Listen to Albums by Eloui, Lusine, Full of Electronic Craft and Great Songwriting

As electronic musicians craft songs in digital collage, the distinction between “producer” and “writer” has never really made much sense. Samples, synthetic sounds, and the technology used to bring them together are all an extension of compositional imagination. I’m reminded of this when I regularly explain what I do. (This is really fun in crowded, noisy bars.) “I run a site about … music and technology.” “Oh… what?” “Like the technology people use to make music.” [Insert dazed look.] “You know, if you hear music these days, it was all actually produced on computers? So I write about those tools. …

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From the Woods of Germany, Beyond, Sonic Creatures in Mouse on Mars-Recommended Netlabel [Free]

According to legend, on Christmas Eve animals magically gain the ability to speak. If there’s a similar date for sound-making machines, it may have coincided with the work on the latest of two releases from a Mouse on Mars-curated netlabel. Mouse on Mars have quietly started “Recommended Records” as an online-only outlet of free, full-length downloads. Based on the debut offerings in December and January, you can expend electronic outings full of sonic invention, experimental but always full of forward motion and kinetic energy. Ironically, they’re immune to what deef, in RR01, dubs his first track – “boring ass oldschoolness.” …

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Vienna in the snow, ca. 2008. Happy winter, Austria - this EP is a fitting soundtrack. Photo (CC-BY-SA) gego2605.

Cool Yule: Smart Austrian Ambient Electronica Album, Benefits Homeless

Call it experimental electro, ambient house… whatever the genre, Parque is smart, chilled-out music from Vienna. Full of cinematic cross-cuts and sharply-contrasted sound design, the EP “Amerika” is bathed in pleasantly-mellow melancholy. It’s only a debut, but an impressive one. The love and time put into production shines through. We’re pleased to introduce CDM reader Bene, aka Parque, to the site and listeners. And the Bavarian-born, Vienna-based Bene has a nice benefit in mind as he makes his holiday-timed release: All incoming proceeds until end of this year (minus Bandcamp and PayPal fees) will be forwarded to a Viennese homeless …

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Tangible Music: The Reactable and Interactive Instrument Design, in Videos

Dig into humanity’s past, and alongside the earliest tools, you’ll find some of the earliest instruments. Designing objects for expression seems to be an essential part of civilization. Martin Kaltenbrunner, a co-designer of the Reactable tangible music interface, is also a professor in Interface Culture at the Linz University of Arts in Austria. There, in the land of Mozart and Haydn, he works with students to explore what interface design is. So, when I got to spend some time with Martin in New York in September, I was interested in more than just the flashy coolness of the Reactable, the …

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Punched-Hole Tunes: Ritornell’s Musicbox Business Cards, as Delicate and Magical as the Music

Experimenting with twinkling timbres made both by acoustic and electronic means, the music of Ritornell (the duo of composer Dr. Richard Eigner and pianist Roman Gerold, Austria) is effortlessly expressive and spontaneous. Little wonder that that spirit could translate even to a small object. Designer Katharina H√∂lzl made business cards into both a signature identity for Ritornell and a physical manifestation of how they play their music. They’re not just a physical gimmick, though: audiences get to participate with music making in the production of live, performative loops. (Sadly, no site for Katharina – you just have to get hold …

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monome Me: Community Tour, Tunes to Hear

Pauk (Pau Cabruja) using a Monome 256 attached to a guitar strap, photo by Lara Jaruchik. Courtesy monome Community Tour The monome is coming to your town. Unlike tours organized by commercial product vendors, a grassroots effort by monome users pledges to share the music made with the monome and give back to a larger community. It’s hard to explain the monome. It’s part tool, part lifestyle. And its openness comes in large part from the community of artists who use it, and embrace the controller’s sustainable production and unique design. In fact, it’s hard to explain just what a …

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