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

The best music of 2019: as genre erodes, new gems emerge

Delivered... David Abravanel | Scene | Tue 31 Dec 2019 5:43 pm

Sure, years are arbitrary markers. But the annual ritual of listening to selections from guest music aficionado David Abravanel makes it worthwhile.

And this is a perfect producers’ list – music that dissolves genres, bears up to repeated deep listening, and suggests still more possibilities could lie ahead. Here’s David with his latest selections to round out a year in digital music. -Ed.

The 2010s went out with a bang, musically. If the silver lining to turbulent times is interesting art, then we’ve been spoiled during this anxiety-ridden, transitional year. I can’t remember the last time it was this difficult to narrow down my top albums to only 52 choices (arbitrary number!), and still left myself with legitimately great albums that didn’t quite make the final tally. 

As per usual, these are in alphabetical order, though if pressed, I would say my favorite album of the year was Synkro’s Images, favorite EP was Alis’s Papercuts, favorite track was Floorplan’s “So Glad”, and favorite reissue/compilation was The Residents’ Eskimo (pREServed Edition).

Synkro – Images.
Alis – Papercuts.

We’re Floating

I heard more than a few people ask exactly what “ambient” now means as of 2019. There’s no question that the popularity of ambient music resulted in some more reserved and beautiful releases. I spent loads of time exploring the crevices of electronic sound with 0N4B (another excellent release on the Kaer’Uiks label), spacing out with Richard Norris’ Abstractions series (inaugurating his Group Mind label), going to space with Yehezkel Raz’s minimal 9 Moons, and exploring the political economy of “relaxing” music with the reissue of Ami Shavit’s heart-tugging Yom Kippur 1973. And then Fennesz returned with Agora, astonishingly his finest hour yet.

The sparseness of ambient music spread to a number of musicians more well known for techno. Peter has previously covered Barker’s incredible Utility; anonymous label-mate Pom Pom also took a more ambient techno dip with the appropriately-titled Untitled 2. Meanwhile, TM-404 & Echologist quietly updated the sparse template of dub techno with Telomic Ghosts, and Deadbeat provided a master class in dub techno atmospheres with the welcome compilation of his Echocord releases.

The blurring of jungle breaks into house and techno productions (along with great proper jungle) remains an ongoing story. Lapalux, Chrissy, Stenny, and Konx-Om-Pax all released stellar full-lengths which saw the spirit of early jungle and rave merged with everything from R&B songwriting to disco to cavernous techno.

Inimitable Voices

With the proliferation of digital music and the near-complete erosion of clear genre markers, there are more artists than ever who are hard to exactly pin down. 2019 was full of such unique voices: Coppé explored grief and classic opera with her “Martian” electronic style on Na Na Me Na Opera, Tralala Blip made the best dance-pop I’ve heard in a while and straddled the line between agonizingly heartfelt and playful, Andrew Pekler took me to a false memory of exotica parties from decades before I was born, and Elon Katz defied convention between electro, techno, and experimental styles with Pneumania on San Francisco’s underrated Left Hand Path label.

Speaking of genre-blurring, let’s take a moment to appreciate Robert Lippok as an essential collaborator with modern classical musicians. From his beautifully understated work with guitarist Takeshi Nishimoto a few years back, to this year’s touching Kubus with Kaan Bulak (on Bulak’s wonderful Feral Note label), Lippok has proved that rare electronic musician who can work in traditional realms without showing the seams on either side of the equation (if you dig Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto’s collaborative work, Kubus is well worth your time).

Lastly, I’ll embarrass Peter by saying that Intimacy In A Fluid World is the best thing I’ve ever heard from him. If Hardy Fox from the Residents hadn’t died in 2018, I suspect he would have been bowled over by this ethnographic look at a world that doesn’t (yet) exist.

Hard Hits

To be honest, after a decade that saw techno going harder and darker with each hour, I wasn’t expected to hear hard/dark techno in 2019 that would really wow me. Enter veteran Paula Temple, whose Edge of Everything managed to make 909 rushes sound brand new, and Canadian newcomers minimalviolence, whose thrilling take on EBM/industrial/rave sounds scratched a real itch.

minimalviolence – InDreams.

The Return of…

2019 saw some excellent new releases and reissues from veteran artists. It’s nice to see new appraisals of past classics (Nexus 21 and The Connection Machine back in print! The Chemical BrothersSurrender remains essential! The Mad Professor dub versions of Massive Attack’s Mezzanine at long last!), but perhaps even more thrilling to see what established artists can do to still surprise us.

Special mention is due for Cosey Fanni Tutti, whose self-titled Tutti served as an incredible statement of purpose and captured the exploratory and unsettling voice that she’s carried through Throbbing Gristle, Chris & Cosey, and as a solo artist. After the engrossing read of her 2017 memoir, Art Sex Music, Tutti felt like a fitting musical summation and sequel.

If Cosey Fanni Tutti’s album felt like a summation of her powers, Kim Gordon’s No Home Record arrived as a pleasantly shocking left turn. Maintaining the attitude and social commentary of Sonic Youth, but shifting to electronic beats and a hip-hop framework, No Home Record is the kind of album that surprises you, then makes perfect sense as it becomes a quick favorite.

The returns came one after the other this year. Future Sound of London brought back their acid electro alias Humanoid in fine form. After a series of reissues of his material as As One, Kirk DeGiorgio resurrected the alias for Communion, one of his all-time best albums. The Cinematic Orchestra returned after a long absence to strike the same emotional chords with friends and styles old and new. Mira Calix made a very welcome return to Warp, where we’ll hopefully see a new LP from her in 2020 alongside fellow sublime Warp legends Seefeel. Rod Modell pushed the tempo on his Deepchord formula and ended up with some of the most exciting fast-paced techno this side of ASC. 

Speaking of ASC

Was there a more prolific artist than ASC in 2019? I’m pretty sure ASC released more tracks than the number of times I changed my pants in 2019 (make of that what you will). Carrying on the fast techno style he led with the Realms series, going back to the eerie well for an EP on Samurai/Horo, finding inspiration from sci-fi classic THX-1138…and that’s not even covering his album on A Strangely Isolated Place. The dude’s prolific and deserves your ear!

If there was a challenger to ASC’s release schedule in 2019, perhaps it was Amon Tobin. Coming back from a hiatus, Tobin released three albums and an EP, indulging in pseudonyms new and old (the return of Cujo!) and exploring everything from garage rock to autoharp lullabies. 

The Reality of our Surroundings

As I mentioned earlier, 2019 was a year of much anxiety. While it’s easy for us to sit back and enjoy some of the art, the realities – from climate crisis to rising fascism to the dehumanizing of refugees – are impossible (and selfish) to ignore. Music is a healer, but it’s also a galvanizing force. Listening to Meemo Comma’s Sleepmoss and Lamin Fofana’s Black Metamorphosis – two of the year’s most deeply affecting and tough to pin down releases – I’m struck by the ability of music to be both a salve and a reminder of our complex reality. Zonal’s Wrecked – a collaboration between The Bug, J.K. Flesh, and Moor Mother, and perhaps the heaviest listen of the year – provides no easy comforts, but screams for hope in the midst of desolate situations.

I’ll leave things on a simple and positive note, with “Ende #2”, the beautiful closer to Robag Wruhme’s gorgeous Venq Tolep. Over a simple ambient soundscape, we hear greetings from collaborators and friends from around the world. It’s a difficult world, but we do have each other.

