meadowphysics possibilities from tehn on Vimeo.

Here’s a lovely new monome demo, demonstrating their meadowphysics module interfacing between Eurorack hardware (that’s the stuff with the cables and knobs and things) and monome (that’s the stuff with the light-up grid).

Call your family and random strangers and tell them that today you’re really stoked about “rhizomatic cascading counters,” which is what this is. (In more technical terms, let’s go with “chimey note-y thing.”)

I’ve heard people who don’t like computers much complain that USB is some sort of source of planned obsolescence. On the contrary, with serial and standard class-compliant implementations over serial, USB seems poised to take its place alongside MIDI and control voltage as things that never go away. That’s particularly true of hardware that’s community-supported, user-serviceable, or open in some way (doubly so if its key components are open source).

In this case, swapping USB cables works like swapping other jacks on your modular. As the monomers say:

we’ve introduced a new grid-enabled module called meadowphysics. it is a rhizomatic cascading counter. it’s great for polyrhythmic sequences, evolving drum patterns, and rule-based explorations.

you do not need multiple grids to run several monome modules in your eurorack setup— the USB cable is hot-swappable between modules, and each will continue running when disconnected. swapping a USB cable is as easy as swapping a patch cable.

meadowphysics is available now via our retailers:

thank you for your ongoing support and we hope you are all very well.

brian and kelli and trent


Full specs on the new module: Continue reading »


Pretty lights are no fun if they’re off limits. So, Reaktor gurus, your fun starts now. As promised here, you get some example patches to begin working with those light-up keyboards from Native Instruments (Komplete Kontrol S-Series, to be technical). And they’re available now:

Here are two example ensembles showing how to control the KOMPLETE KONTROL S-series LEDs and key properties from Reaktor.

HWControl_BasicUse.ens – can be used with an S-series keyboard to directly control the key LED colours and note properties.

HWControl_KB-LED-Simulator.ens – includes a keyboard LED simulator instrument so that you can test your Reaktor HWControl messages without having an S-series keyboard.

HWControl Module Examples: Hardware Control module examples for builders [Native Instruments User Library]

If only one person reads this article and that person makes something amazing with Reaktor, it’ll be worth it having published it. So do let us know here at the CDM Office Tower. (Dizzying, the view from the executive suites, I will say that.)

Nothing yet for controlling the display text, though – that should be interesting.

See, previously:
Komplete Kontrol Integration Will Work with Your Own Reaktor, Kontakt Creations, Too; Details


The phenomenon of techno’s growth right now can’t even be confined to one corner of Berlin. Rødhåd and Dystopian Records demonstrate not only the uncontainable nature of their own particular brand of shadowy dance creations, but perhaps this folk quality of electronically-produced music generally.

And if you happen to like that flavor, we have quite a lot of media for you to gobble up. Dubby, dark, and distant, it’s all as always perfectly constructed, reserved in its trajectory as it builds energy. I suppose it’s predictable that getting Berghain’s stamp of approval brought Rødhåd to an international audience, but it’s just as interesting that he and the Dystopian crew were running their own parties for so long.

Before we get to the music, though, here’s the ever-calm man himself talking to INPUT’s Urban Stories, set against spectacularly futuristic architecture of Tbilisi, Georgia. If the talking head thing isn’t doing it for you, there’s some nice music and slow-motion shimmying later on.

Or – listen/watch: Continue reading »

Um... excuse me. I'll see you in February or so.

Um… excuse me. I’ll see you in February or so.

Simple, lightweight, minimal.

No, not really.

This is a total monster, the grandest synth yet from plug-in maestro Urs Heckmann, aka u-he. ACE, aka “Any Cable Everywhere,” already introduced us to computer plug-ins with massive tangles of virtual cables – in a good way. Bazille, then, is the plug-in that ate the plug-in that ate Chicago.

And after first making an appearance in 2009, it’s finally here, like a beast foretold in legend.

Its oscillators are digital, with FM (frequency modulation) and phase distortion and the wild-sounding fractal resonance. And then it has analog-style filters. And then it has effects and processors up the wazoo. But, most importantly, it has insane parallel outputs all over the place and the ability to patch anything to anything without ever running out of cables.

