The EM Poll
Archive for April, 2009
For those who haven’t heard, Garritan acquired all the rights to Tascam’s recently discontinued GigaStudio technology, ensuring a future for the Giga sampling platform. I had an opportunity to ask owner Gary Garritan about what Giga fans and users can expect going forward.
What’s the future of GigaStudio 4?
GigaStudio is a great sampling platform and authoring environment, and we are exploring different options. Tascam discontinued GigaStudio 4 development last year, and it would be highly impractical to execute an immediate revival. With most of the original Giga development team gone, GS4 development obviously cannot continue from where it left off with Teac.
One avenue we are exploring is a dedicated hardware GigaSystem, like what Apple does where the software and hardware are perfectly compatible and things work optimally. Some hardware companies have approached us about this possibility. Also, we may consider opening up Giga and develop some sort of public or compiled freeware version someday, but that remains to be seen. Nothing is decided at this point, and we may opt for another avenue altogether. There are undoubtedly more possibilities, and we are inviting input from Giga users to help chart a course. We have a Giga Technology forum at northernsounds.com where people can be involved in the process and send us their thoughts and ideas as to the direction of the Giga technologies.
Will users see anything in the next year?
We sure hope so. We are busy analyzing the code and consulting with experts and the user base. We will develop the Giga technologies and take them to the next level. We should definitely see some things within the next year. Of course, if we can revive some of the Giga products and if it makes sense, we will do it. One such product is GigaPulse, which could possibly be developed sooner than other offerings, and in a form similar to its Tascam counterpart. The GigaPulse technology has enormous merit, and we may take steps to develop our large library of impulses for it.
Do you expect to combine the Giga and Garritan Aria formats, and if so, what form do you expect that combination to take?
Yes, we expect to combine the formats and combine valuable aspects of both platforms. Aria is based on SFZ, which is an open source format and very capable. The Giga format has a large installed base, and many Giga users have a great deal invested in Giga libraries. It is our hope that those who invested in Giga libraries will be able to continue to use them in our future products. Owning the Giga format puts us in the ideal position to provide native solutions for Giga files and to proliferate the format.
As far as what form the combination will take, it is too early to tell. Most likely some things will be visible on the surface to users, and other things will be under the hood and not so obvious.
Has Garritan hired Tascam’s programmers as well as acquired their intellectual property?
We acquired all the technology assets from Tascam, but unfortunately most of the original Giga programmers are working for other companies. Former programmers have expressed a willingness to help guide our programmers.
Anything else you’d like to volunteer?
GigaSampler revolutionized the music industry when it was introduced over ten years ago, and it has quite a legacy. It is exciting to have the opportunity to see the technology continue and benefit musicians for years to come.
Synplant (Mac/Win, $89.95) from software developer Magnus Lindström of Sonic Charge takes an entirely different approach to synth programming. Under the hood Synplant is analog-modeled, but you interact with it by growing branches that evolve genetically from an initial patch (the seed). Mapping MIDI controllers to a few essential evolution parameters lets you control timbral variations in real time. For more details and audio examples visit the Sonic Charge Web site and check out the upcoming Download of the Month column in the June issue of EM.
If you’re fascinated by unusual music instruments be they electronic or acoustic, check out the first annual Guthman Musical Instrument Competition cosponsored by the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology and Harmonix, the developers of Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Thirty entrants competed for $15,000 in prizes. Wired has posted audio and video clips of 25 of the instruments, and all deserve a look and listen.
My favorites are second-place winner GuitarBot (shown here) with its almost human sounding mechanical rendering, the untitled modular synth from Skot Wiedmann, and the Sudeko tutor cum music instrument Sorisu by Hye Ki Min.
Togeo Studios offers Ableton Live Packs, samples, loops, and presets for selected synths along with downloadable MP3 albums in a variety of styles at their sister site Togeo Music. The Live Packs are especially interesting and include atmospheres, percussion and instrument loops, and Live virtual-instrument presets.
All Togeo music production and audio resources are free, but donations are welcome to help defray server charges and fund future development. The site also boasts a user forum, a blog, and helpful links.
I caught John Scofield‘s show at B.B. King’s in New York last night, in which the vaunted jazz guitarist played in support of his latest CD, Piety Street, which combines New Orleans music, blues, gospel and jazz. Scofield appeared with the band from the CD, which includes multitalented keyboardist/vocalist/guitarist John Cleary, legendary bassist George Porter Jr. (of Meters fame), and drummer Ricky Fataar (Bonnie Raitt, The Beach Boys).
In front of a packed house, Scofield and band came on with little fanfare and no opening act, and played a scintillating hour-and-a-half-plus set. Sco, playing his Ibanez semi-hollowbody into a Vox AC30 (and a ton of pedals) was fluid and skillful throughout, mixing bluesy inflections with his usual jazzy sense of melody and rhythm. He masterly blended in effects such as wah, tremolo, and even a looping pedal to many of his solos and fills.
The band stuck mostly to the material from the new CD, which is mainly reworkings of old gospel standards like “Something’s Got a Hold On Me” (which was a big song for the Reverend James Cleveland) and “Walk with Me.” Lead vocals were provided by the ultra-talented Cleary, whose New Orleans-influenced piano style and organ parts (he used a Nord Electro 73 through a Leslie, which sounded very B3-like) and vocals were stellar throughout.
Porter Jr., and Fataar provided a super-solid foundation as well as background vocals (Porter sang a couple of lead vocals, as well). I wished the drums were a little more prominent in the mix, but the playing was great.
Other highlights included a remake of the Ray Charles number, “I Don’t Need No Doctor” on which Clearly picked up a guitar and showed off his formidable abilities as a lead guitarist; and an old Hank Williams song “Angel of Death,” which Scofield opened with a haunting solo part and later did an amazing solo where he masterly injected counter rhythms. The whole set, which included two encores, was superb, and Scofield and the band appeared to be enjoying themselves immensely.
Throughout his long and prolific career, Scofield has shown no hesitancy to experiment with other musical styles, and he’s done so again here with great success. The band will be touring into May. If you get a chance to go hear them, I highly recommend it. Great songs, great playing, great fun.
Can’t be in Frankfurt for Musikmesse 2009? Here’s the next best thing.
Tascam announced today that it has sold its technology assets relating to GigaStudio, Gigasampler, GVI, GigaPulse, and all Giga products to Garritan Corporation of Orcas, WA, and that’s no joke. Garritan’s plans for the Giga technology are under development, but rumor has it that some form of Mac compatibility may be in the works. Stay tuned.
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