Carrying her musical life on her back - in more ways than one. Zoe Keating, by Nadya Lev for Coilhouse. Photo courtesy the artist.

Zoe Keating, Cellist Who Exposed Her Musical Finances, Talks Music Making, Distribution [Interview]

She shocked the music business by revealing she wasn’t making money on Spotify – then shocked them again by revealing she was making money on our own. Now, CDM’s Matt Earp talks to cellist Zoe Keating about surviving as a creative musician, and keeping the music coming. Hint: “exposure” is not necessarily the key to survival. -Ed. Zoe Keating is an avant-garde cellist, a Canadian transplant to San Francisco who now lives on its far outskirts. Her sound slips back and forth between the classical and electronic worlds, conjuring sylvan images and dusty warehouses with equal clarity. Two self-released full-lengths, …

READ MORE →
King Britt, performing in the garden. Photo:

The Bee and The Stamen: Complete Live Stream, King Britt Interview, As Nature Meets Electronic Music

For just a moment, take your mind somewhere a bit different. First, imagine the computer as part of nature, not something separate from nature. And then, put your head inside the mind of a bee. (You might not want to operate heavy machinery, just in case you start to imagine you’re seeing things through a compound eye.) That’s the journey we’re on with King Britt, the veteran producer from Philadelphia. He’s remixed everyone from Miles Davis to Tori Amos, but now, he remixes the world of the bee. And given how small we ultimately all are, perhaps that’s a worthy …

READ MORE →
Phoebe in the studio. Photos for CDM courtesy the artist.

Listening, Behind the Scenes: Phoebe Kiddo, Traveling Through Earth and Space

The enchanting, carefully-handcrafted music of Phoebe Kiddo is yet another example of the wonders coming from under-the-radar digital artists in the production Renaissance now underway. We got to host Phoebe on our MusicMakers party last month in Berlin – full coverage of that show, with video, coming soon. Now, Phoebe tells CDM a bit about making music as a globe-trotting nomad, and how she works with monome live and in the studio. Phoebe’s music mixes taut beats and delicate, low-fidelity timbres with dense arrangements and spacey dubs. Her voice cuts dreamy melodic lines across introspective grooves that can then accelerate …

READ MORE →
Mark Fell investigates nanostructures and dancing particles. A visual reveals some of those Brownian Motion-produced forms. Photo courtesy Mark Fell.

Nanomusic: Mark Fell Turns to Neuroscience and High-Power Microscopes for Particle Music

Making new sounds means doing more than just making new sounds. Artist/composer Mark Fell (also known as half of SND) dives directly into the thorny question of form. And when he looks for new forms, he literally looks. The visually-trained artist speaks about making “non-representational” music in the same way an abstract artist might. (No surprise that arresting imagery invariably accompanies his work.) And in his latest creation, he looks even further, collaborating with a neuroscientist to peer at tiny particles through a high-power optical microscope. The result is alien music, constructed from the dance of those nanostructures. The work …

READ MORE →
scape3

Brian Eno Back to Ambient Roots, in iPad App with Peter Chilvers, Upcoming Album

Brian Eno’s influence on music, particularly music termed “ambient,” is such that it might itself blend into the background. But make no mistake, work like Music for Films and Music for Airports has left an indelible impression on the sound of a lot of music, and moreover in how we think about sound and structure. A newly-announced album on Warp promises to return to the long-form, expansive compositional ideas of those works, in a 75-minute opus called LUX. (More on that at bottom, though we can’t hear it yet.) But perhaps it’s even more appropriate to look at Eno’s work …

READ MORE →

Mystery Artist Solvoid Delights Ears, Dodges Questions [Listening, Interview]

Solvoid is a mystery shrouded in a riddle. Three brilliant EPs have appeared from this artist online in the last several months, each one a tricky mixture of two-step, electro, breaks, and 8-bit arpeggios, with hints of the mystic, the playful, and the divine. As with Athena, they seem sprung fully-formed from the head of their creator, and yet there’s almost no discernible information out there about who he (she? they? it?) is. The level of technique and process in the releases point to someone who has been around the block a few times, but just what they might have …

READ MORE →

Frag’mnts – An Enig’matik Records CDM Sampler, Ethno-step Diversity to Hear [Free Listening]

Forget the adage about “dancing about architecture” – talking about music is important. But talking about music is made more meaningful by listening, the real reason we do what we do. And so, we’re pleased to follow our profile of Australia’s Enig’matik Records with a collaborative sampler. It’s a diverse selection of tracks that lets you really hear these musical characters we think are making something worth exploring. Label founder Jake Rose aka Sun In Aquarius came to CDM with the idea, eventually leading to a full compilation to tell a more complete musical story. I’ll let contributor Matt Earp …

READ MORE →
circlesremixed

Fax, Circles Remixed EP, and the Post-Ambient, in Mexico And Beyond [Good Listening]

“Post-” is a prefix that comes up in an art world struggling with overlapping genres and non-linear history, one you’ll no doubt here today on an anniversary of a truly terrible day in Manhattan. But what does it mean to come after something, and where can it go? It’s sometimes best to simply listen to music to answer that. A clarion, original musical voice from Mexico, Fax – Ruben Alonso Tamayo – treads lines between ambient, minimal techno roots, and straight-up minimalism in electronic music. It’s no surprise he’s also a designer; there’s a sense of color and surface taking …

READ MORE →

Beck Uses Sheet Music, Illustrations in Place of an Album; Could “Sing it Yourself” Have a Future?

Before recording, there was simply music making. When you wanted to hear music, you had to find some actual living, breathing, fleshy musicians to make it happen. “Live” was the only kind of music. And prior to the record album, the mass publication of sheet music was the disruption that built a music industry. But there’s no reason people can’t get together and play music themselves. So, the first question you might ask, when seeing that Beck is releasing an “album” in the form of a set of sheet music, is, “why not?” And, for music in general, “why not …

READ MORE →
quotidian1

In Percussive Harmonies, A Record of a Year of Travel – Literally, on a Record [MeeBlip + Location Data]

Photos courtesy the artist. We have data in pictures, we have data in Facebook posts – why not data as music? In the latest data sonification project, the record of travel becomes an oddly-beautiful set of percussive harmonies. And it’s a “record” in every sense: artist and composer Brian House not only composes the data into pleasing sonorities, but presses them into a rather elegant limited-edition vinyl. And the whole project is powered by our very own open source MeeBlip synthesizer, demonstrating that you can coax a range of sounds out of traditional 2-oscillator subtractive synthesis. With that unique take …

READ MORE →