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

Everybody get up! The dance crazes changing the world

Delivered... Lior Phillips | Scene | Fri 10 Aug 2018 11:00 am

Drake’s In My Feelings is the latest viral sensation to get people moving. And from black culture to queer identity to feminism, the global reach of pop choreography makes it the perfect way to change cultural perceptions

When In My Feelings hit No 1 in the US last month, it meant not only that Drake had racked up more weeks at the top of the chart than any male solo artist in 60 years, it also established the latest in a long history of viral dance crazes.

The trend was kicked off by Instagram comedian Shiggy dancing along to the track, his moves perfectly synced to Drake’s lines: hands shaped into a heart when Drake asks if Kiki loves him; turning an imaginary steering wheel for lyrics about “riding”; waggling his finger back and forth when Drake asks Kiki to say she will never leave his side. Instagram users around the world followed suit, mimicking those moves and adding their own flair, often hopping out of a moving car while doing so, to the horror of the police. The #InMyFeelings challenge was born, making it the latest instance in which pop and dance have proved inseparable.

#Mood : KEKE Do You Love Me ? @champagnepapi #DoTheShiggy #InMyFeelings

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Ben Khan: Ben Khan review – singular coiled-lust electropop

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Fri 10 Aug 2018 10:30 am

Dirty Hit

There’s an appealingly raw, bedroom-recorded quality to this debut album from London producer-singer Ben Khan – if his bedroom had a Narnia-like portal at the back of his wardrobe. Producer Flood (U2, the Killers, PJ Harvey) brings little big-budget gloss, but there’s a singular and rather fantastical vision nonetheless. Sinister John Carpenter synth sounds emerge like neon beams through a hail of dust, but are put to the service of often extremely funky pop.

The magnificent Monsoon Daydream gets so caught up in its own groove it shudders and trips over itself – the dense arrangement, full to the brim with raunchily screwball licks and a flutter of glockenspiel, is reminiscent of early Jamie Lidell, as is Khan’s voice. There’s also a touch of Twin Shadow’s dramatic timbre, while Jai Paul’s still-classic Jasmine heavily scents Ruby. ATW (Against the Wall) has the taut funk and guitar strums of Justin Timberlake’s first tracks with the Neptunes, done lo-fi, and shares their same coiled lust. Indeed, Khan sounds perpetually on the verge of getting laid, with lots of loaded lyrics about honey and tempestuous weather, but he powerfully matches them with the production, which feels as humid as the air before a thunderstorm.

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A soft synth that’s made to be played with futuristic, expressive control

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 9 Aug 2018 5:36 pm

We’ve seen lots of new controllers that are designed to be more responsive to gestures. But can they actually make new sounds, to match? ROLI and FXpansion have a new soft synth that’s designed for that.

It’s called Cypher2, and it builds on the past (award-winning, no less) software instruments from FXpansion, but now built from scratch so that you can access all those deep sound parameters just by moving your hands – not only by messing around with on-screen parameters.

And it sounds lovely:

ROLI have joined smaller makers like Madrona Labs, Roger Linn Instruments, and others in making new controllers that respond to more than just plucking keys or hitting drum pads. But the London-based company sets itself apart with something else – funding. So they’ve got Pharell Williams as a creative office, partnerships with the likes of Apple retail, and they bought up some of the unique, weird talent that makes music technology – including plug-in developer FXpansion, who also call London home. (That buyout took place in 2016.)

Now, when Apple go buy a plug-in maker, you can bet you’ll watch its products become exclusives for Logic and GarageBand. But when ROLI buy someone, you instead get interoperable software that takes advantage of ROLI’s forward-thinking instruments.

Translation: now when you prod and slide about the squishy keys of a ROLI Seaboard RISE or Seaboard Block, you can make fabulous sounds. Dig into your computer screen, and you can shape those sounds yourself.

And now that expressive control is part of MIDI (in the form of a protocol called MPE), this software sees both host support (Bitwig Studio, Cubase) and hardware support beyond just what ROLI make (like the Linnstrument, if you like).

ROLI and FXpansion call these sounds “5D,” but that is to say, many aspects of the sound are there underneath your hands. And that’s of course the way of things with acoustic instruments – even the acoustic piano responds with nuanced sound to the ways you press and release keys, even if this has been grossly simplified in the piano as represented in digital form.

This isn’t the first ROLI synth, but if you weren’t won over by Strobe2 and Equator, Cypher2 offers a bunch of new sound horizons and what ROLI say are the largest-ever bank of MPE-specific sounds. And you get a rich set of physically modeled and analog modeled sounds, producing lots of organic sounding instruments that are both familiar and futuristic.

I mean, it just sounds great. It’s been a while since I was this interested in a soft synth – and to me it’s the first new soft synth to really get excited about using MPE.

Promo video:

And if you want a cheaper / more portable solution, yes it works with the Blocks line, too:


Specs: VST, AAX, AU, Mac, Windows, 64-bit.

Cost: “$199 (£159, €179) on fxpansion.com. Existing owners of DCAM Synth Squad, Strobe2, a ROLI Seaboard or BLOCKS can purchase Cypher2 at a discounted price of $79 on fxpansion.com until 7th September 2018, or for $99 thereafter.”


What’s inside? Modeled analog circuitry and FM, deep modular-style synthesis capabilities, and loads and loads of modulation – again, normally stuff you’d find only on big modular rigs, but here with all the conveniences and powers of digital.

