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

Kero and Defasten made our virus dreams into a futuristic music video (CDM premieres)

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 7 Apr 2020 9:48 pm

What do you do when you can’t get a virus off your mind? Channel that into a bioscience audio-vision of immunity that reflects that new reality. We talk to Defasten and Kero about their music video for “Lodge.”

We need this sort of fantasy and escape now, I think. But do also check in on the reality in Detroit and the USA – to all our colleagues and friends and family there, we are with you, from Berlin to LA and around the world.

Highways is the kind of EP that might soothe your mood now – it’s a pulsing, electronic, unfamiliar world, but somehow comfortable. It’s music to disinfect to – dry, irregular acid lines, asymmetrical rhythms, but then mellow harmonies set against them. “Chrysler” sounds like a floating Detroit concept car, after hours, a stylish opener punctuated by a wonderful, bizarre bass line. “Southfield” is urgent and groovy; “Fisher” a growling post-apocalyptic IDM deconstructed-electro. “Davison” is delightfully weird reserved glitch. This is Michigan, yes, but through some Tron filter – enter the sadistic game grid.

“Lodge” rounds out the release, and it’s to me the most ambitious – and striking – culmination of Kero’s concept here. Its abstract cycle never quite materializes, a stuttering sound sculpture trying to escape an Enterprise transporter pattern buffer, but with beautiful, murky pad clusters breathing in and out in the background.

That music is evocative even if you close your eyes, but Defasten gives us a bio-science concept visual – unsettling but eerily pretty turquoise and purple 3D imagery. Watch:

Video: www.defasten.com

This is built in Notch, the same 3D software Ted Pallas used in the xR experiments I wrote about yesterday. (Ted reviewed this 3D software for CDM – I’m editing that review now.)

Here’s what Kero and Defasten had to say about their work here.

Peter: Want to say anything about the music, sounds? Love the vibe so – could be either the gear or the feeling you had, or both?

I have always had a love for futuristic GUIs in an ode to classic Miami Vice 80s and futurism / cyberpunk aesthetics. Defasten basically just worked with the aesthetic concepts he knew I already loved, but added a few elements of medical and scientific imagery that we both felt inspired by the worlds current crisis.

Kero’s rig for this release: Eurorack modular (of course, classic Doepfer stuff at top anchoring the setup), Elektron Analog Rytm MKII, Elektron Analog Four MKII, and Teenage Engineering OP-Z, which is nearly camouflaged in gray against its larger fellow Swedish gear.

For both of you – I mean, is there something cathartic and calming about really diving into the science here, understanding what this thing is we’re up against? Or how did you feel about the viral content?

Patrick from Defasten: The Lodge video visibly is a comment on what we’re experiencing right now globally. I found the microsounds of the track to evoke the biology of our bodies, the microscopic world that constitutes our being. It was of interest to interpret this graphically, with the real-time synthetic imagery discreetly reacting to Kero’s sonic pulses.

That said, there is indeed something calming when you’re focusing on crafting an idea, isolated at home. I think a lot of academics and researchers of any field can relate to the isolation required to develop an idea. This is the strange calm required to quell the storm.

CDM: To ask another question, is there a feeling of being on the side of science and technology as an approach, not just sort of giving into 1918 chaos?

Patrick: Let’s hope we don’t give into the 1918 chaos. Looking at the numbers now, we are not experiencing the loss of life at such magnitude. We are grateful that science and technology and general quality of life has increased since the last 100 years. That said, massive loss of life in 2020 is still to be taken very seriously.

But yes – I am on the side of science and technology to combat the pandemic, in addition to the cooperation of everyone to respect the temporary measures in place in reducing the spread of the coronavirus. In 1918, they didn’t have the internet – we now have this luxury to have the latest info – either fake or real – relayed to our phones. In many ways, we’re equipped to handle a pandemic, however it doesn’t mean we should put all our faith in science – in reality, politics has played a huge role in the pandemic’s acceleration, and science only responds as a result.

Can you talk about how this collaboration came together? Obviously there’s tons of visual-sonic collaboration and boundary pushing on DU.

PD: It came out quite spontaneously. I’ve already done more than a few works for Kero’s label since a few years now, I think we understand each other musically/aesthetically and are generally in the same zone with our tastes and interests. So once again – he gave me carte blanche to design what I felt was right. This kind of creative collaboration is what I value most – when there is solid trust in the members involved, and that the constructive dialog between the creatives enhance the process.

What’s next for this project and others? Will we see this bio-future-opera expanded?

PD: I’m interested in exploring the themes explored in the video further, but is it really a ‘’bio-future-opera’’? That is up to the public to decide. Prior to the pandemic – I was already interested in the intersection of biology, technology, the need to improve/augment our bodies, and the innerworld that is within us all. I think, instead of this over-emphasis on AI we’ve seen in the 2010s – the time is ripe for the creative and tech industries to re-examine itself, expand its interests, and push towards a new awareness and understanding of what is already all around us – not only to gain immunity to timeless viruses, but to understand/unlock the secrets of the microscopic world which we rely on to be alive, and of course to respect its boundaries. This of course will not be a smooth journey.

How do you hope people will watch this? I turned out the lights and went VERY full screen in the dark. But with all these streams around, I wonder if you have a vision for how we can have some more, say, quality immersion.

PD: What you did sounds like a good idea. The video is a slow burner and doesn’t require your constant attention – watch it on your phone if you like. There’s a lot of micro detail, so the higher the screen resolution, the better. The original content was made in Notch, so it’s generated in real-time, and it could loop forever, so ideally – a multi-screen installation setup running on real-time data in a large, dimly lit, architectural space. Sound familiar? 🙂 I also see it as a kind of backdrop to a sober, advanced tech ‘’mission briefing’’, in a large auditorium or hangar, with speakers of various expertise explaining to an audience the stakes at hand. Like a TED Talk PowerPoint presentation replaced with a holographic visual data presence.

The latest from Detroit, on the front lines

Next up from Detroit Underground is Joe Sousa, who will be out next on audio tape, Infinite Cold Distance. He had these sobering words to share about the current situation in Detroit; he’s a respiratory therapist by day so right out there.

Joe, you stay safe, too – and thanks for the update, especially as we deal with this worldwide. We can’t wait to hear your music.

Covid-19, week 3 southeast Michigan update:

This is going to be an account of my experiences during the boom of this virus, and to the point.

I was the charge therapist staffed during the initial weekend of SARS-CoV-2 infected admissions. Admittedly, a time of extreme uncertainty, with high anxieties felt across every profession in my building. You could feel it as you walked into rooms, as you talked to providers, as you tried to guide those around you with what knowledge you had. I am at a minimum pleased to say that phase has passed.

While my hospital (40 minutes away from epicenters such as Detroit or central Oakland County) is not yet challenged with at-capacity status, we are faced with the highest acute workload we have ever seen as a respiratory department. We have more ventilated patients than I’ve seen in my 8 year tenure. The patient population who requires critical care typically has at least one other health issue, but not all. Age is barely a factor, but most people are between 40 and 80. That being said, there has been individuals who are in their earlier 20s, and let that be a reality check.

Regarding diagnosis and treatment: this is an ever-evolving beast. Too many unknowns, and much is questioned daily, not only based on my personal research but based on conversation with providers across the field. Those with hypertension, diabetes, and ACE inhibitor usage seem to be at highest risk. Conjecture between cytokine storm, vasculopathy, thromboembolism, and more, point to an atypical presentation of ARDS. Some things I’ve read are saying it’s actually not true ARDS at all. Many lung mechanic strategies we implement end up being similar, but there is so much food for thought that I’m kept with a consistently open mind. For the layman: this is a unique virus. Too new (“Novel”), and lots to study. Full disclosure: I am not a physician or an infectious disease specialist for example, but knowing how others think is important as a clinician; to best integrate my respiratory tactic into the care plan. I put this here just as an insight to perspective on how every frontline team member is integrally involved in outcomes.