And that brings us to this year’s selections – even this extensive list covering just a fraction of some of the best of this year’s bounty, some well recognized, some not so much. We’ve certainly missed music, so let us know if there’s more to hear in comments – including your own work. Thanks as always to David for providing his singular point of view – a human algorithm, as we believe in the users.

Now give these a search on Bandcamp and support the artists and labels. -Ed.

Top 52 albums

Rod Modell – Captagon.
Patten – Flex.

0N4B — Supra/Infra/Intra (Kaer’Uiks)

Amon Tobin — Long Stories (Nomark)

Andrew Pekler — Sound from Phantom Islands (Fatiche)

Andy Stott — It Should Be Us (Modern Love)

Artefakt — Monsoon (Semantica)

As One — Communion (De:tuned)

ASC — Realm of the Infinite (Auxiliary)

Barker — Utility (Ostgut Ton)

Blato Zlato — In The Wake (self-released)

Chrissy — Resilience (Chiwax)

The Cinematic Orchestra — To Believe (Ninja Tune)

Coppé — Na Na Me Na Opera (Mango + Sweet Rice)

Cosey Fanni Tutti — TUTTI (Conspiracy International)

Cosmin TRG — Hope This Finds You Well (Fizic)

E L O N — Pneumania (Left Hand Path)

Fennesz — Agora (Touch)

HTRK — Venus in Leo (Ghostly Intl.)

Humanoid — Built by Humanoid (FSOL Digital)

I Am Snow Angel — Mothership (self-released)

John Shima — The Lonely Machine (Firescope)

Kim Gordon — No Home Record (Matador)

Konx-om-Pax — Ways of Seeing (Planet Mu)

Kyle Bobby Dunn — From Here To Eternity (self-released)

Lamin Fofana — Black Metamorphosis (Sci-Fi & Fantasy)

Lapalux — Amnioverse (Alpha Pup)

Lisieux — Psalms of Dereliction (Steelwork Maschine)

Meemo Comma — Sleepmoss (Planet Mu)

minimalviolence — InDreams (Technicolour)

patten — FLEX (555-5555)

Paula Temple — Edge of Everything (Noise Manifesto)

Peter Kirn — Intimacy in a Fluid World (Kotä)

Pixies — Beneath The Eyrie (Infectious)

Plaid  — Polymer (Warp)

Pom Pom — Untitled 2 (A-Ton)

Richard Norris — Abstractions Volume Two (Group Mind)

Robag Wruhme — Venq Tolep (Pampa)

Robert Lippok & Kaan Bulak — Kubus (Feral Note)

Rod Modell — Captagon (Tresor)

Stefan Goldmann — Veiki (Macro)

Stenny — Upsurge (Ilian Tape)

Stephen Mallinder — Um Dada (Dais)

Synkro — Images (Apollo)

Thighpaulsandra — Practical Electronics with Thighpaulsandra (Editions Mego)

Thom Yorke — Anima (XL)

TM404 & Echologist — Telomic Ghost (Kynant)

Tralala Blip — Eat My Codes If Your Light Falls (Room 40)

Various Artists — ШЩЦ/SHITS (ШЩЦ)

Vilod — The Clouds Know (Mana)

Wang Changcun — As Plausible As Anything Else (play rec)

Xeno & Oaklander — Hypnos (Dais)

Yehezkel Raz — 9 Moons (Artlist.io)

Zonal — Wrecked (Pressure)

Top 15 EPs 

Galcid – Galcid_s Ambient Works.

Abstract Thought — Abstract Thought (Clone)

Alis — Papercuts (Astral Plane)

Claro Intelecto — Forgotten Wasteland (Delsin)

Fanu & Infader — One Thing And Another (Lightless)

Floorplan — “So Glad” / “Feel Him Moving” (M-Plant)

Galcid — Galcid’s Ambient Works (Detroit Underground)

Goiz – Green (Open Space)

Hyusfall — Folsdune (self-released)

Kero & Valence Drakes — Abstract Thought (Detroit Underground)

Kiefer — Bridges (Stones Throw)

LFO — Peel Session (Warp)

Mira Calix — utopia (Warp)

Ras G — Dance of the Cosmos (Akashik)

Seefeel — Sp/Ga 19 (self—released)

Substance — Rise and Shine (Ostgut Ton)

Top Reissues / Compilations

Solar X – Xrated.

Ami Shavit — Yom Kippur 1973 (Sub Rosa)

Deadbeat — The Echochord Sessions (BLKRTZ)

F.U.S.E. — Dimensions (Plus 8)

Gramm — Personal Rock (Faitiche)

Happy Mondays — The Early EPs (London/Factory)

Massive Attack — Mezzanine (Deluxe) (Virgin)

Múm — Yesterday Was Dramatic, Today Is OK (Morr)

Nexus 21 — The Rhythm of Life (Blue Chip)

Osamu Sato — LSD Revamped (Ship to Shore)

Prince — 1999 (Warner Bros.)

Slava Tsukerman, Benda Hutchinson, Clive Smith — Liquid Sky (Death Waltz)

Solar X — Xrated (Galaxiid)

The B-52’s — Cosmic Thing (Rhino)

The Chemical Brothers — Surrender (UMC/Virgin/Freestyle Dust)

The Connection Machine — Painless (Down Low)

The Residents — Eskimo (pREServed Edition) (Cherry Red)

The post The best music of 2019: as genre erodes, new gems emerge appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

No fear: ФОМО is an expressive, transgressive space in Sweden, built by electronic music

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 12 Dec 2019 12:31 pm

It’s a place for the misfits, bound by a love for electronic music and self-expression. Russian-born DJ and event organizer Lana Lain talks about her journey, from cassette to rave to the phenomenon that is ФОМО.

On the ФОМО site, you’ll find a podcast, a code of conduct, registration (events require an invite), and this description of what the project is about:

ФОМО is a gay- och fetish friendly club, aimed to unite closed lgtb communities into a new inclusive subcultural concept. ФОМО promotes progressive visuals, queer installations and musical performances to people who, because of their lifestyle and overall preferences, can’t associate themselves with the major scene. Those who enter ФОМО can experience freedom of sexual expression and acceptance, in surroundings of quality sound, lights and visual art.

Even progressive-seeming Scandinavia often poses the challenges of an alcohol-fueled, hetero-normalized mainstream club scene, to say nothing of Russia. So I wanted to talk to Lana about the realities of making parties that are different – why people do that, and how artists and organizers make it work.

It helps that Lana is a killer DJ with finely-honed techniques and tastes. So, as always, the general rule in this joint is – no abstract discussions without some fine music to go with it.

And it goes without saying that this music really is connected with that scene – with its fantasies, its kinks, its quirks, its joy.

Let’s start with Lana’s own set – more (including live) below…

What’s your background in this scene and nightlife; how did you first get involved? 

I was 14 and influenced by raves in St. Petersburg, which by that time were so huge that they were held in stadiums. I listened to cassettes with recordings of CJ Bolland and Jeff Mills live on Russian Radio Rekord and was addicted to mixing music on my old double-deck cassette player. I got my first vinyl records when I was 16 and tried playing them in local clubs in my hometown. Yeah, I was bold – learning to play vinyl while the public was dancing around. 

