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


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/

The post An underground resource brings house and techno back to its roots appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Listen to some gorgeous ambient music coming out on tapes

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Labels,Scene | Wed 31 May 2017 12:07 am

Okay, let’s try to put aside any hipster jokes for a moment. Maybe it’s a sign of the times that cassette tapes are becoming a scene for beautiful ambient and experimental music. It’s gotten to the point that you might find yourself paying to have a tape shipped to you, even if only to thank an artist for a download code.

Here are a couple of mixes that might just hook you on the medium all over again.

First , there’s Hainbach, whose YouTube channel full of live experiments and mixes is one of my favorite video subscriptions at the moment.

This mix unapologetically employs the aesthetics of lo-fi tape, and then mangles a bit more – with loops, with a delay, and with Koma Elektronik’s Field Kit instrument.

And that says something about what tape is – it’s not just a physical delivery mechanism, but a statement of aesthetics. The truth is, when tapes were new we had the opposite, glass-is-half-full approach. We were constantly worrying about degradation of sound and stressing over dirt and wear. It’s not just nostalgia that motivates the lo-fi approach; it’s hindsight. Now we can hear those sounds as independent from the medium, because we’ve heard the content (in digital) independently, too. And we also have easy access to techniques via the Internet that used to be the domain of a few specialists.

Anyway, you can also ignore the previous paragraph’s rambling and just listen to this great music:

A grungy, half-speed lofi mix I made in one take with two cassette recorders, the Koma Electronics Fieldkit and a delay. Among tape loops from me I mangle tapes by these fantastic artists:

Bus Gas – Live on Leave Us
r beny – Full Blossom of the Evening
Interlaken – Versaux
Benjamin Flesser – Funktionen
Me, Claudius – Reasons for Balloons
Billy Gomberg – Transitions
Item Caligo – Rest in Oblivion
Hainbach – Cello Pattern
Hainbach – The Evening Hopefuls

Cassettes are becoming a magnet for dark aesthetics and underground sounds, a new experiment in rarity and a rebellion against music’s recent disposable tendencies.

The Abyssal podcast takes this on with a deep dive into Night Gaunt Recordings out of Los Angeles. The medium’s aesthetic matches the sounds.

It’s not just obscure sounds here, either, with the likes of Helena Hauff and Silent Servant.

We proudly present you L.A.’s finest Do It Yourself cassette label called Night Gaunt Recordings. Night Gaunt Recordings is run by Ori and Chloe, both based in L.A.
Together they try to push a specific sound which is focused on experimental electronics. They had several releases with artists such as, Lower Tar, Worker/Parasite, J. de Sosa and many more. Their latest winter batch release with Adios Mundo Cruel (Pablo Dodero Carrillo’s moniker) with the title “Sombra de Cadenas, Cadena de Sombras” and Luiso Ponce with the title “Ultimo” has more EBM influences compared with some other releases. Those two releases contains strong, low and distorted synths. The first track on the tape by Adios Mundo Cruel called “Amensalismo” brings a trippy vibe with it which will make u move, a strong ebm loop strictly for the dancefloors!

Please enjoy this perfect compilation with tracks from their own releases including the Amensalismo track from their latest winter batch. and of course their most favourite records.

Visit their Bandcamp and make sure you cop one of their tapes.
nightgauntrecordings.bandcamp.com/

Tracklist:
Scott Walker- See You Don’t Bump His Head (4AD)
Adios Mundo Cruel- Amensalismo (Night Gaunt Recordings)
Silent Servant- Speed and Violence (Cititrax)
Vapauteen- Weld (L.I.E.S.)
The Chicago Shags- Streetgang
Sean Pierce- Battery (Clan Destine Records)
Worker/Parasite- Vermin (Night Gaunt Recordings)
Helena Hauff- Rupture (Solar One Music)
Oil Thief – Acquiesce (Chondritic Sound)
ADMX-71 – Disentangle Me (L.I.E.S.)
J. De Sosa- Lined, Separated and Marked (Night Gaunt Recordings)
A Thunder Orchestra – Shall I Do It? [Mick Wills Reconstruction #2] (Bio Rhythm)
Speaking Parts – Uninvinted Guest (No-Tech)
TV.OUT – Untitled (Parallax)
Vainio / Väisänen / Vega – Incredible Criminals (Blast First)
Pod Blotz – Flesh and Knives (Nostilevo)

LA’s darkness often has to be imagined; Berlin has the weather for it much of the year. AMOK Tapes, the cassette imprint from aforementioned Koma Elektronik, fits in perfectly with that manufacturer’s new Field Kit hardware – and has some terrific releases, to boot. Their newest compilation is a who’s who of the Berlin-centered electronic underground at the moment, a reasonable field guide to that scene.

