The Dream Modular Rig, Making Amazing Sounds: Cyrus Rex

cyrusrex + Baseck – #DBC611G-1D from Muff Wiggler on Vimeo. Pulsing, rattling, buzzing, quivering, the music of LA-based artist Cyrus Rex is a sumptuous feast of sound. Here’s a musician who connects massive arrays of gear, like some post-apocalyptic robot dream, and then makes it sound like it – rapid-fire machine reveries set in motion amidst nests of cables. Little wonder this video at top, with Cyrusrex and Baseck, comes from MuffWiggler. It is full of gear: Cyrusrex + Baseck – Modular Synth, DSI Tempest, DevilFish TB303, Strymon BigSky, casio #DBC611G-1D But don’t stop there. Cyrus Rex’s music is an …

READ MORE →

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 …

READ MORE →
reliq at full tilt during a live set, bending time and space. Photo courtesy the band.

Playlist: Anika and Moderna Bring Sonic Caffeine, reliq and Erika Open the Airlock

Monday is a perfect time to try to shift moods with music, to change the mix. So here’s a melange of Monday mixes … mmmmmmm. (Good God, I’m glad we have music to start the week, as words are generally failing me.) Here’s a bit of what we’re cueing up here – from deep, perk-you-up sounds from Anika and Moderna to richly-diverse experimental sounds via reliq and Erika.

READ MORE →

Playlist: The Best Music Mixes, Jams, and Releases to Queue Up Now

Our cup runneth over. And just as we’re adding our favorite stories to read to the new Reading List feature, we bring you some of our favorite listening. This is what’s playing through my cans as I’m working and meditating. Releases Ras G – Back On The Planet is, simply, out of this world. Forget what you know about Brainfeeder and LA; this is earning Afrofuturism comparisons to Sun Ra and George Clinton with good reason. Dense, jazzy, and splendidly improvisatory, it’s some of the most dynamic hip hop/electronic music to come out this summer. Gregory Shorter, Jr. is doing …

READ MORE →
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 …

READ MORE →
Can make the biggest acts' live shows tick - but can also rock a live performance like she's just landed from a flying saucer. Check. Laura Escudé, achieving superhuman levels of music-technological knowhow, can still share what she's learned with us Earthlings.

Live Music Tools at the Bleeding Edge: Laura Escudé, From Herbie Hancock Collabs to Solo (Live Berlin, Sat)

It’s one thing to talk about tools. It’s quite another to put them into action, to make them withstand the rigors of creative process and idiosyncracy, let alone the torture test of touring. Laura Escudé is as deep in the trenches, on a day-to-day basis, as just about anyone on the planet. The music tech guru has worked with some of the world’s best-known artists, bending technology to their imaginative desires and world-trotting live shows. (Think Herbie Hancock, Bon Iver, and Cirque du Soleil, among others.) But she’s still found time to develop her own, unique sonic voice and live …

READ MORE →
tejada

John Tejada Interview: Asking a Techno Ambassador the Big Questions

Photos courtesy John Tejada. From his home in LA to the global scene, John Tejada is a planet-navigating techno ambassador and one of our favorite electronic musicians. He’s one of a handful of artists successful today who has managed to cross eras, whose experience isn’t just of this moment but who has touched the evolution of that scene. We turn to guest writer Alex Brandmeyer, who interviews Mr. Tejada about his own work as well as where the music scene is headed. What I like about Alex’s interview is that he asks some really fundamental questions about the evolution of …

READ MORE →
brainfeeder1

Listen: LA’s Brainfeeder Label Shares Free Sampler; More Gilles Peterson Winners in London

Brainfeeder at work. Photo (CC-BY-NC-SA) Theo Jemison Photography. Writing about music may indeed be like dancing about architecture, so why not give music a listen? If you’re not already familiar with the terrific Los Angeles label Brainfeeder, founded by Flying Lotus, now’s the time to discover its artists. If you are familiar with them, you barely need read this blurb before skipping ahead to a lovely compilation. Onboard: Thundercat, Martyn, Samiyam, Tokimonsta, The Gaslamp Killer, Jeremiah Jae, Taylor McFerrin, Teebs, Austin Peralta, Matthewdavid, Mono/Poly (the artist, not the synth, but we can love both), plus (exclusive) Lapalux. BRAINFEEDER SAMPLER [Download, …

READ MORE →
Interface4FINAL

Pushing the Live Performance Envelope in LA: Mike Slott, Artists on Video; Party Friday

Music has always moved forward when people get together to play. Groups of artists in Los Angeles’ Interface LA collective – and other California groups, like LoveTech and controllerism.com – are challenging each other to keep expanding their technique in playing electronics live. I’m pleased with CDM and some of our friends to support a party Friday night in downtown LA celebrating playing live. Interface LA is a group centered on live electronic music performance and interactions. We’ll be bringing you video coverage after the event here, thanks to talented videographer Charlie Visnic. But we can kick things off now …

READ MORE →

Workshop in LA: Make Your Own Musical Tools, Free, with Processing and Pd

Music visualization in Processing by yours truly. If you’re in the LA area, I’m teaching a reasonably beginner-friendly workshop in making musical tools with visual interfaces, using entirely free software (Processing and Pd, on Mac, Windows, Linux, and if you like, Android). It’s this coming Thursday night, September 8 – the perfect way to get back to school! (For me, too…) I’ll also be sharing some resources as I put them together for that workshop, so wherever you are, keep an eye on CDM soon. The workshop is US$60, but you’ll leave with the skills you need to make your …

READ MORE →