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


Watch KORG Gadget on Nintendo Switch prove music can be multiplayer fun, too

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Fri 6 Dec 2019 12:00 pm

In many, many languages, the word for “playing” music is the same as “playing” a game. So it’s fitting KORG has invaded the Nintendo Switch console with music-making – and that you can share with friends.

The translation of KORG Gadget to Nintendo’s Switch handheld is mostly novelty and fun convenience – you’re probably still going to find the iPad version easier to use solo. But where the Switch stands out is some of its multiplayer, collaborative twists. Since on key feature of the Switch (though not Switch Lite) is TV output, you can jam on a large screen or projection image. It’s the old gaming split-screen mode, like in Mario Kart and (back in the day) Goldeneye. Combine that with the “this is just for fun” feeling you get from holding a game console, and you get something you probably wouldn’t get quite so easily with other platforms. This is literally something you might bust out at a party.

The team at online tool Splice decided to give the mode a workout, and produced a video and short blog piece sharing their experiences:

Now, of course, instruments, bands, choirs – all of these provide the same social experience. And none of those things is going away, either, judging by the ongoing market for sheet music, acoustic instruments, accessories, education, and conferences in those fields (really, look it up). So maybe it’s not about production replacing traditional music. Maybe it’s more that we have this new form of musical activity – electronic production – and so far, we haven’t had a good way to share it.

Ever tried to work with a friend in something like Ableton Live? You can easily jam together by adding extra synth gear or drum machines. But using the actual tool Live often means “fighting” over the controls, because both the mouse/keyboard interface and things like Ableton Push tend to assume a single user. (Push will even regularly override other controllers and inputs, but I digress – this isn’t just a Live problem, but a limitation with the computer/user metaphor generally.)

So it seems like a small thing, but even this crude setup shows how you might think about this differently.

More from KORG on Gadget as used for educational purposes, and demonstrating its multiplayer features. (By the way, I was consulted, via New York’s Dubspot, with Rockstar Games on how to make a handheld gaming platform work in music education. The idea has been floating around – but today’s Switch is far better as a choice than the then-current Sony PSP Rockstar was using – sorry, Sony.)

English subtitled, go further into that classroom. I will just assume that in Japan it’s normal for all music teachers to wear lab coats.

Oh, and – another thing. Gaming in general offers an alternative paradigm for how we think about widespread access to music creation, and difficulty level. Not to harp endlessly on Amazon this week, but part of why I was triggered by their keynote was how tired the “everyone can make music without any skill or effort” refrain was.

Gaming has had to tackle this perception, too. But consistently, actual gamers ask for experiences that last. That might be a so-called “casual” game that still sucks up time and ramps up difficulty, or it might be punishing “hard-core” games. But one thing gamers have generally resisted is games that play themselves – which is why the “AI makes music for you” model is so screwed up. (The exception perhaps proves the rule – some mobile games now leverage the data on your usage to essentially squeeze money out of you, leaving the user doing little. Most everyone hates this, and even Apple and Google have had to intervene by changing the underlying business model.)

So back to multiplayer music – Korg GADGET doesn’t take out any of the fundamental work of music production in any other tool. What’s fun about it is making mistakes, screwing up together with other people. And even though theoretically someday this could work online, you can also see in the video that there’s something invaluable about being in the same room together with friends.

I personally think as music production does reach further and further around the world, it’s less and less likely you’ll need to connect online just to find someone else. But of course online multiplayer is there, too, when you want it – still with the large-scale visual feedback of splitscreen. It’s also not hard to imagine that soon the Twitch video streaming phenomenon will grow bigger in music, with some early first indications of crossover already.

Just look for installed base. The iPad is the assumed go-to for this sort of idea, and has its own jam-friendly Ableton Link protocol for just this use case. But iOS has limitations of its own, and it’s clear there are some different ideas possible even where you wouldn’t expect it, on Nintendo Switch.

I think there’s a lesson here for being creative with computing platforms, or even offering devices with video out – people do still own TVs and projectors.

Alternatively, print out this story, stick it in a file folder with your taxes, and tell your accountant that yes, you do need to deduct the cost of a Nintendo Switch. You’ve got just a few shopping days left until the end of the year if you want that to get taken off your tax bill for 2018.

You’re welcome. (Oh, you might want to redact this last bit. Guten Morgen, Finanzamt!)

The post Watch KORG Gadget on Nintendo Switch prove music can be multiplayer fun, too appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

This t-shirt explains that t-shirts make money for artists and Spotify streaming doesn’t

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 5 Dec 2019 8:33 pm

The Black Dog produced a wonderful piece of self-reflective merch. The sobering message: you’d have to stream on Spotify 6500 times to match this one t-shirt.

The text reads:

One t-shirt is the equivalent to 6500 streams on Spotify. 76% of all music in 2019 is streamed and not bought physically or digitally. Band merchandise is the most direct way of supporting an artist.

We’ve heard this message before, but not reflexively on the actual merch. The resentment of mainstream commercial streaming is becoming a chorus – and electronic musicians ought to be specifically concerned, as people actively working with technology.

On the other hand, the implied irony here is that the shirt doesn’t have any particular artistic statement or anything to do with music. It’s a lament and an epitaph, in other words.

While musicians embrace download-focused Bandcamp (and some other services), this also raises questions about Beatport’s streaming offering. Beatport promises higher revenues, and says downloading will continue to complement streaming. We’ve yet to see whether that might offer an additional pathway for music, particularly since DJs tend to rely on downloads.

Here’s the shirt:

The Black Dog aren’t the only ones using t-shirts to protest today’s Internet economics. Artists, exhausted from images being automatically scraped from Twitter and then sold, are fighting back. The hack – hijack the spam sites by posting images complaining about the practice. Andy Baio has the story:

“This site sells STOLEN artwork, do NOT buy from them!” <3 😉

It all certainly raises awareness – though what we don’t have yet is a solution. Until then, the protests continue.

The post This t-shirt explains that t-shirts make money for artists and Spotify streaming doesn’t appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

A fresh electronic sound for the Netherlands, and urgent work to fight racism

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 2 Dec 2019 7:33 pm

In the Netherlands, electronic music isn’t just a sound, but a rallying cry. And you can answer that call from all around the world.

Racial discrimination can make people feel like outsiders in their own home, and can stand in the way of displaced people trying to make a new home. This time of year in the Netherlands and Belgium, that reality is as stark as ever, in a country that still celebrates Christmas with blackface and racial caricatures. (See reporting on Zwarte Piet from just last week, if you’re not already familiar with the phenomenon.)

Here’s where music comes in – it’s an expressive response, an organizing tool, a way of bringing people in to learning more and interacting on the issues, and can even support people working to create solutions on the ground. Music can have a role even without being explicitly containing a political text – the musical album around this effort is just a fantastic compilation.

And that seems to open the door not only to directly support our friends and colleagues in Amsterdam here, but also to see a model for music making a tangible difference. Okay, so before moving on, let’s get a soundtrack:

This story starts with that compilation – place: the netherlands is the latest in a series from New York’s Air Texture label, pairing musical compilations with local social causes. The Dutch edition is the work of Axmed Maxamed, self-described “queer diasporic Somali activist, organizer, and music nerd,” and DJ and radio host Jasmin Hoek (“Jasmín”), host of shows on Utrecht’s Stranded FM and Red Light Radio in Amsterdam.

The music already tells some story, but where this goes further is that the music is becoming a jumping-off point to activism. That means tackling twin issues – dealing with the worst aspects of Dutch immigration for its most vulnerable entrants, right as the country ramps up a tradition that mocks people for their skin color.