Regarding PPE: we as an institution early-implemented conservative measures, so we are not yet on the shortage side of the line. I anticipate this happening, though, if the supply chain has not been figured out by now. I also don’t believe in a first world country we should have to worry about “conserving” single-use protective equipment, so that thought is slightly daunting. Key point: I take my time putting on my gear and taking it off, properly, effectively, safely. It goes without saying that we, as the health care workforce, are exponentially more at risk than anyone social distancing or locked in their homes.

Beyond this, I truly feel for my other southeast Michigan hospitals nearing or at capacity. Michigan is currently at the 4th highest case count, and the 3rd highest deaths. And in the spirit of honesty: when they do, the deaths come swiftly. It is taxing to all of us, mentally and emotionally. I’m not a proponent of fear, but please stay home. Please be clean. Keep up your immunity and cardiopulmonary system with proper diet and exercise. Please take my word for it. And probably best to lay off the NSAIDS for a while.

Finally, there has been a token of uplifting measure: to see the level of support from so many friends and family of mine, checking in, giving thanks, it’s just all extremely encouraging. This matters more than you know, and I know my peers feel the same. Thank you to all the restaurants and individuals who donate meals and endless snacks to our ICU units, and while these aren’t alway the healthiest options, it does plenty for morale.

Listen to facts from experts, not headlines in the news. Knowledge is power more than ever, and I hope it quells some stress for some of you, I know it does for me. Stay safe and diligent everyone. This too shall pass.

Kero’s release and videos

Well, we’ll need something while we’re home. So for those of you who can, go get that record, which comes adorned with fantastic urban topography from Berlin’s graphic design shop www.neubauberlin.com, pressed in Detroit at Archer.

And for everybody, we get some eye candy. Dim the lights. Start with the opener:

Another one by Katya Ganya, for “Fisher”:

And Bryant CPU Place [www.cyberpatrolunit.com], for “Southfield”:

The post Kero and Defasten made our virus dreams into a futuristic music video (CDM premieres) appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Control free streaming tool OBS Studio with OSC – and more essential tricks

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 7 Apr 2020 5:27 pm

Control live streaming and recording tool OBS Studio with other apps and tools, and route video live. Free add-ons make it all possible.

Keep in mind this isn’t just for the live streaming craze – it’s for recording, too. But if you’re going to stream, by all means, do something interesting.

Carlo Cattano has made a free tool with some major implications – and it’s simple enough that it’s also a nice demo of how to write this in Python, generally. This code lets you route Open Sound Control – the high-res, open communication protocol used by many VJ apps, touch apps on iOS, and other applications – into OBS Studio:

Control OBS Studio with Open Sound Control template example [https://github.com/CarloCattano/ObSC]

That opens up all sorts of possibilities – script and automate video switching, jam live with the input, automate screencasts and recording, and more.

Also useful in OBS – you can route input from other applications directly.

On the Mac, you can use Syphon, open tech that lets you route 3D textures in OpenGL as easily between apps as you might audio signal in a patch bay. That’s native in the latest OBS release.

By the way you might even go the opposite direction – using this as output to mapping, for example:

On Windows, there’s Spout2 support (the Windows DirectX 11 equivalent of Syphon):


For an example of what this is for, here’s someone recording live visuals – alongside Ableton Live – using OBS and Spout. And this is from 2017, so again, it’s not just about live streaming during the pandemic.

And across platforms, you can use obs-ndi, which support’s NewTek’s NDI for networked audiovisual support:


That’s useful,, because it lets you freely specify sources, outputs, and filters using OBS over a network.

Streamers – and gamers in particular – have been using this already to use phones as remote cameras and perform multiple computer streaming.

You can even use it to save using a capture card:

More tips:

And yes, you could also use NDI to build your own switcher using something like TouchDesigner:

Full tutorial:


So there you have it. Let other people keep running horrible sound from their phone, while you use OBS as an all-purpose tool for routing, switching, capturing, and streaming video. Oh yeah and – you can use all of this to make your phone a capture, while using your computer to make light work of streaming/recording audio feeds and mic in high quality.

And the essential glue here is all free.

That means all of this streaming craze is a perfectly reasonable time for the rest of us to hone some of our video chops, whether we’re musicians or visualists. So hope you’re staying safe at home, and happily patching video switchers any time the news makes you a bit too anxious. At least … that’s part of my plan, for sure. Best to all of you and – yes, you can actually invite me to your streams.

The post Control free streaming tool OBS Studio with OSC – and more essential tricks appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Uganda’s Afrorack goes from modular synths to a DIY disinfectant; more efforts worldwide

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 7 Apr 2020 1:54 pm

Brian Bamanya made a name making DIY modular synths, but now he’s applying voltage to another task – making sodium hypochlorite (aka bleach). Science! That joins a growing number of efforts of DIYers turning to fight the pandemic head-on.

Please, do not try anything like this before reading advisories below.

First off, this stuff is what’s known as household bleach or liquid bleach. Despite the fact that it’s sold readily, it is potentially very toxic – don’t let it touch other cleaning substances based on ammonia and acidic cleaners, for instance, or you’ll brew some harmful fumes. In fact, don’t even leave it sunlight. (Here’s a list of don’ts.) Don’t drink it, obviously (okay, not obvious to some), but also don’t let it touch anything that you’re going to consume – don’t get this anywhere near food.

But used with care, bleach is fantastic. You’ll see it in the toolkits of professional cleaners for a reason – it’s good at certain tasks. And it is very effective on surfaces against SARS-CoV-2, that virus known as the coron— yeah, I know, you hear about it every 15 seconds. Let’s get back to bleach and chemistry, because they’re cool.

But the important thing here is – yes, this can produce a WHO-approved surface cleaner. And no, you should not take any advice in chemistry or health from CDM. Honestly, I’m not sure I would claim you should take synth advice from CDM. Here are reliable sources on bleach and SARS-CoV-2:

World Health Organization on disinfecting [WHO PDF]
COVID-19 – Disinfecting with Bleach [Michigan State University]
National Center for Biotechnology Information on bleach specifically [they’re part of the National Institutes of Health, a US government branch]
Environmental Protection Agency document on the topic

Brian’s approach leans as much on electronics background as it does chemistry, because you can make it by running electricity through sodium chloride salt solution. Yeah – it’s analog. And that’s how it is manufactured.

What Brian is doing that’s clever is making this on a small scale when industrially-produced material has been subject to price hikes – and reusing plastic bottle trash in the process.

Is this a good idea? I don’t want to comment, as I am neither an expert on infectious disease nor anything like a chemist. So I want to put it out there to hear reaction, as normally given the range of backgrounds on the site, someone has an answer. I’ll update this story and our social channels with whatever we hear.

You can support the project here:


And find Brian here:

Bleach is effective in small concentrations; alcohol requires greater purity. But theoretically it should be possible to DIY ethanol alcohol, and off-the-grid types have been doing that before the COVID-19 outbreak. Also, unlike distillation, this will be legal in most places – though be careful not to sell it or make health claims, as that requires a license.

Let me again restate that I am not in any way qualified to talk about this, and you should not listen to me, though you should get in touch if you are qualified, and it is worth reading the experts – if for no other reason than to pass the time.

More efforts from the music makers

It’s also an indication of the changed world we’re in that the synth DIY community in general is in some cases turning to things other than musical instruments.

From Slovakia, Jonáš Gruska of LOM label – an experimental music label and maker of various sound electronics – is one of many people making 3D-printed face masks. (He’s also experimenting with UV hardware, but the face masks I know are being actively advocated by health care professionals around the world for their supplies.)

Groups like NYCResistor, who had been a partner of ours back in NYC, are engaged in similar projects – though the calls are as diverse as places looking for plexiglass boxes for intubation equipment.

Our friend Geert Bevin now of Moog has been making protective gear with UNC Asheville students working at the STEAM Studio:

UNCA students help make protective gear for health care workers [WLOS news]

People are sewing cloth masks, too – originally specifically excluded from guidance, but now part of international recommendations as the contagion and our knowledge of it evolve. Take for instance SewnMasksNYC, and (too many to list here) various efforts undertaken by musicians and media artists in our circle.

