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

Watch a VU meter turn into percussion, control voltage

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Fri 16 Mar 2018 6:47 pm

Here’s a fun hack: a vintage-style meter needle turns into a source of percussion and signal for a modular.

“Don’t plug this into that” or “that’s not what this is supposed to be for” are not really concepts obeyed by the electronic musician. So thanks to Simon Kitson for sending this in. In this case, a modular synth is involved but — really, you could do something like this with any random bit of gear and some piezos. (Piezo mics, in turn, are something you can build yourself for a few bucks with decent – to – terrible soldering skills.)

From a capitalist perspective, I should have course regularly be encouraging you to go spend your money on gear all the time but … this hack is totally compatible with “I just found some junk someone left by a dumpster.”

Simon writes:

I thought that you might be interested in this video of a vu meter being used as percussion with CV and a balanced piezoelectric pickup. It is a great return on a limited investment in time.

Excellent. Plus those needles are fun to watch wiggle, of course. Enjoy!

The post Watch a VU meter turn into percussion, control voltage appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

This custom TR-09 controller is also a great starting point for DIYers

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Fri 16 Mar 2018 6:26 pm

Sometimes, when manufacturers don’t give us exactly what we need, a wonderful thing happens: people invent something to make up the difference.

In this case, while the solution involves Roland’s cute li’l TR-09, the resources here will be useful to anyone curious about making custom controllers – with or without pint-sized Roland drum machines.

Kyle Evans, aka pulseCoder, wanted more hands-on controls for live shows of the TR-09. Those tiny little pots on the machine just weren’t cutting it. The resulting build is beautiful and futuristic – partly because when you build stuff for yourself, you can lavish some extra expense on parts and not worry about pesky things like shipping weight and profit margins. (That’s one reason the DIYer will always, always have an edge over store-bought gear.)

But the other story here is, building this sort of controller has gotten a easier in the past few years than it used to be. Advancements like Arduino, Teensy, and kit-friendly multiplexers may not mean much to people building similar microcontroller-based projects some twenty years ago. But if you’re a musician and say something like “uh, what’s multiplexing?” – this is a nice leg up.

With live performances enjoying a nice renaissance on techno lineups and such, it seems the time is right for some tinkering. So here you go:

1. The Teensy LC microcontroller is the brains of the operation – it’s an easy, inexpensive, flexible chip you can program with the artist-friendly Arduino environment.

Teensy LC store

How to use MIDI with Teensy

2. Multiplexing is a way way to use all those switches, pots, and LEDs without needing so many separate wires. And to help you prototype faster, hobbyist emporium Sparkfun makes a kit that handles just this problem:

Sparkfun Multiplexer

Multiplexer hookup guide

3. The glue to make this work is a little bit of code. You can check out Kyle’s code as a model, especially if you’re also interested in making a TR-09 controller:

TR-09 MIDI code

4. Power tools! It’s not a fun DIY project if you don’t get to do some drilling, satisfying the basic human need to make loud noises and accomplish stuff. Kyle tells CDM: “these arcade switched are not illuminated by default, I drilled holes in the bottom of the plastic casing and added LEDs 🙂

Here’s a look at that finished build:

The post This custom TR-09 controller is also a great starting point for DIYers appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Essaie Pas: New Path review – techno dystopias with witty flashes of funk

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Fri 16 Mar 2018 11:30 am


From Run the Jewels to Gary Numan, musicians technophobically fretting over the future of humanity have long used Philip K Dick as a touchstone – and that’s not counting the endless riffs on Vangelis’s synthscapes from the Dick-derived Blade Runner. Essaie Pas, married producers Marie Davidson and Pierre Guerineau, have used Dick’s druggily dsytopian novel A Scanner Darkly as inspiration for their fifth album, and tap into his dread much better than most. Their aesthetic is mostly cyberpunk coldwave, with techno kick drums pounding uncaringly in 4/4 motion; on Futur Parlé, they are cut through by neon scythes of metallic sound, before being joined by a three-note Chicago house bassline and Davidson’s signature monotone vocals (also brilliant on solo releases and her collaborations with Not Waving and Solitary Dancer). Les Agents des Stups switches up to relentless electro, before Substance M dives back to deep, stern techno. These expansive dancefloor moments are strong, but you long for a couple more of their left turns. Complet Brouillé is apparently inspired by dissociative drug experiences, though this particular K -hole is brightly decorated: another addictive Chicago bassline is placed against a stuttering beat to create infectious, witty funk. The chilling title track meanwhile features a robotic voice spewing shards of A Scanner Darkly dialogue into a void of sustained synth chords, a little like the dying protagonist Hal 9000 in another sci-fi classic, 2001A Space Odyssey. Essaie Pas have gone beyond cliche and fandom to make something that truly speaks to the dynamic thought and droll humour at the heart of Dick’s writing.

