Before Ableton Live, before VJ apps, the AV act Coldcut were already making their own software for remixed audiovisual performance. Now, with the Ninja Tune label they founded, Matt Black is still championing the notion of performance that goes beyond pressing play.
I’ve never seen anyone pick up Ninja Jamm and not immediately fall in love with it. It’s just a tremendous amount of fun working with the built-in effects and quick access to bits and pieces of music.
The likes of Amon Tobin, Bonobo, and Roots Manuva are there, with a variety of genres. There’s also Loopmasters sound content, so you can make your own tunes from loops, too.
Now, as everyone else debates playback apps and streams, will listeners embrace more active “performance” of music? That’s yet to be seen. The app itself, perhaps a bit of a slow burn at the first, has gradually racked up 300,000 downloads on iOS. And now, it comes to Android.
It’s free; you purchase the content you want in-app.
Meet Pioneer’s new push, a strategy aiming squarely at scratch and turntablist DJs and effects lovers, with or without a computer.
If some of the latest mixers have conventional analog mixing, bread and butter features, and rotaries, Pioneer’s DJ mixer this week – isn’t any of that. Instead, the DJM-S9 is a “battle” mixer loaded up with extras and emphasizing scratch and effects features. And it is unmistakably a Pioneer box in that it draws heavily on wild effects.
It’s a “party rocking mixer” as an artist describes it in the launch video.
Also, watch the video. What you mostly don’t see is a laptop. So while Serato integration is a selling point, you mostly see turntables spinning away, and Pioneer is quick to emphasize that the S9 works without a computer at all.
A turntablist strategy is a big part of what Pioneer is emphasizing (and, I might add, the polar opposite of the strategy at Native Instruments). So, the company that just got into the turntable business is also coming with the introduction of a PC-X10 cartridge and stylist.
Both the mixer and Pioneer’s turntable will also come in a very spendy limited-edition gold-plated edition. (Right, then!)
For years, it was an uphill battle just getting people to recognize the ability of computers to generate sounds. When Native Instruments was founded in Berlin in 1996, their name was a clue to where they imagined the future going. Propellerhead’s release of ReBirth in 1997 began a concerted effort by the Stockholm-based company to campaign for in-the-box emulations of gear – and their partner Steinberg would shortly thereafter push ReWire and its own VST.
Now, it’s not so much the app as the map – the physical control given to software. Whatever analog versus digital debates may rage on forums, the reality in the marketplace is now an ample combination of both technologies. That means a lot of standalone hardware can be thought of as just another computer. Drum machines and synths have computers inside. Roland sells its SYSTEM-1 instruments in both computer plug-in and hardware form. Eurorack modules, in the very bastion of analog love, now include computation (and even now monome and SoundHack modules). And on the software side, a growing number of tools from Native Instruments, Ableton, Arturia, and so on combine hardware with software.
Even on mobile, we’re seeing crossover. In some cases, tablet and phone touchscreens augment physical gear. In others, you’re connecting additional physical controls to your iPad instead of your laptop. Continue reading »
The Perseid meteor shower arrives on the 13th of August – this Thursday. So, let’s celebrate with some music and sound.
First, a quick refresher: what is a meteor shower? It’s what happens when the Earth passes through the debris trail left by a comet. (Ah ha! See, just now you were sitting at your desk, and may have forgotten that you’re traveling at hyper-fast speeds on a rock hurtling through the vastness of the cosmos. Oh, yes.) We hit the Perseids every August, but this year is special in that you’ll only have to contend with urban light pollution – not the moon.
CDM readers in Asia, you may get the best show due to an expected peak in the middle of your Wednesday night, but all of us around the world with clear skies ought to be able to see something Wednesday night (or Tuesday or Thursday, even).
Slate has a great write-up that’s both a viewing guide and a set of answers to frequently asked questions:
Part of what I love about electronic music and music technology is that it can embrace futurism, a sense of curiosity about our cosmos, and even can literally engage the processes of observation in astronomy. And that in turn means science can inspire song.
The lovely Polish producer dot dot, aka Artur Sleziak, shares this dubby ambient work by way of marking the occasion. Continue reading »
Call it a jam session that has completely fallen apart.
Having Web services go dark is certainly not news in this day and age. We’ve come to expect that Internet services won’t be there forever. (Google Reader, anyone?)
But if you pull apart some of the backstory behind the end of a service called “This Is My Jam,” you’ll come across an unnerving reality of the way music on the Web is evolving (or devolving).
This Is My Jam began life as a kind of hack – pick your one and only favorite song of the moment, then embed it as a streamable player. Now, to be honest, I was a little surprised the service lasted as long as it did. What’s happening now is, the site is turning into a read-only “time capsule.” Spotify integration will mean playlists of favorite songs will live on there, as well. It’s a shame, as I found the site a really lovely way of finding music that really mattered to people.
But the reasons it’s now untenable bear as much attention as the end of the site itself, because I’ve been noticing these trends, and they reach far beyond just one clever “favorite jam” site. Continue reading »
Sometimes the narrow apertures of musical genre can be a dead-end for inspiration. You often just can’t find a way to kick-start your creative process by listening only to songs that sound like you want. So, mixes really ought to be mixes. They ought to be personal. And even for producers and DJs, listening ought to be a pleasure.
This weekend, we invite back Sofia Kourtesis, the globe-trotting German-Greek-Peruvian producer and DJ, to share some of her sonic touchstones. (She was part of a big mix-up of mixes posted in March, and has also shared her techniques for mining flea markets to make music.)
Following yesterday’s discussion of the importance of pop, and a ground-breaking show at Berghain later this month, this seems appropriate. So enjoy the exclusive mix Sofia has prepared for us on CDM – “the streets we left behind”:
Happy 8th of August, everybody – that means it’s 808 day, of course. So, to celebrate, let’s flash back to a 2012 video of Egyptian Lover assembling a beat in his hotel room. The LA rapper/producer was a big part of the early hip hop and electro roots of 808 use.
There’s something that still resonates in the beautiful simplicity of this Roland box. I’m struck when I hear it and watch in use that there’s something that seems futuristic – cold, even, but in a Stanley Kubrick 2001 sort of way. Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to be stuck in traditional 808 thinking. You can use today to build some entirely new drum machine, inspired by this simplicity – or abuse an 808 (or 808 sample set) into sounding completely different.
And, of course, I do think the TR-8 from Roland is spreading so fast partly because it really resurrects these sounds in a hands-on way.
Whatever you do, happy grooving this weekend.
And let’s muse over some vintage ads. More accuracy and less trouble.