King Britt pays his dues to Sun Ra. Photo : Keith Hodges.

100 Years of Sun Ra: Space is the Place, Now More Than Ever [King Britt Mix]

In a world of 24-hour news cycles, keynote speeches, new gadgets replacing those from six months ago … dire warnings of melting ice sheets, starving people, the end of energy and food and wildlife … it’s easy to lose site of optimism about the future. Yet there are those sounds that can be futuristic and radical in a way that doesn’t fade. Sun Ra’s records and performances sound as revolutionary today as ever, even though last week the artist would have been one hundred years old. This is a futurism unlimited and un-aging – like space itself. I imagine it …

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Listen: Greg Gives Peter Space, Intimate Vocals Meet Live, Spacey Sound [CDM Presents]

The label Erased Tapes lies perfectly at the crossroads of craft today, from instrument building and modification (electronic and acoustic) to performance and composition (again, electronic and acoustic). And a new collaboration weaves together all those threads. We couldn’t be more pleased to get to share the first exclusive track from that project, as well as announce an event we’ll co-present here in Berlin in June. Peter Broderick and Greg Haines are each multi-instrumentalist composers, at home singing and playing instruments both new and old. Their relationship spans several years, but this year brings the debut of a finished record …

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Pattern and Design: A 2-Day Festival Turns Vintage Type into Musical Scores

It’s time to reinvent the graphical score. With musical practice more international, more broad and varied than ever, and electronics in the mix, conventional notational idioms just aren’t enough. For curator and prolific electronic producer Hanno Leichtmann, the starting point was a collection of vintage Letraset and Letratone type, as pictured above. Leichtmann, a graphic designer himself (and maker of beautiful record covers), is passionate about digital and ink-based design processes alike; even the posters for the event are exquisitely (and expensively) hand-produced. He then invited a who’s who of illustrators and graphic designers from Germany, Austria, France, Great Britain, …

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In Living Rooms, Homes, Beautiful Music as a Ritual: Olafur Arnalds; Matthew Flook; Free

For centuries, music was something made in a living room, made at home. It was a brief fluke of the 20th Century that music came out of a heroic process in a hidden-away studio. But if the gold-plated, magical record is threatened, some artists are trying to bring the daily ritual of home music making back. Ólafur Arnalds and Matthew Flook are each making gorgeous, cinematic-ambient tracks, and each have made projects that involve doing so on a regular basis in their homes. Let’s listen. Arnalds has been making some of the finest scores anywhere, and now has earned the …

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See the Max Patch Robert Henke Built Before Ableton Live; Hear the Music it Made

This is what a Monolake live set sounded like in 1999. And in the days before Ableton Live was a finished product, running patterns was a job for self-built software in Max. Robert describes the music thusly: This is a live recording, captured at Ego club in Düsseldorf, June 5 1999. The music has been created with a self written step sequencer, the PX-18, controlling a basic sample player and effects engine, all done in MaxMSP, running on a Powerbook G3. The step sequencer had some unique features, e.g. the ability to switch patterns independently in each track, which later …

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Learn from the Master: Diego Stocco Makes Music with Sound Design, Then Shows You How

Is it sound design, or is it composition? Is it musicianship, or is it technical control? Is it live, or is it Ableton Live? Yes. Diego Stocco is simply one of the best bleeding-edge musicians, composers, and sound designers – all in one. And that has made him rightfully in-demand in the media of technology (Spectrasonics), movies (Sherlock Holmes), TV (The Tudors), and games (Assasin’s Creed). He’s of course also a big hit around sites like this one. Now, he’s sharing his secrets. He revealed about a week ago that he would be offering the first of his sound design …

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Robert Henke Hacklab + RA Exchange: Hard Work, Solving Creative Crises, and Lasers

We get to continue the conversation around Robert Henke’s process and his magnum opus laser-show that closed CTM Festival on Sunday. Will Lynch from Resident Advisor joined us in the MusicMakers Hacklab to sit down with Robert. Here, Will talks to Robert about his music, his approach, and how he tackled the challenge of making laser shows more than just a gimmick. Robert is an incredibly-disciplined person – he basically took just this time off from the studio to come talk to us. And that showed in the extraordinarily prolific, detailed work in Lumière. Punctuated by visual rhythms, each split-second …

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A Naked Man Plays Robots and Finds Love; A Quadriplegic Finds a Voice in Music

Man & Machine: A Naked Robotic Love Story from Jesse Roesler on Vimeo. Making music with machines, we all become somehow more than human. We are people, augmented by technology. Those technologies strip us bare, expose us as naked emotionally … sometimes, literally. Through the eyes of one filmmaker, here are two parallel images that drive that point home. Last week at Berlin’s CTM Festival, we began a week-long hacklab by touring the Generation Z exhibition with curator Andrey Smirnov. One thing Andrey repeatedly emphasizes about the revolutionary Russian artists who came together in the 1920s is their belief in …

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Robert Henke on Lasers, Structure, and Musical Choices; Intuition and Limitations

Give Robert Henke a computer, some lasers, and some time to make his own tools as well as his own music, and wonderful things result. In a new video (German, with English subtitles), he gives a master class not so much in technology as the philosophy of using that technology. Robert Henke – now increasingly in the public eye under his full name and not “co-founder, Monolake” or “co-founder, Ableton” attached with it – has for years gone way beyond the club floor. Even apart from experimental club music or elaborate multichannel audio experiments, you see his work accompanied by …

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Glass Music: Google Glass Meets Wine Glasses, Chamber Music Conductor

Google Glass continues to see musical ideas. Alexander Chen, whom we saw composing violin ensembles with Google’s wearable tech, now turns his attentions to literal glass – wine glasses. In “Glass through Glass,” we hear a beautiful, ethereal ensemble of wine glasses resonating in harmony. Yes, you could do this with other devices, but glass does make the recording experience seamless, as would any wearable camera. Cornell conductor and professor Cynthia Turner, too, is beginning with Google Glass primarily as a point-of-view camera. But she intends to go further, reported The Verge earlier this fall. She’s streaming the conductor’s perspective …

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