Axmed and Jasmin talk to CDM about what that means.

Axmed, Teddy, Jasmin – photo by Teddy Lyon, center, co-founder of Open Closet LGBT Netherlands.

CDM: Since this is a club music response – apart from the compilation and this activism, is there interaction now between the club scene and some inbound refugees? Is there a way that there could be more space in the club environment for that interaction?

Axmed/Jasmin: It’s important not to only welcome refugees, but go the extra mile to make sure they feel comfortable being in the space and to have people available at the club who they can approach if necessary. In addition to that, it’s important to make spaces available for refugees or people from other marginalized communities to host their own events. 

Zwarte Piet is a literal face of racism in the NL, and maybe one that’s tough for outsiders to come to terms with, too. What would you want people from the international community to know? What can we do to respond?

Axmed: The Netherlands and Belgium are inherently racist countries, and during this period – which goes on for about two months – it really comes to the surface. It is important to amplify the voices of people who are fighting this racist anti-black tradition called Sinterklaas. Ask your white Dutch and Belgian friends what they are doing to speak up against this racist tradition, especially those that have a platform, whether they be a DJ, label, venue, promoter, etc. Even in a city like Amsterdam, there are still a lot of stores decorated with racist imagery, so it is on white people living in the Netherlands who say that they care about change, to talk to shop owners. White people in the Netherlands and Belgium chose to make this into racist tradition in 1850, so it is now their responsibility to get rid of it. As a Black person, I do not want to be confronted with it anymore. 

Reforming how immigration works could build better and fairer societies; refugees occupy this especially difficult situation where they’re unable to work because of how the law is set up. Is there a way for us in creative industries to find some solutions there and work together? Definitely, reach out to initiatives such as Open Closet [ Open Closet LGBT Netherlands] that are for and by newcomers and set something up together with them, such as workshops, parties, dinners, and so on. Offer structural support and involvement within the work you’re doing, not something that’s just one-off. 

Ed.: This is obviously a deeper issue than we can cover here, as the situations vary country to country and have different organizations for responding, but – now with this out there, I hope we’ll hear from some of those specifics from our international audience.

Check DutchAfro’s music – she’s making amazing noises from deep in the Dutch underground. You heard her here first.

What’s next; what you can do

The easiest thing for readers of this site to do is to go buy the compilation, which supports active work on helping LGBTQIA+ refugees navigate a hostile immigration system – and gets you some great music, too:

https://musicandactivism.bandcamp.com/album/place-the-netherlands?

For the minority of readers in the Netherlands, there’s a launch party running daytime to nighttime on December 21. (Hey, maybe you lucked out and even have a transfer at Schiphol then.)

https://web.facebook.com/events/1885211238290392/

That event is itself a compelling model. Of course, local contributing artists play (Accuraat, Blusher, Cuboid Kiss, Dim Garden, DJ Bone, DutchAfro, Jarlentji, Loradeniz, Global Mind Surveillance, Pasiphae, Raj, Ranie Ribeiro, Rural Juror, and Zohar). But there’s also discourse, film, and food – a chance for interested music lovers to better understand the issues and get involved.

You can attend virtually and lend more support by buying a ticket:

https://thegreyspace.stager.nl/web/tickets/380668

For any criticism of club culture simply criticizing from the sidelines in a filter bubble/echo chamber, here are people getting out and doing something concrete, making a difference in the lives of refugees.

What these challenges can mean: essential reading

Axmed is a great example of how someone can be both a figure in the music scene and in activism, simultaneously. That energy he shares in bringing people together in nightlife he has channeled into rallying people behind making an impact on the larger community. A refugee of the Somali civil war at a young age, he says he’s now connecting with LGBTQIA+ refugees as he works in that community as they go through the asylum procedure.

As with so many people working on immigration worldwide, though, his stories about the system can be infuriating and heartbreaking. As he tells Glamcult:

In my work as an interpreter and translator, I have first-hand knowledge of how refugees in general are treated in the Netherlands, which is mostly from a starting point of not believing refugees. And in addition to that, LGBTQIA+ refugees have a specific burden of proof—together with having to prove that they are from their home country, they also have to prove their sexual and/or gender identity to the interviewer from the IND (Immigration Office). This process has been criticized as being too invasive and lacking important sensitivities needed to ask such personal and sometimes traumatizing questions. 

Yeah, you read that right – for anyone who has dealt with immigration, imagine having to prove who you are sexually or what your gender is. (Heck, it’s unpleasant enough doing that outside an immigration process.) More on this topic:

So much for Dutch tolerance: life as an LGBT asylum seeker in the Netherlands

By connecting with Open Closet, the music scene here supports volunteers dealing with that, but also a great deal more:

Open Closet not only ensures that incoming LGBTQIA+ asylum seekers are properly registered, but also provides help with food, support towards the procedures required, counseling and a family where everybody is welcome. They provide a place to come together and cover for traveling costs if needed. By organising meetings regularly, they create a sense of community and belonging for queer asylum seekers in the Netherlands. Open Closet also ensures that asylum seekers are properly informed of their rights and options.

Axmed Maxamed to Glamcult

This isn’t just another compilation to raise awareness – by connecting to an in-person event, Axmed and Jasmin are also bringing more people in to engage with the organization itself.

But clubland does network people. In the same Glamcult piece, there’s also a checklist for how clubs (and clubgoers) could better include refugees in our community. You should read the whole piece, but here’s a summary of what Axmed advises, for quick reference (to paste on your wall or whatever you like):

  1. Hire and empower the people affected to make decisions about dealing with unsafe spaces and exclusion.
  2. Have an awareness team people can go to directly.
  3. Make gathering spaces outside of clubs, too.

See the full story:

Music is an art built around listening. So we can use that power to listen to queer activists and – well, electronic music is all about amplification, so we can make that sound louder. For a place to start, Axmed keeps a running list of links of great reading:

linktr.ee/axmed

By the way, to look beyond the Netherlands – artists like Meklit are bringing together activism and music practice, both on immigration and even water issues (with some data sonification thrown in so – some of your CDM reader bingo cards just got filled). Meklit has also worked with the excellent Bay Area activist group Women’s Audio Mission.

And just in the past few days, artists have pulled music from Amazon to protest that company’s work with discriminatory US immigration practices.

Local efforts in your area? Questions? We would love to hear them.

The post A fresh electronic sound for the Netherlands, and urgent work to fight racism appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Elon Musk’s Cybertruck is already rendered in Shadertoy 3D code

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 2 Dec 2019 5:46 pm

The Tesla Cybertruck unveiled last week already looks like some low-polygon-count 3D model. So of course it’s already some (free) shader code.

For those of you not in the know on the visual side, Shadertoy is a marvelous repository of community-shared shader code. Shaders are snippets of program language built specifically for the graphics subsystem on your computer. Nowadays, that’s of interest not only to gamers and 3D artists, but live visual performance, too – tools like Isadora have built-in support for Shadertoy specifically. You can even run inside Ableton Live, via Max for Live.

This particular Shadertoy gives you the requisite disco lighting and that suddenly-iconic, weird geometric form of a truck. (Thank designer Franz von Holzhausen, apparently.)

Mute your sound before you have a look at this link, though; there’s a blasting cyber-tune that plays automatically.

https://www.shadertoy.com/view/wdGXzK

Previous refresher:

Now go make the music video of your dreams, obviously.

