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


Erica Synths made a modular techno system called Techno System

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Fri 4 May 2018 12:52 pm

What if you had all the modules you need to make techno and industrial in one rack? Meet Erica’s line of drum and synth modules. They seem to know their market.

Now, it’s meaningful this is coming from Erica. The Latvian-based company with some ex-Soviet Polivoks lineage has a knack for making simply mental boxes that bring that grimy, dirty industrial sound straight out of the actual post-Communist industrial landscape of Riga. If I had to sum up that user experience, it’d run something like this: turn knob, machine screams.

But that’s saying something. Making wild sounds intuitive is a feat. And Erica have earned their reputation by putting those sounds into boxes that are reliable, easy to understand, and deliver a punch without hitting the high end of the cost spectrum.

Running down these modules, you just have to keep nodding – yes, that’s what I want out of this module, and yes, that’s the sensible way to lay out these controls. I can’t really judge sound quality at a trade show, but the sound was good enough that it actually blew me away over the din of Superbooth, out of some small monitors – and that’s saying a lot. We’ll get to check out Erica’s crew at a club tonight here in Berlin, and this is one I think we’ll need to give a full review.

(Bonus: they’re also coming with the effects collaboration they built with Ninja Tune. I’m keen to see that, as well.)

I also think it’s totally reasonable to build systems around musical applications like techno. Plenty of modular instruments have morphed into particular configurations to make them musically accessible. And then since this is still patchable, you don’t have to make this sound like techno you’ve heard before – you can push that flexible sequencer and patch things together to bend something into your own genre and voice. Or, this being modular, you also have now a big line of components that could fill gaps in whatever setup you choose.

Here’s a look at those modules.

Drum

Sample slicing and triggering, WAV file (even imports CUE points), with assignable CV inputs. Actually, there’s nothing to say this has to be a drum module – it’s also a general-purpose sample slicer/module.

microSD for loading sounds.

Dual drive

Well, here’s your distortion. Three dedicated modes for each side, cascaded in series for extreme distortion. This is really the heart and soul of the Erica Techno System sound, and even if you didn’t get the rest of the line here, this one could be a must.

Dual FX

Built on the Spin FV-1 chip – a custom reverb platform – the dual FX has a set of custom mono and stereo effects from Erica’s in-house musician-madman KODEK.

Bassline

It’s all about the bass – and here, those basslines will be more than a little acidic. Erica’s Acidbox proved how crazy their filters can be. It apparently inspired the filter here – so expect really aggressive, terror-inducing acid.

Specs:

Full analogue circuit
Accent
Suboscillator
BBD-based VCO detune emulation
Built in VCF and VCA decay envelope
LP/BP VCF
External VCO FM and VCF cutoff CV inputs

Of course, what keeps this compact is, the sequencing all falls to the dedicated sequencer unit (or a sequencer module of your choice – Superbooth has had a lot of them).

Toms

Toms can easily be a throwaway, but here there was a lot of attention to detail. Toms has dedicated controls for low, mid, and high, and promises 909-inspired tom sounds. Erica says they built this in collaboration with e-licktronic – that’s the boutique/DIY maker who’s perhaps best known for their Roland clones and custom kits.

Hats

Erica are actually introducing three different hat/cymbal models. There’s an analog module (“A”) with accent and individual CV controls of everything, also made with e-licktronic. There’s a digital sample-based “D.” And there are sample-based cymbals (“Cymbals”).

Mixers

It’s easy to overlook this one. But when you’re actually in the heat of the moment playing live, you need that ability to just reach over, twist a knob, and add in a particular part.

And the Drum Mixer looks just about perfect. It boasts vactrol-based compression to keep everything properly loud and intense without losing clarity, plus a stupidly easy setup for controlling compression and the various parts, with seven inputs and both main and aux outs.

Erica also plan a more compact 6-input “Lite” version of the same, and a 4-channel Stereo Mixer.

Oh yeah, and if you’re not into the black craze, they plan to release everything again in white.

Lastly, the sequencing here comes from the Erica Drum Sequencer. Announced in January, it debuted in March – but now it has some modules to sequence:

Features of that are numerous:
12x Accent outputs

1x CV/GATE track
2xLFO with independent or synced to the BPM frequency
Time signature per track
Pattern length per track
Shuffle per track
Probability per step
Retrigger per step
Instant pattern switching
Solo/Mute tracks
Step/Tap record modes
16 Banks of 16 Patterns
Instant pattern switching
Pattern linking
Midi sync in with start/stop
Track mode
Firmware upgrade via MIDI SySex

More:
http://www.ericasynths.lv/en/home/

The post Erica Synths made a modular techno system called Techno System appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Sound Creates Reality: Sonic Fiction

Delivered... Adam Harper | Scene | Sat 7 Apr 2018 6:00 am

Music is not escapism. It is a machine that creates reality. This was the core of Kodwo Eshun's masterful book More Brilliant than the Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction. For musicologist Adam Harper, the concept of Sonic Fiction challenges the oppressive prison called reality.

Landscape of Science Fiction (Moon and clouds) (Photo © by Luc Viatour / https://Lucnix.be, 2008)

Sound is fact, music is fiction. Or rather, sound as it exists as an acoustic phenomenon or an electric signal has an empirical reality; sound recordings have a documentary quality akin to photography. Music, conversely, involves manipulation in the generation and arrangement of sounds for the purposes of contrivance, performance, fantasy, fictions — alternative realities. These alternative realities may in turn become new empirical realities. As such, music is (to paraphrase Picasso) the lie that tells the truth.
 
Music’s role as a reality engineering machine is at the core of Kodwo Eshun’s masterful 1998 book on futurist popular musics such as funk, dub, hip hop and techno, More Brilliant than the Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction, which will be republished this year by Verso Books with a new introduction by dubstep pioneer Steve Goodman aka Kode9. Note the subtitle. In fact, the introduction is entitled «Operating system for the redesign of sonic reality». Eshun treats music as a form of science fiction, one that we experience in uniquely embodied ways, but one directly comparable with the aims and effects of the genre in literature.
 
Indeed, music has been discussed and presented in fictionalised narrative contexts since at least the Ancient Greeks, as part of the dialogue form of philosophising, practiced until the early Baroque era by music critics such as Artusi. Storytelling and song were for centuries much less separated forms than they are today. But since Romanticism’s fascination with fantastical worlds, music and the modern understanding of fiction have been closely intertwined, even in purely instrumental music. Symphonic music became illustrative and took on narratives. Music frequently played a special role in early fantasy, gothic and science fiction stories. E. T. A. Hoffman’s fictional composer Johannes Kreisler and his compositions appeared in many of his texts. In 1921 H. P. Lovecraft wrote «The Music of Erich Zann», about a viol-player who keeps interdimensional horrors at bay with surreal melodies. Music frequently appears in science fiction as an emblem of wider social and technological changes, such as in the 1996 film Gattaca, about a future of genetically engineered, exclusive elites, which featured a performance of a piece playable only by pianists with twelve fingers.

«The Music of Erich Zann» Illustration by Andrew Brosnatch, drawn for the reprint of the story in the May 1925 issue of Weird Tales (Photo © by Robert Weinberg’s online collection of fantasy and science-fiction art)


 
Musicians have long fictionalised themselves (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Ziggy Stardust are two of the most famous examples), but usually the line between fiction and reality is somewhat blurred. But this is one of music’s functions as a form of engineering of the self and the world and the relation between the two. Elysia Crampton once told me in an interview that her music engages with the «monstrosity of the embodied dream of an erased family, a lost history that I re-build, scraping utopias, a minimal place of freedom. Crampton does this inventively, to beguiling degrees of consciousness, but it is something that all music does, whether made or listened to.
 

Eshun understands such a process in his reflections upon Cybotron’s early techno track «Techno City» in «More Brilliant Than the Sun»’s reflections upon Cybotron’s early techno track «Techno City»:

«Techno City»… is Sonic Fiction: electronic fiction, with frequencies fictionalized, synthesized and organized into escape routes. Sonic Fiction replaces lyrics with possibility spaces, with a plan for getting out of jail free. Escapism is organized until it seizes the means of perception and multiplies the modes of sensory reality.
 
«Which is why you should always laugh in the face of those producers, DJs and journalists who sneer at escapism for its unreality, for its fakeness; all those who strain to keep it real. These assumptions wish to clip your wings, to tie your forked tail to a tree, to handcuff you to the rotting remnants of tradition, the inherited stupidities of habit, the dead weight of yourself. Common sense wants to see you behind the bars it calls Real Life».

As Eshun provocatively puts it, «reality» and all its attendant authenticities is an oppressive prison compared with music’s flight of the imagination. When the mind, body and perspective become reordered, a new reality begins to take shape.

Norient is proud to present a new series of cutting-edge concerts and audiovisual performances. In collaboration with the Rewire festival (Den Haag, the Netherlands) and Schauspielhaus Zürich Norient presents exciting acts of today’s pop music on the theater stage in Zurich, Switzerland. In the first edition on April 21, 2018, the experimental sound worlds of Ben Frost will collide with the dark avant-garde pop of Jenny Hval. Events will also be held on May 12 and June 9. More acts to be announced soon.

