Roedelius: Dreamy, Ambling Ambience from an Electronic Legend [Videos]

Born in a very different Berlin in 1934, Hans-Joachim Roedelius is an elder legend of electronic music and piano, having helped establish the voice of German krautrock and ambient music. (Think Cluster, Harmonia, Aquarello.) But today, he is as active in international tours as artists a fraction of his age, freely pouring out music. And his music itself is liberated, flowing … youthful. In a live performance captured recently at the arts space Mindpirates, he joins the excellent multi-instrumentalist and bass player Armin Metz. With great swells of sound amidst a nicely-meandering, jazz-like exploration of notes and mists, the two …


Video as Instrument: The Fairlight CMI’s Visualist Sibling, the Fairlight CVI

The Fairlight CMI, the ground-breaking digital synth created by Australians Peter Vogel and Kim Ryrie, is well known for its contribution to music. Think names like Peter Gabriel, Hans Zimmer, David Bowie, Herbie Hancock, Kate Bush, Bono, and … hang on, I’ll stop before this becomes a very long list. With tablet input and sophisticated sampling capabilities, the CMI holds up reasonably well against even modern tech, even if it cost as much as a luxury car. (See Keyboard Magazine‘s 2006 write-up.) But less known is the CMI’s influential visual sibling, the CVI — Computer Video Instrument. Introduced to the …


M-Audio Torq DJ Tool in Action, On Test; More DJ Bling

M-Audio may not spell the word “connective” / “conectiv” right, but they’re getting some very positive feedback from their new DJ line, including Torq (the DJing + vinyl control solution), Conectiv (the audio interface), and X-Session Pro DJ control surface. I’m hearing great comments here from readers, and there’s other word around the Interwebs. Some early bugs, as would be expected with a new product, but it sounds as though they’re getting effectively squashed. And with a US$99 version for beginners and affordable prices on the “pro” products, this stuff could catch on fast. Here’s what looks like a great …


MPC Bling: Complete Technique’s Audio Jewelry, White Gold and Jewel MPC 3000

Love your audio gear so much you wish you could wear it around your neck, but a loudspeaker on your throat would a) strangle you and b) make you look like too much of a dork to attend high-society functions? Complete Technique jewelers feels you. From sterling silver turntable cartridges plated in gold with embedded cubic zirconia to tiny silver pendants of speakers, CT manages to say both bling and audio geek at once. (Prices hover at just over US$200 to start.) Their custom pieces are when things start to get really interesting, however. Via the always-hilarious Don’t Believe the …


Should CDM Launch Video Sibling?

Video is increasingly part of performance, and you’ll notice the major VJ hardware makers — Roland/Edirol and Korg — also happen to be musical instrument manufacturers. Roland and Edirol are even building in automatic communication between their keyboards and their VJ hardware, from low to high end. I think video will increasingly become part of what digital musicians do; many of the VJs I know double as musicians (myself included). I had to cut VJing from my upcoming book Real World Digital Audio for space reasons, but Keyboard Magazine even has a regular live video feature. That said, would you …


Novation’s iOS app updates do Link, let you ditch the laptop

The iPad (and iPhone) are starting to look like the ultimate jamming devices – mobile, connected, and ready to play. And it’s doing what laptops can, in a less awkward form factor. Back-to-back updates from Novation are bringing their apps closer to that reality, today. Now, Novation are rubbing shoulders with Ableton in some wireless jam sessions set up at Barcelona’s SONAR Festival today. But what we’re talking about opens up possibilities for both use cases – laptops playing with iPads, and iPads replacing laptops.

The industry standard. (CC-BY) Dave Walker.

Let’s talk about laptops in the DJ booth

Last week stirred up something of a fracas in the DJ community, as Los Angeles club The Cure and the Cause announced a ban on laptops in the DJ booth – the announcement of which then went perdictably viral. That much turned out to be brilliant publicity: club trolls DJs, magazine trolls DJs, “controversy” generates social media traffic. Here’s the problem, though: once you get past the nonsense about “talent” and laptops, I think there should really be no controversy here. What The Club and the Cure said about laptops and controllers I think is dead-on – and hard to …


Here are 3 epic performances on modular that aren’t noodling

We revere the modular synthesizers of the past, but that ignores important innovations both in how modules are designed and how people play. Apart from the fact that Eurorack is quite a lot slimmer, lighter, and cheaper than its predecessors, we have vastly expanded the range of what modules do in ways that lend themselves to live performances. That’s not to say it’s for everyone – a modular performance still involves a lot of pre-patching for people, and there’s clearly something to be said for computers and standalone gear. But that’s perhaps partly the point: the modular solution can stand …


New tech makes it easier to connect audio on Windows, Mac

If you think computers aren’t advancing for audio, you haven’t been paying attention to connectivity. The latest generation of OSes, computer architectures, and audio interfaces can combine to give you lower latency and easier connectivity. They can even connect over long distances and networks. MOTU and RME this month unveiled cross-platform Thunderbolt support that works on Windows – and MOTU have been focused on connectivity in a series of updates.


Shiftee takes us inside his latest virtuosic laptop DJ routine

Master turntablist Shiftee has posted a sharp routine. It’s a clever product placement for Razer’s laptops, but – well, it’s more than that. It’s an ad for laptops in general, at a time when DJing has increasingly come to mean “showing up with a couple of USB sticks.” And it’s sort of an ad for being DJ Shiftee. So, we asked Mr. Shiftee to show us what was going on.