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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » Zuzana Friday Prikrylova


raster-noton’s elusive Grischa Lichtenberger on creative sound

Delivered... Zuzana Friday Prikrylova | Artists,Labels,Scene | Fri 30 Dec 2016 7:15 am

Grischa Lichtenberger is working with felt and stencils as well as sound. He’s speaking in hyperlinks, and misusing gear and feeding computers into other computers to form feedback loops. In short, he’s finding a unique and creative materialism in everything he does – and that means we really have to talk to him. So we sent Zuzana Friday to join in a delightfully esoteric conversation with the raster-noton artist. -Ed.

Grischa Lichtenberger is a German musician and sound and installation artist, known for his releases on raster-noton. His immersive live performances oscillate between abrasive, aggressive compositions and intricate structures of beat and melody. Recently, he has released a new triple-EP ‘Spielraum | Allgegenwart | Strahlung’ on raster-noton as a limited-edition vinyl with hand-printed sleeves. The three EPs question the connection between intimacy and the public sphere, but each of them has layers of their own meaning.

I find myself uniquely moved by Grischa Lichtenberger’s work. It’s not only the choice of sounds, their combinations and permutations, but the sense of emotion behind them that strikes me. There’s also playfulness, even cheekiness at moments. Other times, I find beauty, or anxiety, or drama, or a language we’re only learning to understand.

The music is often very physical, with the beats collapsing like detonated structures. Silence and space will swell up, stagger — carve their way to your ears. Melody in turn hastily gushes in percussive patterns, breaks down in waves, or becomes narrative. Grischa does all of this on his new triple-EP consisting of three chapters. We tried to tackle all of them in over a hour long interview.

Grischa speaks in complex, branching sentences, navigating topics and poetic descriptions in a way that mirrors his own process for bringing together his thoughts on a work, whether for a music or an installation. We talked to him about his own work and process, including the triple-EP, but also ranged to topics like Joseph Beuys.

Friday: In ‘Allgegenwart’, you write about the ubiquity of technology and feelings of guilt and a threatening sense of over-complexity. Where do you see humans and technology going?

Grischa: We like to see technology as this tool that fulfills our desires. But of course there’s more and more consciousness about us being overly immersed in the virtual world. Then we have a problem not only with communicating in real life, but also on all these social platforms. Our relationship with them has changed from the early 2000s to now. At the beginning, you had this romantic idea of being able to reach out to people you would never reach. Nowadays, the approach is more cynical and more and more people feel overwhelmed. It’s a trouble that wasn’t there before.

Plus, regarding social platforms, people are concerned about their personal data being misused.

I’d say that the totalitarian discussion of the 20s Century has shifted to the … anonymous or virtual. It’s like an invisible totality.

The first part of your trilogy is called ‘Spielraum’. In the accompanying text, you describe the Spielraum with words like hope and experiment. Do you have your Spielraum, is it your studio?

Sure, the studio is like a playground, where you have things gathered like toys. And more than that, every home is still connected to when I was little and I’d build little shelters from cushions. It’s also about intimacy and what your … private intimate space is like.

If I consider Spielraum as a space where one can be free to play around, at the same time, how do you deal with distractions? Do you turn off your phone when entering the studio?

Through desirable factors. Most of the times, I have my phone on vibration and I don’t push mail and Facebook. But there isn’t a specific preparation in the studio to shut the world out. When I started making music, I used to have internet on one PC and the music and all artworks on another PC. But then the internet became a bigger part of my daily process and it actually can even be a part of the flow. If you have a loop running and you want to let it run for a while and quickly check what’s next with Trump or whatever and go back to the music, there’s no clear boundary that needs to be there for having that flow.

The Spielraum … can address some stuff that is invisible or unspeakable. In doing art, you have a secret space to do whatever you feel like doing, a track without a snare or any silly idea. Even now, when talking about it, it seems almost impossible to defend that idea. But if you just sit there and do the track, you have the feeling that you can try things out and you don’t have to write it down and prove [it].

The sounds of the triptych are very diverse. Which devices and instruments have you used for this record? And is there a difference in terms of used instruments and processes between the three parts of the album?

Yes, there is. For ‘Spielraum’, I used a lot of “incestuous” recording methods, so to speak. I recorded from one computer to another. I recorded with a lot of feedback systems, where one program feeds into the other and also outputs to the other.

For ‘Strahlung’, I used synthesizers more excessively that I used to. I didn’t grow up with them and I don’t really know much about them. I still don’t have any hardware synthesizers, mainly because I don’t have much clue about them and I don’t have a good ear to appreciate the analog quality, even though there is a special materiality to it. But I think all synthesizers have a specific sound, and software synthesizers are still very appealing to me. Also, I once wanted to make a record that could play in the background, which always failed for me [laughs]. So with ‘Strahlung’, I wanted to make one record which I could imagine playing in the living room. And it also corresponds with the idea of the invisible force.

r-n168-2 Artwork. Courtesy the label.

r-n168-2 Artwork. Courtesy the label.

From all three EPs, ‘Strahlung’ is definitely the most friendly; it has these nice melodies, for instance. Actually, the strongest impact on me was the closing track (r-n173 – 8 – 004_1115_26_lv_1_brecs) from ‘Strahlung’, probably because of the contradictory nature of its emotional and melancholic melody and abrasive, mechanical sounds piercing through. Do you remember how you made this track? What was your intention there?

I don’t remember exactly. But this track was actually meant to reconnect the listening circle of the record, its end and the beginning. So I imagined that a listener would listen to it and then start playing the first track of Spielraum again.

Apart from the digital synthesizers, what else have you used for the album — which software, for example?

I used Reason, including its Subtractor synthesizer, which is a really nice one, plus Ableton for most parts of the sequencing. I used [Celemony] Melodyne, for its nice algorithm, where you can manually slide through a polyphonic source without boundaries and divide the material in voices. Although it’s quite complex and I can’t get my head around it, it’s really fascinating.

For ‘Allgegenwart’, I used a noise suppressor. If you raise the level of a noise suppressor… you can just feed it with the background noise and it will generate a very eerie, ghostly sound, because it tries to find a tonal signal in it. It’s like a synthesizer which isn’t meant to be a synthesizer.

What are other ways for you to generate sound, do you use field recordings or sound banks?

I have an always-extending archive of sounds I use. I don’t use sound banks so much, only sometimes when I want to make a joke about a clap or something, and for instance I just use an 808 clap to have it as a symbolic reference. But normally, I like to live with sounds. I have an old track and many sounds in there, so I just put the track in the sampler, pull a bit out of there and … rework it over and over again. It’s kind of like a collage out of my own productions. I also use field recordings and synthesized sounds. I like this process where you go back to yourself and involve yourself in what you did, not only try to have the best kick drum of all times, but try to find out what the kick drum from 5 years ago means to you. Sometimes, you see ‘Oh, this is much nicer than anything I could have made up!’ and sometimes, you go, ‘what was I thinking? It’s trash!’

Photo: Sebastian Moitrot.

Photo: Sebastian Moitrot.

How do you decide which sounds will be composed together, since they range in timbre, texture, and character? How do you choose which sounds fit together in your musical universe?

It’s not accidental; I think about it very much, but I can’t tell any general method. When I have something I want to go on with, like a melody from a synth, then I listen to it and I think about what’s missing until it’s finished. Maybe it’s a bass drum – then I add it so it complements the rest, then I move on to another sound, add it and try if it all fits together.

It’s like painting for me. When you paint something new, you do it regarding what’s already in the painting. For me, the music making process is linear. Most of the time, when I do a track, I go forward, I add EQs, dynamics, plug-ins in massive chains, and I add sounds, and only in moments when I think about it and stop for a while, I can go back, re-evaluate, and correct. But in the creative flow, I tend to add and add, so the context is building itself organically and everything is connected to each other.

Your website resembles a body of work of an inventor with its precise sketches, complex descriptions, photographs and installations. Where do your ideas for installations come from?

Often, there is a room or a context that’s already there. Because mostly, I am approached to contribute to an exhibition or an event. Like this year, I did an installation for a conference about genomes. So at first I try to conceptualize, which means looking into my archive and finding a drawing, painting, or a ready-made object, which fits to the general idea or a context. Then I deal with the room, like I would deal with paintings or levels in a track. Then there are strategies about materials I use – I look into the constructions I have done in the past and look for what could I use for recycling the sculptural elements. Then, if it’s a construction, I make a drawing of how it’s going to be built together. It also depends on my time and resources. The result can be an intense reaction to the room or something spontaneous.

grischa_installation

In all my installations, there’s also a very strong reaction to works by Joseph Beuys, because my parents were his students, so I knew his work since I was a kid – I saw his piece ‘I like America and America Likes Me’ – where he imprisoned himself with a coyote in a gallery – when I was five years old. And because Beuys reached me so early in my life, I see him differently than most of the critics. It’s like music, I really liked it and felt the emotional content in there. So since I was 5, I thought ‘Doing art is really nice, you can have this sort of communication’. And when you’re so young, you still have this very present thin line of how language is built and you try to get through to people very clearly. You aren’t sure whether you understand people or whether they understand you. And you can perceive art and music like some sort of solution of this communication problem.

genographies_1

http://www.grischa-lichtenberger.com/installations/2015%20Genographies/

But the way I work with installations is not only homage to Beuys — it’s also a joke. Especially regarding the materials I use. For example, I use a sort of felt, which for Beuys was a mythical and poverty-stricken material. But he used a really high-quality felt. I use a material that looks the same, but it’s actually moving blankets, so they’re more industrial and cheap. I connected with this material because it was permanently laying around in my father workshop, so it’s more natural for me than felt. that felt. And besides this joke, what I also like about the material, is that it looks grey, but when you look closely, it’s actually super colorful, because it’s made of recycled plastic bags. I cling on to it, I know how it behaves, and I often use it for covering up wood constructions or making bigger spatial interventions. These things work like favorite pens or plug-ins.

genographies_2

You printed, stamped and signed all the 500 copies of a special edition of this triple-EP by yourself. Is this personal approach of creating a unique piece of art something you cherish?

When [raster-noton’s] Olaf [Bender] suggested to do this triple-EP and a limited edition, I was super happy, because I like vinyl and because I like having physical objects and not only a digital, ghostly trace. And I liked working on silkscreen very much, as well. I made the designs for the prints by hand and had a very nice day helping printing them. And as we layered the stencils a bit differently for each of the copies; each one is unique. It would be actually interesting to buy two of the vinyls to recognize the differences [laughs].

How would you like to push your work further in the future?

My future plan since I started with raster-noton is to find a way to [better] connect all the different aspects of art. I see that this is still a big difficulty for me, because I have all these ideas and accompanying texts. But many people despise these texts for being too long and overly complex. Of course, I have to learn how to write better, how to make music better or how to paint better, but I would also love to learn how to write better in relation to music and how to make music in relation to painting and have this all connected with one another.

It’s also important that the disciplines aren’t connected too much, because I often find refuge in one discipline when I’m sick of the other for the moment. But just for the communication, I would want different parts of my work to seem to be all more clearly coming from one particular person.

http://grischa-lichtenberger.com

Releases, artist info via raster-noton

The post raster-noton’s elusive Grischa Lichtenberger on creative sound appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

How a meetup space for female music makers is making a difference

Delivered... Zuzana Friday Prikrylova | Artists,Events,Scene | Mon 26 Dec 2016 8:13 pm

Ed.: If we’re going to see more women or other underrepresented groups in music, one place to start is by creating new spaces. CDM contributor Zuzana Friday is involved in an effort in Berlin that does just that. The idea is an informal one: just have exclusively female-identified artists meet for a couple of hours, to give them an environment all their own, then open up to anyone interested thereafter – covering musicians but also quite a lot of visualists, too. Even the name is simple: “Meetup.” That approach has proven fertile enough that it’s fired up the music network citywide. But just how does something so simple and direct work in practice? Zuzana takes us into a meeting to give us a picture.

We’re sitting outside in front of a wooden house with a bar and two dancefloors inside, where our Meetup takes place this evening. The June sun is setting as today’s attendees slowly gather, some coming directly from work, some refreshing themselves with a lemonade or a beer. When me and the other three Meetup co-organizers, Aiko, Bianca, and Yulka, decide that there’s enough of us (usually about half an hour after the official start), we get started with our discussion part, which is female-identified and LGBTQ-only.

meetup_lenka

First, we introduce each other one by one. Of course, if someone would want to stay anonymous, that’s fine, too. We say our name, specify if we go by she, they, or another pronoun if necessary, and explain what brought us to the Meetup. You’d be surprised: the reasons vary a lot, along with attendees’ occupations, interests, and a level of professional experience. This time, we have a rapper and singer/songwriter who are doing degrees in electronic music production, a scientist who likes making instruments in her spare time, a DJ who works in a museum, a young girl who just started thinking about VJing, a woman who realized she’s David Bowie and needs to follow her destiny… the mix is always unique and wonderful.