I started doing parties in 2011. I had just moved to Stockholm from Karelia [Russia] and started DJing in local raves. I met a guy who was organizing a party series called “Socially Hazardous” (oh, so 2000!), with mostly progressive techno and local DJs. By then, I realized that people in Sweden had no idea about electronic music from Russia or Eastern Europe, understandably so. Like, how would they know? So I came up with an idea of booking DJs from Russia and adding some sense of humor, playing with those “red” cliches, making visuals and art with 30s Soviet Propaganda animation. Together with my friend, we invited people to a “comrade gathering” called Russian Connection. I didn’t expect we would get a great response, but it seemed everybody just was waiting for this. People went to a local Russian shop and bought ushankas and other military kitsch, and we had a huge queue at the entrance. It was a very fun rave/masquerade series of parties, and that’s how Stockholm’s public first got to know about the likes of Stanislav Tolkachev, SCSI-9, DJ Slon, and others.

Take us back to the birth of this event. How did it come about; you’ve been really a primary organizer, yes? 

Well, my friend was the one who knew “the s***”; I was too young and too inexperienced to make any decisions or give orders to any people in the rave scene. The scene is a tough thing, as everything you do is basically not legal. My role was [technically] “art director” and “artist booking manager.”

How did you come to the ФОМО series, then?

I became more and more involved in the Stockholm underground. People voted for me as the best underground female DJ, and somehow the local fetish community invited me to play, as well. That went well, and they invited me to be their resident. I got to know this community more and more, and fell in love with the atmosphere of dedication and respect.

 [Normally], the Swedish fetish community has many rules, and the music is not a focus. During one of the raves in 2016, I met Marija from the fetish club Dekadance, and I shared my ideas about starting a new concept. Together, we came up with these communities, divided by interests or fetish – Stockholm Leather Man Club, Wish Club for Lesbian women. [The idea was for people to] come together, and yet not follow so many rules

Marija and her colleagues shared invaluable experience about do’s and don’t’s. I had also gotten to know the organizers of [Berlin’s] Herrensauna and the Belarusian techno duo Energun. So these experiences, plus my attraction to Eastern European music and dedication to the local community, shaped into ФОМО. 

Imagine we walk into ФОМО for the first time… what do you want our feeling to be?

Check the wardrobe first, as you want to take off your clothes, leaving as little as possible on. Mostly each event is in a new venue, so you’ll start by checking out the different rooms. Probably, you’ll meet some new friends, as people are very open here. I hope you’ll keep your mind free for new experiences, new music, and new friends – so the feeling I’d want would be I guess “endless curiosity.” And constant satisfaction. 🙂 

I think from the outside, a lot of us Americans may see Sweden as a sort of progressive, idyllic world. But I get a reality check from friends who grew up that there’s some conflict between conservative values and conformity, just as people experience in so many other places, too. What does it mean for Stockholm to have a party like this?

It’s true, the Scandinavian nightlife is limited by a lot of laws, plus restrictions on alcohol licences. The authorities think that places where people drink have to be monitored. Because clubs close down so early, it creates an atmosphere where people want to get drunk as quickly as possible, which can lead to aggressive behavior.

In the fetish scene, people are not so eager to get drunk; people like to socialize and experience things. This is a great playground to discover art and music.

Many Swedish rave-lovers travel to Berlin or Amsterdam, which is causing demand for techno parties [in Sweden] to grow. Luckily, there’s a loophole that makes it possible to organize private parties, members’ clubs or Svartklubbar – literally, “black clubs.”  The system is that people have to sign up in advance, and then we can dictate the opening hours ourselves. Because you have to register in advance, we can label our parties as a closed gathering. It’s allowed to sell “folköl” (up to 3,5%). Laughing gas balloons are still a gray zone. [Ed. Uh – be careful with that last one. CDM is not endorsing any use of these!]

Many of these events [in Sweden] can be closed by police, when there were neighbour complaints or if police could discover illegal alcohol sales or any traces of drugs. 

ФОМО is a fetish and gay-friendly member’s club, that also complies with Swedish rules. The venues are usually booked with the contract and no complaints were filed so far. In official Stockholm venues, it’s not allowed to have darkrooms or to take off your clothes, so for the community, our party is a little island of freedom. 

Commercial clubs aren’t allowed to filter the audience, either, but we can. We send a link where you can register, and we make sure that link remains in certain circles. At our parties, guests experience freedom of sexual expression and acceptance, and we try to create a safe environment for the LHBQT [LGBTQ] and fetish scene. We have always been honest and clear about what kind of event ФОМО is.

My readers will also think of Sweden as the land that has given us Elektron, Propellerhead, and Teenage Engineering. Are there any compelling projects you’ve brought in as far as producers? Live acts? Maybe there’s just something about that Swedish climate with its long summer days and long winter nights that makes people crave electronic sounds?

I agree, Sweden has long time been a cradle of engineers, dynamite developers, and music channels such as Spotify.  I like to follow the discoveries that are made by Sound of Stockholm Festival or Fylkingen – Collective,  too. I must say, the Swedish electronic music scene has been full of talents for as long as I can remember.  There are always new, upcoming artists for the rest of the world to discover. I don’t know if it’s the climate or governmental support of music artists, or the natural industriousness of Swedish people. The long nights can give anyone some food for thought, for sure. 

Some of the live acts I was happy to invite as our guests included Alvar, Gijensu, Fjäder, Celldöd. I think they lifted up the vibe and created a real, live experience. 

I have also run ФОМО shows for fnoob techno radio, where I invited live acts such as Lodbrock, Karabasan Drane, and Dawid Dahl. They recorded original live sets for this show, which is available on our SoundCloud. We also invite queer DJs and queer art to take part in our events, as we want to create a space that’s open to innovative ideas or concepts.

Obviously, ФОМО contains a nod to your Russian heritage… are Swedes getting the Cyrllic? I know you’ve also made some interchange with the Russian scene, bringing ФОМО to St. Petersburg’s terrific RAF25 – what can you say about how the connection between these countries? Are there common elements? 

I liked that this word has both F – for “fetish” and OMO – for homo (gay-friendly), but I didn’t want people to associate this with any “fear.” Ф is a beautiful letter which many people recognize from Greek, too, and it looks as a new brand-word. Many of my Swedish friends had to install the Russian alphabet in order refer to the right “Фomo” 🙂  

I was excited to bring ФОМО to Raf25 [in St. Petersburg.] This Soviet bunker with a maze of various rooms is very sexy, indeed. I see a connection to our sound, concept, and aesthetics. I think this could be a good place in Russia for opening the scene to subcultural communities that, at the moment, unfortunately, don’t have their own space. 

What does it mean to you to tie together queer identity, queer activism, and this party project?

As ФОМО, we always will stand on the side of our LGTB and fetish communities. We create a safe space where people can share experiences, understand each other better, and have fun together, without any labeling or other shit. My colleague Marija has lots of experience with queer activism and helps invite the people who we think feel that they really belong. 

We’re happy to see that we attract visitors who feel that they don’t belong to the larger, mainstream scene or don’t feel welcome there. We’re glad to see newcomers discovering new sides of their sexuality. Our experienced ambassadors and hosts are always present in the event and are there for the other guests, in case people have questions or they think somebody doesn’t behave correctly. 

They are also ФОМО – they’re the ones who know how party responsibly, but also are extremely friendly and positive people. 

During Pride 2019, we had a big night event at the local Bronx Sauna Club – it was a perfect match for us since we started in 2016 in a similar venue. Pride 2019 was the craziest party we’ve made. I invited Tommy Four Seven, Madalba and Popoff Kitchen from Moscow.  Also, thanks to collaboration with our local DJ and promoter Dgeral, this event could invite queer artists as Lauren Hex and Femanyst. People were dancing on the table, we had queues like those in Berlin, but with our own, local vibe and color. I’m pretty sure many people felt deeply in their hearts what Pride is about, a joy about who you are. 

