Elektron Introduces Analog Keys Synth: Joystick, Step Sequencer, Keyboard [Photos]

I’m here in Berlin where Elektron is introducing the new Analog Keys synth keyboard as part of their Night of the Machines event. (Later tonight, we get the likes of The Field and TM404 playing live.) We also have images and video by my friend Benjamin Weiss of De:bug Magazine — see their report with more pics. It’s worth watching that video, because of one thing: polyphony. An OS update should bring that polyphonic capability to both Analog Four and Analog Keys soon. Elektron are quick to say that the Analog Keys is not just an Analog Four with a …

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Moogfest, By Day, Will Feature Historic Gathering of Futurists, Music’s Top Inventive Minds

New York? Berlin? London? San Francisco? Lately, it’s looking like Asheville, North Carolina is the place to be. In case you missed the aptly-named Mountain Oasis and its gathering of big-name electronic artists and inventors, you don’t have to wait even until next fall. Asheville will next host Moogfest, April 23-27. Nighttime programming falls to Paxahau, the team behind Detroit’s Movement, already one of the biggest electronic tickets of the year worldwide. (AC Entertainment, the Bonnaroo-producing Knoxville team, have taken over Mountain Oasis. Rather than splitting the energy, the results seem to have more than doubled it.) We should learn …

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Synth Geeks in the Hills: Legends and Legendary Machines at Asheville’s Mountain Oasis [Gallery, Videos]

Mountain Oasis, indeed. Asheville, North Carolina, that land of impassioned musicians and Moog manufacture, is unusually blessed in musical riches, especially of the electrified variety. And where once Moog gathered informal performances from synth fans, a recent split in festivals has spawned not one but two blockbuster events, turning this southeastern US hamlet into a kind of mecca for musicians of all stripes. These multiply rather than dividing the events. So, now there’s Moogfest, which this year will happen in spring. And then there’s Mountain Oasis, which took place last month. Both are overflowing with spectacular headliners, in the form …

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Playlist: 21 Hours of Music, on the Eve of a Female-Organized Fest in Berlin; Sarah Farina Mixes

There’s talking, there’s showing, and there’s doing. And there’s listening, too – but we’ll get to that in a moment. When female:pressure put some numbers behind the relative absence of women in festivals, the long-running discussion about the role of females in the scene was accelerated. Suddenly, the entire music press seemed to be talking about the issue again. There is plenty to debate in terms of female:pressure’s statement and its take on cause, significance, and remedy. Anecdotally, I’ve found that female artists and friends I’ve talked to are strongly divided around those questions and how they wish to be …

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Humans and Machines: Kompakt’s 20th Birthday Links Techno, Artists, Tech

Techno is no longer new, no longer radical, no longer industrial, no longer trendy, no longer shocking. But it just might be something else: lasting. Famed Köln label Kompakt, as sure a bellweather for techno as anything, turns twenty this year. And in celebrating its birthday, humans and machines meet again. Electronic dance music has long had a conversation with minimalist currents and ostinati in Classical music, with Indonesian gamelan ensembles, and yes, infamously, even with the oom-pah repetition of marching bands. In the video above, we see what happens when the label’s music makes those conversations explicit. And it’s …

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Cristian Vogel, Still Dazzling Ears, Two Decades On [Listen]

There are few artists as thoroughly credentialed across dance music and Classical new music as Cristian Vogel. But what’s astounding about Vogel is, having ventured out on the precipice of those bleeding edges of both worlds, he still stands on tiptoe there now. Chilean-born, UK-raised and academically-trained in the 80s, and now a leading voice in Berlin’s scene for the past 20 years, he’s no less prolific today than in the past. But let’s not just wax poetic – let’s have a listen to the latest. We can love the fact that Jamie Lidell, Vogel’s former mate in Super Collider …

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Deconstructed Dance Floor: EVOL’s Strange Experiments with Light, Sound, and Acid

For all the years of “classical” electronic music performance from academia, the experience of entering a club or dance music program can be awfully avant garde and surreal. There’s a barrage of sensory input – flashing lights, strange, repetitive sounds. The Spanish/British duo Roc Jiménez de Cisneros and Stephen Sharp, aka EVOL, have taken that feeling to its extreme. And the results are weird, wonderful fun. (The two play Berlin Thursday night at N.K. on a diverse program including Chris Douglas and Bill Kouligas; N.K. is one of Europe’s most consistent venues for electronic experimentalism, and somehow will keep feeding …

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In Berlin, Mixing Learning with Hacking and Jamming, All With Free DIY Tools

CDM and yours truly team up with Berlin arts collective Mindpirates next week for a learning event we hope will be a little different than most. The idea behind the gathering is to combine learning in some new ways. The evenings begin with more traditional instruction, as I cover, step-by-step, how you’d assemble beat machines, instruments, effects, and video mixers using free software (Pure Data and Processing). But, we’ll go a little further, opening up sessions to hacking and jamming, finally using the event space at Mindpirates to try out ideas on the PA and projectors. By the last night, …

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With Beatguide, Listening Connects to Live Events: New Electronic Music Startup

If it’s music events, what your calendar really needs is a play button. A funny thing happened on the way to the online music world. Roughly a century after the music recording revolution, we’re all newly concerned with getting into venues with other human beings. The problem is – and there’s no nice way to say this – the tools out there just aren’t very good. Facebook’s popularity is unquestionable, to be sure, but it still doesn’t cater to music needs with its event listings. And beyond that, there’s a scattered landscape of different tools, none of which seems to …

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How Music Can Predict the Human/Machine Future [re:publica Talk, Video]

This week, at Germany’s re:publica conference – an event linking offline and online worlds – I addressed the question of how musical inventions can help predict the way we use tools. I started all the way back tens of thousands of years ago with the first known (likely) musical instrument. From there, I looked at how the requirements of musical interfaces – in time and usability – can inform all kinds of design problems. And I also suggested that musicians don’t lag in innovation as much as people might expect. I thought about whether I wanted to post this as …

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