Out today physically and digitally: over one hour’s worth of mutant industrial and techno by friends, allies and strangers to AMOK Tapes. C71 cassettes are professionally duplicated and vacuum-sealed with download code included.
Preview: https://goo.gl/VEw6zm
Purchase: https://goo.gl/FDqTw3
Tracklist:
A1. Cryptic Mantra – Less Is For Losers
A2. Alexey Volkov – Sadist GmbH
A3. Drvg Cvltvre – Devils With Dead Eyes And Shark Smiles
A4. Vittorio Di Mango – Dream
A5. 3.14 – Stomach
A6. tot – Smile And Distrust
B1. Human Performance Lab – Realms
B2. BLUSH_RESPONSE vs. Bakunin Commando – Neon Blood Goddess
B3. Unhuman – Nezilla
B4. Ontal – Expanding Symmetry
B5. Verset Zero – Baal

There are many ways in which it matters that these are on tapes. There’s also some part of me that says it doesn’t matter. If we have to put tape on a Zip drive, then gaffer tape that Zip drive and a USB adapter to a brick, then write a set of riddles for finding the brick – for great music, at this point, it may be worth it.

The post Listen to some gorgeous ambient music coming out on tapes appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Berghain, by the numbers: data on the relentless Berlin techno club

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Tue 23 May 2017 1:51 pm

In the era of fake news and big data for corporations, there’s an obvious antidote: getting actual data for yourself.

So, it’s a given that too many words have been spilt over Berlin’s Berghain. But in trying to portray the club’s hype or mystique, I notice that there’s not often much discussion of its consistency. And to understand how techno and in a broader sense electronic music and the various fashions about it are projected into the world, understanding that consistency is key. If a club is repeatedly pushing out long queues every Saturday and Sunday night (yes, Sunday), and if that is having the influence that Berghain does on bookings elsewhere, on musical aesthetics, and even on how people dress, then part of what you’re actually describing is consistency. These are all measures of repetition.

So, what are the actual numbers? Musician and developer Olle Holmberg aka Moon Wheel is a geek and coder as well as a musician. So, curiosity evidently led him to write a JavaScript app to crawl Berghain’s Website – from late 2009 to present.

You can check out that Google Doc. And of course someone could write a better script – or even try to do other analyses on other clubs.
Berghain — all sets 2009-2017 (data from berghain.de events pages) [berghain.de]

This isn’t revealing any secrets in the club. Quite the contrary: it’s taking public-facing information, and separating the reality from people’s perception.

Now, I’m not one to just say “hey, let’s post a story on Berghain to see if it works as clickbait.” I actually find the results interesting. One thing that particularly struck me about Berghain regulars was their tendency to swoon “oh my God, the lineup this weekend is amazing” – then go on to describe the residents playing on the program.

More analysis will require more work, but we can at least pull up the artists who play most often (and they do so by such a large margin that even minor bugs in the crawling/scripting won’t make so much difference).

The top 25:

1. Boris 99
2. Sammy Dee 88
3. Norman Nodge 86
4. Zip 85
5. Marcel Dettmann 80
6. Fiedel 76
7. Ben Klock 75
8. nd_baumecker 73
9. Marcel Fengler 71
10. Len Faki 70
11. Steffi 68
12. Ryan Elliott 65
13. Tama Sumo 63
14. Nick Höppner 62
15. Margaret Dygas 58
16. Soundstream 49
17. Virginia 49
18. Answer Code Request 45
19. Dinky 42
20. Gerd Janson 41
21. Efdemin 40
22. Function 38
23. Kobosil 37
24. DVS1 35
25. Oliver Deutschmann 35

Olle tells CDM that at least one or two people who have seen the numbers have already expressed interest in doing analysis on gender and measures of diversity.

I can at least eyeball these 25. In case you’re wondering, five out of those top twenty five are female, so we’re far from any gender parity even in one of the world’s more progressive big venues. The top of the list is also overwhelmingly white, although it’s also fairly German. (That says something about residents versus guests, of course – and about who is settling into Berlin for the long term. It’s not exclusively German. Dinky is from Santiago, Chile. DVS1 was born in Leningrad, USSR, but grew up in the USA. Boris cut his teeth in the scene with none other than Larry Levan in New York’s Paradise Garage.)