It’s kind of an in-the-box producer’s dream, only now made more accessible to actually playing that depth with controllers.

Modulation powers: audio-rate wave-modulation, sample & hold, ring-mod, variable-depth sync and tempo-synced beat-detune. Oh, yes.


Modulate the master sequencer with 3 mod sequencers and an expanded control matrix
Improved interface with real-time animated modulation, full signal flow visuals and preset descriptions
Default MIDI CC mappings for both 2D and 5D controller types
6 circuit-modelled filter types, each with a varied set of responses, including a comb filter model with 8 comb types
Scalable interface for 4K/retina screens with a variety of themes
LFOs are expanded with clock-divided sub-LFOs for synchronisation or free-running modulation
Updated envelope shapes for precise control
Feed your creativity with preset morphing and randomisation
Support for microtonal Scala .TUN files

Full hands-on coming soon, as well as a chat with FXpansion guru Angus Hewlett.


Yep, you can go virtuoso with ROLI – DiViNCi, Alluxe show you how

The post A soft synth that’s made to be played with futuristic, expressive control appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Overpower FM Translator Prompts $12,000 FCC Fine

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Thu 9 Aug 2018 5:26 pm

In an Order released earlier this week, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau imposed a $12,000 fine on the licensee of an FM translator in California because FCC inspections revealed that the translator was operating above its licensed power. The FCC found that the station was operating with a Transmitter Power Output of 7.5 watts, yielding an Effective Radiated Power of 33.7 watts, when the station was only licensed for .005 watts TPO and 10 watts ERP. While the licensee argued that the higher transmitter power output was necessary to achieve its authorized ERP, the FCC rejected that argument as a translator’s TPO is specifically set by its license and limited under the FCC’s rules, and to exceed the authorized TPO requires the grant of a construction permit or, at the very least, grant of an STA – neither of which had been sought by the licensee.

With so many new translators coming on the air, it is important for operators to remember to limit TPO to what is specified in a license. The power output cannot exceed 105% of what is authorized on the license (See Section 74.1235(e) of the FCC Rules). Full-power non-directional FM stations, on the other hand, can generally change TPO and transmission line without prior FCC approval as long as the change does not result in changes to authorized ERP (and even some ERP changes are permitted without a construction permit application – see Section 73.1690 for details), with the licensee only having to file an application for license on Form 302 after the changes have been made. But translators need approval to change TPO before it is done. Given the scrutiny now being placed on FM interference (see our article here about the FCC’s current proceeding to determine how to resolve complaints about translator interference), and the size of the fine issued in this case, translator operators should be sure that they know the rules and review their operations to make sure that these operations comply with the rules.

Tirzah: Devotion review – quiet love stories from DIY R&B enigma

Delivered... Laura Snapes | Scene | Thu 9 Aug 2018 12:00 pm

Making magic out of minimal patterns – with the help of old friend and producer Mica Levi – the singer spins alluring stories of intimacy and love

It has not been a vintage year for albums about love. Strenuous efforts by Beyoncé and Jay-Z and Dirty Projectors both had a whiff of protesting too much. With lyrics about his “purple” rubbing against his wife’s “pink”, Justin Timberlake’s lumberjack turn on Man of the Woods functioned like an artisanal, hand-whittled chastity belt. Rapturous declarations of romance feel gauche in calamitous times, and so the few smitten records to stick out in 2018 have had a smaller outlook. If there was anything to unite Kacey Musgraves’ cosmic country opus Golden Hour and the scruffy soul of Hot Chip frontman Alexis Taylor’s Beautiful Thing, it was their shared sense of grateful relief: thank God I don’t have to endure this hellscape alone.

Related: One to watch: Tirzah

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Hands-on: Roland’s #808day upgrade for the TR-8S is a blast to play

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 8 Aug 2018 5:21 pm

It’s a little thing, but it adds a lot when you’re playing live: STEP LOOP lets you repeat steps in a sequence as they play, without losing time. Here’s how it works, along with other updates to Roland’s TR-8S drum machine.

Roland’s version 1.10 firmware is out today, and the big new feature is called STEP LOOP. The basic idea:

Hold down a step to make it repeat.

Hold down multiple steps, and they repeat in order.

Release that step or steps, and the sequence continues in time. (LED feedback shows you that the sequence position advances even as you have steps triggered.)

STEP LOOP impacts the whole sequence, not just one part. To activate it, hold down SHIFT and INST PLAY. To exit the mode, just trigger any other sequence mode. Here is in action. Notice the visual feedback as I enter the mode, and what happens when I trigger one or more steps.

It’s hugely useful, because it lets you make fills and variations out of the existing material of a sequence – and you don’t ever drop out of time. It’s not the first drum machine to do this (the ElecTribe ES2 from KORG springs to mind, among others), but it’s hugely useful in this context. The TR-8S is already a great live performance feature, thanks to its flexible routing and I/O, ample controls, faders for volume, and the ability to load custom samples. STEP LOOP is then a perfect addition for live jamming, because it’s intuitive and rhythmic.

The TR-8S has been getting a steady stream of updates – the other huge one in 1.10 is the ability to preview samples. Here’s a reverse-chronological timeline of some of the highlights.

