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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » 2020 » February » 24

Wendy Carlos, pioneering composer, will finally get the biography she has earned

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 24 Feb 2020 6:56 pm

Wendy Carlos, a giant of electronic music composition, should at last get a complete, well-deserved biography. The book is set to be published next month.

Michigan-based musicologist Amanda Sewell is set to profile the music legend in a debut title published by Oxford University Press, in a 264-page hardcover edition (and ebook) due on March 5. Sewell is also Music Director of Interlochen Public Radio.

It’s welcome news. My understanding from friends with personal contact to her was that the composer was often reluctant to speak with the media. I once had a short exchange with her publicist, but can’t otherwise comment on the specifics. But I do know this can trigger an all-too-familiar feedback loop – poor or incomplete journalism frustrates an artist, who then doesn’t want to talk to the press, who then stray even further from the narrative the artist might want to share (at best) or from the facts (at worse). I also feel strongly that this responsibility lies with us as writers. When we screw this up, everyone loses.

But Wendy Carlos is a composer so many of us would like to explore in real depth. The frequent narrative about Carlos’ work has been embarrassingly superficial. Yes, she produced the album that would become the breakout crossover hit for the Moog synthesizer, Switched on Bach. But significant as that album was, her film scores for Tron, The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, and others have had lasting power, too. Her compositions evolve and grow over her career-long output, turning on a dime between unforgettable melodies and angular abstract sounds, perpetually innovating in their treatment of the synth. Arguably, few composers have had a greater impact on how we think about synthesizer orchestration, certainly in the context of writing for film. Seeing her work exclusively in terms of Switched on Bach misses the point – and, in doing so, may misunderstand the significance of the synthesizer more generally.

And then there’s the fact of so many writers and teachers mishandling mention of Carlos’ personal life. Instead of being able to read about a significant composer, aspiring transgender and non-binary artists often encounter transphobia in the first encounter with Carlos.

I don’t yet have a review copy in hand, but I very much look forward to reading about a person who was one of the people who inspired me to go into electronic music and writing about the field. (Thank you to Wendy Carlos for that.)

And the advance copy looks encouraging – it appears to cover every aspect of her career, with what promises to be complete coverage of her music, without shying away from talking about her gender identity.

The blurb:

With her debut album Switched-On Bach, composer and electronic musician Wendy Carlos (b. 1939) brought the sound of the Moog synthesizer to a generation of listeners, helping to effect arguably one of the most substantial changes in popular music’s sound since musicians began using amplifiers. Her story is not only one of a person who blazed new trails in electronic music for decades but is also the story of a person who intersected in many ways with American popular culture, medicine, and social trends during the second half of the 20th century and well into the 21st. There is much to tell about her life and about the ways in which her life reflects many dimensions of American culture.

And table of contents:

Introduction. The Phenomenon of Wendy Carlos

Chapter 1. Origins (1939-1962)
Chapter 2. Foundations (1962-67)
Chapter 3. Switched-On Bach and Undesired Fame (1968-69)
Chapter 4. Something Went Wrong (1970-1978)
Chapter 5. “Welcome Back, Wendy!” The Playboy Interview (1979)
Chapter 6. Transformations (1979-1984)
Chapter 7. The Last of the New (1985-1997)
Chapter 8. Reissuing the Past (1998-2005)
Chapter 9. Preserving, Protecting, and Defending Her Legacy (2006-Present)

And it comes from a respected publisher. I see OUP is also including a glossary, presumably with an eye to making this book accessible to people outside electronic music, too.

Wendy Carlos: A Biography [Oxford University Press: Academic]

And apart from (hopefully) this book, if you do want an excellent resource on Wendy Carlos, well, Wendy Carlos remains a great resource. Her official site is full of material. It covers not only expected topics (like a tribute to Bob Moog), but more peripheral interests like exploration of color, map making, and solar eclipses. Also, pictures of cats.


Pictured: the composer in her studio, 1979.

The post Wendy Carlos, pioneering composer, will finally get the biography she has earned appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

UK’s 2021 work visa for European DJs, musicians poses challenge to cultural exchange

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 24 Feb 2020 6:14 pm

Europe’s cultural integration has made it an oasis for electronic music and music exchange. That makes new hard-line British policy a potential setback.

The bright spot: by announcing the policy now, and introducing legislation, there is an opportunity for examination and (hopefully) change, before the policy becomes law.

