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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tosantaclaus

Dear Santa… Tell Us What Musical Stuff is on Your Wish List

Photo (CC-BY) magma666 / Scott. What’s truly wish-worthy? Is it a manuscript paper notebook? An iPhone app? A glitched-out hardware effect? A DAW? A sample library? A CD or book? Before we put together some of our own suggestions for this year’s gift guide, we want to hear from you. You can add to your own wish list. You can add something you’ve gotten yourself you think someone else – or even a beginner – might want themselves. If you make something you want people to know about, be you a large vendor or garage maker, you can pitch us …

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Brains, Computers, Focus: How Do You Stay Productively Creative?

The original pomodoro. Photo (CC-BY-SA) borgmarc. For an artist, being productive and being happy are often closely intertwined. Whether you’re polishing off an album, practicing your instrument, patching or coding a new musical tool, or managing your career, music requires immense levels of focus and discipline. Then there’s the matter of the stuff that tends to be an obstacle: your day job, your to-do list, your taxes. Most musicians aren’t full-time, but even if you are, sometimes the greatest challenge is simply hurdling everything that isn’t your music, leaving you time for what is. Digital technology is naturally the bread …

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HAITI 2010 Monome Community Compilation + Other Efforts to Help in Haiti

Album artwork by Pau Cabruja (www.pauk.org) . Artists and creators around the world have been moved by the suffering of Haitians in the wake of last week’s earthquake. There are ways we can help, like giving to relief organizations to give them the capacity to respond wherever needed. The next crisis could be halfway across the world or in our own neighborhood. The monome community is about more than just the button-grid, open-source controller with which they work. They’re an example of the kind of collective spirit that musicians, digital or otherwise, can share internationally (see the map of these …

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Weekend Question: Where Do You Get Your Electronic Music Radio Fix Online?

Photo (CC) Ian Hayhurst. It’s oft-repeated conventional wisdom: the Internet democratizes access to music, opening up the possibility of hearing anything by anyone from anywhere. But just added more choices doesn’t necessarily help you connect with music that’s meaningful. In my inbox today, here’s this deceptively-simple question from Mike Mogensen: “Do you know any good Internet radio stations that stream electronic music? I’d like to expand my sonic horizon a bit and get some inspiration.” I expect there could be quite a lot of answers there, especially since “electronic” music could mean any range of work from experimental to techno. …

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What Are Your Top Electronic Albums of 2009? (And How Do You Stay Organized?)

It’s tough not to miss physical objects, but then, some of you have been buying vinyl. Chicago apartment, photo: Katherine Raz. More background. I have actually grown to appreciate year-end reviews. In grade school and high school, I was on different occasions both a yearbook guy and a newspaper guy (when not focusing energies on how to be as profoundly uncool as possible). There was a tension between the people who did the work of covering the information of the moment and the stuff you were supposed to save and cherish. If you’re addicted to content as a lot of …

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Au Revoir Simone’s New Music Video, and Missing a Dark Side for “Shadows”

I have a problem. Let me explain. Au Revoir Simone’s “Shadows” presented by David Lynch Foundation Television Au Revoir Simone have released the debut music video, “Shadows,” from their forthcoming album, “Still Night, Still Light.” Yet again, the music is warm and wonderful, with clever, deceptively-simple ostinatos and earnest melodies delivered in wispy vocals. But the release also suggests the new album is going to be more of what we got in the last albums – pleasant and dreamy, but absent, ironically, any hint of “shadows.” The music video comes again from Vikram Gandhi and Brendan Colthurst of Disposable, a …

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Torrent a Live Pack for the Weekend; Could Donationware Work?

An unfortunately-worded tip jar at the Hanoi Airport. Photo: theloneconspirator. Here’s a different take on soundware business models: offer your stuff for free, then depend on donations. That’s the tack at Togeo Studios, who have an impressive collection of packs. Wave Attack I, for instance, includes single-cycle waveforms with arpeggiated sequences and leads. Their work is available on BitTorrent, too, which could help defray bandwidth costs. (Well, single-cycle waveforms don’t take up much, but perhaps larger packs might.) I have to admit, I’m skeptical of the donationware model. The issue is, it seems like a lot of folks just aren’t …

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CDM Holiday Guide Reader Survey: Gifts of, for, and by You

Musical gifts – the best kind. Photo (CC) ex.libris. It’s nearly the holiday season, and as CDM has just completed its fourth birthday, I want to give all of us a present. The idea: a holiday guide that’s a bit different. The first CDM treeware. We’ll have PDF and print-on demand versions. And part of the reason we’re doing this: Something you can share. CDM certainly has its share of (sometimes frighteningly) advanced readers. But we believe in what we’re doing enough to share it with people with less experience. So we’ll include content you can share with nieces, cousins, …

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Ask CDM: Configuring Windows for Maximum Performance

Most musicians will be waiting some time before running Vista, so if you can’t upgrade to a new OS, upgrade the OS you’ve got. Our friend Brad, aka Internet indie singer-songwriter star Brad Sucks, is getting into laptop performance and wants some tips for tuning Windows XP. He writes: I’d be interested in asking your readers how they set up their laptops for live performance OS-wise. I’ve been giving some thought to doing a dual boot WinXP install. So I can have one install as my desktop, mail, etc. And another one with say XPlite or nLite with Live set …

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