battles

Watch Battles Reflect on Loops, Ableton in a Live Band Setting

On some deeper level, maybe it doesn’t matter how something repeats – whether it’s looped in a pedal, looped in software, or simply repeated by a human player, for instance. On another level, given just how much repetition matters to music, maybe that’s why we care so much about how it’s accomplished. Ableton this week released a visit to New York’s experimental rock trio Battles, in a film and interview under the header “The Art of Repetition.” There, we get to learn more about the process behind Battles’ dense, hypnotic sound. The film is a bit long, but there are …

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From the Heart of Belgrade’s Underground, Inside a New Festival Experience

Summertime. You certainly can’t complain about your options in electronic music festivals. But in some of the best festivals, there’s also a sameness – talented lineups, repeated from weekend to weekend. That predictability is part of the draw, part of the commercial viability of many of these events and of the artist industry they support. But where do you go if you want something different to happen? If you want a mix of music that’s different, an environment that’s different, if you want all the things that wouldn’t work elsewhere? One place to go is the countryside of Serbia, from …

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Staying Mobile, Imperfect; Music and Talk from Robert Lippok, To Rococo Rot

It’s festival season, a time for pre-packaged artists, album-perfect live sets, pristine digital worlds that sometimes literally come from the folks at Google. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But maybe now is a good time to look to the other avenue – to keeping things rough and loud, flawed, live in the sense that has mistakes. Robert Lippok, the always-busy, long-working Berlin-based artist, can celebrate both that messiness and obsessive control. As a soloist, he’s been a staple on Raster Noton; he’s also known for being one third of To Rococo Rot. 2014 is bringing new things from both …

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A Sci-Fi Band and Music Made from Ozone Data: Elektron Drum Machine, Sax Sonification

In a new touring piece by an electrified audiovisual band, the musical score is data. Space F!ght, off to tour London on Sunday, are a multi-media ensemble inspired by the greatest writers in science fiction. But science fact is the source of their latest piece, as they collaborate with the Stockholm Environment Institute and NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies to turn ozone data into the materials of their performance. That data has a message, as ozone levels directly impact human health. See the video at the top for a look at how the whole system works. Dr. Radek Rudnicki, …

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Playable 8-bit Game as Promo, and Okkervil River’s Nostalgia-Drenched Wonderlands

The standards for advance promotion of an album may be getting a little … intense. Photos? Track listing? Advance music video? Streaming preview? How about a complete, playable adventure video game in your Web browser, free, with charming graphics and an original chip music soundtrack adapting the songs from the record in 8-bit form? Due out Tuesday, September 3, Okkervil River’s LP “The Silver Gymnasium” isn’t shy about its nostalgia factor. The whole record is a re-imagining of frontman Will Sheff’s 80s childhood. That might be a bit much were the browser game not so beautifully executed. Sheff created the …

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Mission accomplished. Photo (CC-BY) Thoth God of Knowledge.

Create (Really) Analog Music: Music Video Made on Historic Edison Wax Cylinder

The miracle of recording is somehow no less extraordinary in this digital age – the ability to capture sound, the revolution that transformed music making worldwide, for better and for worse. In fact, if anything, the abundance of digital music is causing some people to rediscover the recording techniques that preceded it. Andy Deitrich of Chicago’s Mucca Pazza writes to share the experience of returning to that means of recording. I love the saturated quality of the sounds you get: it’s really evident how much the medium here colors the sound. Andy writes:

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mostlyrobot

Inside Mostly Robot Superband: Jamie Lidell + Shiftee + Tim Exile + Mr Jimmy + Jeremy Ellis + Pfadfanderei

The cast of characters crazy enough to try this. Image courtesy Native Instruments. In 1985, Thomas Dolby, Herbie Hancock, Howard Jones, and Stevie Wonder met onstage in Los Angeles to perform a Synthesizer Medley. (See video, bottom.) Can vocalist/electronic music legend Jamie Lidell (and keyboadist Mr. Jimmy), experimental sound guru and producer Tim Exile, champion turntablist DJ Shiftee, and “finger drummer” virtuoso Jeremy Ellis pull off something that epic, backed by visuals from Berlin’s Pfadfinderei? That’s what music tech vendor Native Instruments is hoping, as it debuts the “superband” Mostly Robot at SÓNAR in Barcelona in June. Now, when you …

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Tetrafol, Sound Object by monome + machineproject + Fol Chen, in Videos, Sounds, and Interview

LA-based bang Fol Chen (Asthmatic Kitty records) wanted to go beyond the computer as the playback and manipulation device for their music. So they worked with collaborators to invent a solution. In a new video, sounds, and an interview, we can share some of how this came into being. Built with the monome creators (Brian Crabtree and Kelli Cain) and LA research and experimentation center Machine Project, the Tetrafol is a custom, pyramidal sound device. The object warps Fol Chen’s music using gestural manipulation of playback, but can also use your own samples. And with open-source circuit and firmware, the …

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A Handmade Children’s Book, a 7″ Vinyl Record, and Tangible, Handmade Music

In the midst of all this talk of intangible digital intellectual property and arcane licensing and Internet policy, there’s something comforting about thinking of music and art as something you make with your hands and give to someone. It was a discussion of that – even in the context of technology – that first led me to the discussion of “Handmade Music.” (Tip of the hat to my friend, Etsy’s Matt Stinchcomb, with whom this discussion has crossed the Atlantic from Brooklyn to Berlin.) Via Cool Hunting, here’s an old-fashioned way of making a music object. The music is on …

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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 Hölzl 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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