The post Elon Musk’s Cybertruck is already rendered in Shadertoy 3D code appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Today only, get Waves’ Bezerk Distortion plug-in for free

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Fri 29 Nov 2019 6:42 pm

Waves Audio are giving away a unique multi-functional distortion plug-in, normally $99. I’m even jumping on this – it’s a Black Friday deal even for those celebrating Buy Nothing Day.

Some of us never really can get too much distortion, and this one looks excellent. There are ten distortion shapes, feedback, pitch, dynamics, and built-in options for sidechain and Mid/Side modes. And then there’s a randomizer/chaos button, cleverly labeled “Go Bezerk!”

This is really a bunch of distortion modules crammed into one – Waves says they modeled everything from amps to stompboxes to vintage tubes and analog circuits, to create custom waveshapes for their favorite distortion curves. All of this is then built around those distortion curves – even that “Bezerk” button.

There are a ton of precise controls to explore here, including feedback with self-oscillation and other goodies (including pitch/speed controls). Think for instance custom EQ, a dedicated Dynamics section, and even a gate/expander. The M/S processing lets you apply different degrees of distortion to mid and side portions of your signal.

You just enter your email address and that nets you the download. I just did it myself. More details:

https://www.waves.com/lpn/black-friday-2019/free-plugin

Free today only (Black Friday, November 29).

Why are we celebrating Black Friday? Well, for Steel y Dan, obviously.

Feel free to send me the industrial techno / noise music you make with this plug-in. I guess I know what my plan is for the evening.

The post Today only, get Waves’ Bezerk Distortion plug-in for free appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Here are the best Black Friday deals for electronic musicians

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Labels,Scene | Thu 28 Nov 2019 7:08 pm

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Black Week – with so many to choose from, here are our favorite tech deals for music makers.

Got a deal?

Found a deal you want to share with other folks? Offering a deal yourself (as a developer, manufacturer, record label, whatever)? Tell us about it here:

CDM Turkey Tracker submissions

Our offers

Well, first from us – deals on the synth hardware and record label side projects of CDM!

MeeBlip geode synthesizers are $129 plus free shipping, anywhere. Through Monday.

MeeBlip thru5 kits are $9.99 (50% off!) – while supplies last. We expect to sell out before the deal ends end of day Monday.

Establishment Records on Bandcamp. All albums in our catalog are now 70% off through Monday evening. Plus look forward to new stuff from our spin-off record label in 2020 – some exciting plans in the works now. Enter code wearblack.

Software

Everything at Reason Studios is on sale for what they call “Rack Friday,” with discounts on Reason (now with AU support on Mac!) and lots of Rack Extensions – up to 90% off. https://www.reasonstudios.com/shop/deals/ – through December 2.

Ableton have 25% off Live 10, upgrades, and packs, meaning if you put off upgrading, now is the sign.

Arturia’s V Collection 7, full of basically every software recreation of classic electronic instruments you could imagine, is down to 299 $/EUR, along with other upcoming Arturia deals to watch. Also, even something like this sounds cooler in French. Behold: Obtiens la V Collection pour une prix exclusif Jusqu’au 5 décembre 2019. Ne rate pas cette occasion. Obtiens-la pour 299$/EUR. Ah, we sounds so crass in English, by comparison. Touché . https://www.arturia.com/black-friday-19

iZotope has discounts on software plus their Spire Studio hardware. Probably best of these is the $49 bundle of Elements Suite, DDLY, Mobius Filter, and Trash 2. Everything is on sale, though. Also great – the Music Production site (with Ozone 9 Advanced, Neutron 3 Advanced, etc.) for $399 and the bargain-basement-priced, awesome-sounding, light-on-CPU PhoenixVerb for $39. Through 12/6.

Output’s instruments have an extra 25% off – meaning the bundle of everything is now $/EUR 599.

puremagnetik’s unique collections of sounds and instruments are 50% through November 30, including some wonderful plugin instruments. Enter code BLACKFRIDAY19. Get a little granular after Thanksgiving dinner.

Eventide’s Anthology XI – the equivalent of a studio full of Eventide gear – is a full 75% off, for $499. That compares well to getting it via subscription, and it’s an outstanding deal. There’s also the excellent Elevate suite for 50% off. See the holiday sale page. Full disclosure: I live off the Anthology. The Eventide folder if it lived in the real world would have had its name worn off by now.

Time + Space have a rotating set of deals from a whole host of vendors. It may even be worth checking some of these deals versus the original developers.

On the same lines, pluginboutique.com have a bunch of deals on various vendors, and some of these discounts are exclusive, so comparison-shop if you’re stocking up. 50% off Softube or a stunning 80% off Soundtoys looks brilliant. On the Softube side, you can’t go wrong with the company’s amp simulations, for instance, and Modular add-ons are discounted, too. For Soundtoys, LittlePlate and EchoBoy Jr. are secret sauce for me, so I would absolutely endorse those two as they’re indispensible (or full EchoBoy for a little more).

Waves are letting you stock up with code BF50 at checkout, plus free plug-ins to choose when you spend more than $50.

Harrison’s new AVA plug-ins are 4-for-the-price-of-1, at $89 for the lot. See the AVA product page. These plug-ins I don’t know yet, but Harrison’s stuff typically sounds great.

Tracktion’s software is up to 65% off. That includes their DAWs, but also things like the MOK Waverazor and SpaceCraft instruments. Tons of inspiring stuff – code MIX2019 – through end of day December 4. https://www.tracktion.com

Cableguys do great stuff and they have their only sale of the year as this – “Until Cyber Monday, 2nd December 2019, the ShaperBox 2 Bundle of five powerful Cableguys effects – TimeShaper 2, VolumeShaper 6, FilterShaper Core 2, PanShaper 3, and WidthShaper 2 – is only €79 / $89. That’s a 50% saving compared to buying all five Shapers individually (€155 / $180).” https://www.cableguys.com/shaperbox.html

Kilohearts has deep discounts on their stuff through December 9 – https://kilohearts.com.

Metric Halo’s indispensible software, including SpectraFoo and the like, is on a sale up to 70%. https://www.mhsecure.com/mhdirect/home.php?cat=26 They’ve also got early access pricing on their hardware.

Mobile apps

cykle is a really cool step sequencer for iOS; it’s now 40%.

All of the superb Bram Bos iOS apps are on sale for $3.99 (or local equivalent), for some excellent synths, drum machines, MIDI tools, and more. See his developer page on the App Store.

The Atom piano roll (looper/sequencer, AUv3) is on sale for 50% off for iOS. It’s maybe your best bet for AUv3-compatible sequencing at the moment.

Some of our favorite synths/effects, Elastic Drums and Elastic FX, are 40% off until the end of the week. Check https://mominstruments.com.

Imaginando’s controller apps are the ones I’ve been using most lately on iOS, and they’re right now all 40% off. Through December 2.

.

Hardware

Erica Synths’ have 20% some of our favorite modules – the Fusion Series. https://www.ericasynths.lv/shop/eurorack-modules/by-series/fusion-series/ Through Saturday.

Also over in Riga, there’s the wonderful, independently-operated Gamechanger Audio. Their exceptionally unique Plus and Plasma pedals are 20% off, which is about as good a way to spend money as I can imagine. Check out their shop – https://www.gamechangeraudio.com/shop – through December 2. It’s a pretty big deal to do this as an independent maker, too – they admit they’re working 14-hour shifts to get the gear out – so do reward them!