They’re also all there for a reason. The reason for the German representation is also a story about how the music scene in the country has grown up since the 90s, with many of these residents having made their mark in the labels and parties that helped define the scene since the fall of the Wall, whether Sammy Dee and the Perlon label or Ben Klock and Marcel Dettmann and the homegrown Ostgut label. These artists are German, but they tend to come from smaller towns in both east and west parts of the country.

Speaking of consistency and longevity and day jobs, Norman Nodge is even a lawyer.

So if there’s nothing surprising here, what is here is a metric of what is successfully unsurprising. (That also applies to the value many of these names have in booking. See also the Ostgut booking operation, who hilariously warn that they won’t offer table reservations. That’s hilarious because I’m sure someone is regularly writing and asking. I wonder where people imagine the tables are.)

If you scroll through the raw data, you’ll see more of the untold story of Berghain as the larger complex of event spaces and programs. As the Website publishes not only the club’s best-known too floors, Panorama and the titular Berghain, but also Laboratory, Halle am Berghain, and Kantine am Berghain (the former canteen of the power station), including various special events, you’ll get all sorts of names. (Mine even pops up a couple of times through those weird loopholes, without even me having involved North Korean hackers.) In recent weeks, that also includes a more leftfield program at the club’s new Säule space.

But there’s a deeper message, and it’s one about consistency and repetition. Part of what allows us to get your attention in the press is to try to pass off something as new. But behind the scenes, the other thing that press, bookers, publicists, clubs are all doing is actually about priming you to see certain ideas and certain people as important. And that’s in fact about repetition – reinforcing name recognition and making ideas.

So there’s something to that Sunday ritual. For better or for worse, if you look at the top names here, these are really the foundation of this Berghain effect.

This is, of course, just one club, even if a vital one. I think while numbers don’t tell a whole story, it’s great to have some actual data and do some real research. (And the data can be thought of as a first step, not a last.) So I hope, as with female:pressure‘s analysis of gender on festival lineups, we continue to gather data and use more than just our own limited perception to understand music scenes.

Google Spreadsheet

Oh yeah, and if anyone wants to crowd-source fitness tracker data to see how much you’re dancing, let us know!

The post Berghain, by the numbers: data on the relentless Berlin techno club appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

This dummy’s guide to making techno is oddly compelling to watch

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Thu 4 May 2017 6:22 pm

How simple is techno – that genre that seems unstoppable, from Asia to Antarctica? It’s simple enough that it can be reduced to … six steps. No, kind of – seriously.

I expected to have my intelligence insulted by this video, and yet … uh, well, I’m an addict, because it just made me want to go make some new percussion samples. The approach is oddly on point and – let’s be honest – looks like fun.

You don’t need six steps, even, as I’m not sure what that acappella is about.

(The video was evidently created by artist Hobo, aka Canada/Detroit artist Joel Boychuk. And maybe part of why this works is, he’s a great artist.)

So, wait, before either a) some techno purists scoff at how wrong this is or how it’s just a joke, or b) some techno haters scoff at how this proves techno isn’t even music … let’s talk about what’s going on here.

So here’s my theory. Even before I get into my “techno is the new folk music” spiel, I can say this:

Making techno is like making pasta.

Anyone can make pasta. Anyone can enjoy making pasta. You can dump in a box of dry pasta, boil it, dump a can of tomato sauce on it and some cheese, and it’s pretty delicious. That might … cause … health problems after a while, so you can make pasta out of veggies or gluten-free pasta. You can add meat or fish or whatever. It’s still a pretty simple thing.

Even the sophisticated ways of making great pasta are not hard to understand. There are recipes. There are video tutorials. You can do it.

None of that accessibility has made pasta less desirable. (Again, if you’re anti-carbs, you can even do this veggie pasta thing – insert “experimental techno” forms here.)

Pasta is available all over the world now.

And yet even given all those things, none of this has robbed expert chefs of making truly exceptional pasta. What they’re doing is fundamentally no different from what you’re doing. You can even learn from what they’re doing and improve your dinner. But they’re still able to master truly great pasta, because that’s not about complexity, but about nuance.

And the beauty of simplicity is, it allows you to focus on nuance. When the template is this basic, then it’s obvious that variation is everything. And some of those variations can be discovered in an instant.

Of course, it’s possible I’m totally wrong, and the use of pans for sampling threw me off, or this is all ridiculous and I’m actually just hungry. But that’s okay, because some noodles will satisfy me, and then I won’t really care about what anyone else thinks, and I won’t really even need a metaphor.