Read More on the Web

> The Wire: «Kodwo Eshun’s More Brilliant Than The Sun to be republished 20 years after its first release»

Read More on Norient

> Norient: «A New Series Is Born: Sonic Fiction»
> Thomas Burkhalter: «Remixing References»

Get lost in a Dasha Rush ambience, with hypnotic visuals to match

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 22 Mar 2018 7:23 pm

With all that sound out there, you’d better make your musical statement a strong one. And why not add the kinds of visuals we see when we shut our eyes and listen?

This winter, visualist future error went into the archives of Resident Advisor and pulled out an evocative, dreamy ambient mix by Dasha Rush. Known best for her pounding techno, Dasha is also a producer and purveyor of more experimental music, too. And the combination of trippy monochromatic geometries and textures with this mix is reason enough to kick back on the couch with your iPad or TV or projector or whatever and … chill. (You deserve it!)

RA source, with an interview and track listing:
RA.469 Dasha Rush – An ambient odyssey

Alongside the expected Donato Dozzy, Biosphere, Alva Noto, Monolake, Brian Eno (and Dino Sabatini, with whom Dasha often plays) … there are a couple of rare cuts in there, too.

Moscow’s Mendeleev, for one, you might want to check out:
https://www.facebook.com/mendeleevmusic/

And don’t miss Grzegorz Bojanek, whose music I got to know through Dasha – he’s an electroacoustic musician, a Polish netlabel hero, and a staple of how the ambient/experimental scene is evolving in that country (including producing the Warsaw Electronic Festival – yes, it’s not just Unsound Festival in Poland, folks):

Grzegorz Bojanek at Bandcamp

Grzegorz is worth visiting elsewhere on this site, too, so stay tuned.

While we’re digging into the archives, here’s Dasha playing ambient music live (since the RA mix is a DJ set):

Or, for another AV experience, here’s the music video from her collaboration with Lars Hemmerling, “LOSTBAHNHOF,” which hums and taps along into a nicely weird groove:

And, hey, if you’re going to use Facebook, here’s one pleasant way to do it:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/dasha.rush.music/

If this sort of thing is your taste, you’ll like Dasha’s label, as well:

https://fullpandarecords.bandcamp.com/

Thanks as always, Dasha!

And yeah, we have done this once before:

Voyage into Dasha Rush’s inspiring ambient sonic worlds

The post Get lost in a Dasha Rush ambience, with hypnotic visuals to match appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

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

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 1 Mar 2018 8:23 pm

It’s still winter, but some crazy techno heads are dreaming of Detroit. Interdimensional Transmissions documents the soul of the midwest techno scene.

Maybe this film is just what techno needs at this moment. It tells the story of how dirty raves mixed with an obsession with hardware and design, imported from Europe. Or maybe it’s what Detroit needs – as despite its iconic status in the imaginations of electronic music lovers around the world, as well as its real place in history, the city’s parties are also relatively empty most of the year round, in a city that has seen its population dwindle as fortunes went elsewhere to America’s fractions of 1%.

Or maybe it’s just what you need, because – well, if you know the people in this, there’s a good chance you’ve already seen this. If you don’t know them, and you share this kind of manic passion for making parties with machines, then their story might be both new and inspiring.

Anyway, it certainly won me over with this opening:

This is our generation returning to the source,
felling a freedom and a heat within the music that results in speaker fucking.

Then they get talking chakras and lighting colors. (And you thought that kind of talk only happened on the West Coast. Shout out to Amber Gillen!)

And you get the likes of BMG and Erika and Derek Plasaiko and Patrick Russell and Carlos Souffront and Mike Servito, some of our favorite artists, chatting as you’d be chatting to them for … let’s be honest, for weirdos like us, probably longer than 20 minutes if given the chance.

“Insane heads from all over the world” sounds a good template for any event.

We’ve had a whole lot of slick documentaries of scenes, but it’s rare to just get people nicely rambling about the story of their party, in something they produced themselves. And with so much DIY around, I think you really need some inspiration and perspective from people who have made things work.

If the story of the music scene is increasingly told by big brands and big press outlets – even if those can make some beautiful productions – you might lose some of the details of how that works. And that’d be a tragedy, because a generation of producers might think the aim is to break into a scene, rather than create a scene around themselves.

Do that, and ecosystems of any music die – whatever the form or genre of music makes you want to make sweet love to the music.

So thanks to Interdimension Transmissions. Love what you’re doing – and more like this, please.

To bring the experience to your headphones, look no further than this Bunker Podcast from Erika:

This late night set from @Erikadotnet was recorded live at The Bunker on November 4, 2017 during the Brooklyn edition of No Way Back’s 10 Year Anniversary.

And… uh, obligatory. Because if there’s one thing electronic music shouldn’t do at this point, it’s trying to go backwards…

No Way Back come to Tresor maddeningly the night before I play there… uh, guess we all just have to work on our endurance. And Erika has a new live set coming to Finland.

And if you want the full experience, head to Detroit for their 10th anniversary party:

313: Return to the Source

Cover photo: Amy Hubbarth Photography / Interdimensional Transmissions.

The post In a documentary film, a return to Detroit and speaker f***ing appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Bougaïeff & Narciss talk craft, and composing 60-second techno loops

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 19 Feb 2018 8:05 pm

Talk about minimal techno: Nicolas Bougaïeff and Narciss made a selection of 60-second locked grooves. Here’s more on that project and their practice.

If you’re hungry for electronic music that still pushes boundaries and technique, Dr. Nicolas Bougaïeff is a good place to start. (Yes, he’s a real doctor – the Ph.D. is in music composition). And lately, he’s been on a tear. Apart from a fanciful EP for our own Establishment, his recent output has focused on aggressively distorted, dystopian timbres, expertly constructed machines that pound forward like giant robots. He’s gotten deserved attention for that, as well, including the 12″ release of Cognitive Resonance, which relaunched Daniel Miller’s seminal NovaMute label.

There’s no paint-by-number techno here: each rhythm, each sound is considered. (It’s little wonder that Nick is working in offering composition lessons on the side – in a field that has been largely short of expert training.)

Now, you can get a view to that in Principles of Newspeak, his Denkfabrik LP, and take a cinematic journey through these realms.

But I thought we’d take the occasion to explore a unique set of etudes that came at the beginning of this year. It’s called Vocabulary C, and it takes the meticulous construction of techno to an extreme. The whole album is a set of locked grooves, each just one minute in length.

It’s not just a simple DJ “tools” release, though – think of it as tools that are also effective etudes. You can actually listen to each of these as a one-minute, standalone composition. There’s audio material drawn from Principles of Newspeak, but you almost don’t need to know that: these stand on their own. (Miniatures are a topic Nicolas has taken up before, not surprisingly – he’s got a release called 24 Miniatures coming out now, too.)

Nicolas teamed up with Berlin-born artist Narciss for this one – an artist who has literally grown up in the middle of Berlin techno, and has a DJ resume (and more releases upcoming on DRVMS LTD. and Seelen Records) to match.

With the fusion of composition and technology here, of course, we had plenty to talk about with these two.

There are two video documentaries as a starting point. First, there’s a short feature of Principles of Newspeak, visiting Nick in his studio:

From there, there’s a second video in which Nicolas and Narciss talk about the project and their collaboration:

CDM: Nick, from the release for Daniel Miller to your own follow-up on your label to this reusing materials … it feels like you’re making connective tissue now between releases. Is that about your own continuity? Is it about a narrative?

NB: Making a large scale musical work inspired by 1984 has been on my mind for over 20 years. If you dig very, very Once I got started, I owed it to myself to explore every aspect of the topic. I’m happy I found an angle to the novel that hadn’t really been covered by other musicians, so I just kept on going. Vocabulary C gave me a feeling of closure.

And you’ve worked with miniatures before, too, yes?

I’ve done this sort of project before. Back in 2011, I recorded a new sketch every day for nearly the whole year, 20 minutes every day first thing in the morning no thinking allowed. That yielded hundreds of musical fragments. From those I eventually compiled an album by selecting the very best moments, no further whatsoever besides touching the mixdown and trimming the shortest edit possible. It kind of sat on my hard drive for seven years now, which is a nice contrast to how spontaneous the original process was. I feel it really aged well so I’m finally about to release the 24 Miniatures album via Denkfabrik.

All of these projects draw from the well of dystopia and dystopian imagination – what was that inspiration here? (What’s the Orwell connection?)

NB: Vocabulary C is the last release in a thematic series of three records, all of them inspired by the appendix to George Orwell’s 1984. The lead single “Cognitive Resonance” came out as a 12″ on NovaMute; the album Principles of Newspeak came out on my own label Denkfabrik, and finally, Vocabulary C as a collection of locked grooves inspired by the sounds from the album.

The 1984 appendix is focused on the particular way language is distorted in that fictional universe, a mashup of political slogans and the Whorf-Sapir linguistics theory. The idea is that if you destroy words, you destroy the ability to think of that concept. Fortunately, that’s not the way language works in reality. In the book, vocabulary C is a facet of the language that is used strictly to describe technical processes. In parallel, it seemed to me very fitting that a locked groove, historically, is a very technical musical tool.

6. Also to repeat the video a little bit, maybe you can elaborate on those vocabularies? How did you apply them to managing the material here?

NB: Best to directly quote Orwell here.