Places to find DIY help

I’ll refer to the official US Center for Disease Control instructions here (English + Spanish), just posted as they updated their guidance to begin advocating them. After some mixed messages here, this document is clear and concise and applicable everywhere – uh, once you convert from inches. (Some day, my native country will go metric.)

Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19 [CDC]

You’ll also find active open source groups for equipment. The main hub is currently on Facebook:


With a preferred 3D-printed face shield plan living at:


And here’s some music to accompany this article, by Ana Quiroga as NWRMNTC, who I understand has been sewing masks together with curator/artist Estela Oliva in the UK:

We needed some music, for sure, somewhere in this.

Let us know your feedback and what you may be involved in. I certainly don’t mean to intend that everyone in our community needs to contribute in this way – staying at home or doing your day job may be your best bet, and there’s plenty that matters in music itself these days. But I do hope we can use our networks to stay informed and connected.

The post Uganda’s Afrorack goes from modular synths to a DIY disinfectant; more efforts worldwide appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Holodeck DJ: I played techno on an XR stage – here’s what it was like

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 6 Apr 2020 3:38 pm

There are cameras. There’s video and 3D. What happens when you create a futuristic mixed reality space that combines them, live? I headed to a cavernous northern New Jersey warehouse to find out.

With or without the pandemic crisis, our lives in the digital age straddle physical and imagined, meatspace and electronic worlds. XR represents a collection of current techniques to mediate between these. Cross or mixed is a way to play in the worlds between what’s on screen or video and what exists in physical space.

Now, with all these webcasts and video conferencing that have become the norm, the reality of mixing these media is thrown into relief in the mainstream public imagination. There’s the physical – you’re still a person in a room. Then there’s the virtual – maybe your appearance, and the appearance of your physical room, is actually not the thing you want to express. And between lies a gap – even with a camera, the viewpoint is its own virtual version of your space, different than the way we see when we’re in the same space with another person. XR the buzzword can melt away, and you begin to see it as a toolkit for exploring alternatives to the simple, single optical camera point of view.

To experience first-hand what this might mean for playing music, I decided to get myself physically to Secaucus (earlier in March, when such things were not yet entirely inadvisable). Secaucus itself lies in a liminal space of New Jersey that exists between the distant realities of the Newark International Airport, the New Jersey Turnpike, and Manhattan.

Tucked into a small entrace to a nondescript, low-slung beige building, WorldStage hides one of the biggest event resources on the eastern seaboard. Their facility holds an expert team of AV engineers backed by a gargantuan treasure trove of lighting, video, and theatrical gear. Edgewater-based artist/engineer Ted Pallas and his creative agency Savages have partnered with their uniquely advanced setup to realize new XR possibilities.

“Digital artists collaborating with this new technology pave the road for where xR can go,” says Shelly Sabel, WorldStage’s Director of Design. “Giving content creators like Savages opportunities to play on the xR stage helps us understand the potential and continue in this new direction.”

I was the guinea pig in experimenting with how this might work with a live artist. The mission: get out of a Lyft from the airport, minimizing social contact, unpack my backpack of live gear (VCV Rack and a mic and controller), and try jamming on an XR stage – no rehearsal, no excuses. It really did feel like stepping onto a Holodeck program and playing some techno.

And I do mean stage. The first thing I found was a decent-sized surface, LEDs on the floor, a grid of moving head lights above, and over-sized fine-grade LED tiles as a backdrop on two sides. Count this as a seven-figure array of gear powering a high-end event stage.

The virtual magic is all about transforming that conventional stage with software. It’s nothing if not the latest digital expression of Neo-Baroque aesthetics and illusion – trompe-l’œil projection in real space, blended with a second layer of deception as that real-world LED wall imagery is extended in virtual space on the computer for a seamless, immersive picture.

It’s a very different feeling than being on a green screen or doing chroma key. You look behind you and you see the arches of the architecture Ted and his team have cooked up; the illusion is already real onstage. And that reality pulls the product out of the uncanny valley back into something your brain can process. It’s light years away from the weather reporter / 80s music video cheesiness of keying.

I’m a big believer in hacking together trial runs and proofs of concept, so fortunately, Ted and team were, too – as I was the first to try out this XR setup in this way. He tells CDM:

This was our first time having an artist in one of our xR environments, in a specific performance context – we’d previously had some come visit, but Peter is the first to bring his process into the picture. As such, we decided to keep things mellow – there was a lot of integration getting blessed as “stable” for the first time, and I wanted to minimize the potential for crashing during the performance – my strong preference is to do performances in one take.

The effects you’ll see in the video are pretty simple and subtle by design. Plus I was entirely improvising – I had no idea what I would walk onto in advance, really. But the experience already had my head reeling with possibilities. From here, you can certainly add additional layers of augmentation – mapping motion graphics to the space in three dimensions, for instance – but we kept to the background for this first experiment.

Just as in any layered illusion, there’s some substantial coordination work to be done. The Savages team are roping together a number of tools – tools which are not necessarily engineered to run together in this way.

The basic ingredients:

Stype – camera tracking
disguise gx 2c – media server (optimized for Notch)
Notch – real-time content hosted natively in disguise media software
Unreal Engine – running on a second machine feeding disguise
BOXX hardware for Unreal, running RTX 6000 GPUs from NVIDIA
SideFX Houdini software for visual effects

The view from Notch.

Camera tracking is essential – in order to extend the optically-captured imagery with virtual imagery as if it were in-camera, it’s necessary for each tiny camera move to be tracked in real time. You can see the precision partly in things like camera vibrations – the tiniest quiver has a corresponding move in the virtual video. Your first reaction may actually be that it’s unimpressive, but that’s the point – your eye accepts what it sees as real, even when it isn’t.

Media servers are normally tasked with just spitting out video. Here, disguise is processing data and output mapping at the same time as it is crunching video signal – hiding the seams between Stype camera tracking data and video – and then passing that control data on to Notch and Unreal Engine so they’re calibrated, too. It erases the gap between the physical, optical camera and the simulated computer one.

Those of you who do follow this kind of setup – Ted notes that disguise is instancing Notch directly on its timeline, while Unreal is being hosted on that outboard BOXX server. And the point, he says, is flexibility – because this is virtual, generative architecture. He explains:

All about the parameters.

Apart from the screen surface in the first set, all geometry was instanced and specified inside of the Unreal Engine via studio-built Houdini Digital Assets. HDAs allow Houdini to express itself in other pieces of software via the Houdini Engine – instead of importing finished geometry, we import the concept of finished geometry and specify it within the project, usually looking through the point of view of the [virtual 3d] camera.

This is similar in concept to a composer writing a very specific score for an unknown synthesizer, and then working out a patch with a performer specific to a performance. It’s a very powerful way to think about geometry from the perspective of the studio. Instead of worrying about finishing during the most expensive part of our process time-wise — the part that uses Houdini — we buffer off worrying about finishing until we are considering a render. This is our approach to building out our digital backlot.

The “concept of the geometry” – think a model for what that geometry will be, parameterized. There’s that Holodeck aspect again – you’re free to play around with what appears in virtual space.

Set pieces in Houdini.

There are two set pieces here as demo. I actually quite liked the simple first set, even, to which they mapped a Minimoog picture on the fly – partly because it really looks like I’m on some giant synth conference stage in a world that doesn’t yet exist. Ted describes the set:

The first set is purposefully pedestrian – in as little time as possible, we took a screen layout drawing for an existing show, added a bit of brand-relevant scenic, and chucked it in a Notch block. The name of the game here was speed – start to finish production time was about three hours. On the one hand, it looks it. On the other hand, this is the cheapest possible path to authoring content for xR – treat it like you’re making a stage, and then map it from the media server like it’s a screen. What’s on the screen can even be someone else’s problem, allowing digital media people to masquerade as scenic and lighting designers.

The second piece is more ambitious – and it lets a crew transport an artist to a genuinely new location:

Inside the layers of Savages’ virtual architecture.

