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The guts of Tracktion are now open source for devs to make new stuff

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Fri 16 Nov 2018 8:33 pm

Game developers have Unreal Engine and Unity Engine. Well, now it’s audio’s turn. Tracktion Engine is an open source engine based on the guts of a major DAW, but created as a building block developers can use for all sorts of new music and audio tools.

You can new music apps not only for Windows, Mac, and Linux (including embedded platforms like Raspberry Pi), but iOS and Android, too. And while developers might go create their own DAW, they might also build other creative tools for performance and production.

The tutorials section already includes examples for simple playback, independent manipulation of pitch and time (meaning you could conceivably turn this into your own DJ deck), and a step sequencer.

We’ve had an open source DAW for years – Ardour. But this is something different – it’s clear the developers have created this with the intention of producing a reusable engine for other things, rather than just dumping the whole codebase for an entire DAW.

Okay, my Unreal and Unity examples are a little optimistic – those are friendly to hobbyists and first-time game designers. Tracktion Engine definitely needs you to be a competent C++ programmer.

But the entire engine is delivered as a JUCE module, meaning you can drop it into an existing project. JUCE has rapidly become the go-to for reasonably painless C++ development of audio tools across plug-ins and operating systems and mobile devices. It’s huge that this is available in JUCE.

Even if you’re not a developer, you should still care about this news. It could be a sign that we’ll see more rapid development that allows music loving developers to try out new ideas, both in software and in hardware with JUCE-powered software under the hood. And I think with this idea out there, if it doesn’t deliver, it may spur someone else to try the same notion.

I’ll be really interested to hear if developers find this is practical in use, but here’s what they’re promising developers will be able to use from their engine:

A wide range of supported platforms (Windows, macOS, Linux, Raspberry Pi, iOS and Android)
Tempo, key and time-signature curves
Fast audio file playback via memory mapping
Audio editing including time-stretching and pitch shifting
MIDI with quantisation, groove, MPE and pattern generation
Built-in and external plugin support for all the major formats
Parameter adjustments with automation curves or algorithmic modifiers
Modular plugin patching Racks
Recording with punch, overdub and loop modes along with comp editing
External control surface support
Fully customizable rendering of arrangements

The licensing is also stunningly generous. The code is under a GPLv3 license – meaning if you’re making a GPLv3 project (including artists doing that), you can freely use the open source license.

But even commercial licensing is wide open. Educational projects get forum support and have no revenue limit whatsoever. (I hope that’s a cue to academic institutions to open up some of their licensing, too.)

Personal projects are free, too, with revenue up to US$50k. (Not to burst anyone’s bubble, but many small developers are below that threshold.)

For $35/mo, with a minimum 12 month commitment, “indie” developers can make up to $200k. Enterprise licensing requires getting in touch, and then offers premium support and the ability to remove branding. They promise paid licenses by next month.

Check out their code and the Tracktion Engine page:

https://www.tracktion.com/develop/tracktion-engine

https://github.com/Tracktion/tracktion_engine/

I think a lot of people will be excited about this, enough so that … well, it’s been a long time. Let’s Ballmer this.

The post The guts of Tracktion are now open source for devs to make new stuff appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Drag Futurist Colin Self On Queer Kinship, Puppetry And The Gender Of Sound

Delivered... By Michelle Lhooq. Photos by Camille Blake. | Scene | Fri 16 Nov 2018 3:25 pm

The post Drag Futurist Colin Self On Queer Kinship, Puppetry And The Gender Of Sound appeared first on Telekom Electronic Beats.

Gallery: a new documentary digs into techno’s 80s Detroit roots

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 15 Nov 2018 7:17 pm

“God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines” is the story through the eyes of a documentary team that grew up in Detroit – and with time running out, they’re short of their funding goal. Happily, you have the power to change that.

God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines: The Story of Detroit Techno

Behind all the history and legend, there’s always a human story of how things happen. What’s appealing about this film above others is, it’s not just one icon or one machine, but the relationships between the artists that takes the spotlight. And, it’s at last a film about Detroit’s influence from Detroit’s perspective – not just the European scene where the genre eventually turned into a runaway financial success.

The requisite originators all star – Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May, Eddie Fowlkes, Blake Baxter, and more – so this is definitely one I look forward to watching.