Actually – that last bit may have been more important than any of the others.

And Hobo is still a master chef.

https://www.facebook.com/hobo.soundz/

The post This dummy’s guide to making techno is oddly compelling to watch appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Remembering experimental idol and Pan Sonic founder Mika Vainio

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Thu 13 Apr 2017 11:16 pm

Finnish musician Mika Vainio is likely an inspiration to anyone who loves the sensation of electrified sound in its raw form – bare, exposed, vibrating, voltaic.

Mika Vainio is a thread running through so much of experimentalism in the past three decades of electronic music – noise to industrial to techno. News reaches us today that he died at the age of 53.

mika-vainio

If now electronic music’s dark underground vein has become popular, then his fingerprints are all over that transformation. I can see just how many people he’s touched and how deeply moved they’ve been by his work just by browsing through my social feed, which has become flooded with remembrances.

In addition to being a solo artist (under his own name, or Ø or Philus), he is co-founder of Pan Sonic (originally dubbed Panasonic), co-founder and label head of the Sähkö label (with Tommi Grönlund), and contributed an extraordinary roster of collaborations with figures like Fennesz, Merbow, Franck Vigroux, and Charlemagne Palestine.

And he developed an idiosyncratic approach to hardware performance, eschewing anything like a laptop in favor of minimal, noisy configurations of hardware, applied with restraint and unleashed into sonic ecstasies.

I certainly welcome more remembrances if you’re looking for a place to host them. In the meantime, some essential obituaries from our colleagues:

Pitchfork’s Phil Sherburne eulogizes the artist, and offers up a listening guide that will be essential to those of you who arne’t yet familiar with his music, as well as an inspiration to those of you who are:

7 Songs Perfectly Capturing Pan Sonic’s Mika Vainio

FACT recaps his life, and organizes remembrances found online:

Electronic Beats had a backstage interview with him and Actress on a – provocative theme – at MaerzMusik in Berlin in 2015:

MIKA VAINIO AND ACTRESS TALK ABOUT ERADICATING TECHNO

Here are just a few gorgeous selections from his work:

Friend of CDM David Abravanel writes up these memories on social media — which I find doubly poignant as I fondly recall these being the two live shows I saw, as well, at David’s side:

The first time I saw Mika Vainio was at an intimate show at NK in 2011 ([curated by] Farahnaz Hatam). He had a large homemade rig covered in unlabeled knobs, on which he played what seemed like 10 minutes of piercing high tones, and 15-20 minutes of punishingly low tones. Then he slinked back off and I tried to digest one of the more sonically extreme performances I’d seen.

The second time was at Berghain, 2013. He’d released his album, Kilo, and fittingly his live set had changed to include a few samplers/drum machines (Korg Electribes, if anyone’s curious), and some massive heavy metal Ampeg amps. His hair was longer. It felt suitably over-the-top and heavy.

It’s fitting to see Mika Vainio’s legacy as a kind of long tapestry – his approach to electric sound itself treated it as medium, as fabric.

Here he is live, demonstrating how cosmic voids could open up out of impossibly minimal rigs, as if he had opened up a door to another dimension. We hope he’s found his way into that dimension – and our deepest condolences to his friends and family. We’re profoundly sorry to see him go.

Electronic music and the art of textile share many traits such as machinic repetition, processes of layering and textural development. In a rare encounter between electronic abstract music and the art of tapestry, the electronic music virtuoso Mika Vainio has composed a new composition called Trollklangveggen based on Hannah Ryggen’s work Trollveggen.

Previously (our interview with his long-standing collaborator):

Interview – Franck Vigroux is celebrating technology but resisting normality

mika_vainio_turku

The post Remembering experimental idol and Pan Sonic founder Mika Vainio appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

How Dutch archives turned into a Lakker AV show about water

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Mon 10 Apr 2017 7:45 pm

Wade in the water, indeed. Set the Irish duo Lakker loose in a Dutch film archive, and what you get is a dense, heavy experimental techno album and a live show exploring the Netherlands’ ongoing battle with the sea.

It’s a 2016 album, but even if you caught it before, now we get some insight into its evolution into a

Even before you get the sense of the historical narrative behind it, the music itself is evocative, dark, and rich. I actually like that we’re calling all this music “techno” now – this isn’t in the four-in-the-floor sense, yet the influence of that music on futuristic sounds and bass-heavy spectrum is clear. And now, with adventurous clubs and festivals having cultivated the audience for it, it is something you could hear booked overnight on a dance floor. Crowds have an appetite for dark and even nightmarish ear spelunking. And woven in there are the rhythms and movement that club experience can provide. You can give it a listen on Spotify for a taste:

But there is a narrative behind that.

