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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Young child at Movement Festival, Detroit.

Motor City, now.

Cover of Record Mirror, June 1988.

The Scene Dance Show, Detroit, circa 1983.

Cybotron’s vision of future cities, 1983.

Blake Baxter plays those drum machines.

Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May, Juan Atkins.

Juan Atkins, Eddie Fowlkes.

Classic Transmat label, illustrated by Alan Oldham.

Mike Huckaby.

Kevin Saunderson.

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

Previously:

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

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

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

Datalooper lets you play Ableton Live with your feet

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

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

http://www.datalooperpedal.com/cdmspecial

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

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

Ableton Live Looping gets its own custom controller

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Videos:

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.datalooperpedal.com/cdmspecial

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AMS Neve DFC Channel Strip.

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

Lexicon 480L – the original hardware.

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

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

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

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

More:

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Partner post]

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

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

How artists use these

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

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

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

What’s in the box

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

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

ANALOG BRASS & WINDS
+ Brass Knuckles Expansion Pack

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

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

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

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

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

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

REV X-LOOPS

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

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

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

Analog Strings from Output melds string orchestras, string synths

Substance is a new software approach to every kind of bass

Movement is a do-everything, musical rhythmic effect

Check it out at Output’s site:

https://output.com/products#instruments

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

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

In gorgeous ETHER, a handmade micro lens brings cymatics closer

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

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

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

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

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

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

Still from the video.

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

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

Ultra-limited handmade physical release.

Concrete mold.

Concrete mold; detail.

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

The music was repurposed from installations and art contexts:

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

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

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

Cover artwork.

Thomas Vaquié.

Poetic explanation accompanies the album:

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

Full video credits:

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

More, including downloads / physical purchases:

https://thomasvaquie.bandcamp.com/

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

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

How to Escape Exotism

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

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

Mohamed Abozekry (Photo © by Nada Elissa, 2018)

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

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

Questioning Cultural Roots

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

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

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

Between Local Tradition and Global Avant-garde

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

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

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

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

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

Conversations and an overflow of music, streaming from Ableton Loop

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Events,Scene | Fri 9 Nov 2018 10:43 pm

Don’t have a ticket to Ableton’s Loop “summit for music makers” in Los Angeles? There’s an overabundance of music and conversation from the gathered artists streaming, much of it live, available now.

For starters, your chance to get involved is the 90-second music challenge, on today:

https://loop.ableton.com/2018/start-here/

(90 whole seconds? Maybe it’s time to redo our 1-second “leap second” music challenge. Apologies for the broken link there – I know that file is in our archives; stay tuned.)

It’s easy to imagine Loop as turning into something really focused on the particular software and hardware products from Ableton, but the people programming the event have made it something very different. Loop’s programming itself extends through a range of artistic and technological frontiers, many of them only tangentially related to Live or Push – everything from AI to electronic instrument engineering to sonifying data from space. Most of that does require a ticket – which means you need to be in Los Angeles right now, and tickets were in short supply. (Even for ticket holders, capacities are constrained as workshops and seminars often take place in small quarters.)

What you can get access to is a couple of the mainstage talks, and a whole bunch of the music culture around Loop. That says a lot about the kind of artists Ableton has befriended, and the sort of hub Los Angeles can be for musicians. So Dublab Radio are broadcasting, for instance – and they’ve made Loop their home.

We’ll be talking to artists, too, in our own way – stay tuned for that. But meanwhile, part of what I get is that there’s a ton of music to experience. It’s not just one genre, and it’s also not just about the people Loop programmers thought were important. If music production tools are driven by an urge to create and share, then it’s little wonder that the participants here have self-organized their own collaborative playlist to share what they’re doing.

So let’s listen. Here’s your guide:

Loop has their live streaming schedule online, with events starting mainly 2PM (5PM NYC, 11PM Berlin) daily, earlier on Saturday:
https://loop.ableton.com/2018/streaming-schedule/

Timing on the West Coast of the USA tends to run a little late even in the Americas, and winds up at weird hours for Europe/Africa and the Eastern Hemisphere. But here you go — think afternoon – early evening LA time Friday and Saturday and afternoon Sunday. That means evening east coast USA, early morning Japan, and … Europe you might want to wait for the archive unless you’re a night owl.