Of course, funding independent film is these days a major ordeal, particularly for American filmmakers. And so it’s disheartening to see that with days running out on crowd funding, the filmmakers haven’t made their very modest funding goals. There are some lovely benefits in there – just US$5 gets you an exclusive mixtape – so I hope you’ll get the chance to give this a nod.

Motor City natives Kristian Hill and Jennifer Washington are looking just for the finishing funds to put this out.

I asked Jennifer to walk us through some stills from the film, so here’s an exclusive gallery for CDM.

Young child at Movement Festival, Detroit.

Motor City, now.

Cover of Record Mirror, June 1988.

The Scene Dance Show, Detroit, circa 1983.

Cybotron’s vision of future cities, 1983.

Blake Baxter plays those drum machines.

Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May, Juan Atkins.

Juan Atkins, Eddie Fowlkes.

Classic Transmat label, illustrated by Alan Oldham.

Mike Huckaby.

Kevin Saunderson.

God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines: The Story of Detroit Techno [Kickstarter]

Previously:

Detroit techno, the 90s comic book – and epic new DJ T-1000 techno

In a documentary film, a return to Detroit and speaker f***ing

The post Gallery: a new documentary digs into techno’s 80s Detroit roots appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

THE TREEFORT MUSIC FEST LINEUP IS OUT!

Delivered... Spacelab - Independent Music and Media | Scene | Thu 15 Nov 2018 6:30 pm
Toro Y Moi, Liz Phair, Low, Black Mountain, Black Moth Super Rainbow and Dan Deacon all top the lineup!

BEALE STREET MUSIC FESTIVAL 2019 TICKETS GO ON SALE NOV. 19!

Delivered... Spacelab - Independent Music and Media | Scene | Thu 15 Nov 2018 6:30 pm
It features a lineup of alternative rock, hip hop, indie rock and electronic music as part of the Memphis in May celebration!

STORMZY IS CONFIRMED AS THE FIRST NAME FOR THE GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL!

Delivered... Spacelab - Independent Music and Media | Scene | Thu 15 Nov 2018 6:30 pm
The quintessential British music festival is a huge one, and now they've released the first of their lineup.

Datalooper lets you play Ableton Live with your feet

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 15 Nov 2018 5:27 pm

It’s a looper, it’s a Session View controller. It’s USB powered, and you play it with your feet. But unlike other options, Datalooper integrates directly with how you work in Ableton Live – and it doesn’t require Max for Live to operate. Here’s a first look – and an exclusive discount.

http://www.datalooperpedal.com/cdmspecial

Ableton may have called their event “Loop,” but that doesn’t mean there’s an obvious way to control the software’s looping capability via hardware out of the box. And that’s essential – Ableton Push is great, but it doesn’t fit a lot of instrumental and vocal uses. It’s too complicated, and involves too much hand-eye coordination – stuff you want to focus elsewhere. I’m not sure what Ableton would have called their own foot hardware – Ableton Tap? Ableton Toes? But instead, users have been stepping up … sorry, unintentional pun … and giving Live the kind of immediacy you’d expect of a looper pedal.

Demand seems higher than ever – there were two projects floating around Ableton Loop in LA last week. I covered State of the Loop already:

Ableton Live Looping gets its own custom controller

That project focused mainly on the Looper instrument and the use of scenes, all via Max for Live. It also seems well suited to running a lot of loopers at once.

Datalooper – the work of musician/creator Vince Cimo – is a similar project, but finds its own niche. First off, Max for Live isn’t required, meaning any edition of Live will work. (It uses a standard Live Control Script to communicate with Live.)

We got hands-on with Datalooper at Ableton Loop this year.

Datalooper will use the Looper device if you want. In that mode, it’s basically a controller for the Looper instrument – and supports up to three at once by default (which will be enough for most people anyway).

But there’s not much difference between the Looper device and other plug-ins or dedicated looping tools. “Natively” looping in Live still logically involves Session View. Before Ableton had a Looper, the company would advise customers to just record into clips in the Session View. That’s all fine and well, except that users of hardware pedals were accustomed to being able to set a tempo with the length of their initial recording, so the loop kept time with them instead of having to adjust to an arbitrary metronome.