Whereas for so long tech had been about an endless, sometimes superficial pursuit of the new and novel, now media archaeology is an increasingly present aspect of artistic practice. That is, you can mine the old to product something new, folding together past, present, and future.

Collaborations with institutions are essential to making that a success. In this case, the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision offers its RE:VIVE Initiative, which opens up archives to electronic music. They’ve done releases, performances, and even sound packs you can download:

http://revivethis.org/

Lakker have a long-standing practice of deep commitment to creative sound design, and in the case of visualist Dara Smith, to visual work. So, with RE:VIVE, they dug deep into the archives to construct a new album and performance. And they found in their theme the history of a country that has managed to survive for centuries below sea level.

There’s a fifteen minute documentary on the project:

The duo tell us that led them to talk even with top engineers and academics to understand what it means for a society to contend with water levels. (The relevance to those of us outside of the Netherlands in the age of climate change needs no explanation, of course.)

And they hope the result, in their words, will “capture humanity’s ongoing struggle with nature’s devastating power, our militaristic counterforce and the serenity found somewhere in between as we move towards an uncertain future.”

But how do you get from archives to new work?

From a text from the duo:

During the album writing process, one analogy that kept surfacing was that of the “Sonic magnifying glass” and how Lakker could use various audio processes to dig deeper into the archival material and reveal hidden sounds.

You’ll hear those murky sounds all over the record, producing landscapes of howling seas and powerful weather. There’s a detailed deconstruction

But there is a visual aspect, too — one that scans through the archives and algorithmically processes into the visual show — and triggering music and sonic performance in the process. They’re working with Derivative’s TouchDesigner, a graphical development environment for Windows designed for patching together visuals. Watch the results:

To exploit this with the films, Smith created a real-time video editing system using Ableton Live and TouchDesigner that allowed him to search through the video footage and create synced loops that emphasize the underlying music. As with sounds, in films, the real interesting material is sometimes obfuscated which can only be revealed by isolating and accentuating. For the films, Smith conceived a way of focusing on small loops of time and also zooming in on specific areas of each frame, drawing attention to minutiae that the eye misses.

A scanning system is reading pixel information from the archive video footage and this data through Touch Designer and then Ableton is creating and triggering samples, sounds and notes that are then integrated into the musical live set.

This data that is being transferred between the two programs via OSC [Open Sound Control] can be used to manipulate the music in any number of ways. The System is also set up that either preset video clips are used or else the video from the archive can be scanned through live and edited on the fly into loops and clips that sync with the music. Therefore, we have added a musical entity to the soundscape that is directly linked to the archival video footage.

se_patch_full_noto

se_patch_full

se_patch_detail

Now, a lot of people tend to think in terms of “generative” works and VJing or “video mixing” broadly. This demonstrates that video can be generative — not only in the sense of living inside an interactive, graphical development environment like TouchDesigner, but also in the way in which video is manipulated live as a dynamic medium. That contrasts with the conventional approach to VJing with videos via two-channel mixing and timeline slicing.

I know Dara and Ian have been working on this in their live shows for some time, building a language by which visual and sound can relate. I got some peek at this, even, when we played a show together – it’s not so much about automation as it is strengthening an aesthetic connection.

Now, in this piece, that’s bound up with the content itself in what seems a beautiful way.

I really hope to get to see the full show live.

Thanks to Dara for providing CDM with this text and images, including an exclusive look inside their TouchDesigner patch!

edit-0-01-18-15

edit-0-00-43-20

https://soundcloud.com/lakker

http://lakker.com

The post How Dutch archives turned into a Lakker AV show about water appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Watch artist Blawan go hands-on with the monster Arturia MatrixBrute

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Tue 4 Apr 2017 5:29 pm

The term “beast” may be overused in describing synthesizers, but the massive, heavy, feature-packed Arturia MatrixBrute certainly deserves the term. Now, we get to hear and watch as Blawan takes us on a tour.

Blawan is one of my favorites in adventurous techno, not least for his unique skills in playing live – because finding great DJs is still considerably easier than finding artists who can produce on the spot. So he’s a smart match to launch a new series pairing artists with gear, run by Electronic Beats and German-language Bonedo.

