set's accompanied by a stunning selection of computer-treated videos using a genlocked Amiga and other graphics devices.

Simon Maddocks/Golden Light

Simon Maddocks is a professional animator who's creating spectacular videotaped and live graphics for the show using Sculpt Animate 3D and other packages on Commodore Amigas supplied by SDL's new music division, as well as sending genlocked Amiga effects to a Fairlight Computer Video Instrument for projection above the heads of the artists. Meanwhile Golden Light, the UK's leading independent laser display company, will be using their own LaserScript software on an IBM PC AT clone to produce live laser writing, three-dimensional animation and many effects never before seen in the UK.

Many of the leading synthesizer and computer music retailers will be on hand with a variety of special offers, and full catering facilities will be provided. The entire show will be videotaped for international broadcast.

UK Electronica '89, The Logan Hall, Institute Of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1, Saturday September 23rd 1989 Opens 1pm; Russell Square underground (Piccadilly Line) 90 seconds walk. King's Cross and Euston BR stations 5 mins walk (map with ticket). Estimated finishing time 10pm; details subject to change. More information (Contact Details) in office hours. Some cheap university b&b accommodation available Fri-Sat; details on tickets.

May East and John Costello

May East and her Band

May left a massively successful band career in Brazil to go solo with her own style of ecologically-conscious, electronic New Age music. She's been working on the international "Spirit Of The Forest" charity single and on a solo concept album exploring links between Brazilian rhythms, synth sounds and colours. May's set for UK Electronica promises to be something different, combining synthesizers and video projections with dance, Latin percussion and a huge fantasy backdrop; she's using Korg M1 and Roland D20 synthesizers controlled by Steinberg Pro 24 running on an Atari 1040ST.

Daniel Biry

Born in Paris, worked as a concert organiser and in punk bands before getting into synth-based film music and has released a CD on AMP Records titled "The Feathered Snake". Recorded directly from an Ensoniq ESQ-1 and Mirage plus a Roland D-110 synth module to a Technics DAT recorder, the CD combines Biry's interest in ancient mythology and ethnic sounds with the latest sampler and synth effects.

River Of Dreams

Dave Palmer and Steve Morrell, or River Of Dreams, have released two cassette albums and use their Atari live on stage to recreate the sound of their albums perfectly. They're using Ensoniq, Korg, Casio, Roland and Yamaha synths, Steinberg Pro 24 software and guitars, and hope to have a new album released at UK Electronica.

Mark Shreeve

Composer of three solo albums of heavy rock synth music and well-known as the writer of some of Samantha Fox's biggest dance hits, his commercial music is constantly on TV - as on Channel 4's American Football series - but he'll be at UK Electronica promoting his new Jive Records LP "CrashHead". Shreeve's frighteningly sophisticated recording setup includes C-Lab Creator on the ST, an Akai MCP60 sampling sequencer, a Korg M1 and an Akai S1000 sampler, and he also records at Battery Studios, one of the most advanced Fairlight-based facilities in the world. His UKE '89 set promises a barrage of videos and lasers to accompany an overwhelming heavy rock synth performance.

Robert John Godfrey

Robert John Godfrey founded the Enid, described by Radio 1 as "the biggest cult band in Europe", and certainly one of the most successful keyboard-based progressive rock bands of the '70's and '80's. UK Electronica '89 sees the launch of Godfrey's solo career with a new, more synth-based album "Reverberations" and music composed specially for the show. Godfrey promises to combine the E-Max sampler, Yamaha TX816 and other synths controlled from an Atari ST by Steinberg Pro 24 v.3 with the classic sound of a Yamaha grand piano and an eye-opening combination of visuals.

The S3 Rhythm workstation and the Q1 Production workstation

SI (Sonic Integrity) provides the 16-bit PCM sound source built into the S3. As an example, attack sounds and sustained tones of instruments have been memorized as separate waveform data to allow different instruments to be grafted onto each other to create totally new sounds.