Datalooper does both. You can use Session View, taking advantage of all those clips and arrangement tools and track routing and effects chains. But you can also use the looper to set the tempo. As the developers describe it:

If you long press on the clear button, the metronome will turn off, and the tempo will re-calculate based on the next loop you record, so you can fluidly move between pieces without having to listen to a click track. Throughout this process, the transport never stops, meaning you can linearly record your whole set and capture every loop and overdub in pristine quality.

Datalooper is also a handy foot-powered control system for working with clips in general. So even if you weren’t necessarily in the market for a looper or looper pedal, you might want Datalooper in your studio just to facilitate working quickly with clips.

(And of course, this also makes it an ideal companion to Ableton Push … or Maschine with a Live template, or an APC, or a Launchpad, or whatever.)

Session Control mode lets you hop in and record quickly to wherever you wish. I imagine this will be great for improvisation not only solo but when you invite a friend to play with you.

For users that are more familiar with the clip system, the Datalooper also features a ‘session control’ mode, built to allow users to quickly record clips. In this mode, the Datalooper script will link up with a track, then ‘auto-scan’ and latch on to the first unused clip slot. You can then use the first the buttons in a row to control the recording, deletion and playback of the clip. Best of all, when you want to record another clip, you can simply press record again and the script will find you another unused clip slot. This is a game-changer if you’re trying to quickly record ideas and want your hands free.

Videos:

You get all of this in a nice, metal box – die-cast aluminum, weighing 3 lbs (1.4 kg), micro USB bus-powered standard MIDI device. The onboard LEDs light to show you status and feedback from the metronome.

By default, it uses three loopers, but all the behaviors are customizable. In fact, when you want to dive into customization, there’s drag-and-drop customization of commands.

A graphical controller editor lets you customize how the Datalooper works. This could be the future of all custom control.

US$199 is the target price, or $179 early bird (while supplies last). It’s now on Indiegogo; creator Vince Cimo needs enough supporters to be able to pull the trigger on a $10k manufacturing run or it wont’ happen.

Vince has offered CDM readers a special discount. Head here for another $20 off the already discounted price:

http://www.datalooperpedal.com/cdmspecial

(No promotional fee paid for that – he just asked if we wanted a discount, and I said sure!)

Having gotten hands on with this thing and seen how the integration and configuration works … I want one. I didn’t even know I wanted a pedal. I think it could well make Live use far more improvisatory. And the fact that we have two projects approaching this from different angles I think is great. I hope both find enough support to get manufactured – so if you want to see them, do spread the word to other musicians who might want them.

The post Datalooper lets you play Ableton Live with your feet appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Check Out The Wild Side Of Berlin’s Queer Club Scene With These Photos By Spyros Rennt

Delivered... Text by EB Team. Photos by Spyros Rennt. | Scene | Thu 15 Nov 2018 1:23 pm

The post Check Out The Wild Side Of Berlin’s Queer Club Scene With These Photos By Spyros Rennt appeared first on Telekom Electronic Beats.

Universal Audio just made their interfaces into a live vocoder, more

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 14 Nov 2018 8:47 pm

Why would you want near-zero latency on an effect? Well, maybe you want to run something like a vocoder – and that means the latest addition to Universal Audio’s offerings is a big deal.

Universal Audio continues churning out software updates with new analog emulations and other add-ons to buy; 2018 has been a huge year for them. But those effects often don’t come cheap, and they are tied to UA’s own hardware. So one of the selling points of working that way has been that UA offers near-zero latencies, letting you track through those effects. That is, plug-ins are great – until you need real-time performance, since they can add loads of latency.

This is meaningless, of course, if you’re just applying effects to recordings after the fact. But a vocoder is an entirely different story, so I suspect that the new vocoder included in this month’s UA update will matter to a lot of people.

Interesting, UA are so locked in the studio paradigm that they say you’ll want to “track” through the vocoder – record while monitoring. But I imagine this vocoder may find its way onstage. Lots of vocalists perform with laptops for greater flexibility, and the UA vocoder has real-time MIDI and keyboard control.

The new Vocoder comes from Softube, those Swedish masters of emulation, who have made themselves a big name both as a provider to UA and as an independent vendor (including with their own native platform, though it doesn’t provide the same real-time possibilities).

