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


Get your acid workout, virus be damned, with Detroit-Berliner DJ T-1000’s “Body Signal”

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Fri 7 Aug 2020 1:50 pm

A lot of the hardest-working DJs and most loving dancers are grounded now in the fight against the pandemic. But don't let that mean you miss your workout. This is the EP we need right now.

The post Get your acid workout, virus be damned, with Detroit-Berliner DJ T-1000’s “Body Signal” appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Jace Clayton review of Carl Craig’s art captures the connection between isolation and techno

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 2 Jun 2020 5:56 pm

The themes can all seem like disconnected threads – social isolation, pandemic, the origins of techno, racism – at least in the blur of news cycles and social media. But Jace Clayton aka DJ Rupture makes a portrait that brings it all together – landing at just the right time. At top: Dia:Beacon, photo Eva […]

The post Jace Clayton review of Carl Craig’s art captures the connection between isolation and techno appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Underground techno labels: a Bandcamp guide

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Labels,Scene | Fri 1 May 2020 6:09 pm

It’s not quite the summer of love, but maybe it can be the summer of underground music downloading. Let’s start with techno.

Bandcamp is the undisputed home of a lot of experimental music. With dance genres, it has more competition – and I plan to revisit offerings like Beatport shortly, so stay tuned.

What you get on Bandcamp, then, is a particular character of music – typically stuff that resists easy categorization, and doesn’t show up as much on charts. For some of these labels, there’s a mix of revenue between Bandcamp and a platform like Beatport (or even Apple, if they’re lucky with charts). For others, Bandcamp is not only the main source of income, but even a way of connecting.

Speaking of Beatport – one piece of evidence that it isn’t only about Bandcamp, I kept thinking for example one of my favorites, Tokyo’s Murasame Industrial Records, was on Bandcamp. They’re Beatport only. More on that label soon.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but I wanted to pick out stuff I’ve particularly enjoyed following – which usually means non-commercial, stuff that’s jack-y and groovy, stuff that’s space-y and futuristic and dark and weird. And these labels all have a sense of community, even if it’s a small collective of a few friends unlikely to catch larger attention.

A special shout-out goes to Bandcamp Techno on Facebook, which is a community itself.

This is trending heavily to Berlin and the midwest, with a smattering of Spain and Japan, and techno is more international than that, so — I will definitely have to do a volume II. Nominations gladly accepted.

Valence
New York, NY US
https://valence3.bandcamp.com

The label of Ambivalent (founded in Berlin, now in NYC), aka LA-4A is the high-grade, thinking person’s techno label. Now Kevin McHugh is back with his first solo music in a couple of years, which is not techno but some chilled ambient music to take your mind off the pandemic. And you can get the whole (very techno) catalog for $15.

FLASH Recordings
Berlin, DE
https://thebunkerny.bandcamp.com

FLASH Recordings from Florian Meindl is one of the most prolific techno labels on Bandcamp, with a nonstop firehose of great releases. And they’re 90% off the full catalog today, which means DJs can play a game of “how many FLASH tracks can I play in a row before someone notices.)

Wunderblock Records
Moscow, RU
https://wunderblock.bandcamp.com

I’m on this label mainly because I couldn’t stop listening to all of its releases. Started in 2013, it’s been covering a terrific gamut of productions from Russia, Ukraine, and beyond.

Yes, I have skin in the game:

Avian
Berlin, DE
https://avianstore.bandcamp.com/music

The mighty Avian has an endless, sonically rich catalog.

Edit Select
Glasgow, UK
https://editselect909.bandcamp.com

Some of the best of the Scottish underground.

Snork Enterprises
Hamburg, DE
https://snorkenterprises.bandcamp.com

Little. Yellow. Different. Better. Hamburg’s weird underground imprint I think I convinced (or more like “nagged’) to go on Bandcamp, so now let me urge you to go check out their catalog (not only mine).

EarToGround Records
London UK
https://eartoground.bandcamp.com/music

If London’s underground techno had a tourism board, this might be it – at least for us weirdos.

Ostgut Ton
Berlin, DE
https://ostgut.bandcamp.com

The label resident of Berghain has a Bandcamp store. Actually do believe the hype, generally – they’ve still got it, and jumping-off point to the sublabels is also here, so have at it because I think no one is getting back into the club for a while.

Tripalium Corp
Paris, FR
https://tripalium.bandcamp.com/music

“Braindancers United” with acid and rave and more. Proper Paris warehouse dirt.

Fullpanda records & Hunger to Create
Berlin, Germany
https://fullpandarecords.bandcamp.com

Dasha Rush’s label has some of the finest – and most-overlooked – underground techno out there, and her occasional parties at Tresor also count among the most sonically diverse. Music for cosmonautical moods.

Anode Records
St. Louis, MO US
https://anoderecords1.bandcamp.com

Jack-y, dirty midwest techno, just as you’d expect from Ron S., veteran of that scene, and friends. As thick and delicious as BBQ sauce.

H-Productions
Stockholm, SE
https://h-productions.bandcamp.com

Cari Lekebusch’s label has a deep back catalog from Sweden.

Toktok Records, V-Records
Berlin, DE
https://toktokrecords.bandcamp.com
https://v-records.bandcamp.com

Irreverant, dirty, silly, raunchy – this is the underground side of German techno (and adjacent music) too many people fail to see. Toktok is an outgrowth of the band; V-Records the imprint of band member Nerk (who I’ve gotten to release with). And they’ve found and put out new vinyl on Toktok this week.

Perc Trax
[undisclosed city], UK
https://perctrax.bandcamp.com

When Perc runs a label, wonderful things happen. With a full range of techno to experimental and everything in between, this is a heaven for producer nerds.

hyper master recorders
Fuji, Japan
https://hypermasterrecorders.bandcamp.com

Straight out of Shizuoka – every end of the techno spectrum has been on a hyper master release, holding down a chunk of Japan’s best techno since 1998. You might know them from that circle logo, if that jogs your memory.

Semantica Records
Madrid, ES
https://semanticarecords.bandcamp.com

Svreca to Stanislav Tolkachev, gorgeous releases here.

Mona Records
Murcia, ES
https://monarecords.bandcamp.com

I guess Spain is my next destination post-lockdown, but I just love this crew for their lovely rhythms and sounds. And they’re a pan-Spanish indie – “Madrid, Murcia, Gijón, Salamanca, I, Spain”

Planet Euphorique
Montreal, CA
https://planeteuphorique.bandcamp.com

With major releases from people like D. Tiffany and a stream of unexpected delights, this is a Quebecois gem.

