We need more chips! The REAL reason that DJs are finding equipment in short supply – and despite what some journalists say, Brexit isn’t why!

You can always trust the dance music press to publish an article which correctly identifies a problem, but then fails to identify where the problem is coming from. This is precisely what happened on Tuesday, when Mixmag’s Gemma Ross wrote about how Brexit was to blame for the current shortage of DJ equipment.

As they used to say in the 1920s, close but no cigar. The biggest issue, in fact, is a worldwide shortage of computer chips, sometimes also called semiconductors. In early 2020, the pandemic forced China into lockdown and many of the factories making these semiconductors closed. During the next few months as the virus spread around the world, other manufacturers of computer chips were affected – thus meaning existing stocks were not being renewed.

The effect of having to move to working from home so quickly, and in so many different countries, was that far more computers were needed. So this depleted stock further. And these chips go into all kinds of electronic products – including the laptop, tablet or smartphone you’re most likely reading this article on.

Manufacturers are now working flat out to increase supply – but with the world reopening and being keen to avoid further lockdowns, it means the problem is going to take some time to resolve. This blog has little time for Brexit – being of the opinion it has caused more problems than it resolved – but citing it as a factor in a worldwide shortage is misleading, disingenuous and lazy…

Now they’re even trying to make microphone isolators sexy! Kaotica Eyeball is meant to keep your vocal recordings clean – but do they REALLY need to do a Nervous to plug it?

The extent which some people will go to in order to advertise their products never ceases to astonish me. Things have certainly changed since the first advert on British TV back in 1955 – for Gibbs SR toothpaste. But at least you knew what the product was.

Which is more than I did when Facebook’s algorithm decided to stick this advert in front of me this morning. When I saw this photo, I honestly had no idea what on earth was being promoted. Only with a quick Google search did I discover they were actually microphone isolators…

Even the captain of “Rec session” – it’s safe to write “recording”, by the way as Facebook doesn’t charge for ads per letter – doesn’t really tell you much. The lady in question is literally just standing there in a crop top and denim shorts. She’s not even singing into the microphone, for crying out loud.

Yet look at the number of shares and comments – over 100 of each. Whether Kaotica Eyeball are actually selling anything from this campaign is another question, but it’s certainly catching people’s attention. But I can’t help but think it’s rather depressing that in 2021, this is still how they advertise these kinds of products…

They’ve totally lost the plot! Dreadbox’s pathetic response to their claims their Nymphes polysynth “soothes the pain” of abused women away is… it’s only white men whinging about it!

Time for a quick follow-up to a story which I published yesterday morning – ahead of several of the dance music press, including Resident Advisor. As you might have noticed, I wasn’t terribly nice about the way the Dreadbox Nymphes was being marketed, saying its claim to soothe the pain of abused women with each note played was “moronic”.

As with many other posts on this blog, I approached Dreadbox with a request for comment. I happen to believe if someone is going to write about you, especially in unflattering terms, you have a right to respond. There has still been no response at the time of publishing this morning – but I did notice Resident Advisor got a reply…

Dimitra Manthou, cofounder at Dreadbox, told them only cis white men were annoyed – my inbox on this tells me otherwise – and also said “We did not want to use the abused women to boost sales. That’s why we did not say that a percentage of the proceeds will go to charity. We will make a donation, as we always do. And we do not want to advertise this.” – having literally just advertised it five seconds earlier.

They don’t get it, do they? This is a PR disaster they’ve stumbled into. It seems to be a bit of a theme this week – Mark Knight failed to acknowledge the elephant in the room after a sickening post in which he called Erick Morillo “my friend”.

Instead of accepting they’ve communicated appallingly badly and explaining how they support abused women, Manthou has simply whinged it’s only white men giving them a hard time about this. Dreadbox can’t see the wood from the trees on this one…

Is April Fools Day coming around quicker these days? Dreadbox release Nymphes polysynth on which they say “each time you play a note, imagine that you soothe the pain of abused women away”…

When this arrived in my inbox yesterday, I was surprised – not something which happens frequently when checking my emails. Infact, on reading the email, I strongly suspected it to be some kind of joke. Surely no one would actually be stupid enough to try and dedicate a polysynth to “all abused and oppressed women”, right?

Er, I’m afraid you’d be wrong. Dreadbox have decided to do precisely that – but it’s very much a case of blink and you’ll miss it! Looking at their website, you’ll either be reminded of that weird pink custard they used to serve in schools years ago, or you’ll be reaching for the paracetamol to get rid of a headache.

There’s a fair bit of technical info here about the polysynth, called the Nymphes after a goddess. And to be fair, the YouTube demo provided does sound pretty good – although it’s rare for the demo to sound crap. But once again, I keep coming back to this thing about abused women.

If you scroll all the way down to the end of the page, you’ll notice a graphic which states “each time you play a note on this synthesiser, imagine that you soothe their pain away”. Feel free to read that bit again. Your eyes really aren’t deceiving you.

Of all the things I’ve read over the years about synthesisers, the idea that women which have suffered abuse in their lives will feel better each time you play a chord on this thing is easily the most moronic and stupid by a country mile. And the notion anyone will be imagining anything of the kind when playing with this thing is beyond laughable.

