reliq at full tilt during a live set, bending time and space. Photo courtesy the band.

Playlist: Anika and Moderna Bring Sonic Caffeine, reliq and Erika Open the Airlock

Monday is a perfect time to try to shift moods with music, to change the mix. So here’s a melange of Monday mixes … mmmmmmm. (Good God, I’m glad we have music to start the week, as words are generally failing me.) Here’s a bit of what we’re cueing up here – from deep, perk-you-up sounds from Anika and Moderna to richly-diverse experimental sounds via reliq and Erika.

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I Dream of Wireless: Two Crowd-funded Accessories Make Music Without Cables

There are still many situations in which cables have some advantages for control, as we saw in this week’s tutorial on iPad connections. But two separate crowd-funded projects are working on high-performance wireless solutions for music controllers. That could open up the chance for performers to move around, take advantage of tilt sensors and other location tools inside controllers, and work with gear in studio situations more flexibly. Keith McMillen already has a track record using crowd funding to support projects – and they’ve been getting better at it. After the “3D” grid-and-ribbon QuNeo suffered production delays, the keyboard-style QuNexus …

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In Free App, Circuit Bending Done with Bits [iPhone]

It’s all been done. Or maybe not. Synthesis may not have so many unseen shores – unknown, wild beaches where you can plunk a flag in the ground and shout “I claim this for Spain!” or something to that effect. Instead, we find nuances of sonic possibility in details. We’re building on those colonies. And freed from the dogma of “fidelity” or slavish imitation of instruments (remember, a lot of the synth business had its root in the conservative organ business), the sounds that are coming out delight with new variety. Take this lovely free app, bent.fm. (Currently marked “lite,” …

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Playlist: The Best Music Mixes, Jams, and Releases to Queue Up Now

Our cup runneth over. And just as we’re adding our favorite stories to read to the new Reading List feature, we bring you some of our favorite listening. This is what’s playing through my cans as I’m working and meditating. Releases Ras G – Back On The Planet is, simply, out of this world. Forget what you know about Brainfeeder and LA; this is earning Afrofuturism comparisons to Sun Ra and George Clinton with good reason. Dense, jazzy, and splendidly improvisatory, it’s some of the most dynamic hip hop/electronic music to come out this summer. Gregory Shorter, Jr. is doing …

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If the iPhone unnerves you and you want something a bit more ... nostalgic ... here's the MS-20 mini cozying up to long-time Japanese Korg rival Roland. Ebony and ivor... erm, gray. Photo by Deceptikon.

Deceptikon Pairs MS-20 mini, iPhone Arpeggionome – And Chooses Favorite Remixes

It’s all Deceptikon, in the remix – gear and tracks. First, 1978, meet 2013. The re-released Korg MS-20 mini here teams up with the lovely iPhone sequencer app Arpeggionome, courtesy the wonders of MIDI. (See our recent feature on the app.) As Arpeggionome’s clever developer Alexandernaut describes it: My friend Deceptikon (http://deceptikon.net) tries Arpeggionome for iPhone for the first time, connecting it to his MS-20 mini. Levels, drums, and effects with [M-Audio-made] Evolution U-Control controlling Ableton Live. Yes, Midiman acquired Evolution and continued to make the controller here. Shame the UC-33e hasn’t seen a successor, actually. And the whole rig …

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Bleeding-Edge Musical Innovation, Live from CCRMA; Full Report, Monolake + Tarik Barri Live

Ivory tower, let down your hair. Make no mistake. The slightly-impossible-to-pronounce acronym CCRMA (“karma”), standing for the not-terribly-sexy “Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics,” is one of the world’s hotbeds for innovation in electronic music. From the lowest-level DSP code to the craziest live performances, this northern California research center nesting at Stanford is where a lot is going on. So, when they put on a concert, this isn’t just another dry exposition of “tape” pieces, academics scratching their chins and trying not to nod off. (Trust me: I’ve … on occasion darned nearly rubbed my chin raw …

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Melodies in Triangles: Christopher Willits on Playing Grids of Push [Tutorial Video]

You can think about melodies and harmonies in geometric shapes. In fact, instrumentalists playing piano keys or guitar frets have already been doing that for some time. What’s happening with grid controllers like Push – among other alternatives – is that it’s now easy to rearrange melodic setups to see and play these relationships in new ways. Musician Christopher Willits has started a series of videos called CREATE (hmmm… like that name somehow), through the creative community platform Overlap. Willits tells CDM, “I really love this instrument. I’m excited to work with it more and become really comfortable. Like any …

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Do It With Lasers: R&D Experiment Makes Drum Microphones, Triggers More Accurate

Sennheiser Element – Laser Drum Microphone System from Andy Greenwood on Vimeo. We cover a lot of experiments that make an interesting proof of concept, or that make performance, frankly, more difficult but in interesting ways. Here’s an idea that might just work. You know, like might actually make an existing technology better. The idea is this: rather than clumsily using gates to isolate individual drum mics, use lasers (“lazorrrs”) to measure vibration. And if the demo video is to be believed, it works damned well. You can use this to get better recordings, or use it to transform a …

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Animation: Watch Moog Sub Phatty, Flying Lotus in Psychedelic, Fluid Color

The best music videos don’t just flow well with the pacing and feeling of music. They enhance it. And that’s certainly the case with the work of regular FlyLo collaborator and Adult Swim animator Adam ‘lilfuchs’ Fuchs of Atlanta, Georgia. Add in Moog, and things get seriously trippy for lovers of synthesizers. The resulting short, “Such a Square,” features Flying Lotus-produced sounds, made on a prototype of Moog’s new Sub Phatty synth. The liquid-smooth animation takes us on a psychedelic journey via Bob Moog’s mind, tracing circuitry and patch cords in acid-glowing washes of electric color. It feels like a …

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Dam-Funk gets his own drum machine + sequencer. Photo courtesy Bleep Labs.

Artist Gear: Dam-Drum 2.0 is a Handheld Drum Machine from Bleep Labs, Stones Throw Records [Listen]

You know those science fiction episodes where someone’s personality gets transferred to the computer? Imagine if an artist could do that with a drum machine, and you get the idea behind Dam-Drum. Bleep Labs’ John-Mike Reed of Austin, Texas has a unique talent for engineering fun music electronics. His work is sonically adventurous – always with enough rough edges to keep things interesting – and simultaneously demonstrates an ability to compact designs to their most basic elements, while wrapping everything in a veneer of quirky personality. Yes, of course, his googly-eyed robots the Thingamagoops are immediately cute and anthropomorphic. But …

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