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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » 2020 » May » 01

Pairing mode: Autechre to ayrtbh, Tehran to Shanghai, wonderful new music

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Fri 1 May 2020 6:40 pm

Some predicted that pandemic would mean less music, fewer releases – creative shutdown. Instead, sounds are one of the things most effective in fighting feelings of isolation. David Abravanel is back with more picks for CDM. -Ed.

Welcome to another Pairing Mode! As it were, my knockoff Bluetooth airpods are on the fritz, but I’ve been enjoying some deep listening with the Campfire Audio Andromedas – look forward to another post in the future about making music ITB with those.

As always, if you’ve got new music that you’re working on, please feel free to contact me at david[at]dhla[dot]me. And I’m on Twitter if you need to tell me to shut up.

Now let’s jump into it!

Cover: 0N4B.

Ae (Autechre endless)

Has any label ever done as much for the digital reputation of a non-label act as Ghostly Intl. has done for Autechre? Fellow #GhostlyAfterDark heads will be well familiar with the strange turn the Ghostly Twitter account takes at night, including satirical conspiracy theories and over-the-top devotion to the prolific (and still on Warp) duo. Honestly, I imagine we could at least see a Gescom EP on Ghostly before all of this is over (and if this is Ghostly’s goal, let me be the first to get #GescomOnGhostly #GOG trending). 

Anyway, Autechre are back, champs, with a slim 25-minute mini-album. JK of course, it’s nearly 8 hours of new live soundboard recordings from 2016 and 2018 gigs. IDM’s own Grateful Dead continue to excavate the sweeping breadth of their sound design prowess here; many of these shows are slow burners with a deep focus on murky moods and shiny percussive clangs. 

While Ae’s 2015 shows were a bit more rhythmically focused, there’s a lot more use of space this time around. It certainly suggests interesting things, given that the pair – who’ve been broadcasting and interacting again on their Mixlr channel – have also promised two albums to be culled from over 20 hours of studio recording. Given that their last “album” release was the 8 hours of (stunning!) NTS Sessions, I’m just going to pre-emptively buy another external hard drive. 

I can’t be more eloquent about this massive amount of music, but my personal favorite of the new sets is from Nijmegen. Maybe start with that one?


Temp-Illusion. Photo: Aslan Mohammadpour.

Temp-Illusion and painful realities

For some of us in wealthier countries, it might be hard to remember that there were enormous insecurities and threats on earth before COVID-19. For Tehran-based duo Temp-Illusion, the threat of war has sadly been all too present for years now. In response to escalating violence and instability, Shahin Entezami and Behrang Najafi produced the aural cold sweats of PEND, their latest release on the fantastic Zabte Sote label. 

Photo: Arash Bolouri.

I can feel my fists clench with some of the beats on PEND. “Construction of Insomnia” comes on and I’m immersed in the icy shiver that comes with staring at night become dawn. This is a funky nightmare the likes of which I’ve previously heard on albums like Skinny Puppy’s Too Dark Park, only this industrial glitch is a reflection of reality, not the fantastic – all the scarier. The dark knocks and surprising machine lurches of “Caustic Surface” squeeze out adrenalin like a sponge. Comfortable this is not – but compelling it certainly is.

Braille Brings Joy

Getting some respite from the darkness, there’s also the defiance of hope. It’s also now time for us to count our blessings and remember that this, too, shall pass. Praveen Sharma aka Braille (also ½ of Sepalcure) provides a wealth of sunny uptempo numbers on Too Much. We may not have social interaction, but we can still look up into the sky and dream, and wonder, much like the sample in “Constellation Conversation” encourages before an Amen break and steel drum melody takes us straight to Blisstonia. By the time “Do It Right” comes on, I feel the happiness of an outdoor shower in the sunshine, and love for humanity. Somehow only jungle does this, and damn if Praveen doesn’t kill it on this outing.

Digital Acid from ayrtbh

Our old friend Wang Changcun aka ayrtbh has a new mini album out, HTTP 508. Changcun’s Instagram feed provides a constant tease of his custom Max for Live tools that fuel his dense sound, in full display on such digitally-tinged acid workouts like “lcCc”.

While it’s the incessant acid lines that take center stage, HTTP 508 (which is, cheekily, the Loop Detected error code) also showcases some dynamite FM sound design as on “plPl”, and a case study in clanging intensity with closer “Lc7bm”.

