dewanatron

Pictures at an Exhibition: Essential New Gear and Reflections from NAMM

Dewanatron’s Brian and Leon were on-hand with their unique inventions. Photos by Marsha Vdovin for CDM. For the lover of musical instruments and technology, southern California’s NAMM show is a giant toy shop. It’s work for many of its attendees, of course, but we know many of our readers dream of the objects that will make their next creations. And sure, inspiring lust is not our aim; on the contrary, there is some love that goes into these things. In the ideal, that’s the relationship of creator and consumer. These are things not to be bought and discarded, but kept …

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Listen: LA’s Brainfeeder Label Shares Free Sampler; More Gilles Peterson Winners in London

Brainfeeder at work. Photo (CC-BY-NC-SA) Theo Jemison Photography. Writing about music may indeed be like dancing about architecture, so why not give music a listen? If you’re not already familiar with the terrific Los Angeles label Brainfeeder, founded by Flying Lotus, now’s the time to discover its artists. If you are familiar with them, you barely need read this blurb before skipping ahead to a lovely compilation. Onboard: Thundercat, Martyn, Samiyam, Tokimonsta, The Gaslamp Killer, Jeremiah Jae, Taylor McFerrin, Teebs, Austin Peralta, Matthewdavid, Mono/Poly (the artist, not the synth, but we can love both), plus (exclusive) Lapalux. BRAINFEEDER SAMPLER [Download, …

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debug

New NAMM Music Gear in a Nutshell (English + Deutsch) with De:Bug

Photo (CC-BY-NC-SA) Henrik Berggren. De:Bug is one of my favorite reads in music technology. And while I can fake my way through French and Spanish, De:Bug is also the one non-English publication I read daily. So I’m gratified to get to write a byline for the publication, which someone was nice enough to translate into German. For our German-speaking readers, you actually don’t have to read this one in English (though there’s an English version, to) In this story, I pick out the major themes in new music tech at the NAMM show this month in Anaheim, California: Winter NAMM …

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kaossilator2

Korg’s Kaossilator 2, Mini Kaoss 2: Handheld Sonic Fun That’s Not an iPhone

Photo: Marsha Vdovin for CDM. Remember when electronic sound gear hid in hulking, rack-sized cases? Korg’s Kaossilator series had already begun shrinking the desktop KAOSS Pad gear, but even the first-generation Kaossilator wouldn’t fit in your pocket, given its square shape and corners. (Well, unless you were wearing overalls.) The Kaossilator 2 and Mini Kaoss Pad 2, on the other hand, are scaled perfectly to your hand and would tuck neatly into a pocket in your pants or bag. And while I know some readers were hoping for a new Pro addition to the KAOSS line, these little bundles of …

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Like a Wheel Within a Wheel: Beautiful Optical Turntables Generate Spinning Rhythms

Music is deeply tied up with motion; seeing that in a machine is somehow satisfying. Soundmachines, from the enigmatically-titled Berlin studio TheProduct*, is an interactive physical installation made from optical turntables. By moving the “tone arm” – really in this case an optical sensor attached to an extended mount – you can change rhythms and sound sweeps. We’ve naturally seen many visualizations, tangible and digital, that make loops into wheels. But it’s worth noting the particular connection to a kinetic experiment by The Books’ Nick Zammuto from the film earlier this week. In fact, my one criticism of this piece …

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bc1_rh

Curating Sound: Exploring Performance and Embodiment, in Live Excerpts and Analysis from BodyControlled

Continuing our insight into this view into electronic music performance and art through the lens of BodyControlled in Berlin, we’re joined by guest writer Kristin Trethewey. Kristin, a Canadian-born video artist and curator, takes another look at LEAP and BodyControlled, on the eve of its second installment. She gets straight at the question of what “BodyControlled” means, and what it can mean for sonic performance and creation. And I wanted to make sure to subtract myself from this write-up, seeing as I was playing – but see the excellent timelapse of the evening, above. -Ed. LEAP is one of these …

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Watch Artists Talk About Making Sound From Matter; Thursday Event and Stream in Transmediale Prelude

Alex Nowitz for BodyControlled #2 from CDM on Vimeo. Electronic media artist Mario de Vega (Mexico City/Berlin) says his work plays with the creation of “unstable systems.” As part of the official Vorspiel, or lead-up, to Berlin’s massive Transmediale festival, here we get to visit two artists working with the materiality of live performance, drawing from the festival theme of “in/compatible.” The sonic environments they create seem poised on the brink of sonic chaos, a dance at the edge of entropy. CDM will again be editorial co-presenter of BodyControlled; you can see the show for free (donation suggested) in Berlin …

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Zammuto_Redbox

Music Making, and Living, with The Books’ Nick Zammuto, in a Touching Short Film

When we say “handmade music,” we really mean this sense of crafting something , of touching something – not so much the technique or the technology as the intention behind what you do. In a striking film portrait of Nick Zammuto for nakedmusicians.com, the craft of living is spotlighted as much as the craft of music making. Nick, is known for his role in duo The Books (with Dutch-born Paul de Jong), and their distinctive, rhythmic, homebrewed-original sound. Here, he covers his manipulations of everything physical and temporal. Sound sampling is a tangible process, the poetry of things put together …

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Monolake Explains Great Mastering Technique in 44 Seconds

At last, you, too, can achieve great mastering. Mastering – a step by step guide to good sound by monolake Sadly, as Robert Henke concedes: i still think it needs to be louder and it lacks dynamics and punch. I STILL THINK IT NEEDS TO BE LOUDER AND IT LACKS DYNAMICS AND PUNCH! It’s like banging your head against a brick wall. No further comment at this time.

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The Best New Stuff from NAMM, in Videos: Akai, Arturia, Livid, Moog, Smithson-Martin, Teenage Engineering

Can I have this fun, wacky, sound-shaping Arturia monosynth and the new Moog Minitaur, please? Actually, at their prices, you really could – and still spend less than the cost of a lot of standalone synths. There’s lots of new stuff for musicians. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to leave some of it out, and skip to what’s really interesting. Neil Bufkin did a great job last year covering NAMM for CDM, shooting some lo-fi, informal videos that got right to the heart of what we wanted to know. So, I’m pleased to share Neil’s work again, since …

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