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FCC Announces Dates for Submitting “Long-Form” Applications by AM Stations that Filed for New FM Translators in Second Translator Window

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Fri 16 Mar 2018 11:13 am

The FCC yesterday released a Public Notice announcing a filing window from April 18 through May 9 for “long-form” applications for new translators that were filed in the January 2018 window for Class A and B AM stations to seek new FM translators to rebroadcast their stations. The Public Notice also sets out the procedures for filing in this window. The window is for the filing of a complete Form 349 applications by applicants who were deemed to be “singletons,” i.e. their applications are not predicted to cause interference to any other translator applicant. The list of singletons is here.  The long-form application requires more certifications and technical information than that which was submitted during the initial filing window.

After the long-form application is submitted to the FCC, the application will be published in an FCC public notice of broadcast applications. Interested parties will have 15 days from that publication date to comment or object. If no comments are filed, and no other issues arise, the FCC’s Audio Division is known for its speed in processing translator applications so that grants might be expected for many of the applications within 60 days of the end of the window.

Not specifically addressed is when the FCC will open a settlement window to resolve interference between applications that were not found to be singletons.  At some point in the future, the FCC will allow AMs that filed applications for translators that are predicted to cause interference to other translator proposals to reach a settlement or make minor technical changes to resolve their interference issues.  Until that window is open, however, mutually exclusive applicants are prohibited from communicating with each other due to the prohibited communications rules that apply during broadcast auctions – which these applications will end up in if their mutual exclusivity is not resolved during the settlement window.

In any event, it appears that a number of AM stations – more than 600 according to today’s announcement — will soon be able to start service with their new FM translator stations. If processing in the last window for Class C and D AM stations is any indication, we should see a number of grants of new translators before summer officially starts.

Mobile Phone Ambassadors

Delivered... Thomas Burkhalter (Norient) | Scene | Fri 16 Mar 2018 7:00 am

Glo mobile, a subsidiary of Nigerian multinational telecom company Globacom Limited, is fighting for customers in the contested Ghanaian market. Singers and musicians are key in advertising the brand. Norient talked with Eugene Hoggar, the man in charge of the company’s music ambassadors and conceptualizes, coordinates and manages promotions, events and sponsored programs. From the Norient book Seismographic Sounds (see and order here).

Edem, rapper and music ambassador for Glo mobile (Photo © by Gapson, 2015)

[Thomas Burkhalter]: Ghana seems highly competitive right now: six mobile phone companies, thousands of evangelical churches, and growing music scenes are attracting buyers and followers. Why is Ghana important for your company?
[Eugene Hoggar]: As you said, Ghana is very competitive. People are striving and pushing. It’s a survival of the fittest economy. If you have a dream you must go for it, as the economy is full of potential. You have to take the bull by the horn. That’s how we are brought up: we cook with seriousness, we dance with seriousness, we sing with seriousness. Churches, businesses, they don’t play. We strive to be the best. This is Ghana. And this is Africa, too.

[TB]: How important is music for the advertisement of Glo mobile?
[EH]: In Africa you can’t do without music. We love music. That’s why we keep signing a lot of artists. We signed Reggie Rockstone, the originator of hiplife music. We have rapper Edem, we have singer Sharifa Gunu, we have a lot of them: the crème de la crème, the biggest music players in Ghana. Let’s reinforce the point: we are in a very competitive environment. To persuade a customer to sign a contract with Glo we need to be unique. So, we have the best artists of the country spearhead Glo mobile. Glo is the best and fastest growing telecommunication company in Africa. When we join forces with these artists we move at the speed of light.

[TB]: What happens when you sign your ambassadors? What is expected from them?
[EH]: We mainly use them for our commercials. We use their music as ringtones. We use their faces on our billboards. They have to carry good messages about the brand and promote the brand anywhere they go. Basically, their blood should be as green as our logo. Everything that they do has an effect on the brand – positively or negatively. If they shine, the brand shines as well. If they release a new track, we do everything to push this track to the next level. We also have ambassadors in Nigeria – for example, superstar P Square. We can invite him to Ghana to collaborate with one of our ambassadors and push his or her career. Music has contributed immensely to our success.

«Good Things Don’t Come Easy»

[TB]: Are these ambassadors difficult to get? A potential candidate might first go to Vodafone, then Glo, then Tigo, and ask each company how much they will pay.
[EH]: Good things don’t come easy, my friend. Yes, we’ve paid an arm and a leg to get them. One of our competitors had one ambassador, now they have two. But Glo has fifteen. We are pioneers for working with musicians. Managing these stars is not child’s play. If you need them for a commercial, they might be in America, England or Switzerland for a concert. Tracking their activities and making sure that they live a good life is difficult, too. They need to give a positive image of the brand.

[TB]: What kind of message do you want to spread?
[EH]: What we try to convey with our TV commercials, radio shows and through our ambassadors is quality, innovation, and the fact that our offer stands out on the market. We use our ambassadors to sermon that message to people. They are at the frontline. All we’re trying to do is to let them rule their world. We want them confidently ruling the world through Glo Mobile Ghana.

[TB]: How important are the lyrics sung on their albums and in concerts?
[EH]: It’s key. If we have a potential future ambassador we analyze his or her lyrics. If we realize that the lyrics bring a negative light on the brand we’ll stay away. We don’t want our brand to be too explicit or vulgar. So, yes, we are careful.

