Jeremy Blake (aka Jeremy Leaird-Koch) is the kind of omni-dimensional talent who that seems tailored for the age of Web media. Yes, he’s an electronic musician, but … have a listen to his SoundCloud, and you’ll find the common thread is craft more than genre. And yes, he’s also a video editor, who’s also making imaginative and dazzling visuals.

Let’s instead just wander into his studio, virtually speaking, and let him play for us on a nice, assembled gathering of custom hardware.

And drifting off on this chillout groove is a nice way to take a pause in your day… Continue reading »

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Remember the days of clicking laboriously to add notes to a piano roll editor? Well, that’s a bit silly nowadays if there’s a touchscreen sitting next to your desk. You probably want to make use of it – and maybe without stumbling around helper apps and wifi configuration.

We’ve already seen how Auxy, the iPad pattern editor, reduced a widely-known music process to its simplest elements. The recent addition of MIDI opens it up to external hardware.

But it also makes a nice example of what the new utility midimux can do: connecting this app to the wealth of sounds and production tools on your computer can make for a useful pair.

The first ingredient is midimux, which alongside the forthcoming audio companion audiomux, can link up apps and hardware on your iPad or iPhone to apps and hardware on your Mac, all the sync cable you already own:

Now, Across iOS and Mac, Everything is Musically Connected [Video]

Fab from ANR (audio news room) has already illustrated a specific example. He takes Auxy, the pattern editor, and then augments its sonic capabilities by adding in Apple’s own Logic Pro. And he’s made some nice video tutorials that make it all clearer. First, on the iPad: Continue reading »

Who’s ready for some springtime romance? Show of hands? Thought so.

Here in northern Europe, at least, we’re at that inflection point as spring first crawls its way out of winter, tiny buds on the trees and ice/rain mixes giving way to faintly warm sunbeams. This is music that matches that mood. And it’s music that finds a voice, that can sing – not just in beautiful vocals (and the likes of Brolin certainly suffices in his latest work), but in music that is crafted from some intimate place. These are productions that are immediate and intensely personal in the same way as singing.

And there’s another reason to look at these artists. Sometimes artists blow up because they met the right people, they played the right parties, they hit the mainstream at the right time. This is something different. These artists have all taken some turn in their own musical identities. That seasonal metaphor works: they are bursting, creatively, in the best possible way.

Full disclosure: I get to be impossibly lazy as a journalist here, or certainly very lucky, in that I’m the warmup DJ for this lineup tomorrow in Berlin. But it’s one of those rare situations where you get called to play, and wind up losing yourself listening to the promo materials they sent over. I wish that happened all the time; we know it doesn’t, so I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

Brolin (video, top) is an artist on the verge of really blowing up to a wider audience – if he can break the Google curse; no relation (that I know of) to the American actors of the same last name.

brolin Continue reading »

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The line between pain and ecstasy on a computer for music making can often boil down to some key elements. One commonly on that short list is getting the sound you might from a studio. Another is making all your inputs and outputs work in your interface.

Universal Audio is one of a handful of vendors that aims to bridge both of those gaps in a single product, with devices that are audio interfaces as well as DSP platforms for hosting high-quality effects. And UA are starting out 2015 with a fairly big benchmark for the company in that software/hardware integration.

That’s the good news. The bad news is, you need a Mac, and the latest-generation hardware, to come along for the ride with some of the new goodies. So, let’s take a look both at what’s new and what’s required to get the latest-and-greatest stuff – as well as where that leaves people with older hardware.

apolloconsole2 Continue reading »

There’s a high-bandwidth cable connecting that iPad or iPhone to your Mac. And yet … and yet, until recently, music apps treated that very connection as an impossible-to-cross canyon.

No more.

We already took a look at midimux, a tool that makes everything that speaks MIDI on an iOS gadget available to your Mac, and visa versa. That’s already cool. You can use a keyboard controller plugged into your Mac to play a soft synth on your iPad. You can sequence an instrument on your computer from an iPad step sequencer, with touch control. Hardware and desktop software and apps all work. This also means controller apps no longer need to use fidgety wireless connections. So long as they support MIDI, you can use a cable. (That’s important, as I’ve found ad-hoc networking has recently gotten even more unreliable – to use OSC, I’ve taken to carrying around a standalone wifi router.)

But it’s when you put MIDI together with audio that things get really interesting. In an exclusive first look, CDM gets the scoop on a video demo showing how it all works. (Okay, it’s an exclusive first look because I spent yesterday nagging the developers to shoot it and wouldn’t leave them alone until it was done. You’re welcome. And, uh — sorry, guys.)

With audiomux, you can pipe sound digitally in both directions between the Mac and iOS, with no loss in fidelity. That means you can finally take some interesting bits you’re working on in an iPad drum machine or synth or soundmaker and immediately pipe them into a session in your DAW – no futzing about with extra cables and interfaces. And you can go the other direction, too, making an iPad or iPhone a powerful mobile recording device for sampling or taking audio on the go or recording live or DJ sets.

audiomux Continue reading »

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Nina Kraviz appears in a film from vinyl store The Record Loft. It’s short, but she’s strikingly economical and insightful in talking about what it means to mix records, find records, and make records.

The Siberian-born PhD dental doctor-turned-DJ/producer is especially noteworthy at the beginning of 2015. Last month, she helmed edition number 50 of the legendary DJ-Kicks series – the gold standard of what a mix should be.

What’s nice about the interview is how quickly Kraviz gets to the emotional essence of all the dimensions of her work. Feeling, and capturing a moment, is at the heart of how she puts together a mix and digs for albums and sings and plays synths. I think people who haven’t gotten to explore the range of her work might not fully appreciate how far afield she can go.

In all three categories of what she says, it’s also clear what can be special in an age of identical mechanical reproduction. Mixes are not sterile affairs to be made perfectly in the home; they’re about connecting with people, live. Finding music is not about algorithms and SoundCloud listener counts and Facebook likes; it’s about the surprise of an unordered box in a second-hand record shop. And even vocals and synths can be about imperfection and real-time accident. Now, I’m personally partial to the unexpected pathways you can find online and perfectly at home with digital tools and distribution, but I think the emotional reality of what she’s suggesting here becomes even more important to underline.

That sense of rediscovering the emotional core seems essential, too, in techno, which especially given its raw commercial success can endanger itself in becoming cold and unfeeling. This is a roadmap, in other words, on how it can keep its soul.

Continue reading »

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Sometimes, the best ideas come from raw imagination.

The Knuckle Visualizer is the work of a Korean animation house. It doesn’t actually produce sound. The only functioning part of the hardware you see here is a USB cable that powers an LED lamp. But there are fascinating ideas here. And, actually, you could build this. We can often get stuck in our repetitive music world and forget what’s possible. So let’s watch the animators run wild with our sounds.

Rubber ducks and toy nesting dolls and and jelly beans make up the controls. Buchla-styled colored patch cords are actually organized according to sound.

And not only is this made-up synthesizer/sequencer itself animated, but whimsical dances of shapes and geometry add still more visual accompaniment to the sound.

Knuckle Visualizer from minimalogue on Vimeo.

This would I imagine not only inspire you to build a new candy controller, but possibly rethink how you do a music video. As the creators write: Continue reading »