The result is a vocoder that looks promising in the studio and onstage. I need to test this, so disclaimer – this isn’t a review. But here’s what they’re promising.

Any vocoder is a combination of synth and vocal input, by default. Here, you get an emulation of an analog polysynth, and then a number of unique tools specific to this offering.

  • 12-voice polyphonic “carrier” synth (that’s the synth you’ll combine with your vocals)
  • Analog synth emulation
  • Four waveform types, pitch modulation, pulse width modulation (and octave and attack/decay controls)
  • Variable bands – 4-, 8-, 12-, 16-, and 20-band modes – for simpler retro “robotic” effects to richer, modern digital vocoder styles
  • Resynthesis parameters – emphasis, spectral tilt (which adjusts how you shift between frequencies), shape, and parallel bend controls
  • MIDI control of notes and chords (also available from their built-in keyboard onscreen if you don’t have a MIDI source handy)
  • Synced freeze function – so you can capture a snippet of sound, and then use different clock divisions synced to a DAW or MIDI source

“Freeze” a snippet of sound, then manipulate that freeze in sync with your DAW or a MIDI source, with various clock division options.

Spectral controls give you more contemporary sounds, retro robot sounds, or anything in between.

And yeah, you can use this on vocals if you’re a terrible singer. You can use it if you’re a great singer. You can use it on things that aren’t vocals (hello, drums). And so on. Here are some nice tips from their even nicer studio:

This wasn’t the only addition to UA’s latest software. See also an AMS Neve console built especially for emulating the desk preferred by big budget Hollywood productions. That gives you the whole console strip you’d find at, say, Skywalker Sound – with Compressor, Limiter, Expander, Gate, and Dynamic EQ, plus four-band parametric EQ. Will it make you sound more Hollywood? No idea. Will it give you a psychological boost to try? Probably.

https://www.uaudio.com/uad-plugins/channel-strips/ams-neve-dfc-channel-strip.html

AMS Neve DFC Channel Strip.

And also in this release, they’re unveiling the first-ever authorized emulation of the legendary Lexicon 480L. If you don’t know that 80s-era reverb by its model number, you might know it from its beige case and faders – it’s one of the more recognizable effects in history. Being authorized in this case matters, because they were able to derive the results directly from the original’s firmware. (Oh yeah – digital means a “model” can be very accurate indeed.) And again, you can use this live. First thing I would do would be to map some faders to those parameters.

Lexicon 480L – the original hardware.

https://www.uaudio.com/uad-plugins/reverbs/lexicon-480l-digital-reverb-effects.html

9.7 additionally includes an emulation of the Suhr SE100 tube amp, plus from Brainworx the bx_masterdesk Classic chain.

But I do think the vocoder will be the one that gets people’s attention, because everyone —

Oh, no, I’m going to be interrupted by Robert Henke again.

More:

https://www.uaudio.com/uad-plugins/special-processing/softube-vocoder.html

(PS, if it’s an Auto-Tune effect you’re after, they also have a real-time edition of Antares’ Auto-Tune.)

The post Universal Audio just made their interfaces into a live vocoder, more appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Hey Alexa – Remind Me How Much You Are Increasing My SoundExchange Music Royalties

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Wed 14 Nov 2018 8:31 pm

At almost every broadcast conference, there is a discussion of using Alexa, Google Home and other smart speakers and digital assistants to increase the reach of broadcast radio stations. Discussions of how to get listeners to tune in and how to monetize the listeners on these new platforms are regularly included. But rarely is there a discussion of the music royalty impact of transitioning radio listeners to these digital platforms. Given these continuing discussions about smart speakers, and the apparent lack of focus on royalty issues, I thought that it was worth re-running this article that I posted earlier this year.

In the last year, the popularity of Alexa, Google Home and similar “smart speaker” devices has led to discussions at almost every broadcast conference of how radio broadcasters should embrace the technology as the new way for listeners to access radio programming in their homes. Broadcasters are urged to adopt strategies to take advantage of the technology to keep listeners listening to their radio stations through these new devices. Obviously, broadcasters want their content where the listeners are, and they have to take advantage of new platforms like the smart speaker. But in doing so, they also need to be cognizant that the technology imposes new costs on their operations – in particular increased fees payable to SoundExchange.