 So, what should we know as you gear up for this week’s event?

This week, Sweden celebrates the day of St. Lucia, which coincidently falls on Friday the 13th. It’s a Swedish tradition, singing songs in the church, while a maiden in a long white toga slowly walks through with candles on her head. We decided to celebrate 3 years of ФОМО and let people explore this tradition on their own way, calling our party “Find Your Dirty Lucia.” We booked Janzon from Code is Law and Knigi Live.  You are all welcome to join if you’re in town!

The next party is this Friday, 13 December; register to attend (or make your own party at home with CDM and these mixes, you know… black out the windows for the Swedish December experience of light).


More listening…

And one more – from Venezuela’s Dgeral:

Photos by Rikard Jarl for ФОМО, with additional photos by Lana.

The post No fear: ФОМО is an expressive, transgressive space in Sweden, built by electronic music appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Tour chip music’s underbelly – ripped-off, anti-human, and wonderful

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 21 Nov 2019 7:21 pm

Just as everyone is arguing for warmth and humans and “organic” music, Diskette Deluxe is here to save us with inhuman and unoriginal goodness – and we couldn’t be happier.

Composer Rutger Muller can sometimes be found composing angular music for instruments, colliding with electronics, defying genres and easy categorization. But we first got to know Rutger as a chip music lover and creator. And maybe those go together – defiantly rebellious about genre, hedonistic about enjoying sound.

Photo: Bas de Boer.

I know Rutger pretty well as a friend (I think!), so “whimsical” as Secret Thirteen writes – sure. I mean, if people aren’t enjoyable to be around, if we don’t actually have fun with music, then what’s the point, exactly? I suppose we could all launch careers in being professionally over-serious, and arguably some have, but … let’s ditch those people and see if we can sneak away while they’re not looking to go for drinks without them.

Under his chip-infected alias Diskette Deluxe, Rutger is as good a tour guide as you can have to chip music’s weirdly eclectic world. Rather than being about nostalgia or games, chip music is then a low-resolution digital imprint of the love of music itself.

That’s what you hear on Rutger’s own 2016 album “Space Tourism” – but he knows his stuff outside that.

I love his quote for Secret Thirteen:

My favourite chiptune has stolen all its influences (from pop, prog rock, funk, (italo) disco, reggae, baroque, Chinese music, and what not) and disregarded the idea to sound “human”, warm, organic, original, or any of those notions (which are often very esoterically misused anyway). The evolution of chiptune was powered partly by video game culture, and partly by hacker/cracker (demoscene) culture. I think composers on both sides of that spectrum had a healthy sense of absurdity: how else could you get the idea to translate the complex instrumentation of for example progressive rock music to computers that could produce on the simplest of sounds? The makers of chiptune composing software (trackers) were equally as creative, they implemented the sound design and composition tricks that still can’t be made with modern software to this day. Goethe said (freely translated): “It is precisely because of limitations that we can discover virtuosity.” Have fun!

Secret Thirteen is always wonderful and digs deep into the underground with their mix series, so this is an appropriate chip contribution to their ongoing work. Track list:

1] 0:00 – Goto80 – Break3A [Rebel Pet Set, 2005] (made on Commodore 64)
2] 1:00 – Ryu Umemoto (梅本竜) – “Spiral” from the NEC PC-9000 game “Desire (デザイア) ~Spiral of Perversion~” [C’s Ware, 1998]
3] 3:20 – Martin Iveson – “Moody Breeze” from the Commodore Amiga game “Jaguar XJ220” [Core Design, 1993] (made on Commodore Amiga)
4] 6:30 – Simon Stålenhag – “Ripple Boogie” [Ubiktune, 2011] (made using Yamaha FM7)
5] 9:40 – elmobo (originally called Moby) – “Groovy Thing” (Remastered) from the Amiga demo “Dreamdealers” by demogroup Inner-Vision [ranked 1st in the demo compo at demoparty “Iris New Year Conference”, 1991]
6] 12:45 – elmobo (originally called Moby) – “88, Funky Avenue” (Remastered) [ranked 2nd in the music compo at the demoparty “Iris New Year Conference”, 1991](made on Commodore Amiga)
7] 15:45 – Martin Iveson – “Title” from the Commodore Amiga game “Jaguar XJ220” [Core Design, 1993]
8] 18:05 – Firefox & Danko – “Galaxy II” [ranked 1st at the 4-channel music compo at demoparty “Phenomena and Censor Party”, 1990]
9] 21:40 – Excerpt of Firefox & Tip – “Hyperbased” from the Amiga demo “Enigma” by demogroup Phenomena [ranked 1st at demoparty Anarchy Easter Party, 1991]
10] 22:15 – Xtd – Knick-Knack [1995] (made on Commodore Amiga)
11] 23:45 – Friendship – “Let’s Not Talk About It” [Elektra Records, 1979] covered by Dimeback [self-released, 2019]. Made with Famitracker (NES/Famicom/2A03 sound). Mashes in a few elements of Koji Kondo’s “Underworld Theme” from the NES/Famicom game “Super Mario Bros.” [Nintendo, 1985]
12] 26:05 – Peer – Dance3 [Pause (II), 2010]
13] 30:10 – Fearofdark – “Don’t Go Outside” [Ubiktune, 2017]
14] 34:30 – 52:40-56:10 – zinger & bacter – “Sky Stroll” [Ubiktune, 2011] (made using Yamaha FM7)
15] 38:05 – dogs++ – “Hot Poppers” [Cheapbeats, 2019] (made using LSDJ 6.8.2 for Nintendo Gameboy)
16] 40:20 – Allister Brimble – “Menu” from the Commodore Amiga Game “Body Blows Galactic” [Team 17, 1993]
17] 42:06 – Katakura Mode – “リラックス広場“ (Relaxation Square) [Yotsuchi Records, 2014] (made using KORG M01 for Nintendo DS)
18] 44:05 – George & Jonathan – “Out With My Girlfriends” [2010] (made in PxTone Collage for Windows)
19] 45:50 – Chipzel – “Come On Down (Character Select)“ from the PC game Dicey Dungeons [Terry Cavanagh, 2019]
20] 46:45 – elmobo (originally called Moby) – “Dragonsfunk” [1990] (made on Commodore Amiga)
21] 49:30] – cTrix – “DX Heaven“ [Bleepstreet, 2013] (made on Commodore Amiga)
22] 53:10 – Jester – “Stardust Memories“ [World of Commodore 92, ranked 2nd in trackmo compo, 1992]
23] 55:15- Dizzy – “Banana Split” [ranked 24th in the Amiga Music compo at demoparty The Party, 1993]
24] 56:50 – PROTODOME – ”Wingroovin.mid” [703089 Records DK, 2018]
25] 58:40 – Yuzo Koshiro (古代 祐三) – “Player Select” from the Sega Megadrive/Genesis game “Street of Rage” [Sega, 1991]

And there’s evidently more coming from Mr. Muller. He passes along this preview of a live set which is also morphing into some new release:

My cartridge is ready.

Photo at top: GAG.