1.10, August 2018
Preview sound samples when you import

1.03 April 2018
Improved performance

1.02 March 2018
Batch import kits
Import and export patterns and kits
Write direct to an SD card from the computer (“Storage Mode”)

All of this fits nicely together. It’s now really quick to chop up some samples and load them onto an SD card, then import them into custom kits. That makes the TR-8S’ own onboard hardware a useful way to build your own custom kits – even preferable in some way to working with software. And the combination of STEP LOOP with other features for making custom rhythms adds tons of variety. (Use LAST to make different length parts, add sub-step rhythms for more complex patterns, and use “auto fill” to mix things up even if your hands aren’t free.)

Oh, and you can sidechain external inputs. So I’ve used the TR-8S with my laptop and Native Instruments Maschine. I use MIDI out from Maschine to keep things in sync, and route audio from the computer into the TR-8S so I can sidechain that audio with the drum machine. I’ve also played with Roland’s own AIRA VT-3 vocal transformer, which also lends itself to sidechaining. But it’s an ideal live performance box.

For more resources on the TR-8S, check out Francis Preve’s blog – he’s done a great Master Class on the instrument for Electronic Musician, plus a custom kit for you to download:

Master Class: Roland TR-8S


Roland TR-8S hands-on: a more playable, powerful drum machine

The post Hands-on: Roland’s #808day upgrade for the TR-8S is a blast to play appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

The 808 just got its own hipster IPA beer in London

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 8 Aug 2018 2:57 pm

Okay, for anyone who thought the TR-808 shoes were too much, you may want to sit down. Now there’s a craft beer immortalizing the Roland drum machine for #808day.

It’s called the BR-808, and it’s quite silly – but you do get a celebrity endorsement from the likes of pioneering artist A Guy Called Gerald:

The specs:

Filmmakers Origin Workshop have teamed up with beat loving brewers Mondo Brewing Company (U.K.), DevilCraft (Japan) and Melvin Brewing (U.S.A) and together they have developed and produced The Origin Workshop BR-808, a special collaboration beer that honours the enduring sounds and cultural legacy of the TR-808 and the seismic shift it created in music.

It’s a taste of the future, a brew defined by the legendary kick drum of the 808. Its been developed to recreate that deep sub-bass low end, delivering a solid Japanese kick that resonates through the American IPA flavours.

With tropical, citrus aromas, mikan orange peel and flavours from the generous rise of Citra and Amarillo hops the Origin Workshop BR-808 provides a refined taste. In the spirit of true collaboration, the brewers added no caramel malt with only light British pale malt and Cara pils, resulting in a refreshing brew coming in at 7% ABV.

That is a hipster marketing singularity if ever I heard one – London + 808 nostalgia + film agency + american IPA. I haven’t tasted this, though, so I can’t vouch yet.

That said, hmmm, 7%? I’m in Berlin, so I’ll stick to the lighter pilsner. 7% and I might not be able to properly operating STEP LOOP on the TR-8S.


Previously in 808-inspired merch:

You’ll be able to buy those Roland 808 sneakers soon, plus a new pair

Now… it seems to me a drum machine needs an energy drink, but for now, there’s still Club-Mate. (Oh… okay, that Red Bull thing. But no.)

The post The 808 just got its own hipster IPA beer in London appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

No new products, but Roland celebrates #808day with free gear updates

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 8 Aug 2018 2:33 pm

Roland now routinely enjoy the fact that August 8 is “808” day. But we aren’t seeing new product announcements today as in some past years. What you get instead is a bunch of updates for existing gear. Here they are in one place so you can see what’s relevant to you.

All AIRA products – a new Web resource with free sounds. Roland have a newly redesigned AIRA website. Instead of splashy promotional things being thrown at you, you get a tidy selection of news and updates – and, importantly, a Sound Library with free patches and sound content. For now, that includes the TR-8S drum machine and SYSTEM-8 synth, but Roland tells us the site will cover the whole AIRA lineup over time. And there are some gems in there already, like polymeter stuff from live virtuoso and producer KiNK, and FM and percussion sounds that use the synth engine in the SYSTEM-8.

TR-8S / TR-8 – STEP LOOP. Firmware update 1.10 adds STEP LOOP to the TR-8S flagship (808-inspired) drum machine, plus the earlier (and more neon green) TR-8. What does it do? It repeats steps as you hold them down, including repeating multiple steps if you hold multiple steps down, and then returns to the pattern when you release the buttons. Simple feature, big results – because you can jam with variations over top of a pattern, without losing your place. (Some other drum machines have had a similar feature, so it’ll be even more welcome to those users on the TR-8/8S.) It’s easier to show than describe, so we’ll have a video hands-on later.


SYSTEM-8 – JX-3P add-on. SYSTEM-8 synth owners get a nice freebie: a complete model of Roland’s 80s classic, the JX-3P, in “PLUG-OUT” form (meaning the model can be loaded directly onto the hardware).


Oh yeah, and the SYSTEM-8 has been coming into its own this summer. It got an FM oscillator for a wider range of timbres, plus new filters. Now, you get a model of a great polyphonic synth for free, too. (Remember when Roland was charging for PLUG-OUT add-ons for hardware owners? Seems they’ve gotten away from that.)

It’s all in the latest update.

Speaking of the SYSTEM-8, that platform also got a boost with the US$19.99 Synthwave library, designed by our friend Francis Preve along with Jim Stout, showing off some of the retro Roland sounds you can get out of this engine. And in case you didn’t get the 80s / 90s nostalgia flowing yet, their promo video will do it for sure:

It covers the Juno-106 and Jupiter-8 engines as well the SYSTEM-8’s own original modeled synth engine. Of course, what’s nice about this is you then have access to the sounds in both software (Roland Cloud) and hardware, and then you get hands-on tweakability on the hardware – so you can start with one of these presets and then shape it a bit.