Stew in it with Radere

Despite what influencers would have you believe, many of us are not able to maintain 100% smiles and sugar during an unprecedented pandemic. And sometimes there’s something oddly calming about dark and chaotic work – “oddly calming” being how I would describe my reaction to I Do Not Want What I Have, the latest from Carl Ritger aka Radere. 

Chronicling a tumultuous time for Ritger, I Do Not… continues with a temporary switch from guitar to modular synthesizer as a primary instrument. “Spitty Kisses,” the first of two side-length pieces here, is constructed from equal parts beautiful background reverberated melodies, and foregrounded, brutalized synth drones. “You’ve Been a Ghost Yr Whole Life”, on the other hand, feels simultaneously weightless and yet oppressive. An exercise in Lucier/Niblock-style minimalism, it’s a triumph of space that always seems to find me staring intently at a wall late at night.

I Do Not Want What I Have feels so wholly realized that it’s difficult to match it with the five bonus digital remixes, many of which can’t help but densify the formula and thus evoke very different moods. Though perhaps that’s the best way to approach taking on such challenging material – Ultraesthetic’s “jungle rework” of “Spitty Kisses” turns the original into fodder for a half-time atmospheric workout that would sound at home on Hyperdub or Samurai/Horo.

Listen on Spotify


see also: https://radere.bandcamp.com

0N4B Keep it Deep

One of my favorite discoveries last year was 0N4B, the collaboration between Egyptian musicians Onsy and Abadir. In a year like 2019 that saw a lot of ambient contenders, 0N4B’s Supra/Infra/Intra really repainted the possibilities and depth of ambient for me. Follow-up bar(a)ca is equally lush but on the dubbier side, with sticky rhythms underlying many of the tracks. It’s a headphone treat for sure, featuring incessant rhythmic backbones and glitch ephemera which remind me of Terry Riley jamming with Phoenecia. Close your eyes, empty your thoughts, and let this one take over for a bit.

…Then, there’s a hard left turn. The final tracks on bar(a)ca – “bar(aaaaa)ca” and “bar(aaaaaa)ca” – earn the extra “AAAAAAAAAA”s with an onslaught that approximates a Commodore 64 imploding from a recursion and an incessantly nagging yet superbly sound-designed app notification. We can’t get uninterrupted peace right now, can we? At least we have great albums.

C. Lavender. Photo: Chris Woz.

C. Lavender Occupies Space

Field recording is the kind of thing that sounds simple on the surface, but in practice becomes something of a dark art. There’s the simple joy of listening back to natural recordings – see Annea Lockwood’s Sound Map series – and then there’s the alchemy of processing sounds and spaces to something familiar yet alien.

C. Lavender’s Myth of Equilibrium, in addition to featuring a perfect title for the current time, pulls some amazing aural landscapes from recordings within a geodesic dome. At times reminiscent of Lustmord’s subsonic space exploration and Ben Frost’s overdriven ambience, Myths also carries the spacious thrill you might have from listening to a bootleg concert recording of Suicide or Throbbing Gristle from the late 70s. 

Perhaps most fascinating is how much of the sound on Myths was derived with relatively little processing. As C. Lavender tells me: “The album had relatively minimal post-processing in my DAW. The combination of utilizing a binaural microphone, the geodesic dome’s unique natural reverb and my hyper-editing (as far as making cuts and moving sounds around) technique created a synthesized-sound to what was predominantly acoustic percussion. Some of the tracks also feature synthesizers (including a Doepfer modular system), electronics and my custom electric bass.”

Cosmin TRG Swims in Solitude

Moving from natural to unnatural atmospheres, we have the immense swells on “Proactive Synergasm”, my favorite track from Cosmin TRG’s recently-released Remote EP. Over his career, Cosmin has moved from the dubstep/bass mutations of his early work through to techno and then serene satirical sound on last year’s Hope This Finds You Well. Remote definitely has an active pulse, but the reverb and background hiss have things feeling like an old forgotten 45. 
To be frank (and basic), I like a happy ending, and “Having Said That” ends Remote with some defiantly hopeful pads. We’re alone, but we’re together. And we still have music.

Stay tuned for our next episode and more listening.

The post Pairing mode: Autechre to ayrtbh, Tehran to Shanghai, wonderful new music appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Underground techno labels: a Bandcamp guide

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Labels,Scene | Fri 1 May 2020 6:09 pm

It’s not quite the summer of love, but maybe it can be the summer of underground music downloading. Let’s start with techno.