The post Tour chip music’s underbelly – ripped-off, anti-human, and wonderful appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Gays Hate Techno talk non-commercial techno culture, with a killer compilation to match

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 19 Nov 2019 8:34 pm

Their festival has no wristbands. Their lineups aren’t blowing up on socials. But when Gays Hate Techno throws a party or does a compilation – like the one that just dropped – what you get is nothing but musical spirit.

It’s just the kind of subversive attitude that has infused the best electronic music. Since we can’t all make the gathering, Gays Hate Techno compilations can bring you some of that feeling directly through the music. The comps have easily become must-hear events, and version 4.0 is no different.

I spoke with GHT founder Matt Fisher and compilation producer Benjamin B. Orphan Eksouzian to get insight into how it all comes together. They bring a hopeful message for anyone who feels like they’re not finding community in electronic music – and a template for how to work together to get that groove back.

Oh yeah, and – since this is a compilation, we’ve got something to queue up for listening. (Don’t miss the corker of a track by friend-of-the-site David Abravanel, whose music has the perfect wit for the task.) There’s a full megamix of the music (which you can also get by subscribing to their podcast):

Images courtesy GHT, from their gathering.

Peter: I know this is a unique kind of group; can you explain how you imagine this group and how it works?

Matt: Gays Hate Techno isn’t a commercial promoter in the traditional sense. We don’t have a set roster, resident DJs, or a particular agenda. We organize around doing projects like the gathering and compilations that support the online community, not the other way around. In that way, the compilation and the gathering have the same objective — they’re ways we can promote and celebrate relationships that otherwise exist only or mostly online. 

Peter: The people I know who have been to your events say it’s a really special chance to come together. How does the gathering function for the group?

Matt: The format for the gathering is modeled after radical faerie gatherings and Burning Man-style encampments, so it has objectives that are different from, say, a commercial music festival. We’re a low-cost slumber party built around music, but a community-building event first and foremost. What I mean by that is that we rely on participation, volunteering, and spontaneity more than maybe a festival would. We also try to be as low cost as possible, and we maintain a travel fund that defrays costs for our women, trans, nonbinary performers and performers of color. 

Peter: So how does the community work – how do people participate?

Matt: Anybody can and should participate. Our structure is built around facilitating personal interactions as much as it is producing a music lineup. We have an open call for performers, and we leave room around our curated program time for an open program for spontaneous sets and projects. 

People volunteer to cook meals, help park cars and help set up stages. We ask everyone to donate 2 hours of their time. They also bring art, conduct harm reduction training, act as our medical team, give massages, do yoga and meditation. Obviously an event our size doesn’t particularly need 400 volunteers. The objective of the volunteering is much more about shaking people out of spectator mode and giving them an excuse to make new friends while being part of the event, not just part of the audience. 

I think that the social focus leads to better performances, by the way. We set up an environment that makes for relaxed, enthusiastic listening, and people who’ve let their guards down a little bit, and encourage the DJs and musicians to pursue more personal, farther-out ideas than maybe they normally get to explore. There’s a great feedback loop there. We’re all there as music fans, and as a supportive network.

Benjamin: In terms of the compilation process, as Matt stated above, we view these compilations as a creative product of the members of Gays Hate Techno. Our aim is to promote our members’ art and to showcase their original work as expressed through the musical genre of techno. 

To that end, each year (cycle) we announce a call to participate to the current members of the facebook group, email contacts from previous compilations, as well as a Discord group for folks who have decided to leave Facebook, but want to stay connected to the gathering and community. Members create all of the content – music, album artwork, promotional video work, press release copy, and in most years the audio mastering of tracks. 

We encourage volunteer work and participation to create a compilation that reflects our community. We require the artist to declare the work as their own and to confirm that it doesn’t contain samples that could present a licensing issue. Outside of that, we don’t reject works from an aesthetic critique standpoint. This year, for example, we had more artwork submissions for the album artwork than we could use and decided to let the Facebook group vote to determine the final piece to represent Gays Hate Techno IV.

Peter: At the risk of making you explain a joke, I have to ask – what’s the story with the name?

Matt: Gays Hate Techno is a joke name that came out of a conversation I had with friends in NYC back in 2010 or 2011. They were running a party at the Stonewall Inn that featured techno, tech-house, and minimal more than what at the time was typical gay male club music. It was the answer to the question: why’s it so hard to get people to come out to listen to better music? 

Each of the three words was meant sarcastically, of course, with a sort of Kathy Griffin-type ironic dismissiveness. A couple of days later, I put together the Facebook group as a way for us to just toss around and post tracks we liked. People invited friends, and it very, very quickly became an international group. People would comment that they didn’t know any other queer people who liked the music people were posting. So there was a desire to connect with other people this way.

CDM: Thanks to this whole crew – I’m tempted to call this group “Haters”? Do support the compilation and this wonderful community and give it a listen – and buy it if you like it.


Featured artists you should get to know:

Jarvi aka Acid Daddy shares some of the background with us about their track – and it’s an essential and powerful story:

“i am honored to be included in the fourth edition of the Gays Hate Techno compilation! my track, “what they took from me i will never get back”, is a step towards healing. a sonic representation of my state of mind post-trauma, and the strain it has put on my interpersonal relationships because of the inflicted fear and pain. i am a survivor, but the memory is there with me each day i wake up, until the moments laying in bed before i drift to sleep.

since my abuse happened back home
in michigan, it is important for me to give back to the queer & trans folks there without medical help or accessibility. detroit, and michigan in general, have limited resources for LGBTQIA+ family, and there is no facility exclusively for queer and trans survivors of sexual abuse and rape, which is an important factor when you’re navigating this type of trauma. i have decided that i will match the sales of this record until december 18th of this year, and will be donating that on top of my own contribution to the Ruth Ellis Center, an organization in detroit that provides safe living for homeless queer and trans youth, support services, a drop in health center for wayne county residents who are medicaid eligible at no cost, and transition resources for trans youth, just to name a few. therapy is key in the healing process, and giving queer youth access to that is crucial.

i hope y’all enjoy the compilation. thank you for the continued support!…” –Jarvi Guðmundsdóttir aka Acid Daddy (excerpt from FB post)


More details and pictures from the gathering can be found on the official site:


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Listen to ambient sound from around the world, recorded with a 4’33” app

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 31 Oct 2019 6:31 pm

To anyone who says there are too many music makers in the world, maybe you aren’t aware of how much sound is in the world. Crowd-sourced iPhone recordings and the ghost of John Cage are here to set you straight.

First, there’s the app – the 4’33” app is an official, licensed app that makes field recordings to the exact specifications of John Cage’s infamous score as premiered in 1952 by pianist David Tudor. And yes, that means it even comes in the score’s original three movements – a fun fact you should definitely share at parties. (Hey, where did everybody go?)

The app has been out since 2014, courtesy John Cage Trust and publisher C.F. Peters. (Yes, C.F. Peters still owns the rights to a score that contains … nothing.) It’s $0.99 – a small price to pay for… well, for a new way of perceiving all the sounds of the world, maybe?

What’s really astounding about this is not so much the app, though, as the collection of sounds the app has made worldwide. And that has grown in the half decade since the app’s release. You might expect them to all be clustered around New York, San Francisco, and London, but instead six of the seven continents are represented. The iPhone microphone is pretty decent at recording a general monophonic ambience – a fancier stereo recording would do better, sure, but the phone somehow makes a representation of how we perceive and remember those spaces. So you can have a charming journey around the planet and its sounds.