Synthwave for Roland System-8

All of this says something about value in 2018 instruments. It’s not just about the new gear when you take it out of the box, but the value over time. (See also major firmware updates lately from Novation and Elektron, among othes.) Add in the JX-3P, and maybe that sound library, and the SYSTEM-8 is really maturing into a lovely bit of kit.

The SYSTEM-8, now with JX-3P sounds on top of Juno-106 and Jupiter-8 (plus its own original engine).

And yeah, maybe some people will be disappointed about no new gear, but… that STEP LOOP. That JX-3P. Not paying for either. So, hey, like:

The post No new products, but Roland celebrates #808day with free gear updates appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

15 Essential Disco House Tracks That Every Head Should Know

Delivered... By Finn Johannsen | Scene | Wed 8 Aug 2018 10:54 am

House is a continuation of disco. You can hear that easily in its arrangement and in its sound, which samples and pulls liberally from the popular club music of the ’70s and early ’80s.

And, in fact, many of the first Chicago house records featured interpolated vocal riffs, basslines and melodies cribbed from classic Salsoul, Prelude and West End records.

(There’s no better example of this than Isaac Hayes’, “I Can’t Turn Around“, which famously influenced Farley Jackmaster Funk’s “Love Can’t Turn Around“, and many other tracks of the era.)

Later, as house progressed towards the ’90s, producers turned to new and novel ways of recreating disco’s legacy. The resulting genre, now referred to as “disco house”, includes some very creative tracks that are worth knowing. The following list features some particularly noteworthy examples.

Mitch Winthrop, “Everybody’s Going Disco Crazy” (Everybody’s Much Crazy Records 1991)

I first heard this record at Hamburg’s Front club, where it was a total anthem. At the time, most people weren’t actually disco-crazy anymore, but this was a perfect reminder to never forget where it all came from.

Reese Project, “Direct Me (Joey Negro Disco Blend Mix)” (Network 1991)

Joey Negro was one of the first house producers who aimed to go beyond sampling to produce music that came as close as possible to disco’s original values. His remix of this track by Kevin Saunderson is a good example. There is a lot of careful attention to detail in the way it achieves its anthemic euphoria—just listen to those Syndrum “pew-pew-pews”. He’s since proved himself to be a trustworthy ambassador for disco, which he’s remained ever since.

Nature Boy, “Tobago” (Black Label 1992)

This is Milo from Bristol’s legendary Wild Bunch soundsystem, deconstructing disco source material down to its dark and gritty netherworld. None of the glitz of the sample references survived the process, and the music seemed to kick you out into the alley through the back door rather than sway you in through the velvet rope. I found Ruff Disco Volume One in a bargain bin in the early ’90s, and I think it still sounds totally visionary and unique.

Romanthony, “In The Mix” (Azuli Records 1994)

A tribute to Tony Humphries and the whole New Jersey legacy by Romanthony, one of house music’s greatest producers ever. If there was ever a more convincing argument to never deny your roots and keep them alive in what you are doing, I would like to hear it.

Jump Cutz, “House Luck” (Luxury Service Records 1995)

One of many highlights from the Jump Cutz series, produced by Rob Mello and Zaki Dee. This really shows that often making a good disco house track is not rocket science. Deconstruct source material into several parts. Reconstruct said parts as you please. Watch them go.

The Morning Kids, “Free Lovin’ (Housedream)” (Balihu Records 1996)

As a true disco lover and dancer, Daniel Wang knew that it’s in the early morning hours when the magic of a good night out really unfolds. A rather simplistic meditation compared to his later, vintage syntheziser-led output, this track is based on just a few samples, but it still works a treat when the DJ decides it is finally the right time to switch gears. When it was released, the balearic revival was just a few sunrises away.

Los Jugaderos, “What You Doing To This Girl?” (Jus’ Trax 1996)

A rework of Dazzle’s “You Dazzle Me” which is indeed dazzling. The proven disco evangelists Ashely Beedle and Phil Asher concentrate on mesmerizingly building up the tension and releasing the strings at exactly the right moment. A masterclass in structure.

Turntable Brothers, “Get Ready” (Music Plant 1996)

There once was a seminal live recording archived on deephousepage.com that captured Ron Hardy whipping his floor into a frenzy with an extended reel-to-reel edit of Patti Labelle’s “Get Ready“. This Chicago label already carries the legacy of two legendary windy city clubs in its name: the Muzic Box and the Warehouse, which was later called Power Plant. So it should come as no surprise that most records on Music Plant are straight homages, albeit with banging beats and a freewheeling demeanor with the use of typical Chicago samples. “Get Ready” skips the verse section of the original, heads straight to the climactic chorus and then rides it far into ecstasy.

Moodymann, “I Can’t Kick This Feelin’ When It Hits” (KDJ 1996)

If you play disco, never leave the house without a record made by the Chic Organization LTD. If you play house, the same applies.