Ironically, I’m just back from Kaliningrad hosting an event with the generous support of the Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy in Moscow and the British Council. At a time when Russian and UK diplomatic relations were frayed – even closing the consulate in St. Petersburg – musical exchange has opened the door to communication and cooperation. And even though I’m not a UK or European citizen, I’m hugely grateful for the ways in which UK diplomacy has enriched the music landscape worldwide.

I think that illustrates the importance of communicating about these changes – and understanding them in some larger context, even beyond the European one.

Reading the policy

To be clear, it is possible to overstate the UK policy – and if you’re on techno Twitter or other social media close to the issue, you’ve likely read some pretty draconian commentary. So let’s pull apart how the policy works, as described by Home Office policy documents and other reporting. (Major disclaimer: as an American, and a German resident, and very much not an immigration lawyer, my interpretation should be taken with a grain of salt. Knowing the readership of this site, we probably do have a UK immigration lawyer somewhere, so by opening my mouth as usual I tend to trigger some more enlightened discussion.)

Maybe the biggest surprise, as Mixmag points out, is that the Home Office policy statement is 180 degrees apart from the Government’s own Culture Minister. He said just last month that “it’s absolutely essential that free movement for artists is protected post-2020.” [See MusicWeek – and cultural minister Nigel Adams was himself a Brexiteer.] It also seems like a blow for UK-based music tech like Focusrite/Novation, who benefit from being part of a diverse and international community.

How it works now: Free movement for EU nationals is one of the fundamental treaties that makes the European Union what it is. That freedom of movement includes the right to seek work anywhere inside the EU – for all citizens. So if you’re an artist or DJ, this means you can hop over to the UK and play the gig, and it’s no different than doing it in the country of your citizenship, like Poland, Romania, or Spain.

This does not necessarily apply to residents of the country; the freedom of movement law is written for nationals of those member countries.

Free movement – EU nationals [European Commission]

“Now” is guaranteed for purposes of labor movement through the end of 2020, as part of the negotiated transition period for the UK leaving the EU.

How it would work from 2021, if adopted: The new policy is part of a larger point-based immigration system overhaul, which is also what the Trump Administration is advocating for the USA. As part of that larger shift, it tightens requirements for income self-sufficiency, even for temporary work by artists, and eliminates existinging temporary worker programs based on the EU’s free movement policy.

These changes were not inevitable with Brexit. They represent the UK government distancing itself from the principles behind the EU policies – and in a way that could even prove unpopular.

Full policy paper from last week: The UK’s points-based immigration system: policy statement

And blog post from the Home Office: Points-based immigration system: Latest Information

The UK had been proposing this for a while. It was part of the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill read in 2019. And the Conservative Party proposed it again in the fall.

For artists traveling to play in the UK (including both musicians and DJs), the visa now required for EU citizens – as well as everyone else – is this:

Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange visa (Tier 5)

The application cost is £244 – nowhere near as steep as countries like the United States of America, but a significant additional cost. (Musicians of course often play for less than that application fee.)

The visa response time the UK says “should be” within 3 weeks, with the ability to apply as early as 3 months prior to the gig. Expedited service fee is a whopping £500.

A certificate of sponsorship is required, with approved government agencies and programs. The program list is very specific, though; I’m asking UK partners if they can make more sense of this requirement.

Sponsors can approve multiple entry in that letter. This means that a smart strategy for artists playing in the UK may be to try to get a multiple entry visa so the fee is easier to swallow, since the visa lasts over a year.

The sponsorship letter is also an opportunity for artists to skirt an additional, potentially disqualifying requirement – £945 in savings which needs to be in your bank account 90 days before entering the country. A sponsoring organization can take on that requirement for artists.

Foreign artists also need to pay a healthcare surcharge. (Other countries I’ve dealt with allow private travel health insurance; this way you instead pay into the UK public health system.)

There is also a “Global Talent” visa, which replaces the existing Tier 1 “Exceptional Talent” visa. It’s more expensive, however, and has more stringent requirements.

Why it could hurt

I can make this really simple. I’ve never met anyone in music curation or arts – not one person – who wanted more restrictive borders for our field. Maybe this is a debate in other industries, but it seems universally within music that people want open borders. One question I have then is why our industry hasn’t been more effective working with government to lift restrictions on the arts.

It seems that changes in the UK would likely not only impact legal work mobility, but also would tighten enforcement of existing rules for everyone else. The existence of this requirement means it’s more likely border officers will ask tough questions and look for potential violations. It’s also extremely likely that European countries will retaliate with similar requirements for UK artists in Europe. That could have a chilling effect on the entire music market.