Never mentioned at these broadcast conferences that urge broadcasters to take advantage of these smart speakers is the fact that these speakers, when asked to play a radio station, end up playing that station’s stream, not its over-the-air signal. For the most part, these devices are not equipped with FM chips or any other technology to receive over-the-air signals. So, when you ask Alexa or Google to play your station, you are calling up a digital stream, and each digital stream gives rise to the same royalties to SoundExchange that a station pays for its webcast stream on its app or through a platform like TuneIn or the iHeartRadio. For 2018, those royalties are $.0018 per song per listener (see our article here). In other words, for each song you play, you pay SoundExchange about one-fifth of a cent for each listener who hears it. These royalties are in addition to the royalties paid to ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and, for most commercial stations, GMR.

In addition, if the station provides other content through these smart speakers, other royalty issues can arise. When a listener can ask for a certain DJ’s program at any time, the tendency for stations is to want to make it available on demand. Before doing that, stations need to get legal advice as to whether their royalties to SoundExchange cover such uses. As we have written before, podcasts and other on-demand media for the most part are not covered by these royalties. Instead, to use music in podcasts, you need to directly negotiate with the publishing company that own the rights to the underlying musical composition and the record company that owns the song as recorded by a particular artist – or find some musician who owns both the words and the recording who will give you rights to their music. The same would be true for on-demand streams delivered through a smart speaker unless the program segments are at least 3 hours long and accessible only at random points within a 3 hour loop, or if the program is at least 5 hours long and made accessible for less than 2 weeks. There are nuances in these rules that need to be observed to avoid going beyond the limits of the SoundExchange license and potentially incurring significant liability for copyright infringement.

In essence, as these smart speakers grow in popularity, the business of the broadcaster providing its programming through these speakers will change. Unlike programming received over-the-air which bears no SoundExchange royalty (see our articles here and here), broadcasters growing a smart-speaker based audience need to budget to meet the costs of the sound recording performance royalty paid to SoundExchange. As the aggregate fee grow right along with the audience size, the broadcaster faces the conundrum that many pure webcasters face – that the royalties grow faster than the additional income generated from the streams as audiences increase.

Is there a solution? For talk and sports radio, there are far fewer issues as, just as long as a station has the digital rights to stream the programming that it airs, the SoundExchange royalties are generally low. But for music-intensive stations, the royalties grow and need to be dealt with. The vast majority of all digital audio services have thus far been unprofitable primarily because of royalties they have to pay. Perhaps, as broadcasters end up more and more reliant on digitally-delivered streams like those heard on Alexa and Google Home, it is time for broadcasters to consider discussions with the record labels about royalties that would perhaps include a “piece of the action” from over-the-air broadcasting in exchange for dramatically lower digital royalties at a level that would allow for a profitable operation. Something to think about next time you ask Alexa to play your favorite radio station.

5 New Books About Dance Music And Club Culture That You Should Read This Year

Delivered... By Noah Fields. | Scene | Wed 14 Nov 2018 1:10 pm

The post 5 New Books About Dance Music And Club Culture That You Should Read This Year appeared first on Telekom Electronic Beats.

Deal: get 8 engines, 19 expansions, with Output’s music software sale

Delivered... CDM Staff | Scene | Tue 13 Nov 2018 11:04 pm

Promoted: Using just one Output product can feel like you’ve got access to someone else’s studio, hard drive, and sound tricks. How about getting all of them? Output’s bundle is on a special say for November only.

[Partner post]

From now through November 30, you can get a special discount on The Bundle – that’s all the standalone instruments and effects from Los Angeles’ unique sound creation studio, ready to use on your Mac or PC. That includes nearly everything that Output makes. (The only exceptions are Arcade, which is priced by subscription, and Platform, which is a physical piece of furniture so … hard to download.)

The Bundle is already a great deal – it’s terabytes of sound, nineteen expansions, and eight separate engines, but costing 60% less than what it would if you bought all of those on their own. Now, you get the whole deal for another 25% off that discount.

