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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » Artists


Teenage Engineering has a record label and a pocket modular pop music video

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Labels,Scene | Thu 23 May 2019 8:38 pm

Dear young Buster: why do you look so sad and lonely? Don’t you know that having a yellow Teenage Engineering pocket modular is all the love you need?

Okay, so Buster is in fact Millenial Swedish pop star up and comer Emil Lennstrand, and he is the first face of a record label (really) from the perpetually-open-to-creative-distraction crew of Teenage Engineering. You see, having done cameras for IKEA and marketing campaigns and various synthesizers and … bicycles and lamps and other things … the Teenagers are now getting into a record label.

It’s surprisingly silky-smooth pop from this otherwise fairly hypernerdy and experimental Stockholm shop. But it does predictably feature Teenage Engineering instruments – in this case the pocket operator modular.

They bill the song as “partly produced” by that system 400 (what – the modular isn’t used on the vocals?). But it’s slick stuff, for sure.

The other star of the music video is this – TE’s pocket operator modular series.

So what’s up with the record label? It’s tough to tell from this one track, but here’s what the Teenagers say for themselves:

first teenage engineering started their own band to field test their instruments. now they are taking the next step starting a record label for songs made with teenage engineering products. there are just two rules, it needs to be a good song (easy) and have at least one of teenage engineerings instruments used in the song. the main distribution platform for their releases will be spotify.

Now that’s some serious Swedish loyalty, going Spotify only.

I’m slightly confused, but intrigued. To my mind, the OP-Z remains the best thing recently from Teenage Engineering hands down, but stay tuned for my explanation of why I feel that way.

And there’s more Teenage Engineering stuff to come, including me joining them in Barcelona during SONAR+D this summer – which means a chance to grill them for more information, of course.

https://teenage.engineering/

The post Teenage Engineering has a record label and a pocket modular pop music video appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Enter the freaky trippy acid 90s German synth world of Air Liquide

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Labels,Scene | Wed 22 May 2019 12:02 pm

If you need a break from buttoned-up techno, dance music as business and fashion statement and morose wallpaper – take a holiday with some “trippy mindfkk-muzzikkk.” Here, we’ve got 170 tracks from 1991 Cologne to today to get utterly weird.

In 1990s Cologne, if the techno scene was spread too thin, you could just manufacture a few dozen aliases and DIY the whole thing. At least that seems to be the approach taken by our friends Air Liquide, aka Cem Oral and Ingmar Koch, and a half dozen or so core artists – a band of buddies making weirdo sounds. See the full alias list at bottom, but DJ DB (aka DB Burkeman) traced the history of the duo for the now-defunct THUMP from VICE:

DB’s No School Like the Old Skool: Air LiquideMeet the German analogue techno duo that rocked the 90s underground with a hundred different pseudonyms.

Now, just when you thought it was safe to go back to Germany, Air Liquide have returned to make European electronics mindfkked again.

We’ve got over 16 hours – 170 tracks – on streaming services like Spotify, chronicling the evolution (or whatever it was) of Air Liquide from 1991 through today. The sounds are futuristic, spacey, hyperactive, bizarre – everything in turns. You know you need some broken ultra-fast acid piping through Spotify on your next workout, of course:

via Spotify playlist

Details:


“AIR LIQUIDE – almost complete” – spotify playlist with over 16 hours of trippy mindfkk-muzzikkk

It includes, for instance, tracks inspired by the TV show Robot Wars:

Or here’s a track compiled by Loveparade founder Dr. Motte:

If you like what you hear, you can download those releases now, on iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/air-liquide/5352330#see-all/full-albums

and on Beatport:
https://www.beatport.com/artist/air-liquide/7230/releases

But in addition to that history, their label Blue is back.

Maybe this comes at an ideal time. With so many records sounding like generational loss – copies of copies of 90s records, watered down and sanitized and fed through Instagram – the new Air Liquide project is both real media archaeology and real invention. You get remasters and rereleases of the actual original records, and – this is important – they’re making new stuff.

Air Liquide are back.

So albums like Liquid Air and Mercury EP are returning on colored vinyl and cheap-for-everybody digital. But you can also expect new creations, like a mini-album called “ALTR” which they’ve let CDM know they’re finishing now with German rave legend t.raumschmiere. And there’s upcoming collaboration with American poet Mary S. Applegate – yes, the cousin of Christina Applegate – later this year, along with other releases.

There’s even some unreleased 1992-93 era stuff in store, they tell us.

They’re also acting as our guides through other freaky sounds, as on this new Spotify playlist “Der lärm der stille“.

Included is “some crazy tripmusic we love – paired with some of our own brain fkk trax” – up to 94 tracks and over 8 hours so far, from around the world and the years:

Their favorite machines

One thread through all this music is a real, profound love for sound and electronics – and synths and noisemakers and effects, like, everywhere.

CDM asked for some of the duo’s favorite stuff, and here’s what they’ve come up with:

dr walker:
drummachines:
erica synths technosystem
akai mpc3000 (modded)
akai mpc60 mk 1 (modded)
ensoniq asr x (modded)
superpocketoperator build by doc analog with 2x teenage engineering po32, ipad with patterning2 and erica synths fusion valve filters. all in an old army flightcase
roland tr8s
endorphin.es black noir with twisted electrons crazy8beats

synths
acd666
polyend medusa
erica synths liquid sky dada noise system
acl system 1
native instruments thrill
erica synths bassline
twisted electrons therapkid
gamechanger audio motorsynth
izotope iris 2

effects:
ninja tune zendelay
erica synths & gamechanger audio plasmadrive
bastl instruments dark matter
crazy tube circuits stereo splash mk III
snazzy fx wownflutter
catalinbread csidman

on the wishlist:
sequential rev2
korg prologue 16
emu e II+ (modded)
roland 750 (modded)
superlatives sb1 spacebee

Postlude: namedrop this, m************:

Yeah, okay, starting a sentence with “maybe you’ve heard of” with Air Liquide could take a while if you want to check on all their aliases. From the VICE report – amazingly, possibly even incomplete:

Madonna 303, Black One, Digital Dirt Inc, Ingy-Babe, John Amok, Unit 700, Acid All Stars, Der Tote, DR. Echo, Free Radicals, Flüssige Luft, G 104, Message, Oral Experience, Alpha Unit, Basstards, The, Bionic Skank, Cipher Code, Cube 40, Denpasar, Electronic Dub, Ethik II, Even Brooklyn Grooves, Fridge Pro 1, Future Shock Project, Futuristic Dub Foundation, G.L. Posse, German Electronic Foundation, M.F.A., Mental Bazar, Multicore L.T.D., Non Toxique Lost, Outernational Steppers, Restgeraeusch, Rub-A-Slide, Set Fatale, Slime Slurps, , Time Tunnel, Titanium Steel Screws, Tone Manipulators, Trancemagma, Dzeta Walker, Ultrahigh, UMO, Vene, View Point Odyssey, Zulutronic, Black One, Digital Dirt Inc, Dr. Walker, Ingy-Babe, John Amok, 370°, Acid Force, Air Liquide, Alternate States, Atlantic Trance, Bleep, The, Brotherz In Armz, Cipher Code, Commando, The Creature, Denpasar, Dr. Walker & Electro Atomu, Dr. Walker & M. Flux, Electrochic, Electronic Dub, Elevator 101, Ermionis Phunk Crew, Ethik II, Fridge Pro 1, Future Shock Project, German Electronic Foundation, Gizz TV & Walker, Global Electronic Network, Helden Der Revolution, House Hallucinates, GEF, Khan & Walker, Lovecore, Mental Bazar, Mono-Tone, Multicore L.T.D., Pierrot Premier, Planet Love Ink, Planet Lovecore, Psychedelic Kitchen, Radiowaves, Recall IV, Red Light District, Rei$$dorf Force, Resist 101, South 2nd, Stardate 1973, Structure, Tantra-M, Technoline, Time Tunnel, Trancemagma, Trip 2001, Unbelievable, Unlimited Pleasure, Vermona, View Point Odyssey, Dr. W and X-911.