After the introduction round, we all go inside to start the discussion. This time, our topic is upcoming music festivals and gender issues connected to them. Our guest Anna from the Berlin edition of Mira Festival introduces the event, then we dive into the fact that the lineup of musicians is all male, and try to figure out why is this so often the case and whether all-female festivals help the issue. Ed.: Side note on Mira specifically – female artists contributed to visuals, but weren’t listed as headliners. Also, a separately-curated set of panel discussions on which I was one of the moderators was mixed, but the performance program was criticize over this issue. It’s great to see Mira taking interest in improving. -PK)

Isa Wolff, from the July meetup.

Isa Wolff, from the July meetup.

meetup_lenka_2

Some attendees make interesting points, some share their personal experience or opinion, and the discussion eventually branches to other topics related to event-organisation, festival and party policies and other things that have been occupying people’s minds. When we feel like we’ve said it all, and we see that people would prefer chatting in smaller groups or just enjoying some music, the party / musical part starts, around 9pm. From this time on, everyone is welcome and encouraged to join and party as an audience, as long as they keep it friendly and respectful – we do have male audience enjoying the music performances.

This time, Sissip, a musician, singer, songwriter, and recently also a producer, starts her solo show. She joined us in May for the Ableton edition of the Meetup, where we talked about creative processes and some shared their music productions. Sissip herself didn’t bring any music then, but she sang on the spot and mentioned she’d just started working with Ableton. And tonight, only one month later, she’s singing and performing her live set here!

The next act is multi-genre talent Juliane Wolf, who performs a captivating acid live set. And then we have DJs Kat Tat Tat and MS Elbe, who spin their groovy and deep house records, making it almost impossible not to dance (well in my case, at least). At the end of the Meetup, I feel thankful for having the possibility of co-organizing this event, as I see new possible friendships or partnerships, people being inspired by what has been said today and some new fans of this evening’s artists.

Meetup is a team organizational effort. There’s Aiko Okamoto, alias Mo Chan — a VJ, DJ, and artist. Bianca Ludewig is a cultural studies scholar doing her Ph.D in transmedia festivals and teaching about electronic music and pop culture, as well as a hosting a radio show as Jukebox Utopia. Jessie is a graffiti writer and a DJ. I eventually joined in because of Bianca, after she persistently encouraged me to. And so did Yulka Plekhanova, a VJ (Optic Veil [doing some of my favorite analog optic visuals, I might add, gorgeous work! -Ed.]) and an event organizer for many years in the US and now in Berlin. Since May, the organizing team was pretty much the four of us (Bianca, Aiko, Yulka, me), with help of Anja Weber aka Mila Chiral, a dancer, choreographer, musician, and a member of Minutektiv, who is in charge of the Ableton editions of the Meetup. We also get support from friends like Akkamiau, DJ Isa Wolff, Sissip, Donna Maya (a musician and a certified Ableton teacher) and many more, who join regularly, perform, DJ, take photos, and show us support. In December, we welcomed Anja, Isa and Elie Gregory (Strip Down) to the organisation team of the Meetup, because the more minds, hands and hearts, the better. ?

A video posted by @opticveil on

The initial idea of the Meetup was for female-identified and LGBTQ people to meet, talk, have a beer, and maybe start a project together or at least see who else has similar music / art interests in Berlin. I joined Meetup in April, after attending the event in March. At that time, Meetup was taking place in a Bar dubbed “ohne namen,” (literally, “no name”). The atmosphere was pretty laid back, with ladies sitting around and talking, but the bar setting meant we had to keep the volume down, and couldn’t add live acts or VJs.

So we moved over to an unlicensed/illegal club. (That’s why we can’t share its name and address.) We’ve met a wonderful and supportive group of people there, who provide us space and all the equipment and generally just let us do our thing and party until 1 in the morning. Anyone who has ever been there is blown away by its charm, as only a true DIY place can provide. And so we settled in a little house of this club complex, among shiny meteorites and iridescent decorations, dusty furniture and a fluid, ever-changing environment. Finally, we had not only working decks, but also beamers and a proper sound system and a dance floor!

Red Pig Flower.

Red Pig Flower.

Optic Veil, framed by her analog visuals.

a participant looks on, framed by Optic Veil’s analog visuals.

We had our first Meetup in the new spot in April, for our first Ableton-themed edition. And with the new location, the impact of the Meetup started to grow. People started to contact us before hand; we started to ask our friends who produce, VJ, DJ, make movies, or do live painting, whether they’d like to participate. And so we started adding formal line-ups for each event. But in case someone wants to spontaneously come and DJ, we make sure that there’s space left for open decks! The discussions evolved, too – suddenly, it wasn’t just chats among ourselves anymore, but included guests, people who are interested in similar topics, individuals, collectives, festival organizers, social media managers, sound artists, DJs.

Among our wonderful guests were Konstmusiksystrar, a Swedish collective focusing on female-identified and LGBTQ artists in the realms of contemporary classical music and sound art, Michelle Manetti, a DJ and founder of the Lipstick Disco blog, organizers of festivals like Mira and [East Europe-centered] Easterndaze x Berlin, Ellie Gregory of EQ, an initiative for all genders underrepresented in electronic music, and even more interesting attendees working for magazines or music software companies joined us in the past months.

But don’t think that we are only limited to professionals – all kinds of people come and join. These are especially welcome because it always warms my heart when somebody comes to check out our event and then returns with a live set ready, or performs a song that they created after our Meetup, pumped with inspiration, or plays their first production experiments on the Ableton editions. As this has happened, it’s proven to us that organizing these events makes sense and really can inspire people or give them the push they need to move one step further.

Some time ago, I also started a blog, where I gradually post profiles of some of our attendees who are artistically active or are somehow involved, as well as profiles of our guests who presented their projects or work, and of course everyone who performed live or as a DJ or VJ. There you can find info about upcoming Meetups, as well as on our Facebook. We’re also thinking about expanding Meetup further, not only online, but also in the ether, or making some bigger events. But as we’re all busy, we’ll see how far can we stretch Meetup’s potential.

What I’d like to emphasize is that we open the door to all genders after 9pm to join us for a party, see some female or queer musicians, artists, DJs or VJs, and experience these unique intimate events with us. We still keep the safe-space for female-identified and LGBTQ from 7 to 9pm, in order to create the most supportive, open, and unintimidating atmosphere, and so far everybody who I asked felt comfortable. But even now, we think about letting male feminists and supporters of diversity in electronic music and digital arts to talk with us from the beginning, to be more inclusive and let more people from various backgrounds to participate and support each other.

meetup_september

Meetup is an ongoing process and we discuss all of this within our team. When I think about it, a big part of what we do is exchange a lot of emails! We share ideas regarding organization, topics, guests, and how to grow and to do things better. Now we’re even discussing changing the name. So anyone who would like to be informed about what we’re up to can follow our Facebook page or our blog. We did a screening of the documentary about last year’s Heroines of Sound festival, and had the organizers introduce their event.

If you want to join us in Berlin, you can perform, DJ, suggests topics or other ideas, or just drop by, please get in touch. And if you’d like to organize something similar in your part of the world, and want some ideas and support, I’m happy to encourage you and talk to you!

Meetup Berlin [Blog]

Meetup Berlin group on Facebook

Ed.: I hope this opens up discussion not only about Berlin, or even exclusively about female-identified artists, but about spreading music outside its usual contexts and crowds. So of course, we welcome similar stories and discussion of how event organization is going elsewhere in the world.

Photos courtesy Meetup Berlin / Akkamiau Kočičí..

The post How a meetup space for female music makers is making a difference appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Interview – Franck Vigroux is celebrating technology but resisting normality

Delivered... Zuzana Friday Prikrylova | Artists,Scene | Tue 29 Nov 2016 7:44 pm

Can you look deep into dystopias, and the darkest uses of technology for surveillance, and come away optimistic? Can you work across every medium imaginable, eschewing any particular style or genre, yet retain a voice? For the answer to these questions through an artist with a unique level of experience and a long-standing body of work, CDM’s Zuzana Friday talks to Franck Vigroux. It’s a vision of a dark future that might just encourage you. -Ed.

Looking at Franck Vigroux’s resume, you’d never imagine he’d fly under the radar. Yet this award-winning, endlessly touring, prolific collaborator of a musician only recently got the attention of English-language media.

Finally, that’s changing – with a little help from his friends. So collaborative projects have gotten attention, like the album Peau Froide, Léger Soleil (recorded with Mika Vainio and released on Shapednoise’s Cosmo Rhythmatic label), and his intense audiovisual performance Centaure, made with Kurt d‘Haeseleer, an artistic director of WERKTANK. There was a reworked version of Kraftwerk’s Radioland, for the Leaf label, founder of the company D’autres Corder, the Tobel series with the German composer Reinhold Fried and Broken Circles Live with France’s Ensemble Ars Nova. There have been performances with image and dance.

And this year, Vigroux has what he says is the final chapter of a dystopian series of works. The solo album Rapport Sur Le Désordre, including several tracks from that AV show Centaure, follows the albums Camera Police and We. That’s We after the novel by Yevgeny Zamyatin, father of the futuristic critique in scifi that would come to include Brand New World and 1984. He also composed D503, a radio work for the French National Radio based on Zamyatin’s novel.

Behind all of this work, irrespective of medium or collaborator, is a coherent vision – rendered in unsettling atmospheres shattered by dramatic disruptions. And there are questions about our time, about technology and mass surveillance.

Apart from harsh electronic and mechanical noises wrapped around his minimalistic beats, Vigroux also uses silence as a material. There’s a cinematic feeling – and accordingly, he frequently works with visuals, as well as directing several videos himself. (See the music video for his track ‘Dust,’ which you can watch in a pixelated quality below.)

We talked to him about that vision of his music and of our future.

The name of the album can be translated as a ‘report on disorder’. Does this report reflect the current situation in the world?

There’s a poem by Heiner Müller called Rapport sur le début, which can be translated as ‘a report of the beginning’. Three years ago, I did a stage performance using a lot of Müller’s poems including this one. So I just played with the name of the poem for this album.

Is there a specific concept behind this record, or do you continue using the rather abstract ideas of dystopian sci-fi which were present in your work throughout the last few years?

Some years ago, I did a composition for a French radio about the underrated seminal dystopian novel written by Yevgeny Zamyatin called We. And some elements from this piece still remain in my work, particularly when I compose music. But conceptually, it’s rather a follow-up to the abstract ideas I already worked with than a narrative depiction of the book. This album is definitely the final chapter of the dystopian series. I think I’m done with using slogans and vocoders, but who knows, as this subject is so present.

Speaking of the vocoder, who does the voice on the new album belong to, a human, a post-human?

I’ve used the vocoder or some kind of voice transformer for years, particularly since my album Camera Police, which already tackled the dystopian society topic.

Nowadays, the transformed, cyborg-like voices are everywhere around us, and I find it a bit freaky. But I’ve always been fascinated by science-fiction and this robotic world, and it’s something that I translate in my music. And it’s also a way to do something cinematic.

Apart from the vocoder, which instruments have you used for the recent album?

I used the Elektron Octatrack and a lot of analog and vintage synthesizers. I always buy and sell a lot of things and try out new equipment, so it’s hard to keep track. Lately, I record almost everything live and in stereo.

As for software, I use [Apple] Logic 9 and i don’t want to upgrade. But the Logic 9 on my laptop isn’t working well anymore, so I’m€™ now trying to avoid using the computer as much as possible and just record everything live, everything stereo.

So how does your recording process look like? You have an idea of a track in mind, then you play around with it and eventually, when you feel like you have enough material, you just press play and record it live?

I have no rules. I always produce a lot of sounds and music and then I try to compose it all together. As I play live a lot, everything is live-oriented at first and made with a live performance in mind.

So your recordings come more from playing live performances than producing in the studio? Usually, it’s the other way around.

Basically, yes. Sometimes we do complex compositions with sounds spreading everywhere around the studio and at the end we aren’t able to play it live. Of course when I work with an orchestra or for radio, I prefer a different approach. But as for my solo music, this is how it works.

