Alternative Music Distribution: Moldover’s CD Case as Circuit Board Noisemaker

Making music into an object – the central genius of recording – could be a wonderful thing. But the CD was always somewhat utilitarian as a distribution mechanism, with its easily-splintered plastic jewel case and inserted artwork that paled next to the grand visions of the LP. Moldover is the latest artist to experiment with ways of re-imagining the musical object. Already a fan of custom sonic circuitry, he made his CD into a circuit board. Some of it is just aesthetic, like the printed lettering. But there is also integrated noise-making circuitry for a very simple optical Theremin (well, …

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Music for Vending Machines: Alva Noto, Anne-James Chaton

The imagination of Carsten Nicolai, aka Alva Noto, is a special place. No matter how minimal, there’s always a subtlety to his beats. No matter how dry, there’s pleasure somewhere in the sounds. A love for technology, mundane and otherwise, is something of a cliche in electronic music, but Nicolai manages to throw himself into his work with such infectious enthusiasm that it remains fresh. And his love for electronics can spread even to vending machines. I have to admit when I first heard this track, I almost had to laugh at the stream of numbers. But, the more your …

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South Asian Electronica Lovers: Indian Electronic Festival Returns

Enough of all this nonsense about how the Western Empire is crumbling. In our new “world” in which Mumbai is as powerful a cultural compass as Berlin or New York, one thing is guaranteed: it’s going to be a great party. One stalwart Western-based advocate of a more pluralist electronica scene are the folks at Indian Electronica. Pumping out regular live events, podcasts, radio streams, and festivals, the crew is keeping music south Asian-flavored and eclectic. They’re truly inclusive: previous festivals spotlighted the likes of DJ Spooky, artists who are not connected to India by birth but love the music. …

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Video Gallery: Live Acts – Live Electronic Performance, Done Right

As a companion to Primus Luta’s story on artists and live electronic music performance, we’ve compiled a gallery of videos of the artists featured in action live. Daedelus

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Into the Woods: Wolfgang Voigt’s GAS, an Audiovisual Black Forest at MUTEK

All this week, I’ll be talking about the artists and events at Montreal’s MUTEK audiovisual festival. There’s nowhere better to begin than at the launch evening of their a/visions series. Natural landscapes are recurrent themes in electronic music and the metaphors we use to describe them – glaciers and jetstreams. But the Black Forest of Wolfgang Voigt’s GAS, the audiovisual “experience” from the Cologne electronic legend, is an unusually potent descriptor. It’s not so much the real Black Forest’s twigs or leaves or babbling brooks that defines GAS; it’s its density. From its elaborate twirling visual forestry to the saturated …

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MUTEK Line-Up, Showcases: Incredible Audiovisualism Coming, CDM Montreal-Bound

MUTEK, a half decade ago. The goodness continues. Photo: Britta Frahm. We’re inundated with event info, and one of my general rules is to avoid lots of event listings. But the lineup for famed audiovisual fest MUTEK looks simply epic. Highlights, just for a taste: Moderat. Apparat and Modeselektor. Like peanut butter and chocolate. AVISIONS looks, as always, like an essential event in audiovisualism. Wolfgang Voigt will present GAS and Herman Kolgen has a new piece. For the first time, Club Transmediale gets its own showcase. An unusually eclectic lineup adds dub, acoustic-electronic, and cross-genre collaboration. Robert Henke (Monolake) and …

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Free Exclusive Ableton Operator Download: “Less Cowbell” 808 Sounds, New EP

The simple interface of Ableton’s Operator belies some truly lovely soundmaking capabilities. Our friend Francis Preve, a principle Ableton sound designer who has contributed hundreds of presets since 2004, has a new single out that makes use of some of those sonic possibilities, combining Operator with juicy spectral and granular effects in Live 7. As a gift to Ableton users on CDM, he’s giving us both the rack he used and some tips on squeezing noise out of the Ableton instrument. (By the way, I’m open to tips for other platforms, not just Ableton — ask for what you want!) …

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Chiptune Rockstars: Videos from Blip 08, And What You Can Learn From the 8-Bit Scene

For the best of 8-bit/chip music extravaganza Blip Festival 08 without leaving your computer screen, video editors have completed their dark craft and gotten some documentation online. Our friends over at 2 Player Productions are working on more long-form documentary, but they already have this cover of “Atomic” by Glomag and stealthopera for your enjoyment. "Atomic" cover by Glomag f. stealthopera @ Blip Festival 2008 in NYC from 2 Player Productions on Vimeo. Glomag, here’s an idea for your next set: I stand nonchalantly at your side, edging ever closer until you punch me in the face with one of …

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