DRON-E Creates Ambiences, Cinematic Sounds – Now Free for Reaktor [Sounds, Tutorial]

Composition and invention are two tasks that always blur – there’s some engineering to making music, and that extends to sound design. But let’s get real: when you come across someone like Antonio Blanca, you reach a whole other level. Blanca does exquisite work in Reaktor ensembles and carefully-crafted Lemur templates to match. And DRON-E is a masterpiece, a Reaktor ensemble capable of generating entire universes of ambient sound. Eerie drones will transport you to feeling like you’re crawling about a distant asteroid or entered a convent that has retreated to an alien mineshaft. (I wasn’t the only person who …

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Ableton Goodies: Free Fairlight CMI Sounds, Skins, Amazing Reverb, and … TETRIS!

Want to relive the sweet sounds of the classic Fairlight instrument, because you love the 80s? Want to reskin Ableton so it doesn’t offend your aesthetic sense or blind you and bathe you in blue light when you’re onstage? Do you want a different reverb from a master sound designer and patcher? Do you just want to unwind in the middle of a studio session by playing TETRIS on your Push? We’ve got you covered. Our collection of freebies for the ever-ubiquitous Ableton Live continues to grow – especially as talking about it is causing more people to send stuff …

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Playable 8-bit Game as Promo, and Okkervil River’s Nostalgia-Drenched Wonderlands

The standards for advance promotion of an album may be getting a little … intense. Photos? Track listing? Advance music video? Streaming preview? How about a complete, playable adventure video game in your Web browser, free, with charming graphics and an original chip music soundtrack adapting the songs from the record in 8-bit form? Due out Tuesday, September 3, Okkervil River’s LP “The Silver Gymnasium” isn’t shy about its nostalgia factor. The whole record is a re-imagining of frontman Will Sheff’s 80s childhood. That might be a bit much were the browser game not so beautifully executed. Sheff created the …

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Reading List: The Best of the Web, from Vintage Grooveboxes to APC Sequencers to Indeterminism

There’s a beautiful river of information for electronic musicians out there, if you can only navigate its currents. In our new series, we pick out some of the best selections, since we can’t always squeeze in a full article of every terrific gem out there. It’s like a window into our inbox. And for the first edition, we’ve got a lot – resources for Ableton and wireless MIDI and Logic, deep thoughts on production and folk music and indeterminism and robots learning to play in a band. Queue it up for your reading pleasure. (We’re big fans of Pocket for …

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Lawnmower Man-Style Audiovisuals, in Kinect Experiment, Plus a New Kinect

Oculus Rift + Kinect – Audio visual instrument a001 from Ethno Tekh on Vimeo. That window between science fiction and actual interfaces continues to narrow. Here, virtual hands paw at geometric orbs to produce sound, with simultaneous 3D visuals as accompaniment, in the latest artist/hacker experiment. You can thank the popular and surprisingly-accessible game engine, Unity – which recently added free deployment to mobiles, by the way. Description: This is our first Kinect-controlled, virtual reality experiment, using the greatly anticipated Oculus Rift. It’s a simple virtual reality environment built in Unity 3D with our own interactive framework. It allows us …

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Fract, Synth Studio as Game, Looks Better, Sounds Better, Wants Your Vote [Video, Gallery]

Amidst its future-arcade, glowing 3D architecture, Fract is a game. In a broken-down “abstract world,” you are piecing together puzzles, reconstructing machinery. But Fract is also a synth studio, one that promises the ability to create your own synth instruments, design your own sounds, and eventually piece together your own music. If Tron let you imagine a fantasy inside the computer, Fract takes you inside your synth. It’s like getting sucked into Reason. (Damn, now I want to meet Thor and Redrum…) I called it Myst meets music making when we saw it last year. Since then, the Montreal-based indie …

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A Quick Jam in Arcade Music Gaming, Making Synchronized Beats

So, electronic musicians and dance music makers just push buttons, huh? Actually… why not? There are certain parallels between the synchronized, quantized grids of computer music and video games. Rhythms, aesthetics, and even interface have evolved in tandem. Early games even hard-coded synthesizers and scores into the same circuitry that made the music, and each has made its impact on the other. Game designers keep toying with this concept in game design. I gave a talk on interactive music in gaming last week at Berlin’s A MAZE Indie Connect. But here’s one person at that same festival who did one …

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Discover Music, Get Free Samples and Live Packs, Get Your Ocarina On

Some CDM commenters accuse this site of being shills for Ableton, of giving disproportionate coverage to Ableton Live and Push. Others accuse us of being hipsters, endlessly talking about things like 8-bit video game consoles and Nintendo. And so, I’m pleased to come to you today with a 30,000 word, peer-reviewed white paper relating the latest developments in high-end studio consoles, using a highly disciplined double-blind test to evaluate the impacts of analog summing on the behavior of migratory birds. Or… no, actually, let’s feed the trolls. It’s hard to believe, but our friend Brian Funk aka AfroDjMac has been …

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Video: Hands-on with the M01D for Nintendo 3DS (Cooler Than You Thought M1 Was?)

Following our preview of Korg’s upcoming Nintendo eShop synth, here’s the one and only, incomparable CardiacTrance all the way from Japan to show it off. Trying to tell someone there’s a Korg M1 for the Nintendo handheld doesn’t really do this justice – or even make intuitive sense. But it is actually good news. Somehow, the combination of sequencing features, transforming the game system into a workstation, with the silly-small design makes the result more than the sum of its parts. And in the hands of a producer/musician, they become a lot more. Modern gaming, game music aesthetics, and some …

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Korg M01D is a Crazy-Awesome New Synth for the Nintendo 3DS; Listen to CT+X Kill It

Nobuyoshi Sano is kind of a mad genius. The writer behind some of the scores for Ridge Racer and Tekken, the talented musician has also turned out some of our favorite mobile music apps, as founder of Japanese dev house Detune. He built the somewhat-ridiculous iYM2151 workstation on iPad, but is best known for the Korg iMS-20. And now, he’s got something new. Japan has already gotten a taste of M01D, the classic Korg M1 remade and rethought for the Nintendo 3DS. But only a select few have been in the know outside Japan. That changes now. I just got …

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