Free movement benefits music in three ways. First, it’s bi-directional – so more freedom means more international artists to compete with, but also more opportunities abroad. Second, the exchange of artists has the ability to increase the value of events – a dynamic scene means dynamic audiences, which can benefit everyone. Third, and most intangibly, exchange drives musical inspiration and transformation. Music is a form of communication that takes input.

I don’t know that artists should write off the UK because of changes to the visa. I think it’s a safe assumption that given Conservative Party control of the government, this long-sought-after legislation will pass – and it may be necessary for those of us working as artists and curators and in cultural diplomacy to adapt. I think it’ll increase the urgency for UK organizations and governments who do advocate for international exchange, too.

But adding visas where they didn’t exist before will certainly discourage artistic exchange with the UK, particularly for more casual DJ gigs and underground events.

Worse for the UK, the savings requirement could impact the diversity of artists traveling to the country.

The bigger picture

As immigration becomes a hot button issue worldwide, it’s long past time for the music community to get louder about immigration advocacy. Musical innovation and cultural wealth have always benefited from exchange and export, whether in preserving old traditions or creating new ones.

The reason I say it’s possible to overstate the UK policy is, it’s largely Europeans who have become accustomed to a unique level of international integration. Someone with a Russian or US passport entering the UK, for example, has a different experience.

It’s also clear that worldwide, the most popular visa for working artists is the “oh I hope people don’t ask what I’m really doing here” visa. In countries with tight borders – the US and Canada being prime examples – bending the rules can result in artists receiving long-term deportations, just because of fairly innocent activities like playing a DJ gig – hardly the sort of thing that wrecks a nation’s economy or steals someone else’s job. It’s more likely that gig will support the jobs of people working in nightlife than it is they would take them away.

So if it’s an economic win to encourage travel, what would a more progressive artist visa look like? That’s not hard to imagine – it’s the way tourist visas work in most countries now. And it’s the same reason countries looking to boost their economy often waive even the usual tourist visa requirements. That’s happening even in countries known for having tougher borders. The Russian Federation recently introduced a generous e-visa program, for example. (The UK and USA were notably not included – arguably an example of what escalating restrictions can do as countries reciprocate rules.) We need containment for the COVID-19 virus for it to be useful again, but China also has 72-hour visa free transit for people extending layovers into small holidays. And that’s just to give a couple of examples of countries seldom mentioned for their openness to immigrants or light paperwork requirements.

So why not consider that maybe musical activities are comparable to tourism in their benefit? (Hey, I’d even say they’re lower-impact and more net positive in communities than tourists are.)

Before people become overly depressive about the UK, keep in mind – this visa still looks within reach for may artists, and it’s right now only in a policy document statement, not finished and passed legislation. Given the transition period for Brexit is likely to involve a lot of debate, it’s an opportunity to have already seen this policy in proposals for the last couple of years, and as the stated Home Office position in just the second month of the transition. There are no surprises here, and even the opportunity for UK citizens to lobby for having the requirements relaxed.

Also, at least the UK isn’t the USA, whose artist visa process is so complex and expensive I can’t even wrap my head around it enough to explain.

Europe is generally an edge case – for its citizens, at least, it offers a vision of a more open world. The UK will be the first country to have that kind of privilege and then let it go, which may prove instructive.

But for the rest of the world, artist policy could be an opportunity to talk about immigration in an understandable way – and perhaps to win more open policies, even if the political winds seem headed the other direction. So with all of this in mind, there’s a chance the UK handed the international artistic community a gift – dependent entirely on our next moves.

Other reporting:

Proposed Brexit UK immigration policy will have ‘devastating impact,’ music industry warns [Resident Advisor – and that’s December 2018]

UK government confirms touring EU artists will need visas starting next year [RA]

Non-EU artists will need visas to perform in the UK from 2021 [Dummy]

EU DJs and musicians will need a visa to perform in the UK from 2021 [Mixmag]

Brexit: The impact on dance music so far [Mixmag in 2017, and that was pre-Article 50]

Resident Advisor partners with Spotify to launch RA Tickets integration

Image credit:


“LONDON HEATHROW” by Parto Domani is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The post UK’s 2021 work visa for European DJs, musicians poses challenge to cultural exchange appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

March Regulatory Dates for Broadcasters—Children’s Television Reports, Lowest Unit Rate Windows, EEO Audit Responses, AM Revitalization Comments, License Renewal Preparation and More

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Mon 24 Feb 2020 6:06 pm

As the calendar flips to March, many of us have put our trust in Punxsutawney Phil’s weather forecasting expertise that an early spring is coming.  A surer place to put our trust, however, is in the guarantee that there are always some regulatory dates about which broadcasters should be aware.  While March is a month without with many of the regularly scheduled deadlines for renewals, EEO public file reports or Quarterly Issues Programs lists, there are still plenty of regulatory dates about which you should take notice.