Deep Sensation, “Somehow, Somewhere (There’s A Soul Heaven)” (Guidance Recordings, 1998)

Paul Hunter and Colin Gate appeared as Deep Sensation on several US and UK labels and established an approach to disco house that was clearly informed by the UK rare groove and rare soul circuit. In theory, a trick they often used seemed simple: mount a distinctive vocal onto another, similarly distinctive tune and add some house danceability. But it is how immaculately they did this that really set them apart, particularly with the string of records they released on Guidance. Every track they did was so lovingly rearranged that it felt as if they had hired a band—plus an orchestra—and let loose in the studio, conducting the proceedings like the ’70s maestros’ works never happened. Up to this day, you can lift every place up and inject instant weekender credentials into every set you play with those releases. Make sure that you check Paul Hunter’s several other aliases for even more gems.

Freestyle Orchestra, “Twi-Lite” (MAW Records 1998)

Louie Vega reviving an old alias to include his better half, Kenny Dope, probably so that he can supply his trademark beats for perfect measure. The totally tripping loop material is courtesy of unlikely disco converts The Manhattan Transfer, trading their usual jazzy croonage for a journey into the unknown. The track is a perfect example of how the constant repetition of a perfect loop will eventually let your mind slip away.

Sound Stream, “Motion” (Sound Stream 1999)

As a producer, Frank Timm (a.k.a. Sound Stream) is a rare phenomenon. Unfazed by the hustle and bustle of the club music scene, he releases tracks only when he thinks they are ripe, however long that may take. Still, with every release, he is right back on the map again. This may work because his tracks are continuously faultless if you like his sound, even if it has gradually evolved over the years. This track is from his first release, and it established his agenda: isolate and loop a perfect moment in a piece of music, then construct a track with it, and then add your own signature beats—then let it all rule.

Johnick Meets FTL, “A Breath Of Fresh Air (Henry Street Mix)” (West End Records 2004)

Johnick (a duo comprised of Johnny D De Mairo and Nicholas Palermo Jr.) were always devoted to reinterpreting disco, be it with Johnny D’s Henry Street label or with their own productions. They were especially gifted with reassembling and isolating original parts for a streetwise, deep and almost-psychedelic vibe. This has a similarly-hypnotic quality, but it is first and foremost a perfect summer breeze of a track. Almost ten casually-funky minutes float on an impeccable loop that’s lifted by a very sophisticated flute solo.

Jasper Street Co., “Till I Found You” (Basement Boys Records 2004)

The Basement Boys camp from Baltimore is an ever-reliable source for house with a disco stance. This jam sounds like a joyous church service driven by a tight, veteran jazz-funk band that just fell in love with DJ culture. Totally loved up and totally infectious.

Phyllis Hyman, “You Know How To Love (Dimitri From Paris Super Disco Blend)” (Le-Edits Records 2018)

Like Joey Negro, Dimitri From Paris is one of the most revered collectors of disco originals, and his history of editing disco for house purposes goes back for so many years that he is frequently granted access to an ingredient that distinguishes his role as editor from those that just put a streamlined beat to a track for better mixability: multitracks. Of course, if you have all the tracks of the original recording, you can really show your skills as a producer and arranger. And even if purists will always prefer the original, a lot of Dimitri From Paris versions offer a quality level which is at least worthy of comparison. Within France’s long tradition of merging disco and house, Dimitri From Paris obviously came from another school than the seminal heavy filter workouts once initiated by Daft Punk and their affiliates, but sometimes you just need some elegant swing, n’est-ce pas?

Read more: Flemming Dalum tells us how Italo Disco became cool again

The post 15 Essential Disco House Tracks That Every Head Should Know appeared first on Telekom Electronic Beats.

This may be the 808 Marvin Gaye used to make ‘Sexual Healing’

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 8 Aug 2018 9:41 am

No moment cements the TR-808 as a sex symbol quite like its role in “Sexual Healing.” And we may have a producer who found the actual drum machine used in the song.

As “Sexual Healing” opens, it’s just a slow, dry groove on this futuristic Japanese electronic box with a whisper over top. Then, that silky smooth keyboard part and crisp, funky bassline weave in together with the vocals. It’s deceptively simple stuff – and totally potent, proof of what electronic sounds can do.

That makes the TR-808 used in the track a genuine part of music history – even if at the time, it was just an inexpensive box. But where is that TR-808 now? We may have an answer.

None other than famed pioneering Belgian producer Kris Vanderheyden (best known as Insider, among other aliases) tells Roland and CDM that he’s got this very machine in his studio. Drum machines can’t talk (no soul and all), but Kris relates the story:

When I started out as a musician in the late 80’s, I was looking for some analog gear. New equipment was expensive but you could get good deals second hand.

I initially got my Roland TR-909 which I swapped for 5 mix cassette tapes – incredible huh? But back in those days it wasn’t such a big deal to own one.

Later on, I came across a guy [unsure of the name] who played in a New Wave band and was recording at Studio Katy in Belgium. The studio was only 5 miles from where I grew up. Eric and his band used to book the studio at night for financial reasons and Marvin Gaye was booked there during the day while recording his album “Midnight Love.”

One day, Eric left the band’s (his) Roland TR-808 at the studio and Marvin came in and started to play around. The rest is (“sexual”) history.
I bought that machine for one hundred and twenty dollars ($120.00). It’s just priceless now…

The story checks out – Midnight Love, including this single, was recorded at Studio Katy, Ohain, Belgium. This would appear to be validated by references in interviews in the 808 Movie, as well.