They have shared this new short bio/history with us, to give you the full story:

AIR LIQUIDE

Born out of innovation & originality, Air Liquide are for many people one of contemporary electronic music cultures most pioneering, important and inspiring projects.

Cem Oral aka Jammin Unit and Ingmar Koch (Dr.Walker) first met in 1989 in a Studio in Frankfurt Main, in Germany. As it often is when like attracts like, it wasn’t long before they recognized their mutual love, not only for experimental, abstract and lo-fi musics but also for Alien, Bigfoot, Telepathy stories of Parallel Universes and Fairytales with a somewhat darker side. So it was just a matter of time before the two were getting together in the studio at the end of their respective dayshifts, to commence their own nightshift recording sessions of abstract noise, cut-ups and experimental soundscapes.

As well as Techno itself, likewise Acid, Industrial Noise, Ernste Musik, Ambient, Kraut Rock, Space-rock, 70s Psychedelia Underground Hip Hop and Musique Concrete were all somehow present and in the mix of the evolving Air Liquide sound, sitting comfortably and perfectly at home with elements of Turkish and Arabian traditional Music’s. The production process took on board a similar innovative and pioneering approach in its fusion of Modern Dub paired with the intensity of the all important groundbreaking Roland 909, 808, 303 and 101 must have technology of the day.

In 1991, they formed Air Liquide.

The fusion that was created boldly incorporated a past it was proud of, free of revivalism or plagiarism, clearly created in and reflecting undeniably a soundscape for the here and now that proclaimed uncompromisingly and assuredly, welcome to the future!

In keeping with every other aspect of their venture, Cem and Ingmar followed their intuition and instincts rather than established tradition, and immersed themselves in freestyle jam sessions, recording the entire one or two hours that they lasted. Upon later listening it would be decided if any parts of the jam session were up to the pairs criteria to be edited out and tweeked into tracks for release.
This is the paradigm within which the Air Liquide creative process birthed “Neue Frankfurter Elektronik Schule”, their first record, released in 1991 on their own label ”Blue”. The first pressing of 1000 copies, released on coloured vinyl, sold out in the first hour after its release!

This was a remarkable achievement, for an unknown band without any direct link to the House Music Scene. Via experimentation Air Liquide reintroduced a living breathing life affirming energy into contemporary music culture, much the same as techno and house did via rave and most importantly dancing. No surprise then that in a very short space of time, accolades like ‘The true heirs to Can’, ‘The Greatful Dead of Techno’ & ‘The spearhead of German Techno’ were incoming thick and fast from the International Music press. Their mixture of Hip Hop, Psyche & Krautrock, Acid & Techno endeared them to a rapidly established and increasing fan base around the Cologne area.

Their eclecticism, originality and self respect, as apparent in a seemingly “no respect for any rules” approach endeared them to that international music press, fans and professionals alike, especially as those professionals were born of the same spirit, as it had been in their own break through years. Like attracts like, the true fans of such musics, such fusions and the spaces that are created for and by these musics, of course could and can feel that, and step up to support it without question.

Then you have guests at your live jams like Michael Rother, Holger Czukay, Luke Vibert, Helmut Zerlett, Craig Anderton, Arno Steffen, Caspar Pound, Fm Einheit. Then your 100% improvised live shows successfully bring surprise, ecstasy, the unexpected and exactly all that people are wanting from you, as well in ways they are not expecting, all in a guaranteed we deliver way, regardless however it may be presented. Then you will be invited to join the roster of USA sm:)e records, the cult sub-label of Profile, that being the label of Run DMC. Likewise in UK, being asked to release on Casper Pounds all important Rising High Records.

And when your fusion of the experimental soul of contemporary electronica and krautrock creates such a superb and flawless fusion that fans from both sound spectrums love you for it, well then one of the all time forward thinking labels ever, Harvest records, will come out of retirement and re activate solely for the purpose of releasing your recordings.

Which is exactly what happened in 1993. That happens if you mean what your doing and if what you are doing is truly valid and unquestionably relevant.

Air Liquide were inspired, moulded by and arose from within that timeless borderless creative Freezone that births truly great Sound & Vision in every respect. It is where they still reside, and it is from there that they now re-emerge to mark 3 decades of living on the frontiers of International ground breaking contemporary ahead of the curve Music, Art, and attendant Technology subcultures.

Air Liquide represent the ultimate fusion of ideals, not believing the hype, not being swayed by past or present dogmas and staying true to their innermost aims and feelings, without question. The real thing if you will. Air Liquide were since their inception in 1991, always have been and still are very much the real thing, through and through!

Modern photos by George Nebieridze; all pictures courtesy Air Liquide.

The post Enter the freaky trippy acid 90s German synth world of Air Liquide appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Automated techno: Eternal Flow generates dance music for you

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Mon 29 Apr 2019 4:52 pm

Techno, without all those pesky human producers? Petr Serkin’s Eternal Flow is a generative radio station – and even a portable device – able to make endless techno and deep house variations automatically.

You can run a simple version of Eternal Flow right in your browser:

https://eternal-flow.ru/

Recorded sessions are available on a SoundCloud account, as well:

But maybe the most interesting way to run this is in a self-contained portable device. It’s like a never-ending iPod of … well, kind of generic-sounding techno and deep house, depending on mode. Here’s a look at how it works; there’s no voiceover, but you can turn on subtitles for additional explanation:

There are real-world applications here: apart from interesting live performance scenarios, think workout dance music that follows you as you run, for example.

I talked to Moscow-based artist Petr about how this works. (And yeah, he has his own deep house-tinged record label, too.)

“I used to make deep and techno for a long period of time,” he tells us, “so I have some production patterns.” Basically, take those existing patterns, add some randomization, and instead of linear playback, you get material generated over a longer duration with additional variation.

There was more work involved, too. While the first version used one-shot snippets, “later I coded my own synth engine,” Petr tells us. That means the synthesized sounds save on sample space in the mobile version.

It’s important to note this isn’t machine learning – it’s good, old-fashioned generative music. And in fact this is something you could apply to your own work: instead of just keeping loads and loads of fixed patterns for a live set, you can use randomization and other rules to create more variation on the fly, freeing you up to play other parts live or make your recorded music less repetitive.

And this also points to a simple fact: machine learning doesn’t always generate the best results. We’ve had generative music algorithms for many years, which simply produce results based on simple rules. Laurie Spiegel’s ground-breaking Magic Mouse, considered by many to be the first-ever software synth, worked on this concept. So, too, did the Brian Eno – Peter Chilvers “Bloom,” which applied the same notion to ambient generative software and became the first major generative/never-ending iPhone music app.

By contrast, the death metal radio station I talked about last week works well partly because its results sound so raunchy and chaotic. But it doesn’t necessarily suit dance music as well. Just because neural network-based machine learning algorithms are in vogue right now doesn’t mean they will generate convincing musical results.

I suspect that generative music will freely mix these approaches, particularly as developers become more familiar with them.

But from the perspective of a human composer, this is an interesting exercise not necessarily because it puts yourself out of a job, but that it helps you to experiment with thinking about the structures and rules of your own musical ideas.

And, hey, if you’re tired of having to stay in the studio or DJ booth and not get to dance, this could solve that, too.

More:

http://eternal-flow.ru/

Now ‘AI’ takes on writing death metal, country music hits, more

Thanks to new media artist and researcher Helena Nikonole for the tip!

The post Automated techno: Eternal Flow generates dance music for you appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Experimental Ukrainian music, through a looking glass

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Labels,Scene | Sun 7 Apr 2019 5:19 pm

April is a generous month for fans of unusual Ukrainian compilations – now having covered new braindance from the country, we’re directed by readers to another set, giving a tour of experimentalism and electronic composition.