“The A vocabulary consisted of the words needed for the business of everyday life — for such things as eating, drinking, working, putting on one’s clothes, going up and down stairs, riding in vehicles, gardening, cooking, and the like”

“The B vocabulary consisted of words which had been deliberately constructed for political purposes: words, that is to say, which not only had in every case a political implication, but were intended to impose a desirable mental attitude upon the person using them.”

See, both of those are interesting, but way too literal to be used for instrumental music. But when you get to Vocabulary C, it’s abstract and detached in a way that seemed to really fit with techno.

“The C vocabulary was supplementary to the others and consisted entirely of scientific and technical terms.”

Can you explain what a locked groove is?

NB: A vinyl groove is normally cut in a spiral. A locked groove is a circle, so the needle loops around over and over. You literally have to pick up the needle to choose another loop, you can have lots of different loops on a record. Pioneering techno artists — Jeff Mills, for example — produced and performed with locked groove records, sometimes making it a central part of their process.

Narciss: To me, it’s kind of the most stripped down techno tool in existence. It really is just an endless loop that can, for example, be used to mix two tracks that don’t perfectly mesh together, or to add some spice to your transitions. Instrumentation is pretty interesting, because using the sounds we had, meant, we mainly patched things through different effects.

There’s something a bit cheeky about embracing minimalism in this way, right? This isn’t phases like Steve Reich; it isn’t messing with time like Morton Feldman. You’re into full-on repetition – right into the heart of what many people claim to dislike about techno. What made you go that route? Is there a personal story to this embrace of rigid structure and repetition, intellectual curiosity aside?

NB: There’s a holy grail in techno: that magical moment when the groove is so good that you bliss out and don’t touch the machines anymore. We experience this all the time as music producers working in the studio, and also on the dance floor when everything is just spot. You get the same thing in many improvised musics – searching until you lock in. That’s what I wanted to focus on with this project; I wanted to focus on finding self-standing moments where time stands still.

Timbre is significant here, too, I feel. There’s a real brutality to this, maybe something missing in a lot of drenched-out, effect-pedal, too-much-reverb music trending now. What was the source of those sounds; how did you arrive at them?

Narciss: This can mainly be accredited to the extremely raw-sounding base material that we were working with. Both of the albums that Nicolas made have a very violent, heavy structure to them, so naturally working with sounds from them, you would get something like that out too, although even on the loops where we didn’t use any of that material, it was a pretty natural adaption to what we made before, I guess.

NB: The sound palette was more of a consequence of where I had been with my other projects rather than a conscious conceptual choice. We used a a bunch of Narciss’ favorite drum loops as well as a big chunk of my personal sound library from the past couple years, that was all industrial and electroacoustic sounds derived from electric cello, modular synth and loads of distortion pedals. Looking back, I can now better appreciate the tension between the timeless locked groove format and the sounds that grab your attention.

I want to ask about the element of setting the timer. In order to be that immediate, did you find that there was practice necessary first – on your own, as a duo?

Narciss: I didn’t really see it as practice, we pretty much sat down and recorded everything from the first loop to the last. Obviously, quality improved – generally towards the end of the process, we hit it home more times than in the beginning. But I think a little less than half of the record was made during our first day.

NB: I’ve been an improvising musician for over 15 years – working fast feels very comfortable. Also, quantity was a very important part of this project. Our goal was to make 100 locked grooves, and then we would select the best 20 or 30. Many of them were really bad, silly or just boring, but that didn’t matter, because five minutes later, we had an opportunity to begin again.

Actually, I’m kind of interested now that this has been out in the world for a while … uh, not just to rationalize turning in these questions late. What’s happened in the interim; what has the response been?

NB: I’ve been notified from Bandcamp about who downloads the records. I’ve had some interesting surprises there!

Functionally speaking, how do you expect these tracks to live? Are people DJing with them – are you? How do they work as tools – are they intended as tools? Would these encourage people perhaps even to DJ in a different way

Narciss: I’m certainly playing them out live, yes. Not all of them, of course — “Loop C-02” is a particular favorite. Some are definitely meant more as an exploration of the medium than as an actual “locked groove” in its regular function. I think it does force people who only blend two tracks at a time to play differently, though, yeah – because in that environment, a locked groove doesn’t make much sense. But if you play with three decks or more, then I think the more dancefloor-oriented grooves won’t challenge you that much.

NB: Of course they’re tools! They’re radically minimal not only in their form, but also in their sparseness. I’m always trying to figure out what is the least amount of instruments necessary to get a really banging sound. Now whether they’re played on their own or deep in the mix, that really depends on the musical context.

Does that change the meaning, if they are blended with other tracks?

NB: No, they don’t need to be played as stark naked loops on their own, unprocessed. As a central element, my challenge to DJs would be to try to figure out how long you can keep them going on with the least amount of transformation and mixing.

Narciss: It’s an interesting thought, to be sure. But since this project was more of an exploration of this “Locked Groove” concept, I think that if people play them out, it doesn’t as much change the meaning,as hammer home the functionality of it, even if you get analytical and deconstructive with it.

I know you’ve worked together before. This got you working more closely, though, yes?

Narciss: For sure, for me personally this project has furthered this “Sensei student mentality” with Nicolas just so much more, although I think he hates it when I say that, ha!

NB: Yeah, Narciss contributed a remix for my release on Establishement, and I just did a remix for his new record on DRVMS Ltd. We’ve been friends for a couple years, and with this project it was a really intense five or six sessions actually. The five minute non-stop sprints was pretty exhausting. And we’re still friends now!

Narciss, you’re obviously out there in the trenches, too, in the DJ scene. What was the connection like between this slightly experimental format and that clubland experience?

Narciss: There most definitely was a connection between the two. I mean originally, locked grooves themselves are something that only make sense in the context of a DJ-set. So it actually took me personally quite a while to get away from the “four-to-the-floor-mentality” of the medium.

Also, being born in this city, where do you look for inspiration – are you attracted to new things that are flowing into the city’s cultural life? Is the familiarity of growing up here something significant, or is it that turnover that drives you, or some combination? (I do notice different perspectives of natives and transplant.)

Narciss: I love this question – but there are so many aspects to this subject.

It definitely is a combination. Growing up here, the extremely hedonistic way in which Berlin is perceived from the outside was always very perplexing to me, because this was simply not the way that I saw it. Even when I started DJing, I didn’t actually go out that much because the way I got into it was actually just by discovering the genre in my record store, not by going to the parties. The problem with this is that Techno is, of course, a genre that is inspired by parties and clubs, from the way it sounds to just the overall existence of it. I only really understood this, though, when two British friends of mine moved here, because they had so much unbridled passion for techno, that only through them did I fully understand that these two things cannot exist without each other.

So for me, personally, I do actually like to get my inspiration from the memories that I have of Berlin before it got “un-dangerous” or the corners that people just do not explore enough (like Marzahn, for example). Ed.: Take note of Marzahn, architecture fans. Oh dear; I probably just sent someone down a linkhole. But to be honest, without the turnover of Berlin, and just absolute heaps of people moving here from all over the world, I probably would not be making the music I am making today. That being said, if someone who is thinking about renting an overpriced apartment just to go to Panorama Bar loads, is reading this : please don’t you’re making my rent go up. [laughs]

Will we see these animations live outside of the digital release? Audiovisual show?

NB: Itaru Yasuda — itaru.org — made the Vocabulary C animations, that was the beginning of a new live AV collaboration. Itaru and I just released a new video and that live AV project is moving forward fast.

And lastly, what’s next? I know you both have a bunch of upcoming projects and maybe at least one of you big bookings… will this particular project or collaboration also carry on somehow?

NB: I have a couple big bookings coming up, and I already have 3 solo EPs confirmed for release this year. Narciss and I took one of the locked grooves from Vocabulary C and fleshed it out into a full track, that should be coming out later this year as well.

Narciss: Well, there’s a track of ours on the next Seelen Records Release that was still part of the same sessions in which we made “Vocabulary C”. Other than that time will tell I think, I’d definitely be down to make more stuff together, but the magic about this project was that the process was so different to how we individually usually make our music, so I’m not sure how we would go about just making “normal techno” together.

Thanks! We’ll be listening!

https://bougaieffnarciss.bandcamp.com/album/vocabulary-c

The post Bougaïeff & Narciss talk craft, and composing 60-second techno loops appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

CDM Mixes: Voyage into sound like a mystic space cat, with akkamiau

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Events,Scene | Mon 8 Jan 2018 3:09 pm

Start your week right with some underground technoes. akkamiau is the multi-faceted Prague-born Akkamiau Kočičí, and she kicks off a special January for us.

Here in Berlin on Saturday, we’re hosting a special night of live performances with akkamiau joining us for a DJ set rounding out the night:
https://www.residentadvisor.net/events/1053318

They’re all released on or forthcoming on our label Establishment, and all of them have robust projects of their own, from live coding work in the Algorave scene with Miri Kat, to their own up-and-coming label projects (Gradient from Jamaica Suk, Denkfabrik from Nicolas Bougaïeff, and a new project emerging from Stanislav Glazov aka Procedural). They’re also teaching – Stas is a modular and Touch Designer guru traveling the world with those projects; both Nick and Jamaica teach privately, and Nick teaches modulars and coaches composition as Dr. Techno – because he’s a real doctor. Oliver Torr on behalf of Prague’s XYZ project is preparing an interactive light installation that will evolve over the course of the night, as well.