Several tracks in Rapport sur le Désordre comes from Centaure, a performative audio-visual show you did with Kurt D’Haeseleer. How did you meet Kurt, and how did you start working together?

We’ve been working together for about four years now. Our first collaboration was for my piece called Aucun Lieu, which was a multidisciplinary performance with one dancer and screens, and last year, he worked with me on Ruines, another performance for theatre with a bigger crew, performers, light designer etc. — a kind of Gesamtkunstwerk. So for Centaure, we decided to do something without installations and more simple in terms of logistics.

How do you develop the performances with visual artists, do you work on the concept together, or is it solely you who comes up with it? And do you work on the final form together or does each one of you have separate roles?

At first, the concept comes. There is always a story behind. For example, regarding my project Tempest which I did together with my frequent collaborator Antoine Schmitt, we wanted to tell a story about cosmology and noise, so we were researching this topic. After I created composition inspired by that, we were gathering material and worked together on the visual side and how will it fit together.

Tempest is a work in progress we played it a lot live, and it’s never exactly the same, that’s also the interest of generative video. Antoine actually controls thousands of pixel live and improvise forms with it . Contrary to that, Kurt is doing pure video, so it’s a different kind of process. I gave him tracks and he started looking for imagery. We always exchange our current work and ideas we’re working on, so consequently, my work is influenced by his images and he’s influenced by the music. It’s a back and forth process.

Apart from visual artists, you also work with other musicians. I’m curious about how do you combine your talent for improvisation when playing with others? And does each collaboration has its specifics – how does working with Mika Vainio differs from playing with Reinhold Friedl, for example?

It’s very different. For about 10 years, I was a part of an improvisational scene, but the last few years, I haven’t been improvising much, except when working in the studio where improvisation is part of my working process.

My project Tobel with Reinhold is about improvisation. I know which musical material to use and so does he – he’s really interested in textures and sounds, so rather than about harmony, we talk about structure and duration. We just released an album on Monotype Records this June.

With Mika, the process is very different. Most of the time, we prepare various sequences and patterns and we decide what would work together and in which manner. I’d say that it’s 50% improvisation and 50% composition.

Coming back to Centaure: I know that even though the performance has changed since its premiere and it’s evolving with you, the description of the story lies in the dystopian future without humans, where technology pervades everything alive. But your whole career is built on using technology in one way or the other. What’s your relationship with technology? Do you perceive it as something which will overpower humans one day, or do you just like questioning its functions?

Zamyatin wrote his novel in 1920, almost one century ago. And since then, nothing’s changed. The politics still use technology similarly to the novel. When you think of the NSA, that’s nothing new! The technology is used to control everything. So it’s important to be reminded of this and not just accept everything as normal. You have to be aware of what’s going on and think about it.

Of course technology is important, but I don’t want to be controlled by it.

You mentioned that this album will be the closing chapter of the whole dystopian series. What’s next? A utopia?

Well, I’m actually a very optimistic person. To definitely close the chapter i want to adapt live my piece D503 composed for Radio France 5 years ago, a piece for piano, electronics and voice (text from We) . Originally, I wanted to do a storyboard for a short film… But eventually, I realized that doing the whole animation for a cinema requires such a big budget, that I decided to do a live performance using the storyboard instead. I asked Berlin-based sci-fi illustrator Simon Lejeune to work on it. I don’t if the project will happen but we are working on it.

Franck's work Flesh. Courtesy the artist.

Franck’s work Flesh. Courtesy the artist.

Another thing I’m working on is a new stage performance for 2018 called Flesh, kind of sequel of Aucun Lieu and Ruines. I’m partly inspired by J. G. Ballard’s novel Concrete Island by, who also wrote Crash, which was later directed by David Cronenberg. The idea is that someone has an accident on a big highway, but nobody sees him and he can’t move from the spot of the car crash. I just want to get a similar atmosphere like into Ballard’s story, but not only of courses…

So would you say that you’re moving from external topics towards inner perception?

Yes, I’m heading the direction of mental or personal experience.

So you are influenced by Zamyatin and Ballard, and your new music video for Simulacre made by D’Haeseleer is inspired by Philip K. Dick. What are other favorite writers or books of yours?

Oh, there are too many ! Recently i did a new composition for the radio and a live performance called Racloir with texts and poems from Heiner Müller. He is probably one of my favorites….

https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/creation-air/atelier-de-creation-radiophonique-racloir

I see a parallel here, you both tried to make sci-fi movies and what you’re left with is a storyboard!

Right!

Thanks for your vision, Franck. We hope to keep track of these projects on CDM. -Ed.

The post Interview – Franck Vigroux is celebrating technology but resisting normality appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Lee Gamble tells us why UIQ is more than just a label

Delivered... Zuzana Friday Prikrylova | Artists,Labels,Scene | Fri 22 Jul 2016 4:26 pm

File under artists who inspire us: Lee Gamble is for us the embodiment of thoughtful, adventurous sound making. CDM’s Zuzana Friday talks to him about his latest project, UIQ – one that brings rich discourse and dimension to music. -Ed.

You could say that Lee Gamble has a degree in making abstract music – using samples, snippets, and elements of styles ranging from jungle to techno. The master producer ‘sound wizard’ contributed to PAN Records’ discography with a number of releases combining his musical roots and sound phantasmagorias.

For his own record label UIQ, he merges similarly volatile music from various parts of the world with his other lesser-known interests – his work in philosophy, art, and (as a part of the Cyrk Collective) curating. UIQ, the new imprint of this Birmingham-born, London-based artist, goes beyond the usual label business by exposing talent from unexpected parts of the world, visual artists and philosophers, and on to real (terrestrial) radio waves.

Gamble’s choice for the first EP on the label was Martin Rokis (aka N1L) – a Latvian artist working with sound, performances, and installations. Rokis’ earlier musical production under his real name tended more to digital squeaks and fluctuating noises more than anything resembling dance music – listen here:

But as N1L, those creative bursts are formed into beat structures, happily without restraining his aggressive and experimental approach. It’s an enjoyable combination of his earlier work, deep house / dub techno elements, post-jungle/grime beats, and bass.

The second release on UIQ is the EP Bionic Ahmed by Ahmed El Ghazoly, alias Zuli, a multi-instrumentalist, producer, and DJ. Bionic Ahmed is Zuli’s debut record, but he’s been an important figure of the Cairo’s underground scene for over ten years. He’s a co-founder of VENT, a music space and club, connected to the London-based record label of the same name. That series has hosted names like Ben UFO, Aurora Halal, and Lee Gamble himself.

For a debut record, the sound of Bionic Ahmed is QUIte UnIQue. Rusty metal vibrations echo over hissing sounds of electronic fauna; beats fluctuate between post-grime/DnB and percussive rhythms in claustrophobic loops with occasional ghost-like glimpses of a human voice… all sculpted with an outstanding sense for composition and sound design.

As UIQ’s purpose is to draw wider attention to new, emerging artists, Gamble created a sublabel called ‘UIQ Inversions’ for his own music, where the first EP Chain Kinematics was just released in May. Gamble’s reconnection with his multimedia/interdisciplinary past is underlined by the fact that the music video for his fourth track of the new EP, called “004,” is made by Dave Gaskarth, another Cyrk member.

Just this week, UIQ0005 – Glasz by Lanark Artefax dropped, by 22-year-old Glaswegian producer Calum MacRa. (More on that release from Juno Download.)

I asked Lee Gamble about his past, present, and future activities, his love for radio and the artists he releases on UIQ.

Friday: You yourself release music on PAN Records, a label founded by your comrade Bill Kouligas, which released many other great musicians such as Mika Vainio, Objekt, and Visionist. When have you decided to start your own imprint, and do you plan to release something of your own on UIQ?

Lee: Well, having a label was always something I’d liked to have done earlier. It just wasn’t that easy. I used to be be involved in curating and running a collective called Cyrk. There was the Cyrk radio series, featuring the likes of Russell Haswell, conceptual sound artist JLIAT, Peter Rehberg (MEGO), Mark Stewart of Mark Stewart and the Mafia, Perc, Mark Fell, EVOL, Phil Niblock. There were lots, we organised events in galleries, music events, radio, film events and this would have naturally been a place to begin a label from. But there was no cash available. Simple, really.

So, I have just released a 12” of my work on UIQ Inversions – Chain Kinematics. This will be a side label of the main UIQ that will release my stuff only. I basically want UIQ to be a free space for newer artists, so I felt putting my own work out on it would mean me getting in the way somehow. Also, I wanted for a long time to do a series of 12”s of my own. It’s great to have some control of my work and a release schedule that’s my own too. I can get stuff out there fairly quickly on Inversions. Working with labels is great and I’ll continue to do that, but it’s interesting at this point for me also to direct myself too.

Lee Gamble. Courtesy the artist.

Lee Gamble. Courtesy the artist.

You mentioned you were part of Cyrk. Does UIQ in any sense follow your activities or ideas within the collective?

Sure, UIQ is like the bifurcated offspring of Cyrk — like its older brother. As I mentioned, Cyrk was responsible for several music events, a couple of curated film events, three radio series, an event in a concert hall with Phill Niblock, conceptual stuff… I’m a bit more established as an artist now, so I have contacts to make things happen, and a little more resources. I had zero access to money when I was doing Cyrk stuff. This is why some of it ended up as radio, people would do a radio show/mix for free! And there weren’t as many podcasts back then, so it did OK. People liked them.

Some of the Cyrk nights were quite mental though. The idea was to really clash stuff. In London at the time, I really remember either being able to go to an improvisation/experimental event, or an academic event or a rave/club. So Cyrk just threw all of this together, we’d have some lowercase improv, then we’d DJ in between, like at club volume, mixing A Guy Called Gerald on top of Florian Hecker records or whatever. Then there’d be someone doing some spoken word thing about food, then back to DJing. UIQ of course follows this system of clashing — the attempt to cross-pollinate, non-hierarchical hybrids.

You’re a resident on London-based NTS Radio, where apart from your regular monthly shows, you’ve recorded UIQ Session, where you invited multi-disciplinary artist Mark Fell and philosopher Thomas Metzinger to talk about perception, hallucination, silence and other subjects overlapping music and art. How are these topics connected to what UIQ is about? Who would you invite for the next session in case you plan to do so?

I’m really keen to continue my interest in radio with UIQ. I moved to London from Birmingham in 2001 and got involved with Resonance 104.4 FM pretty soon after that. Before that, in Birmingham, as a teenager, I played sometimes on pirate radio there – as you say, I now have my monthly NTS show for a couple of years. So radio has always been a feature for me.

To be honest, I’d love to do a lot more radio art stuff. For me now, time is a problem, these things take a long time to make but I have a lot of ideas for it as a medium. UIQ is open. So, the Metzinger interview came about naturally as my friend Mark (Fell) had invited him over to do a talk in London. I knew Thomas’ work, so we hooked it up. It’s nice to push music’s boundaries out a little in relation to ‘journalism’, or conversation. I had a long for conversation with Robin Mackay last year too.

https://www.urbanomic.com/

Sam, who works on UIQ stuff with me, is an amateur radio operator/nerd (I cleared the use of the term ‘nerd’ with him by the way ? ) and we’re part-way assembling our own VLF (Very Low Frequency) receiver and SDR (software-defined radio) stream. The monitoring station will be at my house, and we’ll be able to stream the signal anywhere with internet. VLF refers to the section of the RF spectrum between 3kHz and 30kHz — basically picking up natural (lightning, electrical storms) and man-made signals. Submarines, communication systems, the national grid can be also be accessed via our UIQ VLF Stream. So, yeah – we’re going to be using radio for sure. I plan to do more UIQ radio interventions on NTS too.

UIQ seems to be more than a regular music label. You cite Jean Baudrillard as one of the inspirations for UIQ, the first release is by a conceptual artist and for the radio session, you invite a philosopher rather than a musician. It seems like you’re striving for a space where complex topics overlapping the music scene can be discussed and elaborated. How far from the truth is this assumption? And is one of UIQ’s aims to give people from rather non-musical fields the exposure and chance to promote their work beyond academic or art world?

Yeah, it’s not only a record label, I mean, it’s releasing records, but I don’t want to think of it as just a label. There’s this initial part of it that is and that’s really important, but it will morph and allow itself to flip. Music in some way is like the connecting bond for it. It’s possible to get into all sorts of things using music as an anchor point. That takes time, and it will involve itself in activities when either the opportunity arises or there feels a need for a project to be related to UIQ.

The thing with technology is that we’re not sure what’s happening around the corner, where it’s going etc. So, UIQ has to be onto that, it has to be malleable.

