What unites the Green Bay Packers, Spina bifida, Maschine drum machines, miniBrute, a Milwaukee charity, and a 13-year-old girl?
Well, this video.
It’s easy to forget that music technology isn’t just about making a handful of superstars. Music making can be an essential part of expression for just about anyone, whether music is their primary professional vocation or not. And the tools we have now are part of being able to express ideas – not only in the way traditional music can, but with the same tools kids grow up hearing on records. It’s obvious, it’s essential … and yet it’s too often overlooked.
So, both 13-year-old Kelly and star American football quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers love and make music – Kelly sings and plays; Aaron strums the guitar. And music is an ideal vessel for talking about how kids with disabilities can do the things they want to do.
Of course, an NI Maschine, a laptop running Logic Pro X, an Arturia miniBrute synth doubling as MIDI controller – these are as natural as the mic and guitar to the process.
It seems any chance we get to share how to use these tools, we should.
A great story and what appears to be a great charity; more details:
Thanks to Dave Olson for sending this in on our Facebook page.
Turntablism is still alive, but surprisingly, turntable techniques haven’t entirely harmonized with modern DAWs. One of the first products ever covered here on CDM was Ms. Pinky, a combination of software and vinyl, which recently saw a Max for Live iteration.
But Scratch Track is about the most universal, easiest way yet to drop scratching into a project.
It’s a VST plug-in, compatible with OS X (10.6 or later) and Windows. It works with turntables. It works with MIDI. It works with host automation. It works with host automation and MIDI even if you don’t have a turntable. And there’s probably no simpler way for turntablists to scratch their itch for scratching in Ableton Live and other hosts.
And, oh yeah, it costs US$20. Too much commitment? (Okay, maybe you blew all your money buying vinyl. It happens.) There’s still a 30-day trial.
- Add multiple loops; set up cue points
- Works with timecoded vinyl
- Works with MIDI triggers – learn-assignable to anything, including cue points
- – so you can, for instance, beat juggle with MIDI, scratch with the turntable
- Built-in crossfade with adjustable volume curves
- Loops sync and stretch with the host
- Automate cross-fade and scratches using VST host automation
- Audio output to the host – making it easy to record
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Yes, in addition to the revolutionary step of playing audio in reverse, you can radically alter music by playing it at half speed.
And so it is that Belgian gabber tunes many would fine unlistenable suddenly sound fresh, grimy, contemporary, and irresistible.
Who knows what other life experiences could be transformed by simply altering the speed? (Maybe we need to be half speed.)
Not embeddable, so listen here:
This Is Belgium: Conceptuele Post-Hipster Neo-Gabber By Radio Soulwax [Light Sound Dimension]
The “remixers” explain:
Even though these Belgian records sound very “now”, they are actually 20 years old and were meant to be played at a much, much faster speed. At the time this was the devil’s music for us, but we have learned to listen through the claps and distorted kicks and discovered that if you slow these really dark and heavy techno records down all the way to about 115 bpm, it suddenly makes them sound less frantic, ballsier and a lot sexier.
And, in the most unlikely Belgian Tourism Council slogan ever (but, seriously guys, this one’s free):
“Belgium at its best when pitched down.”
Best of all: the dancers are played back in slow-motion, also recreating authentic moves of the time. Watch closely, then reproduce them
I was just in the studio and a track grew out of playing back a synth lick at half speed, so … yes, I’ll now do this with everything. See you in three years when I release 16 GB of sample instruments with NI.
Belgium, man. Belgium.
Geometry and process come together for a new take on techno, with Nicolas Bougaïeff. Dr. Bougaïeff explains everything to CDM – and with a few nods to how you might use this in your own work. Images courtesy the artist.
Got a doctorate?
Got a doctorate in techno?
Got a techno track with a 12-tone row?
Artist and researcher Nicolas Bougaïeff (also of developer Liine) shares his latest work with CDM. It’s about the track, yes, about the music video, about techno and dancefloors in some sense. But it’s also about process: Nicolas shares some of the way the machinery of his track was built, in its realization in software, in musical composition, and underlying research.
And we also get a terrific music video that helps render some of this geometric theoretical thinking, courtesy Berlin-based motion graphics artist Vicetto. (See also the stills here.)
The Decompress EP is focused on structure and process, an outgrowth of my PhD research on minimal techno and Plastikman. Decompress might be considered some sort of meta-music, it’s music about music while remaining constrained to a dancefloor techno format. I was very interested in strict process and instruction pieces, think early Steve Reich, Philip Glass, or La Monte Young during his Fluxus period.
The title track, “Decompress,” borrows the concept from Steve Reich’s “Four Organs” (1970) and adapts the structure to a techno format. In the original, four organs each repeat a short chord, once every few beats. On each repetition, slowly, one of the notes is held for a slightly longer time than the others. Eventually, the individual notes get so long that the overall texture has transformed from a short chord to long textures. In Decompress, the four notes of an Ableton Operator synth patch are individually and progressively delayed until they form an arpeggio in perfect sync with the beats.
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Soundware remains a massive market. Products fall in the CDM inbox daily. There’s just not so much to talk about – even when the quality is exceptional. There are good products out there, and sampled libraries are especially essential for anyone working on tight deadlines – no matter the joy of recording material, anyone working for markets like TV or film likely needs some assistance satisfying clients in a hurry. It’s just that there’s so much out there, there isn’t always a story.
Output is a new sound house out of Los Angeles that found a way to tell a story, by focusing entirely on a technique. Everything in REV, as the name implies (and the video demonstrates) is … well, reversed.
The producers of the content come from a strong pedigree in sound design and composition: Gregg Lehrman (scoring), Neil Hallimen (vocals and … polka, really), and John Nye (composition and scoring, out of the excellent Berklee program) all collaborate. And it sounds so far like they’ve done really beautiful sounds.
A taste for reversed sounds is clearly widespread, too – none other than composer Harry Gregson-Williams chimes in with his desire for backwards instrumental textures in an endorsement. It’s strange: normally, artificial techniques wane in interest, yet reversed sounds for some reason always seem somewhat pleasing to the ear. They’re organically unnatural, in some sense – physically impossible (or at least warped), but with shapes that connect to our perception of sound.
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Friends bragging lately about the quality of the sound of their drum machines?
Tell them you can make sounds lower fidelity than they can.
LUNCHBEAT is a 1-bit groovebox, making impossibly-dirty digital sounds, with a built-in step sequencer. While we await a proper DIY kit, it’s an ideal learning project: it’s nice and simple, has a low part count, everything you need as far as specs is available free to create your own, and it’s a good way to work out the basics of digital sound and sequencing.
And, really, if you need more than one bit to make music, what kind of musician are you? Go minimal.
Specs: Continue reading »
Enough of the Web teaser campaigns, the press conferences with bottles of beer at exhibition centers, the trade show booths … let’s party instead.
That’s how Elektron, the makers of Machinedrum, will celebrate their next launch. November the 23rd is the date, and, naturally, CDM will be there. Elektron are even coming down from Sweden to Berlin, where they’ll no doubt enjoy our extra couple of hours of … um … daylight. Whatever the new box may be, it’s nice to see some lovely artists in the lineup.
A “Very Special Guest” from Köln, Germany’s famed Kompakt label is headlining, followed by some other great folks:
TM404 – aka Andreas Tilliander (Kontra-Musik)
Andre Kronert (Stockholm LTD, Neurotron)
…all playing live. (Yes, hope they brought their Machinedrums.) I’m particularly excited for TM404 – whether he’s shilling for fine electronic instruments or not. He had a wonderful set at CTM Festival at the beginning of the year:
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