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Holiday Gift Guide 2021: Music

Music Cover copy.jpg
Holiday Gift Guide 2021: Music

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — When I look back on my life, the significant events all have a soundtrack. From Cyndi Lauper to John Coltrane and on to Rosetta Stone, my taste is rather eclectic. I obviously like it that way. I'm not necessarily a fan of everything in this guide, but I think there is a nice sampling for gear, books, vinyl and movies here. A collection of ideas to explore a less-traveled road of oddities. Or, you could just go and pick up the new Adele album.

Don't forget to check out my other 2021 gift guides including Television and Streaming, Star Wars, Disney and Pixar, and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.


EDITOR'S NOTE: Descriptions were provided by the manufactures or publishers with the occasional edit for brevity and clarity.

Earlier in the year, I was given the opportunity to explore the Moog Studio Mother-32 & DFAM and wrote a fairly comprehensive review of my experience. Moog has just released a new version of the Moog Studio that includes all three racks in one package. I'll be eyeing the addition of the Subharmonicon somewhere down the line.

  • Mother-32 Analog Synthesizer - Mother-32 is an intuitive and expandable semi-modular synthesizer that adds raw analog sound, powerful sequencing, and extensive interconnectivity to any creative, electronic, or modular ecosystem. Excels at: Classic analog bass and leads and powerful step-sequencing with pattern memory.

  • Subharmonicon Analog Synthesizer - Subharmonicon is a semi-modular polyrhythmic analog synthesizer that employs a 6-tone sound engine and multi-layered clock generator to explore the world of subharmonics, polyrhythms, and the unique relationships they create. Excels at: Unique subharmonic chord shapes and intricate polyrhythmic sequencing.

  • DFAM Analog Synthesizer - DFAM (Drummer From Another Mother) is a semi-modular analog percussion synthesizer that empowers an expressive hands-on approach to percussive pattern creation. Excels at: Rich electronic drum patches and organic analog sequencing that breathes.

I recently also discovered a series of books that will help an aspiring or well-traveled musician to find the right equipment to bring the sounds in their heads to life. If you're a music geek with a love for electronics, these books make for a great read.

  • PEDAL CRUSH - Stompbox Effects For Creative Music Making - We all know the feeling of staring at our pedalboards and wondering where our next idea is coming from. With all these pedals, where’s the inspiration? Right here. Reading PEDAL CRUSH, you’ll gain clarity and expanded knowledge of effects pedals and their creative possibilities. You’ll get new ideas within minutes to perfect your sound and explore new sonic territory – but beware: our readers say that once you dive into this book, it’s hard to put it down again.
  • PUSH TURN MOVE : Interface Design in Electronic Music - Have you ever wondered why one synthesizer is fabulously inspiring while another leaves you flat? How the simplest of design choices can make radical differences in how a musical instrument is used? What divides the truly historic from the quickly forgotten? And why your bandmates love one synthesizer while you love another? PUSH TURN MOVE lays out the answers with beauty and stunning clarity.

  • PATCH & TWEAK - Exploring Modular Synthesis - Modular synthesizers are an open book waiting to be written – a prospect that can be pretty scary for a beginner. PATCH & TWEAK is here to help, with step-by-step strategies for building a modular that will reflect your creative desires. Start with an empty case, and learn about everything that can go into it. There’s even a guide to semi-modular and software solutions to help get you started.

  • PATCH & TWEAK with Moog - The beauty of semi-modular synthesizers is that you can start playing them right away, but with a few patch cables and some inspiration, you can take them so much further. PATCH & TWEAK With Moog ground you in the basics of synthesis, control voltage, and audio patching, then carries these concepts into practical use on each of the five Moog synths. From there, you’ll learn how to further expand your world by connecting them to one another, and even combining them with external synthesizer modules and other gear.

  • SYNTH GEMS 1: Exploring Vintage Synthesizers Book - SYNTH GEMS 1 takes you on a tour of over 60 remarkable keyboards — large and small, famed and rare, elegant, beautiful, and brutal and ranging from classics that define entire genres to rare oddities that bring their own grace to the world.

    Each synthesizer is presented in a series of finely detailed photographs, with a discussion of its origins and importance. From the dawn of commercial synthesis to the close of the Twentieth Century, the lives and times of these unique instruments are chronicled in exquisite pictures and thoughtful stories – mingling music, technology, commerce, and visual art.

  • Spice Girls 25 - The Spice Girls are celebrating the 25th anniversary of their debut album with a vast selection of vinyl, cassettes, CDs, and merchandise including shirts, crewnecks, tote bags and mugs. The Zoetrope Picture Disc being my favorite of the lot.

  • A Life in Focus The Photography of Graham Nash - n this curated collection of art and photography from his personal archive, Graham Nash’s life as a musician and artist unfolds in vivid detail. Best known as a founding member of the Hollies and supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash, Nash developed a love of photography from the time he was a child.