My interests in philosophy will bleed into UIQ, as will my other interests. At this point, I’m working with Dave Gaskarth, who is a designer and video artist / animator, and Sam Keating-Fry, who is a web programmer and radio tech nerd – so there are those feeds too. I see it as a platform really, a ‘portal’ for me to explore this and that, with and without other people. I know myself and Bill (Kouligas) share a feeling that narrowing down to a ‘record label’ can just be inhibiting, so I’m keen to let ideas move in via music, and those things can be extra-musical but related.

Did you know Martins Rokis first as an artist or as a musician? And how have you decided that his first EP as N1L will be the first release ever on UIQ?

Me and Martins met online around 2005/6-ish. We came across each other’s work – we were both working in ‘computer music’ – using computer languages and other forms of non-standard synthesis to produce sound. There weren’t too many people into it outside of academia, really, so a few of us knew each other online as it was. He wasn’t doing anything like N1L as far as I knew then! He sent me this stuff a lot later. I had been planning UIQ – I didn’t want to release my own work as the first one, I wanted to release people who weren’t known. So, once I heard these N1L tracks (he sent me a few) that got the wheels turning. ? He’s sent me a whole bunch of new N1L stuff that’s amazing. He’s got some skills. Watch out for the next N1L EP…

ZULI, or Ahmed El Ghazoly, runs an art space/ club VENT in Cairo, where he hosted a show of yours. Is this how you two first met? Which aspects of Zuli’s work were the decisive ones that made you want to release his EP under your new label?

ZULI was sending me stuff over the last couple of years, mainly for my NTS show, I think. I used to play bits, so as soon as I started UIQ I chatted to him about an EP. For me, like N1L, ZULI has his own sound, the way he writes patterns, his influences, where he’s from. The fact that these guys aren’t well known interests me too, also their geographical locations. But ultimately their tracks. I have the next batch of ZULI too, which is also amazing ? I’d like to work over time with artists if possible, I’m not in a position to officially sign acts with deals (as most small labels aren’t), but I’d like to develop with them, alongside them if possible. Like a two way thing. That instinctively feels good…

Could you reveal next artists, releases or activities connected to UIQ?

Hmm, no. I want to keep them quiet until they drop. But, there are two EPs imminent – UIQ005 is out on 21st July, and UIQ003 is out on 12th August. All people with little or relatively no profile as yet. It’s great working this way, then these ‘new’ artists help UIQ to develop an identity as well as their own, or something like that!? It also encourages me to keep moving as a listener. There are artists out there I love, and would love to release, but this way I have to do more work, more listening, but also am forced to make choices that aren’t based on what I know to work, so it’s more interesting/ challenging this way and helps UIQ to build its identity alongside these artists. We’ll be looking to launch the VLF stream soon, and are curating some events hopefully this year.

For more:
Official website with newsletter: http://u-i-q.org/

SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/uiqmusic

Lee Gamble’s shows on NTS Radio:
http://www.nts.live/shows/lee-gamble

The post Lee Gamble tells us why UIQ is more than just a label appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Lee Gamble tells us why UIQ is more than just a label

Delivered... Zuzana Friday Prikrylova | Artists,Labels,Scene | Fri 22 Jul 2016 4:26 pm

File under artists who inspire us: Lee Gamble is for us the embodiment of thoughtful, adventurous sound making. CDM’s Zuzana Friday talks to him about his latest project, UIQ – one that brings rich discourse and dimension to music. -Ed.

You could say that Lee Gamble has a degree in making abstract music – using samples, snippets, and elements of styles ranging from jungle to techno. The master producer ‘sound wizard’ contributed to PAN Records’ discography with a number of releases combining his musical roots and sound phantasmagorias.

For his own record label UIQ, he merges similarly volatile music from various parts of the world with his other lesser-known interests – his work in philosophy, art, and (as a part of the Cyrk Collective) curating. UIQ, the new imprint of this Birmingham-born, London-based artist, goes beyond the usual label business by exposing talent from unexpected parts of the world, visual artists and philosophers, and on to real (terrestrial) radio waves.

Gamble’s choice for the first EP on the label was Martin Rokis (aka N1L) – a Latvian artist working with sound, performances, and installations. Rokis’ earlier musical production under his real name tended more to digital squeaks and fluctuating noises more than anything resembling dance music – listen here:

But as N1L, those creative bursts are formed into beat structures, happily without restraining his aggressive and experimental approach. It’s an enjoyable combination of his earlier work, deep house / dub techno elements, post-jungle/grime beats, and bass.

The second release on UIQ is the EP Bionic Ahmed by Ahmed El Ghazoly, alias Zuli, a multi-instrumentalist, producer, and DJ. Bionic Ahmed is Zuli’s debut record, but he’s been an important figure of the Cairo’s underground scene for over ten years. He’s a co-founder of VENT, a music space and club, connected to the London-based record label of the same name. That series has hosted names like Ben UFO, Aurora Halal, and Lee Gamble himself.

For a debut record, the sound of Bionic Ahmed is QUIte UnIQue. Rusty metal vibrations echo over hissing sounds of electronic fauna; beats fluctuate between post-grime/DnB and percussive rhythms in claustrophobic loops with occasional ghost-like glimpses of a human voice… all sculpted with an outstanding sense for composition and sound design.

As UIQ’s purpose is to draw wider attention to new, emerging artists, Gamble created a sublabel called ‘UIQ Inversions’ for his own music, where the first EP Chain Kinematics was just released in May. Gamble’s reconnection with his multimedia/interdisciplinary past is underlined by the fact that the music video for his fourth track of the new EP, called “004,” is made by Dave Gaskarth, another Cyrk member.

Just this week, UIQ0005 – Glasz by Lanark Artefax dropped, by 22-year-old Glaswegian producer Calum MacRa. (More on that release from Juno Download.)

I asked Lee Gamble about his past, present, and future activities, his love for radio and the artists he releases on UIQ.

Friday: You yourself release music on PAN Records, a label founded by your comrade Bill Kouligas, which released many other great musicians such as Mika Vainio, Objekt, and Visionist. When have you decided to start your own imprint, and do you plan to release something of your own on UIQ?

Lee: Well, having a label was always something I’d liked to have done earlier. It just wasn’t that easy. I used to be be involved in curating and running a collective called Cyrk. There was the Cyrk radio series, featuring the likes of Russell Haswell, conceptual sound artist JLIAT, Peter Rehberg (MEGO), Mark Stewart of Mark Stewart and the Mafia, Perc, Mark Fell, EVOL, Phil Niblock. There were lots, we organised events in galleries, music events, radio, film events and this would have naturally been a place to begin a label from. But there was no cash available. Simple, really.

So, I have just released a 12” of my work on UIQ Inversions – Chain Kinematics. This will be a side label of the main UIQ that will release my stuff only. I basically want UIQ to be a free space for newer artists, so I felt putting my own work out on it would mean me getting in the way somehow. Also, I wanted for a long time to do a series of 12”s of my own. It’s great to have some control of my work and a release schedule that’s my own too. I can get stuff out there fairly quickly on Inversions. Working with labels is great and I’ll continue to do that, but it’s interesting at this point for me also to direct myself too.

Lee Gamble. Courtesy the artist.

Lee Gamble. Courtesy the artist.

You mentioned you were part of Cyrk. Does UIQ in any sense follow your activities or ideas within the collective?

Sure, UIQ is like the bifurcated offspring of Cyrk — like its older brother. As I mentioned, Cyrk was responsible for several music events, a couple of curated film events, three radio series, an event in a concert hall with Phill Niblock, conceptual stuff… I’m a bit more established as an artist now, so I have contacts to make things happen, and a little more resources. I had zero access to money when I was doing Cyrk stuff. This is why some of it ended up as radio, people would do a radio show/mix for free! And there weren’t as many podcasts back then, so it did OK. People liked them.

Some of the Cyrk nights were quite mental though. The idea was to really clash stuff. In London at the time, I really remember either being able to go to an improvisation/experimental event, or an academic event or a rave/club. So Cyrk just threw all of this together, we’d have some lowercase improv, then we’d DJ in between, like at club volume, mixing A Guy Called Gerald on top of Florian Hecker records or whatever. Then there’d be someone doing some spoken word thing about food, then back to DJing. UIQ of course follows this system of clashing — the attempt to cross-pollinate, non-hierarchical hybrids.

You’re a resident on London-based NTS Radio, where apart from your regular monthly shows, you’ve recorded UIQ Session, where you invited multi-disciplinary artist Mark Fell and philosopher Thomas Metzinger to talk about perception, hallucination, silence and other subjects overlapping music and art. How are these topics connected to what UIQ is about? Who would you invite for the next session in case you plan to do so?

I’m really keen to continue my interest in radio with UIQ. I moved to London from Birmingham in 2001 and got involved with Resonance 104.4 FM pretty soon after that. Before that, in Birmingham, as a teenager, I played sometimes on pirate radio there – as you say, I now have my monthly NTS show for a couple of years. So radio has always been a feature for me.

To be honest, I’d love to do a lot more radio art stuff. For me now, time is a problem, these things take a long time to make but I have a lot of ideas for it as a medium. UIQ is open. So, the Metzinger interview came about naturally as my friend Mark (Fell) had invited him over to do a talk in London. I knew Thomas’ work, so we hooked it up. It’s nice to push music’s boundaries out a little in relation to ‘journalism’, or conversation. I had a long for conversation with Robin Mackay last year too.

https://www.urbanomic.com/

Sam, who works on UIQ stuff with me, is an amateur radio operator/nerd (I cleared the use of the term ‘nerd’ with him by the way ? ) and we’re part-way assembling our own VLF (Very Low Frequency) receiver and SDR (software-defined radio) stream. The monitoring station will be at my house, and we’ll be able to stream the signal anywhere with internet. VLF refers to the section of the RF spectrum between 3kHz and 30kHz — basically picking up natural (lightning, electrical storms) and man-made signals. Submarines, communication systems, the national grid can be also be accessed via our UIQ VLF Stream. So, yeah – we’re going to be using radio for sure. I plan to do more UIQ radio interventions on NTS too.

UIQ seems to be more than a regular music label. You cite Jean Baudrillard as one of the inspirations for UIQ, the first release is by a conceptual artist and for the radio session, you invite a philosopher rather than a musician. It seems like you’re striving for a space where complex topics overlapping the music scene can be discussed and elaborated. How far from the truth is this assumption? And is one of UIQ’s aims to give people from rather non-musical fields the exposure and chance to promote their work beyond academic or art world?

Yeah, it’s not only a record label, I mean, it’s releasing records, but I don’t want to think of it as just a label. There’s this initial part of it that is and that’s really important, but it will morph and allow itself to flip. Music in some way is like the connecting bond for it. It’s possible to get into all sorts of things using music as an anchor point. That takes time, and it will involve itself in activities when either the opportunity arises or there feels a need for a project to be related to UIQ.

The thing with technology is that we’re not sure what’s happening around the corner, where it’s going etc. So, UIQ has to be onto that, it has to be malleable.

My interests in philosophy will bleed into UIQ, as will my other interests. At this point, I’m working with Dave Gaskarth, who is a designer and video artist / animator, and Sam Keating-Fry, who is a web programmer and radio tech nerd – so there are those feeds too. I see it as a platform really, a ‘portal’ for me to explore this and that, with and without other people. I know myself and Bill (Kouligas) share a feeling that narrowing down to a ‘record label’ can just be inhibiting, so I’m keen to let ideas move in via music, and those things can be extra-musical but related.

Did you know Martins Rokis first as an artist or as a musician? And how have you decided that his first EP as N1L will be the first release ever on UIQ?

Me and Martins met online around 2005/6-ish. We came across each other’s work – we were both working in ‘computer music’ – using computer languages and other forms of non-standard synthesis to produce sound. There weren’t too many people into it outside of academia, really, so a few of us knew each other online as it was. He wasn’t doing anything like N1L as far as I knew then! He sent me this stuff a lot later. I had been planning UIQ – I didn’t want to release my own work as the first one, I wanted to release people who weren’t known. So, once I heard these N1L tracks (he sent me a few) that got the wheels turning. ? He’s sent me a whole bunch of new N1L stuff that’s amazing. He’s got some skills. Watch out for the next N1L EP…

ZULI, or Ahmed El Ghazoly, runs an art space/ club VENT in Cairo, where he hosted a show of yours. Is this how you two first met? Which aspects of Zuli’s work were the decisive ones that made you want to release his EP under your new label?