Bandcamp is the undisputed home of a lot of experimental music. With dance genres, it has more competition – and I plan to revisit offerings like Beatport shortly, so stay tuned.

What you get on Bandcamp, then, is a particular character of music – typically stuff that resists easy categorization, and doesn’t show up as much on charts. For some of these labels, there’s a mix of revenue between Bandcamp and a platform like Beatport (or even Apple, if they’re lucky with charts). For others, Bandcamp is not only the main source of income, but even a way of connecting.

Speaking of Beatport – one piece of evidence that it isn’t only about Bandcamp, I kept thinking for example one of my favorites, Tokyo’s Murasame Industrial Records, was on Bandcamp. They’re Beatport only. More on that label soon.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but I wanted to pick out stuff I’ve particularly enjoyed following – which usually means non-commercial, stuff that’s jack-y and groovy, stuff that’s space-y and futuristic and dark and weird. And these labels all have a sense of community, even if it’s a small collective of a few friends unlikely to catch larger attention.

A special shout-out goes to Bandcamp Techno on Facebook, which is a community itself.

This is trending heavily to Berlin and the midwest, with a smattering of Spain and Japan, and techno is more international than that, so — I will definitely have to do a volume II. Nominations gladly accepted.

New York, NY US

The label of Ambivalent (founded in Berlin, now in NYC), aka LA-4A is the high-grade, thinking person’s techno label. Now Kevin McHugh is back with his first solo music in a couple of years, which is not techno but some chilled ambient music to take your mind off the pandemic. And you can get the whole (very techno) catalog for $15.

FLASH Recordings
Berlin, DE

FLASH Recordings from Florian Meindl is one of the most prolific techno labels on Bandcamp, with a nonstop firehose of great releases. And they’re 90% off the full catalog today, which means DJs can play a game of “how many FLASH tracks can I play in a row before someone notices.)

Wunderblock Records
Moscow, RU

I’m on this label mainly because I couldn’t stop listening to all of its releases. Started in 2013, it’s been covering a terrific gamut of productions from Russia, Ukraine, and beyond.

Yes, I have skin in the game:

Berlin, DE

The mighty Avian has an endless, sonically rich catalog.

Edit Select
Glasgow, UK

Some of the best of the Scottish underground.

Snork Enterprises
Hamburg, DE

Little. Yellow. Different. Better. Hamburg’s weird underground imprint I think I convinced (or more like “nagged’) to go on Bandcamp, so now let me urge you to go check out their catalog (not only mine).

EarToGround Records
London UK

If London’s underground techno had a tourism board, this might be it – at least for us weirdos.

Ostgut Ton
Berlin, DE

The label resident of Berghain has a Bandcamp store. Actually do believe the hype, generally – they’ve still got it, and jumping-off point to the sublabels is also here, so have at it because I think no one is getting back into the club for a while.

Tripalium Corp
Paris, FR

“Braindancers United” with acid and rave and more. Proper Paris warehouse dirt.

Fullpanda records & Hunger to Create
Berlin, Germany

Dasha Rush’s label has some of the finest – and most-overlooked – underground techno out there, and her occasional parties at Tresor also count among the most sonically diverse. Music for cosmonautical moods.

Anode Records
St. Louis, MO US

Jack-y, dirty midwest techno, just as you’d expect from Ron S., veteran of that scene, and friends. As thick and delicious as BBQ sauce.

Stockholm, SE

Cari Lekebusch’s label has a deep back catalog from Sweden.

Toktok Records, V-Records
Berlin, DE

Irreverant, dirty, silly, raunchy – this is the underground side of German techno (and adjacent music) too many people fail to see. Toktok is an outgrowth of the band; V-Records the imprint of band member Nerk (who I’ve gotten to release with). And they’ve found and put out new vinyl on Toktok this week.

Perc Trax
[undisclosed city], UK

When Perc runs a label, wonderful things happen. With a full range of techno to experimental and everything in between, this is a heaven for producer nerds.

hyper master recorders
Fuji, Japan

Straight out of Shizuoka – every end of the techno spectrum has been on a hyper master release, holding down a chunk of Japan’s best techno since 1998. You might know them from that circle logo, if that jogs your memory.

Semantica Records
Madrid, ES

Svreca to Stanislav Tolkachev, gorgeous releases here.