Nachtstrom Schallplatten
Tübingen, DE
https://nachtstromschallplatten.bandcamp.com

Maria Singer to Dave Tarrida, dark and delicious catalog from the place I know everyone thinks of as a music hub, Tübingen, Germany. Possibly there’s an enchanted forest where this happens.

Credo
Munich, Germany
https://credo-rec.bandcamp.com/

Bavaria is back on Germany’s music scene in a big way – Alex Bau’s label pumping out classics being a good example of that.

Pacou
Berlin, DE
https://pacou.bandcamp.com

The former boss of Tresor Records and other projects, Pacou has now put out his own deep collection and it’s all worth navigating (including the Mike Huckaby collab I wrote about on the weekend).

Chicago Jaxxx
Chicago, IL USA
https://chicagojaxxxtechno.bandcamp.com

Banging. “Tracky”? “Ghetto flair?” (Their words, not mine.) Whatever it is, take a virtual trip to a Chicago warehouse.

47
Berlin, DE
https://47×47.bandcamp.com/

Tommy Four Seven’s label is nothing but the finest production work, when you want compilations and releases that trend very dark and goth-futuristic – but that you’ll still dance to.

ARTS
Rotterdam, NL
https://artsrecordings.bandcamp.com/

Maybe one of the larger labels here, but well worth a mention – Emmanuel’s ARTS is the kind of label that will constantly break you out of the notion that techno is just repeating itself, with consistently forward-looking music.

TH ± Tar Hallow
Rotterdam, NL
https://thtarhallow.bandcamp.com

Rotterdam has so much strange techno laboratory stuff going on, though – it’s not just ARTS. Hard, weird, things that sound like the robots took over… Tar Hallow is inhabited by the likes of Rhyw and Thanos Hana and goes the expected places if you know those names.

mord
Rotterdam, NL
https://mord.bandcamp.com/music

Seriously, what is in the water/stroopwaffels over there? Maybe it says something that these labels are so superb that they come before the mention of the city and yes, Rotterdam, I’m aware that us Berlin folks like to ride on the brand of our town.

FORMAT-REC
Chicago, IL USA
https://formatrecordings.bandcamp.com/music

Hey, Berlin. You think only you can be dark? Chicago can be dark. Ever been through a Chicago winter? Beautiful stuff from this insanely prolific label and diverse roster.

Hue Helix
[undisclosed city], JP
https://huehelix.bandcamp.com/

Futuristic adventurous outings from Ryuji Takeuchi and Nil and so on live here.

The Bunker New York
New York, NY USA
https://thebunkerny.bandcamp.com

The Bunker is both a classic party and a perfect conduit between Detroit and NYC (and Berlin) – their label is every bit as vital.

Newrhythmic records
León, ES
https://newrhythmic-records.bandcamp.com

There’s always just beautiful stuff on Joton’s imprint, since 2005.

Hessle Audio
London, UK
https://music.hessleaudio.com

Well, did I mention they’re also on Bandcamp?

Modern Cathedrals
Detroit, MI
https://moderncathedrals.bandcamp.com

Uun and Altstadt Echo and friends are putting out some of the most beautiful, dreamy techno productions today, so don’t miss this imprint.

SUB tl
Madrid, ES
https://subtl1.bandcamp.com

Futuristic, wonderful, almost needs no introduction – the HD Substance and Leandro Gámez project.

Acacia Label
Detroit, MI
https://acacialabel.bandcamp.com

Kelli Hand (K-Hand) has a label. Attention must be paid. (Who? Oh, you need to go there now. Enjoy! Tell me when you’re done.)

Transmat Records
Detroit, MI USA
https://transmatdetroit.bandcamp.com/music

Oh yeah – that Transmat. Derrick May Transmat. Also on Bandcamp.

DJ T-1000
Berlin, DE
https://djt1000.bandcamp.com/music

Speaking of Detroit, while I mostly avoided artists for space – Alan Oldham has been everywhere since the Transmat days, and he’s dumping tons of vintage Pure Sonik, etc. stuff alongside his new latest – so, for instance, you get this gem today from 1993’s Generator:

https://djt1000.bandcamp.com/album/20-hours-to-paradise-ep

Okay, so who did I miss? Everyone from Africa to Latin America to the Balkans to southeast Asia, I … kinda know where I’m starting episode II. But shoot!

The post Underground techno labels: a Bandcamp guide appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Adam Jay on building live techno sets on Elektron gear – and why you should stay punk

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 15 Apr 2020 10:20 pm

The system has failed us, but not Adam Jay. He’s here to show us how he rigs up his latest live techno sets. And he can make 3 tiny waveforms on a $300 Elektron make you want to dance.

There’s some fantastic music here, so feel free to sit back or get up and let your smartphone’s step counter know you’re still very much alive. But if you’re wondering how anyone plays like this live, he talks us through his setup.

And yeah, if you need any added motivation to work on your chops as stay-at-home producer in isolation, this is like a free cross-training decathlon intensive master class. It’s not about amassing a lot of gear – what the Indianapolis-based artist with a deep Detroit soul has amassed is a ton of skill.

A single-cycle exercise

“The System Has Failed Us” is a live techno track that channels “frustration with our current global predicament”:

…how our leaders have failed us and how we must work together to overcome the reckless choices made by those who have abused their power. I could not sleep last night and had to get this out of my system.

The track was a way to exorcise frustration, but also served as an exercise in minimalism:

[It’s] all single cycle samples. Trying to find out how far I could push the machine with the minimum amount of source material – and it’s only three separate single cycle sample .wavs at that, using them across 6 tracks on the Model Samples.

The rig:

  • Elektron Model:Samples, with 3 single-cycle samples (556 bytes in length!), across six tracks
  • “Heavy” LFO modulation for the kick and bass and hat (so you get them out of the same waveforms)
  • Model:Samples output hits an Alesis Micro Limiter and some light Octatrack effects (EQ/Compressor)
  • Midi Fighter Twister controller controls a bass equalizer (also hosted on the Octatrack).

In a nice instance of Elektron sonic recycling, those 556 bytes x 3 were originally produced by an Elektron Digitone (kick, bass) and Analog Four (hat). The samples were created by Taro, and you can grab them for yourself – they’re free:

https://freewavetables.glideapp.io

https://www.elektronauts.com/t/free-wavetables/121639

A full-length set – and how it’s structured

That’s one track, but here’s an expanded set.