The S3 features 4 pattern tracks and 4 real time tracks. It is also equipped with SMPTE functions and allows total control over sound creation.

The Q1 Production workstation is a 16 track/16 channel MIDI/SMPTE multi-track sequencer which contains all the professional sequencing features you will need.

Sequences can be recorded in two modes step or continuous play/record, a large LCD display makes it easy to edit, and data is stored on high density 3.5" disks that can hold 1.4 megabytes of data. This product goes beyond a sequencer to function as a true work station.

No details of a price, on either of these products, are available at the moment.

Contact: Korg (UK) (Contact Details)

Sound Control System

One of the most common problems incurred by music, film and video production companies is the need for a controlled recording environment on location, or in the control room when they simply want to do a quick voice-over.

Soundforms, a Californian based company, have come up with a solution. The Sound Control System is a lightweight, portable, modular, modular system of panels that enable you to effectively control sound virtually anywhere.

Assembly takes only a matter of minutes and the frames are constructed from high impact, 1" tubular plastic to which 2" thick acoustic foam and decorative covers are attached. Whilst not in use the Sound system fits into a travel bag for easy storage.

All the parts are available separately but there are four starter packs to choose from: the Sound Wall, Sound Booth, Double Sound Booth and the Sound Room.

Some of Soundforms satisfied customers include Yamaha International Inc, Michael Boddicker, Todd Cochran, David Young, Intelligent Music, Opcode, Sabian Cymbals, ABC Radio, NBC Radio and SE Audio/Miami Vice.

Contact: Radius International Ltd (Contact Details)

The Music 3000 Expander

BBC micro musicians will be pleased to hear of Hybrid Technologys latest announcement, the Music 3000 Expander.

The expander adds a further 16 channels of high-quality sound to the Music 5000 synthesiser, which brings the total to an awesome 32. This allows more musical parts, more voices for each part, more complex instrument designs and up to 16-voice polyphony on the Music 4000 Keyboard.

All of the additional channels can be mixed into the main stereo outputs, or amplified separately to give full quadraphonic sound.

The Music 3000 Expander is available from Hybrid Technology and costs £99 plus VAT.

Contact: Hybrid Technology (Contact Details)

Computers in Teaching Initiative Centre for Music.

Lancaster University has set up a new centre called the Computers in Teaching Initiative Centre for Music. The aim of which, is to promote the use of computers in the teaching of music in schools, colleges and universities.

Dr Anthony Pople, Director of the Centre said: "Computers are making a fundamental contribution to the teaching of music. The main object of the new centre is to spread the expertise between those teachers already using computers in their work and the increasing number who are just becoming aware of their potential".

Along with Lisa Whistlecroft, the centres Research Associate, Dr Pople will provide free information on the latest developments in computer assisted learning to music teachers. They will also produce a newsletter Musicus which will include reviews of hardware and software, as well as arranging workshops, demonstrations and conferences.

The Centre is being supported by a £78,000 grant from the Computer Board for Universities and Research Councils. This is the latest in a series of grants awarded to the Music Department since it began work in computing five years ago.

The centre will also give advice on the use of computers in music synthesis, which is directly relevant to the pop music industry, and also on computer based composers' aids and music printing.

Contact: Lancaster University (Contact Details)

The Latest from Musicsoft

Musicsoft, the Californian based company, have come up with an idea to stop musicians running out of inputs on their amps or P.A's.

The Mini Mixer is a neat little box, that can fit into your pocket, which provides either '8 into 1' or '4 into 2' mixing formats. It can also double as a pre-amp and Musicsoft say it can run on a single 9v battery for 1600 hours continually.

It sounds ideal for level matching of all those 'MIDI box' ins and outs, expanding home studio mixers, mic line driver amp or even as a guitar pre-amp booster.

Weighing just 12oz and fitting easily into the pocket, the Mini Mixer certainly seems to be the sort of gadget most musicians will want to take to all their gigs.

Staying with Musicsoft, we have news of the introduction of an SMPTE/Song-pointer/Direct-Lock unit called Syncman.