Arturia hardware is on sale, so head into your local store (or order from them). That’s up to 50% off MiniBrute (and its rackable 2S sibling) and the unique DrumBrute. DrumBrute for 349 $/EUR is pretty astonishing and maybe reason to overlook even those remakes everyone else might be grabbing.

ROLI is running an insane discount of up to 50% off a lot of their Seaboard and Blocks hardware plus plug-ins. https://roli.com/black-friday-deals

Sweetwater has $300 off that Solid State Logic SiX we’ve all been coveting. It’s still the most expensive compact mixer you can buy, but … well, it’s a little more tempting, and come on, it’s still a chance to own your own little SSL.

Sweetwater also has a bunch of Universal Audio bundles and deals on their site. But maybe best is –

Moog Mother for $100 off.

Perfect Circuit also has a bunch of hardware for up to 40% off. That includes Moog DFAM for $100 off.

Visualist tools

Learning TouchDesigner? Stanislav Glazov has his superb tutorials on sale. 30 % Discount for all TouchDesigner Courses till 3rd of December. Use promocode 3DOFF at https://lichtpfad.selz.com/

garageCube are again celebrating “Mad Week” with 20% off software and 10% off hardware. Head to https://www.garagecube.com/product/ through December 2. This includes upgrade discounts, so it’s worth checking even if you’re already a customer.

Music labels

Big Semantica Records fan, and they’re 30% off with code blackfriday2019 on Bandcamp.

Florian Meindl as I said is doing some of the finest quality techno production out there, and now you can get all his tracks for 9EUR (really). Just go to an album page like this one – https://florianmeindl.bandcamp.com/album/nonlinear-times-remixes-black-asteroid-jeroen-search – and you’ll see the option.

Total Black records in Berlin obviously needs a Black Friday discount; they’re 70% off. Use code blackfriday.

Beautiful Seoul-based Oslated Records is 70% off, with code blackfriday.

I know a lot of indie labels must be doing Bandcamp sales, so do get in touch.

That covers Bandcamp, but see also Beatport for some deals – code CYBERSALE nets you as much as 50%, and you can use it twice before it expires on December 3.

Feature photo (the shopping cart) (CC-BY-SA-ND) Wim Bollen.

The post Here are the best Black Friday deals for electronic musicians appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

“Yes I Did” is a witch-y anthem, and more genre-bending, feel-good Sky Deep creations

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 28 Nov 2019 2:50 pm

With a background ranging from soul to porn and roots spanning from LA and NYC to Berlin, Sky Deep delivers something unique and brilliantly affirming.

Sky Deep is a DJ/producer, but also – well, a lot of other things. She’s an award-winning indie/queer porn film producer. She curates a festival. She tours with the amazing Peaches and dances in that insanely high-energy stage show – which you can catch in some fleeting bit, somehow avoiding Facebook’s draconian censorship. She’s a vocalist, a guitarist, an MC, she makes music that is quirky and honest and fresh and not stuck in genre-perfectionism.

And she can hit an earworm head-on, in overlooked gems like her latest “Yes I Did,” which gets an accompanying happy-queer, witchy-good video. (This seems worth showing just so that it’s clear that Berlin is not populated only by emo people hanging out in car parks clad in black, as certain techno promo photos might have you believe – as though Germany were perpetually black-and-white, like the beginning of Wizard of Oz. I mean, some days feel like that, for sure, but not so much as to completely obliterate the spectrum of visual light. One hopes.)

If that hasn’t already grabbed you, check the Electrosexual remix on the EP release from June, which seems absolutely mix-friendly.

For more catch-y, positive, oddball pop, check “Swerve” and its fun video of roller skating:

What I enjoy as much as the song and video is the story of how she got out of a creative rut through synth gear and roller-skating:

Right before I made ‘Swerve’, I was in the middle of a creative block and in the process of changing my whole music production workflow. I was rebuilding whilst seeking inner inspiration. Luckily for me, I’ve got some really loving and generous friends in music.One in particular, let me borrow her SE-02 while she went on tour. I spent a couple of weeks learning the new machine and created kicks, snares, hi-hats and basslines for my sound library. Later, I borrowed another friend’s OB-6 to finish the rest of the track. I was inspired by good times and I remembered back in the day roller skating to the basslines of 90’s Californian hip-hop. That’s what inspired me to connect further with my dear family friend and roller skate enthusiast on the artwork, music video and Swerve T-shirts.

Those are two very excellent synths – the Sequential (Dave Smith/Tom Oberheim) OB-6 poly and the Roland Boutique / Studio Electronics analog SE-02.

More on that story in the premiere post from earlier this year:

But beyond that, it’s great that she used sense memory and something personal and emotional, and … you know, what’s better than roller skating for freeing up that physical feeling in music?

Here’s a great mix demonstrating just how eclectic her tastes can run:

It’s worth checking Sky’s other cultural inter-connections, too. She’s been part of a renewed interest in once-forgotten gay black composer Julius Eastman, including joining a performance ensemble reviving his work:

And even as laws and social media moires in our own home country the USA threaten to gag free expression, Sky is part of a sex-positive filmmaking movement here in Berlin. Even mighty VICE are taking notice:

Berlin’s Porn Scene Is Open, Experimental, and Endlessly Fun [VICE]

And in 2017 she was part of a well-worth-reading panel for Mixmag on combating discrimination and harassment in clubland:

INDUSTRY FIGURES TELL US HOW TO COMBAT SEXISM AND HARASSMENT IN DANCE MUSIC

Check her official site for more:

https://www.skydeepofficial.com/

Feature photo: Alexa Vachon.

The post “Yes I Did” is a witch-y anthem, and more genre-bending, feel-good Sky Deep creations appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Australia is using sound to monitor its wildlife and ecosystem

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 26 Nov 2019 4:14 pm

Listen to the Earth – no, literally. Australia has a world’s-first project to map the voice of its wildlife, which will make a “galaxy of sounds” that can be heard like the ecosystem’s heartbeat.

The galaxy metaphor isn’t just poetic. Scientists already observe the cosmos through radio signal, optical imaging, and other techniques. A network of hundreds of solar-powered audio recorders will do the same across Australia.

Those sensors themselves will be familiar to electronic composers and field recordists. They use microphones and standard SD cards, but operate entirely on solar power – a necessity for remote locations. The recordings are continuous, and spread through the vast country, across some one hundred sites and 400 sensors covering “desert, grassland, shrublands and temperate, subtropical and tropical forests.”

From a scientific standpoint, this is already a big deal, because it can look at geography and time comprehensively, instead of in little pieces that can rob recordings of context and meaning. That means seasonal change, or even changes over the five year mission, will appear in the recordings.

It’s also significant that the project, and the vast amounts of sound data it produces, will be available to the public. That hints at both educational opportunities and crowd-sourced analysis – especially since citizen Australians may be on the ground spread through these hundred locations. The whole project will keep its data online and accessible. It’s a welcome change in talking about big data, from government surveillance and corporate control to actually harnessing that power to provide access to the public and better awareness of the ecosystem on which we depend.

Audio recording is less intrusive and far more comprehensive (in time and space) than conventional methods. And there are real, practical possibilities, as ABC News in Australia reports from Queensland:

[Biology Professor Lin Schwarzkopf, James Cook University] had also mapped the noise of the aggressive Indian myna birds and the rare black-throated finch, which environmentalists warned was a species under threat from the Adani coal mine in central Queensland.

“It’s useful because we can then look at things like species decline so we can understand when they are disappearing, like the black-throated finch. Over time we can listen for their calls and see if they are still there,” she said.

