In Living Rooms, Homes, Beautiful Music as a Ritual: Olafur Arnalds; Matthew Flook; Free

For centuries, music was something made in a living room, made at home. It was a brief fluke of the 20th Century that music came out of a heroic process in a hidden-away studio. But if the gold-plated, magical record is threatened, some artists are trying to bring the daily ritual of home music making back. ├ôlafur Arnalds and Matthew Flook are each making gorgeous, cinematic-ambient tracks, and each have made projects that involve doing so on a regular basis in their homes. Let’s listen. Arnalds has been making some of the finest scores anywhere, and now has earned the …

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Listen to This: Mute Speaker’s Jong Wuk Charity Album, Available on Liquid Noise

Enough gear. Let’s get some music to hear. From the UK to Cambodia, Rob O’Hara is making beautifully-crafted music we never want to miss. So a new record is absolutely time for attention – and time to bring in our friend and regular columnist Matt Earp, aka Kid Kameleon, to give a listen. I’ve written about Rob O’Hara before for CDM, about this time last year – he’s mega-talented and makes excellent, no-frills hip-hop head-nodders under the name Mute Speaker. All his tunes just kick and punch and spin in all the right ways. You can grab most of his …

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10 Great Releases From 2013 You Might Have Missed

Happiness is a list of new SoundCloud links to follow, records to go buy, artist names and sounds that are new – not the reappearance of repeated artists and musicians, usual suspects, and expected names, but something to actually discover. So, we’re grateful to CDM contributor Matt Earp, aka Kid Kameleon, for his selecting talents. Grab the headphones. -Ed. Top 10 lists are played out. Deconstructing what’s bad about Top 10 lists is ALSO played out. And people who make Top 10 lists miss a lot of music for all kinds of reasons – because an album isn’t in a …

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‘Edge of Nostalgia’ is a Calming Ambient iPhone Album Transformed by Mic

Edge of Nostalgia from Michael McDermott on Vimeo. Ambient, and — actually, literally ambient. Mikronesia’s “Edge of Nostalgia” is a chilled-out 7-track record of gentle grooves and crystalline melodies, delivered as an app. That’s nice enough. But with the aid of your iPhone’s microphone, you and the environment around you become part of the soundscape. Ambient sounds are fed through great washes of reverb and chattering chains of delays. Recently updated for iOS 7, the result is an album that is different each time you listen. As the creator notes, plenty of records include stock sounds of field recordings. Here, …

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Marcel Dettmann: When Sci-Fi Futurism and Continuity Meet, in Sound [Video]

Techno icon Marcel Dettmann has just released a second full-length. While associated with insistent-symmetrical dancefloor rhythms and phrases, it may be sound and timbre that are worth appreciating here. Dettmann did a wonderful interview for Electronic Beats (released in the summer, shot last winter, below). And the timing of that release makes it a perfect moment to listen to what he has to say. (You do have to get past a distracting faux film effect, an odd choice for the usually-tasteful video productions from EB.) Dettmann’s perspective: Techno “still is music for the future, it’s science fiction.” But to get …

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Stirring Solo Vocal + Ableton Push: Thomas Piper, Live at Webster Hall

If the computer can do one thing, it is to vastly expand what a single musician can do live. Whether you rise to that challenge has everything to do with who you are as an individual musician. It’s about the person as much as the machine. Thomas Piper, Jr. is at his absolute best in a soulful, no-holds-barred, energetic performance New York’s famed Webster Hall. (His son Zion, by the way, is also terrifically talented.) Here, his vocal is front and center far more than the computer, but the digital instrument also supports what he’s doing. At the Kompakt pop-up …

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A Different Synthesis: Julianna Barwick, Colleen Fuse Folk Tradition with Electronics [Videos]

The essential quality of electronic music is, in some sense, collage: drawing from multi-track recording, it is defined by the ability to put things together in records or performances in new ways. The contents of that collage need not always be drum machine beats or synthesized alien sounds. And so, many artists draw from a different well. Mentioning Georgina Brett last week prompted more reader recommendations. Two artists – one from France, one from Louisiana – exemplify the fusion of minimalist and folk traditions with electronic practice. And these two, each with a different spin on aesthetics and composition, also …

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New Gold Panda Full-Length: Hypnotic Craft, Deep Feelings, as Always

Gold Panda is back with another full-length masterpiece. Here, any gauzy soft-focus fuzz is stripped away. The music is still warm, focused on chopped-up samples, and delicious, meditative repetition. But it’s more focused than ever, with a dry directness that lets his musical craft come further to the fore. There is some narrative and program explained on Gold Panda’s “Half of Where You Live.” Some of that is hard to miss – exotic percussion, clanging away as though you’ve ventured out onto the streets in some far-off city, references in titles and vocals to place. And there’s a sober comment …

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Jon Hopkins’ Immunity LP, Grooving with Exquisite Beauty

If anyone might chart a course for the future of ambient dance music – contradiction in terms as that might seem – it’s the UK’s Jon Hopkins. Spacious sounds and free-flowing gestures seem to flow effortlessly in his music, but that same texture can be honed into hard-hitting grooves or set against forward-propelled rhythms. It is, simply, beautiful music you can dance to. In the new full-length “Immunity,” Hopkins is once again in top form. To me, he’s reached a new level of clarity and coherence. There’s an almost narrative thread through “Immunity,” as though it’s a score for a …

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New Music From Sheffield’s The Black Dog: Focused, Finely-Honed Objects [Stream, Video, Mix]

Out this week is a new full-length from The Black Dog. The Sheffield, England-based trio – Ken Downie, Martin Dust, Richard Dust – have been making smart, non-boring electronic music for ages. (Let’s not utter “IDM” – but “smart” fits.) From Warp to Ostgut Ton, they’ve been an indelible and irreplaceable part of the creative landscape. What strikes me about Tranklements is its effusive economy and clarity. In a time when music is regularly dripping with reverb or smothered in gauzy effects and nostalgia, this is a record that stands apart from any particular time, dry and direct and witty. …

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