Take a look at Kris’ shots of the machine:

Kris’ story is a familiar microcosm of the 808’s role in music. But it also says something lovely about creativity and the toys we use, generally. It’s not that the TR-808 is a priceless invention. It’s a readily accessible, affordable machine that gets you into a flow. That’s certainly how I feel messing about with the 808’s latest successor, the TR-8S – and I mean that. As I got to hear from Susan Rogers at SONAR in June, creativity is this special state of mind. These devices can get us there, and then become something more.

Sexual Healing at Wikipedia

Kris’ site: http://www.insider-music.com/

The post This may be the 808 Marvin Gaye used to make ‘Sexual Healing’ appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Fred Anton Corvest’s Envolver app takes a big step forward with version 2

Delivered... Ashley Elsdon | Scene | Wed 8 Aug 2018 6:07 am

Apps from the FAC stable are fast becoming some of my most used AUv3 apps at the moment. Fred’s Maxima, and Transient seem to get used almost all the time, but his Envolver app is one that had, so far, not really hit my radar. That is, until now, with version 2, and the reason that version 2 has caught my attention, is that it is a seriously significant upgrade in this app’s capability. First it’s probably worth giving you a quick idea of what the app itself does. Here’s the description from the app store.

Being a MIDI effect in its essence, controlling your synthesizers parameters (e.g volume, cutoff, res) with MIDI CC and notes, FAC Envolver is also able to transform the input audio via two exclusive effects: a Noise Gate and a Trance Gate. This combination is the key to breathe life into your sound, providing interesting natural modulation and sequences that will always be different by nature.

Under the hood, FAC Envolver is an envelope follower delivering MIDI data generated from the contour of a signal. The source of this signal may come from two distinctive circuits: the first one is a classic envelope follower and the second one is a rythmical pattern called trigger gate. Both circuits are responsible for providing a signal envelope that can be altered by a set of parameters and delivered as MIDI control change messages (CC).

The generated signal envelope also passes through a gate detection mechanism driven by a threshold. When the signal goes above the threshold, the gate is open and when the signal goes below, the gate is closed. This open/close sequence provides a second envelope which is delivered as MIDI CC (on/off) and notes. The pitch of the note may be set within the effect or from an external value provided by MIDI input. Both may follow a particular scale progression.

The envelope follower circuit also provides a noise gate to control precisely the level of your audio signal. This uses the same open/close sequence built by the gate detection mechanism that delivers MIDI data but acts on the audio. Following the same logic, when the second circuit – the trigger gate – is engaged, the open/close sequence provides a trance gate style effect to the audio.

FAC Envolver is a stereo effect and provides two slots, one slot per channel. Both can be linked to facilitate the manipulation. The audio can also be turned to mono and the dry and wet audio can be mixed.

What’s arrived in version 2.0 really does take this AUv3 up to the next level though:

• Two circuits: Env Follower and Trigger Gate (Audio/MIDI fx)
• Each circuit provides MIDI out (CC/Note) and optional audio transformation
• Env Follower provides a Noise Gate with threshold, hysteresis and curve smoother
• Trigger Gate provides a Trance Gate Style fx with optional resolution and patterns
• Stereo/Mono processing – a slot per channel
• Fine tuning of each slot; rising and falling time, bias, depth and inverter
• MIDI IN/OUT support: CC#, channels, int/ext note pitch and scale progression
• Multi-waveform graph: input signal, env contour, gate signal and threshold
• Host tempo sync

Note: The MIDI/AUDIO combo makes FAC Envolver usable in every host, even the ones that still do not provide MIDI out support, in this case the MIDI generator is disabled and the fx can be used as standard AUDIO fx.

I’m really looking forward to getting to grips with FAC Envolver very soon, as I can image that it’s going to be yet another FAC app that ends up being heavily used by me on a regular basis.

FAC Envolver is on the app store and costs $9.99

The post Fred Anton Corvest’s Envolver app takes a big step forward with version 2 appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Bliptronic is powered by AudioKit and might remind you of some hardware from the last decade

Delivered... Ashley Elsdon | Scene | Wed 8 Aug 2018 6:05 am

We’ve already seen a couple of apps this week that are powered by the AudioKit framework, and here’s another. Bliptronic is a fairly simple looking synth app with an intuitive interface. It’s a universal app, and as far as I can tell it’s sort of roughly based on the original Bliptronic or Bliptronic 5000 hardware from years ago. It could be that I’m wrong and it’s just sharing a name, but as this app also has a grid interface it would seem to be a big coincidence.

According to the app’s description it provides an 8×8 grid representing beats-per-measure vs notes-per-scale. This layout offers a clear way to visualize patterns in music, as well as exploring randomness by pressing a scattered assortment of buttons. Bliptronic comes equipped with four different types of synthesizer engines, an envelope filter to sculpt the shape, as well as reverb to add a deeper dimensions to your sounds.

As I always fancied a look at the original hardware device I may well have a play with this. If you’re interested in finding out more about the original hardware, click here to see the post from way back in 2009 on CDM.

Finally, if you’re interested in how Bliptronic was made you can check out the GitHub page for the project and dive right in.

Bliptronic is free on the app store

The post Bliptronic is powered by AudioKit and might remind you of some hardware from the last decade appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

FCC Adopts Incubator Program To Assist New Radio Owners – What Does it Provide?