The second set design was inspired by architect Ricardo Bofill’s project La Muralla Roja. As the world was gearing up to shutdown, we spent a lot of time discussing community. La Muralla Rojo was built to challenge modern perspectives of public and private spaces. Our Muralla is intended to do the same. We see it as a set for multiple performers, each with their own “staged location” or as a tool to support a single performer.  

Courtesy Ricardo Bofill, architects – see the full project page (and prepare to get lost in photos transporting you to the North African Mediterranean for a while).

And yes, placing an artist (that’ll be me, bear with me here) – that adds an additional layer to the process. Ted says:

[Bofill’s] language for the site is built out of plaster and the profile of a set of stairs, modulated by perpendicularity and level. An artist standing on [our] LED cube is modulating a perpendicular set of surfaces by adding levels of depth to the composition.

This struck me as a good peg for us all to use to hang our hats. Without you [Peter] standing there, the screens are very flat – no matter how much depth is in the image. :ikewise, without the stairs, muralla roja would be very flat. when i was looking for references this is what struck me.

It may not be apparent, but there is a lot still to be explored here. Because the graphics are generative and real-time, we could develop entire AV shows that make the visuals as performative of the sound, or even directly link the two. We could use that to produce a virtual performance (ideal for quarantine times), but also extend what’s possible in a live performance. We could blur the boundary between a game and a stage performance.

It’s basically a special effect as a performance. And that opens up new possibilities for the performer. So here I was pretty occupied just playing live, but now having dipped in these waters the first time, of course I’m eager to re-imagine the performance for this context – since the set I played here is really just conceived as something that fits into a (real world) DJ booth or stage area.

Ted and Savages continue to develop new techniques for combining software, including getting live MIDI control into the environment. So we’ll have more to look at soon.

To me, the pandemic experience is humbling partly in that it reminds us that many audiences can’t physically attend performances. It also reveals how virtual a lot of our connections were even before they were forced to be that way – and reveals some of the weakness of our technologies for communicating with each other in that virtual space. So to sound one hopeful note, I think that doubling down on figuring out how XR technologies work is a way for us to be more aware of our presence and how to make the most of it. Our distance now is necessary to save lives; figuring out how to bridge that distance is an extreme but essential way to develop skills we may need in the future.

Full set:

Artist: Peter Kirn
Designer (Scenography, Lighting, VFX): Ted Pallas, Savages
Director of Photography: Art Jones
Creative Director: Alex Hartman, Savages
Technical Director: Michael Kohler, WorldStage



Footnote: If you’re interested in exploring XR, there’s an open call out now for the GAMMA_LAB XR laboratory my friends and partners are running in St. Petersburg, Russia. Fittingly, they have adapted the format to allow virtual presence, allowing the event itself to go on., and it will bring some leading figures in this field It’s another way worlds are coming together – including Russia and the international scene.

Gamma_LAB XR [Facebook event / open call information in Russian and English]

The post Holodeck DJ: I played techno on an XR stage – here’s what it was like appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Begone, webcams: Dixon will premiere an album in gorgeous 3D mixed reality, today

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Fri 3 Apr 2020 7:25 pm

We’ve gazed into grainy video feeds and literally watched multi-camera shoots of empty clubs. But we’re also starting to see a move into futuristic 3D and mixed reality – starting with one unique album premiere from the Innervisions mastermind.

The feed is tonight Berlin time, that’s 10PM CET so 4PM NYC time, 1PM California. (And yeah, my heart is with you right now, America, even as I type the letters NYC – and many other places worldwide. I know this is beyond tough; I’m watching and listening. If you want to join for Dixon distraction in 3D, please say hi.)

In a global crisis, one key element to look for in culture is people who were working on something before all of this, and that might endure through and after. So Dixon qualifies. He already DJed virtually (thanks to motion capture, a collaboration with Rockstar Games, and an appearance in Grand Theft Auto V Online, which you can still go visit in the game). And he had unveiled his Transmoderna project, which at least had the lofty goal of turning a club into something immersive. It’s hard to untangle what that means from the description, and I don’t tend to hang out in Ibiza. It seems in PR materials, everything in Ibiza starts to turn into some high-concept club-marketing gobbledygook – but yeah, his residency hosting everyone from the Innervisions crew to Mano le Tough to Honey Dijon also had the notion of developing immersive technology and reimagining what a club was.

Let’s skip to what is actually happening now, tonight Berlin time, as it at least starts to plumb this question of “what could be on a video feed that isn’t just a camera pointed at a bunch of clubgoers?”

The clubgoers for something like Boiler Room are now legally removed, their absence mandated by German contact limits in this pandemic. But the supercomputer on your desk and the supercomputer in your pocket were already capable of doing other things.

So Dixon tonight will perform a mixed reality DJ set as part of the Transmoderna collaboration, and to debut unreleased music of the same name. The artist says he’s building his Dj set already from this material. (No word on who yet, but previously announced collaborations on this moniker included Âme, Mathew Jonson, Echonomist, Trikk, Frank Wiedemann, and Roman Flügel.)

It’s really the visual material that starts to show promise, though – see the images here. Bleeding-edge visualist studio SELAM X has created an alien fishtank for the artist to inhabit tonight – and you can see the wonderful creatures they’re producing.

The whole thing will run in a game engine – fitting, as platforms like Twitch were streaming games while the club community was still just showing, well, clubs. And beyond that, I don’t know what to expect. But I’ll be tuning in, as this feels less like “DJ mix plus webcam” and more like something worth seeing on a screen.

I hope to talk to one of the artists at SELAM X soon, so take a look, let us know what you think, and if you have questions.

But I do suspect there’s a lot of potential here. And hey, if you want to catch Dixon and The Black Madonna in GTA V, too, I’m game. It’s more fun than watching Facebook Live chat hang my browser tabs, I know that. (Hey – I believe in computers and the Internet. We will get there, because we can.)



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SoundCloud just added a direct support link; here’s how to turn it on for your profile

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 2 Apr 2020 7:07 pm

SoundCloud is talking about a host of new support initiatives, but there’s one you might want to switch on right now – a direct support button for your profile.

It goes without saying that people across the arts, entertainment, and many other industries are hitting hard times, and not everyone has a strong support net. It also goes without saying that music makers often struggle under the best of circumstances. SoundCloud is the latest in our arena to announce various initiatives – everything from working with Twitch to discounting SoundCloud Pro accounts to a set of news today. That includes $5 million in promotional support and a $10 million accelerator program (Repost Select).

But let’s get to that later, because the simplest thing SoundCloud is doing is to make a prominent link available on your profile page.

The direct fan-support-button is just a big blue box with a link of your choosing. There’s some pre-defined text reminding people that artists are impacted by COVID-19 and health interventions.

Here’s how it appears in action (currently live on the Web; awaiting an official word on mobile):

Heck yeah, support Erika. CDM endorsement. Among others.

To add yours, go to your Creators profile page while logged in, and choose the”edit” button on the right. Then click “add support link,” and a new text field appears. Here you can add a link to a number of sites. (Custom links don’t work, but they are taking feedback for services you want if one isn’t listed.)

Add the link here. Note I wanted Bandcamp listed separately, too, so I added it twice.

Supported sites you can link to (for now):


Emphasis mine – it isn’t just about begging for money or passing the hat, because you can also direct people to buy your music and merch on Bandcamp, head to a store on Shopify (where you might even sell synthesizer hardware, for instance), subscribe on Patreon, or support a Kickstarter project.

It’s just a link – there’s no commission that goes to SoundCloud. Basically, it works like the existing links on your profile, but white-listing these sites on which you can get paid. (Oh yeah – you can even link Bandcamp twice, which is what I do; I want people’s support to come in the form of downloading my music, and I still want to list my Bandcamp page alongside Twitter and Facebook.)

Find the instructions here:

Direct Support Link [SoundCloud help]

Blog post: Add this new button to your profile so fans can financially support you [SoundCloud blog]

And an update from CEO Kerry Trainor on everything else

My experience is this: a lot of music lovers want to support artists. As we saw with Bandcamp’s music sale last week, as we’ve seen on Patreon and other services, people are looking for opportunities. That makes it even more tragic that big tech providers like Spotify, YouTube, and Apple tend to focus more on building their platform rather than allowing connections to artists. I hope that this step from SoundCloud is a first step toward more of that kind of direct support.