I was really curious about how he puts the pieces together. So Adam details the setup for CDM. The basic idea here is to play the Model:Samples as the main sound source, but use additional Alesis hardware and some clever performance routings on the Octatrack for dynamics processing and (on the Octatrack) messing about with re-sampling loops and adding effects.

The Octatrack is the performance command station, both with additional loops, effects, routing the Model:Samples, and additional control via the MIDI Fighter Twister for hands-on encoder moves. The ingredients:

  • Elektron Octatrack is MIDI clock host, sending clock to the Model:Samples
  • Elektron Model:Samples is the sound source for “all the material”
  • Model:Samples signal chain: Alesis MicroLimiter > Octatrack AB input
  • Octatrack track 3 is a THRU track (Model:Samples with Compressor and EQ in the two effects slots)
  • Track 7 is a FLEX track, “recording/looping/mangling the T3/Model:Samples audio.
  • Track 5 is another FLEX track “with just some other very short loops previously recorded, made on the Model:Samples with heavy EQ filtering and Dark Reverb in the the two FX slots. Re-sequenced on Track 5 on the fly, as needed.”
  • Track 8 Master “has a dark reverb that I tweak during some of the dubbier bits.”

And then there’s control: “The Midi Fighter Twister controller goes through a USB MIDI host box to convert USB-A to 5 PIN DIN MIDI. The Twister controls Octatrack levels, EQs, reverb sends, allowing me to creatively mix between the thru and flex tracks, without any paging around on the Octatrack.”

Now obviously, keeping these tunes together means there’s some pre-programming – but then it’s about the ability to mess with it, thanks to the routing above. He explains:

Ultimately, each tune is a single Model Samples pattern, tweaked and freaked live. And the Octatrack is there to loop it, effect it, and mix the live-looped Model:Samples for transitions.

The conceptual approach is to use the 6-track limitation as an advantage and make sure each sound is a good fit, since there are so few tracks to work with — and to set up the patterns so they can be played live in interesting ways that keep moving and stay dance-y.

Hooks are heavily filter-modulated and the Model:Sample’s Pioneer DJM-style low-pass/high-pass filter is very beneficial in this regard. They often come from small recorded Analog Four synth phrases that have some motion in them already, modulating start point and/or filter brings them to life. Bass lines are often the same samples as the kicks, with the start point shaved to take off the attack, and then pitch/distortion/filter to get them grooving. The latch-able FILL mode often works as seventh track, mostly for pattern variation, as each tune is only a single pattern.

Cramming in as much dance-able content into each pattern was the key to keeping it interesting. The Octatrack just adds a bit of trickery-flair and keeps the transitions seamless. I was a DJ first, so my live sets have always had that mixed element to them.

Keep techno punk

Oh yeah, and Adam has a message for you: stay punk. Play cheap.

Doing all the creation on the Model:Samples is also a big middle finger to those who like to poo-poo low cost instruments to make themselves feel better about their $3,000 synthesizer expenditures – the people who call instruments without a long list of features “cheap plastic toys” and never add anything of substance to the conversation.

Techno should be more punk, more visceral, and more pushing what you have to the limits. Some of the most inspiring stuff I’ve ever heard in my life came from an old friend on his Roland R-8 [drum machine] through an AIWA boombox. I’m all for Elektron and Korg and Roland and Novation pushing out inspiring, capable instruments to the masses. Everyone should have the option to be able to express themselves and get their message across, no matter what their budget is.

This narrative that now that Elektron is more appealing, and more affordable to people who can’t afford the Digi or big boxes… that the “glory days are over”? Oh man, I couldn’t disagree more. The most creative, brilliant, and under-served people I know are the ones who can only afford the $299 instrument. Even before the pandemic, they were struggling, disadvantaged, living life day to day, check to check, working multiple jobs. They are no less deserving of quality tools to express themselves.

I would argue that creating this lower entry point to far more people is when the glory days actually begin. Far more music will be made on these boxes by a greater number of people. And that number will include more young people, and more disadvantaged people than before. This excites me the most. Their voices are equally valid and should be equally valued. If that reach, that influence on the populace is less “glorious” than a metal case with more LFOs, then I think some have lost the plot.

Music is here to connect humans together. The connection I have with someone else I do not know, when I hear and enjoy their music… it’s like nothing else in the world. Why on Earth would anyone want to keep the gates up on that? Why would anyone want to wall themselves in with only the people who can afford more expensive tools?

For some musical evidence of that, Adam has pulled off not one but three exceptional, forward-thinking electro albums on Detroit Underground, including this year’s terrific Inoperable Data (a title that kind of sums up our brains right now, too).

Have a listen. No further witnesses; the defense rests.

You might want to have a look at that one, too, as there are videos for every single track:

https://detund.bandcamp.com/album/maxia-zeta

And for still more Adam Jay action, check the mastering credits for the likes of Mike Parker, Noncompliant, Daniel Troberg, and Kero. (To butcher the 1980s BASF ad, Adam didn’t create some of the music you hear. He’s made some of the music you hear bang harder.)

Thanks, Adam, we may be checking in with you routinely in these strange times!

The post Adam Jay on building live techno sets on Elektron gear – and why you should stay punk 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

http://www.savag.es

https://www.worldstage.com

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.

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.)

https://www.ableton.com/en/trial/

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:

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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.)

Overwhelmed?

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):

https://riemannkollektion.com/blogs/techno-producer-knowledge-hub/max-for-live-the-techno-producers-guide

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

Images courtesy Ableton.

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Move that butt, with some banging music from Noncompliant – it’s what makes you human

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 29 Jan 2020 4:22 pm

It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that … jacky thing. Noncompliant’s latest remix embodies a certain sound that makes the tuchas move. And hey, evolution is on her side.

“The secret is in the booty,” says Noncompliant. Her approach to production and digging through tracks is finding something that puts that butt in motion – hard but funky.

It’s worth hearing that in action. I certainly felt it all over again at Tresor this month as Noncompliant came to town, and it’s in her productions, too. Lisa’s a regular source of inspiration to me and thus this site, but it’s worth paying special attention to this release, as it’s been a while and this one … bangs. With video:

Grab the release from Bandcamp:

Let’s talk about the booty for a second, now that she’s brought it up.

