So there was no physical Superbooth show this year. Like so many other events, the worldwide Covid-19 outbreak has put a red pen through most of the 2020 calendar, making it a quiet year so far and for the foreseeable future. Hats off to the Superbooth team though, for managing to salvage something of this year’s event with very short notice too.
The ‘Home Edition’ moniker, was created to differentiate the digital-only exposition and all participants (manufacturers, experts, artists etc.) were invited to supply video content in place of the live experience. Of course, the chance to spend a few days in Beautiful Berlin was disappointing, but staying put with our own shop-bought beer wasn’t too much of a problem either!
Cue lots of the usual stuff you would find at the show; interviews, workshops, studies performances and new gear, (Listen/Learn/Study/Enjoy), but delivered in a totally different style; with some contributors taking the opportunity to work creatively with the video format.
So what were the show highlights for us here at Decksaver HQ? Here are a few bits that are worth checking out online:
Two of the show keynotes were from Jean-Michelle Jarre and Mute Records founder, Daniel Miller.
In the first interview here, French synth-legend Jarre discussed how isolation can help the creative process and how he’s embracing the time with his gear, whilst Miller spoke about the Miller-Zillmer Foundation, which supports artists and creative audio-visual projects worldwide.
There were also video talks with Aditya Nandwana from Animal Factory Amplification, engineer Ken Macbeth, Nitzer Ebb’s Doug McCarthy and Modular Square shop owner, Marc Sirguy.
There was plenty of wonderfully creative electronic music to hear over the weekend. Some of the highlights included sets from Synth-Werk, Shawn Rudiman, Real Sound’s Doug Cooney, Headless Horseman, Lady Starlight, Sacha Ketterlin, Panic Girl, Jesusonecstacy, Matths and Crouds.
Obviously, this is one of the most popular reasons for attending Superbooth and whilst the Home Edition maybe not have been as filled to the brim with the latest electronic equipment we would usually expect to see at the show, there was still plenty to get to grips with. Highlights included:
Synth-Werk Model 3P
If you have a spare €20,000 to spare, the Synth-Werk Model 3p, (modelled on the Moog IIIp of course) looks a significant piece of kit! This 2020 version has some improvements to the original and the unit is fully customisable to personal taste!
Novation Summit & Peak
Not new hardware, but these flagship synths have received a chunky upgrade by way of new sounds (from Noisia and NASA) and wavetable editor. Users can also load in their own sample collections to use as waveforms.
The guys from the Netherlands introduced a few new products at the show, but possibly the most exciting was the SFC-8 MIDI controller.
This new unit is built in a Jupiter-style and can manage both hard and soft synths and can work perfectly with the Arturia JUP-8V and the Roland Cloud JUPITER-8. But of course; that’s just the tip of the iceberg and the unit has the potential to work with a lot more synths, plus there’s a Control Panel app on GoogleStore which can be mapped to control any parameter. This unit looked sleek with its black & orange colour scheme and wooden cheeks.
The new System Coupe is the first full system groovebox from the ALM team and comprises some of their favorite modules, bundled together for a more complete package.
Included in the £1900 package are 10 individual parts, fixed into an 84HP powered case. Bundled into the unit is the Squid Salmple, Pamela’s NEW Workout modules and Quaid Megaslope, as well as three totally new modules – the Milton, MCF and a basic mult. Also included are several hundred samples and cables.
This interesting little box is a new MIDI Looper from Bastl Instruments. It functions to record MIDI messages and then, well, loops them. It comprises three MIDI channels that you can record note information with and then overdub any parameter changes on top.
The new Bitbox Micro sampler module provides Eurorack sampling for smaller racks and smaller budgets. It takes up only 18 HP of rack space, but still gives a touch screen based sampler with support for 8 stereo sample pads. Samples can be loaded directly into the module or via the handy microSD card slot. These samples can then be triggered via CV or MIDI.
Whilst nothing can quite replace the live experience, the guys at Superbooth should be really proud of what they have delivered this year. Hopefully, we will be able to visit in person in 2021, but until then, we can still get our electronica fix!
You can access all the video content for the Home Edition here.