Techno has become folk art, popular music idiom. Yet it’s still often viewed through the machines that first made it. What if you could give it some sort of physical, mechanical form?

That’s what Graham Dunning has done with Mechanical Techno. And in a new video (produced by Michael Forrest), he shows how it’s done. Continue reading »


You’re probably so used to sync being broken that the first time you see Link, you might not believe what’s happening.

Link began its life as a research project and has turned into a full-fledged product from Ableton. But unlike Push or Live, Link itself isn’t something you buy. Instead, it’ll be built into software you use, and unlock seemingly magical wireless (or wired) sync.

The upshot: the electronic jam session is about to get a whole lot easier. And with a beta out today, that’s not some unknown future. It’s right now. Continue reading »


Working with samples is great fun, but there’s a certain sameness to approach. Load a sample. Play back a sample. Slice a sample. FLESH takes a unique angle: it analyzes sound samples and mangles them into new animals.

And it’s the latest from Tim Exile, a one-man live performer of madness himself (Warp, Planet Mu), and one of Reaktor’s greatest patching virtuosos on Earth. His first two instruments, THE FINGER and THE MOUTH, were already weird and wonderful tools for performance, but FLESH could be the deepest one yet. (Yes, that’s just Flesh, not The Flesh. So it could be, basically, any flesh. Yours, mine, some random guy’s flesh… you get it.) Continue reading »

A kid and parent playing with a Benjolin

We have seen the future. And it’s strange – in a good way.

Bizarre Sound Creatures was an exhibition late last month held in Eindhoven in the Netherlands, accompanied by workshops and performances. The theme wasn’t just new instrument design and music making, but imagining a future world with peculiar evolutionary twists. These are musical objects with odd appendages and surprising interfaces.

Let’s take a look. Continue reading »


iMaschine, the iOS drum machine, is back in a new version. Now in mini, pocket-able form, you get arrangement and live play features from the desktop edition. For iPhone 6s/6s Plus owners, it also responds to 3D touch.

I always keep sketchpads around – literal sketchpads, of the pencil and paper variety. So when software is described as a “sketchpad,” I take that seriously. Continue reading »

Kim-TAL 2

For me, it goes back to Lil’ Kim.

Let me back up. Much as we take it for granted in 2015, once upon a time in a far-gone decade called the 80s, sampling was a new technology. Groundbreaking (and expensive) instruments such as the Fairlight CMI and Synclavier brought new possibilities for playing with recorded audio. Suddenly, sounds and sequences which used to take days of work from skilled tape manipulators became keyboard-mapped.

Continue reading »

It’s clear right away that Kiran Gandhi is an “always-on artist.” We’re sitting down with the drummer/singer/electronic musician/businesswoman at Ableton’s Loop conference, and as she reflects on the acoustics of the outdoor tent where we’re recording, she sings an impromptu recording into her phone. There’s even a lyric reminding her to write about tents.

The tone is set for our whole conversation: as Kiran longs for a higher-fidelity phone microphone, technology alone can’t keep pace with her spontaneity. Continue reading »