Stratofyzika, intermedia group.

I wanted to invite Lenka to send some vibrations to our readers all over the world. Lenka’s own projects are myriad: she’s a founding member of female:pressure, the network and advocacy organization that has worked for years to break apart the gendering of electronic music, she releases and performs and DJs as akkamiau and hiT͟Hərˈto͞o, and adds live sound and music to the choreography- and audiovisual-driven intermedia project Stratofyzika.

She’s also recently hosted quadraphonic sound workshops, working in Ableton Live, plus the wildly popular jam room at Ableton Loop.

And while the trend these days seems to be on narrowly-defined DJs, I believe all those broad influences come across in her DJ mixes as well as her music. Lenka has shared an exclusive mix with us, recorded straight from the mixer in the grimy confines of Berlin’s club Suicide Circus aka Suicide Club. It was the opening of the respected RITUALS series, which takes commanding, dark techno into Berlin’s Thursday night / Friday morning (well, because this is Berlin, and Thursdays are a big night).

Just don’t expect monotonous pounding. Lenka’s mixing is effortlessly fluid and organic, unfolding across the duration, putting beautiful, strange otherworldly textures atop heavy, dirty pulse. And that seems to have as always Lenka’s quirky cosmic feline character there. That doesn’t mean it’s soft in any way: these space cats have big rockets.

Dark but not drab … industrial with groove … powerful but dreamy … sounds like good new years’ resolutions for techno to me.

Track listing (yep that Ancient Methods and Perc are each two favorites of mine, for starters):

Moerbeck & Subjected – 006SB1
Mamiffer – Enantiodromia
Adam X – It’s All Relative
Alexey Volkov – Corner
H880 – weird signs
Drasko V & Kero – Exponent (Drumcell Remix)
Tensal – Levia
Regis – Keep Planning (Original Mix)
Discord – Backyard Trapp
MTd – Basement (Moerbeck Remix)
P.E.A.R.L. – Station1
Tsorn – Strange Theory
FJAAK – The Tube
Ancient Methods – Knights & Bishops
Perc – Look What Your Love Has Done To Me
H880 – KEPLER
Niki Istrefi – Red Armor

Join us in Berlin if you can, and regardless, stay tuned for more of akkamiau, these other artists, and Establishment. Frohes Neues!

Follow akkamiau on SoundCloud, MixCloud, and Facebook

For more listening, check out akkamiau’s work on Colaboradio 88.4FM Berlin. There’s a special episode devoted to the voice:

— and one highlighting those Ableton Link-ed jam sessions at the company’s Loop conference from November:

Saturday’s event, featuring akkamiau:

Establishment: XL & live [Discount advance tickets exclusively on Resident Advisor]
RSVP on Facebook

The post CDM Mixes: Voyage into sound like a mystic space cat, with akkamiau appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

CDM Mixes: Sofia Kourtesis takes us dreaming in wintry skies

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 20 Dec 2017 5:18 pm

Year-end lists, while valuable, can blur into vague hype, dizzying lists of artists and tracks. Let’s start by spending some time listening.

Long-time friend of the site Sofia Kourtesis, the producer/DJ with German-Peruvian-Greek connections now based in Berlin, fired over a new mix and her latest production this week. I make no claim of weighing what’s important in grander schemes, but I was moved by the fact that it touched so much of the music I resonated with personally this year, in headphones and in clubs both. There’s Octo Octa and Benjamin Damage – each mastering live performance – and Avalon Emerson and Etapp Kyle and DVS1, who dazzled me as DJs and with productions. And then onward from there.

Sofia calls this “pieces of winter sky”:

1 Olof Dreijer-Echoes from Mamori
2 Adam Marshall – Hose Shipping, Jammed Mix
3 Avalon Emerson – One More Fluorescent Rush
4 Etapp Kyle – Essay [KW20]
5 DVS1 – In The Middle [KW20]
6 Octo Octa – Adrift (Official Video)
7 Benjamin Damage – Montreal
8 Helena Hauff- Do you really think like that, als MP3 im Anhang
9 Sofia Kourtesis Iquitos
10 Aphex Twin – Alberto Balsam

Sofia is busy. In addition to handling bookings at Chalet (the former tollhouse right next to the Berlin headquarters of Native Instruments), she’s playing a festival in Peru organizing around the issue of child trafficking on May 17, has a full schedule of some of the most respected venues in Germany, NYC, and Latin America (see below), and will be curating a concert series at Berlin’s storied Funkhaus (ex-DDR radio facility and host recently to Ableton Loop). She also has a new EP in the works for spring.

Here’s what she says about this mix:

This mix is somehow playful, but also really dynamic, with sounds of mellow, Amazonian, and moody techno and electronica.

I took Olaf Dreijer to begin with, because it always makes me go out of myself on a dreamy journey, thinking about home, or about what home is. I really like his Amazonian elements — and this bass kills me, it’s just beautiful. It keeps me motivated throughout the day.

I also selected some of my favorite female artists at the moment, not just for them being women, but mainly because they’re talented producers using a lot of analog gear. Helena Hauff always brings it to the point, and without needing to try, she simply sounds really organic. I really love her new EP on Ninja Tune. I also like Avalon’s new track that she released on Whities, one of my favorite labels at the moment, alongside Studio Barnus.

The production, the video and her artwork are always really special. I wonder why she didn’t write music for computer games. She could totally do it – what a dream; I would be the first one to buy it. Ed.: We may have to round up some video game music at some point, on that note – see for instance SØS Gunver Ryberg’s wonderful work.

I just found out about Octo Octa this year. She’s a wonderful artist; I really like playing “Adrift” in the middle of a set; it takes me on a journey. Also really good for dancing is Benjamin Damage’s “Montreal” — what a tune… wish I had made it!

I also dared myself to include one of my own new tracks called “Guerrero.” It’s about a close friend of mind who is fighting against FIFA’s corruption.

All the best things at the end — I will never forget to include Aphex Twin in anything I do; he’s always been my hero.

By the way, from Sofia or anyone else, I will rabidly defend left-turn mixing and surprises; I think mixing and DJing could use more risks, not less. Seems a good resolution for 2018.

We’ll have more audio content from CDM coming on 2018, so consider this one end-of-year teaser as we squeeze in some holidays. If you have ideas for how you’d like that to go, I’d love to hear from you. But I believe there should always be more room for listening.

In person is even better, so here are Sofia’s coming dates:

19.01.2018 Chalet Club Berlin
16.2.2018 Institut für Zukunft Leipzig
22.02.2018 Bossa Nova Civic New York
24.02.2018 New York [TBC]
17.05.2018 Proyecto Play Me Lima-Peru
25.05.2018 Mexico City [TBC]

https://www.facebook.com/sofia.kourtesis/

https://soundcloud.com/sofia-kourtesis

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What you can learn from Belief Defect’s modular-PC live rig

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 22 Nov 2017 5:42 pm

Belief Defect’s dark, grungy, distorted sounds come from hardware modulars in tandem with Reaktor and Maschine. Here’s how the Raster artists make it work.

Belief Defect is a duo from two known techno artists, minus their usual identities, with a full-length out on Raster (the label formerly known as Raster-Noton). It digresses from techno into aggressively crunchy left-field sonic tableau and gothic song constructions. There are some video excerpts from their stunning live debut at Berlin’s Atonal Festival, featuring visuals by OKTAform:

See also: STREAM BELIEF DEFECT’S DECADENT YET DEPRAVED ALBUM AND READ THE STORIES BEHIND THEIR CREEPY SAMPLES

They’ve got analog modulars in the studio and onstage, but a whole lot of the live set’s sounds emanate from computers – and the computer pulls the live show together. That’s no less expressive or performative – on the contrary, the combination with Maschine hardware means easy access to playing percussion live and controlling parameters.

Native Instruments asked me to do an in-depth interview for the new NI Blog, to get to talk about their music. The full interview:

Belief Defect on their Maschine and Reaktor modular rig [blog.native-instruments.com]

They’ve got a diverse setup: modular gear across two studios, Bitwig Studio running some stems (and useful in the studio for interfacing with modulars), a Nord Drum connected via MIDI, and then one laptop running Maschine and Reaktor that ties it all together.

Here are some tips picked up from that interview and reviewing the Reaktor patch at the heart of their album and live rig:

1. Embrace your Dr. Frankenstein.

Patching together something from existing stuff to get what you want can give you a tool that gets used and reused. In this case, Belief Defect used some familiar Reaktor ensemble bits to produce their versatile drum kit and effects combo.

2. Saturator love.

Don’t overlook the simple. A lot of the sound of Belief Defect is clever, economical use of the distinctive sound of delay, reverb, filter, and distortion. The distortion, for instance, is the sound of Reaktor’s built-in Saturator 2 module, which is routed after the filter. I suspect that’s not accidental – by not overcomplicating layers of effects, it frees up the artists to use their ears, focus on their source material, and dial in just the sound they want.

And remember if you’re playing with the excellent Reaktor Blocks, you can always modify a module using these tried-and-true bits and pieces from the Reaktor library.

For more saturation, check out the free download they recommend, which you can drop into your Blocks modular rig, too:

ThatOneKnob Compressor [Reaktor User Library]

3. Check out Molekular for vocals.

Also included with Reaktor 6, Molekular is its own modular multi-effects environment. Belief Defect used it on vocals via the harmonic quantizer. And it’s “free” once you have Reaktor – waiting to be used, or even picked apart.