[TB]: So the duo FOKN Bois (learn more about the FOKN Bois here) might not be a future candidate?
[EH]: The FOKN Bois are genius. See, we have a checklist: we want people who have a vision and we want people who positively appeal to the market. We believe in Africanism, and they represent that. So, yes, we are watching them closely. Who knows about tomorrow? We may approach them, or we may not approach them.

The text was published first in the second Norient book Seismographic Sounds. Click on the image to know more.

Read More on Norient

> Wayne Marshall: «From Hi-fi to Wi-fi»
> Norient: «Who Is Being Heard in Global Music?»
> Thomas Burkhalter: «Visions of a New World – Ghana»

Control and unlock hidden features on Roland’s TR-08 (the small one)

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 15 Mar 2018 6:59 pm

While everyone is chasing after Roland’s new TR-8S (see our hands-on test), there are lots of the little TR-08s around. This tool will help you get more out of the Boutique 808.

Okay, first, let’s review:

TR-808: the original 1980-1983 drum machine.
TR-8: the first “AIRA”, the big one with the neon green trim (which can be an 808, 909, 606, 727, 707…)
TR-09: the Boutique Series made to resemble the TR-909 – small and (for extra confusion) more 303-sized
TR-08: the second Boutique Series drum machine, also in a small form factor
TR-8S: the second flagship AIRA, now with sample playback

I’m sure I accidentally referred to that last one as “TR-08S” at least once. Mea culpa.

But there’s still a place for the pint-sized TR-08. And I hear it’s been an enormous hit. Why not? The TR-8S may be more powerful, but the TR-08 is cute and compact and also doubles as an audio interface, so you can pack it into a micro-sized setup.

And with that popularity, you can expect some editors. Often times the user community comes up with stuff that bests what Roland provides.

Momo Müller writes us with his editor/librarian/controller, which joins his exhaustive set for the Boutique Series.

Run this as a Mac or Windows plug-in/standalone, and you can do some handy things:
1. Store parameters in files
2. Recall parameters when you open a project (via the plug-in)
3. Control and automate hidden parameters not on the front panel

#1-2 of course are things you can’t do with an actual 808 – so for live performance or studio sessions, you can quickly recall different settings without having to tweak your way back yourself.

Hidden parameters:
Bass Drum and Snare: Tune and Compression
Clap, CB, Tom, CY, RS: Decay
RS, CB, OH, Clap, CH: Tune

Gorgeous UI, too, Momo – I don’t even have a TR-08, but I would hire you to do UI design. (Plus… does this actually look better than the hardware itself?)

Acid. Demo. Video.

Find the whole series – they call cost just a few bucks, and work in VST/AU/standalone:


For instance:

The post Control and unlock hidden features on Roland’s TR-08 (the small one) appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Readers recommend playlist: songs with sudden changes

Delivered... Pairubu | Scene | Thu 15 Mar 2018 1:00 pm

Artists such as Lorde, Sparks, the Moody Blues and Metallica bring changes of pace to a prog-heavy playlist with twists and turns

Here is this week’s playlist – songs picked by a reader from hundreds of stories and suggestions on last week’s callout. Thanks for taking part. Read more about how our weekly series works at the end of the piece.

Related: Go back to go forward: the resurgence of prog rock

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A free download turns Reaktor into a powerful Buchla modular emulation

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 14 Mar 2018 7:14 pm

West Coast synthesis is yours for a song, by combining a free/donationware download with Reaktor. And now Cloudlab 200t just got a major V2 upgrade.

First, okay – this is not an authorized Buchla product. The Buchla legacy is alive in hardware and software forms. The Buchla Easel got a full-blown remake from Arturia. The Twisted Waveform Generator module has an official remake from Softube – though it’s silly spendy, at US$99. (That’s the price of some actual hardware module kits, or halfway to getting Reaktor!) And of course Buchla the hardware company are back in action with some of the original engineers.

But that’s besides the point: this is in Reaktor. And because it’s in Reaktor, you can pick it apart from the outside in and see how it works. And you can combine it with other Reaktor stuff, and then run the result as a plug-in. That’s something unique – ever wondered what a granular patch would sound like routed through some Buchla effects, for instance?

Does it sound any good? Yes – enough so that colleagues who have spent considerable time on Buchla hardware say they appreciate it. It certainly replicates the control layout and basic ideas of the Buchla, even if it has its own unique sound.

There’s one major downside of Reaktor: all the patching is hidden in the structure. That’s pretty weird if you’re use to patching on the front panel, as on hardware (and software emulations). But it will be familiar to Reaktor users, and it means the control layout on the Buchla is clean – even if there’s some tension behind the way the Buchla was conceived and how it works here.

In version 2, you get some significant updates – starting most importantly with clock sync:

External clock. Any gate in or clock out can be synced to external input, and the 266t Chronikler gets a clock output. Now you can sync to DAWs – or, if you like, stuff like VCV Rack.

Lemur control works both ways. The popular iPad and Android controller app now gets parameters back from Cloudlab, so it responds in realtime.