Syncman supports all major sync formats and other functions such as SMPTE to MTC or DTL conversions, generates MTC as SMPTE is written and allows all keyboard/sequencer MIDI output to merge with MTC or SPS information.

The unit weighs under 500g, is powered by an external 9v power supply and unlike it's competitors the unique SMPTE/Song-Pointer 'Jam' Sync allows recovery from tape drop out.

Contact: Radius International Ltd (Contact Details).

More to offer from MTR.

Now that MTR have their 12 and 16 track mixers in full production three new products have been announced.

Firstly, the PM-21, intended for Midi connections between keyboards, expanders and Midi outboard processors it can be wired to splitters and mergers etc to form a complete patching system. The PM-21 has 21 Din sockets on the front panel connected directly to 21 Din sockets at the rear. It also has a strain relief bar at the rear for use with the supplied cable ties to avoid strain on the rear sockets. The PM-21 RRP is £54.00 inc vat.

The OR-8 open 19" rack, must be one of the easiest and cost-effective way of housing up to 8 units of rackmounting equipment. It is not only simple to assemble but costs a mere £19.00 inclusive.

Lastly, the GB-1, "Gain Brain", an extremely quiet device for boosting unbalanced or balanced mic signals, or instrument signals, through their own dedicated input sockets up to line levels of 10dB, 0dB or +4dB. It's applications include boosting mics to a level suitable for driving effects units direct, as pre-amps for bugs on acoustic instruments, or in any situation where a high quality mic or instrument pre-amp is required. The GB-1 unit is housed in a die-cast aluminium box and costs just £27.00.

Contact: MTR Ltd (Contact Details)

New From Akai

The S-1000KB, available in November, is a new addition to the award winning sampler range. Built to the same specifications but with addition of a 61 note keyboard with aftertouch, its basic 2Mb memory can be upgraded via an optional hard disk retrofit made up of a 40Mb hard disk and IB-103 interface for £1150. The price of the S-100KB is expected to be £3499.

October will see the release of the ADR-20, a drum machine offering quality 16 bit sounds, 50 preset patterns with three variations, the capability of user programming but most importantly it combines Akai user-friendliness with high sound quality. The drum machine has 15 drum pads equipped with 10 banks, preset drum sounds are assigned to pads in four banks and the bass sound in the fifth bank leaving the rest for the user to store any internal sounds. The retail price of the ADR-20 is yet to be arranged.

Also announced by Akai was the expansion of the official sound libraries for Akai samplers, including the MPC-60 sampling drum machine. The range now includes a comprehensive set of professional quality drum kits and percussion to suit every musical application.They also announced that the Version 2 software updates for the MPC-60 drum machine and ASQ-10 sequencer are now available on ROM chip.

Contact: Akai (Contact Details)

Montarbo's Uk Distributor is announced.

Radius International Ltd has been announced as Montarbo Products exclusive UK distributors.

Elettronica Montarbo s.r.l is one of the largest Italian electronic musical instrument manufacturers. Their products span the entire mixing desk and powered mixer field from 6 to 24 channels and 100 to 500+500 watt stereo units incorporating dual 16 bit digital multieffects processors. Complimentary speaker enclosures, power amps, rack mount dual graphic equalizers and digital multi-effects processors make Montarbo one of Europe's foremost musician orientated P.A. suppliers.

The Chairman of Radius, Stewart Ward, says "Montarbo's products are much more than 'good for the money' and present serious musicians with the chance to invest in equipment with features and technical specifications not found on currently available brands".

He continued to say, that with the experience his team at Radius has in electronic design, service, marketing and administration they would be working with Montarbo to "help develop their musical instruments amps in line with our markets requirements".

Contact: Radius International Ltd (Contact Details)

New Noises From Sansui

Six new products have been presented by Hi-Fi stalwart Sansui. Blending two fields of engineering expertise, those of audio and digital, the new line will help to bring out the musician in you along with joy of recording, dubbing and editing your performance.