Acoustic observatory will record ‘galaxy of sounds’ to help scientists monitor Australian wildlife? [ABC News]

In the case of the Australian project, there are various partners including universities, parks and government, owners, indigenous partners, and advocacy groups and NGOs.

This strikes me as an opportunity for composers and musicians to partner with scientists, too. Whereas music once made primitive mimicry of bird songs, now it seems musicians possess a technological and creative/cultural skillset to both capture more data and express its significance to the broader public and society. So let’s get on it, shall we? (Hey, Europe for instance is a lot smaller and more manageable, for example…)

More on the Australian Acoustic Observatory

The post Australia is using sound to monitor its wildlife and ecosystem appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Tarik Barri, live visualist to Thom Yorke, in videos and a reddit AMA

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 25 Nov 2019 10:22 pm

The rise of the audiovisualist: Tarik Barri regularly takes the stage with Thom Yorke and contributed to the Grammy-nominated Anima. And now, here’s his work and the chance to ask him anything.

Tarik will hit the infamous Reddit AMA on the Radiohead channel Tuesday the 26th, if you’ve got burning questions. But let’s have a look first at his work:

A video interview on his work, on the fantastic live visual QA documentary series Psst:

Perhaps the best way to see his partnership with Thom Yorke is in this video on the Jimmy Kimmel show:

Working with the amazing Iranian artist Sote, he produced an AV collaboration:

His collab with Lea Barikant is also into a new iteration:

And lastly, a trailer for ANIMA, for which he did projections (and which you can check on Netflix, natch):

Have at it tomorrow:

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MeeBlip Black Friday: thru5 kit for $9.99 and geode synth $129

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 25 Nov 2019 8:47 pm

Overwhelmed with music toys? We can get you a bass synth that sounds like no other – plus a way to connect all your gear for $10. Happy Black Friday to you.

geode: $129 synth hardware, ships free

First, there’s our very own MeeBlip geode hardware synth. It’s just US$129, and this week only, we’ll ship it to nearly the whole world for free. There’s not another bass synth that sounds like it, in 2019 or 1979 or any other year. Plug-and-play USB connects MIDI and power with one connection – even to a smartphone (with adapter). The sound itself features biting oscillators and a crunchy analog filter.

So if you’re looking for a little sonic inspiration and a unique bass sound for yourself – or as a gift – now’s the time to grab this. Sale lasts this week only.

MeeBlip geode synth [MeeBlip Shop]

thru5: US$9.99 MIDI splitter kit

It wouldn’t be Black Friday deal without a ridiculous offer for a limited time, so we’ve gone one more for you. Our thru5 MIDI splitter kit is easy to assemble, and splits one MIDI input to five outputs, so you can connect all your gear.

And for this week only, it’s yours for just US$9.99 – a perfect Secret Santa gift or stocking stuffer or Hanukkah present for someone you know who’s handy with a soldering iron or wants to learn. Or it’s a way to get your studio in order for a winter cleaning.

Shipping if you’re just buying thru5 is $3.95 to USA, $5.95 international, varies in Canada. (Free with orders above $99- so, for instance, you could add in a geode!)

thru5 MIDI splitter kit [MeeBlip shop]

Hurry! These deals end on December 2 – or while supplies last!

For more background on these products:

The post MeeBlip Black Friday: thru5 kit for $9.99 and geode synth $129 appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Behringer adds a 4-voice Moog; here’s everything they’re cloning now (late 2019)

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 25 Nov 2019 2:41 pm

Behringer will remake the rare Wasp and now just announced a 4-voice paraphonic Moog clone. Having trouble keeping track? Here’s a recap.

Behringer radar

With so many remakes now shipping or teased, the hard part may be just keeping track what Behringer are doing, what’s available already, and what’s coming. Let’s step back and just review what products are currently available or inbound. Competitors should ignore this list at their own peril.

This is what Tom Whitwell at the former Music thing (then a blog, now a modular brand) called the Behringer “photocopier.” But whereas that until recently was a disparaging remark, fans of the brand now eagerly follow these cut-rate remakes. So while I say “clone” rather than the company’s preferred “authentic reproduction,” there’s no doubt that the intention is to do these as remakes.

What’s remarkable is how many of these synths came from 1979 alone, or within a year or two.

Oh yeah, also – despite the company’s claims, while this hardware is far cheaper than most of the used equivalent originals, there are often inexpensive alternatives of new or similar instruments. So let’s get into both what Behringer is offering, and whether you might consider other options before spending your hard-earned scratch:

Behringer RD-8

Based on: Roland TR-808 (1980, and not, sadly, the Soviet rocket RD-8)

List/street: $524.99 / $400

New features: What Behringer added here mostly was in the sequencer, which like the other remakes has some more advanced features. There’s also a sort of envelope follower called the Wave Designer.

The competition: Arturia’s DrumBrute Impact is actually cheaper, at around $300. It’s got fewer outs, but an advanced sequencer and a distinctive sound. Roland’s TR-8S or even a used buy on a TR-8 give you faders and additional effects (plus on the TR-8S, the ability to load your own samples), and could still be a worthy upgrade – with effective TR modeled sounds. Roland’s Boutique TR-08 on the other hand looks comparatively lean versus the Behringer, and it’d be nice to see the company that made the original 808 respond with something more competitive at the entry level. You can have my TR-8S when you pry it out of my cold, d– actually, my hot, sweaty, fader tweaking fingers.

Behringer TD-3

Based on: Roland TB-303 (1981)

List/street: $224.99 / $150

New features: The arpeggiator is the main addition here, plus a distortion switch, but basically this is a bare-bones 303 clone – at an insanely cheap price.

The competition: There are loads of 303 remakes out there, analog and digital. Roland for their part has the Boutique with a very useful delay and semi-useful distortion (theirs with an actual knob, not just a switch). But to my knowledge, the only real competition at this price is a software plug-in. Or get a KORG volca series synth for a different sound; even the volca bass is somewhat refreshingly not a 303. Oh yeah, or think about a two-oscillator bass synth, but I’m biased. Yes, of all of these – here is the one where Behringer can be expected to totally own a category, maybe to the point of us winding up with way too many acid tracks in about a year.

Behringer Model D

Based on: Moog Minimoog (1970)

List/street: $449.99 / $300

New features: As with the others, this is mostly about squeezing this in the Eurorack chassis, but there’s also a new overdrive circuit. Just remember, like the original, you have to give the analog circuits time to warm up.

The competition: You can get a surprising number of capable synths these days for $300 or even less, but a Minimoog remake from Moog will certainly be a luxury item. That said, if you’re willing to spend a little more, you can get something like the Moog Sub Phatty for around $500 on a Black Friday sale – with keyboard. It’s not a Minimoog model D, but it also moves into some new sonic territory, and you get the feeling of owning an actual Moog. That’s not to sneeze at the Model D – this thing has made a big impact, and maybe its biggest competition comes from Behringer itself, with the also inexpensive (and far more patchable/open-ended) Neutron.

Behringer Odyssey

Based on: ARP Odyssey (1972)

List/street: $749.99 / $600

New features: Digital multi-effects are the main edition here, plus the arp/sequencer and onboard storage and digital I/O on the others. The Odyssey is also a keyboard synth, unlike the other Eurorack things in this list —

Competition: – but it goes up against KORG’s Arp Odyssey reissue, made in collaboration with the synth’s original creators (if at a higher cost).