Highlights for me include Sunday – Damien Licht has been doing some great productions and has a new album, and shesaid.so, Naomi Mitchell & Coco Solid should be terrific as they’re bringing in loads of new and diverse music interests and community activation. Plus Dennis DeSantis, Laura Escudé, Patrice Rushen, Photay talking Saturday about what happens when plans go awry – well, that’s relevant to all of us, and this is an utterly amazing selection of different life experiences professionally. We all talk about the Instagram-friendly perfect side of our creative lives, and very rarely about the failures – even if adjusting to failures is usually where the good stuff happens.

Plus there are live performances in the evening if you can catch them.

Music you can tune in any time, though, via Spotify.

What’s great is the chance for participants to share with one another:

And Dublab would love to welcome you to LA’s extraordinarily dynamic scene:

For more sounds – including the lineup at Loop and a guide to why the venue EastWest Studios has put out music you already know and love:

https://loop.ableton.com/2018/loop-spotify/

And if you are at Loop, see you here:

Touch, Code, Play: creating hybrid physical-digital music instruments

The post Conversations and an overflow of music, streaming from Ableton Loop appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Ableton Live Looping gets its own custom controller

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 8 Nov 2018 12:45 am

A crowd-funded custom controller has just arrived on the scene, designed to assist live triggering and looping in Ableton Live. And there’s already a free download for Max for Live to get you started, even without the hardware.

Hardware like Ableton’s Push lets you play Live with your fingers – but what about your feet? (Ableton Sole?) And what about looping? Pierre-Antoine Grison, Ableton Certified Trainer and producer/musician signed to Ed Banger Records, has come up with his own solution – just in time to show it this weekend at Ableton’s aptly-titled Loop “summit for music makers.” “State Of The Loop” is a custom MIDI controller for Ableton Live’s built-in Looper device.

The Looper in Ableton Live has been around for a few versions, after loads of requests from users. It delivered the kind of looping workflows you’d expect form a looping pedal. But that doesn’t mean everyone knows how to use it, or use it effectively. There are some nice resources online, including:

Ableton Looper Cheat Sheet (Free Download) [Beat Lab Academy]

Ableton Live Devices – How To Use Live Looper [Loopmasters.com articles]

and a ton of tips here:
http://looping.me.uk/category/ableton/

The stomp-style hardware controls not only the Looper device itself but also scenes. So it works for both controlling entire sets and for pedal-style looping, and you can use multiple (software) loopers so you can layer using different on-screen devices.

Features:

Display and control the state of Live’s Looper
Unlimited number of loopers !
2 Expression Pedal inputs with “dynamic mapping”
Scenes Mode to launch Scenes and display their color and name
Sturdy metal case
100% Made in France
USB or MIDI connection for longer distances (up to 15m/50ft)
USB powered
Very light on the CPU
Easy configuration
Weight : 1.7 kg / 3 lb
WxLxH : 30 x 13 x 6 cm / 12 x 5 x 2.5 inches

There’s even a free download that adds some features Ableton Live forgot – the equivalent of follow actions for scenes, plus a heads-up display so you can see what’s happening without hunching over your computer screen. (Seriously, Ableton, those belong as standard features in Live!)

You can use that download as long as you have a compatible version of Live and Max for Live; no hardware needed.

http://kblivesolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Scene-Launcher.zip

Dig this custom version too:

Pricing starts at 240EUR for an “early bird” price, 260EUR after that. (There’s also a 350EUR limited edition still available as I write this).

Project info on Kickstarter:

http://kck.st/2SH5gJE

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Ecco the Dolphin playthrough with Drexciya music is today’s perfect trip

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Tue 6 Nov 2018 5:39 pm

I don’t know about you, but the next time I need to cool down, trip out, and feel good about the universe, I will turn to this epic playthrough of Ecco the Dolphin with soundtrack by Detroit’s Drexciya. Humans made this. We can follow those humans, or dolphins, or some combination to the future.

Ecco the Dolphin is the 90s Sega Genesis hit developed by Ed Annunziata and Novotrade International. Drexciya is the Detroit futuristic electro duo who imagined an underwater future. Together, they make more sense than peanut butter and jelly, or Dark Side of the Moon and The Wizard of Oz.