Stay tuned; we’ll soon talk to SoundCloud about their strategy with creators here, and hopefully unravel some of the other offerings.

But meanwhile, if you’re wondering if you should turn that button on, I say yes!

I was going to add more, but really – just yes.

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Learn how to live stream your music with these two easy, quick videos, gear tips

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 1 Apr 2020 5:25 pm

Okay, so everyone is suddenly live streaming. But the thought of setting this up hurts your brain. Fortunately, two of our friends have put together concise videos to get you started.

Live streaming music performances hardly started with this pandemic era – and to be fair, a lot of us have been putting off working out how to do it anyway. So let’s do it properly. Live streaming can be a good way to connect with people and to try out material. Its main enemy is often technical trouble. Michael and Tom to our rescue!

Tom Cosm has a desktop guide that takes just two minutes – he captures both from his screen and a webcam, which could also work for tutorials, live coding, and more creative ideas.


OBS https://obsproject.com

Streaming platform (Twitch, Facebook Live, etc.)

Desktop platforms (mobile and custom options coming soon)

Michael Forrest has a live streaming how-to – from August 2019, and a reminder that this can be a good idea that you genuinely enjoy rather than an endtimes substitute for live performance as civilization collapses and you abandon hope of ever playing for a crowd of more than two people or within 2 meters of a human. (I mean – let’s definitely not think about it that way.)

And there is a ton of useful gear here. From his list (and his affiliate links). Crucially, since the OBS part is pretty straightforward, having a good stand and lighting is essential – and based on my cursory research, you can ship from a lot of electronics providers at the moment even given lockdowns (and not only Amazon, in case you want to protest that company).

Best of all, he’s got a terrifically useful scene switcher script:


Rest of the gear:

Streaming software - https://obsproject.com/
Audio Mixer with USB out - http://amzn.to/2eu59iW
Audio limiter / compressor - http://www.fmraudio.com/rnla.html
Wirelessly receive video to computer from phone -  http://bit.ly/2f6ti0A
iPhone app for clean camera feed - http://apple.co/2f6t21J
Tripod - http://amzn.to/2dVuhON
Tripod phone mount - http://amzn.to/2eKAGeV
Lighting LED lighting - http://amzn.to/2ePZxMw
Lighting stand - http://amzn.to/2feGJe8
Video from DSLR
Thunderbolt video capture - http://amzn.to/2eu3iKP
Connect camera to video capture - http://amzn.to/2eKDHfl
Connect video capture to computer - http://amzn.to/2f6vBB5
My DSLR Camera Body - http://amzn.to/2dJ0GF3
Prevent camera from sleeping after 30 mins - http://www.magiclantern.fm/
Wide angle lens if you’re in a tight space - http://amzn.to/2ePXh8e
50mm lens for portraits-style shots - http://amzn.to/2eu37PD
Macro lens for close ups - http://amzn.to/2eu3iKP

Lots of little relevant tips in this video, as well.

And some more gear…

A few more bits of kit I’ve had an eye on. IK Multimedia have started daily livestreams:


But it’s also worth noting they have some rather useful looking kit for podcasting and streaming, particularly solving this on mobile:

iRig Stream is a useful interface, and

iRic Mic Video bundle (and the associated grip and mics in their Creator Series)

…all look useful.

Roland have their GO:LIVECAST which I’ve mentioned, though it seems to lack stereo line input (still trying to get hold of one of these). See also their GO:MIXER.

Sometimes it’s the stuff not specifically directed at streaming that looks most useful for audiovisual use cases. In particular, one friend clued me into the ZOOM U-24 – 2-in, 4-out interface, with preamps:


I’m still not entirely seeing the perfect solution I’d imagine here, so I’m keen to hear what you’re thinking.

And this being CDM, absolutely taking your ideas – and intend to discuss some different approaches to online performance, not only the traditional video Web stream. Watch this space.

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Exclusive: a gig and a half of finely-crafted Riemann techno sounds, free for 48 hours

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 31 Mar 2020 7:20 pm

It’s hard to get that deep, crowded club feeling right now in isolation. So here from our friend Florian Meindl and Riemann Kollektion is a big boost – and a master class in techno craft.

Honestly, I’ve said this to folks before, but I’ll say it again – it really says something to me about Riemann and Florian that these demo songs bang harder than most released music. It’s almost worth just browsing this 1.4GB collection of 24-bit sounds just to understand a bit about how his heard works. (I’ve been browsing through.)

So, for 48 hours, just for CDM, Florian has swapped over the price of one of his best sound packs – Best of Riemann 2019 Techno (24bit WAV – Loops & Oneshots). (Ah, I remember 2019 … so … fondly now …)

There’s now really no reason not to get started. Ableton has a free 90-day trial of Live Suite, just announced, which even includes Max for Live. (It’s normally 30 days.)


Then you can read the free guides I wrote for Riemann Kollektion to get going:

Tutorial: Unlock hidden sound tricks in Ableton Live 10’s effects

Tutorial: Super Fast Arrangement in Ableton Live 10

Max for Live: the techno producers’ guide

Plus if you have some hardware – even some stompboxes will do – you should also check out Florian’s approach to analog effect chains in that tutorial.

Then stock up on the samples with the free Best of Riemann pack. And sorted.

For some more inspiration, here’s a bit of how Florian works live – very hardware focused, but something you could apply to other setups, as well, in terms of raw musicianship and sound:

The post Exclusive: a gig and a half of finely-crafted Riemann techno sounds, free for 48 hours appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Endlesss is a musical jam app; Imogen Heap, KiNK, Matt Black, more join a stream today

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Tue 31 Mar 2020 9:51 am

If you’re bored of just video chatting with Zoom, Houseparty, and the like, Endlesss might be the musical switch-up you need. And some big personalities are joining in a day long stream today to give you a taste of what it’s about.

First, Endlesss – it’s an iOS-only (for now) collaborative music creation app. The idea is, you get started right away building loops, using built-in instruments, playable pads, and add-on effects. That makes it accessible to first-timers – so it could be ideal for introducing your friends and family to some music jamming now, especially as an antidote to grainy underlit camera footage of all of us in sweatpants.

Plus, hey, slick visuals, for things like this:

Some apps might just dead-end there. But if you are a musician, you can push Endlesss further. There’s an all-critical microphone input, meaning skilled vocalists and rappers and beatboxers can blow this thing away. Instrument and effects packs go fairly deep. And for musicians, you can connect via Ableton Link, export materials (even as stems, at last), and choose custom key, scale, tempo, time signature and quantization.

Yeah, it’s almost like this thing was made by real musicians. And, of course, it was – Tim Exile has led the Endlesss team; he’s known to us as the ultra-virtuoso mega-geek behind Reaktor tools such as The Mouth and Flesh. And that sensibility is here, too – build on looping facilities to let your musical fancies take flight.

So it’s fitting that some key personalities are joining the stream today.

Imogen Heap is of course another defining artist in modern looping-vocal technique.

KiNK has proven that virtuoso live performance has a place on dancefloors, too, even in the age of linear CDJ mixing.

Matt Black and his act Coldcut built some of the software and performances that showed what audiovisual sampling cut-up culture could be.

And there’s more. Flux Pavilion is a major name in EDM at that meeting point between mainstage and producer, singer-songwriter and electronic production. Dan Le Sac is another legendary UK name (and also crossing into game production). And from our Internet music tech world, Gaz Williams of Sonic State is there both as a presence from journalism and synth and bass musicianship – hi, Gaz!

Twitch.tv, while first established for gaming, has of late become a refuge for musicians. Higher-quality streams, better community features that actually work properly, and proper monetization that might not drive artists further into the poor house all set it apart from the major US tech oligopoly providers. (You know who you are.) So this feed is appropriately launching on the channel by touring app Bandsintown with Twitch, just as artists look for ways to keep some trickle of funds and activity coming in during global lockdown.


