lichenfeatured

The human voice and trance, as Lichens challenges how we listen

Much can be said and felt with the human voice without words – and that’s where Robert AA Lowe comes in. With his solo drone/improvisational project Lichens, or lending his talents as a singer, synthesist, and instrumentalist to the likes of OM, Lowe has carved out a unique and powerful space as an artist with a deep focus on vocal exploration.

READ MORE →
Octave One by Marie Staggat-23

Octave One Are Back, Improvising Grooves with Machines

If anyone can make cookie-cutter techno, then improvisation is the route back to heart and soul. And there are few people as good at making dense, bass-heavy improvised dance music as Detroit’s Octave One. I mean, yes, it’s a little weird that any of us would get overly eloquent or snobby writing about dance music. I would hope your test is the same as my test – does piping a track make you start doing an embarrassing little jig at your desk? (Boy, am I glad my office is on street level and equipped with giant, aquarium-style windows.) Octave One …

READ MORE →
williamsart

Exploring the Jam, Supernatural, with Mindpirates Collective [Event Report, Videos]

Jam. Far out. The artwork of Lionel Williams served as backdrop for a set of live jam sessions. It’s a question so elemental in music, you might forget to ask it: what can you get out of a (music) jam? Electronic music worldwide is dominated by the DJ, the dance party. That, in turn, often tends to the safe playback and mixing of produced records. So, what happens when you let all of that go, invite your audience to get up and make strange noises with you and not only dance at a safe distance? What happens when you just …

READ MORE →

Recue’s “Do Not Disturb”: Live Jam, Made in an Airport Hotel Room [Free Download]

It’s like musical survival training. Quick: you’re stuck in a hotel. Can you make some music? Our friend Recue, aka Riku Annala, was unexpectedly being stranded in a hotel and made it into a musical opportunity. The results are damned fine listening. (Thank whatever act of God / airlines prompted this.) You can enjoy the results, free. Riku writes: Dunno if you remember but some time ago I shared the little cheap tape head “saturation” thingy with you. I was recently ‘stuck’ in an airport hotel room (for other reasons than music), but the good thing was that I had …

READ MORE →

Music from Nature Crafts Organic Rhythms, And More Sounds Made Music by Diego Stocco

We’ve passed from Record Store Day to Earth Day – and here’s the perfect segue. Having ventured into the woods to find a music release, now we can hear trees transformed, by way of sampling, into catchy rhythms. Our friend Diego Stocco, that evergreen source of creative timbres, now makes everything from trees to beans into sounds that are subtle and complex, full of personality and uniquely tied to their origin materials. There’s no real violence done to nature, either; you can make all of these noises with little more force than a small thundershower. Remarkably, the video – shot …

READ MORE →

Generative Ambient Event Bots, Free in Ableton + Max for Live

Composing with rules instead of playing notes directly, composer Richard Garrett has built a series of generative, algorithmic, ambient note makers and processors in Ableton Live and the Max for Live add-on. (And yes, user-generated content continues to be a rationale for why many people would purchase Max for Live in addition to Live itself.) With loads of useful controls for duration, start, and voicing – and the ability to feed events into anything you like – the results in your own work could sound very different than what you see hear. But whatever your musical aspirations, you can check …

READ MORE →

Thought and Performance, Live Coding Music, Explained to Anyone – Really

Algorithms are Thoughts, Chainsaws are Tools from Stephen Ramsay on Vimeo. In an extended video that begins with Radio City’s Rockettes and kettle drum players, Stephen Ramsay explains a litany of technology’s most elusive topics, in terms anyone could understand — no, really. I dare you to ask anyone to watch a few clips of this video, regardless of whether they’re regular readers of this site. Secrets such as why the programming language Lisp inspires religious devotion, or how someone in their right mind would ever consider programming onstage as a form of musical performance, represent the sort of geekery …

READ MORE →

Free Nodal Generative Sequencer: Now on Windows, Too; Live Improvisation Video

Sequencers by definition traditionally lock musical patterns into repetitive, unchanging blocks of time. But a new generation of generative sequencers can instead form organic patterns that change and transform. Nodal is a totally free-as-in-beer (closed-source) sequencer for composing music. (A license is needed for commercial use.) As the name implies, it uses a matrix of nodes to represent musical structure. The best way to understand what that means exactly is to check out the examples and give the app a shot, but is good fun – and capable of creating some lovely, unusual musical textures. The good news now is …

READ MORE →

The Real AI Jazz Factor: Think Different

For further study of the brain, I suggest making a lime JELL-O model. Yum. As an addendum to why trying to make computer models musically creative can be so disastrous, maybe the problem is we fail to understand what creativity is. Scientists funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) have found that, when jazz musicians are engaged in the highly creative and spontaneous activity known as improvisation, a large region of the brain involved in monitoring one’s performance is shut down, while a small region involved in organizing self-initiated thoughts and behaviors is highly activated. …

READ MORE →