Though, to be fair, after I was tweeted at that I should really transcribe the interviews with James Stinson (I should), it is now dangerously possible that I wind up getting sucked into Ecco and some Drexciya records. Uh… whoops.

But let us heed these words, anyway:

I know a lot of people going through a rough time right now – personally, globally. Sing to the shelled ones and they will heal your wounds.

Thanks, David Abravanel, CDM at-large Nerd of All Things Good.

Previously:

Underwater electronic futurism, in the words of James Stinson (Drexciya)

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Underwater electronic futurism, in the words of James Stinson (Drexciya)

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 5 Nov 2018 8:28 pm

At the turn of the 21st century, one Detroit duo was way ahead. Almost two decades later, the world is revisiting Drexciya and their imagined underwater future – the time is right, and the deepest insights come from James Stinson speaking in his own words.

Drexciyan Cruise Control Bubble 1 to Lardossan Cruiser 8 dash 203 X!

Drexciya, the underground electro duo of the 90s, is enjoying a new resurgence … wait, make that the underwater electro duo enjoying a new submergence? Anyway, cue the Tresor Records re-release, the Resident Advisor spot, the works.

And if you’re not already immersed in this duo’s work, now is a great time to discover or rediscover them. The electro tracks are raw, powerful, grimy, totally Detroit, and in these deadly-serious techno times, unafraid of their own irreverence. “Aquabahn” is sexy and totally, wonderfully, ridiculous:

(They’re not totally kidding, though; everyone I’ve talked to from Underground Resistance has talked about being genuine Kraftwerk fans.)

“Afrofuturism” as a term got applied after the fact (to Drexciya as to the likes of Sun Ra and Juan Atkins). When Drexciya’s 1997 release “The Quest” came out, this was just plain futurism in the words of its creators. But in the liner notes, their journey to imagine an underwater utopia spells out the connection to African-American diasporas and discrimination in overt terms.

From The Quest liner notes – diasporas to global techno to underwater worlds and African return.Source.

The Quest, 1997.

Drexciya were not prone to doing interviews. But apart from being a great musical voice, the late James Stinson, revealed in phone interviews from around the end of the project, had a great voice and articulate vision. And while an under-the-sea world of dreams might seem a preconceived conceit, Stinson says it all came naturally out of the vibes of the music. “We flow with the current,” he told Andrew Duke in 2001. And then he expands on how the concept and life flow out of that, and how water figures into the music.

Listen to him about trying the impossible, ignoring what is supposed to be in music – a perspective that seems in perpetual need in creative life. The whole half hour with journalist Andrew Duke is worth hearing. That’s appropriate, too, as Stinson encourages people to get beyond needle drops and listen to whole tracks and the whole world of Drexciya:

The guy talks about the feeling of music being like the sensation of sitting in a liquid chair made of water. And equally great questions. (“What’s it like to ride a manta ray?”)

Spirit of the underground? James Stinson sums it up perfectly: “Anywhere. Sewer. Underwater. Swimming pool. In the middle of a swamp. In a back alley somewhere … we’ll appear anywhere.”

(This is doubly interesting to me, as a friend from Tehran has recently staged an underwater concert with hydrophones, singing underwater – partly as a way to get around prohibitions on female performance in the country. Stinson was onto something with the radical possibilities of underwater music.)

Punk Collective fan art. From Twitter, via Drexciya Research Lab.

For still more words from the source: in 2002, shortly before his death, James Stinson talked to Liz Copeland, with tracks driving away in the background:

“Just give me the music; forget all the other stuff,” he says. “People need to … dig more into themselves and pull it out, and be more of who they are, and believe in what they do. Don’t worry about what other people are doing.”

Resident Advisor recently summed up all of this in a ten minute video, drawing heavily from those two interviews:

Another navigational chart to the music came in 2012 from the ever-reflective Philip Sherburne, who reviewed an anthology that year and also sums up the music as more than just “electro”:

Adapting the lurching rhythmic template of 1980s electro-funk acts like Man Parrish, Cybotron, and Jonzun Crew, Drexciya emphasized the depth-charge qualities of a booming 808 kick, and the electric-eel jolt of a zapping filter sweep. But it went deeper than that. The music was punctuated by cryptic interludes and scraps of code … Drexciya weren’t just trafficking in metaphor and affect; they were telling a story.