I’ve had butts on the brain lately, and not in only a sort of Sir Mix-a-Lot way. Music is connected to the body – part of why the tendency of certain snobby academic composers to reject “beat-based music” is so absurd. (I went to grad school, so I met a lot of those people.) So, first, there is research into the connection between perception of music and stimulation to the motor portions of your brain. You know this already with or without a study, but here’s an example of various studies exploring the phenomenon:

Why do we tap our feet to a musical beat? [Science Daily abstract; original research is in Journal of New Music Research]

That is, it’s safe to assume all music is about physical sensation (via vibration) and connection to motor movements (as rhythm stimulates those bits of your brain and makes you want to move). That shouldn’t have to mean four on the floor – whether you’re talking techno with a bit more funk or something with complex polyrhythms, rhythmic variety itself is a wonderful thing. (Back to those dust-covered academics, I would argue this means you should dance around to Elliot Carter and Fernyhough – and they might even make a nice antidote to the conformity of dance music genres.)

I hesitate to bring it up as this is one of the science facts that generally launches into a clickbait set of gluteus maximus exercises. But… uh, however, it is equally relevant that the way our ass cheeks look is also an outcome of human evolution. The circumstances and sequence are a matter of some debate, but current research consensus seems to conclude that the butt evolved because of our upright posture (rather than the other way around), in case you’re interested in the chicken/egg – standing/butt cheek question:

The morphology of the gluteus maximus during human evolution: Prerequisite or consequence of the upright bipedal posture? [SpringerLink excerpt abstract; Human Evolution article from 2002]

Gizmodo in 2018 did a great overview from different researchers of why butts are important. And it could indeed give you some added incentive to get up and move around and dance, whether you’re into techno or noise.

Why Do We Have Butts?

Now, no matter how many glute repetitions you’ve been doing, you’re not meant to just stand around showing off your chiseled ass. The history of dance all around the world is deeply connected to the pelvis and its motion – and how that impacts motion in the rest of the body. It’s true of music in my Arabic ancestry, like the belly dance. One of the world’s oldest dances, it was originally performed by men, not women – meaning, boys, you cannot use your lack of child-bearing hips as an excuse for standing rigidly by the bar. There’s no question that the groove in today’s electronic music genres has a deep connection to Afro-American and Latin American experience – and if you’ve ever worked with a West African dance teacher, for instance, you’ve had that feeling of loosening your hips and feeling a connection to the Earth.

But again, I suspect we have a pretty skewed vision of what western European dance culture has been, too. Most piano students know that Chopin’s Mazurkas were based on a Polish folk dance, but few would know what that looks like. I was once seated on a plane next to a musician and baroque dance researcher all the way from Amsterdam to Lima, and she lamented the completely made-up line dances from BBC and Hollywood. That means we’re probably ignorant of the kinetic elements even in the concert music tradition.

Bottom line (uff, I really didn’t mean to do that) — yes, moving the booty is essential to music. There are many ways to feel that, but I’ll just close with more of Noncompliant’s unique angle on making our butts move around. Here’s a recording from Radio Quantica, released in advance of an appearance in Colombia:

And for more, check Currents – a new (alpha) service that supports both DJs and producers, in all the ways that mainstream streaming services don’t. (I’ll write about that soon separately.)

https://open.currents.fm/c/noncompliant

Hot jams from 2019:

https://open.currents.fm/post/FdAPGLQT5KeYfQfHKCNm

303+808+909 = 2020 mix:

https://open.currents.fm/c/noncompliant

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2020 = 303 + 808 + 909, literally

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Sat 21 Dec 2019 7:37 pm

As many have observed (even before Roland themselves caught on), the year 2020 is the sum of 303 + 808 + 909.

So 2020 means some serious techno (and acid techno), and auspicious dates to celebrate March 3, August 8, and September 9. Mark those techno calendars.

If you want to consider the zodiac, you may need a different year. Japan’s Juunishi is derived from the Chinese zodiac, and 2020 (which starts toward the end of January) is the Year of the Rat. Then again, it is associated with wealth, so – business techno? Consider also charm, persuasiveness, artistic talent, and creativity meaning all techno fits.

The closest year of the rat to the Roland machines in 1984, which is a little late. On the other hand, here’s some Cybotron for that year, just so you’re prepared.

Photo (CC-BY-SA) Alexandre Dulaunoy.

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No fear: ФОМО is an expressive, transgressive space in Sweden, built by electronic music

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 12 Dec 2019 12:31 pm

It’s a place for the misfits, bound by a love for electronic music and self-expression. Russian-born DJ and event organizer Lana Lain talks about her journey, from cassette to rave to the phenomenon that is ФОМО.

On the ФОМО site, you’ll find a podcast, a code of conduct, registration (events require an invite), and this description of what the project is about:

ФОМО is a gay- och fetish friendly club, aimed to unite closed lgtb communities into a new inclusive subcultural concept. ФОМО promotes progressive visuals, queer installations and musical performances to people who, because of their lifestyle and overall preferences, can’t associate themselves with the major scene. Those who enter ФОМО can experience freedom of sexual expression and acceptance, in surroundings of quality sound, lights and visual art.

Even progressive-seeming Scandinavia often poses the challenges of an alcohol-fueled, hetero-normalized mainstream club scene, to say nothing of Russia. So I wanted to talk to Lana about the realities of making parties that are different – why people do that, and how artists and organizers make it work.

It helps that Lana is a killer DJ with finely-honed techniques and tastes. So, as always, the general rule in this joint is – no abstract discussions without some fine music to go with it.

And it goes without saying that this music really is connected with that scene – with its fantasies, its kinks, its quirks, its joy.

Let’s start with Lana’s own set – more (including live) below…

What’s your background in this scene and nightlife; how did you first get involved? 

I was 14 and influenced by raves in St. Petersburg, which by that time were so huge that they were held in stadiums. I listened to cassettes with recordings of CJ Bolland and Jeff Mills live on Russian Radio Rekord and was addicted to mixing music on my old double-deck cassette player. I got my first vinyl records when I was 16 and tried playing them in local clubs in my hometown. Yeah, I was bold – learning to play vinyl while the public was dancing around. 