And as for their claim of “support charities for abused women, we always do” – I cannot find one mention on their website or anywhere else about a previous donation to any charity helping female victims of abuse of any kind. Dreadbox have been contacted to elaborate on this statement, but have not responded at the time of publishing.

This synthesiser might well be absolutely brilliant. We don’t know because no one’s had a chance to review it yet. The trouble is you only get one chance at a first impression – and this polysynth’s first impression is one of utter contempt for women whom have suffered abuse in their lifetimes and the opinion they think their audience are totally stupid…

Selling your music won’t make you money, but you buy more stuff to make music – inside the weird world of music producers!

I read an extremely interesting article on the 5 Magazine site earlier this week. They’re one of very few dance music outlets that I have any time for. The article goes into detail about how 2020 was the best year in decades for selling hardware and other gear to musicians.

It reminded me of a post that I wrote a few weeks back, but decided not to publish. Yes, believe it or not, but that does occasionally happen. This one was pushed out of the schedule by other stories on a particularly busy Friday.

It was about the launch of the Akai MPC One Retro. Now, those people who were around in the early years of dance music will often tell you that the technology they had to work with for their formative records was, in no unceremoniuous terms, crap.

Many a producer from that era will have plenty of stories about spending hours trying to work out which MIDI cable went where, all the way to hunting around for an obscure floppy disk with that little sample you liked.

They made good tracks with what they had, but frankly, it was because they had no choice. Technology has advanced and opened the horizons – and yet, there’s no end of clamour for things that sound like the past. What better example of that than my post about Traxsource earlier today?

What else explains Akai’s decision to release the MPC One Retro? It looks like several of their old samplers from the 90s, but is essentially a new product.

I just don’t understand this at all. The people who first made house music in the 1980s wanted to make tunes that sounded like they were from the future. Now, everyone wants to make tunes that sound like they were made in the 80s and 90s.

File this one under “more money than sense”. With a price tag of £640, I daren’t think how much you’d need to sell on Traxsource to break even.

Thank god it’s a Bank Holiday weekend…

Are they not in a plaice to tell us? Muff Wiggler refuses to say why they changed their name to Mod Wiggler – and people think something fishy is going on

Some curious reporting going on today about this story. The very high minded dance music press either can’t be bothered doing the work or think it’s somehow beneath them. But I don’t!

Muff Wiggler (yes, there really is a forum called that) has changed its name to Mod Wiggler. Anyone who’s British is probably laughing right now, and in a minute, quite a few other nationalities will be too. Writing on the forum itself

“Effective today, we are now Mod Wiggler… We will not be rewriting history. We will not be changing old post contents. We are not banning or scrubbing words. I’m not going to go into details about why the name was changed. That and settling on a new name was hard enough. It’s done and not open for debate.”

This is why you need to make sure you’re in a happy place before you start writing – it can give you a haddock otherwise. It appears they don’t want a debate on why they changed the name – but I’m breeming with the prospect of telling you anyway…

I have two theories as to what happened. Here goes. The first is that they discovered that Muff is actually the name of a village in Co Donegal in the Republic of Ireland – and that people online who were looking for information about the village ended up reading about vintage synthesisers.

This neither satisfied the people who wanted to talk about some obscure synth from 1965 that no one had ever heard of, nor the people who wanted to enquire whether The Fishy Muff has decent chips. This, also, is a highly unlikely explanation for the name change.

Much more plausible is this theory. Someone somewhere has finally pointed out that muff is, in fact, a British slang term for lady parts.

It didn’t take them to mullet over, but I’ve concluded they didn’t the name was much good to anyone who wanted to tuna synth. Let minnow in the comments if you can think of a better name…

Aren’t there already millions of sampled clap sounds online? Yet another pointless plugin is released to help producers waste time trying to make that “perfect” clap sound

This is one for those of you who have more money than sense – and let’s be honest, there’s more of them in dance music than anyone would admit. You can now actually buy a plugin that lets you make your own clap sounds – apparently, using one of the millions of samples that already exist isn’t good enough anymore…

It’s called Hand Clap Studio by Robotic Bean. It costs $49 and I know about it because I’m currently being bombarded by their adverts across my social media channels. Despite reading up about it here, I’m still of the opinion that this is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

Whenever I do produce records, most of my clap sounds come from a pack that UK house and garage legend Grant Nelson put on the internet in the late 1990s. They’re tiny little MP3 files – but no one has ever complained to me about the claps on my tracks.

File under “who actually buys this crap?”.

Behringer swinging low, part 3728

Behringer are apparently quite sensitive to criticism, even going by the notoriously thin skinned standards of a lot of people in the world of music. People who have criticised them before have frequently found themselves hearing from their solicitors – and that’s when they don’t attack you directly on their social media.

Years ago, I used to run a blog. It was mostly about British politics, but I did occasionally steer onto subjects like culture and indiscretions about celebrities. So I’m already well versed in hearing empty threats from solicitors.

Perhaps one of them could explain to me the differences between the Arturia Keystep and their synth, the Behringer Swing. Because it looks like a cheap knockoff to me…