Mona Records
Murcia, ES

I guess Spain is my next destination post-lockdown, but I just love this crew for their lovely rhythms and sounds. And they’re a pan-Spanish indie – “Madrid, Murcia, Gijón, Salamanca, I, Spain”

Planet Euphorique
Montreal, CA

With major releases from people like D. Tiffany and a stream of unexpected delights, this is a Quebecois gem.

Nachtstrom Schallplatten
Tübingen, DE

Maria Singer to Dave Tarrida, dark and delicious catalog from the place I know everyone thinks of as a music hub, Tübingen, Germany. Possibly there’s an enchanted forest where this happens.

Munich, Germany

Bavaria is back on Germany’s music scene in a big way – Alex Bau’s label pumping out classics being a good example of that.

Berlin, DE

The former boss of Tresor Records and other projects, Pacou has now put out his own deep collection and it’s all worth navigating (including the Mike Huckaby collab I wrote about on the weekend).

Chicago Jaxxx
Chicago, IL USA

Banging. “Tracky”? “Ghetto flair?” (Their words, not mine.) Whatever it is, take a virtual trip to a Chicago warehouse.

Berlin, DE

Tommy Four Seven’s label is nothing but the finest production work, when you want compilations and releases that trend very dark and goth-futuristic – but that you’ll still dance to.

Rotterdam, NL

Maybe one of the larger labels here, but well worth a mention – Emmanuel’s ARTS is the kind of label that will constantly break you out of the notion that techno is just repeating itself, with consistently forward-looking music.

TH ± Tar Hallow
Rotterdam, NL

Rotterdam has so much strange techno laboratory stuff going on, though – it’s not just ARTS. Hard, weird, things that sound like the robots took over… Tar Hallow is inhabited by the likes of Rhyw and Thanos Hana and goes the expected places if you know those names.

Rotterdam, NL

Seriously, what is in the water/stroopwaffels over there? Maybe it says something that these labels are so superb that they come before the mention of the city and yes, Rotterdam, I’m aware that us Berlin folks like to ride on the brand of our town.

Chicago, IL USA

Hey, Berlin. You think only you can be dark? Chicago can be dark. Ever been through a Chicago winter? Beautiful stuff from this insanely prolific label and diverse roster.

Hue Helix
[undisclosed city], JP

Futuristic adventurous outings from Ryuji Takeuchi and Nil and so on live here.

The Bunker New York
New York, NY USA

The Bunker is both a classic party and a perfect conduit between Detroit and NYC (and Berlin) – their label is every bit as vital.

Newrhythmic records
León, ES

There’s always just beautiful stuff on Joton’s imprint, since 2005.

Hessle Audio
London, UK

Well, did I mention they’re also on Bandcamp?

Modern Cathedrals
Detroit, MI

Uun and Altstadt Echo and friends are putting out some of the most beautiful, dreamy techno productions today, so don’t miss this imprint.

SUB tl
Madrid, ES

Futuristic, wonderful, almost needs no introduction – the HD Substance and Leandro Gámez project.

Acacia Label
Detroit, MI

Kelli Hand (K-Hand) has a label. Attention must be paid. (Who? Oh, you need to go there now. Enjoy! Tell me when you’re done.)

Transmat Records
Detroit, MI USA

Oh yeah – that Transmat. Derrick May Transmat. Also on Bandcamp.

DJ T-1000
Berlin, DE

Speaking of Detroit, while I mostly avoided artists for space – Alan Oldham has been everywhere since the Transmat days, and he’s dumping tons of vintage Pure Sonik, etc. stuff alongside his new latest – so, for instance, you get this gem today from 1993’s Generator:


Okay, so who did I miss? Everyone from Africa to Latin America to the Balkans to southeast Asia, I … kinda know where I’m starting episode II. But shoot!

The post Underground techno labels: a Bandcamp guide appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Spend on Bandcamp if you can – but here’s how artists can exchange music free

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Fri 1 May 2020 4:07 pm

Today as in March and two upcoming dates, Bandcamp is highlighting buying music as a way of supporting artists. But what about artists wanting to listen, too?

There is something poetic about spending your music earnings on other artists’ Bandcamp releases. But with people out of work, losing day jobs, losing gigs, and facing new uncertainty, now is not the time for that for everybody.

In other words, I’m surprised how many people have music on Bandcamp but don’t understand the “codes” system.