“Using the harmonic quantizer, and then going crazy and have everything not drift into gibberish was just amazing.”

Maschine clips in the upper left trigger snapshots in Reaktor – simple, effective,

4. Maschine can act as a controller and snapshot recall for Reaktor.

One challenge I suspect for some Reaktor users is, whereas your patching and sound design process is initially all about the mouse and computer, when you play you want to get tangible. Here, Belief Defect have used Reaktor inside Maschine. Then the Maschine pads trigger drum sounds, and the encoders control parameters.

Group A on Maschine houses the Reaktor ensemble. Macro controls are mapped consistently, so that turning the third encoder always has the same result. Then Reaktor snapshots are triggered from clips, so that each track can have presets ready to go.

This is so significant, in fact, that I’ll be looking at this in some future tutorials. (Reaktor also pairs nicely with Ableton Push in the same way; I’ve done that live with Reaktor Blocks rigs. Since what you lose going virtual is hands-on control, this gets it back – and handles that preset recall that analog modulars, cough, don’t exactly do.)

5. Maschine can also act as a bridge to hardware.

On a separate group, Belief Defect control their Nord Drum – this time using MIDI CC messages mapped to encoders. That group is color-coded Nord red (cute).

Belief Defect, the duo, in disguise. (You… might recognize them in the video, if you know them.)

6. Build a committed relationship.

Well, with an instrument, that is. By practicing with that one Reaktor ensemble, they built a coherent sound, tied the album together, and then had room to play – live and in the studio – by really making it an instrument and an extension of themselves. The drum sounds they point out lasted ten years. On the hardware side, there’s a parallel – like talking about taking their Buchla Music Easel out to work on.

Check out the full interview:

Belief Defect on their Maschine and Reaktor modular rig [blog.native-instruments.com]

Whoa.

Follow Belief Defect on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/Belief_Defect

and Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/belief_defect/

Reaktor 6

Reaktor User Library

Photo credits: Giovanni Dominice.

The post What you can learn from Belief Defect’s modular-PC live rig appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Real underground: watch a live set in the Copenhagen metro

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 14 Nov 2017 2:11 am

You’ve seen buskers in your subway, maybe, but odds are a full-on rave is a rarity. That’s what Strøm Festival and Anastasia Kristensen gave Copenhagen’s metro.

The basic notion: step onto your metro, get a live party. Watch:

Strøm, for their part, have established themselves as a cornerstone of the Danish electronic scene. And Russian-born, Copenhagen-based Anastasia Kristensen is maybe just the person you’d expect for this gig, in that lately it seems like she’s been everywhere.

I was curious, so asked her about the experience. She tells CDM:

“I compiled a live set with elements of Detroit techno, UK jungle, and all kinds of obscura that I could map to a MIDI controller and launch whenever. There was even an airhorn. 🙂

The experience was massive. As soon as people danced and jumped, the entire train was shaking. It felt like it could derail. I think it was a great way to rethink the way we can imagine a party and get around the city. Big up to Strøm for this!”

It’s also nice to hear some different vibes, beyond just what you’d catch in Tresor or Berghain from her.

I, uh, guess I can say I was following Anastasia before she blew up? (Resident Advisor says that was apparently earlier this year?) On the other hand, I think being everywhere, playing everything has long been her strong suit – someone with the resolve and raw discipline to relentlessly pursue music. I have to point that out just because I think it’s easy from the outside to assume this business is just luck – and that Kristensen, like many other of the most prolific and reliable members of the scene, has accomplished all of this atop a full-time day job.

And yes, follow those people, and you tend to catch those “rising stars” as RA puts it! (It’s a relief to know that’s the case!)

Best to let her and her music speak for themselves, though. Check out both her latest RA mix and her detailed follow-up on what’s driving her currently:

RA.598 Anastasia Kristensen

Her tool of choice, incidentally, is the now-discontinued Pioneer XDJ Aero. What’s nifty about this is, it’s small and it’s cheaper than buying new CDJs and components separately, but it still lets you practice CDJs somewhere other than sound check at a club or in front of a crowd. And it maintains rekordbox compatibility, so you can plug in those USB sticks, and works standalone if you choose. It could be something to look for used and … hey, Pioneer, maybe think about following up in this direction?

I’ve gotten to a few of her recent gigs, but Boiler Room was the one with cameras rolling, for some straight-ahead techno:

Just don’t miss her dark, evocative productions, which remain among my favorites:

The post Real underground: watch a live set in the Copenhagen metro appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Let’s talk craft and vision in live audiovisual performance, media art

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Labels,Scene | Wed 18 Oct 2017 2:23 pm

We’re gathering with top digital media artists this week – and you can tune in. Here’s a preview of their work, on the eve of Lunchmeat Festival, Prague.

Transmedia work and live visual performance exist at sometimes awkward intersections, caught between economies of the art world and music industry, between academia and festivals. They mix techniques and histories that aren’t always entirely compatible – or at least that can be demanding in combination. But the fields of media art and live visuals also represent areas of tremendous potential for innovation – where artists can explore immersive media, saturate senses, and apply buzzword-friendly technologies from AI to VR in experimental, surprising ways.

Our goal: bring together some artists for some deep discussion. And we have a great venue in which to do it. Prague’s Lunchmeat Festival has exploded on the international scene. Even sandwiched against Unsound Festival in Krakow and ADE in Amsterdam, it’s started to earn attention and big lineups, thanks to the intrepid work of an underground Czech collective. (The rest of the year, the Lunchmeat crew can usually be found doing installations and live visual club work of their own.)

Heck, even the fact that I’m stumbling over how to word this says something about the hybrid forms we’re describing, from live cinema to machine learning-infused art.

Since most of you won’t be in Prague this week, we’ll livestream and archive those conversations for the whole world.

Follow the event on Facebook for the schedule and add CDM to your Facebook likes to get a notification when our video starts, and stay tuned to CDM for the latest updates.

To whet your appetite (hopefully), here’s a look at the cast of characters involved:

Katerina Blahutova [DVDJ NNS]

Let’s start for a change with the home Prague team. Katerina is a great example of a new generation of artists coming from outside conventional pathways as far as discipline. She graduated in architecture and urbanism, then shifted that interest (consciously or otherwise) to transforming whole club and performance environments. She’s been a VJ and curator with Lunchmeat, designed releases and videos for Genot Centre (as well as graphic design for bands), then went on to co-found LOLLAB collective and tour with MIDI LIDI.

Don’t miss her poppy, saturated, post-Internet surrealism – hyperreality with concoctions of slime and object, opaque luminosities and lushly-colored, fragmented textures. (I can rip off this bit of the program; I wrote it originally!)

Oh yeah, and she made this nice teaser loop for this week’s festivities:

teaser loop from upcoming vj set for @malumzkole at @lunchmeat_cz #dvdjnns #wip

A post shared by Katla / DVDJ NNS (@katlanns) on

Ignazio Mortellaro [Stroboscopic Artefacts, Roots in Heaven]

Turn that saturation knob all the way down again, and step into the world of Stroboscopic Artefacts. Ignazio is the visual imagination behind all of that label’s distinctive look, from album design (as beautifully exhibited) to videos. He’ll be talking to us about that ongoing collaboration.

In addition, Ignazio is doing live visuals for a fresh project. Allow me to quote myself:

Roots in Heaven, a label owner and accomplished solo artist hidden behind a mesh mask and feathers, joins visualist Ignazio Mortellaro to present a new live audiovisual work. This comes on the heals of this year’s Roots in Heaven debut record “Petites Madeleines” (a Proust reference), out on K7! offshoot Zehnin. The result is a journey into “concentrated sensory impression” in sound, light, and sensation.

Gregory Eden [Clark]

One of the goals Lunchmeat’s curators and I discussed was elevating the visibility of people working on visual materials. But unlike the ‘front man’/’front woman’ role of a lot of the music artists, the position some of these people fill goes beyond just sole artist to broader management and production. Maybe that’s even more reason to pay attention to who they are and how they work.

Greg Eden, who’s at Lunchmeat with Clark, is a great example. With a university physics degree, he went on to Warp, where he developed Clark and Boards of Canada. He’s now full-time managing Clark, and in addition to that … uh, full time job … manages Nathan Fake (with visuals by Flat-e) and Gajek and Finn McNicholas.

Visuals are often synonymous with just “something on a projector,” live cinema-style. But Clark’s show is full-on stage show. For the stage adaptation of Death Peak, the artist works with choreographer Melanie Lane, dancers Kiani Del Valle and Sophia Ndaba, and lights from London’s Flat-E. Think of it as rave theater. That makes Greg’s role doubly interesting, as someone has to pull all of this together:

Novi_sad [with Ryoichi Kurokawa, SIRENS]

The collaboration between Novi_sad and Ryoichi Kurokawa is one of the more important ones of the moment, its nervous, quivering economic data visualization a fitting expression of our anxious zeitgeist. Here’s a glimpse of that work:

Ryoichi Kurokawa and Novi_sad have worked together to produce an audiovisual show in five etudes that produces a dramaturgy of data, weaving the numbers of the economic downturn into poignant, emotional narrative. Data and sound quiver and dematerialize in eerie, mournful tableaus, re-imagining the sound works of Richard Chartier, CM von Hausswolff, Jacob Kirkegaard, Helge Sten, and Rebecca Foon. Novi_sad is self-taught composer Thanasis Kaproulias, himself coming not only from the nation that has borne the brunt of Europe’s crisis, but holding a degree in economics. As a perfect foil to his sonic landscapes, Japan’s Ryoichi Kurokawa has made a name in expressive, exposed digital minimalism.

