Michal at work.

Conversations in live techno from the Polish underground

Techno is a thread in Europe that can bring people together, and be a lingua franca. That phenomenon can earn detractors and champions alike; the common currency threatens to devolve into sameness. But one thing I’ve found looking beyond centers like Berlin: there’s extraordinary talent on the horizon, answering to the beacon capital techno cities. If techno is giving people musical commonality, it’s also encouraging people to push their music such that they can extend beyond a hometown or home residency.

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Minguet Quartett, The Long Now 2015, Kraftwerk. Photo: Camille Blake.

A festival to ponder the nature of time

Now, following a century of recording and broadcast, where does musical performance go next? That challenges not just space or culture, but reimagining the place of time itself in the performance. Berlin is a fitting place to contemplate time. Once home to Albert Einstein, it helped incubate modern general relativity. At its southwest is Mendelsohn’s Einsteinturm; it has the Kaiser Wilhelm Society in its DNA. Adlershof, a short S-Bahn ride away, is home to the enormous BESSY II synchotron photon radiation source (particle accelerator.)

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lesleycrop

Lesley Flanigan’s ethereal music mixes singing and vibrations

There’s no oscillator quite like your voice. And sometimes the simplest techniques can yield elaborate textures. Lesley Flanigan has built a body of work out of an elemental approach to electronics, and her new release Hedera is to me the most beautiful yet, transporting us somewhere truly sublime. The source, in addition to singing, includes feedback, a broken cassette player – but evolves into mists of sound and space, shifting from the delicate to the raw.

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screen

2020 is a crazy complicated beat machine app from Japan

Want to go from four on the floor to, sort of four thousand all over the place? Yotaro Shuto is a Japanese electronic musician who performs in DUB-Russell, and he’s decided to turn his monster Max performance patch beat machine into a product. That’s meant taking it to Kickstarter.

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keithemerson

Remembering Keith Emerson and his titanic synth legacy

In news reverberating with synthesizer lovers and keyboardists everywhere, Keith Emerson died last night in his home in Santa Monica at age 71. Mr. Emerson’s impact on the world of keyboards and synthesizers is hard to overstate. And that impact may be wider now than ever before. If the musical idiom in which he worked was distinctive attached to its particular era, the role of the synthesizer he helped establish is one that now reaches around the world to artists across genres.

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shreds

This amazing video proves that live techno is always better

So, today one of the Internet’s targeted millennial marketing conglomerate – cum – music press outlets decided to ask if anyone likes live techno sets as part of a series that could be titled “We Troll The Internet to Increase Click Revenue.” I really wanted to argue with the content of the article, but – well, it’s a bit too easy. Watch: you can’t even make it past the headline. Headline: “Has Anyone Ever Actually Enjoyed a Live Techno Set?” Some voice in the back of the room from a guy named Steve: “Uh, me. Once.” And we’re done. All …

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femalepressure

On women’s day, imagining a new future in sound

Let’s be clear: there should be no excuse for the press in our sphere, including this outlet, to treat International Women’s Day as a chance simply to talk about women in music. That obligation is year-round and daily, or we simply aren’t doing our jobs. But that’s not the origin of Women’s Day, anyway. The history, rather, is one rooted in organizing for change. (Like so much modern grassroots advocacy, indeed, it comes from the labor movement just after the turn of the last century.) It’s about people working finding fair opportunities for their work. Focusing energies around an annual …

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adele

Music is getting worse, unless of course it isn’t

Complaining about pop music is probably the safest form of musical clickbait imaginable. After all, who isn’t annoyed by at least some earworm, some teeny-bopper celeb? If you long for still more of that, we have another white guy shouting at a camera about it – and, to be fair, some of this is reasonably funny. There’s just one problem: is the argument that music is getting progressively worse actually true – or even asking the most relevant questions?

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legoweltdrums

Legowelt turned Amiga floppy samples into a free drum kit

Enough with pristine, immaculate in-the-box digital production. Let’s get back to grime and dirt. Gorgeous distortion is on offer any time Legowelt is on a sound system live. So it’s great to see the same approach in a free sample pack. This is not a “Top Deep House Production Kit.” It’s samples Legowelt dragged off of old Amiga discs, cranked to be even more evil.

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UnReaL, Born in Flamez: music from a trans-human future

Ed.: There’s a record release entirely in etched glass, shaped like a pyramid. There’s an artist who is not only post-genre, but post-gender, and trans-… human. There’s a collective that steps calmly from grimy basement to global festival, talks about occulture and “magick,” and juggles queer partys and zines. For anyone sick of the predictable grinding machinery of the music industry running business as usual, this should be irrefutable evidence that UnReaL, and the artist Born In Flamez, are something different. We arranged a rare interview with the collective and BIF to enter that world – a science-fiction now that …

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