Flaming Pines is a wonderful label for experimental music, also setting up its virtual home on Bandcamp, that last best hope for underground digital downloads and physical releases. Check their full catalog for adventurous sounds from 9T Antiope (great stuff) to Kate Carr (seriously, just go give those a listen). The label, a transplant from Sydney to London, has also taken on a number of tours of experimental electronic scenes in far-off locales, including a gorgeous Iranian compilation called Absence, and up-and-coming Vietnamese avant garde in Emergence.

It’s not so much exoticism the label seems to find as threads connecting kindred spirits. And now, having plumbed the depths of mystical sound in Ukrainian duo Gamardah Fungus, the label brings back half of that duo to curate a selection of sounds from that motherland. Igor Yalivec is the guide here, leading us in just twelve tracks to some highlights of established compositional voices and younger contributions alike. Igor you’ll also find showing off modular musicianship as a solo artist in addition to working in the duo:

Guitar and electronics yield magical metallic timbres like a lucid dream, in the work of Gamardah Fungus – some potent brew of remembered folklore and time-warped futurism. It’s Slavic spirit ambient, but always inventive – modal melodies tensely wandering about layers of tape and sound:

So this was a perfect starting point for Kaleiodoscope. That leads to Alla Zahaikevych (aka Zagaykevych) – her work spanning traditional concert music training, historical folk singing technique (with over a decade singing in an ensemble dedicated to the practice), and founding the Electronic Music Studio of Kyiv’s National Music Academy of Ukraine. I can’t think of many composers covering that many directions in a single career worldwide, making her a leader on that stage as well as in Ukraine.

Or there’s Andrey Kiritchenko, obsessively prolific generation X-aged composer who founded the cutting-edge Nexsound label – and has worked with names like Kim Cascone, Francisco López, Andreas Tilliander, Frank Bretschneider, Scanner, Charlemagne Palestine, and many others.

But thinking in generations or separating academy from disreputable underground – it’s fitting that we cross those borders freely now. So it’s an easy step to a younger artist like Motorpig, a visceral, dark project spanning techno, industrial, and experimental veins – and things that are none of those, but rather ambient, undulating merry-go-rounds of texture. (Been a while since there was new Motorpig, so I’m up for any new track):

To come full circle, understanding the reason for this journey out to Ukraine, it’s worth hearing the terrifically nuanced sound world of Flaming Pines’ own Kate Carr. These are ambient soundscapes that breathe and ache, as precarious and fragile as evidently the artist was recording them – “sliding about in freezing mud on steep inclines.” And maybe that’s what this is all about – music that invokes deep spirits and puts itself in positions of extreme difficulty, all to catch fleeting moments of beauty.

So the compilation promises great things – like this utterly chilling vocal composition by Alla Zagaykevych, some evidently convolved, ghostly sound that seems to be about to blow away like frost:

Also in future-vocal territory, Andrey Kiritchenko delivers a chanting vocoder:

The art, at top, also comes from Ukraine – artist Alina Gaeva. I look forward to the compilation coming out on April 22 – but there’s plenty of link holes to drain our PayPal accounts on Bandcamp in the meantime.

https://flamingpines.bandcamp.com/album/kaleidoscope

And all of this makes a nice contrast to that naive nerdy braindance business from a couple of days ago. Previously, on “there’s a lot of really cool music from Ukraine on Bandcamp now and it’s worth dropping doing other things to talk about it”:

From Ukraine, a compilation to resist normality and go braindance

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From Ukraine, a compilation to resist normality and go braindance

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Labels,Scene | Thu 4 Apr 2019 5:02 pm

The letters titling the release spell out, in Cyrllic, “sh**s.” And more than just another dull compilation, this collection of tracks is a statement – in opposition to commercialism and homogeny, in favor of “braindance” weirdness.

The earnest voices of the ШЩЦ creators intone their explanation in an ‘intro’ track you get with the download. “We have power to … make it not commercial, to make it true, to make it native,” they explain – “emotional music, true music from true people.” 23 artists were picked out of hundreds, and the result is a pay-what-you-will Bandcamp release plus a DVD physical copy. (Just got a confirmation – the DVD I impulse-bought is coming in the mail. This should complete my antiquated release format bingo, alongside floppies and game cartridges and VHS tapes and so on….)

ШЩЦ is a party in Kyiv as well as this first music release, and so in addition to lots of new names, you’ll see the likes of Stanislav Tolkachev. The collective itself is based in the capital city, but connects a group from around the country.

You’ll find some magical and surprising arrangements here. And in an age that so often trends between molasses-thick irony and nostalgia on one hand, or dark dystopia on the other, this is music that that’s free, experimental, and optimistic. Just to name a few favorites, and I like this top to bottom – Xtal’s “A-Body” shimmers with cascades of glistening tunes across a frosty-rich percussion bed. Sztvo’s “Heaton” is equally gorgeous, sunlit-warm stuff. “Famergame” is total insanity, by Potreba – please, please DJ with this and invite me. Jubex “Pass In The Dust” feels almost like the Detroit-Kyiv electro connection, with some dry digital newness thrown in. “Hibernation” by S+ is frenetic and urgent. And yeah, Tolkachev’s contribution sounds like there was a transporter accident on the disco floor. Everywhere there are rhythms that range from frantic digital streams to dorky awkward irregularity.

We’ve heard these timbres and rhythms before, but to me ШЩЦ is a sign that what was once high-falutin’ computer craft has become downright punk – and just as easy and spontaneous, rather than sounding overworked or off-putting.

Ukraine now post-revolution is like UK 90s, they argue. But hey, UK or not, why not go oldschool by making connections just by putting together some tracks and being decidedly weird. More of that, please.

“Listen on Bandcamp … and also, wherever in Internet.”

Word.

http://ssshitsss.bandcamp.com/album/various-artists-01

I also dig that their description reads like a manifesto:

ШЩЦ (SHITS) is a new Ukrainian label that started as a club night in December 2016. It was founded by A-Body, Bodya Konakov and their friends and promotes ‘Braindance’ — a much loved and misunderstood genre of electronic music, forgotten by some and indeed new to others, especially in Ukraine. Label founders want to show a kind of ‘family’ of ukrainian artists (by no means a monopoly) who introducing more freedom and versatility to music. These artists feel that there is a void in the country’s dance music that few were attempting to fill so ШЩЦ (SHITS) aims to demonstrate to the rest of the world that Ukrainian braindance music can be entirely original. Also, it disregards the all-to-common commercial genres and wants to show alternative side of dance music.

They tries to demonstrate this in VARIOUS ARTISTS ШЩЦ01, a DVD compilation.

The compilation features 23 musicians from Ukraine, which makes innovative, but at the same time emotional music. This is the friends of the label who have repeatedly performed at concerts and parties of the ШЩЦ (SHITS), including such names as Stanislav Tolkachev, A-Body, Wulffius, Potreba, Sommer, Tofudj, Sasha Very, Acid Jordan, etc.

Also label places equal importance on the evolution of fresh artists on the scene and aims to offer a fair contract for everyone.

The post From Ukraine, a compilation to resist normality and go braindance appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Premiere: rituals of sound and rhythm in the latest from Mexico’s FAX

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Wed 27 Mar 2019 7:09 pm

The Changing Landscape is the latest mystical outing from Mexican ambient/experimental electronic master FAX. And to launch into that world, we have a video that’s liquid, glitchy, a post-digital mind trip.

Let’s watch the music video, created by Hirám López:

Fax, aka Rubén Alonso Tamayo, is the epitome of a long-term artist. He’s got multiple decades of music to his name, spanning from dancefloor to far-out experimental soundscape, but always imbued with craft and thought. Ideally, you’ll get to hear Fax’s work in person – live, he creates earthquakes of sound and transports audiences to other planes. (I was lucky enough to catch him in Mexico City for the edition of MUTEK there.)

The Mexicali, Baja California-native artist is also a hub of activity in Mexico, across visual and sonic media. So for The Changing Landscape, we get free-flowing, spontaneous journeys full of the percussion work of Yamil Rezc.