I started doing parties in 2011. I had just moved to Stockholm from Karelia [Russia] and started DJing in local raves. I met a guy who was organizing a party series called “Socially Hazardous” (oh, so 2000!), with mostly progressive techno and local DJs. By then, I realized that people in Sweden had no idea about electronic music from Russia or Eastern Europe, understandably so. Like, how would they know? So I came up with an idea of booking DJs from Russia and adding some sense of humor, playing with those “red” cliches, making visuals and art with 30s Soviet Propaganda animation. Together with my friend, we invited people to a “comrade gathering” called Russian Connection. I didn’t expect we would get a great response, but it seemed everybody just was waiting for this. People went to a local Russian shop and bought ushankas and other military kitsch, and we had a huge queue at the entrance. It was a very fun rave/masquerade series of parties, and that’s how Stockholm’s public first got to know about the likes of Stanislav Tolkachev, SCSI-9, DJ Slon, and others.

Take us back to the birth of this event. How did it come about; you’ve been really a primary organizer, yes? 

Well, my friend was the one who knew “the s***”; I was too young and too inexperienced to make any decisions or give orders to any people in the rave scene. The scene is a tough thing, as everything you do is basically not legal. My role was [technically] “art director” and “artist booking manager.”


How did you come to the ФОМО series, then?

I became more and more involved in the Stockholm underground. People voted for me as the best underground female DJ, and somehow the local fetish community invited me to play, as well. That went well, and they invited me to be their resident. I got to know this community more and more, and fell in love with the atmosphere of dedication and respect.

 [Normally], the Swedish fetish community has many rules, and the music is not a focus. During one of the raves in 2016, I met Marija from the fetish club Dekadance, and I shared my ideas about starting a new concept. Together, we came up with these communities, divided by interests or fetish – Stockholm Leather Man Club, Wish Club for Lesbian women. [The idea was for people to] come together, and yet not follow so many rules

Marija and her colleagues shared invaluable experience about do’s and don’t’s. I had also gotten to know the organizers of [Berlin’s] Herrensauna and the Belarusian techno duo Energun. So these experiences, plus my attraction to Eastern European music and dedication to the local community, shaped into ФОМО. 

Imagine we walk into ФОМО for the first time… what do you want our feeling to be?

Check the wardrobe first, as you want to take off your clothes, leaving as little as possible on. Mostly each event is in a new venue, so you’ll start by checking out the different rooms. Probably, you’ll meet some new friends, as people are very open here. I hope you’ll keep your mind free for new experiences, new music, and new friends – so the feeling I’d want would be I guess “endless curiosity.” And constant satisfaction. 🙂 

I think from the outside, a lot of us Americans may see Sweden as a sort of progressive, idyllic world. But I get a reality check from friends who grew up that there’s some conflict between conservative values and conformity, just as people experience in so many other places, too. What does it mean for Stockholm to have a party like this?

It’s true, the Scandinavian nightlife is limited by a lot of laws, plus restrictions on alcohol licences. The authorities think that places where people drink have to be monitored. Because clubs close down so early, it creates an atmosphere where people want to get drunk as quickly as possible, which can lead to aggressive behavior.

In the fetish scene, people are not so eager to get drunk; people like to socialize and experience things. This is a great playground to discover art and music.

Many Swedish rave-lovers travel to Berlin or Amsterdam, which is causing demand for techno parties [in Sweden] to grow. Luckily, there’s a loophole that makes it possible to organize private parties, members’ clubs or Svartklubbar – literally, “black clubs.”  The system is that people have to sign up in advance, and then we can dictate the opening hours ourselves. Because you have to register in advance, we can label our parties as a closed gathering. It’s allowed to sell “folköl” (up to 3,5%). Laughing gas balloons are still a gray zone. [Ed. Uh – be careful with that last one. CDM is not endorsing any use of these!]

Many of these events [in Sweden] can be closed by police, when there were neighbour complaints or if police could discover illegal alcohol sales or any traces of drugs. 


ФОМО is a fetish and gay-friendly member’s club, that also complies with Swedish rules. The venues are usually booked with the contract and no complaints were filed so far. In official Stockholm venues, it’s not allowed to have darkrooms or to take off your clothes, so for the community, our party is a little island of freedom. 

Commercial clubs aren’t allowed to filter the audience, either, but we can. We send a link where you can register, and we make sure that link remains in certain circles. At our parties, guests experience freedom of sexual expression and acceptance, and we try to create a safe environment for the LHBQT [LGBTQ] and fetish scene. We have always been honest and clear about what kind of event ФОМО is.

My readers will also think of Sweden as the land that has given us Elektron, Propellerhead, and Teenage Engineering. Are there any compelling projects you’ve brought in as far as producers? Live acts? Maybe there’s just something about that Swedish climate with its long summer days and long winter nights that makes people crave electronic sounds?

I agree, Sweden has long time been a cradle of engineers, dynamite developers, and music channels such as Spotify.  I like to follow the discoveries that are made by Sound of Stockholm Festival or Fylkingen – Collective,  too. I must say, the Swedish electronic music scene has been full of talents for as long as I can remember.  There are always new, upcoming artists for the rest of the world to discover. I don’t know if it’s the climate or governmental support of music artists, or the natural industriousness of Swedish people. The long nights can give anyone some food for thought, for sure. 

Some of the live acts I was happy to invite as our guests included Alvar, Gijensu, Fjäder, Celldöd. I think they lifted up the vibe and created a real, live experience. 

I have also run ФОМО shows for fnoob techno radio, where I invited live acts such as Lodbrock, Karabasan Drane, and Dawid Dahl. They recorded original live sets for this show, which is available on our SoundCloud. We also invite queer DJs and queer art to take part in our events, as we want to create a space that’s open to innovative ideas or concepts.

Obviously, ФОМО contains a nod to your Russian heritage… are Swedes getting the Cyrllic? I know you’ve also made some interchange with the Russian scene, bringing ФОМО to St. Petersburg’s terrific RAF25 – what can you say about how the connection between these countries? Are there common elements? 

I liked that this word has both F – for “fetish” and OMO – for homo (gay-friendly), but I didn’t want people to associate this with any “fear.” Ф is a beautiful letter which many people recognize from Greek, too, and it looks as a new brand-word. Many of my Swedish friends had to install the Russian alphabet in order refer to the right “Фomo” 🙂  

I was excited to bring ФОМО to Raf25 [in St. Petersburg.] This Soviet bunker with a maze of various rooms is very sexy, indeed. I see a connection to our sound, concept, and aesthetics. I think this could be a good place in Russia for opening the scene to subcultural communities that, at the moment, unfortunately, don’t have their own space. 

What does it mean to you to tie together queer identity, queer activism, and this party project?

