Paul Slocum Cynthcart; SID Chips Generally

Paul Slocum announces the completion of the first release version of his Cynthcart, a program that turns the vintage Commodore 64 computer into a synthesizer (with a piano keyboard overlay covering your QWERTY keyboard). The cartridge, which also generates lo-fi psychedelic graphics, is available for purchase at the Atariage store.

The music made with the Cynthcart sounds great from the .mp3s; the SID chip's characteristic nasal sawtooth sound is unmistakable, and I like the third track, where Slocum has spliced it with scrambled vocal bits--also the fourth, which is a full blown song with rhythm programming. I know the chip a bit from working with Elektron's Sidstation synth, and yes, I'm a consumerist techphobic weenie for using a current piece of hardware instead of a killer mod of the original gear, but (this promises to be a constant theme today) I'm only abstractly interested in what's under the hood. I've learned a buttload about softsynths this year and am increasingly interested in big, user-friendly graphic interfaces where I can control sound visually.

Speaking of the SID and Sidstation, others doing good things with them are MEQ AND THE URS ("this page is no longer supported in Internet Explorer below version 7 and if you're still using IE you probably won't like this music anyway"--right, Jotsif, or because someone is surfing at work and doesn't have a choice, thanks for condescending to about half your potential listeners) and Receptors, which was one of my favorite acts at the last BENT (circuit bending) festival at the Tank in NY--still haven't posted my pic of him. Someone really ought to do some curating/compiling of the current SID music that's out there. With critical commentary! Dream on. The chatboards mostly talk about the gear, never composing music.