noah

Sophisticated Rhythms: 2 Mixes, 2 Approaches, For Your Listening Pleasure

Mixes have become another essential reflex of this age of overabundance, a way of navigating in material form the rhythms that come our way. I turn this weekend to mixes by two close friends. Matt Earp, aka Kid Kameleon (top), has been a CDM contributor in the past; his background spans music and technology and a wide breadth and depth of knowledge in those areas. Noah Pred is simply one of the finest DJs and producers I know, the ever-tasteful mind behind the massively underrated but prescient label Thoughtless Music. Each mix is singular in purpose, full of the sort …

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brolin

Romance Again: Intimate, Personal Music for the First Warmth of Spring

Who’s ready for some springtime romance? Show of hands? Thought so. Here in northern Europe, at least, we’re at that inflection point as spring first crawls its way out of winter, tiny buds on the trees and ice/rain mixes giving way to faintly warm sunbeams. This is music that matches that mood. And it’s music that finds a voice, that can sing – not just in beautiful vocals (and the likes of Brolin certainly suffices in his latest work), but in music that is crafted from some intimate place. These are productions that are immediate and intensely personal in the …

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protoolsfirst

Pro Tools Adds Free Edition, Subscriptions, Marketplaces for Plug-ins and Content

Remember Pro Tools Free? Years ago, it was then-Digidesign’s ploy to give you the first hit of Pro Tools without paying, in the hopes you’d get hooked and buy the full version. Well, the idea is back, just with a different name. Pro Tools First is a stripped-down version of Pro Tools. And it’s one of three changes in Pro Tools 12 to how you buy and work with the flagship music production software. Pro Tools 12 is now something you can use for free (with various strings attached). It’s something you can rent, with subscription pricing (in addition to …

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free

Splice Just Launched a Huge Database of Free Music Plug-ins, And It’s Completely Awesome

This week, we’ve done nothing but pummel you with loads of gear you want. So, while you’re saving up thousands … sorry, tens of thousands of dollars for new analog gear from the 1970s, you might not be in the mood to ante up for a compressor or bass line synth. If you also couldn’t be bothered to carefully scour my article on how the purchasing of software is about to change forever, let me spoil some of the fine print for you: Collaboration tool Splice just quietly launched the biggest, best-organized database of free plug-ins I’ve ever seen. Here …

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automate

This Is What Happens When Vintage Robot Voices Make an Album

We hope that music will always have tribes of people keeping esoteric traditions alive – your Renaissance musical ensemble, your Slovenian folk instrumentalists. It just happens that electronic technologies have attracted their own followings, cultivating knowledge of Texas Instruments chips found in specific arcade games the way some people might maintain a balalaika. Chip singers have never gotten the kind of attention synthesizers have. But if Moog – and the synth itself – can look to Keith Emerson’s “Lucky Man,” fans of robotic sung vocals will always have Humanoid. The seminal acid track “Stakker Humanoid” was the work of artists …

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teufelsberg-impulse-responses-01

Free Download Puts Your Sound in a Cold War NSA Listening Station

Long before PRISM was tuning in your chats and emails, the US National Security Agency (NSA) had

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xmasbells

Get Christmas Bells Free for Ableton Live and Other Tools

There is so much bell action in this free download, there are bells combined with other bells. There are church bells, and there are Yamaha DX7 bells, synthesized through FM. It’s maximized Christmas soundware. Once you fire this up, it’s like an Egg Nog with a mulled cider inside and then a duck inside that. And, incredibly, it’s the 114th Ableton pack release from Brian Funk, aka electronic musician (and certified Live trainer) AfroDJMac. That’s 114 free downloads – far more than we could ever hope to cover. Because these are Ableton Live sound packs, you can actually open up …

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saturation_knob

Add a Free Softube Saturation Knob, Anywhere: Plug-in for Mac, Windows, or Reason

The Christmas gifts keep coming. On top of an excellent free NI delay, a free clap plug-in, and a free retro-inspired Max for Live drum machine, now you can add a free saturation effect – anywhere. Softube are making, simply put, some of the best amp and saturation models anywhere. I’m routinely using their stuff, as I’m sure many of you are, in Ableton and Propellerhead releases on top of dedicated Universal Audio UAD plug-ins. But having the convenience of a single saturation effect, with adjustable parameters, means you can create custom effect chains quickly. Toss some saturation on just …

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clapmachine

Get a Free All-Clap Plug-in for Mac or Windows

Clap your hands say clap! And the holiday gifts keep coming. Next up: an all-clapping plug-in. Yes, Clap Machine does just what it says: it makes claps. Think four octaves of them, even, all very natural-sounding. Now, at first this is the sound of one hand clapping – okay, two hands clapping. You’ll probably want to use multiple notes to get more. (It’s actually a shame there isn’t a control for that, but … well, you’ll figure it out. I might actually whip up a quick Max for Live device to use single inputs from a step sequencer but generate …

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microdrum

Robert Henke’s Free MicroDrum Will Take You Back to the 80s

Cue Huey Lewis and the News singing “Back in Time,” because we’re going back to the 80s. And where we’re going, we don’t need … stereo. Robert Henke (who has of late mostly shed the Monolake moniker) has a brilliant new Max for Live drum machine that borrows some of the limitations of vintage 80s drum machines. There’s a particular nod to drum machine pioneer Roger Linn (credited as such). But this isn’t just 80s nostalgia. MicroDrum’s restrictions, sound, and use of ideas from that hardware can bring new creative possibilities. Features: Zoom in on samples to 10 ms and …

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