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 …

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Abbey Road at Home? Waves Emulates Double Tracking Made Famous by Beatles, $99 Sale

It all started in 1966 as a way to fake multiple takes – and it works pretty well for any vocals. And now, in one of the more ambitious emulation efforts undertaken recently, software engineers are hoping to recreate a sound you know quite well from artists like The Beatles. And oh, yeah, even if you don’t want to sound like Paul or John or George, this turns out to be a pretty easy way to double up vocal recordings. That is, if they’ve done a convincing emulation. Plug-in giant Waves Audio has partnered with Abbey Road Studios themselves, and …

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Valentine’s Mix: Inverted Audio Make a V-Day “Sex Tape,” We Like

Provocatively entitling a mix, released on Valentine’s Day, “Sex Tape”? Full of love-y songs? Well played. (So to speak.) Fortunately, the mix delivers, with some of our favorite songs that are – dare we say – if not better than sex, at least as good as good sex. Lest you forget, this is CDM, notorious home to love of machines as much as humans – no, we’re not checking our email, we’re staring into our laptop screen because it enchants us. So anyone who winds up a Valentine’s Day mix with Atom™’s aweomse Ich Bin Meine Maschine is okay in …

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From Leisure System Crew, Meticulously-Crafted Techno Rhythms [Listening]

From Berlin and Britain, virtuoso producers imagine a futuristic take on techno that elevates technical craft. Among many fine labels that have somehow flown under the radar this year, the surging productivity of Leisure System is surely one that merits some attention. It’s a producer’s label, in a sense, dodging trends to find music that is both danceable and listenable, ready for brain and booty and ear. Berghain in Berlin celebrates its ninth anniversary Saturday, but let’s not overlook the Leisure System party on Friday – and the artists the label has brought together. For starters, there’s the evergreen genius …

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Simon Pyke’s Melodic Imagination, Dancing and Doodling in a Science Museum [Warp Records]

Move over, Music for Airports. Now there’s Music for Museums. At Media Space at the Science Museum, London, UK-based creative studio Universal Everything recently explored the ability of visitors to make their bodies and hands shape the space. In 1000 Hands, guests take on God-like, Darwinian powers of illustration, inventing new, fanciful life forms by sketching their work, then unleashing these creations in the museum exhibit. It’s the long-missing opportunity to scrawl on the walls of the museum. There’s an iOS and Android app, too, if you can’t make it to England: http://1000hands.universaleverything.com/ In the companion installation, Presence, the studio …

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Interview: Sheffield’s The Black Dog Branch into Controllers, With Crowd-Funded Gear

The Black Dog are titans of experimental techno and house, with a long record to match. (We reviewed – and praised – their latest album, Tranklements.) But you may not associate them with manufacturing hardware. As the landscape of crowd-funded music hardware grows, though, that’s exactly the venture they’re now willing to take, as the members of that group co-found a new, England-based manufacturing company dubbed Machinewerks. And the results so far already give insights into what they value in controller design and how they use those controllers in their music. They’re now well on their way to funding a …

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Now Shipping: Bass Station II, Novation’s $500 Synth; New Sound Demo

When we last saw the Bass Station II, Novation’s affordable analog monosynth celebrating the company’s 21st birthday, Novation still had a prototype. Some stuff on that instrument simply didn’t work – or didn’t sound the way we might expect. But there was still reason to anticipate learning more. Novation had something at the $500 street price in America, (529 € is the official price now for Europe), sporting dual filters, two oscillators with a sub oscillator (the “bass” bit), analog effects, patch save, and sequencing and arpeggiation. Even in an increasingly-crowded monosynth landscape, that’s something to note – and here, …

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Multi-Touch with Your Current Keyboard, And How Expressive, Crowd-Funded Keys Stack Up

Augmenting keyboards with additional expression is a tradition that goes back nearly a century. Inventors have tried keys that bend and wiggle, add-ons from pulleys to ribbons, wheels and pressure sensors, and more – anything to extend the piano and organ beyond their on/off playing methods. But now, the Web has accelerated the ability to communicate and develop these ideas. Crowd-funded invention is becoming widespread. And that means we’ve actually seen several polyphonic touch expression schemes this year. Rather than just presenting papers at conferences, instrumental experimenters are going to musicians and trying to fund real products. American-born, London-based composer, …

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Wacky, Wooden Shnth Makes Eerie Sounds, Colors Outside the Lines [Documentary]

Shnth is a digital synth in a wooden box with a surprisingly open-ended programming language. It’s like a lo-fi sonic computer, touched with your fingers via a handmade interface, and with sonic capabilities that can be re-programmed over USB. And there’s a coloring book to go with it, too, with pictures of Max Mathews and microsound for you to sketch in. The drawings there, like the sounds that come out of its outputs, full of rough, digital edges and unexpected swoops and swirls of timbre, seem to encourage coloring outside the lines. Peter Blasser of Baltimore is the synth’s creator …

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You know, a happy-go-lucky party venue for the summer. Um... Berlin style. Photos courtesy Berlin Atonal.

Dark Shadows: A Selection of Sounds and Images from Berlin’s Atonal

Only Berlin would go this dark, musically speaking, in second half of … July. Atonal Festival, an event founded in a very different city way back in 1982, has been resurrected. And the sounds set to echo through the concrete cavern of a former power station represent the cross-currents of an international scene of experimental music. No longer about what happens in Germany (the artists come from every corner of the globe), Atonal – like winter’s CTM Festival – represents an angle in electronic music that is growing in popularity but decidedly anti-commercial, adventurous without necessarily being overly cerebral. It’s …

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