Drexciya: Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller I

It’s also worth reading this interview from 1994 in UK zine The Techno Connection, by Dave Mothersole, republished by fan page Drexciya Research Lab. Yeah, it’s 1994, but it’s easily just as relevant in 2018, though it seems now with the Detroit originators hot as ever on the international scene, it may be time to go back to the surviving Underground Resistance members to hear their current take on the landscape and the word “techno.” As for learning to mix better, even when there’s no 4/4 kick, uh — yeah, we can all listen to that one; that can’t be wrong!

More listening – even Spotify are into this now:

From Función Binaria, a full mix (tracklisting on SC:

It’s also great that Tresor are re-releasing seminal works, including Drexciya – ‘Neptune’s Lair’ – (Tresor.129)
is out November 30th, 2018 on 2LP vinyl. (In time for Hanukkah, even.)

It’s a gift, really, to get to go buy that vinyl and set it on a record player. I do also come back to what Stinson says about originality, though. So maybe the best way to honor the Detroit – Berlin connection is, perversely, to listen, take this in, listen end to end (record players are nice for that), let your mind get altered, and then forget all that and take that energy and vibe and go make your own thing.

And certainly everything’s better down where it’s wetter and all that jazz.

Fan art, Jim McCormack. Also via Drexciya Research Lab. Go check that.

For more Drexciya obsessions, follow Drexciya Research Lab on Blogger(!) and Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/drexciyaresearchlab/

http://drexciyaresearchlab.blogspot.com/

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Techno: The Gathering, scene satire fantasy game, keeps getting better

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 1 Nov 2018 9:16 pm

Curse if you must the fact that modern DJing requires managing social media accounts, navigating scenes, understanding the dimensions of cool. But some DJs will mix all those things as adeptly as they do records – and hold up a mirror to the rest of us.

Well – or at least Leipzig’s Vincent Neumann has made a killer Magic: The Gathering parody with techno.

First things first: let’s here acknowledge that Vincent is a brilliant musical selector, as well as social media satirist. Closing sets at Berghain can turn into ponderous marathons of endurance, but whether there or in (briefer) outings mixing and DJing, Neumann is a deep digger, consummate nerd of eclectic selections. Listen to the mix at bottom. This is to say, while he can keep the fashionistas dancing, the guy is not simply a flavor of the month.

But hey, if you do need some Instagram fame, Maestro Neumann has found a clever and amusing way of doing so. Techno: The Gathering has become a bit of an ongoing commentary on the techno scene. As Europe’s industry of nightlife churns onward, here’s at least one person not taking things too seriously. The in-the-bubble in-joke here is at least, you know, a joke.

My favorites:

He’s nerd enough that you can see via Instagram stories how he has reflected on color choice and deeper meanings.

Let’s actually print the things out and start playing the game. (Has anyone started doing that, or is everyone too hungover from the weekend to bother?)

But seriously, go behold one of the best things on Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/technothegathering/

And Vincent’s normal DJ account, which is, naturally, the best Instagram account name ever:

https://www.instagram.com/instagramsucks/

And yes, you can listen to his mixes and enjoy those, as well:

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Remembering The Residents’ Hardy Fox, enigmatic vaudeville futurist

Delivered... David Abravanel | Artists,Scene | Wed 31 Oct 2018 4:24 am

Today saw the loss (for real this time) of Hardy Fox, the pioneering artist from The Residents. We look back on the irreverent, surrealist work the band produced and Fox as enigmatic anonymous multimedia ringleader, projecting mystery to the very end.

CDM music writer-at-large David Abravanel offers this obituary.

To borrow a phrase from Mark Twain, the rumors of Hardy Fox’s death have been greatly self-exaggerated. Early this year, Fox posted a “1945-2018” epitaph on his website when revealing the diagnosis of an undefined terminal illness. The epitaph was later taken down. Now, the band and loved ones confirmed Fox passed away earlier today.

“As a child I would always describe my nightmares to my mother by banging on the piano and talking in strange voices.”
Charles Bobuck (aka Hardy Fox), This is for Readers (2016)

For five decades, The Residents chose to remain anonymous. Sure, you could figure things out easily enough – there was The Cryptic Corporation, “representatives” who spoke for the group and whose main mouthpiece, Homer Flynn, sounded an awful lot like the singing/reciting voice on The Residents’ albums (late publicly named as “Randy” and still a recording and touring member). But from mid-1960s inception to the present day, the band officially remains The Residents.