Tune in today Tuesday daytime UK time. (I’m inquiring about replays for the USA, which will be slowly waking up toward the end of the programming.) If you’re personally puzzling on how to stream while dealing with competing platforms, they’re using the most popular tool for that, restream.io.

And if you’ve got an iOS gadget (iPad and iPod touch work, too), head to:

Endlesss – Multiplayer Music

The app is free, with in-app purchases of additional content.


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Fantastic Voyages, a simulated Tascam Portastudio, and a voice from isolation

Delivered... David Abravanel | Scene | Mon 30 Mar 2020 7:36 pm

From his machines’ novel ideas like neural network distortion to AV installation made from DNA, Giorgio Sancristoforo is a defiant, powerful musical voice – coming to us from deep in pandemic quarantine.

David Abravanel reports for CDM.

“At the end we will make it,” says Giorgio Sancristoforo. “Though I honestly don’t know what to expect in the aftermath.”

It’s an anxious and trying time for the entire world, dealing with the fallout of an unprecedented pandemic. The world’s hardest-hit region remains Lombardy, the northern province of Italy that contains industrial and fashion capital Milan, where musician, software developer, and visual artist Giorgio Sancristoforo lives.

Giorgio is perhaps best known for Gleetchlab, his music software environment designed for making experimental electro-acoustic music. Currently in its fifth incarnation as Gleetchlab X, it includes such unusual features as effects that use neural network modeling for distortion, replicate skips from scratched CDs (instant Oval!) or magnetic data corruption of a hard disk.

Improvisation in Gleetchlab X.

Giorgio’s music and audio-visual art are as eclectic as his software – whether it’s disco house as Tobor Experiment, or, lately, working with radiation and his own DNA sequence as sound sources and controllers.

Shortly before the pandemic hit, Giorgio emerged from a period of relative silence on the software release front with GleetchDrone, a gorgeous synth that showed off his new GUI design – skeuomorphic, yet remarkably clean and very friendly. Now comes Fantastic Voyage, a “Portable Cosmic Studio” inspired by the Tascam Portastudio, and featuring many of Giorgio’s own decidedly experimental ideas. 

I caught up with Giorgio to get a glimpse of his life – the new software, his latest music and audiovisual projects, and living through the pandemic.

“Radiation Grooves”, an improvisation from Giorgio with sonified gamma radiation.

David: You took a break from releasing software, then came back to release GleetchDrone. You’ve been working with DNA, including your own sequence – how did that happen?

Giorgio: I code software for my work almost every day. The software for sale to the public is just the tip of the iceberg. 

I’ve worked the whole year to get my DNA sequenced and to craft a “radiation projector” to use radioactive materials in an installation. I designed several algorithms to translate my genetic code into sound with quaternary mathematics. I call this system “Phonosomic Code”.

Once I get the sound out of my DNA, I use radioactive elements such as Sr90 to stimulate a mutation of the code. This research was possible thanks to the precious help of the scientists of the JRC Nuclear Security Unit, the JRC Biochemistry and Genomics Unit, and the JRC Knowledge for Health & Consumer Safety Unit. The installation was the first phase of this research. 

I am working at 360°with genomics and radioactive materials to produce sounds, images, photos and meta-sculptures and of course software.

The quarantine put many events on hold that I should have attended in Spring 2020, so I thought that I could take a little break and code a couple of new instruments for the people who are stuck at home like me.


GleetchDrone is an impressive interface – were you inspired by any existing hardware?

Well yes. Soma Lyra-8 was the inspiration for GleetchDrone, in addition to some memories of my days with ADDAC modules. (I don’t have hardware synths anymore). 

You know, many times it starts just as challenge between me and me. If I want a certain piece of hardware [in software form], I start coding and see what can I do to improve it for my needs.

For Fantastic Voyage, you said you were inspired by working with a Tascam Portastudio. Do you still have one?

No, I don’t have any analog equipment nowadays, except a Teac A3440 1/4”. But it must be repaired [laughs].

The Portastudio was my first recorder in the early 90s, I literally learned to play music thanks to that recorder. At that time I was into the psychedelic/indie scene (Spacemen3, Stereolab, Inspiral Carpets, etc.) and I learned to play guitar, bass, organ and synths to record songs on that machine. Fantastic Voyage is my ideal stomp-box/studio for tripping guitars, but people will do amazing things with it using any kind of instrument. It’s my tribute to psychedelia.

Fantastic Voyage.

GleetchDrone and Fantastic Voyage were released within weeks of each other. Is there more software that you’re working on? Is this a new series?

I’ll tell you the truth: this very much depends on the length of the quarantine. I’ve been working on my personal software for the DNA work for months and I want to finish this as soon as possible, but I don’t rule out making new public releases in the coming weeks. There is much time nowadays.

An audio-visual installation based on Giorgio’s DNA sequence.

Another of your programs, Berna, replicates a 1950s-style early electronic music studio. Are there any pieces from that era which remind you of what’s possible with Berna?

Berna is 90% a clone of the RAI Studio di Fonologia in Milan, so many musical pieces crafted in that studio could be theoretically re-recorded with Berna. But, keep in mind that a significant part of the job was tape splicing, the machines often played a secondary role in the early days of electronic music. The biggest part was the manual job on tape with scissors and scotch tape.

A classic piece that one could do on Berna is “Scambi” by Henri Pousseur. 

Henri Pousseur – “Scambi”.

Of course, if you are crazy enough, you could record Stockhausen’s “Studie II” (adding a lot of work in a DAW to edit the tape fragments), which was originally made at WDR studio in Cologne in 1954.

In the manual for Fantastic Voyage, you mention that it was developed during lockdown isolation in Italy. Obviously, it’s been a very difficult time for Italy with COVID-19. How have you been doing in isolation? What do you think about the role of artists and developers during this period?

I live in downtown Milan, and my region, Lombardy, has been hit very hard by the virus. We still don’t see the light out here.

As an artist and hardcore nerd my life has not changed dramatically. My loft is my atelier. I have more time to concentrate and fewer distractions, so I am very productive despite the situation. Of course I miss my friends, my bookstores trips, and sushi on the river.  Each time I go to the supermarket I feel a little bit like I’m attending a Russian Roulette party. 

Giorgio, in isolation in Milan.

The most frightening thing for me is the surreal silence broken by sounds of ambulances the whole day. One night we had an army helicopter flying over our heads shining light beacons; it was patrolling downtown, and I tell you, it was not a pleasing experience. I’ve never seen that before. It felt very dramatic, but at the end we will make it.

Though I honestly don’t know what to expect in the aftermath.

It could be a chance to change our society. I hope that this virus will make us better persons. 

But I also see many irrational responses to the crisis. A lot of ideological polarization driven by fear and denial of science, plus a good deal of confusion among politicians and journalists which is now showing how many of them are unfit for the job. The virus is a test for us all. For sure this is an historical event of unprecedented size. We’ll see what the future will bring.

Artists and developers are doing a great job. Artist are hit very hard by the virus with the cancellation of exhibitions, concerts etc. The whole art industry will suffer income losses for millions of euros. Yet the artistic community is doing a great job to make the people who are stuck at home feel a little better, with streaming of music, events, lessons. I am truly amazed by this tenacious response. It is also true that creative people are lucky. They can invest this quarantine time to serve the community and at the same time they have the intellectual means to cope with a long forced lockdown.

My artistic work is about mutation and transformation. Transformation is the very essence of life.

Changes are never easy and seldom painless. We are facing a huge transformation, It’s up to all of us, to turn this tragedy into a change for the better.

War, social injustice, poverty, famine, climate change, are all out there. 

The virus is a tough teacher, we must learn from it. Climate change will be a much powerful enemy, we must be prepared for a bigger war.

The virus shows us how anachronistic and useless are the idea of nations. We are one single planet.

This war will not be fought with weapons, but with compassion, care, solidarity and a radical shift in our priorities.

Stay safe.

Play loud.



Trial/purchase Giorgio’s software – including Gleetchlab X, GleetchDrone, and Fantastic Voyage

Giorgio Sancristoforo on Vimeo

Giorgio Sancristoforo on Bandcamp

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Did Apple just leak a new version of Logic with Ableton-style clip launching?