Now’s a good time – the MatrixBrute has been around a while, and has even added more features (because it didn’t have enough?!) like real-time recording and a matrix arpeggiator.

I love that this thing exists, even if I’m not sure I’d want one myself. It’s inspiring in that it seems to have said yes to everything it possibly could.

And this is a terrific tour. If you have more questions for Arturia, I’m also catching up with them, both in Frankfurt this week at Musikmesse and again in Berlin for Superbooth.

Also, I want to go hands-on soon in the studio with DrumBrute – which is, let’s say, both smaller and more affordable than this.

https://www.arturia.com/products/hardware-synths/matrixbrute/overview

The post Watch artist Blawan go hands-on with the monster Arturia MatrixBrute appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Demian Licht on transmitting knowledge, being a demon of the light

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Wed 8 Mar 2017 7:26 pm

Demian Licht is building a portal – one connecting us to a new future, one scrapping the parts of society holding people back, one linking the world. She’s not just making techno – she’s making a statement about the future with her music and practice, one that resonates with Detroit’s pioneers and the bleeding-edge aspirations of a new generation today.

Oh, and there’s some strange physical portal involved, too, one purportedly located at the geographic center of Mexico – uh, maybe. But you might want to watch that spot.

So, not only did we want to hear more about Demian Licht’s approach to music after being wowed by her Female Criminals series (now up to two volumes plus one excellent remix album), we wanted to hear about her thoughts on society, too. Demian is one of the top Ableton trainers you’ll find worldwide, and her knowledge and skills go well beyond just using that one tool into deep explorations of sound and meaning.

We take a look inside her studio, and get some of this knowledge transmitted directly our way, too – and have a glimpse at some of the emerging scene in Mexico and her own next audiovisual opus. And lately you were probably thinking the future was looking dim.

demian-licht_cce_web-72

Peter: Let’s start with the theme “Female Criminals.” I know you had these personas in mind in the first volume. How has that evolved in volume 2? What’s your connection to the theme, or what are we hearing in this release?

Demian: Female Criminals is my script to explore sonically the deepest side of the female mind: the dark side, the savage, the intuitive, the mystical — skills of women by nature, but that have been suppressed by society for centuries.

Vol. 1 has been my first approach to exploring the ‘criminal’ side of the female mind. I am using this term not as an obscure way to think about it; it’s more in the sense of the ‘forbidden’ which has been imposed by society by blocking the real nature and power of the female mind. With this mindset, Vol. 2 narrates the history of a crime made by a woman from the desire to the act.

There’s to me a really cinematic quality to the music. Can you tell us a bit about the different vocal sample sources in these tracks? What about instrumentation, too, also connecting to the theme?

Definitely, and that was my main intention. I’ve always been interested in the cinema field; I want it to translate the cinematic language into a sonic experience. For this volume, I’ve re-sampled a piece of a wonderful Finnish composer, Kaija Saariaho, that has touched me really deeply. I’ve used a ‘secret weapon’ inside Native Instruments Reaktor to completely change the structure and sound of the piece. I’ve used some of the edited results of this experiment to construct the history of Vol. 2. 3.

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I can imagine these tracks both in a listening sense but also for the dance floor – do you DJ with these, as well? Or how do you see the role of the DJ in your work?

I’ve always presented my work as live. I am interested in exploring the challenges and possibilities of performing live electronic music. All mixes and podcasts I’ve done have used Ableton. However, I’m starting to receive some interesting proposals for DJ sets, such as BBC Radio, for instance.

Probably now is the time to start challenge me further as a DJ.

You’re a certified trainer, and of course came out and participated in their conference Loop here in Berlin with us in the fall. Is there a relationship between being an educator and a producer for you? Has that technical development been something you apply in your music production? Does it inform your creativity?

Totally. My knowledge in this field started when I decided to study sound engineering. But when I felt I really mastered the concepts and techniques related to music production was when I learned to transmit this knowledge to other people.

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Of course, working as a trainer, you’ve got people on a different level. Where do you start with them? How far in do you get, or what have you found is most useful to people working with you?

Yes, I’ve worked with people of all kind of backgrounds, musical preferences, and ages. To give you a broader perspective about what I teach, it starts from electronic music history (extremely important) — Theremin, Musique concrète, Krautrock, etc. — to essential audio digital/analog theory, Ableton workflow, signal processing, synthesis, into designing a granular sampler in [Native Instruments] Reaktor.

I think my main teaching skill is that I try to make technical concepts easier to digest.