More noise. Noise sources on the 266t Noise module now include -3 Pink, Flat, and +3 White noise. If this makes you swoon as it does me, then you’re definitely a synth nerd. (Flat is labeled “Buchlesque,” a word I hope to now apply in completely inappropriate situations…)

Easier on the CPU. You’ll still want a hefty processor, but this version promises to be more stable and efficient, says the developer.

More modules. 227t Output interface & 248t Multiple Sequential Generator.

Be sure to make a donation if you like this.

It’s also wonderful to see these ideas spreading. From efforts like this to the rising stardom of people like Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, it’s now not uncommon to meet aspiring musicians on the street who know the name Buchla. That’s a sea change from a few short years ago, when people might know the name “Moog” (and pronounce in a way that rhymes with a sound a cow makes), and referred to all computer production simply by “Pro Tools.” Now, they’re very likely to start lecturing you on their thoughts on West Coast versus East Coast synthesis or tell you what oscillator module their favorite producer just started raving about.

And that’s relevant here, too. It means Reaktor can help spread the viral interest in esoteric synthesis. And that means Native Instruments customers are likely to want to do more than just dial up presets. And certainly as the Buchla brand and other lesser-known names catch up with the giants like Roland, Moog, and KORG, we’re seeing synth lovers willing to look to hardware and software from a greater variety of models.

I’d say this could be overwhelming, but – I think that ignores the possibilities of sound. Once you dive into the Buchla Way, you may just find yourself … really happy.

Let us know if you make some sounds with this.

Big thanks to the wonderful Synth Anatomy where I saw this first:

Cloudlab 200t V2 Released – A Stunning Buchla Based Modular Synthesizer For Reaktor 6

The gorgeous GUI comes from David Frappaz

Trevor Gavilan, who designed and programmed the ensemble, has also used it to make some of his own music. Here’s something entirely produced in just one instance:

More information and download at the NI Reaktor User Library:

Cloudlab 200t V2

The post A free download turns Reaktor into a powerful Buchla modular emulation appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Virtuoso Commodore 64 composer Martin Walker is back

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 14 Mar 2018 5:23 pm

News for nerds: one of the musicians who was most adept at coaxing intricate music from chips is set to make a return. And that means it’s time for some chip music.

Nowadays, the MOS Technology SID chip might as well claim its place as an instrument, not just a chip with a particular game legacy, but among beloved classic synthesizers. And if instruments from the Minimoog to the Roland D-50 are seeing a return, it’s because there are particular techniques you can apply to those synthesizers. (For instance, our friend Francis Preve has delved into remaking the D-50’s synthesis approach, with or without Roland hardware – while we’re talking about the 80s.)

And this isn’t just nostalgia, partly because this stuff takes practice.

Talk about practice: Martin Walker makes the SID sing.

The radar engineer-turned programmer-turned composer, Mr. Walker is something of a legend in chip music circles. His productions are just dense. It wasn’t just chip music, either – he’s gone on to other projects, including circuit bending, composition on other instruments (like he likes the Chromaphone plug-in as much as I do), and has seen bylines in Sound on Sound.

Commodore Format reported yesterday that he’ll make a return to C64 music for the first time in almost 30 years.

Here’s the thing: far from nostalgic, those 80s creations sound positively forward. Here are a few:

Dragon Breed

Altered Beast

Indiana Jones: Fate of Atlantis

(this is a funny one for me, as this game was oddly a favorite of my composition teacher in college…)

Speedball 2 [love this]

And a whole collection of “Walker’s Warblers”:

Full list of his creations:


And his own site/label/project:


We’ll be watching Commodore Format for the news this Friday, because… the future ain’t what it used to be?


The post Virtuoso Commodore 64 composer Martin Walker is back appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Sophie review – hideous and heart-rending BDSM-friendly pop

Delivered... Rachel Aroesti | Scene | Wed 14 Mar 2018 3:35 pm

Heaven, London
The once-shy producer has now, after a gender transition, arrived front and centre to deliver nightmarish, bracingly contemporary electro

As reinventions go, you’d be hard-pressed to find one as dramatic as Sophie’s. While shaking up electronic music in the early 2010s with her arrestingly saccharine sound, the LA-based producer remained carefully concealed from view: publicity pictures were nonexistent, while YouTube videos consisted solely of cutesy CGI objects and live shows in which she was silently sequestered behind the decks. This evening, however, she is pretending to wrestle a giant white inflatable, clad head to toe in skin-tight PVC. Later, she will ride sidesaddle on one of her dancers before performing her own stilted routine. Camp doesn’t begin to cover it.

Sophie’s new hyper-flamboyant stage presence is more than a pose. Having spent the last few years in the studio with artists including Madonna and Charli XCX, in October she stepped out of the shadows with material that seemed more personal than her previous work. First came It’s Okay to Cry, a misty-eyed power ballad about an identity-based struggle for which she performed her own vocals for the first time. Then Faceshopping, whose lyrics read: “Artificial bloom / hydroponic skin / chemical release / synthesise the real.” Until recently, Sophie’s collaborators have referred to her as male – now, the PR literature uses “she”. Although the producer has declined to explain her gender identity in interviews, this new phase feels connected to some kind of transformation.