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world…

4’33” App for iPhone [App site and interactive map with sounds]

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This month is a meteor shower of great music; Objekt compiles a list to get you started

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Thu 24 Oct 2019 1:24 pm

It’s the simplest social media revolution ever – bombard the Internets with music tips, not trolling. Objekt tweeted out his latest Bandcamp haul, and let me just add – “aye, sir.”

Producers are opting out of the sticky ooze of streaming, algorithms, and industry muck, choosing instead to find music the old-fashioned way – hey, here’s a list of stuff I found. And there’s a concerted effort among even big-name festival headliners to promote paying for downloads, with a decided emphasis on fan-favorite, artist-beloved Bandcamp.

Objekt is a special sort of headliner; playing massive mainstages, but constantly surprising with risky, gutsy moves even there. He also has a tendency to show up at tiny venues for love – as he did recently with Berlin’s TRADE at Ohm, where I caught a jaunty broken trip. And, as here, he’s also a steadfast champion of eclectic underground stuff and is outspoken about his choices.

I bring up Objekt because I have been digging a lot of the same stuff lately. That’s not some promo list or algorithm or cool kids’ club; these people are making a splash via word of mouth. I mean, this isn’t representative of all that’s awesome – I’m digging more into the Philippines and southeast Asian experimentalism this week, so watch this space – but it is a nice selection of adventurous electronic explorations to get goingt’s g

Let’s go:

Emptyset live were a highlight for me already, having watched them rattle the walls of a Latvian warehouse at Kontaktor Festival in Riga in June – and then they’ve gone and done this excellent full length:


We already talked about Loraine James on Hyperdub:

Rui Ho is really excellent:

I hope to talk more about Dawn Of The Failed Units, a new international imprint helmed by Berlin’s Thomas Romana. Smog has an excellent “post-gabber” debut – see a detailed writeup on The Ransom Note. That’s Paolo Combes, who co-founded the oqko collective seen previously on CDM. And this one is a corker:

The Antwood remix is already streaming, the rest shortly:


And, sorry, embeds are weird so you’ll see that twice, but also – Blawan remains at the forefront of techno, so if it’s all you listen to, still a good choice:

I have been thoroughly enjoying the music coming out of Shanghai ever since I got to stop through there in April. That very much includes the wonderful production work of 33EMYBW, who has also been doing some superb remix work lately – more on that soon – and the hypernerdy goodness of Gooooose (who also does some terrific Max for Live invention, while we’re at it). It’s all out on Shanghai’s Svbkvlt imprint, which has been blowing up lately at the center of the city’s small, tight-knit, but innovative scene.

Check out the label page:


And there’s more:

One of the great things about Bandcamp is that it makes it uncommonly easy to keep up with great new stuff to love. If you choose the ‘subscribe’ option when you follow a label or buy music, you’ll have more latest releases delivered to your inbox. So I think part of what is keeping Bandcamp users loyal is, the more people acquire, the more the service is full of new music to appreciate. And in turn, that keeps those producers making new music.

That sounds obvious or like some sort of infomercial for Bandcamp, but it’s important to note that major streaming services don’t work like this. These tools drive more and more “engagement” in the form of streams, but there’s very little feedback to the people making the music, let alone money. Bandcamp can at least cover making cassette tapes or paying for mastering, even in fairly underground stuff, and grows from there – plus people get real feedback on what they’re releasing. And there isn’t the kind of algorithmic intervention pushing people from their human, personal choices toward whatever the service thinks they should want. Services like Traxsource and Beatport do allow following, too, and can offer the same benefits, but those tend to be more genre-specific – Bandcamp is far more eclectic, and not limited to dance music.

Featured image: 33EMYBW by Marco Microbi, at CTM Festival.

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Gorgeous new music from Hainbach, like dreams above radio antennas

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Mon 16 Sep 2019 5:55 pm

Hainbach may be known to most as the YouTuber with a bespectacled gaze, talking to you about weird old sound gear. But his ambient music is absolutely beguiling.

Gestures, his new LP this month, is a gauzy, sensitive reverie, as ghosts of piano loops slip between washes of delicate oscillator tones. Nothing is overthought or precious; there’s a gentle openness to each sound.

From the description:

Gestures is an album of disappearing and acceptance. The sense of loss is lifted by interweaving piano phrases, harmonized by fragile oscillators. Gentle movements above radio antennas guided the recording process, adding an incorporeal, dreamlike feel.

Cassettes are sold out, but vinyl is still available.

Digital is through today only name what you want, because the artist says he just wants it to be widely heard.

But maybe there’s the resonance between Hainbach’s art and his YouTube channel – he’s someone who is simply glad to welcome you into his home and share what he’s doing. So that transparency is there in his labor-of-love discussions of his tools, but also there in the easy intimacy of his mixes and compositions, too.

Here’s a new music jam from him, as well:

In art it is possible to create a sense of clarity that is difficult to attain in everyday life. That is a huge attraction to me. Here I am playing the Bellinger eKalimba and OP1 into the Ciat-Lonbarde Plumbutter, with Thyme generating lovely rhythms.

And in case you missed it, our last stop by Hainbach with our new MeeBlip geode:


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Clubnacht sounds: heavy techno from Jessica Kert,

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Fri 30 Aug 2019 5:24 pm

Let’s transport you to Berlin for a while – with three of us who share interests in techno and experimental electronic music, drawn from broader music and technological background.

I’m fortunate to get to join Jessica Kert, Lana Lain, and SDX tonight at Berlin’s Suicide Club. I’ve been a fan of Jessica’s music ever since first giving it a deep listening on her Detroit Underground outing. And as Jessica is deep into technology, it’s also worth noting that Lana Lain’s backround in techno is drawn from classical education. I think the days when there was a line drawn between such things are over. (That also means, in turn, erasing the attitude toward dance music as being a lesser form of expression, which speaking as an American to me suggests some fairly racist overtones.)

But let’s skip directly to the music. I’ve also got a new mix out this week, revealing some of the heavier sounds I’ve been into.

Jessica Kert (pictured at work, top) is a familiar face as one of the experts staffing Schneidersladen, but you should know her music as well – both solo and as half of the duo ZV_K.

Her outing on Detroit Underground DW is a modular magnum opus and one of my favorite DU releases of late:

But she’s also an adept live performance improviser – which will be on showcase tonight.

Check out her mix, too:

She’ll be joined on live visuals by defasten, who has been up to some superb alien eye candy, produced with software (modular, of sorts) Notch:

Lana Lain was born in Russian Karelia, but established herself in Stockholm before recently moving to Berlin. She’s been hyperactive in the music scene, including building her ФОМО party series (and accompanying radio show on the UK’s Fnoob Techno Radio. That has carved a space in Sweden for international art friendly to gay, queer, and fetish culture. I hope to talk to her more about that network soon, but in the meantime, here’s the terrific techno mix she did recently for Fast Forward:

I’ll also share a new mix of my own, channeling some harder, driving sets and favorites – and digging through this, I’m encouraged by how the darker, weirder sides of electronic music have gotten some real popularity in techno. These artists aren’t fringe any more, at least getting a growing following around the rich networks of fans in parties in Europe and abroad.