Behringer MS-1

Based on: Roland SH-101 (1982)

List/street: $494.99 / $400

New features: These are the most sensible additions of the bunch. Behringer chose to add the thing the 101 owners modded themselves; namely, FM and waveforms (plus MIDI, of course). Actually, that begs the question of why Behringer didn’t add the 303 sound mods to that remake, but – hey, maybe someone else also wants to remake the 303 now, too? I’m sure 303 remakes will never die.

The competition: Behringer on this one did what Roland didn’t do – make a remake of the 101 with full-sized keys and a standard handle option for keytar-style playing. Roland chose to go with the tiny Boutique format. On the other hand, the SH-01A is a four-voice instrument, which winds up being really useful in conjunction with its triggers and sequencer. Now if Roland would just offer that in a full-sized keytar option, it seems like they’d have a hit. I might still buy the SH-01A for something small and four voice, though. (Don’t send letters. I know I like small things and digital synths more than some of our … readers. Ahem.)

Behringer VC340

List/street: $899.99 / $700

Based on: Roland VP-330 (1979)

New features: Just the usual I/O additions – and they cut off an octave on the keyboard to save space.

The competition: For once, Behringer is the more expensive option, believe it or not (apart from an astronomically pricey original VP-330). The Roland Boutique VP-03 is a solid unit at a fraction of this price – it seems new hardware stock is mostly gone, but they fetch around $300 used (without the keyboard, so around $400 with). Sure, it’s digital, but the sound is good; mainly it’s down to whether you want to save some money. Roland’s JD-Xi is also a vocoder for $500 and is a far more flexible and powerful synthesizer, though the design has all the charm of something it looks like you’d find on sale in a Guitar Center on the Death Star. (Dunno, maybe Kylo Ren had this keyboard in the emo rock band he played on the side while studying the Dark Side.)

If all you want is a vocoder, even the Roland VT-4 box is an option for only a couple hundred bucks; its predecessor the VT-3 you might be able to get used, like, for free. Now, maybe an analog recreation is more serious but… well, I leave it to you to decide how serious you want to get about a vocoder/string synth unitasker. But yes, Behringer are the only ones with something really like the original.

For that reason, this is kind of the most rational of a lot of the choices here. But it’s a vocoder/string synth, so “rational” depends on whether that’s something you need.

Further out – clones inbound

Behringer POLY D

Based on: Behringer Model D, basically

Price: Unknown

Shipping date: unknown

New features: This is what happens if you take the Model D, put it in a new case with a keyboard, and make it 4-voice analog paraphonic (there’s just one filter) instead of monophonic. And it probably tips Behringer’s hand as far as what you should expect from the other models here – they’ll gradually translate the Eurorack-case monophonic models to 4-voice models with keyboards, since they’ve already plucked the low-hanging fruit of what people most recognize in vintage brands.

As with past Behringer outings, though, they’re teasing some time before they’re shipping. The risk: people might defer purchase of their products. The more likely outcome: people might defer purchase of competing products.

Behringer PRO-1

Based on: Sequential Circuits Pro-One

Preorder price: $350

Shipping date: unknown

New features: Arp, sequencer, Eurorack chassis – you’re seeing the pattern. There’s also a “drone mode” switch.

The competition: It’s a bit painful when Behringer takes on small, independent makers like Dave Smith and Tom Oberheim. The new Sequential (formerly Dave Smith Instruments) has lots of beautiful new designs. But if you’re on a $350 budget, you can get the wonderful Evolver or Tetra, for example, unique and original Dave Smith-designed sound modules. Or save up your money for a more advanced polysynth based on the ideas behind the Prophet series. Or there’s the Pioneer AS-1, which is a single-voice version of the Prophet-6. I think these come closer to the 21st century vision Dave’s got, and they’re worth supporting for that reason. Oh yeah, and you can buy them now, rather than waiting on the PRO-1.

Behringer WASP DELUXE

Based on: Electronic Dream Plant (EDP) Wasp (1978)

Preorder price: $300

Shipping date: unknown

New features: Behringer went with a desktop sound module and didn’t reproduce the membrane keyboard edition of the first Wasp. This otherwise mostly looks like that hardware, though. It does MIDI and USB now, like the other stuff here.

The competition: There’s not really another Wasp remake that I know of, or anything that close. On the other hand, the Arturia MicroFreak is also a digital-analog hybrid, does way more in sounds, and comes with an innovative keyboard, so to me it’s a better (and more forward-thinking) use of your $300. There’s also the feature-packed Behringer Crave for $50 less than this, available now, so it’s hard to imagine preordering unless you’re really a die-hard fan of the original.

Check the history of the original, though; there were tons of interesting variations.

Behringer UB-Xa

Based on: Oberheim OB-X (1979)

Status: Unknown

I’m not sure we’ve had any news of this one since it showed up at Superbooth in the spring? Anyone?

And the rest…

If you’re KORG, Roland, Polivoks, Black Corporation (maybe their CS-80 Deckard’s Dream, maybe Kimiji) … it seems like Behringer is coming for you, or wants to. See previously:

Also, now they want to get into VST plug-ins?

Fear of clones?

It’s clear at this point that the Music Tribe (Behringer) is leveraging both analog circuitry and some chips that allow it to inexpensively reproduce popular models. And they’ve built a bigger team to do engineering alongside their own manufacturing operation in China. I think they’ve even taken to using the word “clone” in passing on social media.

Because these are now clones of fairly ancient products, this product strategy in itself wouldn’t make the company controversial. Rather, it’s Behringer’s aggressive strategy in regards to competitors, press, PR, and intellectual property that have made it divisive in the synth business. As I noted last week, that includes the recent move of registering trademarks actively owned by competitors. Not only does KORG definitely own and actively use Mono/Poly, but we’ve confirmed even the Polivoks name is registered and used on an active product.

There’s also a deeper question here, and it’s not just about Behringer. As both analog and digital synthesis has become more affordable, will we use that inexpensive power to make new things, or recreate old ones? So far, Behringer has demonstrated that recognized products like the 303, 808, and Minimoog go more viral in social media than new synths. And so far, companies like Roland and other original brands who made this products haven’t succeeded in stopping Behringer from naming and dressing up their products to look like the vintage products. That opens the door to even other manufacturers easily undercutting historic brands and smaller boutique makers on price.

But it’s unclear, once synth fans have stocked up on well-known items like the 303, whether this cheap remake trend will be sustainable.

In the meantime, back to new things.

The post Behringer adds a 4-voice Moog; here’s everything they’re cloning now (late 2019) appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Ubuntu Studio hits 19.10, gives you an ultra easy, config-free Linux for music and media

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Fri 22 Nov 2019 9:42 am

The volunteer-run Ubuntu Studio isn’t just a great Linux distribution for beginners wanting to make music, visuals, and media. It’s a solid alternative to Mac and Windows you can easily dual boot.

Ubuntu Studio for a while had gone semi-dormant for a while; open source projects need that volunteer support to thrive. But starting around 2018, it saw renewed interest. (Uh, maybe frustrations with certain mainstream OSes even helped.)

And that’s important for the Linux ecosystem at large. Ubuntu remains the OS distribution most targeted by mainstream developers and most focused on easy end user operation. That’s not to say it’s the best distro for you – part of the beauty of Linux is the endless choice it affords, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. But because some package management focuses on Ubuntu (and Debian), because it’s the platform where a lot of the action is as far as consumer desktop OS features, and just because so many beginners are on the platform, it matters. Heck, you can usually get more novice-friendly advice just by Googling a problem and adding the word “Ubuntu” on the end.