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Tue 7 Aug 2018 10:20 pm

At its meeting last week, the FCC adopted a Report and Order creating an incubator program to incentivize existing broadcasters to assist new entrants to get into broadcast ownership. The FCC in its order last year relaxing TV local ownership rules and abolishing the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule had agreed to adopt an incubator program (see our articles here and here). In fact, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which is reviewing the FCC’s ownership order, stayed the processing of that appeal to await the rules on the incubator program (see our article here), as the Court has previously indicated that considerations of how changes in the ownership rules affect new entrants is part of its analysis of the justification for such changes. What rules did the FCC adopt?

The FCC will encourage an existing broadcaster who successfully incubates a new entrant into broadcasting by giving them a “presumptive waiver” of the ownership rules. To understand what this means requires looking at several questions including (1) what services does the existing broadcaster have to provide to qualify for the credit; (2) which new entrants qualify for incubation; (3) what is a successful incubation; and (4) what does the presumptive waiver provide to the broadcaster providing the incubation services. Let’s look at each of these questions.

What services qualify as incubation? The FCC did not lay down hard and fast rules as to exactly what constitutes an incubation of an entrant. But it did say that incubation will likely consist of either financial assistance or management and operational services and training, or a combination of both. Any incubation plan needs to be submitted to the FCC for approval either with an application by the new entrant to acquire the station or in a petition for declaratory ruling if the new entrant already owns the station and is seeking incubation to help make it a success. As part of the plan, a written contract setting out the relationship between the parties must be submitted for FCC review.

The FCC did, however, put limits on the incubation. If the existing station provides financing by taking an equity interest in the company that is being incubated, the new entrant must retain voting control of the licensee of the incubated station. In addition to control, the new entrant will have to have at least a 15% equity interest in the company, and that interest will need to be at least 30% if some other entity (such as the broadcaster providing the incubation services) has more than 25% of the entity.

The new entrant must also have an option to buy back any interest that the existing station takes in the incubated station at the end of three years, at no more than fair market value. The new entrant may decide not to exercise the option at the end of three years, or it may decide to sell the incubated station – but the incubation will only be considered successful if the new entrant holds on to control of the incubated station or sells it and turns around and uses its proceeds to buy another radio station.

The new entrant must at all times maintain control of the licensee of the incubated station. The existing station cannot provide programming services to the new entrant through an LMA. It can do a JSA or Shared Services Agreement but, as the goal of the program is to end up with a successful, independent operation, the JSA or SSA must end after two years.

Who qualifies to be incubated? Initially, this program will only apply to radio stations. The FCC decided that radio offers the best opportunity for new entrants to get into the broadcasting business, though it may reevaluate that conclusion in the new Quadrennial Review to determine if incubation should be extended to television as well. While we have termed the entity being assisted by the incubator program as a “new entrant,” in fact that entity can have up to three other radio stations in addition to the station being incubated. So this program is also designed to assist small owners become more successful.

In addition to having no more than three existing radio ownership interests, any party being incubated must also meet Small Business Administration standards for being a small business. To be a small business under SBA rules, an entity must have less than $38.5 million in revenue. Note that the SBA rules attribute revenue from some affiliates of the entity being evaluated, so a big company can’t set up a shell corporation to be incubated. The FCC will also require certifications that the entity being incubated could not have acquired the incubated station or operated it successfully without the assistance of the company providing the incubation assistance. The new entrant will also be required to disclose all family broadcast interests to show that the entity is independent. The FCC reserves the right to investigate these certifications, and notes that it will revoke permission for an incubation program if it finds that the company being incubated in fact had access to a source of funds that made the incubation unnecessary (e.g., a “trust fund” in the example given by the FCC).

The existing station can help to incubate no more than one station in any given market. If it seeks to incubate stations in multiple markets, it will need to demonstrate that it has the capacity to do so.

When is an Incubation Successful? The incubation is normally to be for a period of three years. However, an incubated entity can ask for early termination if things take off, or one extension of up to three years. As noted above, the incubation will be successful if, at the end of three years, the incubated station can stand on its own, or if it has been sold with the new entrant buying another AM or FM station with the proceeds.

At the end of the incubation period, the parties must file a joint certified statement setting out the results of the incubation, and describing how the incubation assisted the new entrant to become a stable operation. If the FCC’s Media Bureau does not conclude that the incubation was unsuccessful within 120 days (or any longer period that the Bureau determines is necessary to review the final certifications), the station that provided the incubation services will get a presumptive waiver allowing it to exceed the multiple ownership rules in any comparably sized market.

What is the benefit of a Presumptive Waiver? The entity providing the incubation services will receive a Presumptive Waiver allowing it to acquire one station more than is allowed under the current FCC radio ownership rules. That waiver can be used for an acquisition of any station in a comparably sized market, i.e. one that has the same limits on the number of stations that can be owned in the market where the incubated station is located. So if an entity incubates a station in a market where one owner is allowed to own up to 6 stations, no more than 4 of which can be FM stations, that entity can acquire a 7th station in any market subject to the same ownership limits. The waiver can also be used in the same market as the incubated station. Once acquired, that additional station can be sold as part of the cluster of stations in the same market without any need for divestiture.

However, there are limits on the use of the waiver. The waiver cannot be used if the entity using the waiver would end up with more than 50% of the stations in the market. In addition, the market must have at least the same number of independent radio owners as the market in which the incubation occurred (at the time of the start of the incubation). Thus, if there were six independent radio station owners in the market where the incubation occurs, there must be at least 6 independent owners in the comparable market for the waiver to be used. The waiver must be used within 3 years of the end of the successful incubation.