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4 Science Fiction Novels That Will Blow Your Mind According To Matrixxman

Delivered... By Matrixxman. Photos by Elizabeth Claire Herring. | Scene | Wed 14 Mar 2018 10:30 am

Science fiction and techno go together like Berlin and Detroit. That’s something that often comes to mind when we get lost in the sprawling IMAX-like techno soundscapes produced by Matrixxman. The Berlin-based producer’s work has long been defined by a sci-fi sensibility that pops up in everything from his sound design to his title choices to his chosen monicker.

Tracks like “Access Granted” and “Desert Planet”—both off Sector III: Polyphony, his relatively recent EP for Dekmantel—seem to exist as a part of a fictional, universe of his own creation. This is a mythology that incorporates aspects of advanced artificial intelligence, interstellar travel, creepy transhumanism and gritty neo-cyberpunk noir. Or that’s what we think of when we listen to his music at least. Don’t believe us? Just listen to his mix with Setaoc Mass for EB.Radio.

Unsurprisingly, Matrixxman is also a huge fan of science fiction books. Since we could use a good read, we asked him to provide us with a few of his favorite recommendations.

(Please note: We suggest you play the above techno mix alongside the following ambient noise as you read on.)



The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard (1962)

Ballard is supremely adept at articulating the subtleties of this collective psychosis we are experiencing right now in human history. Despite the bulk of his work not being hyper futuristic in the traditional sense of spaceships or AI-related tropes, he somehow manages to paint breathtakingly detailed visions of his own take on a post-apocalyptic world, or in some instances, an apocalyptic slant on the present. Compared to others in the genre, his willingness to delve into the unpleasant depths of the psyche isn’t just for shock value; it offers great purchase for the mind’s eye to grab onto and take hold of. Subsequently, the worlds he creates feel very immersive and real.

One of those happens to be The Drowned World. The story takes place in a not-so-distant future in which Earth has been overtaken by massive flooding presumably caused by global warming. And given the Trump administration’s proclivity for climate change denial (evidenced by the US’s withdrawal from the Paris Accord, something so absurd in and of itself), this theme couldn’t be more relevant for humanity right now.

If you’re the type to romanticize remnants of civilisation struggling to prop itself up into something resembling society, this might perfect for you. Despite the subject matter being rather bleak, Ballard’s genius makes it thoroughly enjoyable, and I find myself frequently identifying with the protagonist’s nihilism more than I might care to admit. This version of the planet seems to be undergoing a massive reversion to the Triassic age. This isn’t exactly something I’d have thought to be interesting, but Ballard seamlessly pulls it off. Who knows, you might also walk away with a newfound appreciation for reptiles.

Crystal Nights by Greg Egan (2009)

Hollywood sci-fi tends to focus on the more sensational side of emergent AI and the multi-faceted implications of AI becoming fully sentient. It’s far too often we are shown gnarly ass scenarios of killing machines running amuck or some pernicious force that is hellbent on doing its thing with no regard for humanity. And rightfully so. According to minds like Stephen Hawking, those scenarios are not only well within the range of possibility, but they’re actually rather likely.

A less glamorous but equally fascinating alternative outcome entails AI simply not giving a flying fuck about us. For whatever reason, we humans love us some good drama, so these alternative approaches wouldn’t exactly make for a good movie script. But they are occasionally tackled head-on in some sci-fi. Although Egan is routinely classified as hard sci-fi, this one is straightforward and nails it succinctly. It involves an Elon Musk-esque character using his surplus in venture capital to fund super computer simulations of AI in which he allows them to evolve on their own, with just a little tinkering from outside. This short but sweet story by Egan is, in my opinion, the most plausible manner in which we could see AI become self aware. This also happens to be a great primer to his other works like Diaspora, for those interested distant-future transhumanist adventures.

Singularity Sky by Charles Stross (2004)

We can only speculate as to what exactly will happen when the Singularity is finally upon us. However, if there is one thing most writers seem to agree on, it’s that most likely all hell will break loose when the time comes. Singularity Sky, one of the two Eschaton books, explores that concept a few hundred years in the future with a remote colony of Earth that is stuck in a repressive 19th century Victorian age of sorts.

The initial premise itself is already enthralling before the action kicks in; the Singularity occurs and, for some reason, an omniscient AI known as The Eschaton inexplicably scatters humanity throughout a 6,000-light-year-range of the galaxy, perhaps as either some form of punishment or self-defense. But then things majorly kick off when the totalitarian colony of this World is paid a visit by a collective of uploaded minds known as The Festival. Typically I’m not the type to enjoy anything remotely related to the fantasy genre, but the clash between futuristic and retrogressive cultures here couldn’t be more exciting.