The closest we come in March to a broadly applicable FCC filing deadline is the requirement that, by March 30, 2020 television broadcasters must complete and submit through LMS the FCC’s new Form 2100, Schedule H documenting their compliance with the requirements under the children’s television (KidVid) rules to broadcast educational and informational programming directed to children.  This report will document that programming from September 16, 2019 (when the new KidVid rules went into effect) to December 31, 2019.  The March 30 date is a transitional date as the FCC moves away from the old quarterly children’s television reports to ones that will be filed annually – in future years by the end of January.  This year, however, the FCC took time to develop the form for the new annual report and to explain how it should be used, thus the extra time to file.  Once filed, TV broadcasters won’t file another children’s television report until early 2021 reporting on compliance for all of 2020.  For more on the transition to the new KidVid obligations, read our articles here, here, and here.  To learn how to work with the new form, watch the FCC’s archived instructional webinar here.

Other dates affecting many broadcasters are the political windows during which broadcasters must offer lowest unit rate to candidates in upcoming primary elections.  In the 45 days before a primary and the 60 days before a general election, stations (and cable systems) must offer candidates running in those elections the lowest unit rate that they charge any commercial advertiser for a comparable advertisement.  Many of the windows are already open, including those for stations which are among primaries happening on Super Tuesday (March 3).  For later primaries, the window opens on March 14 for the primaries in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.  Later windows open on March 18 for Guam (D) and Kansas (D), March 21 (Indiana), and March 28 (Nebraska).  See our article here for thoughts on some of the issues that broadcasters should be considering for primary season survival.  Learn more about navigating the range of political broadcasting issues by reading our Political Broadcasting Guide and for more guidance on how to compute lowest unit rates, see our articles here, here, and here (this last article dealing with the issues of package plans and how best to determine the rates applicable to spots in such plans).

In early February, about 320 broadcast stations received an unwelcome letter in their mailbox notifying them that they had been randomly selected by the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau to participate in an audit of their compliance with the FCC’s equal employment opportunity (EEO) rules.  Each year, approximately 5% of broadcast stations are selected for auditing and, if you are one of the unlucky 320 who recently received an audit notice, you will want to begin preparing immediately to respond by uploading to the station’s online public file the responsive documents by March 23, 2020.  To see the stations that made the audit list and to read the letter sent to them detailing the matters that the must be covered in the response, visit the FCC’s website here. For more on this first round of 2020 EEO audits, see our article here.

The FCC in March takes another step in its plan to revitalize AM radio.  As we noted in earlier posts here and here, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that proposes allowing AM radio broadcasters to voluntarily transition to an all-digital signal.  Currently, most AM operations are analog, though some operate in a hybrid analog-digital mode.  Among the questions asked in the NPRM are whether all-digital operations would provide a better listening experience with less interference, whether AM broadcasters could use the digital signal to transmit artist and song data to listeners, and how AM broadcasters should be required to notify the FCC if they begin digital operations or revert to analog operations. The NPRM asks many technical questions, so you may want to put on your broadcast engineer hat when writing your comments.  The FCC is accepting comments on its proposal through March 9Reply comments are due by April 6.

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) together with Xperi Corporation and National Public Radio (NPR) petitioned the FCC in December 2019 to revive a currently-dormant issue dealing with HD radio technology.  The petition asks the FCC to begin a rulemaking that would amend the Commission’s rules to allow FM stations to use asymmetric sideband power levels without special authorization which could enable stations to maximize their digital coverage area and match their analog coverage to the greatest extent possible, within existing digital power limits while minimizing interference to adjacent channel stations.  If you are interested in supporting or opposing a potential rulemaking, you have until March 6 to submit comments.  You can read the petition for rulemaking here.

The repacking of the broadcast TV band, made necessary by the FCC’s broadcast incentive auction, continues across the country.  Stations assigned to Phase 8 must complete the transition to their new channels by March 13, 2020.  One day later, on March 14, 2020, stations assigned to Phase 9 of the repack may begin testing and operating on their new channels.

Looking ahead to early April, all AM, FM, LPFM, and FM translator stations licensed to Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee must file their license renewal application by April 1, 2020. Beginning on April 1, 2020, stations filing renewals by that date must begin airing a series of six post-filing announcements (one announcement each on April 1April 16May 1May 16June 1, and June 16).

