If you have been keeping up with current news this past week, then it's a good chance that you heard of the unfortunate passing of Kraftwerk co-founder Florian Schneider. Having founded the group in 1970 along with Ralf Hütter, the artist's contribution to one of the most influential groups in musical history, not to mention music itself, is something that can only be admired. He will be truly missed!

Schneider was perhaps best known for his work with the flute; which he implemented into synthesized environments by using early tape echos, wah-wah, fuzz, and ring modulation for example, but also playing the electric guitar and violin, also helping to develop forms of vocal/speech synthesis using vocoders, and even his own patented "Robovox" system, which was a key signature instrument in Kraftwerk's sound.

Recently, a new performance by cover band Toa Mata Band; consisting of Italian interactive designer and music composer/producer Giuseppe Acito, and an orchestra of Lego "Bionicle" robots that each play their own instrument by using electronic motors, pulleys, and rubber bands to trigger different things such as smart phones and drum machines, was uploaded to their Youtube channel, this time covering the famous Kraftwerk song "Tour De France", which was composed and produced by Ralf Hütter, Florian Schneider, and Karl Bartos, and released as a single in 1983.

Please take a moment to watch this very awesome set, which is a mash-up of an original song by Toa Mata called "Kop Aka", and Kraftwerk's "Tour De France".

New independent Russian synthesizer manufacturer Eternal Engine, has released a very interesting video of its debut flagship synthesizer, the Apparatus, which drives its unique and powerful sound via gas-filled radio and vacuum tubes, in what the company says is: “in the spirit of the first half of the 20th century.” The acid 303 lines this thing can put out alone are something to be feared! It's got not just a very warm and complex sound, but it's also very aggressive and versatile at the same time.

Some key Features on the Apparatus are:

  • Kenoton rectifier power supply

  • Audio path based entirely on radio tubes

  • Two independent thyratron oscillators with quartz frequency stabilization, which ensures frequency accuracy throughout the entire operating range

  • Voltage-controlled second order vactrol filter with the possibility of self-oscillation and overdrive

  • Voltage-controlled amplifier, based on the traditional schematic of tube opto compressors

  • Triode asymmetric overdrive

  • Velocity-sensitive ADSR envelope generator with two trigger modes

  • MIDI Clock synchronizable low-frequency oscillator with retrigger option and smooth waveform morphing: saw-triangle-reverse saw in triangle mode or pulse width modulation in square wave mode, sample & hold

  • Auto and continuous modes of portamento / legato

  • Monophonic and duophonic mode

  • Powerful headphone amplifier, compatible with low impedance load

  • Analogue VU meter

For more information on the Apparatus, and other Eternal Engine projects, please visit their web page.

You can listen to other audio samples of the Apparatus below:

Updated: May 8

For a little over a year now, Behringer has been not just upping the ante time and time again with mind-blowing synth cloning that doesn't have any end in sight; everything from SH-101's to MC303's and everything in between, but also busy at work doing something rather diligent and responsible in helping to preserve modern music history, especially that of Electronic Music, and even more specifically, that of the famous duo Tears For Fears.

With plans for a synth museum well underway, the company has been acquiring some truly rare gems from around the globe, like a Roland SH-5 that came straight from Italy, and perhaps most interesting, a collection of instruments used by legendary band Tears For Fears, which were unfortunately in really rough shape.

After beginning restoration on the group's old Yamaha DX-1 and Prophet 5, Behringer is now taking aim at restoring the one instrument that wasn't just at the core of the sound for Tears For Fears, but for many bands in the 80's: The iconic LinnDrum.

Developed by Roger Linn; who is also responsible for the development of the Akai MPC series, the LinnDrum became one of the most sought after drum machines of the decade, with everyone from Peter Gabriel, to Jean-Michel Jarre using it for its rich, warm, and punchy sound. If you were a fan of hit songs like "Shout" by Tears For Fears, then you would instantly recognize the undeniably driving sound of the LinnDrum.

Watch the video above and let Behringer walk you through this interesting find and what it will take to get it back to working condition. You can also read more about Tears For Fears here.

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