Marcel Weber (MFO) [Ben Frost] / Theresa Baumgartner [Jlin]

Ben Frost is already interesting from a collaborative standpoint, having worked with media like dance (Chunky Move, Wayne McGregor). The collaboration with MFO brings him together with one of Europe’s leading visual practitioners; Marcel will join us to talk about that but hopefully about his work for the likes of Berlin Atonal Festival, as well.

MFO has also designed the visuals for the sensational Jlin, but Theresa Baumgartner is touring with it – as well as working on production for Boiler Room. So, we have Theresa joining us from something of the in-the-trenches production perspective, as well.

Gene Kogan

VJing and live cinema are rooted in conventional compositing and processing. Even when they’re digital, we’re talking techniques mostly developed decades ago.

For something further afield, Gene Kogan will take us on a journey into deep generative work, machine learning and the new aesthetics that become possible with it. As AI begins to infuse itself with digital media, artists are indeed grappling with its potential. Gene is offering talks and workshops both here at Lunchmeat and at Ableton Loop next month, so now is a great time to check in with him. A bit about him:

Gene Kogan is an artist and a programmer who is interested in generative systems, artificial intelligence, and software for creativity and self-expression. He is a collaborator within numerous open-source software projects, and leads workshops and demonstrations on topics at the intersection of code and art. Gene initiated and contributes to ml4a, a free book about machine learning for artists, activists, and citizen scientists. He regularly publishes video lectures, writings, and tutorials to facilitate a greater public understanding of the topic.

I’ll be reviewing the resources he has for artists soon, too, so do stay tuned.

Gabriela Prochazka

Also coming from Prague, Gabriela has been guiding the INPUT program for Lunchmeat this fall, as well as being one of my collaborators (our installation is part of the exhibition this week). Its contents are mysterious so far, but a live AV work with Gabriela and Dné is also on tap.

See you in Prague or on the Internet, everyone!

Follow the event on Facebook for the schedule and add CDM to your Facebook likes to get a notification when our video starts, and stay tuned to CDM for the latest updates.

http://lunchmeatfestival.cz/2017/

The post Let’s talk craft and vision in live audiovisual performance, media art appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

This Uber driver techno producer on Instagram is our zeitgeist

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Mon 7 Aug 2017 9:23 pm

If Millennial electronic music had a poster child, tchntx would be it. Self-released techno meets Uber meets social media and … oh God we’re all doomed.

“Techno Taxi” (once you add those vowels back) is the personal diary of “akaysha” (as per her Snapchat ID, anyway). If the accent didn’t clue you in, one map puts her rides outside Melbourne, somewhere around Geelong, Victoria. I have no idea how I even found this account*, but I was suddenly mesmerized. Instagramming the saga of techno “bangers” melded with failed Tinder drama, all behind the wheel of an Uber between calls, the account would probably be repulsive if it were a gimmick. But it’s not. It’s totally honest and unedited, which somehow makes the results appealing.

It’s the social media apocalypse, and it’s everything you thought it was. And it’s somehow … funny? Like if Sex in the City were documentary, not fantasy, and if it were written twenty years later, like … now.

You can just needle drop and get pure gold. This is the latest post as I write it, which features the polyamorous doctor ex nicknamed “Scrubs.” (Like I said, eat your heart out, Carrie Bradshaw.)

Back in the stu…by unpopular demand #techno #taxi #uber

A post shared by Tales Of Techno Taxi (@tchntx) on

It goes on like this, in a Tinder soap opera that takes place offscreen, trapped cinéma vérité-style behind the wheel of an Uber car, in the moments of life stolen by algorithms and the disruptive power of Silicon Valley’s taxi replacement.

I've said too much…. #techno #taxi #uber

A post shared by Tales Of Techno Taxi (@tchntx) on

That is, I find this poetic because I can relate. Anyone making music at this point may find themselves vying for the social media spotlight just to avoid invisibility – and from those Uber calls to SoundCloud plays, the Algorithm has us. Behind the gloss of social media success, I talk to an alarming number of techno producers who find themselves spending way too much time maintaining accounts as they pretend their careers are going better than they actually are. (I’m not being dramatic here, either – I’m super totally cereal.)

Techno Taxi just makes this self-referential and self-aware. But adding to the self-referential tragedy, then the result is kind of … an empty diversion. It’s a gimmick, but it isn’t working. (And so it tells this story even better in the process.)

On Instagram, you get the usual response and … the odd stalker response.

On SoundCloud, there are a few dozen followers. Somehow, she got into a collective, but… it seems the gig is still Uber. (Sound familiar?)

The tracks are fun, though – quirky and raw a bit like the videos. Perfect track names, oddly compelling production. “Beware” – awesome. (The mixes are dark, IDM-ish, relaxed apocalyptic lullabies, music to drive algorithmically-summoned cars to.)

I might ruin this and have it blow up, but for the record, as I’m writing this, no other press seem to have noticed.

I already had a food delivery guy give me a SoundCloud link. I’ve certainly randomly given out my own music. Maybe that’s enough. This thank-you note is nice, and I’d be happy to hitch a ride with a producer.

I can’t decide if this is a harbinger of our future, or if someday we’ll look back at Instagram, Uber, SoundCloud, and this entire piece in the way we look back on AOL, MySpace, and Napster – ancient history from the Bronze Age, less enlightened times.

Jeez, now I’m a little scared of winding up in an Instagram post. (Sorry, don’t take this meandering editorial too seriously! Hey, CDM bump, maybe?)

But kudos to the Techno Taxi for actually just saying what’s going on. If we’re going to survive social media at all, a little honesty might be necessary – or at least might let us entertain one another when we’re bored.

And the band played on.

Mood about working the long weekend #techno #taxi #uber #technotaxi #mood

A post shared by Tales Of Techno Taxi (@tchntx) on

*Update: answer to this is, well, Melbourne circles / social circles / friends in common. Facebook uses your social graph on Instagram, so because I know people who know her, she showed up on Instagram somehow. See also her “ok sure whatever” project, which does have more likes behind it:

http://oksurewhatever.com/

And in fact she’s got a load of accolades to her name, as a DJ and remix producer. Plus a team of people did “SEO” for that site. And… yeah, okay, well, now techno taxi it is.

More unintentional poetry from that site: “Add Ok Sure to your Spotify Playlist now pitched by PlayList Pump on behalf of Upside Music.”

The post This Uber driver techno producer on Instagram is our zeitgeist appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Going deep in techno technique and technology with Denmark’s CTRLS

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Tue 1 Aug 2017 6:54 pm

Keep techno nerdy? We go in the studio to find out how Copenhagen’s CTRLS [Token] has developed his own sound, and how it relates to the tech he uses.

Away from the whims of techno fashion and its potential for cookie-cutter aesthetic chasing, there are cats like CTRLS, aka Troels Knudsen of Copenhagen. With some nine EPs to his name, he’s been steadily honing a craft – one with roots back in 90s trackers. In other words, he’s just the person to ask about process, because his sound is built from inside out instead of outside in.

And Routing is a song of experience – never overcomplicated, always clear, always groovy. You know, smart. And from that foundation, it gets to be weird and original. This is Troels who loves sounds making sounds you’ll love.

It’s also label Token Records (led by artist Kr!z) at its best. I thought Danish rush hours involved bicycles or something, so I suspect Troels secretly lives in the future. “Rush Hour” has a timeless groove going:

“Crash” is also heavy and grimy, with an off-kilter gesture that makes it keep falling forward, like some more industrial take on those Drinking Bird toys:

“Highway”‘s glitchy, weird noise percussion takes on this 90s IDM feel, but perfectly mixed I think and with a sense of both space and friendly shuffle:

“The Shortest Path” comes closer to what you might associate with the Token sound, but places it in Troels’ sense of wit and charm – at just a moment when the “serious” European techno scene threatens to get incurably gloomy:

(Also welcome: when you buy the album, you get “locked grooves” to use as DJ tools – leaving the tracks themselves to be more headphone-listening friendly.)

An older release, but I really love the concept, sound, and video (a reactive visual installation by Rune Abro & Yonathan Sonntag) – check out “Incoming Data” from 2015, also on Token:

So with that in mind, I got a chance to give us a look inside his studio and tools. And I was curious how that path led from machine to musical voice, from esoteric tracker knowledge to Internet-enabled music culture, because it speaks I think to other musicians, too.

Of course, for all that Internet power, I’m indebted to another obsessively hard-working Copenhagen techno talent, Anastasia Kristensen, for connecting me with Troels. I’ll say this about both Anastasia and Troels: these are people who are disciplined, and whose discipline then enables them to really play.

First off, your work is full of detailed rhythms and a wide sonic palette. What are you working with, in terms of vocabulary? How does your technology impact that vocabulary?