There was freedom in that anonymity – free from the expectation that comes with celebrity and hero worship, The Residents followed their own path. 1979 saw the release of the darkly ambient and creeping Eskimo, while the following year’s Commercial Album consisted of 40 short and digestible songs. In 1976, Third Reich ‘N’ Roll presented an often atonal and satirically repellent take on rock n’ roll classics, while later-career masterpieces like Wormwood (1998) and Voice of Midnight (2007) found a renewed focus on theatrical storytelling.

Anonymity also granted freedom to explore technology. The Residents weren’t stars nor were meant to be – so who was going to stop them from making the next project a film (ill-fated 70s project Vileness Fats), or a point-and-click adventure game (Bad Day on the Midway with artist/designer Jim Ludtke, published in 1995 by Inscape), or, hell, a book based on that video game (2012’s Bad Day on the Midway Reconsidered).

Bad Day on the Midway.

Bad Day on the Midway.

While Randy might have spent the most time in the spotlight (and remains the sole original member in the current incarnation), until 2016 he was joined by co-founder Chuck aka Charles Bobuck aka Hardy Fox. Responsible for the majority of the compositions and musical direction of the Residents, Fox’s music was equal parts Vaudeville, nightmare, future and ancient past. Filled with uncomfortable dissonances and unsettling sounds, but almost always darkly humorous, it seems more than fitting to celebrate Fox (and the perpetually-masked Residents) on the eve of Halloween.

After retiring from The Residents in 2016, Fox published a book, This is for Readers, which details his life story. Certainly, it’s a creative interpretation of the truth, filled with legend but revealing some personal details from Fox’s life: his homosexuality, a strong link between orgasm and music composition, the cast of characters that entered his life as he and his husband settled on a rural chicken farm, stories of going on wild adventures with Randy. It’s ultimately a tender and very human read of an extremely avant garde life, complemented by an original soundtrack of solo material, and available for free on iBooks or via Fox’s website.

“My set-up was computer based. I had programmed what I imaginatively called my “space machine.” I had prerecorded hundreds of two-minute loops and had instantaneous access to them by punching buttons and twiddling knobs. I ran a local area network from an Apple Airport hidden under my table that gave me wireless access to a shitload of noise.”
(about the tour for the Talking Light album)

“The idea of working on music without being bothered by people was utopian. Even close friends and neighbors didn’t know what I did for a living. The brief explanation, that I scored gay porn films, usually kept people from wanting to know more.”

And this one is a good commentary on 21st century cities and the Bay Area in particular:

“I had decided some time ago that cities were no place to grow old and I could have orgasms anywhere. I did the civil thing. I bought a farm and became a chicken lord.
Beware of chickens.”


Fox’s 2016 release

There’s no easy way to wrap up an article about Hardy Fox. Between what is known about him (little), what can be inferred (a little more), and what may be creative stretching of the truth (likely lots), he wasn’t exactly transparent. But in the masks, and the animation, and the creative fictions, Fox probed some very unsettling, challenging, and ultimately very human aesthetic worlds.

The sheer overwhelming volume of Residents and Charles Bobuck releases makes it difficult to point to where to start in looking at Fox’s legacy, not to mention Fox’s work is far more often geared toward album rather than cherry-picked “best of” format. That said, I’ve taken a (duck) stab at compiling a friendly introduction to this mad, inspiring world:

http://www.hardyfox.com/home/

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SPIRALALALA transforms a spiral staircase into a vocal vortex

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 29 Oct 2018 10:55 pm

Just when you’re bored with digital media installations, something happens that gets you back to childlike wonder mode. And a magical staircase is a pretty good way to do that.

The team at Poland’s panGenerator have been on a tear lately. This time, they took a grand spiral staircase and imagined what would happen if you could make your voice a kinetic part of the architecture. It’s way better than just shouting your echo at a wall.

It’s also a great example of how spatial sound and architecture can interact, making the normally static structures of an environment more dynamic. This is the sort of interactive architecture we’re routinely promised, but now you see/hear it actually working. Each floor gets its own audio, so the sound seems to descend with the ball. Custom built gates with infrared sensors and radio modules complete the illusion by transforming the sound accordingly.