The landscapes are organized into a diverse progression of “lands,” variations on a theme and instrumentation. “Land I” opens with a squelchy, exposed bassline before breaking into a gentle, jazzy jam. “Land II” is a stuttering, irregular ambient world, drums and piano idly ambling in stumbles over top waves of fuzzy pads. “Land IV” is more futuristic, pulsing synths glistening as noise crests and breaks across the stereo field. “Land V” crackles and cycles in some final parting ritual.

“Land III,” for which we get this video premiere, is clearly a highlight, an esoteric inner sanctum of the album, digital odd angles against a melancholy dialog of pad and bass.

FAX, photo by Braulio Lam.

Like the label he has co-founded, Static Discos, FAX works along borders of geography and medium. As often is the case, the personnel here come from that Mexican border town Mexicali. And visual collaborator Hirám López tunes into the trance-like, surreal-ultrareal quality of the work, writing:

FAX’s atmospheres and musical progressions submerged me in a hypnotic trance that I had to capture. Land III, was an experimentation exercise, where the human collages of Jung Sing were distorted to mix these characters even more through the aesthetics of the glitch. I used Adobe After Effects to replicate a series of visual alterations that bad coding can cause in today’s tech devices, based on the musical figures to give them a synchronized intention.

It’s all subtle, as is the music – the effect just disrupting the surface, a direct analog to the sonic approach in the album. As they write:

“Displacement mapping” was the technique that Hirám López used the most; It allows you to alternate pixel positions from a high contrast image, were the brightness intensity determines how the superimposed pixels on that image or map will move. Lopez’ method consisted in using several layers of this effect on Jung’s illustrations, placing keyframes and expressions (code that detects audio and converts it in a numeric value) that moved the distortion map along the x and y axes, in sync with the music. Under the concept of permanence of the disturbance, as a ghostly trace of the previous or later character, the “Datamoshing” effect created dynamic transitions, with this same tool. Due to its hypnotic effect, the waves and tunnels created with various plugins including “Ripple” and “Radio waves” were very helpful for depth simulation, the repetition of the illustrations, and the Mandelbrot type fractals to emphasize the trance.

Also, “masking” allowed López to cut out some elements from the characters in order to extend its fragmentation, also as a resource based on musical sync and especially on visual composition.

The full album is out on Bandcamp and other services from Static Discos.

Official release page:

http://staticdiscos.com/sta097/

For more – a mix from last year on the Dimension Series from the label:

The post Premiere: rituals of sound and rhythm in the latest from Mexico’s FAX appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Take a weird fantasy aquatic trip into the world of Žaburina

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Fri 22 Mar 2019 10:53 pm

Instagram-trending techno can’t find its way out of the corner of a warehouse with some manic depressive crows. (Oh no – Derelicte turned real!) So let’s go to an alien undersea imaginarium with Jonáš Gruska instead.

Slovakia’s Jonáš has become a hero of this site over the years, because he manages to do it all. He makes his own musical experiments. He plays live. He runs a label (LOM) that’s also a … sort of brand for sound nerds. And he engineers some really clever sound equipment, for catching delicate sounds and electromagnetic waves.

But it’s not just multitasking or lack of focus – these things fit together. The devices are part of Jonáš’ sound practice, and the label and workshops and even the act of selling those instruments helps create the scene around him. The music and images are about imagined ecology, but the larger label project is, as well. That’s in a nice context to the viral pandemic model of social media.

Maybe Jonáš is also demonstrating what’s possible in smaller hubs. Bratislava is now home to a LOM laboratory, in a city of just about a half million people – roughly the same as just Berlin’s Neukölln and Kreuzberg neighborhoods.

But anyway, that’s all our present reality, which is boring. Let’s go instead to the world of the video for Žaburina.

The visuals are the work of h5io6i54k – no, that’s not Facebook leaking my login password, it’s Brno-based audiovisual artist Lukáš Prokop. Together, they create a kind of fluid, aquatic organic-futuristic world, as eastern Europe meets Java.

Jonáš explains:

the music is something I did algorithmically in supercollider with some spectral processing – many polyrhythms, polymetric melodies inspired by gamelan and south-asian music in general. the video was done by my friend h5io6i54k after we discussed the underwater worlds I was inspired by in the music… it is all his renders 🙂

SuperCollider is the free, open source code environment, which has also been the basis of a lot of the resurgent live coding movement. And yeah, it also means the potential to help free your mind from the usual grids suggested none-too-subtly by a lot of commercial software. But regardless of the tools, those rhythms zig and zag and swell like the titular swamp bugs and drifting algae.

The video premiere, and more commentary, are at excellent Czech-based blog Gin and Platonic (stories are in both English and Czech):

Video Premiere: Jonáš Gruska – Svitanie

Plenty more gorgeous sounds where this came from, too – I think this is my favorite work by him yet.

There’s another terrific video, as well:

It’s actually one of the few times I would recommend reading through all the Bandcamp notes, as there’s tons of detail there, not just PR-speak… what begins as field recordings (hydrophone, insects) and oft-referenced musical material (Harry Partch, music from Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia) gets woven into some more futuristic world. (The name “comes from the Slovak word for part of a pond covered over with algae and frogspawn.”)

https://zvukolom.bandcamp.com/album/aburina

There’s more visuals and sounds to delight from h5io6i54k, as well:

http://h5io6i54k.tumblr.com/

See, forget the underground. Join the underwater.

In Czech and Slovakia, then, the netlabel is alive, and all of us can dial into a subaqueous staycation in our minds. And our friends are all aboard…

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Watch My Panda Shall Fly play KORG volcas with bits of metal

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Mon 11 Mar 2019 6:08 pm

“Play your KORG volcas with bits of metal instead of your fingers” isn’t one of the Oblique Strategies, but maybe it ought to be.

Sometimes all you need for some musical inspiration is a different approach. So My Panda Shall Fly took a different angle for a session for music video series Homework. Since the volca series use conductive touch for input, a set of metal objects (like coins) will trigger the inputs. Result: some unstable sounds.

I mean, maybe it’s just all part of an influencer campaign for Big Coin, but you never know.

My Panda Shall Fly is a London based producer covering a wide range of bases:

And he’s done some modular loops. We’ve seen him in these here parts before, too:

Artists share Novation Circuit tips, with Shawn Rudiman and My Panda Shall Fly

The post Watch My Panda Shall Fly play KORG volcas with bits of metal appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Design, meet music: gorgeous graphic scores from LETRA / TONE fest

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Events,Scene | Thu 7 Mar 2019 7:11 pm

Nine designers created graphics scores. Next, nine musicians will interpret them. LETRA / TONE festival is one of the more compelling experiments in festival programming – an adventure in crossing media. Here’s what it looks like.

Now, in these here parts, we’ve been fans of visual-musical synesthesia, from live visuals and VJing to graphics. LETRA / TONE makes that connection in the score. Curator (and composer/musician) Hanno Leichtmann had the idea. Five years ago, I covered one of the earlier editions:

Pattern and Design: A 2-Day Festival Turns Vintage Type into Musical Scores

The gathering has since blossomed to include a wide arrange of international designers and big-name (and fringe) musical artists across various instruments. There’s a complete exhibition and loads of concerts this weekend.

And you never know quite what you’ll get, because it’s up to these artists to determine how to translate the visual ideas they’re given into performances. This being Berlin, there are some major electronic artists – modular electro duo Blotter Trax (Magda and T.B. Arthur), turntablist Dieb 13, JASSS, Nefertyti, and DEMDIKE STARE are all involved. But you also get pianist Magda Mayas, and Schneider TM takes to experimental guitar, composer and avant garde rocker Jimi Tenor. Hanno has not only paired artists with musicians, but produced some arranged musical marriages, too – commissioning Blotter Trax, pairing Nefertyti with Jimi Tenor.

