berlin-atonal-2014-high-res-©-camille-blake-94

Returning the festival to a place for the specific and the new, at Atonal

Electronic music, even at its most adventurous, has a bit of a chicken and egg problem at the moment. Festivals feed off of other festivals. Projects are made to be as portable as possible, touring from one place to another. Venues, crowds, and even the festival programs themselves are made to be as interchangeable as possible. None of these things on its own is a bad thing; music touring as an institution has likely been around as long as musicians have owned shoes. But at some point, you need something new to happen. You need someone to do something specific …

READ MORE →
pierreschaeffer_grm

If you use samples, then wish Pierre Schaeffer a happy birthday

It’s French composer Pierre Schaeffer’s birthday, and if you’re using any form of sampling, it’s worth pausing to remember him. At 105 years of age, he’s more relevant than ever. Listen, to his Cinq études de bruits : Étude aux chemins de fer. Amazingly, this 1948 piece (made when my Mom was born) sounds like it’d still be a good listen on SoundCloud today (thanks, Yuri Spitsyn):

READ MORE →
ebony

Pop, glam, death, and definitely not techno: Pop-Kultur Round-up

The problem with festivals isn’t that we’re lacking for choice. But in the fast food court of summer festivities, the offerings tend to be arrayed in hard-edged silos. Here’s the dance music one, and it’ll be a rave. Here’s the rock one, and it’s just going to be about guitars. Here’s the experimental one, and everything is likely to be a big long drone in some cavernous distorted reverb. This one is only for J.S. Bach. And so on… Pop-Kultur’s name alone implies a different frame around music. It’s experimental, but it’s also pop. It’s death metal, glam rock, pogo. …

READ MORE →
plusplusplus_2

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 …

READ MORE →
platform

Listen to Holly Herndon’s ‘Platform’ and the Emotional Content of the Laptop

I’m remiss in not posting this last week when it debuted, and I suspect many CDM readers have heard already, but if not – drop everything, and have a listen (in full) to ‘Platform,’ the new LP from composer/producer Holly Herndon. The full LP is now on Spotify, etc., or NPR First Listen. There’s a lot to discuss here. “Platform,” as the name implies, is intended as a first step toward other interactions. There’s the process and technique behind the music itself. A fearless champion of the laptop’s instrumental and compositional potential, Holly has made the album itself and the …

READ MORE →
MakingMusic6

Non-Oblique Strategies: Author on the Discipline of Making Music

The blank screen. The half-finished project. The project that wants to be done. We talk a lot about machines and plug-ins, dials and patch cords, tools and techniques. But the reality is, the most essential moments of the process go beyond that. They’re the moments when we switch on that central technology of our brain and creativity. And, very often, they crash and require a restart. So it’s about time to start talking about the process of how we make music – even more so when that process is in some sense inseparable from the technology we use, whether the …

READ MORE →
abyssal.2jpg

Let Milena Kriegs’ Music Plunge You Into a Beautiful Abyss [Free Downloads]

Grim music is very much in vogue these days – the tell-tale sign being washed-out back and white photos that seem to have escaped from the liner covers of horror movie soundtracks, among other giveaways. But it can get carried away. You might sometimes wonder if producers were being paid by their reverb plug-ins in exchange for lengthening delay times. Milena Kriegs aka Milena Głowacka, however, is some blissfully frightening music I feel is worth listening to. Straddling darker, deeper techno and adventures into more ambient/experimental territory, this Warsaw-based artist is at the center of a growing amount of finely-crafted …

READ MORE →
808movie

On the Eve of New 808 Film, Techno’s Roots Matter More Than Ever [Videos]

If rock music had the Gibson Les Paul and Fender Stratocaster, hip hop and dance music have the TR-808. And if its sound seems sometimes overly familiar, even that is in some sense a hat-tip (pardon the pun) to its enduring ubiquity. Now, the Roland TR-808 gets its own full-length documentary, told primarily through the eyes of the people who repurposed its idiosyncratic sound to spin new musical genres and start a revolution. The film features extensive input from Arthur Baker, who acts as a centerpiece for the movie. Baker was the producer behind Afrika Bambaataa’s ‘Planet Rock,’ a record …

READ MORE →
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 …

READ MORE →
richard

Crowd-funding Campaign Wants to Pay Back Amen Break Creator

It’s the best-known sample of all time. It might be the most-heard six seconds of sound in modern recording. But before it became the “Amen break,” the signature riff was part of The Winstons’ song “Amen, Brother.” And so, how much did the artists who actually produced the original sound earn from their “success”? Well, that’ll be … nothing, apart from the original revenues from the 1969 release. Nothing in royalties from its use … well, seemingly everywhere. (N.W.A.? Oasis? Futurama? Check.) Zip. Zero. The drummer, Gregory Coleman, died homeless in 2006. Richard L. Spencer, the vocalist and sax player …

READ MORE →