As ФОМО, we always will stand on the side of our LGTB and fetish communities. We create a safe space where people can share experiences, understand each other better, and have fun together, without any labeling or other shit. My colleague Marija has lots of experience with queer activism and helps invite the people who we think feel that they really belong. 

We’re happy to see that we attract visitors who feel that they don’t belong to the larger, mainstream scene or don’t feel welcome there. We’re glad to see newcomers discovering new sides of their sexuality. Our experienced ambassadors and hosts are always present in the event and are there for the other guests, in case people have questions or they think somebody doesn’t behave correctly. 

They are also ФОМО – they’re the ones who know how party responsibly, but also are extremely friendly and positive people. 

During Pride 2019, we had a big night event at the local Bronx Sauna Club – it was a perfect match for us since we started in 2016 in a similar venue. Pride 2019 was the craziest party we’ve made. I invited Tommy Four Seven, Madalba and Popoff Kitchen from Moscow.  Also, thanks to collaboration with our local DJ and promoter Dgeral, this event could invite queer artists as Lauren Hex and Femanyst. People were dancing on the table, we had queues like those in Berlin, but with our own, local vibe and color. I’m pretty sure many people felt deeply in their hearts what Pride is about, a joy about who you are. 

 So, what should we know as you gear up for this week’s event?

This week, Sweden celebrates the day of St. Lucia, which coincidently falls on Friday the 13th. It’s a Swedish tradition, singing songs in the church, while a maiden in a long white toga slowly walks through with candles on her head. We decided to celebrate 3 years of ФОМО and let people explore this tradition on their own way, calling our party “Find Your Dirty Lucia.” We booked Janzon from Code is Law and Knigi Live.  You are all welcome to join if you’re in town!

The next party is this Friday, 13 December; register to attend (or make your own party at home with CDM and these mixes, you know… black out the windows for the Swedish December experience of light).

https://fomoclub.net

More listening…

And one more – from Venezuela’s Dgeral:

Photos by Rikard Jarl for ФОМО, with additional photos by Lana.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Axmed and Jasmin talk to CDM about what that means.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s next; what you can do

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What these challenges can mean: essential reading

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Axmed Maxamed to Glamcult

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

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

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

See the full story:

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

linktr.ee/axmed

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

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

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

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

Stock up on underground electronic music and techno for a Bandcamp Black Friday

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Fri 29 Nov 2019 2:33 pm

Black Friday may conjure images of people stampeding at a Wal-Mart – but it’s also turned into a boon for independent labels on Bandcamp. Use these codes to boost your collection and support artists.

This started as part of this year’s Black Friday sale round-up, but it’s growing, so let’s keep a running tally.

So far we have a ton of great underground techno labels – left-field and different-but-danceable goodness. But I’d like to add some more experimental additions, if you’ve got them.

I can meanwhile endorse all these labels; they’re putting out terrific stuff.

Oslated
Seoul, South Korea
70% off: blackfriday

Total Black
Berlin, Germany
70% off: blackfriday

Semantica Records
Madrid, Spain
30% off: blackfriday2019 

Florian Meindl
Berlin, Germany
Full discography for 9EUR (instant discount)

Mord
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
15% off: blackfriday

MANHIGH Recordings [Henning Baer’s label]
Berlin, Germany
50% off: blackfriday19

OMEN Recordings
Los Angeles, California
50% off: OMENTHX50

Archivio 01
Italy
50% off: BLACKFRIDAY

Voitax
Berlin, Germany
35% off: voibf2019

Newrhythmic records
León, Spain
30% :blackfriday2019

Wunderblock Records
Moscow, Russia
50% off: blackfriday

Establishment
Berlin, Germany
70 off: wearblack

Opal Tapes
Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
20% off: OFF

The Lab Records
Bucharest, Romania
80% off: BLACKMONTH

Plus, not Black Friday sales, but worth mentioning:

Amsterdam’s wonderful Moving Furniture Records has a crowdfunding sale – which also happens to be a great way to get some lovely physical stuff. (That’s the one non-Bandcamp link here, but they’re also a Bandcamp label!)

place : the netherlands is an absolutely killer compilation, benefiting Open Closet LGBT Netherlands and their work on behalf of queer asylum seekers.

Ovum has released a 25-year anniversary compilation with 25 essential tracks. Pay whatever you like, and you benefit ” Philly Pops – an EITC-Certified Program that enhances music education for approximately 2,500 students in the School District of Philadelphia by embedding Philly POPS Teaching Artists in schools to coach and mentor students.”:

There’s also a two-part compilation for people who lost their vision during the recent riots in Chile – hope to follow up more on this soon:

https://chilenoestaenguerra.bandcamp.com/album/chile-no-est-en-guerra-v-1https://chilenoestaenguerra.bandcamp.com/album/chile-no-est-en-guerra-v-2

Thanks to Chris Kronfeld on the Bandcamp Techno Facebook group for a lot of these tips!

Feature image (CC-BY-SA) Andrew Smith.

The post Stock up on underground electronic music and techno for a Bandcamp Black Friday appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Gays Hate Techno talk non-commercial techno culture, with a killer compilation to match

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 19 Nov 2019 8:34 pm

Their festival has no wristbands. Their lineups aren’t blowing up on socials. But when Gays Hate Techno throws a party or does a compilation – like the one that just dropped – what you get is nothing but musical spirit.

It’s just the kind of subversive attitude that has infused the best electronic music. Since we can’t all make the gathering, Gays Hate Techno compilations can bring you some of that feeling directly through the music. The comps have easily become must-hear events, and version 4.0 is no different.

I spoke with GHT founder Matt Fisher and compilation producer Benjamin B. Orphan Eksouzian to get insight into how it all comes together. They bring a hopeful message for anyone who feels like they’re not finding community in electronic music – and a template for how to work together to get that groove back.

Oh yeah, and – since this is a compilation, we’ve got something to queue up for listening. (Don’t miss the corker of a track by friend-of-the-site David Abravanel, whose music has the perfect wit for the task.) There’s a full megamix of the music (which you can also get by subscribing to their podcast):

Images courtesy GHT, from their gathering.

Peter: I know this is a unique kind of group; can you explain how you imagine this group and how it works?

Matt: Gays Hate Techno isn’t a commercial promoter in the traditional sense. We don’t have a set roster, resident DJs, or a particular agenda. We organize around doing projects like the gathering and compilations that support the online community, not the other way around. In that way, the compilation and the gathering have the same objective — they’re ways we can promote and celebrate relationships that otherwise exist only or mostly online. 

