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Versus is a New Performance Controller from Faderfox, Nyma, Magda

What if one controller could pack everything you need for playing creative DJ and live sets in a single, tall, slim device? What if it had the ultra-compact design of German builders Faderfox and Glanzmann? And what if it borrowed elements from previous controllers, but grouped them in a new way you probably hadn’t seen before? We’ve just gotten the first look at Versus, a new controller collaboration built with the artist Magda, alongside Nyma (Nima Chatrsimab), a DJ/producer and technical guru with a long resume here in Berlin, and the builder Faderfox together with Glanzmann DDS. It’s a kind …

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You Want to Stare into Schneider’s Giant Rotating Eurorack Modular [Video]

Round and round and round it goes… It’s the motorized rotating pillar of Eurorack modular synthesizers from Berlin’s Schneidersladen, which served this evening as backdrop to an excellent workshop from the boys of Bastl Instruments of the Czech Republic. And, well, we’re not sure what happens to your brain if you keep watching this. Here, seen at twelve times normal rotation speed, thanks to Hyperlapse and my iPhone. This being Berlin, you can get this and falafel within a fairly short walk. Follow the Schneiders blog here: http://www.schneidersbuero.de

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Let Milena Kriegs’ Music Plunge You Into a Beautiful Abyss [Free Downloads]

Grim music is very much in vogue these days – the tell-tale sign being washed-out back and white photos that seem to have escaped from the liner covers of horror movie soundtracks, among other giveaways. But it can get carried away. You might sometimes wonder if producers were being paid by their reverb plug-ins in exchange for lengthening delay times. Milena Kriegs aka Milena Głowacka, however, is some blissfully frightening music I feel is worth listening to. Straddling darker, deeper techno and adventures into more ambient/experimental territory, this Warsaw-based artist is at the center of a growing amount of finely-crafted …

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Hands On MeeBlip anode, with Robert Lippok (raster noton) [Video]

When we designed MeeBlip anode, we tried to do more with less: make every knob and switch meaningful and musical. Composer/musician and artist Robert Lippok invited us into his studio as he tried out those controls. Robert is really thoughtful about his approach to sound and control in my experience working with him, and so it was nice to get his feedback on our instrument. (If you don’t know Robert’s music, he is a Berlin native, a long-time member of the label raster noton, and a former member of the band To Rococo Rot.) One by one, he demonstrates how …

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On the Eve of New 808 Film, Techno’s Roots Matter More Than Ever [Videos]

If rock music had the Gibson Les Paul and Fender Stratocaster, hip hop and dance music have the TR-808. And if its sound seems sometimes overly familiar, even that is in some sense a hat-tip (pardon the pun) to its enduring ubiquity. Now, the Roland TR-808 gets its own full-length documentary, told primarily through the eyes of the people who repurposed its idiosyncratic sound to spin new musical genres and start a revolution. The film features extensive input from Arthur Baker, who acts as a centerpiece for the movie. Baker was the producer behind Afrika Bambaataa’s ‘Planet Rock,’ a record …

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Sophisticated Rhythms: 2 Mixes, 2 Approaches, For Your Listening Pleasure

Mixes have become another essential reflex of this age of overabundance, a way of navigating in material form the rhythms that come our way. I turn this weekend to mixes by two close friends. Matt Earp, aka Kid Kameleon (top), has been a CDM contributor in the past; his background spans music and technology and a wide breadth and depth of knowledge in those areas. Noah Pred is simply one of the finest DJs and producers I know, the ever-tasteful mind behind the massively underrated but prescient label Thoughtless Music. Each mix is singular in purpose, full of the sort …

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Romance Again: Intimate, Personal Music for the First Warmth of Spring

Who’s ready for some springtime romance? Show of hands? Thought so. Here in northern Europe, at least, we’re at that inflection point as spring first crawls its way out of winter, tiny buds on the trees and ice/rain mixes giving way to faintly warm sunbeams. This is music that matches that mood. And it’s music that finds a voice, that can sing – not just in beautiful vocals (and the likes of Brolin certainly suffices in his latest work), but in music that is crafted from some intimate place. These are productions that are immediate and intensely personal in the …

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Go Record Digging with Nina Kraviz, Finding Emotion in DJing and Production

Nina Kraviz appears in a film from vinyl store The Record Loft. It’s short, but she’s strikingly economical and insightful in talking about what it means to mix records, find records, and make records. The Siberian-born PhD dental doctor-turned-DJ/producer is especially noteworthy at the beginning of 2015. Last month, she helmed edition number 50 of the legendary DJ-Kicks series – the gold standard of what a mix should be. What’s nice about the interview is how quickly Kraviz gets to the emotional essence of all the dimensions of her work. Feeling, and capturing a moment, is at the heart of …

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Kraftwerk Live Rig Exposed – But Are They Really Checking Email?

(Short answer: no, they aren’t.) So, the thing about Amsterdam’s Paradiso is, there are balconies. And the thing about being in a balcony above Kraftwerk is, their once-secret live rig for their 3D show is now fully exposed. The next question: what’s happening? I have been squinting at this live video for some time, and I’m not sure. Some things are obvious: definitely MK I Maschine drum machine controllers from Native Instruments, definitely a MIDI keyboard for the odd solo, fairly certain I also spot a Novation ReMOTE ZeRO SL controller (encoders and faders and red lights) and the display …

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Beauty in Repetition: Listen to Hanno Leichtmann’s Minimal Studies

Hypnotic repetitive gestures are perhaps the signature of our generation in music, the legacy of Reich and Glass and Monk and Riley and Young … and tape decks and computers and drum machines. But then, repetition is the very stuff of our bodies, of heartbeats and footsteps and brain waves. Mastering repetition is essential, then, to any compositional practice. It should be, literally, as natural as breathing in and breathing out. And it should have the potential to take on its own voice. That’s the sense I get of this work. Listening to Hanno Leichtmann’s music, you may drift off …

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