In Drawings, A Producer Looks at Big Acts’ Live Laptop Rigs, Deadmau5 to FlyLo

In a charming set of schematic doodles, self-described hip-hop producer deejers has assembled an exquisitely-researched compendium of live laptop rigs from top music acts. In the lineup: Flying Lotus, Skrillex, Bassnectar, Pretty Lights, Daft Punk – a reasonable sampling of artists playing big shows live on the US circuit. And, oh, yes, deadmau5, who despite claiming that everyone just presses play, has put together a fairly impressive controller setup with monome, Maschine, Lemur, and Pioneer EFX-1000. (Just one of those four controllers could let you assemble a track from scratch, let alone all four.)

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Keys and Knobs and Such, New Gear, in Photos: Notes and Gallery from NAMM Day 1

From the Prophet 12 to Korg’s MS-20 Mini (and King Korg – more on that soon), iConnectMIDI interfaces for your iPad to Arturia ultra-portable keyboards, from analog to digital, from big releases to oddities, CDM has some roving reporters out on the floor of America’s biggest musical instrument trade show, NAMM. James Grahame, principal engineer behind the MeeBlip, kicks things off. Looking through his photos is a bit like seeing the show through his eyes. The flagship keyboards you’ve heard of (though Moog-branded water is a surprise). Some of the other good news: the iConnectMIDI4 Plus looks very versatile, indeed, …

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Animation: Watch Moog Sub Phatty, Flying Lotus in Psychedelic, Fluid Color

The best music videos don’t just flow well with the pacing and feeling of music. They enhance it. And that’s certainly the case with the work of regular FlyLo collaborator and Adult Swim animator Adam ‘lilfuchs’ Fuchs of Atlanta, Georgia. Add in Moog, and things get seriously trippy for lovers of synthesizers. The resulting short, “Such a Square,” features Flying Lotus-produced sounds, made on a prototype of Moog’s new Sub Phatty synth. The liquid-smooth animation takes us on a psychedelic journey via Bob Moog’s mind, tracing circuitry and patch cords in acid-glowing washes of electric color. It feels like a …

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While You Wait For Live 9, Get That Mixer for $9990

So, we can’t talk more about Ableton Live 9 at the moment, and it seems Ableton has worked out how to use their YouTube settings. But at least one intrepid Live fan has shared the identity of the beautiful mixing desk you saw in the leaked Live 9 video from the weekend. This mixer also involves the number nine, though in enough digits that you may need to save up before you redo your studio. SPECK LILO 16-CHANNEL LINE MIXER @ Vintage King Audio Details: The LiLo is a high-definition desktop analog line mixer for routing and blending your external …

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Fiction Science and Beats: Kid Sundance, a Lab, and Walnuts in Anti-Music Video

Defying the laws of Science and the rules of How To Make a Music Video, Kid Sundance’s “Tech City” gets a … somewhat peculiar short film. There are pickles, and glowing cubes, and colored goo, and singing walnuts turned into juice. There are geeky guys speaking in faux science. And there is this line, which is to me the apt description of every nerdter’s dream electronic music studio: These are things that we weren’t looking for – and we don’t know what any of this stuff does – but we’re still collecting the data, nonetheless. Oh, I love this one! …

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The Future’s Sonic History, And 14-Year-Old Dreams: In The Studio with Matthew Dear [Video]

A Studio Visit with Matthew Dear presented by AIAIAI and Ghostly International from Ghostly International on Vimeo. What does the future sound like? For musicians using technology, that question can resonate on two levels. It can be an attraction to imagined futuristic worlds, and the connection of synths and gadgets to that world. And, even each time we sit down to make music, it can be a dream of our own future self – if not the rockstar, that future self who has finished this track that right now is just an idea or a feeling. In a film that’s …

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The Hive synth. Photo: Q.Smith, Yes Dear Ltd.

Of Bees and Oscillators: Bioni Samp’s EP Full of Eco-Influences, Homebrewed Gear [Listen, Gallery]

If electronic music sometimes seems to contain the secret dance language of insects, mysterious coded rhythms and swarms of sound, an EP released this summer by an English producer makes the connection explicit. Bioni Samp sends us his strange and wonderful sonic journey into the colony. In tunes alternately atmospheric and danceable, at least of the sort to which you might wiggle your thorax in a deep, dark hive, The Island uses every possible sonic resource. Artist Bioni Samp is a producer and video artist from Leeds, Yorkshire now living in London. He points CDM not only to these wonderful …

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M-Audio, Freshly Parted from Avid, Already Has a New Line of Axiom MIDI Controllers [Images]

Well, it didn’t take M-Audio long to get over that breakup. The world’s most ubiquitous brand of USB MIDI keyboards is out this summer with a refresh to its Axiom line of USB MIDI keyboards, hot on the heels of announcing they’re no longer part of Avid. They’ll now share branding with A.I.R., the German virtual instrument developer that, along with M-Audio, is moving from former parent Avid to inMusic, sharing that corporate owner with the likes of Akai and Alesis. The family shares some features: HyperControl automatic mapping. (I’ve had equal measures praise and frustrated criticism for such things, …

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I Dream of Wires Documentary: Carl Craig, Canada, and Modular’s Beauty and Agony [Video]

Like the modulars themselves, an upcoming documentary on these analog synth beasts has been lurking behind closed doors. But that won’t be the case for long. “I Dream of Wires,” the crowd-funded documentary that probes artists’ fascination with making music by connecting patch cords, will see a public showcase at Montreal’s MUTEK Festival. This and an upcoming film release, atop a big get-together in New York, could make this a proper summer of modular. In anticipation of their showcase, MUTEK has released two significant excerpts from the film. One talks to Carl Craig, Detroit techno legend, top. Craig describes how …

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Inside Koma Electronik, Boutique Maker: Studio Tour, Profile [Gallery, Audio]

Big or small, talk to many music gear makers, and you’ll find they’re in the business largely for love. But it’s still amazing just how many gear makers choose to go it alone. They build equipment in their flats and garages, hand-packing their creations and shipping it to a world of fellow musicians. Koma Electronik is just one of those in the worldwide scene of boutique hardware makers. We’re especially fond of their interfaces and the company of musicians they keep. So, following up on the video that showed what it’s like getting a demo in a van from Koma, …

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