Here’s how it works:

Where to find it

Bandcamp has a tutorial: https://get.bandcamp.help/hc/en-us/articles/360007902593-Track-album-code-tutorial

TL:DR – log in as an artist, menu on the top right (your label/artist icon will be there), Artist Tools > Track/album Codes.

You have to generate codes for a release if you haven’t already. If you’re on someone else’s label, point them to this same article and Bandcamp tutorial, and tell them to get the codes for you – it’s part of what they owe you as a label.

You can tell them I told them to say that. If they don’t like it, tell them to complain to me on Twitter @peterkirn. But I usually win arguments – fair warning.

What used to be called “download codes” is now called “track” or “album codes.” Regardless, the idea is that you give away this code to people with a unique URL for your artist page or label, and they can download your music.

How to keep track of codes

If you click export, you can save as a CSV file. You can open that in a spreadsheet like Excel, but even better is to upload to something like Google Sheets. That way, each time you give out a code, you have a record, so you don’t accidentally give out a used-up code to someone (ewww).

This is also necessary if you’re sharing codes between artists or an artist and a label.

Why use this for Bandcamp promos

There are advantages to doing it this way:

  • Codes are unique and can be used only once – unlike a Dropbox link, for instance.
  • They can choose which format they want. (WAV, FLAC, MP3, AAC, whatever.)
  • You don’t have to remember to tag your files – so later, when a DJ plays your MP3 in a mix or goes through their downloads, they’ll actually know what it was and not “Unknown Artist.”
  • If they’re logged in as a Bandcamp user, it’s added to their Collection.
  • It promotes your music on Bandcamp if they’re logged in, too, as it shows up in feeds and on your page.

And they should log in – it’s worth even reminding them! I use this all the time to keep track of music and promos.

Trade them!

Hey, we should listen to each other’s music! Otherwise, why are we in music, anyway? So trading codes is a great practice for artists, and it gets out of this constant self-promotional feeling.

Learn more about Bandcamp

Bandcamp can be confusing, but one of those tools many of us need to use as artists – as much so as our DAW or a mixer, even. So I wrote a guide for Riemann Kollektion:


Pictured at top: https://anoderecords1.bandcamp.com

The post Spend on Bandcamp if you can – but here’s how artists can exchange music free appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Moog’s free Mother-32 update reminds us, engineers can do great stuff from home

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Fri 1 May 2020 3:43 pm

It’s an uncertain world out there for music gear as in other industries – but isolate engineers, and you’ll at least get some code that helps musicians play.

Maybe that sounds obvious. But as our societies and economies and supply chains and shipping all shut down in phases around us, well – there’s always stuff like sending out firmware downloads!

Firmware updates are terrific because they keep your customers busy and you can ship them now over the Internet without running into weird new shipping problems. So it’s really important that the Mother-32 semi-modular synth gets all this good stuff in a free download this week:

Multiple sequencer directions

Improved and expanded clocking options

CV-addressed sequencer control

Selectable swing intervals

New pattern change behaviors.

Ability to ignore MIDI clock or start/stop messages

Improved LED visual feedback

Options to auto-save and write-protect patterns

Selectable analog clock input and output resolutions

Completely rewritten sync and timing engine

Note completely rewritten. This means both having the engineering forethought to make something that can be updated, and the kind of skill and employee retention that lets someone do this work.

I’ve tended to ignore some of the variety of gear to talk about particular instruments that get this kind of update, and obviously not just from Moog. It’s not going to make sense for every product, but it does give you an indication of a manufacturer’s commitment.

This is part of what has kept electronic musical instruments from becoming commodities in the way a lot of other tech has. We’ve seen a wide range of ups and downs in the industry in terms of who can attract and retain talent. Music really requires engineers who understand or at least can communicate with musicians – and we have to woo them away from companies like defense contractors who can pay a lot more.

I know making payroll and paying budgets is going to be tough for our industry like so many others. But let’s hear it for all the people in our business who do everything from pack and test our instruments to try to describe complicated music gear in press releases to designing and building it. There are small Eurorack and kit makers where all of those people are one person. There are bigger employers.

If anything gets us through this wild ride, it will be those people. So I hope you all both stay safe and stay supported – and stay in touch.

Oh, and mess around with step sequencers and make grooves in good health, of course!


Hat tip to Synthtopia for being on this news and a lot of news, generally – speaking of people-powered operations!

The post Moog’s free Mother-32 update reminds us, engineers can do great stuff from home appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

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