high-fidelity-main-review

What’s the electronic music that’s not on the top 2015 lists?

It makes some people cringe each December as much as the appearance of WHAM! and Paul McCartney (oh, “Wonderful Christmastime”). It’s the end of year lists in electronic music. I have no particular problem with them, except that they’re limited in what they tell us. We get surveys that allow people to learn what the most popular music is by determining which music they … already think is the most popular. It’s like the musical equivalent of the Myers-Briggs test, or reading a horoscope. Sure, it’s entertaining, but the secret is, you’re basically just looking in a mirror and confirming …

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Happy New Year; Nominees for Stories Everyone Missed?

Happy New Year, everyone. We’re taking the day off, but while we’re putting together a year-end review of musical technology and invention, any nominees for stories that fell under the radar, that people might have missed? DIY projects, unique tools, or anything of the sort welcome; we do appreciate your ideas, as always. Let us know in comments, and we’ll pick out some of our favorites. Have a lovely evening – Happy rockin’ New Year’s, and to Germany, Guten Rutsch!

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SF’s Robotspeak, Music Geek Heaven – And Elsewhere On Earth? [Video, Survey]

There are a few spots in the world that are active hotspots for music tech geekery, and in San Francisco, it’s definitely all about Robotspeak. CNET’s Donald Bell – known to some of us back in the day as terrific IDM producer Chachi Jones – visits the store that once employed him. (This gives me extra-happy memories, because years ago I was fortunate enough to play an A/V set at Robotspeak alongside Donald and Daedalus.) Donald explains more of why Robotspeak is cool on a CNET blog post: Robotspeak: An electronic musician’s toy store All of this gives me an …

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disco_ornament

What’s on Your Holiday Wish List – Beyond the Usual Suspects? (Open Thread)

Disco Christmas! Photo (CC-BY) paparutzi. Yes, it’s that gift-y time of year again, which naturally means among lovers of music technology, thoughts turn to gear wishes and dreams of new hardware. We’ve asked in the past what readers want in their stockings and presents – and, just as interestingly, what they’d give to others. And you’ve come up with fascinating ideas. This year, I’ll frame the question a bit differently: what, beyond the usual suspects, would you love to have? Books or music collections? Handmade or boutique items? Unique tools and toys that’d help you be creative? And what would …

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Thanksgiving Open Thread, Delivering in Beta

On US soil today, it’s Thanksgiving. I’m over 3600 miles away, myself, from the place that began as home this year in New York, but ready to celebrate a day off anyway as I take in Eindhoven’s STRP Festival and prepare for performing on Saturday back in Berlin. But whether you’re in the US or in one of the many other parts of the world where we count readers, let’s pause to consider what makes us thankful. I’m immensely thankful to have the opportunity to make music. I find it’s always worth reminding myself of that, and reminding to fight …

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opensourcehardware

Open Source Music Hardware: Got Gear? Fill Out Our Survey as We Look at the Landscape

If you do want to get religious about this, you may want to wear this around your neck: Open Source Hardware logo as jewelry! Photo (CC-BY-SA) MAKE’s Becky Stern. We’ve followed open source hardware – and generally hardware that is more open to user customization and modification – on this site since the beginning. As I prepare for a talk on the MeeBlip at Berlin’s Create Art & Technology Conference, though, I think it’s time to do a proper survey of the hardware that’s out there. The ability to modify music gear is something that’s important to a lot of …

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Letters to the Editor: We Get Some Strange Emails

Does CDM get a lot of email? Yes, yes, it does. Some of them are valuable and fascinating and – all apologies to all of you – manage to slip through the inbox. Some, however, are simply exceptionally strange. This is just from this morning: Topic: musis Message: i need pad Okay. Guess you do. Topic: Cassette tapes Message: I am having a “clear out ” at home and have several music cassettes What can I do with them.?? Includes, some Elvis, Christmas collections,Richard Rogers musicals,Andrew LLoyd Webber If you have some solutions you’d like to suggest to these folks, …

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808angled

Open Thread: What is Virtuosity on a Drum Machine?

Photo (CC-BY-SA) bdu. Electronic music has always had a funny relationship with musicianship. It isn’t playing a traditional instrument; instead, it lies somewhere between instrumentalism and composition, between playing and conducting. Sometimes, that scale is tipped away from virtuosity of any kind. But lately, I’ve had an increasing number of conversations with people who make the tools with which we make music about what this all means. I’ll be able to share one of those conversations in a bit, but I’m curious to hear what readers think. Computers are fairly open-ended devices, so let’s take the familiar drum machine. What …

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vinylrecord

Looking for the Overlooked: What Was Your Favorite Music of 2010?

Photo (CC-BY) Hryck. / Todd. As the inevitable “best music of 2010” arrive, so, too, do complaints. Why are the lists the same? Why is an obvious choice overlooked? Why is a less-known choice overlooked? So, it’s time again for readers to discuss. What was your favorite music of 2010? Mixes, albums, singles? Unless your favorite was recorded entirely to tape, nearly any genre and instrumentation has gone through the filter of digital recording, mixing, and mastering. Almost anything might be said, rightfully, to qualify as digital music. What were the albums that inspired you, sonically, compositionally? What were your …

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iso50-midi_therm

A CDM Holiday Gift Guide: Musical Goodness, All Under $200

Photo (CC-BY) JD Hancock. We users may sometimes gripe, but music technology gives us an impossibly wide variety for which to be thankful. From free (as in beer, as in freedom) to high-end and spendy, from software plug-in to acoustic instrument to solid-state electronics to toy, you’d run out of time and money long before you ran out of exceptional, music-inspiring choices. I think the passion people feel for music is the cause: economics and logic be damned, we’re all glad to make music part of our life, both as makers and consumers. Tools aren’t everything – it can be …

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