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Sun 29 Mar 2020 8:47 pm

Apple appears to have accidentally leaked an upcoming version of Logic Pro with the signature feature of Ableton Live – nonlinear pattern launching.

While spotted on Reddit, the source of this leak at the famously secretive company appears to be … Apple itself. As I write this, the screenshot is still live on a public education site:


If this is real – and not a mock-up that accidentally wound up on the page – it represents a landmark. That landmark might best be described as “what took you so long,” arguably, given that Apple Loops have been a feature of Logic Pro and GarageBand back to the reveal of GarageBand in January 2004. (Time flies!)

We can pretty easily analyze the screenshot. At the top, new icons appear to let you view a nonlinear Session View-style layout, the normal track arrangement, or both. (In this screen shot, the two are side-by-side.)

Navigation icons.

As with other copies of Live’s signature Session View, the horizontal and vertical axes are flipped. So whereas Live shows you tracks the way channel strips appear on a hardware mixer, vertically, Apple opt for a view more like a software DAW. Tracks are laid out horizontally, so that they match up with the arrangement.

The grid. Note the circular displays with waveforms – something seen in iPad apps, for instance – though essentially the opposite of Ableton’s embrace of minimalism.
Remix FX – here made to look very Ableton-esque. (These were in GarageBand; I can’t recall exact versions and the relation to Logic… anyone?)

Really, my issue with this is that you wind up with kind of a jumble of interface elements. That’s been the challenge in other DAWs trying to do the same. (An ill-fated effort in Cakewalk nee SONAR springs to mind; MOTU has tried the same in DP, but it’s a bit too soon to know yet how DP users are responding.)

Part of the appeal of Ableton Live is that the entire engine and software operation are structured around the idea, and the UI is clean and compact as a result. Here, part of the reason people may have responded that the image was fake was that it gives the user a lot to digest.

You’ll also see X/Y-pad effects at the bottom, including a filter and repeater – aping something that was in Ableton Live way back at the start.

I’m not sure how users will receive this. It could represent a blow to Ableton in the crucial education market, however, regardless – because it might allow education buyers to standardize on just Logic seats. But it represents a challenge independent software developers face, up against a company the size of Apple, when it comes to value.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t assume anything until there’s official word from Apple. Given this absolutely represents some kind of screw-up, it’s possible the screenshot itself is not representative of something Apple will actually ship.

And I wouldn’t worry too much about Ableton – the company has proven time and again that users are loyal to its workflow and simplicity, whatever the competition. Those of us sometimes swapping between Logic and Live might meanwhile just find this a welcome convenience. Time will tell.

Mainly I’m just sorry for whoever is working at home who may have, erm, just let this out.

The post Did Apple just leak a new version of Logic with Ableton-style clip launching? appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Arturia, Logic, Final Cut, Reaper, and more offer these free tools while you stay at home

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Fri 27 Mar 2020 10:19 pm

Apple Logic Pro, Reaper, and other free and inexpensive tools mean there’s no reason to stare at the walls in self=isolation. Even if your budget is hurting, you can make some music. Here’s an overview.

Plus, bonus – because all these are free for the next 90s days, they’re perfect for collaborating with friends, since you can make sure you’re running the same software. And even if you don’t collaborate in real-time (yeah, I get nervous when people watch me stream messing around with knobs), this is a way for us to feel a little less like we’re on our own.

Play with Pigments, learn tools, get an iPad drum machine app free, thanks to Arturia.

Arturia have a complete stay-home guide: The Pigments software synth is free through July 3, iSpark drum machine is free on the iPad, plus just as importantly, you can catch a whole series devoted to learning tools, improving skills, checking out livestreams and Q&A, and even sharing your work. It looks like it makes loads of sense – Arturia’s folks are also stuck at home, so we all get to interact:


Even if you use another DAW, Logic might be worth playing with for its wonderful toys – and once you get tired of only live streaming, Final Cut lets you, like, also edit video.

Apple have made a full 90-day license for both Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X, so you can get to work editing video and making music. (Hey, you could probably spend 90 days just playing around with the Sculpture and Alchemy synths alone!)



I recommend you adjust the viewing angle of your monitor. This is seriously not ergonomic. But REAPER is seriously awesome.

REAPER is a great low-cost DAW to begin with and allows free evaluation, but they’ve even created a temporary free license you can use through the 1st of July. Download Reaper if you don’t have it already, then install the license file by copy-pasting text. So they’re even more generous than normally, and their DAW runs on 32-bit and 64-bit macOS and Windows, plus macOS Catalina – just about any machine old or new works. (There’s even an experimental Linux build, or try running in WINE.)

Novation goodies: This actually a normal deal, not pandemic related, but Novation hardware owners can get a free plug-in emulating the rare Sound Master SR-88 analog drum machine, among other goodies. If you missed signing up/registering, and you own some Novation gear, head to – https://novationmusic.com/en/sound-collective

Tracktion Waveform Free is the always-free version of this DAW, which runs on Mac, Windows, Linux (tested on Ubuntu), and even Raspberry Pi . Even the free version has unlimited track count and a simple drum sampler and 4-oscillator subtractive synth. That makes it another ideal choice for collaboration – and you can always bounce down your particular set of plug-ins or output from other software, then use Waveform Free to work on the mix.

Cherry Audio are giving away their starter kit Voltage Nucleus so you can try out modular synthesis for free – with a very capable set of modules already. Get patching and take your mind off the news:


Also, this is just free. It’s not like, free because of pandemic, it’s just part of the usual free goodies we always get because we’re blessed to be using music software, apparently! But Filterstep looks like a really cool sequenced filter effect for iOS, macOS, and Windows, with a gorgeous interface. Please go use it. I’m afraid to add another filtered effect to my own setup. I rely on you. Thanks to Synthtopia for catching this one.


Native Instruments came out with their free Analog Dreams instrument, which despite the vaporwave graphic actually covers the full range of analog synth sounds. They’re not new, but while you’re on NI’s site, check out the free Mikro Prism, superb Blocks Base modular synth. and other free stuff.

Analog Dreams

Hainbach has taken his gorgeous aesthetics with tape and analog equipment and made a free sample pack dubbed Isolation Loops. I hear people are already making music with them, so one lovely side effect of this project is people sharing music and not being isolated.

Plus some deals!

Humble Bundle may be best known for gaming and other bundles, but they have a unique Music Producer bundle now. There’s some great Applied Acoustics Software (AAS) starting at just one $USD/EUR. But the really important story here is that they’re supporting Musicians On Call, an organization that sends live and recorded music to people in hospitals. And even if you don’t support this software, I recommend checking out that organization.

Humble Software Bundle: Music Producer

Air Music Tech Ignite is US$9.99 (normally 70 bucks) with a whole bunch of instruments and simple recording facility. There are tons of options here that make this ideal for keyboardists and songwriters, or beginners looking to get some ideas going. And you can use it as a sketchpad for other software – so even if this seems basic for you, it might be a place to start songs before you get lost in more advanced environments like Pro Tools.

Got Ableton Live and ready to finally learn how to use it? Well even with Ableton Loop canceled in Berlin next month, you can get a full 4-week course for free from Berklee on Live Fundamentals. It comes from Erin Barra and Loudon Stearns as instructors, so we’re talking some excellent fundamentals.

Take Your Free Ableton Live Fundamentals Course

Visualists, I’ve got more for you coming shortly.

I’m sure there’s more I’ve missed here; if you’ve got something to share, let us know. I expect we’ll have some great music at the end of all this.

I know you don’t need reminders to stay home and stay safe at this point. So let me remind you instead that your music matters, there’s never too much music, and whether it’s good enough or not is never the question to ask. We all need that reminder now and then. But it’s good to know that even if we’re having some solitary time with music, other people are out there working, too. Look forward to chatting and hearing what you’re making.