ZULI was sending me stuff over the last couple of years, mainly for my NTS show, I think. I used to play bits, so as soon as I started UIQ I chatted to him about an EP. For me, like N1L, ZULI has his own sound, the way he writes patterns, his influences, where he’s from. The fact that these guys aren’t well known interests me too, also their geographical locations. But ultimately their tracks. I have the next batch of ZULI too, which is also amazing ? I’d like to work over time with artists if possible, I’m not in a position to officially sign acts with deals (as most small labels aren’t), but I’d like to develop with them, alongside them if possible. Like a two way thing. That instinctively feels good…

Could you reveal next artists, releases or activities connected to UIQ?

Hmm, no. I want to keep them quiet until they drop. But, there are two EPs imminent – UIQ005 is out on 21st July, and UIQ003 is out on 12th August. All people with little or relatively no profile as yet. It’s great working this way, then these ‘new’ artists help UIQ to develop an identity as well as their own, or something like that!? It also encourages me to keep moving as a listener. There are artists out there I love, and would love to release, but this way I have to do more work, more listening, but also am forced to make choices that aren’t based on what I know to work, so it’s more interesting/ challenging this way and helps UIQ to build its identity alongside these artists. We’ll be looking to launch the VLF stream soon, and are curating some events hopefully this year.

For more:
Official website with newsletter: http://u-i-q.org/

SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/uiqmusic

Lee Gamble’s shows on NTS Radio:
http://www.nts.live/shows/lee-gamble

The post Lee Gamble tells us why UIQ is more than just a label appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

UnReal, Born in Flamez: music from a trans-human future

Delivered... Zuzana Friday Prikrylova | Artists,Labels,Scene | Wed 24 Feb 2016 9:01 pm

Ed.: There’s a record release entirely in etched glass, shaped like a pyramid. There’s an artist who is not only post-genre, but post-gender, and trans-… human. There’s a collective that steps calmly from grimy basement to global festival, talks about occulture and “magick,” and juggles queer partys and zines.

For anyone sick of the predictable grinding machinery of the music industry running business as usual, this should be irrefutable evidence that UnReal, and the artist Born In Flamez, are something different. We arranged a rare interview with the collective and BIF to enter that world – a science-fiction now that escapes social boundaries by reimagining them. CDM’s Zuzana Friday is back with her latest report from the up-and-coming underground.

Before anything else — do listen to this otherworldly “live DJ” set by Born in Flamez. It’ll likely sell you if our words don’t. -PK

Getting UnReal

Anyone can find some friends with common musical values and start a collective. But how do you make something that can prove itself as radically different – especially in the hyper-saturated musical landscape of a city like Berlin?

That’s what the platform UnReal Life is able to do. It’s not overly narrow in philosophy: the group’s genre range is huge, making a statement more about how music is made than what it is. But it remains coherent, and finds gems out of a variety of emerging scenes.

The group started when three people came together. Brandon Rosebluth traded the perpetual sunshine of LA for the steel-grey skies of the German capital. In Berlin, he continues his promoting and booking as BL4CK M4G1CK (working with the likes of Holly Herndon) and drumming in avant-doom band reliq. Then there’s Brooklyn-born and Neukölln-based Daniel Dodecahendron, aka Jones, aka Gucci Goth, aka BlackBlackGold, who’s also into doom, music journalism (including Electronic Beats), and dark aesthetics. The third figure in black is Tomas Hemstad from Sweden, who writes about gender-related issues and promotes Gegen, one of the best queer parties in town.

Together, they bring artists to Berlin who are often “something else” in the existing musical scenes or those who create their own. That has included Mykki Blanco, Shapednoise, Ancient Methods, Ketev, and Deathface. Their events #gHashtag and Purge make their way from the dark holes of Neukölln and Kreuzberg to more-visible clubs like Urban Spree and back. Just seek the magick and you will find it…

Apart from promoting and booking, UnReal also publishes articles and interviews, mixes and releases music by Brandon’s duo Shaddah Tuum and Born In Flamez, one of Friday’s favorite discoveries of 2015. We asked Brandon to partially reveal the mysterious veil of UnReal and he agreed. Moreover, Born In Flamez also agreed to have a conversation about post-genre and post-gender – more on them including the interview is written below. The interview with Brandon is right here:

CDM: For several years you’ve been hosting parties and mix series, you’ve got a magazine, and since last year, you’ve also added a record label. How did it all start and evolve? How did you guys meet?

BR: I started promoting in Berlin in 2010 under the guise of Black Magick. In those Witch Haus heydays, I came to DJ alongside Daniel Jones (BlackBlackGold) and Tomas Hemstad (Tom Ass) quite often. Daniel brought me into the Drop Dead festival fold, where I hosted a showcase which included Tomas on the decks. While thrashing out to some heavy tunes together on the dance floor, we three decided to team up and founded PURGE which began in [the club] Chez Jacki, infected CTM, and reached its pinnacle in the main room of the bi-monthly Sameheads-co-hosted, 3-room rave-ups we put on in the days of Raum, including acts as diverse as HTRK, Ancient Methods, Devilman, and Sewn Leather.

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#gHashtag was its grime-y little sister that inhabited Neukölln basements and still plagues Sameheads periodically. Daniel and Tomas are both writers, so it naturally evolved into a webzine to accompany our promotion activities, one that would not only profile underground music, but also art, fashion, and magick, and thus UnReaL was born. We signed on for a monthly radio show at Berlin Community Radio from its inception, early on inviting guests including Kiran Sande (Blackest Ever Black), William Bennett (Cut Hands), and Lorenzo Senni. We wanted to further our mission of promoting non-genre bound, non-gender-defined music and occulture and thus launched the label in 2014 with limited-edition etched-glass pyramid plus download code for Born In Flamez’s debut EP “Polymorphous.” That has since been remixed by the likes of Paula Temple, Anika, and Aisha Devi, amongst others. Since then, we did a DJ tour of the US and Tomas moved to San Francisco where he has carried the torch with his UnReaL nights there.

You seem to be mostly busy with organizing events – hosting #gHashtag parties, UnReal shows, co-hosting events with CTM or Noiseköln or even Kometenmelodien… What are the recent and future activities of UnReal?

BR: It is a lifelong passion of mine to organize shows, so that’s where my focus was for a long time now, but anyone in the game knows it’s a fickle business, especially with non-commercial music, and you’re lucky to break even at the end of the day. So, my personal focus has shifted to managing the label Portals Editions which I co-run with Marijn Degenaar (Circular Ruins), Yair Glotman (Ketev), and Nicolas Lefort (my partner in Shaddah Tuum) and showcases around our family of artists which is growing at a very healthy pace. UnReaL will throw in a dash of #gHash throughout the year, and will keep on with our radio show highlighting exciting news sounds bubbling up from all corners.

The music range of the artists you choose for your events, mixes and articles is vast – from patten or James Ferraro to Samuel Kerridge, Pictureplane or Egyptrixx. But despite that, UnReal keeps a coherent image and musical and visual aesthetics. How do you achieve that?

BR: To us, it all makes total sense together – whether it’s a musical conversation about deconstructing pop, techno, industrial or any other genre, we like the artists who don’t sit neatly into any box, and have a strong, singular vision. I would like to think that our followers recognize our ability to highlight music of quality across all genres, and trust our taste enough to take the leap with us.

Since there’s three of you, how do you distribute the tasks of all your activities? Do you ever argue?

BR: It’s rather voluntary. Each does as much as he likes and can do at any given moment, with a focus on his area of expertise. We support each others endeavors and all take on different roles at different times. Sometimes we are more effective and productive than other times within this loose structure, but we never argue because we are all in it for the love.

Do you have other artists in mind to be released on your record label? Since two of you are also musicians, it kind of suggests itself that you’d release some of your own music. Or is that a no-no?

BR: The debut release on Portals Editions was my duo Shaddah Tuum’s 12″, and both Portals’ and UnReaL’s activities will certainly serve as a platform for our own music as well as our talented international friends of old and new who make music that we believe the world needs to hear!

Born In Flamez, Trans-Human Artist

The main artist releasing on UnReal up to this date is Born In Flamez (http://www.unreal-life.com/artists/born-in-flamez/). BIF is a post-gender and post-genre artist, which fits well into the whole UnReal attitude of promoting the acts who shake things up around the edges – rather than going for a typical sound or image.

As experienced in BIF’s amazing podcasts (check out the latest one for UrbanEssence here — it’s one of my favorite ’empowering’ ones), the artist’s musical tastes reach the heavier and darker parts of the independent electronic music spectrum – bass, post-d’n’b and jungle, grime, experimental fluid techno, post-internet cuts’n’hums. Then there’s also BIF’s choice of collaborators who remixed the EP, including Paula Temple, Aïsha Devi, and She’s Drunk. BIF also opened for artists like Oneohtrix Point Never and Peaches. All of that hints at BIF’s musical taste and direction. But BIF’s own production exists in its own micro-universe, like in a womb, or an incubator.

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The idea of a world where gender and genre is a concept of the past reminds me of other escapist movements such as afro-futurism. Nevertheless, Born In Flamez doesn’t fly off to another planet, but stays with us, as an inspiration, as an example of how we could be. One of BIF’s tracks is called The Other Sex, which could be a future conception of gender – the one exempt from stereotypes, redefining identity as a transhuman, partly flesh and party steel.

Born In Flamez’s voice is human and soothing, but doesn’t reach body temperature. On top of that, it also sometimes gets ‘screwed’ to lower and computed positions. Yet it is still delicate and beautiful and is an essential and significant part of the music. And then there are the beats – ethereal, surreal, hyperreal. Listen for yourself:

CDM: You were born in flamez. What was burning and destroyed which gave you your existence?

BIF: Identity in all its limiting binary systems, patriarchy & any kind of hierarchical order. Musical boundaries and the shadows of the past. But also: You should really watch the movie.

Last year, you released your first EP Polymorphous. I love the idea of releasing the EP as a glass pyramid with a download code – a polymorphous object which suits to the EP name and concept and gives a material existence to a binary, virtual information which mp3 is. Where does the idea come from? Why did you choose glass and a pyramid shape?

Glass is ephemeral and transparent, which very much fits the project, also its existence transcends the CD and outlives vinyl. The label and I really wanted the music to have a representation in time and space besides being a code on some server in the nertherworld of null and one. The pyramid is the 3-dimensional version of the triangle which is particularly important to the project, especially when it’s pretty in pink. So it was a natural fit.

I read that after seeing Paula Temple’s audiovisual performance, you wanted her to remix your track so much that she eventually agreed. How did you choose other artists for Polymorphous Remixed? What is it that you respect about musicians and artists, which aspects of their work are the magnets that attract you the most?

I was so fortunate to have my tracks remixed by people who I deeply respect for what they do, something substantial in/ with their music. I have a very broad taste in music, as it ranges from classical to noise to pop to UK hardcore, etc. But I also have a very niche taste in music, because it has to get to me n some way. And for this, it has to sound fresh or bring something new to me. Whether that is a musical approach of working with a beat/ grid, free structure or harmonies that seem daring, or whether it’s a special mixture of bringing different influences together, or a way to turn silence into sound, is not important, but it has to surprise me.

_Polymorphous from Born In Flamez on Vimeo.

Speaking of other artists, you were a supporting act for Oneohtrix Point Never and you also recently played on an aftershow of Peaches, who you called a king. Since both OPN’s and Peaches’ music differs quite a lot from yours, how was the crowd’s response to your music on both shows? Did you play live?

I did play live at both occasions and both shows were really different and really great. I prepared slightly different sets, because I felt that I could experiment with OPN’s crowd more than at an afterparty where people actually go because they wanna have fun and dance.

I think both acts do share some influences with Born In Flamez. If you listen to Peaches’ last album, there’s a lot of cloud rap and footwork references in there, which also inform my sound. Maybe not as directly, but they definitely do. And OPN and I both share a love for experiments and deep deep sub bass… I also supported HEALTH at Berghain recently, who definitely have a completely different sound to me, but both the crowd and the band really loved what I did. I think the beauty of supporting acts like these is that the crowds for them are very open minded when it comes to music, as long as it’s interesting.

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In your description on UnReal website (http://www.unreal-life.com/), you are described as a “post-physicality reborn as heat and sound” and the readers are invited to join, if language is insufficient to project their vision. These bits got stuck in my head the most, because the idea of immaterial, ethereal existence which is able to communicate mind to mind without words is something I personally dream about. How does the world and (post)human beings look like in your future?

Mind to mind communication would be fantastic, also travelling at the speed of light or maybe without a physical body. Actual physical augumentation of turning into every shape and color any time would be post-identity dream come true.

