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Music for Plants, Music by Plants, in Two Eco-Themed Album Releases [Listen, Galleries]

These green things, for once, are the stars, in Data Garden Quartet. From the installation version in Philadelphia. All Data Garden photos courtesy the artists. “On lead synthesizer, a philodendron …” (And the crowd goes wild…) Vegetation may not be the first association you have when thinking of electronic music. But two new albums, each released via Bandcamp, celebrate biological life of the green, leafy variety. One is a benefit compilation, with proceeds going to help trees and music inspired by that green goodness. The other uses plants as “performers,” generating its form from plant life in an installation and …

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digitalwaveform

Last Chance to Help Moog Foundation Teach Art of Sound Science in Schools; Why it Matters

Science and art, physics and music, come together and come alive in one place. You know where. Photo (CC-BY) Mikael Altemark. We’re here today not just because people like synths, or electronic music, or even music itself, but because the advancement of technology depends on kids learning about science and math. That was certainly the history of Bob Moog himself. What he got as a student opened up the doors to the knowledge and interests that gave the world Moog synthesizers. Dr. Moog himself long credited his education – as a youngster at Bronx High School of Science in New …

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sopa

Opponents of US SOPA Legislation Gaining Momentum on Blackout Day; Musicians Have a Stake

Photo (CC-BY-NC-SA) Dawn Loh. It’s been called, bluntly, “Internet censorship” by opponents. And now, US legislation that claims to curb piracy faces mounting challenges as that opposition grows, particularly as the White House warns it will block the bills. Today, even as a flood of delightful new music toys become available, it’s worth pausing to consider why this matters – and, if you vote in the United States, to call your Senators and Representatives (again, if needed). Many of us who create music believe the dynamic, user-driven nature of the Web is our best chance at a bright future. Free …

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roughtrade

In Wake of London Fire, Organizers Answers Questions About Supporting Indie Labels

London’s Rough Trade Records shop is an anchor for the independent music scene in the UK. And they have an online presence, too — a good way to support your favorite label in the wake up what for many smaller outlets could be a devastating loss. Photo (CC-BY) Radio Saig√≥n. The first rule of giving is that you need to make sure that the entity to which you’re giving is actually asking for support. In the wake of a devastating fire started during London’s rioting that wiped out a Sony warehouse, indie labels are indeed asking for such support, says …

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An Eclectic Mix of Sounds for Joplin, MO Recovery, as Charity Compilations Gain Momentum

CDM regular Zaxx Davros sends word of a new, sprawling compilation to benefit Joplin, Missouri in the aftermath of that town’s devastating tornado. Charity compilations seem to be growing in number, but perhaps that in itself is worth mentioning. As social networks and (ahem) blogs spread, increasingly crowd-stimulated micro-donations drive charity. One-click giving is no substitute for getting involved in communities as a volunteer and getting out on the ground, but as a way of keeping charitable organizations funded and engaged, it shows promise. Some readers have pointed to criticism of some of those organizations, like the various entities of …

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We Love DJ Kool Herc: Free Compilation for the Father of Hip-Hop

Saturn Never Sleeps, the band and label, released a new free compilation late last night to send love and thanks to DJ Kool Herc, the pioneering Jamaican-born DJ who gave birth to the hip-hop age in the West Bronx, New York City. I’m honored to have been part of the compilation along with a broad range of artists: DaM-Funk, Damon Bennett, Dego, King Britt Presents Sylk 130, Ursula Rucker, Lushlife, ZIN, Hezekiah, Soul Litchfield, Illvibe Collective, Rucyl, Shigeto, Galapagoose (recently seen here on CDM sporting the monome software he co-created), Ras_G, Chuck Treece, Suzi Analogue, and Stef Eye King Britt, …

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mooglab

MoogLab to Teach Science through Electronic Music, But Your Votes Needed

Want to see hundreds of pieces of music kit from keyboards to oscilloscopes, plus some 1500 mini-Theremin toys for students, coupled with US-wide education to help introduce young people to science? That’s the idea behind a grant proposal by the Moog Foundation. The Foundation’s MoogLab teaches science through sound – a worthy cause. Not only was Bob Moog’s life in electronic music ignited by discovering the Theremin, but many of today’s generation of scientists and thinkers were raised on electronic sound kits a few short decades ago. Without the same exposure to science and sound, young boys and girls may …

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Make a Wish Come True: Help Don Create Digital Music

Photo (CC-BY-ND) Atomic Sprinkles. A man named Don Waugh, friend of a CDM reader, is facing some serious challenges. He’s just lost his wife, and faces severe, possibly life-threatening health problems. There’s a campaign underway to get him a liver transplant. But Don doesn’t only want to fight for his health: he wants to make music, too. While significantly hearing impaired (or even arguably mostly deaf), he wants to make some of the industrial music he loves. Chris G aka Metrosonus, Don’s friend, tells CDM he’s working on getting a gear drive together. What’s going unused in your closet could …

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Sonification: Thermonuclear Testing, Made into Music, 1945-1998

Visualization often wins out over sonification when it comes to making data clear. But sound has one key advantage: it can make time and scale apparent, by tapping directly into our perception of forward time. Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto, born well into the Nuclear Age in 1959, uses that property to chilling effect. The sounds in “1945-1998” are made still more unsettling in their rendering as tranquil, musical sounds rather than explosions. Quietly, World War III is waged not in wartime, but in the 2053 nuclear explosions that erupt mainly in thermonuclear tests (led, ironically, by the United States). This …

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ASCAP Attacks Creative Commons, Advocacy Groups as Anti-Copyright, Anti-Artist

Vintage image (CC-BY-SA) Ioan Sameli, as licensed by us pinko commies at CDM. An ASCAP legislative fundraising letter revealed last week that the American performing rights organization is invoking fears of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, and Creative Commons in order to raise money. ASCAP appears to be repeating, now in the more heated language of fundraising, arguments it has had with the Creative Commons license in the past. For its part, Creative Commons insists most of its licenses don’t preclude performing rights bodies like ASCAP from collecting funds. In the letter, sent on behalf of ASCAP’s Political Action …

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