Peter: The people I know who have been to your events say it’s a really special chance to come together. How does the gathering function for the group?

Matt: The format for the gathering is modeled after radical faerie gatherings and Burning Man-style encampments, so it has objectives that are different from, say, a commercial music festival. We’re a low-cost slumber party built around music, but a community-building event first and foremost. What I mean by that is that we rely on participation, volunteering, and spontaneity more than maybe a festival would. We also try to be as low cost as possible, and we maintain a travel fund that defrays costs for our women, trans, nonbinary performers and performers of color. 

Peter: So how does the community work – how do people participate?

Matt: Anybody can and should participate. Our structure is built around facilitating personal interactions as much as it is producing a music lineup. We have an open call for performers, and we leave room around our curated program time for an open program for spontaneous sets and projects. 

People volunteer to cook meals, help park cars and help set up stages. We ask everyone to donate 2 hours of their time. They also bring art, conduct harm reduction training, act as our medical team, give massages, do yoga and meditation. Obviously an event our size doesn’t particularly need 400 volunteers. The objective of the volunteering is much more about shaking people out of spectator mode and giving them an excuse to make new friends while being part of the event, not just part of the audience. 

I think that the social focus leads to better performances, by the way. We set up an environment that makes for relaxed, enthusiastic listening, and people who’ve let their guards down a little bit, and encourage the DJs and musicians to pursue more personal, farther-out ideas than maybe they normally get to explore. There’s a great feedback loop there. We’re all there as music fans, and as a supportive network.

Benjamin: In terms of the compilation process, as Matt stated above, we view these compilations as a creative product of the members of Gays Hate Techno. Our aim is to promote our members’ art and to showcase their original work as expressed through the musical genre of techno. 

To that end, each year (cycle) we announce a call to participate to the current members of the facebook group, email contacts from previous compilations, as well as a Discord group for folks who have decided to leave Facebook, but want to stay connected to the gathering and community. Members create all of the content – music, album artwork, promotional video work, press release copy, and in most years the audio mastering of tracks. 

We encourage volunteer work and participation to create a compilation that reflects our community. We require the artist to declare the work as their own and to confirm that it doesn’t contain samples that could present a licensing issue. Outside of that, we don’t reject works from an aesthetic critique standpoint. This year, for example, we had more artwork submissions for the album artwork than we could use and decided to let the Facebook group vote to determine the final piece to represent Gays Hate Techno IV.

Peter: At the risk of making you explain a joke, I have to ask – what’s the story with the name?

Matt: Gays Hate Techno is a joke name that came out of a conversation I had with friends in NYC back in 2010 or 2011. They were running a party at the Stonewall Inn that featured techno, tech-house, and minimal more than what at the time was typical gay male club music. It was the answer to the question: why’s it so hard to get people to come out to listen to better music? 

Each of the three words was meant sarcastically, of course, with a sort of Kathy Griffin-type ironic dismissiveness. A couple of days later, I put together the Facebook group as a way for us to just toss around and post tracks we liked. People invited friends, and it very, very quickly became an international group. People would comment that they didn’t know any other queer people who liked the music people were posting. So there was a desire to connect with other people this way.

CDM: Thanks to this whole crew – I’m tempted to call this group “Haters”? Do support the compilation and this wonderful community and give it a listen – and buy it if you like it.

GAYS HATE TECHNO IV

Featured artists you should get to know:

Jarvi aka Acid Daddy shares some of the background with us about their track – and it’s an essential and powerful story:

“i am honored to be included in the fourth edition of the Gays Hate Techno compilation! my track, “what they took from me i will never get back”, is a step towards healing. a sonic representation of my state of mind post-trauma, and the strain it has put on my interpersonal relationships because of the inflicted fear and pain. i am a survivor, but the memory is there with me each day i wake up, until the moments laying in bed before i drift to sleep.

since my abuse happened back home
in michigan, it is important for me to give back to the queer & trans folks there without medical help or accessibility. detroit, and michigan in general, have limited resources for LGBTQIA+ family, and there is no facility exclusively for queer and trans survivors of sexual abuse and rape, which is an important factor when you’re navigating this type of trauma. i have decided that i will match the sales of this record until december 18th of this year, and will be donating that on top of my own contribution to the Ruth Ellis Center, an organization in detroit that provides safe living for homeless queer and trans youth, support services, a drop in health center for wayne county residents who are medicaid eligible at no cost, and transition resources for trans youth, just to name a few. therapy is key in the healing process, and giving queer youth access to that is crucial.

i hope y’all enjoy the compilation. thank you for the continued support!…” –Jarvi Guðmundsdóttir aka Acid Daddy (excerpt from FB post)

https://www.facebook.com/synthezmanofficial/  
https://www.facebook.com/Trovarsiofficial/

More details and pictures from the gathering can be found on the official site:

gayshatetechno.com

The post Gays Hate Techno talk non-commercial techno culture, with a killer compilation to match appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

How focusing on one tool cured writers block, and made one sharp, chilly, ‘stoic’ EP

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 17 Sep 2019 5:04 pm

Tools and technology are often described as obstacles. But sometimes focusing on a tool can refine musical process and composition – as main(void) reveals.

And yes, the goal here is, as always, to cure writers’ block and finish something that you feel really happy with. Let’s first hear the finished item, as it’s got the kind of deliciously calculated, precise electronics that first drew me to Europe. It feels chilly, but still sensual – foreplay for cyborgs, you know, putting the tech in techno:

Working musicians all have to balance different gigs. An emerging role for us is working out how to take day jobs in designing tools and sound design, and use that experience to help us make our creative musical experience better.

In the case of main(void), aka Jan Ola Korte, it meant parlaying his work in 2018 designing sounds for Native Instruments’ TRK-01 into honing his music making process. He writes:

When I was working on the sound design for Native Instruments TRK-01 in 2018, I saved a few presets to use in my own music. These sounds and patterns ended up becoming the foundation of Stoicism, my first solo EP that was released Aug 21 on Spatial Cues. I had a little bit of a writer’s block situation, so I tried to resolve it by working within very restrictive parameters. All five original tracks on Stoicism use TRK-01 as the only sound source, processed through a number of effect plug-ins. Limiting myself in this way created a nicely coherent sound palette. Since I only used TRK-01’s internal sequencers, I arranged the tracks via automation in Ableton Live, which switched up my routine in an inspiring way. In the end, this workflow not only resolved the writer’s block but led to my most comprehensive release so far.