Matter by Iain M. Banks (2008)

While we’re on the subject of sci-fi books that straddle the dichotomy of sci-fi and fantasy, one would be doing the genre a massive disservice not to mention Iain Banks’ masterpiece Matter, part of his infamous Culture series. Similar to Singularity Sky, the story juxtaposes a hyper-futuristic civilization next to a feudal society stuck in the past, although there’s not much shared outside of that element. I’ve yet to be disappointed by any of the Culture books, and as far as I remember, they aren’t in any chronological order, which makes them easy to read randomly or concurrently.

The series is based on The Culture, a kind of United Nations of the universe in which humans, AI and other species come together for a singular democratic cause. Although The Culture has primarily altruistic motivations, things tend to get messy rather easily when they come into contact with non-Culture civilizations. And as you can imagine, that is precisely what happens on this particular Shell World, a vast multi-level artificial planet that houses numerous civilizations within it. We become acquainted with the Special Circumstances unit of the Culture, a division tasked with some of the more creative forms of meddling with other civilizations when left with no other option.

In the Culture series, the AI (such as the drones and AI’s belonging to ships) have just as much personality as the human characters, which makes for a highly entertaining dynamic. The size of Banks’ universe is staggering and teeming with life in all corners. If sci-fi continues on its trend of being somewhat prescient and dictating possible realities to come, I’d gladly welcome a world like his.

See more photos from Elizabeth Claire Herring on Instagram.

Read more: Check out this comic by legendary Detroit techno illustrator Alan Oldham

The post 4 Science Fiction Novels That Will Blow Your Mind According To Matrixxman appeared first on Telekom Electronic Beats.

SynthScaper update brings the neural networking designer tool to iPhone users

Delivered... Ashley Elsdon | Scene | Tue 13 Mar 2018 11:00 pm

SynthScaper is one of 3 experimental music apps from iMusicAlbum, the other two being FieldScaper and SoundScaper (both worth checking out by the way). In version 1.3 of SynthScaper, the developer added a new tool, Designer, which was for iPad only initially. Designer is intended to automatically generate and tweak new presets and scenes. Using a neural network the Designer generates new presets based on already existing presets by adding some random variations and checking the result so that the new preset remains similar to the selected pattern.

This update (version 1.4) adds the Designer tool to iPhone version.

Also in this update:

  • Added new scenes and presets.
  • Added a lot of new samples in the built-in library.
  • The Designer tool now available for iPhone version.
  • Improved the option autotune for samples.
  • Optimization for use on iPhone X.
  • Audiobus SDK updated.
  • Several minor bugs were fixed.

SynthScaper is available on the app store and costs $14.99

The post SynthScaper update brings the neural networking designer tool to iPhone users appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Roli updates their Noise app and makes it easier to use and easier to learn

Delivered... Ashley Elsdon | Scene | Tue 13 Mar 2018 10:33 pm

Since Roli launched their Noise app back in December 2015 they’ve consistently brought updates to it. They now refer to it as an instrument and a studio all in one, and I guess that it is. You can use Noise all by itself as a stand alone app for making music, and if you have a device with 3D Touch then you’ll get even more out it. If you have any of Roli’s Blocks units then the app is even more useful.

In this latest release Roli have added:

  • New Tutorial Videos located in the new Learn tab in Discover where you can get tips and tricks suggest as how to play and record loops
  • New Extended Tool Tips Roli have now added these throughout the app so if you ever get stuck, all you need to do is to just tap the ‘?’ icon to learn what’s what

Plus they’ve added a few other improvements and fixes include:

  • Updated accounts settings page to show which account you are logged in with
  • Fixed pitch range issue with drum sounds
  • Fixed issue with undo during overdubbing
  • Various other small bug fixes

Roli’s Noise app is free on the app store with an in app store for content packs

The post Roli updates their Noise app and makes it easier to use and easier to learn appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Solve for “X”:  NFL is to Super Bowl® as USOC is to Olympics® as NCAA is to X® (There Is More Than One Correct Answer!) – Trademarks and March Madness

Delivered... Mitchell Stabbe | Scene | Tue 13 Mar 2018 9:17 am

It was almost exactly one year ago that we reported that the National Collegiate Athletic Association filed a trademark infringement action in federal court against a company that ran online sports-themed promotions and sweepstakes under the marks “April Madness” and “Final 3.”  The NCAA prevailed because the defendant entered into an agreement not to use the marks, but failed to file an answer to the complaint.  A default judgment was entered.  On February 23, 2018, the NCAA filed a motion requesting an an award of attorneys’ fees against the defendant in the amount of $242,213.55.

The amount of attorneys’ fees incurred in a case that was resolved with relatively little resistance illustrates the level of importance that the NCAA places on taking action against activities that “play off” the NCAA Collegiate Basketball Playoffs.  Clearly, such activities continue to carry great risks.  Accordingly, following is an updated version of last year’s blog post on this subject.

With the NCAA Basketball Tournament about to begin, broadcasters, publishers and other businesses need to be wary about potential claims arising from their use terms and logos associated with the tournament, including March Madness®, The Big Dance®, Final Four® or Elite Eight,® each of which is a federally registered trademark.