But that’s all what you’d hope Ubuntu Studio would be. Let’s talk about what it is – because the latest distro release looks really terrific.

Ubuntu Studio 19.10 dropped last month. For those unOS familiar with Ubuntu – look closely at those numbers – that’s October 2019. Ubuntu alternates between long-term support (LTS) releases and more frequent releases with newer features. Crucially, the Ubuntu Studio team now add “backports” though so that you can use the newer packages on the LTS release – so you don’t have to constantly upgrade your OS just to get the latest features.

If you don’t mind doing the distro update, though, 19.10 has some really terrific features. I also have to say, as a musician the other appeal to me of Linux is, I can still use my main OS as the day-to-day OS, loaded down with lots of software and focusing on things like battery life, while maintaining a dual boot Linux OS both as a backup OS for live use and one I can optimize for low-latency performance. Now that Bitwig Studio, Renoise, VCV Rack, Pure Data, SuperCollider, and lots of other cool software to play live all run on Linux, that’s no small matter. (For visuals, think Blender, game engines, and custom code.)

New in this version:

OBS Studio is pre-configured right out of the box, for live streaming and screencasting.

There are tons of plug-ins ready-to use. 100 plug-ins were added to this release, on top of the ones already available. There are LADSPA, LV2, and VST plug-ins, and extensive support even for Window VSTs. For now, you even get 32-bit plug-in support, so using one of the LTS releases for backwards compatibility on a studio machine is a good idea.

Oh yeah, and while you should definitely move to 64-bit, plug-in developers – targeting Linux now makes sense, without question. And Ubuntu Studio would be a logical distro against which to test or even provide support.

RaySession now makes handling audio sessions for apps easier.

Ubuntu Studio Controls is improved. This won’t make sense to Linux newcomers, but especially for those of you who tried Ubuntu in the past and maybe even got frustrated – Ubuntu Studio has done a lot of work here. Ubuntu Studio Controls and the pre-configured OS now make things work sensibly out of the box, with powerful controls for tweaking things as you need. And yeah, this was indeed sometimes not the case in the past. The trick with Linux – ironically just as on Windows and sometimes even macOS – is that different applications have competing needs for what audio has to do. Ubuntu Studio does a good job of juggling the consumer audio needs with high-performance inter-app audio and multichannel audio we need for our music stuff.

Anyway, new in this build:

  • Now includes an indicator to show whether or not Jack is running
  • Added Jack backend selections: Firewire, ALSA, or Dummy (used for testing configurations)
  • Added multiple PulseAudio bridges
  • Added convenient buttons for starting other configuration tools

That’s just a quick look; you can read the release notes:

I’m installing 19.10 (rather than LTS and backports, though I might do that on an extra machine), as I’m in a little lull between touring. VCV Rack is part of my live rig, as is SuperCollider or Pd for more experimental gigs, so you can bet I’m interested here. I’ll be sure to share how this works and provide a beginner-friendly guide.

For more on how this works:

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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.

Deezer’s Spleeter is an open source AI tool to split stems, for remixes or … karaoke?

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 21 Nov 2019 6:24 pm

The real power of machine learning may have nothing to with automating music making, and everything to do with making sound tools hear the way you do.

There’s a funny opening to the release for Deezer’s open source Spleeter tool:

While not a broadly known topic, the problem of source separation has interested a large community of music signal researchers for a couple of decades now.

Wait a second – sure, you may not call it “source separation,” but anyone who has tried to make remixes, or adapt a song for karaoke sing-alongs, or even just lost the separate tracks to a project has encountered and thought about this problem. You can hear the difference between the bassline and the singer – so why can’t your computer process the sound the way you hear? Splitting stems out of a stereo audio feed also demonstrates that tools like EQ, filters, and multiband compressors are woefully inadequate to the task.

Here’s where so-called “AI” is legitimately exciting from a sound perspective.

It’s unfortunate in a way that people imagine that machine learning’s main role should be getting rid of DJs, music selectors, and eventually composers. And that’s unfortunate not because the technology is good at those things, but precisely because so far it really isn’t – meaning people may decide the thing is overhyped and abandon it completely when it doesn’t live up to those expectations.

But when it comes to this particular technique, neural network machine learning is actually doing some stuff that other digital audio techniques haven’t. It’s boldly going where no DSP has gone before, that is. And it works – not perfectly, but well enough to be legitimately promising. (“It will just keep getting better” is a logical fallacy too stupid for me to argue with. But “we can map out ways in which this is working well now and make concrete plans to improve it with reason to believe those expectations can pan out” – yeah, that I’ll sign up for!)

Start with a stereo mix – break it up into component stems.

Spleeter from music streaming service Deezer (remember them?) is a proof of concept – and one you can use right now, even if you’re not a coder. (You’ll just need some basic command line and GitHub proficiency and the like.)

It’s free and open source. You can mess around with this without paying a cent, and even incorporate it into your own work via a very permissive MIT license. (I like free stuff, in that it also encourages me to f*** with stuff in a way that I might not with things I paid for – for whatever reason. I’m not alone here, right?)

It’s fast. With GPU acceleration, like even on my humble Razer PC laptop, you get somewhere on the order of 100x real time processing. This really demonstrations computation in a way that we would see in real products – and it’s fast enough to incorporate into your work without, like, cooking hot waffles and eggs on your computer.

It’s simple. Spleeter is built with Python and TensorFlow, a popular combination for AI research. But what you need to know if you don’t already use those tools is, you can use it from a command line. You can actually learn this faster than some commercial AI-powered plug-ins.

It splits things. I buried the lede – you can take a stereo stream and split it into different audio bits. And –

It could make interesting results even when abused. Sure, this is trained on a particular rock-style instrumentation, meaning it’ll tend to fail when you toss audio material that deviates too far from the training set. But it will fail in ways that produce strange new sound results, meaning it’s ripe for creative misuse.

Friend-of-the-site Rutger Muller made use of this in the AI music lab I participated in and co-facilitated in Tokyo, complete with a performance in Shibuya on Sunday night. (The project was hosted by music festival MUTEK.jp and curated by Maurice Jones and Natalia Fuchs aka United Curators.) He got some really interesting sonic results; you might, too.

Releasing Spleeter: Deezer Research source separation engine

Spleeter remains a more experimental tool and interesting for research. Commercial developers are building tools that use these techniques but develop a more practical workflow for musicians. Check, for instance, Accusonus – and more on what their tools can do for you as well as how they’re working with AI very soon.

https://accusonus.com

Feature image is a series of posters dubbed Waveform – and really cool work, actually, if I found it accidentally! See the series on Behance; I think I need one of these on my wall.

“Waveform poster series 2017” by Robert Anderson is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 

The post Deezer’s Spleeter is an open source AI tool to split stems, for remixes or … karaoke? appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Op-ed: KORG has transformed synthesizers by letting them run plug-ins, says Sinevibes

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 20 Nov 2019 8:47 pm

No new ideas in synthesizers? Not so, says independent developer Artemiy Pavlov. He was excited enough about KORG’s direction that he’s written about why he thinks it changes music tech for the better.

The Ukraine-based coder who releases under his Sinevibes brand is someone we’ve followed on CDM for some years, as a source of very elegant Mac-only plug-ins. Making those tools for one company’s piece of hardware (one that isn’t Apple) is a new direction. But that’s what he’s done with KORG’s ‘logue plug-in architecture, which now runs on the minilogue xd and prologue keyboards, as well as the $100 NTS-1 kit. As long as you’ve got the hardware, you can run oscillators, filters, and effects from third-party developers like Sinevibes – or even grab the SDK and make your own, if you’re a coder.