The basic idea of TRK-01 is to do just that – it puts some focused modules dedicated to dance production in a single place. There’s a kick module, bass, sequencer, and effects – but it’s not preset territory, as each module has a number of different engines. That is, the clever twist here is removing cognitive overhead (by simplifying and integrating the interface), without limiting your creative choices (since there is still a full spectrum of very different sounds you can get out of each module).

Even with that being said, you still might not be certain how to turn this into a completed track. Now, each person will find a different pathway there, but seeing how Jan works – a bit like working with a studio mate – can often give you that “ah ha, I could actually learn from this” feeling.

Jan asked if he should do a full narrated look at his working method. Answer: aber ja.

By the way, of course this also means that by keeping this focused, adapting the release to a live gig is far easier. You’ll be able to catch main(void) live at Griessmuhle, alongside some very special DJ friends like DJ Pete, Alinka, and Qzen, plus some great names, in late October in Berlin.

More music:

Site: http://www.spatialcues.com/

Oh and yeah, go grab the music on Bandcamp! This is the them problem with promo pools, I see some huge names are playing these tracks out but they got the music for free.

The post How focusing on one tool cured writers block, and made one sharp, chilly, ‘stoic’ EP appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Poland’s electronic underground called for support; the world answered with this music

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 20 Aug 2019 5:37 pm

In Poland, as queer groups and allies face a rising threat of violence and hate, the Oramics collective chose to respond with music. The result: a sprawling compilation of 121 tracks and international outpouring of support.

I definitely want to encourage you to grab the compilation, but also want to take this opportunity to give you a tour through some of the music here – including from some lesser-known and underground and Polish artists. So alongside some known international figures, like Peder Mannerfelt, Object Blue, Borusaide, Lee Gamble, Electric Indigo, and Rrose, you’ll get an excellent sampling of artists involved in Poland’s underground and queer communities. We’re fortunate that in dark and challenging times, we have music and emotion and celebratory and powerful sound, and not just, you know, the news.

A hypnotic video for this irresistible track – Bartosz Zaskórski and Rufus (animation) for Mchy i Porosty’s “not many friends.” (One of my favorites!)

This is not an abstract battle or “culture war”: in Poland as in an alarming number of places, basic rights of expression and safety are under assault, backed even by mainstream media and religious and governmental leaders. That’s put artists who I’ve worked with personally under real pressure and danger, among many others. It’s something you feel on a visceral level not only in Poland but in the fabric of the electronic music scene outside of the country, as well.

Out now, the “Total Solidarity” compilation gives sonic, musical form to a growing chorus of solidarity and protest. That network has brought together collectives, artists, curators, press, activist organizations, and concerned friends in a network inside and outside of the country. Total Solidarity demonstrates how deep that network is, and how many people have been touched by the political struggle and by these artists.

Over 100 tracks from the Polish underground and international electronic music scene come together on the digital release, available for fifty bucks on Bandcamp (or individually, by track). Poland’s Oramics collective joins Tilburg, Netherlands’ Drvg Cvltvre, who runs the label New York Haunted. The funds raised go directly to organizations battling homophobia and supporting queer communities.

http://oramicspl.bandcamp.com/album/total-solidarity-benefit-compilation-for-grassroot-lgbtqia-organizations-in-poland

“I think it is very important to show that music scene and culture will never accept hatred,” Justyna from Oramics tells us. “This was one of the main goals of this compilation – to gather people from all over the world and show support,” she says. “This symbolic support, kind of artistic / curatorial gesture of solidarity was the main goal I guess – all this which lies beyond fame, mainstream, underground and genre borders. This is the biggest success.”

Here are some highlights, and places to find more.

Justyna also shared some picks. “It was one of the goals to combine artists from literally everywhere,” she says. “Of course, it is important that we have so many amazing internationally acclaimed artists, because they are giving us all the incredible press — but how amazing it is to give some more visibility to those less known, but also super-talented.” Hell, yeah.

Here are a few of those picks – and I have to second these nominations.

Astma: Duy Gebord: Calum Gunn: Kaltstam: Mchy i Porosty: Ostrowski: Satin de Compostela: Warrego Valles: Wojciech Kurek:

I have listened to the whole compilation and love the whole thing, but to highlight even some more people, particularly those close to this scene, whose tracks really moved me:

Doc Sleep’s work I wrote about recently: ISNT has this dirty, noisy beauty: 3-3-3 is a punk-ish banger from Dyktanto of Brutaz: FOQL’s aptly named “Colony Collapse” is some delicious oddball mayhem from Justyna herself: There’s some genius, futuristic apocalypse going on in the music of Oramics’ Mala Herba: RSS BOYS and Eltron will be familiar to anyone following the Polish scene, but if not – know them! Electric Indigo added a smartly constructed electronic opus that CDM readers shouldn’t miss – Susanne being both a legend in the scene as an artist and founder of female pressure, which has been a template for many female/femme/activist groups since: Isabella’s chimey, crystalline creation sounds a bit like that cover art looks: Dr. Rey mastered over a hundred tracks to make this compilation happen, and their contribution is eerie and beautiful: Oh yeah, and I’m in there, too.

https://oramicspl.bandcamp.com/

Do go buy it whether by individual track or the whole compilation if you can. It reaches people in need:

All proceeds from the digital sales will support Polish queer organizations: Kampania Przeciw Homofobii and Miłość Nie Wyklucza, who monitor homophobia, provide all kind of support for queer people and have agreed to help us redistribute the proceeds throughout LGBTQIA+ organizations in smaller cities and towns of Poland, who need them the most.

We will be in touch with Oramics to hear how these organizing efforts are going, and what else the electronic music community can do there – and worldwide – to support people’s safety. It’s expressive freedom that has brought us to music and music technology, so if that’s not what we’re in the business of supporting, I’m not sure what we are doing.

For those near Berlin – Polish-born Rey for their part will also be leading their project The Womb, with a summer symposium for female-identified, non-binary and queer creatives and entrepreneurs, on 31 August. Kudos to Rey for this epic mastering job; see Uferlos Studios for more.

For more Oramics action, here’s the latest Behind The Stage podcast, with Szkoda:

More reading:

I got to write about Oramics a couple of times before:

And see also my chat with Dyktando, who also contributed to this compilation, from when I got to play with him last summer:

https://oramicspl.bandcamp.com/

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