Staff Picks: September 2016


Novation – Launchpad Pro

Grid-based controllers—popularized by Monome’s beautifully sculpted wooden instruments first developed over a decade ago—have become nearly ubiquitous tools for modern producers of electronic music. As interfaces for digital audio workstations (DAW), such as Apple Logic Pro X or Ableton Live, grid controllers provide unparalleled flexibility and an intuitive way to create soundscapes and compositions. Recent updates to Novation’s popular Launchpad Pro significantly improve the user experience of the controller. RGB keys coordinate with Ableton Live’s session view, making selections easier, while a new scale mode ensures that compositions are always in key. Given the range of its functions combined with its affordability, the Launchpad Pro is surely one of the best buys in the electronic music world today.

~ Ken ken williams



celeste-barber-Instagram-03Celeste Barber Instagram

With the tendency to look your best and look particularly gorgeous doing mundane things, celebrities have taken over social media. Australian comedienne, Celeste Barber brilliantly decided to recreate some of the more ridiculous pictures posted. Her Instagram, @celestebarber has gained continued growth in popularity and followership that there is now a #celestechallengeaccepted where fans can recreate their own photos based on a celebrity or rather bizarre advertisement (yes, I have participated in it, check it out on my Instagram @tara_jabbari if you dare!). Celeste is having fun, providing us a chance to get creative all the while showing us to stop taking ourselves so seriously.

~ Taratara


tom tomTom Tom Spark

I love embracing the modern technological era by saying “I wish I had a device that could do this” and being able to find someone who had the same thought and put it into production. It’s not just about finding cool technology and using it (these are the late adopters), it’s about actively searching for technology to customize your life. Early adopters, I think, get more satisfaction out of the technology because they make it their own. And also, it’s very hipster to be an early adopter.

So my thought was, when I go on a run I need three things: I need a music device, I need a GPS device, and I need headphones. This ususally turned out to be a lot to carry though. My GPS watch doesn’t have music so I also need my mp3 player. My phone has both GPS and music and could link to Bluetooth headphones, which is almost ideal, except that carrying a phone while running sucks – the armbands are never comfortable for me and phones are kind of bulky and hard to look at to know your pace. So I searched for the solution and found it: the TomTom Spark. It has the capabilities of a GPS watch, plus music storage and Bluetooth capability for headphones. There is a big difference between this and a smartwatch. A smartwatch can only pair to your phone via Bluetooth and cannot independently sync to headphones. A smartwatch usually gets music through its connection to your phone instead of having individual storage. This watch allows me to run untethered with only a watch and some wireless headphones – bliss! Moral of the story: Sometimes we accept technology as it is without considering alternate applications, like Bluetooth is only for phones or cars, when it could be used in a system like a running watch.

~ Juliapantene

frank-ocean-blondFrank Ocean, Blond(e)

Regardless of how much you might know about Frank Ocean the artist, or even Frank Ocean the man, the simple fact that his new album, Blond(e), took over 4 years to release should be enough to catch your attention.  Don’t look for a single on this album, but listen and re-listen for the endless narratives that are intricately woven across each unique track.  If you’re willing to do that, you’ll find an intensely contemplative, at times defiant and others heart-rending, statement on what it means to find oneself in a postmodern era.  

~ RebeccaRebee

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