It’s neo-baroque sonic trompe l’oeil, made with digital technology. The digital transformations of the sound, mapped to the actual kinetic movement of the ball, mix virtual and real.

The artists:

Krzysztof Cybulski
Krzysztof Goliński
Jakub Koźniewski

What we got most recently from the same Warszawa-based crew:

The retro-futuristic Apparatum draws from Polish electronic music history

Details:

During MDF Festival we’ve changed the iconic spiral staircase of the Szczecin Philharmonic into 35m long / 15m high spatial voice-transforming instrument.

The audience has been invited to experiment with various spatialised sound effects applied to their vocalisations that were synchronised with the movement of the balls falling along 35m long track. The interaction starts with insertion of the ball into the microphone. Then recording starts and after the recorded sound stops the ball is released to slide down along the track.

Thanks to custom built gates with infrared sensors and radio modules the sound transformations applied to the recording were synchronised with the current speed and position of the ball. The light trail following the ball has also been created thanks to the sensors and microcontrollers measuring the speed of the ball passing the gates.

Since we were using five speakers – one per floor, we were also able to achieve spatialisation of the sound creating the illusion of the sound “falling” with the ball. As a finishing touch we’ve also used simple projection mapping synchronised with the motion of the ball to make the whole thing more visible for the people standing in the lobby of the Philharmonic.

In the end we’ve created a playful and engaging audience-driven audiovisual performance that exemplifies our vision for integrating new media art practice with architecture and breathing the life into static form thanks to digital technology.

——

VIDEO CREDITS

DOP – Hola Hola Film – holaholafilm.pl
VIDEO EDITING & POSTPRODUCTION – Jakub Koźniewski
SOUND EDITING – Krzysztof Cybulski
VIDEO SOUNDTRACK – Maciek Dobrowolski – mdobrowolski.com
VOICE – Jona Ardyn – jonaardyn.pl

SPECIAL THANKS

Paulina Stok-Stocka
Barbara Kinga Majewska
Tomasz Midzio
Maciej Kalczyński

—–

pangenerator.com/
mdf.filharmonia.szczecin.pl/
https:/filharmonia.szczecin.pl/en

More:

http://pangenerator.com/projects/spiralalala/

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

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Mon 29 Oct 2018 10:05 pm

In 1992, Alan Oldham aka DJ T-1000 imagined the epic saga of techno and Detroit as a trippy futuristic comic – and it’s prescient today. Plus, Alan’s got a banging new EP that you shouldn’t miss.

I’ve been meaning to share this since I first spotted it in a German-language article, so there’s no time like the present.

Alan was “Minister of Information” for Underground Resistance, as well as making his name as one of the all-time album cover greats with sexy, futuristic work for the likes of legendary imprint Transmat, Derrick May’s imprint. Now, everything in Detroit is in vogue again, but this push and pull between Europe (aka, where the actual techno market is) and Detroit (where it started) is so clear in 1992 that this comic could almost have been posted now.

The setting was a release by pre-minimal Richie Hawtin as F.U.S.E., on Richie’s own Plus 8 Records. Bonus: that demo came with a FlexiDisc and a comic. The comic stands out either way, not least for the presence of a futuristic supercomputer sequencer, a bit of a cross between a mass step sequencer, Deep Thought, and the Borg. Plus it’s great fun imagining UR’s LFO, Daniel Bell (aka DBX of “I’m losing control” fame), and Jochem Paap (Speedy J) as comic superheroes. Yeah, I’d see that Marvel movie.

At the very least, someone needs to make this sequencer.

Nerdcore did the honors and scanned the whole thing, if you need some techno comic reading:

https://nerdcore.de/2017/01/10/f-u-s-e-overdrive-flexidisc-comic/

But Alan deserves credit for his music as well as his graphic art, running those careers as he does in parallel. And his latest, “Message Discipline” EP as DJ T-1000 is a welcome shot of adrenaline in the electronic releases of the fall. It’s clear, focused, aggressive but perpetually bouncy – a blast of fresh sound at a time when so many releases are overthought, over-effected, and muddled in an attempt to shroud the dancing in layers of gloom.

Direct and concise, this is the sound of someone with real confidence in the genre. It’s four perfect cuts.