The post Arturia, Logic, Final Cut, Reaper, and more offer these free tools while you stay at home appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Add these Max for Live devices for inspiration in Ableton Live – or learn to make your own

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 25 Mar 2020 6:43 pm

A surprising number of Ableton Live users haven’t discovered the power of Max for Live inside. Here’s how to get started – but, oh, you’ve seen it all before? Okay, smarty-pants, learn how to make your own devices, too.

Beginners and those needing some fresh ideas…

Anxious times can be a big barrier to inspiration. And that’s why this guide is useful now. Max for Live add-ons can be particularly useful not just for solving problems, but pushing you in a different direction or getting you back in a state of play. That’s been useful even for me – I was feeling stuck, and wound up finding some new tools that got me going again, just while writing this.

As long as you’ve got a copy of Ableton Live Suite, Max for Live is waiting for you. If not, it’s also a pretty major reason to upgrade.

I’m thrilled to again partner with Riemann Kollection to make a complete guide:

Read up, get started.

Max for Live: the techno producers’ guide

It starts at the beginning; no previous knowledge – what Max for Live is, how to use it, and how to get started with a lot of useful devices in a host of different categories.

Max for Live has an impassioned following, but I suspect a lot of users of Live are afraid to go there. Here’s the thing: you really don’t need to know how to use Max. The fact that Ableton baked in one the most mature and most powerful toolkits for making music production and live visual inventions means you can use the tools everybody else is making.

As it happens, ELPHNT also produced a two-part list of their favorite devices on maxforlive.com. I purposely ignored this list, and still imagined we would overlap. Speaking to the depth of the M4L world, not one device is on both lists. (I even plugged ELPHNT on my list, but it’s not in the Ableton.com story!) Read: [ Part 1 | Part 2 ]

… and those ready to make your own stuff

Okay, maybe you are curious to dig into Max and Max for Live and try customizing devices or creating your own from scratch? And, uh, maybe for some reason you find you have a bit of time on your hands? Well, you’re in luck.

Ableton has an official page with resources. Pay particular note to this line – “Access the Max for Live built-in lessons by clicking on the Help menu–>Help View.” That’s really where you most likely want to begin.

Max for Live tutorials and learning resources [Ableton]

Probably the best comprehensive resource is this Kadenze course from the imimitable expert Matt Wright; it’s a full course equivalent to serious college instruction, and it’s free:

Programming Max: Structuring Interactive Software for Digital Arts

But for a single video intro, try this:

or this –

or this –

More recently, Cycling ’74 also shared best practices in making devices, which would be useful if, uh, you want to share with others. (I mean, for yourself, be as horrible as you like!)

Multichannel audio is what is really useful in the most recent major upgrade:

Finally, because of the current crisis, you can shadow a college course in Max here. I once taught this course for CUNY. I would not be able to do it now – Max has changed radically since I did it, and I have forgotten a bunch – so I’ll be checking it out! There are some sharp tips in there. (and if you know Max a bit, crank up the speed and pretend you’re Data from Star Trek as you go rapid-fire through the parts you know.)


Well, this is about play. So as I said, it’s totally valid to just grab a fun device or two and … try something.

So I still recommend my guide – as a break from dev work, or if you realize your brain is more tired than you thought and you got over-ambitious (never happens to me – I’m lying):


See the complete Riemann techno producer knowledge hub for lots of advice.

Images courtesy Ableton.

The post Add these Max for Live devices for inspiration in Ableton Live – or learn to make your own appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Blistering driving acid and searing glitches in Vee – Litha music video (CDM premieres)

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Tue 24 Mar 2020 12:37 pm

It’s a feverish, pounding acid nightmare – in a kathartic way. Get knocked back in your chair for Vee’s “Litha” on Failed Units, as we meet the artists.

“Litha” is the latest release from the aggressive, underground up-and-comer label Failed Units, a collaboration between musician Vee and visual artist ZOR.

This is perhaps even unintentionally on-zeitgeist; the music video combines moshed-to-death, AI-mangled hyperactive disintegrating visuals with relentless acid madness. It’s a digitally dying flow of imagery with echoes of a 2020 update to Emergency Broadcast Network. (see below to see what I’m talking about)

Watch. Crank up the volume. Obviously.

ZOR, short for Zion of Rudeness, sends along a statement and some idea of how this video came together. ZOR shares with us:

STATEMENT. Destroyed by overstimulation. The over-stimulation of the media propaganda machine. The system of enslavement in which we all play our part. The mainstream masses are kept going by torrents of fear and see-through fake happiness, like lab rats in an experiment.

PROCESS. In order to represent the everyday sensory overload, a rough cut was created for the first level, matching the music of Vee. This first level was then gradually cut or additional cut-outs and animated 3D objects were added so that the story played out on many different image levels at the same time.

The various levels were partially processed using data-moshing. I also worked with pixel sorting and other digital glitch processes. In one setting, the Google DeepDream AI [background] was used, for example, and alienated in the further process. After the files were destroyed, they were digitally cut out again and inserted into the overall picture. Finally, I digitally destroyed the work in several rounds in order to regain a certain consistency.

ZOR’s artist page: https://www.facebook.com/ZionOfRudeness/

And the release, from September – the label is centered between Manchester and Berlin, with the secretive Vee coming out of Manchester.

☨: This one’s come out wrong too
Ϟ: FUCK! This is not looking good…
☨: Who knows about all of this?
Ϟ: The directors will be expecting our report.

Ϟ: But what is going on?
☨: I don’t know. We’ve been following the protocol. I’ve run through the data again, there’s been no deviation…
Ϟ: … My head hurts.

☨: So what do we do now?
Ϟ: Put it with the other one.

Ϟ: We can’t let any of this filter out. I hope you understand?
☨: All clear. What do we tell them?


Failed Units makes these releases in a sort of sequential narrative, if you want to follow along.

We too often watch new media without any sense of history. Just as appropriate for the pandemic information meltdown is Emergency Broadcast Network’s “Channel Zero.” This early 90s group out of Providence, Rhode Island looks pioneering in its deconstruction of propaganda through audiovisual mayhem. And yeah, it seems the time is right for just this kind of resonance across the decades – EBN to Vee.

Of course, now we have AI and streaming alongside satellite dishes and television. Well, and no more channels.



Oh yeah, we actually have to do that now. Hey, as they say, there’s nothing wrong with that.

On that note, here’s the video ZOR produced last year for the ear-catching Duane Reade outing that debuted the label:

Failed Units lives exclusively on Bandcamp – and yes, should continue purchasing downloads there if you have the money; it still makes a big difference for artists and labels even minus Bandcamp’s own (minor) take:


Addedum, if it’s more glitch-y eye candy you’re after, the USA-based label Detroit Underground has a full channel crammed with nonstop music and visuals, running right in-browser, much of it also in a similar aesthetic musical and optical vein:


The post Blistering driving acid and searing glitches in Vee – Litha music video (CDM premieres) appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Gorgeous ambient and adventurous sounds fill 9128 with A Strangely Isolated Place

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Sat 21 Mar 2020 8:50 pm

Tune in, bliss out, and keep the stream running – and play it with the only live video stream you need, live jellyfish.


“A Strangely Isolated Place” may seem a reference to our present moment, but lovers of electronic music will know this exceptionally tasteful label out of Los Angeles. It’s a perfect example of rich and wonderful Bandcamp pages to get lost in, full of releases from James Bernard to Christian Kleine to 36 and so many more:


It’s running now, through 9pm Sunday (that’s 4am Monday GMT).

Tons of gems are on the schedule, including exclusives (like Benoît Pioulard), live sets (including our friend Proem, whose practice session I heard last night and already sounded terrific), and album premieres from Quiet Places and William Selman (of The Mysteries Of The Deep fame).

You can give money to charity (SNAP who provide Food Stamps and Meals on Wheels, who work with the elderly, both in the USA). You can buy the music, you can (ideally, if you have the cash) do both:


Oh yeah, and about those jellyfish – they really do make a perfect visual complement to the music. I wish I had a big beamer, but I can get real close to the screen (mute the sound, obviously).

Thanks to Noncompliant for the tip…

And lots of love to https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/

The post Gorgeous ambient and adventurous sounds fill 9128 with A Strangely Isolated Place appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

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