I spent a couple of years taking keyboard and piano lessons and I’ve got a bit of academic audio engineering under my belt, as well as the experience I’ve got from my part-time mix work. In general, I guess I’ve become the guy people ask for technical solutions, locally, so there’s rarely a mix issue I can’t work my way around these days. Everything else has been uncovered on the Web and by generally making sure I have some skilled people in my circle. Learning synths and sound design has been a very personal journey — as it should be, if you ask me — and I came out the other side as a bit of a synth nerd. I generally like to be a bit effective about it all, as well as understanding what I’m working with. So that combined with me being naturally curious tends to lead me towards more modern techniques and gear.

I also had some great mentors that showed me a lot of interesting things like polymeters, but other then fun tricks like that, I don’t tend to get too deep into music theory with Ctrls tracks. For example, scales feel a bit restrictive in that context.

Take us back a little bit. I know a lot of our most avid audience are deeply rooted tracker and demoscene and the sort of IDM niche communities of the Internet … some of them back to the early BBS days. At what point did you get your feet wet in that Internet world?

A friend introduced me to the tracker scene in the mid 90s. The BBS scene was still alive at the time, and I don’t think many artists in Denmark realized that trackers were, as such, fully fledged samplers. Also, the modules were wide open: sounds and techniques were right there to learn from. Today, people would kill to look into their heroes’ projects, but that was normal for us. Ed.: That was certainly the response recently to Aphex Twin showing off tracker secrets.

And it’s information that wasn’t really available in any books. When I made my way onto the actual Web, it was even easier to access. For a while, that was my main inspiration and I’d look to new tracker releases more then I would commercial releases. I also remember my music teacher being shocked when I showed him Fast Tracker 2 compared to the thousands of euros he had recommended me to spend on hardware samplers and synths.

I still sometimes try to think back to how I’d solve problems or how the tracker artists had their workarounds. For example, you didn’t have any swing/groove control in Fast Tracker 2; instead, you had to manually delay every second 16th with a command, throughout the entire track. It felt very empowering and inspiring, but that being said, I don’t want to go back to hex note editing and automation ever again.

Did it make a difference, having that more international, Internet-driven culture at your fingertips, coming from Denmark?

The internet made a huge difference for me when I started. We were into bass music at the time and were finding the UK scene ridiculously hard to break into. Granted, the vibe is more open and international in Europe, but the UK labels at the time had no faith in producers not from there. But through the net, I had access to a much deeper network then you were likely to find just by partying and traveling to London, and so I got one of the first (maybe the very first) proper Danish drum’n’bass releases off the back of that. Other then that, it is of course extremely convenient to be close to some of the most significant scenes, but it took a long time for it to properly rub off on traditional and conservative little Denmark.

What was your first encounter then with making music with machines?

A couple years of piano and keyboard lessons and I headed straight for computer sequencers. I was lucky to have a music teacher that really encouraged my curiosity for technology and production. My first tunes were done with an old Roland arranger keyboard, [Creative Labs] SoundBlaster 16 and a Windows 3.11 sequencer called Musicator, that used staff notes instead of piano roll. [These tunes] were recorded (mixed down is too generous) onto cassette. Then trackers and samplers came into my life, and things got a lot easier.

Now, there are some pretty quirky vibes on this latest Token outing. What’s the spirit of this record; where did you draw that inspiration from?

I just don’t want to sound like everybody else, and I guess my palette has evolved around that ethos. I definitely have a thing for very mechanical and futuristic (to my mind) grooves, but I spend a whole bunch of time trying to make sure that the sounds have a realistic quality to them, even though they’re likely to never occur in nature –
particularly sounds that resemble the human voice is something I seem to steer towards.

How did you set up the album conceptually – particularly the flow, as far as lengths, grooves, and so on?

It was actually set up to be a fairly straight club record with variety spread out across the tracks, especially as far as intensity and rhythms go.

In general, I tend to focus more on what I don’t want a record to do and how I avoid those things while still making high quality dance music. Things come together much easier for me that way. There’s a traffic theme to the whole thing simply because I’m looking to make things move, within my self-defined futurism framework.

What will we find in your studio now; what machines are currently meaningful to your music?

Right now, the centerpieces are a [Mutable Instruments] Ambika [synth] and my LXR drum machine going into Rostec preamps and converters. They’re very versatile instruments and most of the new Ctrls tracks are sourced just from those two with all sequencing, effects and processing running off the computer. I’m really into Unfiltered Audio plug-ins for processing lately. They seem to be some of the ones that gets the closest to nice digital hardware boxes, in terms of anti aliasing and overall definition. There’s nothing like a processor that can turn a sound completely on its head and still sound good. I do still use a few VST synths, mostly u-he zebra2 and bazille.

[Ed.: The Ambika is now no longer made by Mutable Instruments, but as it’s open source hardware, it lives on as a DIY project maintained elsewhere.]

The most esoteric piece is an old Kurzweil K2000 [sampler], which sounds absolutely phenomenal. It’s got this magic ratio of grit and definition and depth that you just don’t find in most modern instruments straight out of the box. Being an early 90s digital workstation it is a nightmare to program, so it’s not made it on to a lot of Ctrls tracks because of that, but I’m still keeping it until it breaks and I can’t get it fixed anymore. I’ve not heard any plug-in that gets even close for strings, textures, and atmospherics. If your voicing is good, it just blends straight into the track without any processing. It’s one of those pieces that can make you think the developers’ industry aren’t being half as ambitious as they should be. Ed.: This is an interesting point here – apart from making me feel a little old now that the K2000 and 1990s are vintage or esoteric. I suspect details of Kurzweil’s architecture as well as good sound design and preset voicing, so readers, feel free to discuss in comments.

The most important kit is probably the monitors. I’m working with a customized set of small speakers that, to my ears, outperform other brands in the same price range I spent on them. Most important being that they’re not fatiguing, so I can work on them all day. If you’re mostly in the box, I think a good monitoring situation makes things a lot easier, and customizing can make that much more affordable as you’re not dealing with mass production issues but can just focus on pure quality and omit a lot of the compromises. Also, should they break I can have ‘em up and running again the same day. In general, most things in my studio can be fixed without having to be shipped off.

I really like that your live approach feels really improvisational. And it’s very digital. How do you set up your live set? How do you relate it to track ideas without, you know, getting stuck playing tracks?

I’ve been through a bunch of iterations: prototypes running everything live off VSTs, just DJing my own material, bit of hardware, just Ableton and controllers etc. Right now, I’ve basically set Ableton up to be an extended version of Traktor [DJ] to play loops and use effects along with jamming on the LXR [drum machine]. I also drag my nice converters out to make absolutely sure that if the system is great, I’ll be able to take full advantage. Going through a preset playlist was never that attractive to me; it gets old so quickly. And Ableton being Ableton, it does require some engineering work to get it to sound like a DJ set with mastered material. But with that out of the way, I can really relax on stage and just vibe.

Inside the CTRLS live set – simple, but with stuff to control.

As for being stuck playing tracks — it’s pretty important to realize that your recorded music is what most people go to see you for, or at least that seems to be the case with me. And to a point you can have a more profound impact if there’s that connection of elements that the crowd can recognize.

I learned this after my laptop almost died right before a Berghain live set. I had to dj my own tunes off my iPad, and somehow got a bit of LXR going on top. It felt a bit underwhelming to execute after all the preparation I’d done but nobody noticed anything, the set got a great reaction and I got a bunch of compliments for my poker face. So, after that I started to tweak the setup to capture that feeling but still provide something people wouldn’t have heard before.

I STRONGLY advise all live performers to have a simple plan b, and not just give up if something goes wrong. It takes away a monumental amount of stress and disappointment if your setup is very complex.

Okay, interesting. And yes, I love redundancy. Actually, maybe the fact that I got the improv bit wrong says something – I thought it was improvised, but in fact preparing the tracks in this case allowed more play on top, which can also be useful. I see you’re making use of the Livid BASE controller, too; how do you have that mapped?

It’s basically set up to be an audio mixer: four track/loop channels with three effects sends and a looper with adjustable length, and the rest to level the LXR voices as well as a few custom parameters controlling plug-ins that are processing the drum machine.

What’s exciting you now as far as what you listen to? It seems techno is fairly focused in the moment on a small circle of people as far as innovation in elements like timbre, within some particular constraints. Without getting too far into name dropping, what do you feel is important to you? Is this a genre that’s moving forward, in regards to those artists?

Yes, it’s definitely moving forward, although it is a pretty narrow field of producers actually pushing the envelope. But I don’t think it needs to stop within the constraints you mention. It’s such a wide-open field right now as there’s a bunch of cross-pollination going into electro, noise, bass music. and lately oldschool trance. That openness is one of the main things that attracted me to techno in the first place. Especially as an artist myself it’s very inviting that you can take that attitude and latch it onto pretty much any sound palette.

In general, I just really appreciate creative and expressive sound design married with great music. It’s one of the main characteristics that keep the genre very fresh for me, personally. Historically and as far as innovation goes, there’s so much more to techno then the Roland TR boxes [808, 909, etc.] and their inherent workflows. I really appreciate artists (new and old) that have the imagination to step out of that “loop,” or bend it to their will.