How artists use these

What’s it like when you create these? Check it out. Vastly experienced producers Skizzy Mars and Michael Keenan use multiple products, layered, to create a particular sound they wanted for their work:

Che Pope, Grammy winning boss at Kanye West’s label and entreprenuer-composer and someone who has worked with everybody, makes a five minute beat and makes heavy use of Analog Brass & Winds:

Having these kinds of archives can be powerful when combined and used creatively. Composer and assistant Joanne Higginbottom, who has worked on the likes of Guardians of The Galaxy’, ‘Samurai Jack’, and ‘The Public’ is a great example of that. It’s not just about dialing presets – it’s about reaching deep to quickly combine sounds into a palette that gets the job done and is unmistakably your own. Watch her talk about her approach and inspiration – and how she can jam on the mod wheel when working and get to that instinctive level (including with these tools):

What’s in the box

This is a mind-blowing amount of content. Just one Output product includes multiple effects and a flexible engine – so you can dial up a big range of sounds, but also modify and shape new sounds in a powerful, specific engine. Those engines cover particular tasks like hybrid takes on strings, bass, vocals, and even more abstract concepts like pulses and reversed sounds, all with combinations of acoustic and electronic, analog and digital.

But put them together, and you get a whole range – a futuristic orchestra, if you will. You can mix and match, layer, and produce even bigger, more complex sounds all your own. What’s in the box:

ANALOG BRASS & WINDS
+ Brass Knuckles Expansion Pack

ANALOG STRINGS
+ Modern String Beds Expansion Pack
+ Neon Strings Expansion Pack

SUBSTANCE
+ Booty Bass Expansion Pack
+ Base Bass Expansion Pack
+ Dystopian Bass Expansion Pack

MOVEMENT
+ Current Expansion Pack
+ Beyond 4/4 Expansion Pack

EXHALE
+ Barely Vocals Expansion Pack
+ Indie Vocals Expansion Pack
+ Ambient Vocals Expansion Pack

SIGNAL
+ Adrenaline Expansion Pack
+ Classic Analog Expansion Pack
+ Cinematic Expansion Pack
+ Tape Loop Expansion Pack
+ Glow Expansion Pack

REV
+ Beautiful Pads Expansion Pack
+ Translucence Expansion Pack
+ Desolation Expansion Pack

REV X-LOOPS

That’s hundreds upon hundreds of presets, which can now be combined with one another or modified, too, and all the effect and sound engines inside.

We’ve been covering a lot of Output’s creations from the start:

Output’s Analog Brass & Winds is an orchestral library for synth lovers

Analog Strings from Output melds string orchestras, string synths

Substance is a new software approach to every kind of bass

Movement is a do-everything, musical rhythmic effect

Check it out at Output’s site:

https://output.com/products#instruments

Thanks to Output for their support of original content on CDM.

The post Deal: get 8 engines, 19 expansions, with Output’s music software sale appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

In gorgeous ETHER, a handmade micro lens brings cymatics closer

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 13 Nov 2018 9:49 pm

Sound is physical, but we don’t often get to see that physicality. In this gorgeous video for Thomas Vaquié, directed by Nico Neefs, those worlds of vibrations explode across your screen. It’s the latest release from ANTIVJ, and it’s spellbinding.

The sounds really do generate the visuals here, from generating terrain from an analysis from the waveform to revealing footage of metal powder animated by sonic vibrations. A self-made micro lens provides the optics.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aK0BXH7zu-M

Everything in this video was made using the sound waves of the track Ether.
Equipped with a home-made micro lens, a camera travels inside physical representations of the musical composition, from a concrete mountain built from the spectrogram of the music, to eruptions of metal powder caused by rhythmic impulsions.

(Impulsion is a word; look it up! I had to do so.)

Still from the video.

Nico Neefs is the director, working with images he created with Corentin Kopp. It’s set to music from Belgian producer Thomas Vaquié’s new album Ecume, on Antivj Recordings. That imprint has for over a decade been a label for audiovisual creations across media – release, installation, performance. Simon Geilfus developed the tool for visualization.

They’ve employed the same techniques to make a very attractive physical release. The image you see in the artwork is cast from a concrete mold. For a limited edition box set, they’re producing 33cm x 33cm plates cast from that mold in dark resin. And it’s ready to mount to a wall if you choose; hardware included. Or if you feel instead like you own enough things, there’s a digital edition.

