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Learn from the Master: Diego Stocco Makes Music with Sound Design, Then Shows You How

Is it sound design, or is it composition? Is it musicianship, or is it technical control? Is it live, or is it Ableton Live? Yes. Diego Stocco is simply one of the best bleeding-edge musicians, composers, and sound designers – all in one. And that has made him rightfully in-demand in the media of technology (Spectrasonics), movies (Sherlock Holmes), TV (The Tudors), and games (Assasin’s Creed). He’s of course also a big hit around sites like this one. Now, he’s sharing his secrets. He revealed about a week ago that he would be offering the first of his sound design …

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A USB MIDI Controller, Designed Like a Mixer, from Dubspot + Livid: DS1 [Q&A]

We’ve got grids, more grids, and disco grids. We’ve got fake platters and big, whirling plates. We’ve got iPads and things you wave around in the air. But as controllers have embraced digital design, the number of controllers that have the logical layout of a mixer has, remarkably, diminished. And what really don’t have much of is a controller that’s truly DAW-agnostic. Integration is great, but you need hardware for people who don’t believe in One Tool as religion. It’s taken New York-based learning center Dubspot to reignite that idea, in a controller collaboration with Dave Cross and Livid Instruments. …

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Playlist: modernluv – Ghostly’s Moderna + LA’s Jeniluv Share a Must-Listen Mix

Mixes these days have become almost too common, many of them somewhat random selections of crowd-pleasing tracks, in no particular order. And they tend to be solo endeavors. modernluv, apart from being a duo of two significant stastemakers, is significant in that they’ve put together a real sound. It actually is “sultry” and “dark” and “psychedelic.” (I hate it when artists choose the right adjectives in their description, thus robbing me of the pleasure.) In fact, knowing I have a few (cough) love-lorn friends struggling with modern romance, I suggest this mix. Have a listen (track list below): Mixes are …

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synthforxmas

“All I Want is a Synthesizer for Christmas”: Adorable Stop Motion Animation

Hyperbubble – A Synthesizer for Christmas from Ambar Navarro on Vimeo. Put the synth back in … Christm… um, Christmasynth. Synthmas. It’s the reason for the season. And that’s the message of a delightful video from animator Ambar Navarro. (Apologies if you’ve seen this already – Ambar sent her work to us last week – but I think it’s well worth another watch and mention.) It embodies the ethos of synth love right now, the adored, all-in-one electronic instrument in all its charm. And this is just one introduction to a lovely body of work my Ambar, in the experimental …

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Inside Flying Lotus’ Mind: Free Download of Ideas + Drafts + Loops

It seems hard to be an artist these days without a steady stream of mixes. The problem is, a lot of these become monotonous and similar. By contrast, this week, Flying Lotus drops a free download that feels more like getting a pass into someone’s hard drive. Ideas + Drafts + Loops is full of random snippets of music, many of them – despite the name – fairly fully formed. FlyLo’s signature over-compression is showcased, of course, but you also get sparkling, shimmering rushes of sound, like a beautifully-romantic clip for Aqua Teen Force. (Being in California, of course FlyLo …

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You’re Doing it Backwards: REV Builds Sound Library Around Reversing Stuff

Soundware remains a massive market. Products fall in the CDM inbox daily. There’s just not so much to talk about – even when the quality is exceptional. There are good products out there, and sampled libraries are especially essential for anyone working on tight deadlines – no matter the joy of recording material, anyone working for markets like TV or film likely needs some assistance satisfying clients in a hurry. It’s just that there’s so much out there, there isn’t always a story. Output is a new sound house out of Los Angeles that found a way to tell a …

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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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Dam-Funk gets his own drum machine + sequencer. Photo courtesy Bleep Labs.

Artist Gear: Dam-Drum 2.0 is a Handheld Drum Machine from Bleep Labs, Stones Throw Records [Listen]

You know those science fiction episodes where someone’s personality gets transferred to the computer? Imagine if an artist could do that with a drum machine, and you get the idea behind Dam-Drum. Bleep Labs’ John-Mike Reed of Austin, Texas has a unique talent for engineering fun music electronics. His work is sonically adventurous – always with enough rough edges to keep things interesting – and simultaneously demonstrates an ability to compact designs to their most basic elements, while wrapping everything in a veneer of quirky personality. Yes, of course, his googly-eyed robots the Thingamagoops are immediately cute and anthropomorphic. But …

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Phoebe in the studio. Photos for CDM courtesy the artist.

Listening, Behind the Scenes: Phoebe Kiddo, Traveling Through Earth and Space

The enchanting, carefully-handcrafted music of Phoebe Kiddo is yet another example of the wonders coming from under-the-radar digital artists in the production Renaissance now underway. We got to host Phoebe on our MusicMakers party last month in Berlin – full coverage of that show, with video, coming soon. Now, Phoebe tells CDM a bit about making music as a globe-trotting nomad, and how she works with monome live and in the studio. Phoebe’s music mixes taut beats and delicate, low-fidelity timbres with dense arrangements and spacey dubs. Her voice cuts dreamy melodic lines across introspective grooves that can then accelerate …

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Frag’mnts – An Enig’matik Records CDM Sampler, Ethno-step Diversity to Hear [Free Listening]

Forget the adage about “dancing about architecture” – talking about music is important. But talking about music is made more meaningful by listening, the real reason we do what we do. And so, we’re pleased to follow our profile of Australia’s Enig’matik Records with a collaborative sampler. It’s a diverse selection of tracks that lets you really hear these musical characters we think are making something worth exploring. Label founder Jake Rose aka Sun In Aquarius came to CDM with the idea, eventually leading to a full compilation to tell a more complete musical story. I’ll let contributor Matt Earp …

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