Graphic scores come from Katja Gretzinger, Anke Fesel, Scott Massey, Daniela Burger, Stefan Gandl, Joe Gilmore, Sulki & Min, Julie Gayard, and T.S.Wendelstein.

To bring a bit of this festival to you, here’s a selection of images from past editions (and current sketches) to show the visual range. You can imagine yourself how you might make music from these.

And snippets of 2019:

To give you a feel of the music, some selected artists:

JASSS:

Demdike Stare:

Blotter Trax:

Nefertyti (bad video but… I’m enjoying this punk aesthetic here):

Facebook event if you’re in Berlin this weekend:

https://www.facebook.com/events/2212145495720491/?active_tab=about

The post Design, meet music: gorgeous graphic scores from LETRA / TONE fest appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

A year overflowing with electronic sound: 2018 music we loved

Delivered... David Abravanel | Artists,Labels,Scene | Tue 1 Jan 2019 1:11 am

Happy weird rockin’ New Year’s Eve. In a continuing tradition, CDM invites back resident music curator David Abravanel to single out some beloved music of 2018. We live in fortunate times; that job is deliciously hard. But it’s a chance to discover and rediscover some great sounds.

Without exaggeration, I cannot remember the last time I’ve had such difficulty paring down a year-end list. It’s not that I necessarily heard more music in 2018 – rather, it really did seem like everything was just that much better musically. Most likely it’s the product of turbulent times – and certainly, many of these albums are neither fun nor relaxing.

Getting this down to 35 has taken me far longer than any task should take any person. I’ve removed albums which, on any random day, I might decide is the best thing I’ve heard in a decade. But here’s what’s hit me the hardest in 2018 – all lists alphabetical:

Albums

Actress x London Contemporary Orchestra – LAGEOS (Ninja Tune)

Aisha Devi – DNA Feelings (Houndstooth) Pictured, top

Aleksi Perälä – Moonshine (AP Musik)

Alva Noto – Uniqav (Noton)

Autechre – NTS Sessions 1 – 4 (Warp)

Beans – Someday This Will All Be Ash (Hello L.A.)

Brian Jonestown Massacre – Something Else (‘a’)

Concubine – 2018 (self-released)

Derek Carr – Contact (Subwax Excursions)

DJ Healer – Nothing 2 Lose (All Possible Worlds)

France Jobin – Intrication (No.)

GAS – Rausch (Kompakt)

GusGus – Lies are More Flexible (Oroom)

Inigo Kennedy – Strata (Token)

Jason Forrest – Fear City (Cock Rock Disco)

Low – Double Negative (Sub-Pop)

Meat Beat Manifesto – Impossible Star (MBM)

Mika Vainio + Ryoji Ikeda + Alva Noto – Live 2002 (Noton)

Morphology – Traveller (Firescope)

Noah Pred – Homeworld (Modular)

Positive Centre – Forever Optimum (Horo)

Pulsewidthmod – Serpentine Servitude (Detroit Underground)

Robert Lippok – Applied Autonomy (Raster Media)

Shinichi Atobe – Heat (DDS)

Sinjin Hawke & Zora Jones – Vicious Circles (Planet Mu)

Skee Mask – Compro (Ilian Tape)

Stefan Goldmann – An Ardent Heart (Macro)

Steven Julien – Bloodline (Apron / LuckyMe)

The Black Dog – Black Daisy Wheel (Dust Science)

The Breeders – All Nerve (4AD)

The Field – Infinite Moment (Kompakt)

Thomas Fehlmann – Los Lagos (Kompakt)

Tom Mudd – Gutter Synthesis (Entr’acte)

V/A – Air Texture Vol. VI (Air Texture)

Wanderwelle – Gathering of the Ancient Spirits (Silent Season)

EPs / Singles

Alis – Begin (Complete) (self-released)

Aphex Twin– Collapse (Warp)

Barker – Debiasing (Ostgut Ton)

Fanu– Black Label EP (Metalheadz)

LA-4A – Slackline (Central Processing Unit)

Róisín Murphy – “Jacuzzi Rollercoaster” / “Can’t Hang On” (Vinyl Factory)

Rothko String Quarter & Kaan Bulak – “Hain I” / “Hain II” (Feral Note)

Steven Rutter & John Shima– Step Into the Light (Firescope)

umru – Search Result (PC Music)

Underworld & Iggy Pop– Teatime Dub Encounters (Caroline)

Reissues & Retrospectives

B12 – Time Tourist (Warp)

Higher Intelligence Agency & Biosphere – Polar Sequences (Biophon)

Pixies – Come On Pilgrim…It’s Surfer Rosa (4AD)

Max Richter – The Blue Notebooks (Deutsche Grammophon)

Susumu Yokota – Acid Mt. Fuji (Midgar)

This Heat – Repeat / Metal (Modern Classics)

Tin Man – Acid Acid Acid (Acid Test)

The 7th Plain – Chronicles (A-Ton)

VA – Scopex 98/00 (Tresor)

V/A – 3AM Spares (Efficient Space)

Zeitgeist

There were a number of common trends and feelings with some of the best music of 2018. Some stray observations:

  • Outrage fatigue was on full display with Low’s magnificent Double Negative and Beans’ personal Someday This Will All Be Ash.
  • Exciting new explorations of Electro came courtesy of LA-4A and Morphology, coupled with reminders of classics from the Scopex label.
  • Taken together, Róisín Murphy’s four incredible single releases (in collaboration with left-field house/ambient stalwart Maurice Fulton) could make an AOTY candidate. Eight tracks of solid gold that should be on every dance floor.
  • Fantastic year for reissues of classic ambient techno – B12, The 7th Plain, Higher Intelligence Agency, Biosphere, and Susumu Yokota all still sound vital.
  • The 3AM Spares compilation was a fun discovery – picking gems from the after-hours house and breakbeat sounds of early-mid 90s Australia.
  • At the risk of understatement, it’s difficult to keep up with Aleksi Perälä’s overwhelming output. That said, Moonshine was a real winner, combining his spiritual Colundi Sequence with classic jungle rhythms.
  • Speaking of spiritual, it took a while to come around to it past the hype, but that DJ Healer album was something special. A real mood and atmosphere from start to finish – listen with your eyes closed.
  • Some real sleeper gems from Inigo Kennedy, GusGus, The Field, and Derek Carr – RIYL techno with feels.

So dig it. And here’s to some hope in 2019! Love to you and yours.

Listen now

Want more of a sampling? David has put together a Spotify list, too:

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4KmdnTetEPFrt9fiqqcDbG

Of course, buy stuff you love from the labels.

Bonus: editor’s picks

As an addendum, I will re-gift the lineup I’ve sent to BTS / Behind the Stage, the Poland-based collective. It’s worth following their whole series, in fact:

https://www.facebook.com/btscollective/

We actually had to cut that list a little, so here’s my lucky number (13) worth / directors’ cut:

ИНФХ – Fences of Metal (ГОСТ ЗВУК Records)
BC: https://bit.ly/2QeqZ9n

Richard Devine – Opaque Ke (Timesig)
BC: https://bit.ly/2SxhGTW

Wiktor MilczarekUntitled (Brutaż)
BC: https://bit.ly/2CHiZdj

Robert LippokApplied Autonomy (Raster)
BC: https://bit.ly/2Tk5shs

Barker – Debiasing (Ostgut Ton)
BC: https://bit.ly/2LD8bzT

KATE NV – для FOR (Rvng International)
BC: https://bit.ly/2Rph4Ch

The AllegoristHybrid Dimension I (DETROIT UNDERGROUND)
BC: https://bit.ly/2BQmOLF

Christina VantzouNo. 4 (Kranky)
BC: https://bit.ly/2AlWOrk

Gabber Modus Operandi – Puxxximaxxx (YES NO WAVE MUSIC)
BC: https://bit.ly/2CGEXgr

Debashis Sinha MusicThe White Dog (Establishment)
BC: https://bit.ly/2LKiz92

Senyawa – Sujud [Sublime Frequencies]
Bandcamp

Lara Sarkissian – Disruption [Club Chai]
Bandcamp
Nadia StruiwighWHRRu [Denovali Records]
Bandcamp

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Mix up a year in music, with a guide to weird, under-the-radar Poland

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Labels,Scene | Mon 31 Dec 2018 9:06 pm

Oramics, the DIY collective run by and focusing on women and queer artists, have put together an all-hands mix and a guide to everything wild and wonderful from Poland and beyond. You can’t pick a better way to end 2018 than with strange, new, and different sounds.