The WS-X1, is very versatile for making demo recordings and for practice because it combines a 6-channel multi-track recorder with an 8-channel mixer and 2-channel master recorder. It is a self contained, portable studio which produces top quality demo tapes. The WS-X1 will be on the market for around £1250.

The MX-12 is a 12-channel mixer which will allow you to increase the number of channels you can mix. It features 12 line/mix inputs, 12 direct outputs, two balanced/unbalanced stereo outputs, 6 "program" outputs, and two Aux send/return circuits. Each channel has a SOLO switch, a PAN control and an ASSIGN switch that lets you assign any input to the desired output. This is expected to retail for £650.

This sync control unit, the SY-1 provides two functions. It can be used to operate WS-X1 and MR-6, (or two MR-6's in perfect sync making 10-channel recording possible), and it houses a MIDI FSK converter used to convert MIDI signals into FSK format for automatic operation of a sequencer-controlled synthesizer or drum machine. The SY-1 will cost around £175.

The MR-6 is a 6-channel multitrack recorder which allows you to increase the number of mixed channels to 10 when used in conjunction with the SY-1 and/or the WS-X1. Its features include MIDI sync capability, punch in/out capability, double speed tape run, auto rehearsal function, and Dolby C noise reduction. This will retail for approximately £650.

The WS-G10 allows you to equalize the mixed down signal before it is sent to the master recorder. Response can be boosted and cut to 12dB at a number of frequencies and a 10-band fluorescent real-time spectrum analyzer allows close monitoring of recording and playback level. This will retail at about £275.

The last product in this new, series is the CD-M12, which will allow you to rehearse or record against a digital background. It accepts two magazines, each containing six CDs, giving you access to any track on any of the 12 discs. You can also program up to 30 tracks, operate the player on remote and move from track to track at the touch of a button. The CD-M12 will retail at £440.

Contact: Sansui (Contact Details)


!inspiration is an advanced MIDI sequencing program run under the Acorn's acclaimed RISC OS operating system. The minimum system hardware !inspiration requires is an Acorn A310/A3000 computer, 1Mb RAM and an Acorn (or compatible) MIDI interface.

The package can be very useful to musicians of all standards, professional and educational users. A host of productivity enhancing features have been included, dynamic track allocation, colour coded displays and 4 decimal place tempo adjustment.

Pandora Technology are offering one years free membership to "The Music Network" with every !inspiration purchase.

!inspiration retails at £399.

Contact: Hugh Symons Group PLC (Contact Details)

The Altima 1 arrives

Northampton based Sound 'n' Compute have sent us details of their latest news including the arrival of the new laptop Altima 1.

Sound 'n' Compute aim their business purely at the MIDI market, including the Atari ST which they expect to package with Virtuoso (see review in last ish!) and the Commodore Amiga packaged with MusicX. They can also supply any of these packages with various keyboards from the Cheetah range through to the more up market products such as Kurzweil.

In addition to all this, they are awaiting the official launch of the Sam Coupe and the Atari Stacey, as well as running a permanent demonstrations in computers and music. This is being run in association with Mr Keys, a local keyboard dealer in the Weston Favell shopping centre, Northampton. Visitors are of course welcome, but if you have specific requirements arrangements can be made for demonstrations by appointment.

The most exciting news from Sound 'n' Compute is about their new laptop Altima 1. Its specifications include a microprocessor 80286 of 16MHz or 8MHz selectable with optional 80287, one meg RAM expandable to five, display is paper-white CCFT backlit LCD, CGA/MDA compatible and a four level grey scale. All this plus 20 meg hard disk with a 27 millisecond access time, low power consumption, shock protection and automatic shut off. Floppy disks are 3.5 format, 144 megabyte internal and optional 5.25" external. The Altima 1 also has a built-in 2400 baud modem, a two-button opto-mechanical mouse and a full-function 101 key detachable keyboard. Provisions have been made for colour or monochrome monitors, parallel printer port, RS232 serial port and an external keyboard.