That’s interesting to me in that we did get a chance to get some insight into Alan’s process, and it was very much about getting straight to that groove. So I’m not just here to shower words on this release, but partly because I imagine it might assist people trying to get to their own voice in dance music.

Grab it on Bandcamp:

https://djt1000.bandcamp.com/album/message-discipline-ep

Previously:

Cues: Detroit innovator Alan Oldham talks to us about techno, creation

More on his site:

http://www.alanoldham.com/

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Teenage Engineering OP-Z is here, and it’s full of surprises: video round-up

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 29 Oct 2018 6:25 pm

Teenage Engineering’s OP-Z takes everything the mysterious Swedish maker has done in the past years and packs it into a candy bar-sized hunk of awesome. The first feature reveals and videos of the final creation are inbound, showing it doing some weird and wonderful things.

First, what is the OP-Z? (O-P-Zee for Americans, O-P-Zed for the rest of the world.) It’s an ultra-compact digital synth with loads of sequencing and groove features. It feels terrific in the hand – nicely heavy, but with the width of the beloved iPhone 5 so it’s easy to hold. (I don’t have a review unit yet, but I have gotten to try it.)

The main focus of the instrument: sequencing, so you can create elaborate patterns of synthesized sounds, as part of a rig or on its own, for on-the-go and studio creation or live performance.

What it doesn’t have is a screen; you connect a smartphone or tablet for that on the go. And so the basic idea is, it combines some of the compact game-style ideas of TE products like the Pocket Operators with the powerful synth and sequence workflow of the OP-1. It does more than all those past creations combined, though, and the Teenagers are pushing some unique possibilities for visual creation.

Your iPad or iPhone is the display and multi-touch editor / expanded sequencer for the OP-Z. (No Android support yet, but there are some unique PC visual integrations, too.)

The OP-Z ships worldwide for EUR599, and at the moment it’s sold out. That situation may ease as the Teenagers ramp up production.

But the OP-Z seems to have the most attention at the moment of any digital product, in contrast to sought-after analog instruments like the Moog One.

And sure, while some of this is more predictable – sample packs of drum sounds, effects like delay and reverb, – some of it is decidedly more left-field.

The most surprising features so far

The biggest surprises of the OP-Z:

1. It’s polymetric and does automatic melodic analysis. 1-144-step patterns let you create different rhythms on different tracks, and automatic melodic analysis gives you easier transposition.

2. Wireless display. iOS devices – iPhone, iPad – give you wireless displays and multi-touch input, and they’re remarkably responsive, enough so to play live.

3. The microphone is connected to the accelerometer. Yeah, this thing knows if you hold it up to your mouth.

4. Luxe texture. At first I thought this surface was a process applied after manufacture, but TE say they’ve added glass fibers into the body during injection molding. That makes the OP-Z feel expensive and grippy – so you don’t drop it. It’s not quite like anything you’ve touched before, and they’re promising serious durability.

5. It’s a spiritual successor to the Game Boy Camera. This wouldn’t be a TE product without some nod to the weirder side of Nintendo. This time, you get rapid-fire “photomatic” sequences a bit like on the Game Boy’s camera mode, which you can sync to the music. Of course. Or maybe you should think of it as a GIF creator. Either way, back to the 90s.

6. It’s a VJ instrument and immersive audiovisual tool. This is wild enough that we’ll need a separate story on it, this being CDM. But think Unity 3D integration.

This has relevance not just for the OP-Z but anyone interested in MIDI control of 3D visuals in Unity, since they’ve released the entire toolkit on Github:

https://github.com/teenageengineering/videolab

Plus there’s even a dedicated track for controlling lighting (via the industry standard DMX protocol)? Not sure how you connect this, exactly, but it’s a cool add-on – and someone may want to rig up some DIY solution with light bulbs as in their demo.

7. Tons of expandability is planned. Teenage Engineering are promising new effects, firmware updates, expansion via hardware ports, and more.

Video hands-on

YouTube celebrity Andrew Huang has the highest production values of the first OP-Z videos, and gives you a snapshot review.

More depth comes from Cuckoo, who’s don an extensive mega tutorial (and is just getting started, it seems):

Microwavez shows how you’d combine this with an iPad:

Here’s what it looks like making a beat, via Brandon Guerra:

And NomNomChomsky has a review up, as well:

More:

https://teenageengineering.com/products/op-z

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