We met Oramics in October:

In Poland, a collective for women and queer artists becomes an agency

In many ways, it’s a strange moment for electronic music across Europe and the global scene. True, it’s now in fashion to look beyond centers like London, to make lineups with more women or more queer artists. But while that’s a welcome development – not just politically, but musically – that still doesn’t mean it’s easy for anyone to break through. The very fact that some artists have become commercial commodities can mean an even steeper road for artists who don’t fit in, whatever their identity. Media outlets have ceased print publication. Blogs have shuttered, and music journalists struggle to make ends meet – while having to chase links and followers. And too often, the demands of commercial DJ booking even in this more left field-friendly age are at odds with what makes unique producers and live performances tick.

It’s tough. It’s frustrating. It’s okay to need some friends – even just someone to listen to your music.

I like what Oramics are doing precisely because they’re giving that support to one another outside of the usual system of PR and booking – totally DIY. And even if you’re not a Polish queer woman (that’ll be a small percentage of our readership in that exact intersection), I think you’ll dig these sounds and discover some new things – and perhaps a model for taking your own weird stuff that fits in, and finding some other people to share with.

Oramics this time team up with another Polish DIY effort, Behind the Stage and their superb podcast series. They turn over the helm of the BTS series to Oramics for a team effort – roughly 20 minutes per person – and give you a total 105 minutes of music:

Running order: Monster, ISNT, FOQL, Mala Herba, dogheadsurigeri.

They’ve also selected their own favorite under-the-radar resources for unique Polish music for CDM. It’s your guide to the Polish underground:

Monster Poly chain sanatory of sound festival photo – Paulina Adaszek.

Monster

https://musicofstoriestold.bandcamp.com/ – great lively releases by Seltron 400, some of my favorite Polish producers
http://www.kholetrax.com/ – people behind Olivia’s fantastic debut EP
https://flauta.bandcamp.com/ – a club night focused on helping refugees, they released a really impressive VA compilation
https://soundcloud.com/pilpl – a vinyl label from Poznan, focused mostly on underground house

FOQL & Copy Corpo @ Cafe Oto. FOQL is the alias of Polish artist Justyna Banaszczyk.

dogheadsurigeri

Zaumne, nadziej, julek ploski — young wolves of polish electronic scene 😉

https://czaszka.bandcamp.com/album/emo-dub

https://enjoylife.bandcamp.com/album/nie-lubi-my-le-o-niemi-ych-sprawach-gdy-nie-jestem-w-staniehttps://julekploski.bandcamp.com/

Mala Herba

https://www.facebook.com/3szostki/ – tape label from Poland investing a lot of love and effort into supporting pure weirdness

Girls to the Front
https://www.facebook.com/allgirlstothefront/ Warsaw-based pro femme and queer initiative organizing concerts and putting up beautiful zines

FOQL

Debut album by our very own ISNT:
https://vanitypilltapes.bandcamp.com/album/world-is-full-of-electric-chairs

I would like to recommend Pointless Geometry label and especially this one exceptional VA tape.

It is a very special charity compilation and you will find everything what is interesting in polish underground right now inside. Whole label is one of the best in Poland!

https://pointless-geometry.bandcamp.com/album/va-ardea-cinerea-benefit-compilation-for-adam

I am also exploring eastern and central european underground in my Noods Radio residency show

http://noodsradio.com/residents/interferencje-w-foql

ISNT on tape!

ISNT photo by Magda Szafrańska (Instytut)

ISNT

We Will Fail – amazing polish producer and very successful artists running her own label!

https://wewillfail.bandcamp.com/album/we-will-fail-dancing

DYM – label and collective from smaller Polish town (my home town!) Gorzów Wielkopolski. We need more initiatives likes this one. They also do their own festival two times a year. It’s like 2 hours from Berlin – you should visit!

https://dymrecords.bandcamp.com/

The post Mix up a year in music, with a guide to weird, under-the-radar Poland appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Download a free two-hour Panorama Bar mix from nd_baumecker

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Fri 21 Dec 2018 3:43 pm

Nothing brightens midwinter like music. So the warm glow of nd_baumecker’s mixing is something special. The delayed download is out now from Ostgut Ton, the label associated with Berghain and Panorama Bar.

The musical climate in which we live can too easily be afflicted with conformity, with genres and trends regimented by algorithms and anxious aspirations of bookers, media, artists … the lot. And with Berghain as the elephant in the middle of Berlin’s scene, that conformity can often be associated with the club, with Berlin, with Germany and Europe, even.

So maybe the first important thing to say about Andi’s mix is that it’s a mix. Run down the track listing, and you get all kinds of corners of Andi’s taste. I know he sweated putting this together, but as it is with experienced DJs, that stress comes off as effortless.

nd_baumecker has statistically played more times in the various floors of the Berghain environs than any other human. I know this, partly because we get informed that the fascinating numbers scraped from Berghain’s website weren’t right. Oops. Andi so dominates the list, that you almost don’t need other statistics. (Panorama Bar is the lighter, generally house-ier upstairs floor, but it’s actually not that important to know that; Andi has been found at various points more or less everywhere in the building and garden outside.)

Despite all those times on the lineup, in the old party mode, Andi’s not really a star. There’s just that feeling of being at home when you walk into a room (or garden) with him playing. And he can mix in and out of anything. So while a lot of beginning DJs try to show off with obscure tracks but paint obsessively within the lines, like they’re afraid of each transition, you can count on Andi to take you different places.

He’s a DJ’s DJ, but he’s also a great producer – his ongoing collaboration with fellower Berghain resident Sam Barker has been imaginative and exceptional.

Anyway, I think for any of us involved in production – let alone those of us pouring over music tech – getting to actually listen again and set a mood is vital. And Andi’s latest mix puts me at least in a fantastically nice mood. I’m hugely biased myself not just about Andi but about music in general; I think whether it’s a track or a mix, you can’t separate people from music. I still stubbornly cling to the idea that music says something about who you are. Hell, I think it’s why it matters who’s in the DJ booth. And it’s certainly why I think that mood should come from people and not algorithms. I not only like humans; I think you can hear when humans touch the music.

You can stream the mix, or be as obsessive as Andi is about quality and grab that 24-bit lossless download – all two GB worth. As with all in this series, the mix is free. (Last minute publishing clearance issues had delayed the download since the planned release date this fall.)