The basic package being offered includes the Altima 1, Voyetra V-4001, Sequencer plus version 3 Mark 1, a pair of MIDI cables, Mannesman Tally MT-81 9 pin dot matrix printer and a book on MIDI connections. The total package price is £2699.55 + VAT.

For more on the new Altima 1, see the review in the next issue of Micro Music.

Contact: Victoria Computers (Contact Details)

The DH-500 Digital Horn

The DH-500 has the familiar appearance of the earlier models, but the extended length gives the instrument a more realistic 'look' and 'feel', as well as allowing the use of two extra pitch keys.

A 6-point slide selector is used to access any of the six on-board sounds and pitch can be controlled by use of up/down keys.

Variable digital reverb and a transpose function with LED indicators have also been included on this model and other features include MIDI Out, velocity sensitivity, built in speaker and mains/battery option.

The DH-500 is a much more flexible instrument and is expected to retail at £199.95.

Contact: Casio Electronics (Contact Details)

T-Series/Music Workstation Plus

The T-1, T-2 and T-3 make up the new T-Series of state-of-the-art, professional quality musical instruments.

Based on the M1, the 8 megabyte ROM incorporates new 16 bit high quality sounds including acoustic instruments, attack transients, and analog waveforms. A 512k RAM area and a PCM card slot (optional on the T2/T3) allows for additional sounds to be loaded from the T-Series disks and the Korg DSM-1 work disks.

For professional users many innovative and convenient features have been included. A 56,000 note internal sequencer with many editing functions allow uncompromising flexibility when recording performances. All programs, sequences, combinations and SYS-EX data can be saved and loaded to the internal disk drive which uses 3.5 floppy disks.

All three workstations have powerful features such as 32 MIDI channels over 4 MIDI outs, 8 way layers, splits and velocity switches and independant velocity and aftertouch curves for internal and external timbres. An independently programmable two-system stereo digital multi-effects forms a major part of the Al Synthesis System. The T-Series has 33 types of effects and fills the needs of two types of performers and musicians, the T1 with a weighted 88 keyboard with acoustic piano touch, the T2 with a 76 note non-weighted keyboard and the T3 with a non-weighted 61 note keyboard.

Approximate prices for the series are: T1 £3,700, T2 £2,999, T3 £2,399.

Contact: Korg (Contact Details)

Two new products from Alesis

Available in October the Alesis Midiverb III is the latest in their range of signal processors. The Midiverb III features 16 bit programmable digital effects, 100 non-erasable pre-set programs, 100 programmable memory locations and real-time MIDI parameter control representing great value for money at £399 inc VAT.

Also announced was the new MEQ-230 graphic equaliser. A two channel, third octave 30-band equaliser which fits into only 1U of rack space! It should find many applications in the studio or for live sound systems and is perfect for feedback suppression in live sound stage monitoring systems. The MEQ-230 will retail for £199 inc VAT.

Contact: Sound Technology (Contact Details)

The VZ-8M

The VZ-8M is a new single rack mounted unit at a lower price than the VZ-10M.

Particular to the VZ-8M is its Keyboard, Guitar and Wind modes, which allow the model to match the idiosyncrasies of the particular instrument.

The Keyboard mode is a MIDI POLY, whilst the Guitar mode is MONO for connection of a MIDI guitar controller. The wind mode automatically adapts after touch MIDI data to give a more natural sound and feel to digital wind instruments.

The VZ-8M is 8 note polyphonic, and incorporates Casio's advanced modular iPD (interactive Phase Distortion) sound source, which allows a limitless variety of sounds. 128 pre-set voices, and 64 operation offer a wide range of combinations which can be doubled with the use of a ROM card and can be stored on a RAM card.

A new Pan function allows greater dynamic control over output with a choice of 3 modes, stereo AUTO panning mode, FIX mode and CONTROL mode. An overflow mode allows the connection to another VZ-8M for 16-note polyphonic and it is possible to connect up to eight units for 64-note polyphony.

Price £499.

Contact: Casio Electronics (Contact Details)

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