ˈYO͞ONƏˌSEKS is the new podcast and party series from ANRI, the Yokohama-born, prolific producer, DJ, and party organizer. Her work got her deep into Tokyo’s underground, before bringing that sensibility to Berlin, where she’s served as a bridge between the techno communities in Japan and Germany. So it’s a pleasure to reflect a bit of what I’ve gotten to experience from her circle into my own response:

Track listing – go find those folks and labels on Bandcamp or your favorite store (like Rotterdam’s Mord, who I didn’t repeat her intentionally, but whose Bandcamp page is well worth a splurge):

  1. Pris – Ad Infinitum [Avian]
  2. Donato Dozzy – Parola featuring Anna Caragnano (Rework) [Spazio Disponibile]
  3. Judas – ID 14 [Arts]
  4. Th;en – Modular (Mike Vath & Robin Hirte Remix) [Tabula Recordings]
  5. Sawlin – Oblique [Arts]
  6. Ansome – Bearded Lady (JoeFarr Remix) [Them Recordings]
  7. Blawan – 993 [Nutrition]
  8. Oscar Mulero – Texture (Cassegrain Remix) [Warm Up Recordings]
  9. Rebekah – Code Black (Slam Remix) [Soma Records]
  10. Ethan Fawkes – Barricades Did Not Burn [Corresponding Positions]
  11. Fjaak – Drugs [Seilscheibenpfeiler Schallplatten Berlin]
  12. Dave Tarrida – Bound To You [Mona Records]
  13. Albert Van Abbe – In Rotterdam [Mord]
  14. Uun – Destruction of Heaven and Earth [Mord]
  15. YYYY – Repent [Weekend Circuit]
  16. Scalameriya – Crucible [Perc Trax]
  17. Thomas P. Heckmann – Bodywrap [Monnom Black]
  18. Paula Temple, Fever Ray – This Country (Paula Temple’s INSTRUMENTAL Version) [Rabid Records / Co-op]
  19. La Fraicheur – Eaux troubles (VTSS Remix) [InFine]
  20. Hiro Ikezawa – Spiral Arm [Murasame Industrial Records]
  21. Ket Robinson – The Fear (Mab Remix) [Taro Records]
  22. A001 – Cyprido [Mord]
  23. Nicolas Bougaïeff – Cognitive Resonance [novamute]
  24. Air Liquide – Semwave [Blue]
  25. Sleeparchive – Wood [Tresor Records]


And if you’re in Berlin and want to stop by and say hi, that’ll be here, by Warschauer Str S-Bahn:



More on music and visual artists from – well, this week, even, as Atonal is also on – very soon. Now excuse me; I may squeeze in a disco nap.

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Give yourself an onscreen acid trip with Air Liquide

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 7 Aug 2019 9:53 pm

Some things are labeled in misleading ways. Some people will lie to you about who or what they are. Air Liquide’s “This Is A Mind Trip” is … a mind trip. That is all.

“You can’t really understand music / xxx if you haven’t had drugs” always struck me as one of the most annoying and narrow-minded things people say. But you know, if your day is overly normal, and all you have is your computer here or computational device – which I can presume from the fact that you’re reading this – I give you this video:

It’s a music video for Air Liquide, which is to say there’s tons of stacked, chemical-seared chaos melting into your screen. the29nov films, the Berlin-based outlet specializing in music videos, provide the visuals, but under the influence of Air Liquide go somewhere way trippier than usual. Mind trip, not a body trip. (Poet Mary S Applegate, ongoing collaborator, provides the voiceover and poetry.)

There’s a whole wonderful EP to go along with this. “Die Singende Saege” is a chilled out eye of the storm in the center, a dubby interlude that stutters and melts. Then “Zeitgeber 3” powers through at the end.

Liquid Sky have been up to other visual mayhem in its new undisclosed outpost in Portugal (having fled Germany). Acid more of the 303 variety gets densely packed with 90s-ish video layers, in an artist special with guest Sascha Mueller:

And then if you keep scrolling, you get to opera singers overdubbed with modem sounds. You’ve scrolled here, too, so I think you’ve earned this. Bravo.


If you missed what was going on with Air Liquide before, here’s your explanation:

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Techno lovers, don’t miss James Ruskin’s new EP and updated Blueprint catalog

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Fri 19 Jul 2019 3:17 pm

It’s the Detroit-Croydon connection. But for innovative electronic dance sounds, you really don’t want to miss James Ruskin – either his new EP or the refreshed Bandcamp page for Blueprint Records.

First, out today, you get a new James Ruskin EP – and it’s brilliant, worth the five year wait from the last one. This time, we’ll get a second solo Ruskin by the fall, plus something new on 12″ from the always-excellent Truncate, all on Ruskin’s stalwart Blueprint Records (founded back in the storied 1990s with (Richard) Poison.

I mean, blah blah, techno is dead, nothing new is happening, I can’t hear you over this track, just for example –

Yes, techno is perhaps overly driven by influencers and Instagram accounts, except I can’t really think of anything intelligent to say other than “go hear it.” Maybe I should work out my wardrobe and just tell you that from Instagram and adapt to the times.

You can have it today on vinyl – still in stock at Decks for a slim 9 bucks:


But don’t stop there, as it appears the full Blueprint Bandcamp page has gotten a refresh, chock full of re-released back catalog. Also this week is this lovely collab with Mark Broom:

And then Blueprint just goes on and on from there, from Samuel Kerridge and Surgeon, whose St. Petersburg sets last weekend are part of the reason CDM news has been a bit slow on the road this week, to Lakker and O/V/R. Have at it then. It’s summer (for one hemisphere), and music is still endless joy (for everyone, I hope).


James Ruskin will release his first solo EP in five years later this month.

Reality Broadcast Off, the influential UK techno artist’s first solo EP since 2014’s Nan Nife, has three tracks that find Ruskin in the sort of deep techno mode of Ostgut Ton peers like Marcel Dettmann, who played “Disaffection” on a recent mix for BBC Radio 1. The EP will come out on Ruskin’s long-running label, Blueprint Records, on July 19th.

Blueprint also has two more releases in the works. A second solo Ruskin EP is scheduled for this autumn, followed by a new Truncate 12-inch. More details will follow soon.

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Ambient music you can time to a sunset, from Christopher Willits

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Tue 18 Jun 2019 4:55 pm

Drop the inane Spotify “chill” playlists, forget the meditation app that isn’t working … what you need to really feel some peace is the gorgeous new Christopher Willits outing, Sunset. He even suggests hitting play just as the sun starts to come down.


And, yeah, you could do that. I mean, in my fantasy life, I have an incredible villa just off the Pacific Coast Highway where I watch the sun sink into the waves through my enormous glass-bottomed pool on the cliff.

In real life, I’ve already just scheduled some mental sundowns at any old time. (I might take some listening device that still has a headphone jack and go lie somewhere and watch the sun set here near home, though.)

Have a listen to the opening cut in full:

I’ve known Chris’ music a long time and – I think this is perhaps the most beautiful thing he’s ever done. It’s a real ambient landmark, each fuzzy tide of sound precisely detailed. It’s almost impossible not to experience some unusually focused color synesthesthia as you listen. (It’s not an accident that Mr. Willits is a designer and photographer, too.) There are tonal and textural nods to Brian Eno, but as pads melt into one another and oscillate across the stereo field, this also seems unique to this artist. Rather than chill as opioid as is so often peddled to us in today’s algorithmic streaming effluent waste, here letting go as focus as clarity, like breath.

It makes sense, too – Christopher is a talented musician as well as sound designer, so the sounds here are gestural as well as calculated. His live work builds on instrumental practice and pedals; here that background just reaches some clarity.

Christopher Willits. Photo Alingo Loh.

Reasonable view. Photo by the artist.