The NCAA Aggressively Polices the Use of its Trademarks

The NCAA states that $821.4M of its annual revenues derives from the Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament.  Moreover, its returns from the tournament have historically grown each year.  Most of this income comes from broadcast licensing fees.  It also has a substantial amount of revenue from licensing March Madness® and its other marks for use by advertisers.  As part of those licenses, the NCAA agrees to stop non-authorized parties from using any of the marks.  Indeed, if the NCAA did not actively police the use of its marks by unauthorized companies, advertisers might not feel the need to get a license or, at least, to pay as much as they do for the license.  Thus, the NCAA has a strong incentive to put on a full court press to prevent non-licensees from associating their goods and services with the NCAA tournament through unauthorized use of its trademarks.

Activities that May Result in a Whistle

The NCAA acknowledges that media entities can sell advertising that accompanies the entity’s coverage of the NCAA championships.  Even so, as discussed in greater deal in our earlier discussions of the “Do’s and Don’ts” of Super Bowl– and Olympics-related promotions, unless authorized by the NCAA, any of the following activities may result in a cease and desist demand:

  • accepting advertising that refers to the NCAA, the NCAA Basketball Tournament, March Madness, The Big Dance, Final Four, Elite Eight or any other NCAA trademark or logo (The NCAA has posted a list of its trademarks here.)
    • Example: An ad from a retailer with the headline, “Buy A New Big Screen TV in Time to Watch March Madness.”
  • local programming that uses any NCAA trademark as part of its name
    • Example: A locally produced program previewing the tournament called “The Big Dance:  Pick a Winning Bracket.”
  • selling the right to sponsor the overall coverage by a broadcaster, website or print publication of the tournament
    • Example: During the sports segment of the local news, introducing the section of the report on tournament developments as “March Madness, brought to you by [name of advertiser].”
  • sweepstakes or giveaways that include any NCAA trademark in its name
    • Example: “The Final Four Giveaway.”
  • sweepstakes or giveaways that offer tickets to a tournament game as a prize
    • Example: the sweepstakes name may not be a problem, but including game tickets as a prize will raise an objection by the NCAA.
  • events or parties that use any NCAA trademark to attract attendees
    • Example: a radio station sponsors a happy hour where fans can watch a tournament game and prominently places any of the NCAA marks on signage.
  • advertising that wishes or congratulates a team, or its coach or players, on success in the tournament
    • Example: “[Advertiser name] wishes [Name of Coach] and the 2018 [Name of Team] success in the NCAA tournament!”

There is one more common pitfall that is unique to the NCAA Basketball:  tournament brackets used in office pools where participants predict the winners of each game in advance of the tournament.  The NCAA’s view is that the unauthorized placement of advertising within an NCAA bracket or corporate sponsorship of a tournament bracket is misleading and constitutes an infringement of its intellectual property rights.  Accordingly, it says that any advertising should be outside of the bracket space and should clearly indicate that the advertiser or its goods or services are not sponsored by, approved by or otherwise associated with the NCAA or its championship tournament.

Note that none of these restrictions prevents media companies from using any of the marks in providing customary news coverage of or commentary on the tournament.  Just be sure that they are just used to identify the tournament and its stages, and don’t in any way imply that there is an association between the station itself or any sponsor who does not have the rights to claim such association and the NCAA.  The NCAA’s Advertising and Promotional Guidelines are available for review online.

A Surprising History of “March Madness”

The NCAA was not the first to use “March Madness” as a trademark in connection with basketball tournaments.  In fact, beginning in the 1940’s, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) used it in connection with the Illinois state high school basketball championship playoffs.

The NCAA also may not have been the first to license the use of “March Madness.”  Beginning in the early 1990’s, the IHSA licensed it for use by other state high school basketball tournaments and by corporations.

Moreover, the NCAA did not originate the use of “March Madness” to promote its collegiate basketball tournament.  Rather, CBS broadcaster is credited with first using “March Madness” in 1982 to describe the tournament.  As CBS was licensed by the NCAA to air the tournament, the NCAA apparently claims that as its date of first use.

Finally, the NCAA was not the first to register “March Madness” as a trademark.  That honor went to a company called Intersport, Inc., which used the mark for sports programs it produced and registered the mark in 1989.

So, how did the NCAA get to claim ownership of the March Madness® trademark?  The short answer is through litigation and negotiations over a period of many years.  Although it has also been able to obtain federal registrations for Final Four® and Elite Eight,® it was late to the gate and was unable to snag “Sweet Sixteen” or “Sweet 16,” which are registered to the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA).  (The NCAA, however, has the KHSAA’s consent to register “NCAA Sweet Sixteen” and “NCAA Sweet 16.”)

The Final Score

Having invested so much in its trademarks, the NCAA takes policing its trademark rights very seriously.  Even so, although the NCAA may send a cease-and-desist letter over the types of activities discussed above, some claims may not be a slam-dunk as there can be arguments to be made on both sides of these issues.  If you plan to accept advertising incorporating an NCAA trademark or logo or plan to use an NCAA trademark or logo other than in the context of reporting on the tournament, you should consult with an experienced trademark attorney so you can make an informed decision about the level of risk that you may be taking on.