Track IDs? Yes:

1 Mystical Institute Sea Believer [00:00]
2 Keith Worthy Guilty Pleasures ($ Of N.C. Mix) [04:10]
3 Greenspan and Taraval Follow The Moonlight [07:01]
4 Duplex Isolator [10:08]
5 Cabaret Voltaire Easy Life (Jive Turkey Mix) [14:51]
6 Dolo Percussion Dolo 9 [18:45]
7 Anthony Naples The Vision (Mix NY) [20:15]
8 QY American [24:13]
9 Jinjé Big Skies [28:02]
10 Saint Etienne Stoned To Say The Least (Beta) [33:05]
11 Barker & Baumecker Nie Wieder [37:18]
12 FaltyDL Paradox Garage Part 1 (With Your Love) [39:40]
13 Röyksopp Sombre Detune [42:29]
14 Œil Cube Lost Flute [46:06]
15 Ajukaja Stranger [50:40]
16 Pulsinger & Irl State 606 [56:12]
17 Duke Slammer Coastal Decay (Pan Solo Remix) [1:00:33]
18 Route 8 From The Valley [1:04:25]
19 Dave Aju Wayahed [1:09:33]
20 Chaos In The CBD Educate The Heart [1:13:09]
21 Ross From Friends High Energy [1:18:55]
22 D. Tiffany Something About You [1:21:04]
23 Zombie Zombie Hyperespace (I:Cube Vampire Tango 87 Remix) [1:26:11]
24 Peverelist Under Clearing Skies [1:28:47]
25 Barker & Baumecker Strung [1:31:33]
26 School Of Seven Bells Low Times (Lafaye’s Brain Mix) [1:38:55]
27 Gen Ludd Bloods Avalanche [1:44:30]
28 Pépe Motorforce [1:49:11]
29 E Myers Hate [1:54:17]

This isn’t just about the DJ. Again, Ostgut is using this series to premiere new works. And this coupling – two EPs (Part I, Part II) – is especially fresh, with immaculate, densely rhythmic productions from . FaltyDL, Jinjé, Big Skies, Ross From Friends, Dave Aju, and Duplex. They’ve got some of that same magical mood of the mix, naturally. It’s house-flavored stuff, aware of its roots, but thoroughly futuristic and optimistic, too. Listen:

That Duplex track is especially timeless, somehow, and Dave Aju is always like a burst of sunlight.

Enjoy!

Photo: Lee Wagstaff, courtesy Ostgut Ton.

http://ostgut.de/label/record/227

Previously:

Boiling-Hot Summer: nd_baumecker in 3 Hours of Boiler Room Music

In the Studio: Barker “Like an Animal” EP, Sam Barker + nd_baumecker [Stream + Gallery]

The post Download a free two-hour Panorama Bar mix from nd_baumecker appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

TidalCycles, free live coding environment for music, turns 1.0

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Tue 18 Dec 2018 6:52 pm

Live coding environments are free, run on the cheapest hardware as well as the latest laptops, and offer new ways of thinking about music and sound that are leading a global movement. And one of the leading tools of that movement just hit a big milestone.

This isn’t just about a nerdy way of making music. TidalCycles is free, and tribes of people form around using it. Just as important as how impressive the tool may be, the results are spectacular and varied.

There are some people who take on live coding as their primary instrument – some who haven’t had experiencing using even computers or electronic music production tools before, let alone whole coding environments. But I think they’re worth a look even if you don’t envision yourself projecting code onstage as you type live. TidalCycles in particular had its origins not in computer science, but in creator Alex McLean’s research into rhythm and cycle. It’s a way of experiencing a musical idea as much as it is a particular tool.

TidalCycles has been one of the more popular tools, because it’s really easy to learn and musical. The one downside is a slightly convoluted install process, since it’s built on SuperCollider, as opposed to tools that now run in a Web browser. On the other hand, the payoff for that added work is you’ll never outgrow TidalCycles itself – because you can move to SuperCollider’s wider arrange of tools if you choose.

New in version 1.0 is a whole bunch of architectural improvement that really makes the environment feel mature. And there’s one major addition: controller input means you can play TidalCycles like an instrument, even without coding as your perform:
New functions
Updated innards
New ways of combining patterns
Input from live controllers
The ability to set tempo with patterns

Maybe just as important as the plumbing improvements, you also get expanded documentation and an all-new website.

Check out the full list of changes:

https://tidalcycles.org/index.php/Changes_in_Tidal_1.0.0

You’ll need to update some of your code as there’s been some renaming and so on.

But the ability to input OSC and MIDI is especially cool, not least because you can now “play” all the musical, rhythmic stuff TidalCycles does with patterns.

There’s enough musicality and sonic power in TidalCycles that it’s easy to imagine some people will take advantage of the live coding feedback as they create a patch, but play more in a conventional sense with controllers. I’ll be honest; I couldn’t quite wrap my head around typing code as the performance element in front of an audience. And that makes some sense; some people who aren’t comfortable playing actually find themselves more comfortable coding – and those people aren’t always programmers. Sometimes they’re non-programmers who find this an easier way to express themselves musically. Now, you can choose, or even combine the two approaches.

Also worth saying – TidalCycles has happened partly because of community contributions, but it’s also the work primarily of Alex himself. You can keep him doing this by “sending a coffee” – TidalCycles works on the old donationware model, even as the code itself is licensed free and open source. Do that here:

http://ko-fi.com/yaxulive#

While we’ve got your attention, let’s look at what you can actually do with TidalCycles. Here’s our friend Miri Kat with her new single out this week, the sounds developed in that environment. It’s an ethereal, organic trip (the single is also on Bandcamp):

We put out Miri’s album Pursuit last year, not really having anything to do with it being made in a livecoding environment so much as I was in love with the music – and a lot of listeners responded the same way:

For an extended live set, here’s Alex himself playing in November in Tokyo:

And Alexandra Cardenas, one of the more active members of the TidalCycles scene, played what looked like a mind-blowing set in Bogota recently. On visuals is Olivia Jack, who created vibrant, eye-searing goodness in the live coding visual environment of her own invention, Hydra. (Hydra works in the browser, so you can try it right now.)

Unfortunately there are only clips – you had to be there – but here’s a taste of what we’re all missing out on:

See also the longer history of Tidal

It’ll be great to see where people go next. If you haven’t tried it yet, you can dive in now:

https://tidalcycles.org/

Image at top: Alex, performing as part of our workshop/party Encoded in Berlin in June.

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Jlin, Holly Herndon, and ‘Spawn’ find beauty in AI’s flaws

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Mon 10 Dec 2018 6:03 pm

Musicians don’t just endure technology when it breaks. They embrace the broken. So it’s fitting that Holly Herndon’s team have produced a demonic spawn of machine learning algorithms – and that the results are wonderful.

The new music video for the Holly Herndon + Jlin collaboration have been making the rounds online, so you may have seen it already:


n
But let’s talk about what’s going on here. Holly is continuing a long-running collaboration with producer Jlin, here joined by technologist Mat Dryhurst and coder Jules LaPlace. (The music video itself is directed by Daniel Costa Neves with software developer Leif Ryge, employing still more machine learning technique to merge the two artists’ faces.)

Machine learning processes are being explored in different media in parallel – characters and text, images, and sound, voice, and music. But the results can be all over the place. And ultimately, there are humans as the last stage. We judge the results of the algorithms, project our own desires and fears on what they produce, and imagine anthropomorphic intents and characteristics.

Sometimes errors like over-fitting then take on a personality all their own – even as mathematically sophisticated results fail to inspire.

But that’s not to say these reactions aren’t just as real. An part of may make the video “Godmother” compelling is not just the buzzword of AI, but the fact that it genuinely sounds different.

The software ‘Spawn,’ developed by Ryge working with the team, is a machine learning-powered encoder. Herndon and company have anthropomorphized that code in their description, but that itself is also fair – not least because the track is composed in such a way to suggest a distinct vocalist.

I love Holly’s poetic description below, but I think it’s also important to be precise about what we’re hearing. That is, we can talk about the evocative qualities of an oboe, but we should definitely still call an oboe an oboe.

So in this case, I confirmed with Dryhurst that what I was hearing. The analysis stage employs neural network style transfers – some links on that below, though LaPlace and the artists here did make their own special code brew. And then they merged that with a unique vocoder – the high-quality WORLD vocoder. That is, they feed a bunch of sounds into the encoder, and get some really wild results.

And all of that in turn makes heavy use of the unique qualities of Jlin’s voice, Holly’s own particular compositional approach and the arresting percussive take on these fragmented sounds, Matt’s technological sensibilities, LaPlace’s code, a whole lot of time spent on parameters and training and adaptation…

Forget automation in this instance. All of this involves more human input and more combined human effort that any conventionally produced track would.