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You’ve talked in other interviews and even in the label statement about your relationship to Mexico. I know both feelings about sexism and the change in the country are things I’ve spoken at length with my Mexican friends and colleagues about … and, for that matter, with other Americans about the state of these issues in our own country.

Given everyone is describing this as some kind of change, what’s your sense of the current moment in your city and nation?

Through history, particularly within Mexican and Latin American culture which I come from, the female figure has had a passive role inside society. The Female Criminals trilogy is my statement to shunt this misconception.

We are living in a moment of worldwide changes. I believe it’s time to break down old paradigms, to be able to arrive into the next level as a society, as humanity. Besides, I’ve received comments from people that don’t know me very well including the label boss of a well-respected label (which I won’t mention) referring to me as ‘bro’ or [saying “well done, ‘man’,” as my name is asexual and in some press pictures you can’t see my face. But mainly I think because my music aesthetic is not ‘effeminate’. Therefore, this is a well proof of it. No labels, no paradigms anymore.

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Is music something that can play a role in this societal change? What does that mean for you individually versus as part of a larger scene or community?

It’s a process. With the Female Criminals releases, I’ve had feedback from all over the world, which to be honest I’m very impressed by, as I’ve been doing everything in a very independent way as I’m not on a big label. On the road, I’ve had help from friends, producers that I appreciate a lot, such as Ian McDonnell aka Eomac, who has given me advice and contacts to be able to understand how the music industry works. But in general, I’ve made everything by myself, like producing my videos, tours, etc., with my label Motus Records.

I remember a particular message from an Asian girl who wrote me through my Facebook page saying ‘You are the future’. It was really stunning to me. From the early beginning, the electronic music field has been the way to challenge myself,evolve as a human, and provoke movement ‘motus’. (“Movement” in Latin)

I truly believe music and specifically electronic music as technology could be the path to take humanity to the next level, as music is probably the only link that connects all cultures of the world. So, by sharing the vision exposed earlier by Jeff Mills and techno producers from Detroit, I’m on this field as I visualize advancement, progress, and future ‘Zukunft’ by using electronic music and technology as a vehicle to make it happen.

I think my brief impression of Mexico City was, like so many of my Berlin-based friends, really of a rich sonic environment (the city itself) and then a terrific array of musical talent in the scene. What impact has it had on you working there? What influence has Mexico had?

I’m not living in Mexico City anymore. I recently moved to a city close by, and I’m planning to move to a town which probably is the most beautiful and mystical in Mexico, located at the country’s center, called San Miguel de Allende. It’s near Tequisquiapan, where there’s a strange monument that marks the center of the country — a kind of portal.

I have projects in the near future in this place intending to connect Mexico with the world (and other worlds) by using technology and avant-garde music as a link.

But by being born, growing up, making sound engineering studies, and living in Mexico City, I realize that even with the chaos, pollution, criminality, social and politics problems, Mexico City is a colorful place, full of life and future. This city has given me the strength to survive in any place in the world, as you must be very bold and fearless to survive in it.

Any artists or other elements of the scene in Mexico City we should check out? (Anywhere to go when we’re hopefully back?)

In terms of artists based in Mexico City, I advice to check out Dig-it, AAAA and A_rp. In terms of places to explore, definitely the main one is the Museum of Anthropology which personally is my favorite in the world. You will find the powerful heritage and wisdom of all the ancient cultures that built the beginning of Mexican history.

Can you tell us a bit about the artists on the remix album? These aren’t necessarily names I know, and there’s some great stuff there, as well.

The artists that I have invited to remix Female Criminals vol. 1 are the ones who I feel are more related with my music aesthetics. I find them to be honest artists taking risks with their work in the current Mexican music scene.

For instance, Dig-it is releasing amazing techno music with his label Vector Functions; AAAA is touring in South America with international artists, and Ar_p is pushing boundaries with his live act.

Lastly, I want to ask about this theme of violence in music, and particularly techno. We talk a lot about adding darkness or demons to the music somehow. And yet somehow the experience can be the reverse – the darker or more violent the music can get, sometimes, the more grounding it can be to listen and dance to, at least for me.

What’s the experience of violence as an emotion in this music? Is it catharsis? Is it related to real violence, or has it become emotionally something else for you? I don’t mean to take the title too literally – but as it’s satisfying for me to listen to, I’m curious what your emotional connection is?

‘Dark’ or ‘obscure’ is the easiest way to describe powerful, driven, wild, forward-thinking music. Personally. this is the only kind of music that can provoke me.