In the visuals accompanying your music, humans transform into cyborgs or they are replaced by H. R. Giger-like mecha organisms. Do you see technologies becoming “friends” with nature as Björk does, or do you feel like the machines will dominate the organic?

You see Giger in my visuals? Interesting reference. I surely loved Alien…
The way that you pose the question, it sounds like technology would decide whether to befriend the organic or domineer it. I wonder if it’s for technology to make this decision ;). Also, I don’t necessarily place technology as an “other”. All technology is a human product. So in a way, all technology is human and all humans are already post-human – as they augmented their bodies with technology since day one.

And whilst I am certainly questioning the development of certain types of technology – weapons, drones, complete surveillance etc., I also welcome and embrace technology: solar panels, peacemakers, titanium limbs, glasses, sex toys, 3D printers, Internet, libraries etc. I think humans tend to be wary of everything new. I recently read a Plato pamphlet again the technology of the written book VS the benefit of the spoken word, so apparently humans have always struggled with and for the new at the same time.

As a post-gender and post-genre artist, how do you perceive the concept of identity? What creates identity in your view?

Identity used to be some kind of a grid system that helped to label and register something/ someone. A very rigid system hard to break away from. But post-digital identities completely revolutionized the concept. You can be anything you like, you can even have different identities at the same point of time. We shape our digital images to match what we want them to be in order to fit the mood that we feel like in a certain moment.

Our dating app profiles look a lot different to the ones on Linked.In (or other job portals) and can change to the complete opposite each moment. Neuroscientific approaches have have found that the self is an illusion created by certain parts of the brain, so we can keep memories in place and don’t get too confused when we wake up each morning. I guess without a certain sense of self, it’s hard to be, but on the other hand a more communal sense of self would surely help our planet.

For more, BIF has a free download on XLR8R this week, heralding a new collaboration with Berlin’s Modeselektor:

Born In Flamez & Modeselektor “TBF”

The post UnReal, Born in Flamez: music from a trans-human future appeared first on cdm createdigitalmusic.

Finding beauty even in fiery oil refineries: meet Jonáš Gruska

Delivered... Zuzana Friday Prikrylova | Artists,Labels,Scene | Wed 25 Nov 2015 2:41 pm

gruska_web

He’s an artist who listens to bats, builds microphones (dubbed “ears”) designed to find the most delicate sounds possible, discovers unexpected beauty in the fiery breath of an oil refinery, and helps a label of unusual sounds.

So it’s our pleasure to invite Jonáš Gruska to Berlin next week, to present a concert (2.12) (with fellow Slovak-born artists Nina Pixel and Triple Sun), as well as an Elektrosluch-building workshop (1.12) for anyone who wants to both get soldering and hearing otherwise-inaudible electromagnetic utterances in their world. Both at are Platoon Kunsthalle, in the heart of Berlin. He will even transform its metal container walls into an instrument. We talk to Jonáš about his unique musical imagination:

undiscovered

Jonáš Gruska ≠ Sonic Close-Ups 14 from Gianmarco Del Re on Vimeo.

What is your approach as a sound artist? Do you listen and record for the experience of a concentrated listening itself, or for sharing sounds from your favorite places with others, or do you use your recordings in our musical projects as well? Or something else?

Over the years, I have discovered that there is no unifying way I like to do things. Sometimes I record for the sheer timbral quality of certain sounds, their rhythms or melodies; at other times, I use the field recording as a type of documentary work. As you mention, I also use my recordings in compositions, where I combine them with my own input (either synthetic of acoustic).

I have to say my favorite field recording of yours are Zvuky Slovnaftu – partly also because you are the only person among the angry sleepless crowd who found a certain beauty in all that mess, and also because of the nice, low frequencies of an industrial fire, merged with the soothing sounds of nature. How did you record this — which devices did you use?

For those who don’t know, Slovanft is a oil refinery based at the outskirts of Bratislava. It is known for foul smells and disturbing noises. One day, I heard these unusual, deep rhythmic noises coming from that area. These noise were heard even in the center of the city. Apparently, it was due to some unusual activity, causing huge flame bursts from the refinery’s flare stacks.

It was very much impromtpu recording session, I wanted to be sure that I catch the oportunity. Rode my bike there in the middle of the night, found a good spot and hit record.

The setup I used is a special foam block I made, fitted with two pairs of microphone capsules in parallel. The foam block arrangement is named SASS and it allows one to capture very realistic stereo image with omnidirectional microphones. I love the way it records quiet ambiances.

The recorder I used was a Sound Devices 702.

You mostly perform. How do your performances look (sound) like? And how do you choose places for site-specific performances?

Most of the time, the places choose me. I am asked by various curators and promoters to try and make something specific for their space. So far, it always worked out very well. I love the idea of creating my work to exact dimensions of space, its imperfections and resonances.

How will you approach the site-specific performance at Platoon Kunsthalle 2nd December?

My plan for Platoon is to try to make a composition/performance for the metallic walls surrounding the main concert hall. I will be using them as speakers, emitting sound from my custom made software, programed at spot.

You’ve founded the LOM label and you do mastering for many of the albums. Since the music varies a lot on these recordings, how do you choose and gather the right artists for the label — how would you define it?

We’re actually a small collective of people and we discuss releases together. Basically, we don’t limit our releases genre-wise, but we focus on the approaches musicians have towards making music. We love people who experiment, cross boundaries and don’t focus all that much on following certain hypes or predefined ways. There is also field recording edition “FIELDS,” which I curate on my own.

Recently, LOM also became a platform for creating new music software and hardware instruments. Who’s behind each of the instruments created?

At the moment, I am the sole designer of these, but there are some instruments in development by my colleague Anagakok Thoth (both hardware and software). At the moment all instrument sold are assembled by us or by robots.

Your microphones, Uši and Uši Pro (uši means “ears” in Slovak) are sold out. What do you think is the biggest reason they’ve got so popular?

It is hard to talk about your own product without sounding like a salesman, but I honestly love these for field recording. The reason is that they are very small, low-noise, and cheap enough. I am not afraid to experiment with these in various situations, drop them in unknown holes or put them in danger. This allows one to discover new recording techniques and methods for approaching the sound in untraditional way. But obviously, they can be used for regular recordings too.

There are new batches of these planned for next year.

How did the idea for Elektrosluch develop, and how was it designed?

I believe it started in 2011, when I saw a performances by Chris Galarreta and Daniel Davidovsky at Audio Art festival in Kraków, Poland. At that moment, I was working with sonification of wireless networks using various hacked tools. Both of these performers were using electromagnetic fields as parts of their performances. The idea got stuck in my head, and a year after that, I designed my own circuit. It was using old cassette tape heads as the sensor. This head was attached to a little preamplifier of my design and allowed me to experiment with the idea a little more.

Short after that, my friends asked me to build some of these for various artistic projects they had, and it slowly grew to an edition of around 25 devices. The construction was very “DIY” and unprofessional-looking, but it did the job.

With growing interest, I designed a second version and decided to crowd-fund it through Indiegogo. The campaign was successful — I raised twice the amount of the funding required. Amongst the people who ordered it I even found Alessandro Cortini. There were around 200 units sold, worldwide.

Last year, I started working on version 3, which has recently sold out as well. Its casing was designed by a wonderful artist from the US named Birch Cooper, who I met during his tour through Bratislava. It’s the most advanced version so far.

You prepared a smaller version of Elektrosluch for our workshop December 1st at Platoon Kunsthalle. What’s the difference between Elektrosluch 3 and Elektrosluch Mini?

The main difference is the lack of casing and the external input. Otherwise, the circuit is identical.

What are your 3 favorite field recording devices / microphones?
Currently it’s the Uši microphones (of course), Sound Devices 702, and my ultrasonic bat detector.

More:
https://zvukolom.org/
http://jonasgru.sk/

ninacover

If you’re near Berlin, don’t miss our event.

First, there’s a special workshop to build your own Elektrosluch mini. Register here – spots are very limited. You get one instrument to call your own, plus instruction (beginners welcome):

DIY Elektrosluch Mini Workshop

Second, we have a concert featuring Jonáš alongside Triple Sun and Nina Pixel:

Triple Sun – Sprint from Martin Blažíček on Vimeo.

nina

https://soundcloud.com/nina-pixel

RSVP on Facebook:
CDM and PLATOON present “Undiscovered Sounds From Slovakia”: Jonáš Gruska, Triple Sun, Nina Pixel

or on Resident Advisor (see, show them you don’t only listen to four on the floor).

The post Finding beauty even in fiery oil refineries: meet Jonáš Gruska appeared first on Create Digital Music.

Out-ER’s soundscapes, driven by real research into the feels

Delivered... Zuzana Friday Prikrylova | Artists,Labels,Scene | Tue 24 Nov 2015 3:44 pm

simone gatto

We’ve stepped into a music party at OHM, the Berlin venue constructed from a power plant battery room. And it’s clear that the label behind the event, Italian imprint Out-ER, is something out of the ordinary.

For one thing, instead of a normal DJ set, we’re treated to what’s described as a “workshop.” And there are regular pauses that announce the link between tracks and the feelings that inspired them.

But then, Out-ER’s Simone Gatto (seen, top) is not your typical label chief. Gatto is a philosophy graduate who has researched emotions and empathy, linking them to music and perception. He draws on the work of Swiss composer/educator Émile Jaques-Dalcroze – the man behind Eurythmics (the 19th century movement-based music pedadgogy, not the 80s duo with Annie Lennox).

And Gatto is also researching how musicians emotionally engage with their audience when they play. He’s interested in how DJs can intentionally trigger specific emotions.

With Gatto at the helm, Out-ER defies predictable categorization. The label’s music ranges from energetic techno to ambient depths – eschewing the darkness that’s all the rage these days for more playful twists. That includes jazzier and more percussive notes from collaborators like Marieu (The Analogue Cops) and Christopher Rau (as Colours of Obseration), plus outings by Orlando Voorn, Mirror1, Andrea Santoro, and Regen. If that didn’t catch your attention, bigger names Legowelt and Conforce have authored remixes. This is a label on the rise.

Next: “Nuove Sessioni” (“new sessions”), a four-track EP out on December 10th with three contributions by Alessandro Stefanio (aka Buck) and a remix from Ed Davenport as Inland, Inland’s only remix this year.

Listen in its entirety:

Having staged the oddball debut event earlier this year, Out-ER is returning to Berlin to celebrate that release with a party and panel at OHM. On the eve of the event, Gatto and Buck talk to CDM about what motivates them.

CDM: Where exactly is based your label, when and with who have you founded it?

Simone Gatto: I founded Out-ER in 2011 together with Andrea Santoro, Buck, and other friends. We were a group of Italian producers based in Berlin. We spent every single day together in the studio making music and sharing a common vision, trying to define a new sound — our sound. In 2013, we’ve moved back to Lecce, Italy, but we often are in Berlin because we have to take care of label-related activities.

How would someone grasp the musical direction of your label – can you put it in few words/sentences?

Out-ER music is an uncommon platform extending through various declinations of electronic music (house, techno, ambient). We try to keep a creative imprint in short and long terms because our goal is to release music including everything in between mellow and deep sounds and supporting the artists’ ample inspirations.

How do you choose new artists and collaborators for remixes?

I’ve always chosen artists mostly considering the strong emotions I felt by listening to their productions and performances.

Recently, you joined a conference in Amsterdam, where you talked about how to emotionally manage having a record label. Is owning a label emotionally difficult and what are the main helpers, which conclusions did you get to?

Since 2013, I’ve been running research together with some experts from the University of Lecce about the relationship between music and emotions. In Amsterdam, I talked about this topic explaining various aspects – the relationship between sounds and sensations, the empathic process linking performances and audience, specific notes and chords stimulating specific neural areas. It will convey into a book to be published in 2017 and these findings are my main helpers for my personal career and for Out-ER.

Managing a record label in the right way requires dedication and knowledge of the aspects just mentioned plus many others, everything needs to convey in the concept of the sound that express the platform at its best. Pressing plant, promotion, distribution, all needs to be coordinated. Press and communication might have a strong role for a right push to the label in long term and that’s why I decided to have a dedicated professional who cares about it all. This way I can focus on my music, on the artist relation and on the management of the bureaucracy questions.

You’ve organized two parties in Berlin before. What’s special about the event on 26th November?