  • R.E.M. "New Adventures in Hi-Fi" 25th Anniversary Edition - R.E.M.'s 25th Anniversary Edition of their critically-acclaimed and much-beloved 1996 album New Adventures in Hi-Fi is out now via Craft Recordings. The reissue -- available in 2xCD + Blu-ray, 2xCD and 2xLP packages, as well as digitally/via streaming services -- continues to see extensive critical praise from The New Yorker, Pitchfork, USA Today, Uproxx, Stereogum and many more.

  • Grit and Glamour: The Street Style, High Fashion, and Legendary Music of the 1970s - This dazzling collection of photography by award-winning photographer Allan Tannenbaum offers a tour-de-force journey into the visual glories of 1970s New York.

  • BOWIE: Stardust, Rayguns & Moonage Daydreams - This graphic novel chronicles the rise of Bowie’s career from obscurity to fame; and paralleled by the rise and fall of his alter ego as well as the rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust. Includes an introduction written by Neil Gaiman.

  • DC Shoes Black Sabbath Collection - DC teams up with Black Sabbath for a footwear and apparel collection, celebrating the 50 year anniversary of their genre-defining album, Master of Reality.

  • I’ll Be Your Mirror: A Tribute to the Velvet Underground & Nico - Featuring classic songs reimagined by Michael Stipe, Matt Berninger, Andrew Bird, Lucius, Kurt Vile & The Violators, St. Vincent & Thomas Bartlett, Thurston Moore, Bobby Gillespie, King Princess, Courtney Barnett, Fontaines D.C., and Iggy Pop & Matt Sweeney.

  • David Bowie: Brilliant Adventure (1992-2001) - The collection is named after the Koto led instrumental penultimate track from the ‘hours...’ album. The box sets include newly remastered versions, with input from the original producers and collaborators, of some of Bowie’s most underrated and experimental material: BLACK TIE WHITE NOISE, THE BUDDHA OF SUBURBIA (available on vinyl for the first time in nearly 30 years), 1.OUTSIDE, EARTHLING and ‘hours’ along with the expanded live album BBC RADIO THEATRE, LONDON, JUNE 27, 2000, the non-album / alternative version / B-sides and soundtrack music compilation RE:CALL 5 and the legendary previously unreleased TOY.

  • Mondo: The Art of Soundtracks - This new volume highlights the all-original art created exclusively for Mondo’s vinyl releases by world-renowned artists for film, television, and video game soundtracks.

  • Robert Levon Been: The Card Counter (Original Songs from the Motion Picture) - Robert Levon Been, founding member of Black Rebel Motorcycle, provides the sonic disturbance for Paul Schrader's film "The Card Counter."

  • Campfire Audio In-Ear Monitors - Campfire Audio is renown for their professional, high-end in-ear monitors with price tags that typically are over $1,000. With the release of the new Satsuma and Honeydew lines, Campfire Audio is introducing more affordable options for music aficionados on a budget. The Satsuma, which I've tried, are solid IEM for a fraction of what you'd traditionally pay. They're crisp, clear and more than efficient and performed well hooked up to my guitar, synths and everyday music enjoyment. Those looking for something that offers a bass boost will want to track down the Honeydew.

  • The Haight: Love, Rock, and Revolution - Covering one of the most unforgettable moments in modern history—and including striking images of twentieth-century icons such as Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsburg, Grace Slick, and more—The Haight is an indispensable gallery of legendary photographer Jim Marshall’s iconic Sixties-era San Francisco photography.

  • Tina - HBO’s TINA, a feature documentary is a revealing and intimate look at the life and career of musical icon Tina Turner, charting her improbable rise to early fame, her personal and professional struggles throughout her life and her even more improbable resurgence as a global phenomenon in the 1980s.

  • Depeche Mode: 101 (Deluxe Edition Boxset) - This is the definitive box set edition of Depeche Mode’s newly upgraded 101 documentary concert film and live album chronicling the 101st and final performance of the band's Music For The Masses world tour, recorded live at the Pasadena Rose Bowl on June 18, 1988. This new HD edition has been meticulously upgraded using 4k scans of the original film reels. The Blu-ray includes three previously unseen bonus performances of A Question of Lust, Sacred and Something To Do plus the official promotional video for Everything Counts.

  • The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart - Brothers first. The band forever. Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Frank Marshall, the film follows the Brothers Gibb: Barry, Maurice, and Robin, better known as the Bee Gees, from their early fame in the 1960s and meteoric rise to a storied career in which they wrote more than 1,000 songs, including 20 number one hits.

  • Respect - Jennifer Hudson stars as Aretha Franklin in this biopic that follows the rise of Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church’s choir to her international superstardom, Respect is the remarkable true story of Aretha Franklin’s journey to find her voice, in the midst of the turbulent social and political landscape of 1960s America.

  • The Sparks Brothers - Edgar Wright's documentary on Ron and Russell Mael, the brothers behind the highly influential duo Sparks.