I need to feel a kind of visceral-ism within music to be able to feel attracted to it, or touched by it. I’m not interested in music for ‘entertainment’ or recreation, maybe because I feel I am a kind of demon — a demon of the light.

Upcoming visuals

Demian also tells us she’s got an AV project ready to go:

On this March 25th I will premiere my new A/V show alongside Olaf Bender aka Byetone co-founder of German label Raster-Noton. The premiere will be hosted by an event called Ciclo in a particular place which possess an occult power called Convento Ex-Teresa located exactly in the center of Mexico City, where Mexican history has begun.

And to give you a taste of her cinema work, here’s her original video for “Domina” – material that will be incorporated into that show:

https://motusrecords.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/demianlichtmusic/

Previously:
Don’t miss Demian Licht’s wonderfully terrifying new release

The post Demian Licht on transmitting knowledge, being a demon of the light appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Don’t miss Demian Licht’s wonderfully terrifying new release

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Thu 2 Mar 2017 1:51 pm

Demian Licht’s music is frenetic and frightening, but precise, cinematic sonic thriller with an insistent pulse. And the Mexico City-based artist has done it again, following up in less than a year the first installment of her Female Criminals with Female Criminals, Vol. 2.

CDM is talking to Demian this week, but I wanted to give you extra time with the music first, in case you’d missed it.

as premiered on Crack Magazine

At a moment in techno when so much music falls back on the same tropes, Female Criminals is film noir and not just dark. Club drum sounds act as a reference against dense, relentless cut-up samples, thickly-layered forward lead synths and vocals. This is music that’s unrestrained, maximalist stuff.

But then, Demian is also one of the world’s leading Ableton Live clinicians, having spoken at Ableton Loop and a key voice in mastering the software as instrument. I think that matters: while I wouldn’t question the place of punk aesthetics in electronic music, it seems you need some counterbalance of people who master the technology and can push their sound accordingly.

demianlicht_promo

With Nina Sonk, Demian Licht has also started the label she’s releasing on – meaning she’s not subject to the whims and tastes of the big techno outlets at the moment. And there’s a political message, too, underlined by the label’s claim to be the first two be founded by women:

Motus from the Latin (motion, advance, progress) is created with the primary intention of spread and support the work of emerging artists in the electronic music field and to promote the use of technology for music creation and movement within a country that is in a transition process and which has been stuck by sexist ideas, but that nevertheless in which faithfully believe that possees a wide creative potential that needs to be diffused to the world.

A country stuck in its sexist ideas, in a period of transition? Well, as an American, I’ll just have to, um… use my… imagination. Eep.

But you know, I will say, I’ve been forwarding around this record to all my friends who lately were complaining (understandably) about being bored by promos and needing something new. Like the first volume of Female Criminals, the new music, true to the name “Motus,” is advancing the state of the art.

Oh, and by the way, that’s $120 MXD, not USD!

Have at the releases:

https://motusrecords.bandcamp.com/

The post Don’t miss Demian Licht’s wonderfully terrifying new release appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

System 80 is a control-for-control 808 clone in Eurorack

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 26 Jan 2017 11:14 pm

Wait… I don’t think I’ve ever basically said everything I needed to say in a story right in the headline before, but… yeah.

This is a control-for-control 808 clone in Eurorack.

And for anyone disappointed that Roland didn’t do a TR-08 Boutique Series at NAMM, here’s one that is probably exactly as analog fans would want it. You get the layout of the original 808, if a bit miniaturized and squashed, but control-for-control an image of the original. You get independent outs for each part. You get CV I/O for connecting to other modules. It’s Eurorack. It’s 60HP. It looks like there’s even onboard MIDI.

There’s no other info, but I betcha that mailing list will fill up fast.

Hi, System 80 makers – it’s your friendly CDM here, you know, the folks who used to awkwardly have “digital” in their name but now have just an even more awkward acronym that no one can say. Do let us know what you’re up to. Love ya bye!

http://system80.net/

Updated! It’s all going to be open source hardware!

While we remain committed to it, the open source hardware front has been a bit sleepy lately. This could change that.

Timo Rozendal tips us off that engineer Jeff Lee is responsible for this beauty. And even better, hardware and firmware alike will be open source. Check them out here:

https://github.com/minisystem/TR-808-Clone

There’s also an Instagram to follow:

https://www.instagram.com/minisystem/

More of Jeff’s work – on a “hybrid analog polysynth”:

http://polysynth.tumblr.com/

The post System 80 is a control-for-control 808 clone in Eurorack appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

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