It’s not just a bunch of connections and oscillators and effects, though. There are clever wave shapers called mapping generators with drawing tools and the like. There’s a 8x 16-step “morphing” sequencer. When you combine all those oscillators and filters and wave shapers and effects and sequencers, you really have a complete modular sound design environment. There’s not a whole lot of software I want to test at the moment – just being plenty busy with what I’ve got – but this just made the short list. You can test it, too; there’s a free demo download for Mac and Windows.

It’s also on sale for US$89 (before VAT, Europe), which I think is about a third of what users of physical modulars pay for their cabinet, if they’re lucky. (Or, perhaps the IKEA desk it sits on.) Yes, there are advantages to digital and software (ducks). After the intro, it rises to $129.


The specs alone will make your eyes bleed: Continue reading »

It was inspired by Nikolas Tesla’s radical ideas about energy in air – and site-specific opera. It breaks every notion you have of how to mix, how to set volume, and what “panning” or “stereo” means. It’s, specifically, the forest of metal columns filled with omni-directional speakers we’ve come to know as 4DSOUND. And it’s all coming to Amsterdam Dance Event in October in a big way.

But what’s most important about 4DSOUND isn’t just this particular, not-inexpensive and specific installation. It’s the fact that once you start imagining sound as virtually projected into three-dimensional space, you probably won’t really think about sound in the same way.

Taking something like a site-specific spatial audio system and putting it into an online video is a recipe for failure. But the team at Ableton have done a pretty bang-on job of doing just that in two films, one focused more on the system in general and its significance, and one on specifically how the technique works.

Various composers have worked on 4DSOUND; this film focuses on Stimming. That makes an interesting choice, because his set is so live. In his work, Ableton Live is mostly a control interface for the spatialization; its audio duties are limited to mixing in the system and adding some clips. Everything else is outboard, like the MFB Tanzbär drum machine, a Teenage Engineering OP-1, and an acoustic piano.

Just as important, 4DSOUND’s Paul Oomen, a classical composer, talks about the connections to Tesla and theater. See the deeper meaning introduced at top, then the technical – and thoughts for the future – below.

Continue reading »


Now that anything can become an instrument, musicianship can become the practice of finding the spirit in the unexpected. It’s what Matt Moldover championed in the notion of controllerism, what years of DIYers have made evident. It’s not just a matter of finding a novelty or two. It’s really taking those novelties and making them a creative force.

Adriano Clemente, the Italian-born, Brooklyn-based artist (aka Capcom), is a shining light of just that sort of imagination. Regular CDM readers will see some familiar techniques. There’s a laser harp, a circuit-bent toy, mic transducers making objects into triggers, a Numark Orbit controller, a LEAP Motion, a Kinect, an Ableton Push, and I’m fairly sure that’s fellow Italian Marco Donnarumma’s wonderful Xth Sense controller in VICE/Motherboard’s featurette on the artist. But it’s the way Adriano puts it all together that becomes the magic.
To put it simply, it’s hard not to get infected by his enthusiasm. He doesn’t just play these unusual objects – he really plays. He’s exploring the reality around him.

This is in fact the perfect companion to last week’s story by Matt Earp, with Spanish artist Ain TheMachine:
Music That’s All Human Body and Objects, No Instruments: Biotronica with Ain TheMachine [Interview]

The scene for this kind of work, once limited to isolated experiments and academia, is really heating up. It’s actually becoming a realm in which people are outdoing one another, as the world community of experimental performance grows.

I think readers here will also respond to what Adriano says about encountering conservatism – about the people who try to put these different approaches into boxes. (The “that isn’t real music” argument is something we’ve all certainly found.) Continue reading »

Synthesist Chris Stack has had his hands on a lot of gear – and a lot of it with the Moog Music moniker on it. But every chance he gets, he’s bugging me about how in love he is with the Dave Smith Pro 2, the richly-appointed, nicely-overpowered monosynth on steroids as we described it earlier this summer.

And he’s having a lot of fun, transforming it into a hybrid digital/audio “hub” – a sound source, but also a central brain for exceptional soundscapes.

And in Chris’ hands, I’m certainly convinced, as this beast sequences beautiful frontiers of noise and melody. Just like Chris, making us lust after a synth over the weekend. But, as this often comes up in comments, my interest is never in whether you have to have some particular bit of kit. To me, the fusion of musicianship and instrument building is always inspiring – it’s something we can take back to our own work, whatever we’re using. Here’s Chris on his summer fling with this synth: Continue reading »