Ultra-limited handmade physical release.

Concrete mold.

Concrete mold; detail.

The whole album is beautiful; I’m especially fond of the bell-like resonances in the opening piece. It’s a sumptuous, sonic environment, full of evocative sound designs that rustle and ring in easy, organic assemblies, part synthetic, part string. Those then break into broken, warped grooves that push forward. (Hey, more impulsion – like a horse.)

The music was repurposed from installations and art contexts:

These are all derivations of compositions for site-specific and installation projects, the original pieces having been created as a response to place and space, to light and architecture, to code and motion. Now separated and transformed from their original context, the music takes on an independent existence in these new realisations.

That does lend the whole release an environmental quality – spaces you can step in and out of – but is nonetheless present emotionally. There’s impact, listening top to bottom, enough so that you might not immediately assume the earlier context. And the release is fully consistent and coherent as a whole. (It is very possible you heard an installation here or there. Vaquié has produced compositions for Centre Pompidou Metz the Old Port of Montreal’s metallic conveyor tower, in Songdo South Korea, at Oaxaca’s ethnobotanical gardens, and at Hala Stulecia, Poland’s huge concrete dome.)

And there’s thoroughly fine string writing throughout – with a sense that strings and electronic media are always attuned to one another.

Cover artwork.

Thomas Vaquié.

Poetic explanation accompanies the album:

Ether embodies the world that exists above the skies.
It is the air that the gods breathe.
It is that feeling of dizziness,
that asphyxiation that we feel when faced with immensity.

Full video credits:

Music by Thomas Vaquié
Video directed by Nico Neefs
Images by Nico Neefs & Corentin Kopp
Edit & Post-production by Nico Neefs
Video produced by Charles Kinoo for Less Is More Studio and Thomas Vaquié
Filmed at BFC Studio, Brussels 2018.

More, including downloads / physical purchases:

https://thomasvaquie.bandcamp.com/

Plus:
www.thomasvaquie.com
www.antivj.com

The post In gorgeous ETHER, a handmade micro lens brings cymatics closer appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

The month’s best mixes: Lil Mofo, Loka Salviatek and Kenya’s brilliant Slikback

Delivered... Tayyab Amin | Scene | Tue 13 Nov 2018 1:33 pm

A concert for fireworks from Vasco Alves and co, Mama Snake and Solid Blake live at the Dekmantel festival and the latest Errorsmith mix

High-octane junglist stress relievers, anti-colonial war drums and exhilarating new club sounds from central and east Africa all feature among November’s best mixes – plus curios including a composition written for a signal-flare performance.

Related: The month's best mixes: Sarah Davachi, Octo Octa and hippy workouts

Continue reading...

How to Escape Exotism

Delivered... Maha El Nabawi | Scene | Tue 13 Nov 2018 7:00 am

For musicians living and performing abroad, it can be a challenge to avoid being exoticised and framed in an aesthetic prison. The Egyptian-French musician Mohamed Abozekry has reconciled the traditional and the avant-garde in his music.

Mohamed Abozekry (Photo © by Nada Elissa, 2018)

Mohamed Abozekry’s third album, Karkade, is a collection of modernized «tarab» and «tahkt» driven tracks that offers a contemporized take on traditional Arabic music. It recalls classical Arabic music, Sufi music from Upper Egypt, and folk music popular along the Nile River. Composed entirely by Abozekry, the album is a lush collage of inventive interventions, while remaining rooted in the traditional codes of the musical forms he inhabits.

The music draws from the 1920s-1950s – Egypt’s musical golden age – both in timber, and structural codes, but also through the highly present spirit of improvisation at the crux of Karkade’s live performance. This is perhaps why the experience of watching Karkade live makes one feel temporally displaced, or quite possibly unstuck from time. This is partly due to the old styles of music, but also the juxtaposition of the old being played masterfully by young performers. In the Center Stage tour, we hear this in the performances of Mohamed Arafa on deholla (the bassier cousin of the tablah), Lotfy Abaza on violin, and their playful interventions, but also through Abozekry’s unique use of the oud. He furthermore adds contemporary jazz elements, through which he often transforms the oud into a bass instrument by means of a «slapping technique». There are, however, some caveatsregarding the music of Karkade, according to Abozekry. «It’s a completely out of fashion, and possibly a little exotic, too», he says.