Wahnsinn oder Wirklichkeit?

Delivered... norient | Scene | Tue 13 Mar 2018 7:00 am

Im Video zum Stahlberger-Song «Du verwachsch wieder nume i dinere Wonig» verwischt Regisseur Jovica Radisavljevic die Grenzen von Realität und Wahn. Hier erzählt er, wie es dazu kam und was es heißt, mit Minimal-Budget maximal kreativ zu sein. Aus dem Norient Buch Seismographic Sounds (hier bestellbar).

Still aus Stahlberger (Musik), Jovica Radisavljevic (Video): «Du verwachsch wieder nume i dinere Wonig» (Schweiz 2014)

Die Anfrage von Stahlberger, ein Musikvideo zu «Du verwachsch wieder nume i dinere Wonig» zu drehen, hat mich während einer zweimonatigen Asienreise erreicht. Ich habe sofort zugesagt und bin mit dem Song im Gepäck weitergereist. Immer wieder habe ich den Song angehört und mich gefragt, wie diese Geschichte einer Flucht aus Alltag und Realität in ein Musikvideo umgesetzt werden könnte: Mir war von Anfang an klar, dass das Video furztrocken sein musste. Das passt zu Stahlberger und ihrem einzigartigen Humor. Ich hatte das Bild eines «geistig angeschlagenen» Protagonisten im Kopf, alleine in einem kargen Raum. In welchen Kontext setzen wir diese Person? In ein Gefängnis? Zu übertrieben! In ein Treffen der Anonymen Alkoholiker? Schauspielerisch zu anspruchsvoll! Die Flucht eines Schizophrenen im Auto? Zu teuer!

Zurück in der Schweiz habe ich die Ideen mit dem Kameramann Aron Marty diskutiert, der mit mir dann auch die Crew bildete. Gemeinsam sind wir auf die Idee mit dem Psychologen gekommen. Denn wo verarbeitet man eine Situation, wenn man mit der Gesellschaft oder dem Alltag nicht mehr klar kommt? Ein Setting, das ideal zum Song passt. Dass Manuel Stahlberger als Kopf der Band den Patienten spielen musste, lag auf der Hand. Die Rolle des Therapeuten haben wir dem Bassisten Marcel Gschwend alias Bit-Tuner zugeteilt, der auch innerhalb der Band immer mal wieder den Band-Papa gibt. Und die übrigen Bandmitglieder? Einerseits haben wir sie in den Warteraum der Praxis gesetzt und andererseits mit ihnen diese abgespacten Refrain-Teile inszeniert, die die trockenen Strophen der Realität mit einem schrillen Traum kontrastieren. Das ist ein Grundthema von Video und Song. Man ist sich nie sicher: Ist das jetzt schon Wahnsinn oder immer noch Wirklichkeit? Die Grenzen verwischen, etwa wenn sich ein Käfer aus der Tapete löst und quer über die Wand krabbelt.

Material und Requisiten haben wir an unserem Drehort – eine leerstehende Fabrikhalle –, in umliegenden Brockenstuben und Einrichtungshäusern zusammengesucht, drei Räume bildeten die Szenerie: ein Wartezimmer, ein Behandlungsraum und ein Greenscreen. Der Drehtag hat schliesslich fast 15 Stunden gedauert, und trotzdem war die Stimmung stets heiter. Immer wieder sind Leute vor die Linse gesprungen und man musste die Einstellung wiederholen. Oder wir haben unter dem Vorwand, dass der Take noch immer nicht gut sei, Marcel so lange genötigt, Magnesium zu schnupfen, bis er nicht mehr konnte.

Wir haben viel diskutiert: Warum machst du das jetzt so und nicht anders? Wie sollte der Gesichtsausdruck sein? Was schreibst du in dein Notizbuch? Vieles entstand spontan und ohne Drehbuch. Die Band hat vor dem Dreh von uns nur eine grobe Kurzbeschreibung des Videos bekommen, verbunden mit der Aufforderung, einen Koffer mit allen möglichen Kostümen und Kleidern mitzunehmen. Damit haben wir dann experimentiert. Anderes, wie etwa die Tanzeinlagen des Refrains, entstanden aus der Müdigkeit. Selbst in der Postproduktion habe ich vieles spontan entschieden: Bei der Ästhetik der Refrain-Teile habe ich mich etwa vom wunderbaren Musikvideo «My People» von The Presets inspirieren lassen. Verdienen lässt sich an so einem Projekt übrigens kaum etwas. Uns ist es auch nie ums Geld gegangen. Vielmehr darum, etwas zu tun, was man komplett, von A bis Z, selbst auf die Beine stellt. Die Band hat uns da völlig freien Spielraum gelassen.

Dieser Text wurde erstmals publiziert im zweiten Norient Buch «Seismographic Sounds». Klicke auf das Bild, um mehr zu erfahren.

Mehr zum Thema auf Norient

> Benedikt Sartorius: «Das Musikvideo auf der Couch»
> Christoph Fellmann: «Gefangen in der Schweiz»
> Christoph Fellmann: «Melancholie, zu der man tanzen kann»

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