Full-power AM, FM, LPFM, and FM translator stations in Michigan and Ohio and full-power TV, Class A TV, TV translator, and LPTV stations in DC, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia (the first TV window in the current license renewal cycle) are due to file license renewal applications by June 1, but, before that, those stations must air a series of announcements alerting listeners to their upcoming license renewal filing.  The first of four of these pre-filing announcements begin on April 1, with further required pre-filing announcements to air on April 16May 1, and May 16.  For more on pre-filing announcements, including the timing of the announcements and sample text to use, visit the FCC’s radio license renewal page here and the TV license renewal page here.

April 1 also brings the obligation for full-power radio and television stations in DelawareIndianaKentuckyPennsylvaniaTennessee, and Texas with five or more full-time employees in their station employment unit to place in their online public file and on their station website their Annual EEO Public Inspection File Report documenting their hiring from April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020.

Be sure to bookmark our blog to read updates throughout the month or, better yet, sign-up in the box on the right side of your screen (or at the bottom of your screen if you’re visiting on a mobile device) to receive email alerts every time we publish a new article.  And check with your own counsel for details about these obligations and for other dates we have not highlighted here, including any dates that may be uniquely applicable to your own station.


Delivered... Spacelab - Independent Music and Media | Scene | Mon 24 Feb 2020 3:00 pm
Mura Masa, FKA Twigs, Hatsune Miku, Yaeji, Princess Nokia, Hot Chip, Madeon and more!

Here’s how to update KORG’s wireless nano controller, and use it with iOS 13 (and more)

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 24 Feb 2020 1:43 pm

In case you missed it, in November, KORG fixed issues with their portable Bluetooth MIDI controllers/keyboards and iOS 13. Wireless operation works with desktop OSes, too – and it’s really cool.

Firmware updates I know can be a bit scary, and it’s possible some owners of the KORG wireless devices didn’t even know that there was a fix (or that you can do this, for that matter)! So it’s worth sharing this video KORG posted at the end of last week.

iOS changes have kept developers scrambling lately, but at least this catches you up. And it’s tough to beat the iPad and a wireless nanoKEY as an ultra-portable rig on the road.

Wireless Bluetooth MIDI operation is a strong, low-latency solution on desktop OSes, too, though – useful if you have your computer handy and just need some input device to sketch in ideas or try our your latest virtual modular patch. (That’s me, anyway!)

KORG’s wireless controllers do support both Mac and Windows, too. (I’ll check if there’s a way to get this working on Linux; I suspect someone ported over Apple’s implementation. I also don’t see Android officially supported, but there’s some version there – or you can just use USB and an OTG cable, in a pinch.)

There are a few features that make the nanoKEY Studio easy to recommend, specifically. Everything is ultra-low-profile, so it’s more optimal for tossing in a backpack. There’s still velocity sensitivity on both the pads and keys, and back lighting for dark situations. But I think what’s especially winning is – not just knobs, but also an X/Y pad (KAOSS style), onboard arpeggiator, scale and chord mapping.

KORG push the notion that this helps when you’re not a skilled keyboardist but – obviously, even if you’ve got years of piano training, on a little controller like this you’re in a different mode.


Also quite useful on the go, nanoKONTROL Studio:


In fact, I can imagine nanoKONTROL Studio with the new (wired) Novation Launchpad mini would be ideal. The Launchpad mini has input but not anything that works easily as a mixing layout – other than a somewhat crude mode that uses the pads for that, but doesn’t give you continuous control. Both would fit in a slim-line backpack with literally nothing else, for an easy iPad or notebook computer studio.

Or couple the Launchpad mini and nanoKONTROL Studio, because then you can lock individual controllers to particular instruments without swapping (useful!), or separate clip triggering and instrumental playing.

I just personally love being able to work when traveling and to fit live rigs into small spaces.

The post Here’s how to update KORG’s wireless nano controller, and use it with iOS 13 (and more) appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Reviews | Tame Impala – The Quietus

Delivered... | Scene | Mon 24 Feb 2020 9:00 am
Reviews | Tame Impala  The Quietus

Features | Three Songs No Flash | A Kind Of Paradise, A Kind Of Nightmare: These New Puritans Live At The Barbican – The Quietus

Delivered... | Scene | Mon 24 Feb 2020 9:00 am
Features | Three Songs No Flash | A Kind Of Paradise, A Kind Of Nightmare: These New Puritans Live At The Barbican  The Quietus
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