Questioning Cultural Roots

While skillfully mining the exotic has proved to benefit Abozekry, allowing him to produce a prolific body of work, he does not see this as his own personal pathway for artistic development. Instead, he is looking for more meaningful interactions with his root culture. Abozekry is one of many Arab artists based in France. On the tour, our discussions become an exploration of his own music, and that of his peers, to see how they perform their personal synthesis of East and West. At the age of 11, Abozekry began touring with the Iraqi oud virtuoso Naseem Shamma of Beit El Oud, and by 18 he was off to France for university. In his time abroad, he has released multiple albums, including Chaos and Ring Road with his jazz-fusion band, HeeJaz, and more recently, Don’t Replace Me by a Machine with the Trio Abozekry.

After nearly a decade of living and working abroad, however, Abozekry is homesick for Egypt. But this is more than mere sentiment. For him, moving back to Egypt is pivotal for the development of his career and escaping the exotic typecaste into which he is placed by continuing to exclusively travel through the «world music» industry. While this genre does give platform and industry to a pantheon of international musicians, there is something innately exotic at the root of its labeling – one that reinforces the colonial construction by grouping numerous music traditions into a group that might as well be labeled «the others».

«It’s great being able to live for a while in such a very professional and competitive atmosphere as a freelancer artist. But once you make your name, you end up being a representative of your people, your color rather than being exposed for your art. What I want to say is that you get classified whether you like it or not as someone who’s sort of an ambassador, which is not always a bad thing. But the bad thing is that everyone is put in the same cart. And you become an exotic icon even if what you propose artistically might be not coming from your natal culture at all». He cites Ibrahim Maalouf as an example, albeit a musician he respects.

Between Local Tradition and Global Avant-garde

Maalouf is a trumpet player, composer, and arranger, born in Beirut to Lebanese parents. He fled to Paris during the Lebanese Civil War and he has become a widely-known Arab musician performing in Europe. In his bookings, there is usually a reference to his Lebanese culture, despite the fact that his music is almost entirely rooted in Western aesthetics. We hear this even in his songs that reference Arabic music, such as in his album Kalthouhm.

Kamilya Jubran on the other hand, takes a different approach to cultural synthesis. The Palestinian oudist, singer, composer, arranger, and teacher continues to find influential ways to navigate the exotic while living in France. Regardless of the restrictions placed on Kamilya’s mobility throughout the Arab world, due to being born Palestinian within the Israeli settlement of Akka, Kamilya continues to contribute to the development of contemporary Arabic music. In the past two decades she has instructed a range of Arab musicians from Abozekry to Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, Dina El Wedidi, Abdullah Miniawy, Maryam Saleh, Nadah El Shazly, and many more.

Musically, Kamilya’s work if often situated within the niche corners of the global avant-garde, where it draws from traditional Arabic music references, alongside jazz and experimental electronic-acoustic compositions. While creating highly contemporary music, as heard in her work with Werner Hasler and Sarah Maurice, Kamilya draws upon her traditional culture through the timbral quality of her oud and voice, so as to anchor her listeners to an Arabic context, while still pushing the boundaries of what it means to be progressive.

Each of these artists offers a window into the plight of Arab musicians who live in the West. For some it is a choice, for others it is a result of political restrictions, war, or exile. Thus the question at hand is less about why an artist lives abroad, but rather, how they manage to synthesize their different cultures in order to break free of exoticism, grow, and ultimately remain relevant in a global music landscape.

This past month, Egyptian music journalist Maha ElNabawi was sent by the American Embassy in Cairo to the Center Stage tour through multiple US cities to cover performances by Egyptian musicians Youssra El Hawary, Dina El Wedidi, Mohamed Abozekry, and their respective bands. The gigs journeyed through the east and west coasts, including panel discussions, a street concert in the micro-town of Lyons, Nebraska, with a population of 800, to Washington, DC’s Kennedy Center, to the Globalquerque World Music festival in New Mexico, and an immaculate, gothic cathedral in West Harlem, New York, among other locations. The Center Stage program, funded by the US State Department, produced by the New England Foundation for the Arts and Lisa Booth Management, is now in it’s 4th year.

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