There are many additional nuances to the incubator program, so if you are interested in taking advantage of the program, either to incubate a station to get a possible waiver of the radio ownership limits, or to help assure the success of a new station, read the Order and accompanying rules carefully, and seek assistance of an attorney familiar with FCC practice. These rules will become effective after they are approved under the Paperwork Reduction Act, and after the necessary changes to the FCC forms have been made.

Vectors are getting their own festival: lasers and oscilloscopes, go!

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 7 Aug 2018 4:47 pm

It’s definitely an underground subculture of audiovisual media, but lovers of graphics made with vintage displays, analog oscilloscopes, and lasers are getting their own fall festival to share performances and techniques.

Vector Hack claims to be “the first ever international festival of experimental vector graphics” – a claim that is, uh, probably fair. And it’ll span two cities, starting in Zagreb, Croatia, but wrapping up in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana.

Why vectors? Well, I’m sure the festival organizers could come up with various answers to that, but let’s go with because they look damned cool. And the organizers behind this particular effort have been spitting out eyeball-dazzling artwork that’s precise, expressive, and unique to this visceral electric medium.

Unconvinced? Fine. Strap in for the best. Festival. Trailer. Ever.

Here’s how they describe the project:

Vector Hack is the first ever international festival of experimental vector graphics. The festival brings together artists, academics, hackers and performers for a week-long program beginning in Zagreb on 01/10/18 and ending in Ljubljana on 07/10/18.

Vector Hack will allow artists creating experimental audio-visual work for oscilloscopes and lasers to share ideas and develop their work together alongside a program of open workshops, talks and performances aimed at allowing young people and a wider audience to learn more about creating their own vector based audio-visual works.

We have gathered a group of fifteen participants all working in the field from a diverse range of locations including the EU, USA and Canada. Each participant brings a unique approach to this exiting field and it will be a rare chance to see all their works together in a single program.

Vector Hack festival is an artist lead initiative organised with
support from Radiona.org/Zagreb Makerspace as a collaborative international project alongside Ljubljana’s Ljudmila Art and Science Laboratory and Projekt Atol Institute. It was conceived and initiated by Ivan Marušić Klif and Derek Holzer with assistance from Chris King.

Robert Henke is featured, naturally – the Berlin-based artist and co-founder of Ableton and Monolake has spent the last years refining his skills in spinning his own code to control ultra-fine-tuned laser displays. But maybe what’s most exciting about this scene is discovering a whole network of people hacking into supposedly outmoded display technologies to find new expressive possibilities.

One person who has helped lead that direction is festival initiator Derek Holzer. He’s finishing a thesis on the topic, so we’ll get some more detail soon, but anyone interested in this practice may want to check out his open source Pure Data library. The Vector Synthesis library “allows the creation and manipulation of vector shapes using audio signals sent directly to oscilloscopes, hacked CRT monitors, Vectrex game consoles, ILDA laser displays, and oscilloscope emulation software using the Pure Data programming environment.”


The results are entrancing – organic and synthetic all at once, with sound and sight intertwined (both in terms of control signal and resulting sensory impression). That is itself perhaps significant, as neurological research reveals that these media are experienced simultaneously in our perception. Here are just two recent sketches for a taste:

They’re produced by hacking into a Vectrax console – an early 80s consumer game console that used vector signals to manipulate a cathode ray screen. From Wikipedia, here’s how it works:

The vector generator is an all-analog design using two integrators: X and Y. The computer sets the integration rates using a digital-to-analog converter. The computer controls the integration time by momentarily closing electronic analog switches within the operational-amplifier based integrator circuits. Voltage ramps are produced that the monitor uses to steer the electron beam over the face of the phosphor screen of the cathode ray tube. Another signal is generated that controls the brightness of the line.

Ted Davis is working to make these technologies accessible to artists, too, by developing a library for coding-for-artists tool Processing.


Oscilloscopes, ready for interaction with a library by Ted Davis.

Ted Davis.

Here’s a glimpse of some of the other artists in the festival, too. It’s wonderful to watch new developments in the post digital age, as artists produce work that innovates through deeper excavation of technologies of the past.

Akiras Rebirth.

Alberto Novell.

Vanda Kreutz.

Stefanie Bräuer.

Jerobeam Fenderson.

Hrvoslava Brkušić.

Andrew Duff.

More on the festival:


The post Vectors are getting their own festival: lasers and oscilloscopes, go! appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Blimps, runes and latte mummies: how Aphex Twin keeps fans guessing

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Tue 7 Aug 2018 3:21 pm

The Cornish producer has released his first new music since 2016, and has been preceded by a typically twisted rabbit hole of clues for fans to decipher

You know where you are with pop fandom: construct homemade banner, queue up outside hotel or TV studio, scream, return home. But if you’re an Aphex Twin fan, this seems positively ascetic in its simplicity: the Cornish producer sends his fans down labyrinthine rabbit holes full of clues and in-jokes.

He has just released his first new material since 2016: the high-tempo stuttering electro groove of T69 Collapse. The first sign of it was the appearance of his rune-like “A” symbol in London’s Elephant and Castle tube station – perhaps a nod to the rumour that he bought up the silvery structure in the middle of the area’s roundabout – followed by the same 3D design printed amid the greenery on a wall of an Los Angeles record shop. Then there was an announcement of sorts, a distorted press release promising an EP called Collapse.

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