A Giant LEGO Construction Makes Music with Maschine, Made by NI’s Devs

LEGOs and rapid, hacked construction have led to the development of hardware sold to musicians; Push and Maschine each saw hacked-together versions as prototypes before the more-polished versions we see today. So, why not use some of those toys and hacks to make something you can actually use, right now? Apparently what happens when you let the Native Instruments development team free to play for a weekend, that’s exactly what happens. LEGO Techno uses computer vision to allow the musician to make sequences with LEGO blocks. It’s not the first time we’ve seen this very idea – seems musicians gazing …

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Valentine’s Mix: Inverted Audio Make a V-Day “Sex Tape,” We Like

Provocatively entitling a mix, released on Valentine’s Day, “Sex Tape”? Full of love-y songs? Well played. (So to speak.) Fortunately, the mix delivers, with some of our favorite songs that are – dare we say – if not better than sex, at least as good as good sex. Lest you forget, this is CDM, notorious home to love of machines as much as humans – no, we’re not checking our email, we’re staring into our laptop screen because it enchants us. So anyone who winds up a Valentine’s Day mix with Atom™’s aweomse Ich Bin Meine Maschine is okay in …

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Elektron Opens Mystery Box, Revealing – An Analog Drum Machine with Maschine-Style Pads?

What’s in the box? Starting at an event in Berlin in the fall, the folks at Elektron have been teasing new hardware, hiding it inside a padlocked, frosted-plexiglass case. Today, they opened the case. Inside is what appears to be an anticipated new Elektron drum machine – though various readers tell us this latest drum machine from the company will use analog drum synthesis. (That’s unconfirmed.) The obvious addition is given away instantly: you get a colored 4×3 grid of pads, looking a bit like Maschine and Machinedrum had a love child. (Then again, that love child doesn’t sound like …

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GB Packers’ Aaron Rodgers and 13-Year Old Kelly Make Music Together

What unites the Green Bay Packers, Spina bifida, Maschine drum machines, miniBrute, a Milwaukee charity, and a 13-year-old girl? Well, this video. It’s easy to forget that music technology isn’t just about making a handful of superstars. Music making can be an essential part of expression for just about anyone, whether music is their primary professional vocation or not. And the tools we have now are part of being able to express ideas – not only in the way traditional music can, but with the same tools kids grow up hearing on records. It’s obvious, it’s essential … and yet …

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Hands-on Visual Tour: What’s New in Maschine 2 Software, Maschine Studio Hardware

Native Instruments’ groove-centric production studio Maschine today gets its most significant update ever. The software has been completely rewritten from the ground up, bringing expanded editing and sound capabilities and enhanced performance. And alongside the software release, there’s also a new, “flagship” controller, called Maschine Studio (above) – a big (but lightweight) beast with bright, crisp color screens and a price to match. I took a tour of the software and hardware upgrades in NI’s offices, and so we can bring our own hands-on look at both before they ship. Please note that this is a first look at a …

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Grid Tricks: Japan and Jeremy Ellis Show Us How Maschine, MPC Can Be An Instrument

They’re two alternative universes with musical wonders in them, places we wish we could live. They both begin with the letter ‘J.’ One is Japan; one is … Jeremy Ellis. Each might as well be their own wonderful planet. In this case, each is also promoting Native Instruments’ Maschine hardware/software combo, but they’re doing it in a way that’s musically meaningful. First, let’s talk about Japan. The problem with many artist promos for music products is that they tend to trade on celebrity, bringing all the depth of sports stars endorsing a brand of sneakers. But I was glad to …

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Summer Studio: Portable Music BBQ, in the Finnish Countryside [MS-20, Maschine]

There just isn’t a season of the year where music making can’t entertain you. But once upon a time, music technology woefully confined its producers to windowless, underground lairs established as dusty academic laboratories. No more. Now you can toss everything in a backpack, head to the Finnish countryside, and put on a barbecue while you jam. (Just don’t forget to check the grill, lest you burn something.) And that’s what Helsinki-based artist Riku Annala – Recue – has done. The sounds of the grill crackling sharply in the background, a lazy, golden Northern Hemisphere sunlight bathing the black hulls …

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Video Walkthrough: Maschine Meets Ableton Live in New Template

New Year’s Resolution: hands off that mouse / trackpad. Let’s get more physical with our production. If you’re not eager to wait for Ableton’s Push hardware, or you’re just a fan of traditional pads or a Maschine owner, combining Maschine with Live can be a great choice. Native Instruments quietly updated Maschine control integration with Ableton Live. It’s one Berlin-engineered tool meets another. Of course, this arrived in the midst of the holiday rush, so we’ll turn to producertech.com to give us a detailed walk-through, from installation and configuration to how the integration works when playing. And the results look …

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Phantom's Hanna Toivonen, live. Mask by Jenni Ahtiainen/ gTie. Photo: Kiki Ylimutka — at Flow Festival 2012.

Singing Serenades with Laptops: Intimate Sessions with Solar Year, Phantom [Video]

NFOP SESSIONS #13: Phantom – Albuquerque from Tonje Thilesen on Vimeo. Far from being an icy presence in front of an unmoving operator, the laptop has quietly become second nature. As tools mature and musicians gain comfort, music software can at last become another instrument. So, let’s get comfy and close with some musicians who are finding intimate, personal expressions with impromptu human-and-laptop ensembles. Our friends at No Fear of Pop – a top-notch, pretension-free chronicle of new music – have in the past year been doing live portraits of artists in their NFOP Sessions series. This is the feeling …

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Switched On Bees.

King Britt’s The Bee and the Stamen Premieres on CDM Next Week; Ask Questions, Watch Live Preview

KING BRITT 10:10 REHEARSAL x DATA GARDEN from King Britt on Vimeo. King Britt’s next album is one that explores a sonic future – and now it has its own future, too. At a time when music may seem disposable, this is a limited release that will literally blossom when discarded, with seed paper that you can plant. CDM is exclusively hosting the streaming debut of The Bee and the Stamen next week, which calls for a brief preview here to kick off discussion of the intersection of nature and electronic sound. (See the rehearsal vid, complete with monome, Maschine, …

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