Now, of course Artemiy is biased – but that’s kind of the point. What’s biased his one-man dev operation is that he’s clearly had a really great experience developing for KORG’s synths, from coding and testing, to turning it into a business.

This is not a KORG advertisement, even if it sounds like one. I actually didn’t even tell them it’s coming, apart from mentioning something was inbound to KORG’s Etienne Noreau-Hebert, chief analog engineer. But because it impacts both interested musicians and developers, I thought it was worth getting Artemiy’s perspective directly.

So here’s Artemiy on that – and I think this does offer some hope to those wanting new directions for electronic musical instruments. This is labeled “Op Ed” for a reason – I don’t necessarily agree with all of it – but I think it’s a unique perspective, not only in regards to KORG hardware but the potential for the industry and musicians of this sort of embedded development, generally. -Ed.

Artemiy diagrams the idea here.

In early 2018, for its 50th anniversary, Korg introduced the prologue. It wasn’t just a great-sounding synthesizer with shiny, polished-metal looks. It introduced a whole new technical paradigm that has brought a tectonic shift to the whole music hardware and software industry.

Korg has since taken the concept of “plug-ins in mainstream hardware synths” further to much more compact and affordable minilogue xd and Nu:Tekt NTS-1, proving that it’s more serious about this than even I myself thought.

If you thought the platform just lets you load custom wavetables and store effect presets, you have no idea how much you’ve been missing! This is also for those who have been waiting for something that really looks to the future – and for anyone wanting to scale down their rig while scaling up their sonic palette. For me, as a control freak, I can now imagine new features from the moment I touched the synth – even though it’s someone else’s product. 

Here are five ways Korg’s plugin-capable synths completely change the game for all of us, described both as before and after:

Artemiy explains this as a meme.

1. Personalization

Before. When you buy a synthesizer, all the features inside are what the manufacturer decided it should have. Each customer gets the exact same thing – same features, same sound.

After. With Korg’s hardware plugin architecture, the “custom” is finally back to “customer” – as you can configure the oscillator and the effect engines to your liking, and make your instrument unique. Fill it with the exact plugins you want, make it tailored to your own style. You have 48 plugin slots available, and chances are nobody else on the planet configures them the way you do.

2. Versatility

Before. While we do have digital and analog instruments with very capable synthesis and processing engines, to really get into more unusual or experimental sonic territory, you almost certainly need extra outboard gear – often a lot of it, which means more to transport and wire up.

After. The plug-ins now allow you to expand the stock generation and processing capabilities way beyond the “traditional” stuff, and have a whole powerhouse inside a single instrument. Just by switching from preset to preset, you can have the synthesizer dramatically shift its character, much as if you were switching from one hardware setup to another. Much less gear to carry, less things to go wrong, literally zero setup time.

Here’s what I mean, just with currently-available plug-ins. How about a sound-on-sound looper, or a self-randomizing audio repeater, right inside your synth?


And how about running unorthodox digital synthesis methods, in parallel with a purely analog subtractive one?

3. Independence

Before. With almost all gear, you are completely at the mercy of the manufacturer regarding what’s available for your instrument (aside from sound packs which still obviously can only use the stock features).

After. Not only you decide which engines your synth has, cherry-picking sound generation and processing plugins from independent developers, but you can also grab the SDK and build whatever you want yourself. [Ed. See below for some notes on just how easy that is.]

4. Longevity

Before. While some manufacturers might update their instruments with some major features from time to time, to be brutally honest, most won’t. Typically, just a couple years after initial release, you can consider the feature set in your synthesizer frozen… forever.

After. At any time in the future, you can erase some or even all the plug-ins on your synth and install different ones. So it can stay fresh and interesting for years or even decades, without you having to buy new hardware to get a new sound. The scale of your capabilities will actually only keep increasing as the selection of third-party plugins continues growing.

For example, say you have two different live projects. A single instrument can now represent two entirely different sets of sounds, using plugins and presets. In just a couple of minutes you can fully clean your Korg and reload it with a whole new “sonic personality” – no installers to run, no activation hassle, just transfer and go.

5. Range

Before. High-end features almost always command high-end prices, or a high level of coding experience to be able to work with that open-source firmware (in the rare cases when it’s actually available).

After. The ticket price for entry into this world of user-configurable synthesizers is Korg’s tiny and super-affordable monophonic Nu:Tekt NTS-1 (around $100), and it still has 48 plug-in slots just like its bigger brothers. Speaking of the bigger brothers, at the other end of the range we have the flagship 8- or 16-voice polyphonic prologue ($1500-2000), and 4-voice minilogue xd in both keyboard and desktop versions ($600-650). There’s now a plug-in-capable synth for everyone.

Which KORG do you want?

So, which one to choose? Each of the models has its unique advantages and unique ways it can integrate into your existing setup – or create a totally new one. [Ed. I’ve confirmed previously with KORG that all three of these models is equally capable of running this plug-in architecture. There’s also the fourth developer board that Artemiy doesn’t mention, though at this point you’re likely to get the NTS-1.]

NTS-1 is probably the most quirky of the lot, but is also surprisingly versatile for its tiny size. First, it can be easily powered off any portable battery, and second, it has a stereo input that lets you run any external audio through up to three different plugin effects, silently making it “the stompbox of your dreams.” 

The mid-range minilogue xd doesn’t have an external input, but does have a very compact and portable body, and a note sequencer. The sequencer can be used together with the arpeggiator for extra-long evolving melodies, but also has 4 parameter automation tracks – with all this data stored per each preset.

The key feature of range-topping prologue, aside from its incredibly pleasant-to-play keybed and sleek all-metal controls, is the fact that each of its presets can be constructed out of two completely separate, split, or layered patches – meaning that you can load two oscillator plugins at the same time.

Developers, developers, developers

How easy is it to develop your own Korg plugin?

First of all, I can tell you that running my own algorithms on a hardware synth was something I have dreamed of for years. Apart from a very unlikely collaboration with the manufacturer, or digging deep into someone’s rare open-source firmware, I figured the chances of actually doing that were zero.

Luckily, Korg has made it so much easier for me and you, that you would almost be guilty for not giving coding your own little plug-in a go. Allow me to give you a first-person example of what it took to get started.

Korg’s loque-SDK is a collection of source code files and a toolchain that runs via the command line in the terminal app. For each type of plug-in, Korg provides a sample – there’s a simple sine oscillator, there’s a delay, a filter, etc. – and the best way for you to start is modify one of them slightly.

You don’t need to do much. For example, make the sine oscillator produce a mix of two sines, one running an octave above the other. You’d simply multiply the second sin() function’s argument by 2 and add it to the first one — that’s it. That’s exactly what I did, and I was hooked instantly.

Now you build the plugin using the “make” command, and install the file onto whichever of the synthesizers in the family you have. You do that via its “sound librarian” companion app into which you simply drag and drop your plugin while the synth is connected via USB. 

https://github.com/korginc/logue-sdk

Now go

All this said, I hope this has changed how you look at Korg’s plugin-capable synthesizer architecture. Because, and I am really confident when I say this, Korg did go and change the whole industry with it.

https://www.sinevibes.com

https://www.sinevibes.com/korg/

minilogue + logue SDK

prologue + logue SDK

The post Op-ed: KORG has transformed synthesizers by letting them run plug-ins, says Sinevibes appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

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