It has the sound of something you’ll want to actually keep and listen to with some real intention – the way you did when you first fell in love with albums.

It’s a salve for times when we feel the heat of the sun more than ever. He writes:

“When I was 13, I understood that my life’s path was to make music in the service of love, peace, and spiritual healing. Music is a medicine that allows us to feel, listen and surrender to the present moment. The compositions I create move through my imagination, heart, and hands, like guitar through a speaker, and light through a lens. I am continuously learning and evolving with the process; a practice of letting go of all that I create, as it creates me.”

Living stereo is how you’ll most likely experience this, but of course Chris is also using the Envelop spatial audio system he’s led in San Francisco, too. And sure enough, you can get immersive files that are 3rd order ambisonics for listening in other speaker configurations. (Someday, that should also mean more options for even personal mobile listening, as we get more headphone options.) You can even use Envelop Software in Ableton Live.

He’s also been narrating this release on his Twitter account – and why this is for his dad (and mom):

Try the Envelop tools for Ableton Live here:


And the release:


If that listen hasn’t chilled you out enough, my other favorite has to be the Ryuichi Sakamoto collaboration Ocean Fire – just one of the most gorgeous albums ever. The two make a nice pairing, too, adding some stutters and clicks to Sunset‘s carefully concentrated drones:

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You need this groovy Noncompliant techno mix in your life now

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Fri 31 May 2019 5:05 pm

Noncompliant has some sexy-cool techno bounce going in her mix for WHOLE Festival. It’s the perfect link between midwest techno and the coming queer-focused blowout in the countryside near Berlin.

Press play for some forward moving music (track listing at bottom):

Our friends over at KALTBLUT magazine invited Lisa aka Noncompliant over to their recent podcast. That “midwest techno” moniker isn’t just an in-the-know way to say, erm, which state a DJ came from while name dropping. It’s a byword for a particular breed of DJ who has clocked untold hours in the mud – sometimes literally – making the rave circuit for years on years, often booking their own gigs, hustling their own … cables/everything, and generally surviving on love of the music alone.

But the important thing about that is, you can hear it in the mixing. And we love listening to music that sounds confident partly because it gets us moving and confident ourselves. Oh yeah, and when you know what you’re doing, you can also drop a crowd-pleaser and classic now and then and totally stick the landing, like Lisa evidently did in Detroit at Movement last week:

More where that came from:

Now, yes, America is still recovering from Movement, but Europe has stuff like WHOLE coming up. The queer-organized, queer-focused festival has a massive lineup, partly because it pulls together LGBTQ and open-minded collectives from both sides of the pond. So you get the likes of The Black Madonna (who met Noncompliant back in said 90s rave scene before anyone knew who they were), Dr. Rubinstein, rRoxymore, Shaun J. Wright, our very own Jamaica Suk (also my studio mate), and lots more.

And Noncompliant will shift gears from headlining Detroit to headlining … a massive campsite queer fest.

And you know, for all the sense some people have that somehow queer culture is ‘hyped’ in music right now, the festival scene can still be a place where a lot of people feel uncomfortable, unsafe, and unable to be themselves. WHOLE promises to make a template for how the summer camp-out festival can be something different – not just a dark, smoky club, but a proper outdoor long weekend. And that could inspire all of us.

As KALTBLUT puts it in their intro:

WHOLE is the only festival of this kind in Europe creating an inclusive environment for the acceptance of all gender identities & sexual orientations, in a relaxing, outdoor environment, far from the hectic confines of the city. A festival by the queers for the queers, where feminine representation and persons or colour are not underrepresented, where not only electronic music, but also workshops, performances, and discussions have been planned all along.

Podcast: Countdown to WHOLE festival – Noncompliant [KALTBLUT Magazine]

There’s more music from WHOLE, too, over at KALTBLUT:

And here’s their fantastic promo video:

And you thought everyone in Berlin only wore black.

Check the festival, and maybe pitch a tent, but definitely keep dancing wherever you are in the world:


Noncompliant’s track listing

Here’s what you’re hearing. Study up / support artists and buy music! (Every single one of these is an artist and label who could use your support, in fact.)

01. Sharp Felon – Cyber Fex [Lone Romantic]
02. Steve Murphy – Ray Gun [Lobster Theremin]
03. The Hacker – Body Electric (Remastered) [Klakson]
04. Solid Blake – Soap Cube [Seilscheibenpfeiler Schallplatten]
05. Dennis Quin – Love Peace [Soft Computing]
06. DJ Deep – Mandrum Dub [Deeply Rooted]
07. Truncate, Chambray – Trax 4 The Club [Figure Jams]
08. Player – 006 B1 [Player]
09. Owen Sands – Purple Noise [Ill Bomb]
10. Blenk – Cells [Enemy]
11. Leandro Gamez – Primary [Analog Solutions]
12. Steffi – 1E-4 [Mistress]
13. Antigone – The Melody (Remix by ROD) [Children of Tomorrow]
14. Robert Hood – Dancer (Remix) [M-Plant]
15. Nikola Gala – Slide B [Teksupport]
16. Truncate – TRNCT_7_2 1 (Untitled) [Truncate]
17. Cheap And Deep – Beautiful [Modular Cowboy]

The post You need this groovy Noncompliant techno mix in your life now appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

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.


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


“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:

and on Beatport:

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:
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

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

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:


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.

Immerse yourself in the full live AV concert by raster’s Belief Defect

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 9 Apr 2019 7:00 am

Computer and modular machine textures collide with explosions of projected particles and glitching colored textures. Now the full concert footage of the duo Belief Defect (on Raster) is out.

It’s tough to get quality full-length live performance video – previously writing about this performance I had to refer to a short excerpt; a lot of the time you can only say “you had to be there” and point to distorted cell phone snippets. So it’s nice to be able to watch a performance end-to-end from the comfort of your chair.

Transport yourself to the dirigible-scaled hollowed-out power plant above Kraftwerk (even mighty Tresor club is just the basement), from Atonal Festival. It’s a set that’s full of angry, anxious, crunchy-distorted goodness:

(Actually even having listened to the album a lot, it’s nice to sit and retrace the full live set and see how they composed/improvised it. I would say record your live sets, fellow artists, except I know about how the usual Recording Curse works – when the Zoom’s batteries are charged up and the sound isn’t distorted and you remember to hit record is so often … the day you play your worst. They escaped this somehow.)

And Belief Defect represent some of the frontier of what’s possible in epic, festival mainstage-sized experimentalism, both analog and digital, sonic and visual. I got to write extensively about their process, with some support from Native Instruments, and more in-depth here:


— with more details on how you might apply this to your own work:

What you can learn from Belief Defect’s modular-PC live rig

While we’re talking Raster label – the label formerly Raster-Noton before it again divided so Olaf Bender’s Raster and Carsten Nicolai’s Noton could focus on their own direction – here’s some more. Dasha Rush joined Electronic Beats for a rare portrait of her process and approach, including the live audiovisual-dance collaboration with dancer/choreographer Valentin Tszin and, on visuals, Stanislav Glazov. (Glazov is a talented musician, as well, producing and playing as Procedural aka Prcdrl, as well as a total Touch Designer whiz.)

And Dasha’s work, elegantly balanced between club and experimental contexts with every mix between, is always inspired.

Here’s that profile, though I hope to check in more shortly with how Stas and Valentin work with Kinect and dance, as well as how Stas integrates visuals with his modular sound:

The post Immerse yourself in the full live AV concert by raster’s Belief Defect appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

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