A Dreamy Video, Remix with Loscil, and Other Christina Vantzou Gems

You know that feeling, on a hot day, of someone running an ice cube down the back of your neck? Or perhaps, going deeper, the dream of plunging into a frozen lake? That visceral, primeval emotion, that chill that prickles the hairs on your head – that might start to describe the eerily-lovely wonderlands of Christina Vantzou. Brussels-base artist Vantzou was the visual imagination behind The Dead Texan (with Stars of the Lid’s Adam Wiltzie), releasing an epic audiovisual masterpiece that paired cinematic ambience with video realizations. Vantzou has continued as a composer, with two records on Kranky Records (easy …

READ MORE →

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 …

READ MORE →

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford vs Ableton Push

This is … real. This is really the famed “crack-smoking” mayor of Toronto, laying down a beat live with Ableton Live and Ableton Push. And it’s definitely not an official Ableton artist endorsement, nor is Rob Ford a certified Ableton trainer. (Though if he does want to consider another career…) Well, some people do find Push addictive. Next: Putin on monome? If you aren’t impressed by Ford randomly jabbing pads, you might watch this instead, via Synthtopia:

READ MORE →

A Digital Label and Online Radio With True Depth – Talking Shop With Dewtone

Turn your radio on. In an age saturated with a tyrannical quantity of choice, tuning into something consistently inspiring matters more than ever. Our resident sound seeker Matt Earp looks into one channel that’s providing just that. Dewtone is a fantastic place to go for a range of music, so much so that it’s worth investigating the person behind it. Matt talks to Dewtone’s Dustin Morris about how he’s making this work. -Ed. Dewtone has been a complete joy to my ears ever since I found it – and the more I explore it the more I love it. I …

READ MORE →
anf_AB_LiveEdit_01

Egyptrixx x A N F: Audiovisuals as Surface, Texture, and Trip to Alien Volcanoes

It’s real, and yet, it isn’t. It’s the sound of percussion, but it resonates in an otherworldly way. It’s the flaming, blood-red surface of a volcano, but it’s melting before us. Some of the most evocative digital works walk this line, transport us to a place our brains can accept, yet not entirely believe, universes just past the reaches of our imagination. And so the collaboration between Egyptrixx (Toronto’s David Psutka) and A N F (Berlin visualist Andreas Nicolas Fischer) congeals around the notion of texture and surface. In generated geometries, globs of interplanetary resin, space insect innards about to …

READ MORE →

Palette Snaps Together Controls for Music, Creative Software

It seems everyone is thinking in LEGO these days. There’s littleBits, which snaps together analog components with magnetic connections. There’s Patchblocks, which connects digital modules you can then re-program onscreen. And now, there’s Palette, a set of controller blocks that snap together and connect via USB. It gives you knobs, sliders, and X/Y controls for manipulating any software – from music to apps. The crowd-funded project looks smart in both hardware and software design. And software easily extends what it can do – whether you’re playing a DJ set in Traktor or editing graphics in Photoshop. (Smart segues between those …

READ MORE →

Singing Circuits: Who Needs Synths When a No-Input Mixer Sounds This Gorgeous?

Hypnotic and chant-like, this Christian Carrière composition hums and vibrates with what sounds like a chorus of electronic synthesizers. But that’s not what you’re hearing. It’s actually all a “no-input mixer” – a rig that makes use of controlled feedback rather than any other source of sound. It is, as Montreal-based composer Christian describes it, the sound of the circuits inside the mixer singing. And while you may associate feedback with angry distortion, here it’s beautifully tranquil, the rich tones of the circuitry themselves transformed into oscillators. The patterns and layers are all made with a looper. 35-minute mix:

READ MORE →

Attempt to Make A Music Award That Matters, But Winning Act Calls It ‘F***ing Insane’

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Amidst award shows like the Grammies, Canada’s Polaris Awards seemed to be something different. As Internet over-abundance has made some feel big media has grown yet more powerful, Polaris seemed oozing with indie cred. Metric, Purity Ring, and Metz played the award ceremonies. Tegan and Sara, Zaki Ibrahim, and A Tribe Called Red got shortlisted. There’s even a cute infographic explaining how the selection process works, and it seems legitimate. (One potentially-bad sign: cloned, hipster-like characters in the image, vintage eyewear present, people of color entirely absent. But designers will be designers.) Past …

READ MORE →

Windsor Hum Gets Its Own Synth, in Latest Ableton Pack; Read About Mysterious Humming

Residents of Windsor, Ontario widely report hearing a humming sound – one no one has been able to identify, but at least some claim to have recorded. And now, for the first time, you can get that hum as a synth for Ableton Live (or any other environment, via the audio files). It’s the latest creation of AfroDJMac, the crazy-prolific producer and Live pack maker who has remarkably turned just 21 last week – happy belated birthday, sir. The resulting synth, novelty aside, sounds spooky and lovely:

READ MORE →

Space Oddity, Made in Space, is Kind of Ridiculously Awesome

Canadian Col. Chris Hadfield, aboard the International Space Station, has done what you would probably want to do if aboard the high-flying orbital outpost: make a music video for David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” And he works “Soyuz” into the lyrics. (Thankfully, he refrains from making it “Colonel Chris.” The only complaint: a shame it can’t cut between the ISS and Mission Control.) Colonel Hadfield, if you can hear us and have a moment, we’d love to hear how you produced the recording. Not that zero-g means too much for sound production – though I imagine keeping the mic steady becomes …

READ MORE →