I’m trying to be very aware of not conditioning myself into a total music geek with no sense for naivety. But by now I don’t think it’s disputable that technology, and how involved people get with it, plays a massive role in how the genre’s evolving, so I equally try to maintain my curiosity about new sounds, performance types and contexts. The music obviously comes first, but no one’s been able to offer me a good explanation of where that ends and the noise starts. So I think there’s plenty of reasons to keep exploring and to stay curious.

From the always-excellent Deep Space Helsinki, here you get a mix with his inspirations in mind:

And the release:

https://www.beatport.com/release/routing/1980748

Follow him here:

https://www.facebook.com/controeller/

Studio photos: Rune Abro.

The post Going deep in techno technique and technology with Denmark’s CTRLS appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Someone made a bot for The Black Madonna, and it zeitgeist is

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Fri 7 Jul 2017 3:41 pm

Presumably, very smart people are working on Artificial Intelligence, and soon even my clumsy prose will be replaced by a bot. Until then, though, readily available bot code spits out random text like a combination of magnetic poetry, William S. Burroughs, and a feline on catnip walking across a laptop.

Of course, sometimes the results are simply beautiful in their absurdity. (For more on this phenomenon, check Horse ebooks. Relevant: “Is the dance floor calling? No” … “unfortunately, as you probably already know, people”)

Such is the case for The Black Madonna – the being the acclaimed international DJ with outspoken attitudes on the role of marginalized groups in music and the army of pointless naysaying trolls to match.

Sorry, my own bot may have written the last line; I went out for a beer. Don’t worry, if you don’t know who The Black Madonna is, it’s worth finding out – and the tweets below will still be no less, in my view, profound.

Let us marvel:

Identity politics:

Music:

Speaks on so many levels, really:

Any article mentioning anything to do with techno needs the cliched references to Berlin’s coolest club:

Inspiration:

On justice:

But don’t mess with The Black Madonna, either.

Politics:

Understanding life’s meaning:

If you’re curious about her name:

Touring life:

The Internet:

And my favorite:

Bonus – this one needs to be turned into a house track:

Oh yeah, this is a music site, so do enjoy some mix to get you through the end of Friday from The Black Madonna:

We Still Believe

Now, all I want in the world is to learn silly Twitterbot programming. Who’s with me?

The post Someone made a bot for The Black Madonna, and it zeitgeist is appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

This is what Dutch raves looked like in the 1990s

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Mon 3 Jul 2017 9:28 pm

Dance or die? Some kind of robot with killer lasers? Well, if you happened to be in Leeuwarden in the Netherlands round late April 1996, that’s what was promised.

There’s so much to love in this VHS vintage gem. There’s the retro Wolfenstein-styled 3D opening with the dramatic threatening voice over. Or the extensive footage of the build-up of the venue … and drug pat-downs. And then, there’s nothing quite like the 90s sound – mad, mental, absurdly fast, totally dry synths and drum machines. It’s a cartoon-ish silliness that’s a far cry from even the self-seriousness of EDM, let alone the somber, mechanical dirge Eventide-drenched cave techno that’s often in fashion. If that’s a Bach Toccata & Fugue on a pipe organ, this is Spike Jones.

But of course, Dutch people shouting is always the best part of all. (Yes, my friends in the Netherlands, I know you can still get just this crazy.)

I’m sure this has been passed around before. On the other hand, it’s a nice antidote to the potential conformity of today’s parties – and today’s might seem just as odd to someone looking back from 2027. Plus, some fashion tips.

The post This is what Dutch raves looked like in the 1990s appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

An underground resource brings house and techno back to its roots

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Fri 23 Jun 2017 12:53 pm

Let’s be clear: electronic music is what it is because of a spirit that emanated from people outside of what was popular, not inside. And underground isn’t just about what’s undiscovered. It’s also about people who are too often purposely sidelined: people of color, queer and trans and gay and bi- and lesbian people, people who don’t look like models, people who other people say are weird, people who don’t fit in for all sorts of reasons. Nerds, even. If you’re reading this site, honestly, you’re probably one of those people, if at least for the reason that you might love weird sounds. (It’s okay to love that out loud.)

So when we talk about affirmative action for those groups – yes, including advocating for the broad minority of “weirdos,” a group in which I am in full support – we’re not just doing it out of some kind of imagined political coolness. We’re doing it because the music we love isn’t just about fame and success or even just about skill – though those things can be well and good. They’re also about soul. Call it the soul of freakiness.

If anyone thinks that’s exclusive, you’ve totally missed the point.

Deep in the underground. Photo: Sequencer.club.

Deep in the underground. Photo: Sequencer.club.

Now, the real-world places for such oddness come and go. They have to be actively renewed each generation, and when it comes to music venues, they rely on fragile networks of people and unpredictable fortune with zoning rules and real estate and law enforcement. (Yeah, be thankful for every party that even starts, let alone finishes before being shut down by noise complaints or some such.)

The good news is, the geographical birthplace of a lot of what we think of in techno and house is making a comeback. The Midwest and Northeast in the USA are finally renewing themselves. People globally are more aware than ever of Detroit, in its history and presence. Cities like Pittsburgh are more vibrant than ever. Even titan New York City, while it still has those idiotic cabaret laws on the books, is far richer than it was seven years ago. (I should know – I moved out right at a relative low point.)

In fact, part of what America needs right now is blogs.

So long out of Facebook for a second, close those tabs for the mainstream electronic music media outlets, and get ready to pour through sequencer.club.

Its podcasts make a perfect work soundtrack, and its long-form reading is worth reading end-to-end. It’s published not from Berlin, Germany, but Buffalo, New York, bringing you the happenings of the club scene in places like Rochester. (I have a feeling Rochester is not going to get a Resident Advisor profile any time soon.)

Let’s review.

The site has features like an exhaustive survey of Detroit, one more complete and more insightful than you’ll get out of larger publications:

313: Return To The Source / The History

The latest release, and the reason I heard about the site at all, comes from Noncompliant, the Indianapolis-based veteran who’s finally getting some notice on the wider scene (former project name: DJ Shiva). Lisa’s mixes are required listening any time you hear someone say “I’m kind of bored with techno.” Seriously, force headphones onto them, Clockwork Orange style, and see if they can say the same after the mix is on.

Yes, there are queer and trans artists front and center – with good reason. There’s a story here, about how the search for musical expression was tied up with loving and looking in a way that didn’t fit with the society around them. This is a story worth following, though, because it’s about the music we all love – and it’s a story with a happy ending.

As Jarvi puts it:

“I love music because it saved my life. It can say everything I can’t put into words. The music itself doesn’t judge me, it guides me. Without music I would never know the rave scene. I would never have found my chosen family in the underground where you can be anyone you want to be, as freaky and weird and out there as you want. Like-minded individuals all there together because the world doesn’t see us as the creative and beautiful individuals we are. PLUR forever.”

Yeah, that’s obviously more than a cool wristband – I know when a lot of people say “music saved my life,” they mean it literally, and even if you do nothing more than write manuals for synthesizers, that’s something you should think about every morning when you get up to go to work.

Jarvi’s mixes are terrific, but I love these raw, powerful tracks, so let’s embed those:

On that same topic, I know that while so-called identity politics speak to certain sets of people, mental health is essentially a universal need, and one uniquely bound up with music making. So, just as Maya Bouldry-Morrison aka Octo Octa’s profile deals with being trans, it also touches ways in which music helped deal with anxiety. As she tells the site:

“If I’m just having a hard day for no apparent reason then my self-care is to clean my apartment, work on music, take a bath, and maybe go for a walk to clear my head. It may or may not work, but trying anything beyond just shaking and thinking about how screwed I am helps.”

Well, I imagine Maya’s mix might contribute to self care for all of us, too. I totally love this mix:

Also, for anyone who’s unclear about why it’s important to some people to have defined spaces, and to choose those environments, she speaks to that:

I’m especially happy right now being more involved in the queer community. I’ve identified as queer since I was a teenager, but since I never came out to my parents my queerness wasn’t something that I would publicly discuss. Therefore I also wasn’t seen as someone who was queer and I wouldn’t necessarily be invited to play queer parties even though I really wanted to. They were the spaces I felt the most comfortable in.

There’s a lot more as far as music and philosophy in that interview, so do give yourself time to read the whole thing:

http://sequencer.club/sequencer-spotlight-octo-octa/

The site also has profiles of amazing musical humans who happen to be “true Detroiters” like Bruce Bailey. Bruce’s mix I think could heal any damaged heart with grooves:

By the way, there is as always a deep dialog going on between cities in Europe and the heartland USA. So, sure, someone like Kamal Naeem may be in Berlin now, but he keeps in touch with his upstate New York roots, those hills where the Moog synthesizers were born (and where he started the superior label Blank Slate).

Check out his profile and mix, too:

Sequencer Spotlight: Kamal Naeem

Actually, just go read the whole damned site end to end, which is more or less what I’m doing now, but one last signal boost for this absolutely essential story:

Harm Reduction Efforts Make Dance Floors Safer

And some final inspiration, from Detroit’s wonderful Erika:

erikaoct

“Letting go and dancing is a fundamental human thing that we’ve been doing for thousands of years – seeking a trance state through which to let go. It’s not about being a man or woman, it’s about being an animal trying to have a transcendental experience.” – Erika

Like / subscribe / share / tell your friends / stop people on the street / please help support independent media:

http://sequencer.club/

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