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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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Beats for Eva: Production Goodies Help One Woman Fight Cancer

Facing a health crisis, whether your own or a loved one’s, can be a serious challenge. It can make music making seem a remote activity. But here’s a case in which music production talent, the power to put together loops and tools, can help fight for someone’s health. What’s unique about this is that just using these tools in your own music – or contributing your own loops and tools – can get you involved, too. CDM reader Stefan Weise, a musician from Dallas, Texas, writes: My friend Jason and I run a label together called “Evoked Recordings” and he …

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Camp America Releases a CD Encased in LEGO Blocks [Album Pick]

A paper cover is one option if you’re looking for ways of making music releases physical and tangible. But Steven Cowley went to something a bit more unusual. A release of his one-man project Camp America comes with a bag containing 125 LEGO pieces, and instructions for building the case. Steven writes us as he sees that paper example to show us some next-level physical release magic. And, oh yeah, importantly, it’s really good music – finely-polished, top-notch, synth-laden pop songs. It’s just darned good music, so the best I can say is, go take a listen. I also think …

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