This time from 10 pm, I’ll introduce the label’s previous and future activities, releases and researches linked to the topic “Music & Emotions”, kicking off a panel discussion together with all the artists. I’ll ask the artists some specific questions which will let them to expose their emotional side of music. Buck will introduce his second EP on Out-ER and will play an experimental jam session with LIMO (head of Transition LAB and part of Fachwerk Records) in order to gently start the party with Marieu, Aubrey and myself.

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CDM: Your newest EP is very energetic and has a positive vibe. Yet comparing to your older work, which I find more minimal, Nuove Sessioni sounds richer and mixes together many different elements (vocal samples, strings, acid bass and synth pads all at the same beat). What was your approach of making it and how do you think you’ve evolved as a producer?

Buck: My earlier work turned out to be more minimal really because at that point, my skills of using the analogue machine were more basic. If the results obtained in producing the tracks on the “Nuove Sessioni” EP feel more complete and full of energy, I am happy because I tried very hard to improve this aspect. The energy you feel is produced by giving vent to my strong desire to experiment and to be able to succeed, to improve and develop myself and my intuitions and become more effective.

Do you have some favorite instruments (real or virtual) you like to use in your music?

It’s true I do have particular ties to some instruments and effects but to be honest I really enjoy myself with all instruments. But more with the ones real than the virtual ones because I’m a little bit fed up a mouse and I prefer to touch the knob to feel the sensations and to have direct physical contact with the instruments.

I read you are an analog enthusiast. Which equipment do you use for music making and performing live?

Yes I have really been in love with the analog machines for some time now and I know how to extract from them my ideas and my enthusiasm. I use the drum machine, synth and external sound effects both live and in the studio.

On the party on the 26th, you will play a new live set with Limo. Is it the first time you will be playing together? How will you approach it?

Yes. It is the first time that Limo and I will do a live set together. We’ve shared a lot up till now as friends, DJs, and producers and now we’ve decided to do a live show together because we work really well together and understand each other very quickly in the studio. Limo similarly really understands my approach and passion for analogue machines, and, in my opinion, he is a real talent in the studio. In fact, Limo will be the first release on my new label.

And before the party, there will be a release presentation and panel with you. What can we be looking forward to?

I really like the idea of being able to share, together with my colleagues and those who will be present on the panel, our different points of view on the sounds we create and on the different types of approach in the studio. Thank you very much indeed, Simone and Out-ER, for giving me this possibility. See you in Berlin.

From January, Mørk display their live chops:

Live in Berlin Thursday, Buck and Limo (Fachwerk) will premiere a new live set together. (Watch for this combo in 2016 as they work together on a release on Substrato, Stefanio’s new label.)

On Facebook:
Out-ER presents Nuove Sessioni Release Presentation & Party

also on Resident Advisor

outerflyer

Author Zuzana Friday Přikrylová is CDM’s editorial assistant and has been covering the underground electronic music scene for many years, starting in her native Czech. Apart from CDM, that includes contributions to Secret Thirteen, HIS Voice, and Artalk, as well as her own SkyWireBlog. She’s also booking manager for Bükko Tapes.

For more of her recent underground label finds on CDM:

Discover Nordanvind, and the imaginative woman behind it, Fjaeder

Idyllic nature meets heavy beats on an emerging Paris label

“You learn a lot about the city by asking about its sound”: Peter Cusack Interview, Sounds

The post Out-ER’s soundscapes, driven by real research into the feels appeared first on Create Digital Music.

Discover Nordanvind, and the imaginative woman behind it, Fjaeder

Delivered... Zuzana Friday Prikrylova | Artists,Labels,Scene | Wed 21 Oct 2015 12:27 pm

fjaederfeather

Fans of Northern Electronics and nordic mythology, cock your ear for another digital label discovery. Nordanvind is the imprint of Swedish artist Fjäder. We profile the artist, the label, and then talk to Fjäder herself. Let’s first let her put us in an evocatively occult mood:

In the eye of the storm
Mithya spears Logos
Shattering with a smile
Suddenly
I see all my faces
I have seen the end of all things
I slept a dreamless slumber…
I have seen the end of all things
I have seen the world reborn and crumble
I have seen the end of all things
Take me home before the storm

-Fjäder

Even though she’s been DJing since 2006, Fjäder’s name started to echo in the international techno scene — and beyond — after her split record Luna Tactus with Stephanie Sykes, released on Fullpanda Records. This year, Fjäder also took on the 4DSOUND spatial audio system with her colleague Korridor, whose track was later released on Fjäder’s emerging record label, Nordanvind.

Recently, while continuing to create a network of like-minded people, Fjäder started her own party series in Stockholm, called Eden. And even among many interesting producers and labels coming from northern latitudes, Nordanvind seems like a unique platform worth watching. The first release already featured some compelling names — Markus Henriksson of Minilogue (as Nobody Home), Korridor, and Skymn are on the compilation debut Sagas, alongside Fjäder herself. And there’s Fjäder’s unique approach: she finds beauty in natural processes and inspiration in old rituals of tribes who didn’t fear death.

Fjäder is Ida Matsdotter, who describes herself as “a woman mutating into a bird.” Her motto: “when we grow wings, we learn how to fly.” In her music, DJ sets, and Facebook posts, she uses poetic language and spiritual ideas and imagery, drawing connections to nature and mythology. She finds inspiration in ancient stories from all around the world, from nature and native tribes and communities. Fjäder means feather — in this case, the feather that shamans use to dispel bad vibrations and illusions.
Fjäder uses various elements ranging from techno and ambient to dub and experimental to “awaken the listeners and make them live their life fully.” As she describes her sound:

“If I wanted Fjäder to sound in a way it would be like this. Like black ravens and white swans flying out in the unknown dimensions calling all of you to an important tribe meeting where we will dissolve darkness.”

In her music production, she uses the Serge (modular) synthesizer, Audio Realism’s Bass Line 2 (303 emulation plug-in), and the Korg MS-20 mini, as well as field recordings and sample musical instruments.

In 2014, Fjäder started Nordanvind — “the wind blowing from the north. A fresh and cold wind. It will wake you up,” she says. The debut compilation launched with captivating artwork by Johanna Krikonenko. You get a bonus illusion when you spin the vinyl – the eyes (seen below) appear to close, sleepily.

sagaseyes

And the eye candy is accompanied by a poem written by Fjäder (Swedish only!):

Den som vandrat
Vet…
Att det som väckts i evigheten
Evigt
Klingar ut över världarna
Och blir till viskande sagor
I vindens sång…

Musically, the compilation circles around contemporary techno, with organic, eerie elements, and dimensional layers. But unlike many similar musical projects, who rely on a dark, mean, and heavy atmosphere, the whole record sounds rather welcoming and mysterious. Skymn’s Memory is built on a pulsing and cold beat with a minimalistic synth. Nobody Home’s Speglar (‘Mirrors’) has a solid techno beat like thick roots, which are branched in softening, airy melodical bits. Fjäder’s En Liten Saga (‘A Small Story’) carries light throughout the whole time period, and Korridor’s Somnolence churns up the sediments of noise.

Korridor and Fjäder, playing together.

Korridor and Fjäder, playing together.

The second release is in progress, and as well as the first one, it will be released on vinyl and in digital form. Apart from releases, Fjäder has also started a podcast series under Nordanvind called Stories, with sets by Finn of Tomland, Jenny Persson, Sim Bohlism, and more.

CDM/Zuzana: What was the impulse to start your own imprint? Both you and other artists on Nordanvind release on well-known labels like Cocoon, Fullpanda or Minus, so what was the reason to starting something new on your own?

Fjäder: I felt that I wanted to create my vision of how the music industry can look like. Magical, creative, loving, mystical and just beautiful. I wanted to tell my story and to include all the people I believe in and vibrate with.

How do you choose artists for your label? Will Nordanvind stay being purely Swedish? And how has Nobody Home alias Marcus Henriksson joined the label?

I go with the flow and if people suddenly pop up on Nordanvind, it is because they connected deeply with me in some way or another. Right now, there’s a lot of Swedish talents, because I have many great people in my surroundings. But I consider the world my playground, not just Sweden.
Somehow, I feel like me and Marcus are working with the same vibe. I feel we’re connected because of that. I wrote to him about how I felt about his music and he told me I understood it right and then he gave me Speglar. He’s like a brother but I never meet him in person. I hope to do so!

ducks

You’re into nature and mythology, which you also reflect on Nordanvind’s sound and visual aesthetics. I’ve noticed that more artists from Sweden have a huge connection to spiritual and magical forces and even to their own mythological heritage. Do you like old stories and myths of your homeland? Do you have a favorite story, god, or an idea coming from Swedish mythology?

I grew up being like this. My mind was always sinking deeply into fairytales. I read about ancient mysticism already when I was a kid. I grew up close to nature and with poetry and songs telling me about my heritage.

Then I traveled the world pretending to be something else until a little girl told me: ”you look very Swedish.” And I went silent… And asked her, ”well, is that any good?” And she answered, ”yes, if you like where you come from.” I guess it was that moment when I started to reflect on who I really was.
Now that I’m older, I am so happy about this vibe in my blood, filled with Nordic folklore, folk music, poetry, and more. I am simply exploding in everything that I am. I feel so many things and vibes, and since I live close to the forest here in Sweden, I guess that the wind tells me stories about this place. It’s like my cells are opening up and things just flow. I read mythology from all over the world and it all connected somehow. I have so many things to tell you and it’s best if I sing it to you.

I have many favorite stories, but I’ll tell you a quote I loved as a kid. It is from Astrid Lindgren, one of my biggest inspirations. ”Spela min Lind, Sjunge min näktergal.” (“Play my Winding! Sing my Nightingale!”)

I would also like to tell you about the Northern goddess Freyja. She taught Odin the magical ritual of Seidr. She was also the one who had the first choice among the dead on the battlefields. Her hall was called Sessrúmnir and was located in Fólkvangr. I often think of her to gain power. I wrote to the people who created Vikings and asked them if they forgot about Sessrúmnir. I never got an answer.

You also write poems and the first release on Nordanvind includes one of them. Who are your favorite poets/ poems? How is the power of word important in your art?

I started to write poetry as soon as I could grab a pen. It just comes very natural to me. Karin Boye, Edgar Allan Poe and Harry Martinsson are definitely some of my favorites. I used to read Karin’s work when I was a little girl. I still have hundreds of poems that I wrote years ago, so combining it with music is perfect. Then you get both words AND sounds to describe a feeling, enabling more people to get what you are about to tell them.

This poem Ode is well known to many but I felt I’ve built the foundation of my music path on those words. It’s how I feel about it.

Arthur O’Shaughnessy – Ode

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

saga

And what about sound? What do you prefer in music you create, release or adore?

I cannot write a song without also writing a story about it. I sometimes try not to, but I end up having one story to each song I made. Music is the doorway to my soul and (maybe) to everybody’s souls. Music can’t lie. It’s always what it is. I am a storyteller and I like to comfort you with my stories. To tell you that I have been there… Everything is actually beautiful if you create something. Even grief. I like anything that people play from their hearts, courageously telling me about what they are going through in life. On a scale I am just a kid still trying to get what life’s about, and on the way I tell people about my experience.

Nordanvind will soon put out another release. Can you tell us more about it?

I can say this… that some birds came to me and they told me that they have travelled all the from paradise to sing for us.

Do you sometimes have flying dreams? :)

I am slowly mutating into a bird, so soon I don’t just have to dream about flying. ;)) But yes. My mind flies with birds and I’ve dreamt about flying a couple of times.

For more:
https://soundcloud.com/nordanvindrecords
http://nordanvindar.tumblr.com/
https://www.facebook.com/nordanvindar

The post Discover Nordanvind, and the imaginative woman behind it, Fjaeder appeared first on Create Digital Music.

female:pressure seeks crowds to change the place of women in electronic music

Delivered... Zuzana Friday Prikrylova | Artists,Events,Scene | Fri 11 Sep 2015 5:27 pm

femalepressure

Ed.: We’ve seen plenty of headlines about the role of gender equality in arts and technology. But what makes female:pressure unique, as their name implies, is that the organization is working to use the power of crowds to effect real change. CDM looks to its assistant editor and editorial intern Zuzana Friday to tell us more. -PK

Founded in 1998 by Electric Indigo, female:pressure is a network of artists, DJs, musicians, journalists, booking agents, and other professionals in electronic music and digital arts. In those years, the organization has served some important roles:

  • Highlighting the inequalities that dominates the electronic music scene when it comes to gender (and beyond), including compiling their own research and surveys – with some surprising and sad hard numbers.
  • Connecting artists and other music professionals who identify themselves as female within their network. In April 2015, they reached 1450 members from 65 countries. And anyone can join.
  • Organizing illuminating events touching topics of music and gender.
  • Their recent activity includes the Visbility blog, which counters the perception that women aren’t tech-savvy and mostly boys spend time in the studio. On the blog, musicians like Laurel Halo, Cio D’or, and Soap & Skin have contributed photos of themselves in their production environment. Apart from that, female:pressure released a techno compilation a while ago, demonstrating that females not only want to, but also can create pretty badass techno. (Ed.: Read our review of that compilation; we felt these were artists you should know irrespective of the identity politics message.)