Is it worth it? Well, aesthetically, you could make comparisons to artists like Autechre, but then you could do that with anything with mangled sample content in it. And on a literal level, the result is the equivalent of a mangled sample. The results retain recognizable spectral components of the original samples, and they add a whole bunch of sonic artifacts which sound (correctly, really) ‘digital’ and computer-based to our ears.

But it’s also worth noting that what you hear is particular to this vocoder technique and especially to audio texture synthesis and neutral network-based style transfer of sound. It’s a commentary on 2018 machine learning not just conceptually, but because what you hear sounds the way it does because of the state of that tech.

And that’s always been the spirit of music. The peculiar sound and behavior of a Theremin says a lot about how radios and circuits respond to a human presence. Vocoders have ultimately proven culturally significant for their aesthetic peculiarities even if their original intention was encoding speech. We respond to broken circuits and broken code on an emotional and cultural level, just as we do acoustic instruments.

In a blog post that’s now a couple of years old – ancient history in machine learning terms, perhaps – Dmitry Ulyanov and Vadim Lebedev acknowledged that some of the techniques they used for “audio texture synthesis and style transfer” used a technique intended for something else. And they implied that the results didn’t work – that they had “stylistic” interest more than functional ones.

Dmitry even calls this a partial failure: “I see a slow but consistent interest increase in music/audio by the community, for sure amazing things are just yet to come. I bet in 2017 already we will find a way to make WaveNet practical but my attempts failed so far :)”

Spoiler – that hasn’t really happened in 2017 or 2018. But “failure” to be practical isn’t necessarily a failure. The rising interest has been partly in producing strange results – again, recalling that the vocoder, Theremin, FM synthesis, and many other techniques evolved largely because musicians thought the sounds were cool.

But this also suggests that musicians may uniquely be able to cut through the hype around so-called AI techniques. And that’s important, because these techniques are assigned mystical powers, Wizard of Oz-style.

Big corporations can only hype machine learning when it seems to be magical. But musicians can hype up machine learning even when it breaks – and knowing how and when it breaks is more important than ever. Here’s Holly’s official statement on the release:

For the past two years, we have been building an ensemble in Berlin.

One member is a nascent machine intelligence we have named Spawn. She is being raised by listening to and learning from her parents, and those people close to us who come through our home or participate at our performances.

Spawn can already do quite a few wonderful things. ‘Godmother’ was generated from her listening to the artworks of her godmother Jlin, and attempting to reimagine them in her mother’s voice.

This piece of music was generated from silence with no samples, edits, or overdubs, and trained with the guidance of Spawn’s godfather Jules LaPlace.

In nurturing collaboration with the enhanced capacities of Spawn, I am able to create music with my voice that far surpass the physical limitations of my body.

Going through this process has brought about interesting questions about the future of music. The advent of sampling raised many concerns about the ethical use of material created by others, but the era of machine legible culture accelerates and abstracts that conversation. Simply through witnessing music, Spawn is already pretty good at learning to recreate signature composition styles or vocal characters, and will only get better, sufficient that anyone collaborating with her might be able to mimic the work of, or communicate through the voice of, another.

Are we to recoil from these developments, and place limitations on the ability for non-human entities like Spawn to witness things that we want to protect? Is permission-less mimicry the logical end point of a data-driven new musical ecosystem surgically tailored to give people more of what they like, with less and less emphasis on the provenance, or identity, of an idea? Or is there a more beautiful, symbiotic, path of machine/human collaboration, owing to the legacies of pioneers like George Lewis, that view these developments as an opportunity to reconsider who we are, and dream up new ways of creating and organizing accordingly.

I find something hopeful about the roughness of this piece of music. Amidst a lot of misleading AI hype, it communicates something honest about the state of this technology; it is still a baby. It is important to be cautious that we are not raising a monster.

– Holly Herndon

Some interesting code:
https://github.com/DmitryUlyanov/neural-style-audio-tf

https://github.com/JeremyCCHsu/Python-Wrapper-for-World-Vocoder

Go hear the music:

http://smarturl.it/Godmother

Previously, from the hacklab program I direct, talks and a performance lab with CTM Festival:

What culture, ritual will be like in the age of AI, as imagined by a Hacklab

A look at AI’s strange and dystopian future for art, music, and society

I also wrote about machine learning:

Minds, machines, and centralization: AI and music

The post Jlin, Holly Herndon, and ‘Spawn’ find beauty in AI’s flaws appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

A haunting ambient sci-fi album about a message from Neptune

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Fri 30 Nov 2018 10:54 pm

Latlaus Sky’s Pythian Drift is a gorgeous ambient concept album, the kind that’s easy to get lost in. The set-up: a probe discovered on Neptune in the 26th Century will communicate with just one woman back on Earth.

The Portland, Oregon-based artists write CDM to share the project, which is accompanied by this ghostly video (still at top). It’s the work of Ukrainian-born filmmaker Viktoria Haiboniuk (now also based in Portland), who composed it from three years’ worth of 120mm film images.

Taking in the album even before checking the artists’ perspective, I was struck by the sense of post-rocket age music about the cosmos. In this week when images of Mars’ surface spread as soon as they were received, a generation that grew up as the first native space-faring humans, space is no longer alien and unreachable, but present.

In slow-motion harmonies and long, aching textures, this seems to be cosmic music that sings of longing. It calls out past the Earth in hope of some answer.

The music is the work of duo Brett and Abby Larson. Brett explains his thinking behind this album:

This album has roots in my early years of visiting the observatory in Sunriver, Oregon with my Dad. Seeing the moons of Jupiter with my own eyes had a profound effect on my understanding of who and where I was. It slowly came to me that it would actually be possible to stand on those moons. The ice is real, it would hold you up. And looking out your black sky would be filled with the swirling storms of Jupiter’s upper clouds. From the ice of Europa, the red planet would be 24 times the size of the full moon.

Though these thoughts inspire awe, they begin to chill your bones as you move farther away from the sun. Temperatures plunge. There is no air to breathe. Radiation is immense. Standing upon Neptune’s moon Triton, the sun would begin to resemble the rest of the stars as you faded into the nothing.

Voyager two took one of the only clear images we have of Neptune. I don’t believe we were meant to see that kind of image. Unaided our eyes are only prepared to see the sun, the moon, and the stars. Looking into the blue clouds of the last planet you cannot help but think of the black halo of space that surrounds the planet and extends forever.

I cannot un-see those images. They have become a part of human consciousness. They are the dawn of an unnamed religion. They are more powerful and more fearsome than the old God. In a sense, they are the very face of God. And perhaps we were not meant to see such things.

This album was my feeble attempt to make peace with the blackness. The immense cold that surrounds and beckons us all. Our past and our future.

The album closes with an image of standing amidst Pluto’s Norgay mountains. Peaks of 20,000 feet of solid ice. Evening comes early in the mountains. On this final planet we face the decision of looking back toward Earth or moving onward into the darkness.

Abby with pedals. BOSS RC-50 LoopStation (predecessor to today’s RC-300), Strymon BlueSky, Electro Harmonix Soul Food stand out.

Plus more on the story:

Pythia was the actual name of the Oracle at Delphi in ancient Greece. She was a real person who, reportedly, could see the future. This album, “Pythian Drift” is only the first of three parts. In this part, the craft is discovered and Dr. Amala Chandra begins a dialogue with the craft. Dr Chandra then begins publishing papers that rock the scientific world and reformulate our understanding of mathematics and physics. There is also a phenomenon called Pythian Drift that begins to spread from the craft. People begin to see images and hear voices, prophecies. Some prepare for an interstellar pilgrimage to the craft’s home galaxy in Andromeda.

Part two will be called Black Sea. Part three will be Andromeda.

And some personal images connected to that back story:

Brett as a kid, with ski.

Abby aside a faux fire.

More on the duo and their music at the Látlaus Ský site:

http://www.latlaussky.com/

Check out Viktoria’s work, too:

https://www.jmiid.com/

The post A haunting ambient sci-fi album about a message from Neptune appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

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