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    To support this mission, female:pressure recently launched a crowdfunding campaign, which, in their own words, should help the network “to continue promoting equality on electronic music scene and to improve the awareness of bookers, club owners, labels and artists themselves”. Basically, they wanted added resources to continue doing what they do. Since female:pressure was the first of its kind and inspired many other networks and platforms – including Femmecult and Discowoman – its role in the music ‘biz is invaluable. And with growing popularity and awareness of the network, the very issues they focus on are being discussed more and more. Therefore, supporting them means supporting diversity and equality in a still male-dominated arts field.

    The deadline of the campaign is 24th September and incentives for supporting it include a female:pressure compilation from Different is Different Records, an online course for the Push the Envelope by Sonic Bloom, Max for Cats Complete Collection (with or without the modular Max for Live synth environment OSCiLLOT), a VJ Workshop, and “Ableton Live Expert” – 4-month UPSTART online course. (Ed.: Those are all some highly recommended incentives; the Max for Cats stuff and training here is top-notch. Madeleine Bloom’s Sonic Bloom is simply one of the richest resources for Ableton and Max knowledge online, full stop. And that gives boys and girls a reason to sign up here – I could learn a thing or two, I know.)

    There are a range of activities under the female:pressure umbrella. From their own description, the group’s crowd funding would support programs to:

    • promote female artists

    • keep maintain our database

    • organize meetings, events, panels talk and discussions

    • finance our study, which was done voluntary since 2012

    • hold workshops

    • prepare showcases and concerts

    All the information and direct support can be found in their Startnext website:

    Support female:pressure PERSPECTIVES [startnext crowdfunding]

    Speaking of their activities, female:pressure is going wild this month. On September 10th, they co-hosted a panel discussion together with SoundCloud. The new event series, dubbed #re_presenting, connects a Berlin-based community of musicians and debates under-represented topics in music. This first edition is focused on genre and gender and will be moderated by Annie Goh with five musicians representing a range of music genres including Emika, Sarah Farina, and Gudrun Gut. Demand is high: the event was quickly sold out.

    If you’re not in Berlin – let alone holding tickets to sold-out panels – you can join online as female:pressure takes over Frission Radio. Every two weeks, you can listen to a new show by one of their members; all the past shows can be found on Mixcloud. On September 18th, Leah King will play a live show there.

    Last but not least, female:pressure will also organize a second edition of their PERSPECTIVES Festival this month. It returns to Berlin nightclub about blank where organizers say it “continues to examine the challenges faced by women in a male-dominated scene, explore important gender and music-related issues, and stage showcases of outstanding female DJs, VJs, and live performers.” In contrast to lineups that average 10% female composition (by their statistics), PERSPECTIVES is of course 100% female-identified artists, featuring bold personalities from their network:

    Aschka (ca) ✭ Borusiade (ro) ✭ Clara Moto (at) ✭ Donna Maya (de) ✭ Dorit Chrysler (us) ✭ hiT͟Hərˈto͞o (cz) + aikia (it) ✭ Kaltès (be) ✭ Kate Miller (au) ✭ Magda El Bayoumi (de) ✭ Monya (de) ✭ Perera Elsewhere (uk) ✭ Reka (es) ✭ female:pressure visualpulse ✭ Special Guest tba ✭

    For more info about the festival, go to femalepressure-perspectives.net or
    check out the Facebook event.

    The post female:pressure seeks crowds to change the place of women in electronic music appeared first on Create Digital Music.

    Making Music Tools Free in Pd, from Hacking to Playing: Photos and Impressions, Amsterdam Thursday

    Delivered... Zuzana Friday Prikrylova | Scene | Mon 3 Mar 2014 9:18 pm
    Thumb piano + Pd.

    Thumb piano + Pd.

    Music technology: old meets new.

    Music technology: old meets new.

    There is something phenomenal happening in music technology right now. We usually write about the developments in the tools themselves. But if you want to see new things happening, it’s often more about the spread of knowledge around those tools.

    Watching it evolve is astounding. Focus only on the tools, and the landscape hasn’t changed much in recent years. But look at the people using them, and it’s a different story. More and more diverse audiences of artists are picking up the skills to use these inventions, and they bring a wider range of aesthetics and ideas to how they’re used.

    I’m fortunate to get to play even a small part in that. And that means sometimes going from being a disembodied voice on the Web to getting in a room with people to teach, experiment, and trade ideas. There’s great education happening around commercial tools, but I especially like starting people with Pure Data and Processing because they are free, and there’s a level playing field. People can show up with any laptop (or even a netbook), any OS, and get to work. (And they can still apply the same skills to other tools – working in Pd and Max for Live, for instance – if they so choose.)

    We tried a new format last year at an event in collaboration with Berlin’s Mindpirates. (They’re the same folks who made this free Red Bull Music Academy film making the rounds now.) The goal: go from learning to experimental hacking to playing. And I was stunned by the results, as vocalists and VJs, instrumentalists and coders all came from radically different skill levels to jam together by the third day.

    Next stop, Netherlands Thursday: If you’re near Amsterdam this week, registration is still open for a more compressed workshop hosted by Fiber Festival and 5 Days Off, as part of the programming for an event I’m inspired by entitled “Coding the Club”:

    THE ENCODED GROOVE: FREE SOUNDMAKERS WITH PURE DATA

    I hope you can make it, if you’re in the Netherlands – advance registration is required (the earlier, the better, so we can plan).

    But I also want to share the outcome of our past workshop. Czech-born sound artist and journalist Zuzana Friday Prikrylova was there as a participant, and I asked her to write a frank appraisal of what it was like learning as a beginner. I’m actually blushing a bit as it focuses on me, but my aim is actually a bit different – I’m curious to hear what the teaching and learning experience with something like Pd has been for other readers.

    Friday gives us some thoughts and a nice photo essay that paints a portrait of how things went. Here she is. -Peter Kirn

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    Create Digital Music & Mindpirates: Laptops on Acid workshop
    23rd – 25th May 2013, Berlin

    When I got a chance to attend the workshop Laptops on Acid organized by Peter Kirn together with the arts collective Mindpirates, I got very excited. The program promised to teach us about making our own free DIY tools for beats and visuals in two programs: Pure Data (Pd) and Processing.

    The process of exploring and applying what we learned was divided into three components: LEARN, which took place on Thursday and partly on Friday and provided insight into both programs; HACK (Friday and Saturday), when we used the acquired knowledge by trying our own projects (including connecting our laptops to devices we brought like MIDI keyboards or instruments), and PLAY – an open jam on Saturday, where we were free to play around together.

    The whole workshop took place in the industrial spaces of Mindpirates’ Projektraum and Vereinsheim, located near Schlesisches Tor, where this artistic collective organizes exhibitions, festivals, music events, and other projects. Thanks to the fact that the building used to be a bakery, its rooms abound with factory-like yet comfortable genius loci and provided great space for our work. And when it got too dark for our strained eyes, ubiquitous candles helped us. Mindpirates also provided vegan dinners and snacks every evening, so the participants could fully concentrate on working.

    Apart from me, Peter, and the organizer hosting on behalf of Mindpirates, Elisabeth, there were 22 participants. Each one of us had different backgrounds and experience. Some had previous experience with building DIY synths Arduino and Pd – there was a university lecturer, a jam organiser, and a programmer from SoundCloud. Some had no previous experience in music (one VJ travelled all the way from Helsinki), or even no previous experience with music, visual art, or programming at all! And still each one of us has found his/ her place there.

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    At the beginning, there was tabula rasa. And by that I don’t only mean the blank-white project window of Pd, which was waiting for me to be filled with patches. I also mean myself and my previous experience with Pd, Processing, or any patching program at all – there was none. The important sentence for me in description of the event actually was “No previous coding background required.” Therefore, I used myself as a guinea pig to test the truth of this claim. And the result is quite pleasing!

    With limited time and so much to teach, Peter Kirn didn’t lose time by giving us a long theoretical lecture about patching or Pure Data on Thursday, but tossed us directly into open water and gave us a hand with learning how to swim. So after a brief but enticing introduction, during which he named all the different (musical and visual) instruments we can actually build in Pd – from a vocoder to a video mixer – we were confronted with creating itself and started our hands-on lesson.

    At first, we learned the most-used objects in Pd, their functions and shortcuts, as well as basic functions and settings of Pd itself (connecting patches, switching modes, etc.). Peter also compared Pd and Processing in terms of how they work. The first thing we created was a simple oscillator, which sounded like an airplane or music experiments from the 50s, and, as most of the other stuff we built, worked on the basis of principles of MIDI data flow. We continued building a synthesizer with envelopes, and later on, Peter continued explaining different types of signal, including data rate (MIDI) and audio rate (for audio signal) and how to normalize ranges for each (0-127 for MIDI, 0-1 for audio signal and certain data types). Later, we learned basic information about Processing, from drawing basic geometry to moving it around the screen and adding color. Eventually, Peter connected Pd with Processing, so the picture and sound could interact.

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    On Friday, everybody was free to bring external devices for the HACK part of the workshop. Because most of the participants brought devices based on MIDI (plus some more unusual additions like an electric contrabass), he focused on explaining how to connect MIDI devices to Pd and create those patch structures, which would enable to manipulate and play the instruments and devices via Pd.

    Later on, we divided into two groups: one focused on playing around with MIDI control as the other, including me, deepened our knowledge in patch construction, creating sequencers and other instruments. We also learned how to “cheat” by borrowing bits and pieces from the free and open source rjlib library, using this to quickly create effects for a guitar or a microphone. At the end of the evening, Peter showed us more possibilities of manipulating images in Processing, so a picture or a video texture could be fragmented live.

    On a rainy Saturday, we met at 3 pm to continue playing around and discovering possibilities in our patches and instruments, eventually leading to an open jam in the Vereinsheim space. Most of the participants played improvised music and used the skills they learned during the three days, experimented with instruments, reacted to each other and created ambient and experimental potpourri of soundscapes.

    Musical performance were accompanied by visual performances made by Peter Kirn in Processing, transforming from impressive urban sceneries to abstract minimalistic patterns and lines. I stayed aside though, and just played a bit of the piano for a while – not only because my unorganized mind forgot to borrow a cable to connect a microphone with my laptop, but mostly because improvised singing in the constantly changing flow of music would require too much creative concentration, which I regrettably lacked after the 3-day marathon. So I just let my mind get carried away in my colleagues’ music performances, collecting the whole experience from Thursday to Friday in my head.

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    During the workshop I wrote a bunch of notes, some of them relating to the creation process, some of them describing the workshop in general because of the report; therefore, it was not that difficult for me to overlook something important and then ask about it again. But Peter was patient enough to answer our questions and repeat the useful answers out loud for the others.

    Otherwise, his lecture style was very enthusiastic, it flowed smoothly and fast like a river stream, so from time to time it was a bit difficult for us to catch up. On the other hand, not only that he could explain practically everything in a very understandable way using various metaphors, but also inserts a number of killing jokes and funny comments. So listening to him was therefore both interesting and amusing at the same time.

    I’m looking forward to explore the possibilities of Pd at home at my own pace, and although I think that the previous knowledge or programming is helpful and sometimes I got lost in all those ones and zeros (or ones and one hundred-twenty-sevens to be precise), this three-day long trip to Patchingland taught me, and each one of us, a lot.

    Thanks to it, I got the basic insight of the functions of Pure Data and principles of patching in general, which opens the door to countless possibilities in music making (with the help of websites recommended at the end of the workshop). I also learned how to build different patches together to create a synthesizer and effects for analog instruments or microphone. And finally, it was a lot of fun and a cool occasion to meet people from all the different fields of music, art and programming. I can’t think of many better ways of how to spend a weekend in cold and rainy Berlin.

    Photos: Zuzana Friday Prikrylova and Peter Kirn.

    Weather is warm and sunny for Amsterdam this week, but we’ll still have fun. -PK

    The post Making Music Tools Free in Pd, from Hacking to Playing: Photos and Impressions, Amsterdam Thursday appeared first on Create Digital Music.

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