Nicolas Jaar, Making Electronic Music Eminently Live, Talks to MTV About Honesty

Nicolas JaarGet More: Nicolas Jaar, MTV Hive A few decades is a short time in the history of instruments. But something magical is happening: the electronic instrument, the computer, is finally easily shifting into performance scenarios, into improvisation, and into bands. (The performance features Livid’s Ohm64 and Ableton Live, with sax, guitar, and drums, at New York’s Le Poisson Rouge. See a note on the rig at Livid’s blog.) Look no further than Nicolas Jaar. In an insightful performance and conversation for MTV Hive, he reveals how he thinks about music – and puts his chops where his mouth is. …

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Apple’s Ping Launch is a Dud, But The Web is Alive with the Sound of Music

“ping” came before Ping – and it might just outlast it. Photo (CC-BY) Noah Sussman. And yes, when I asked readers about Ping, a number of people referred me to this one. Before diving into the litany of gripes from artists regarding Apple’s Ping social service, it’s worth saying: some critics say they expected better. Many artists want a smarter, more social iTunes. That’s the only reason anyone is spending time talking about the service’s perceived flaws. Cellist and laptop musician Zoë Keating, an independent artist with collaborations from Imogen Heap to DJ Shadow, reminded me of that via Twitter. …

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Handmade Music NY 8/29: Meet the Musical Inventors, Pong to Dodecahedrons

Handmade Music is a community get-together, Science Fair, noise-making happening, and party for people making things that make music. We return to NYC on Sunday, August 29 at 7p. Our new Manhattan home is Culturefix, a new electronics boutique, gallery, and tapas bar on the Lower East Side. This month, we welcome a classically-trained guitar duo using their instruments to play games, an original string-modeling instrument, a sonic dodecahedron sculpture (really), artists using game chips, and more. Last-minute creations are always welcome. If you’re in New York, we definitely hope to see you Sunday night. And wherever you are, it’s …

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A New Documentary Examines the Electro Scene in the Age of the Internet

The Electro Wars Final Trailer from Stephen Alex Vasquez on Vimeo. The Electro Wars Final Trailer from Stephen Alex Vasquez on Vimeo. Can a documentary finally tell the story of the electronic music scene? Primus Luta has become a scholar of electronic sounds himself, and joins us in a guest post to examine a film that, like the music itself, is a work in progress. Electro Wars premieres in its current form in New York Friday, but you can get a first glimpse at the movie and the state of music in the Internet – whether wishful thinking might imagine …

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Locative iPhone for Audience Interaction, with Plastikman’s SYNK App

There’s the music player, the device in your home or your pocket on which you listen to the album. And there’s the concert experience, where you have a couple of longnecks and get sweaty and dance with your friends to live musicians. But wait a minute – now the musicians are using computers and music players to perform. What if that music player became part of the interaction at a live gig? Richie Hawtin is going live with a new show via his Plastikman persona – great news to those of us who love his original work. Part of the …

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What Are Your Top Electronic Albums of 2009? (And How Do You Stay Organized?)

It’s tough not to miss physical objects, but then, some of you have been buying vinyl. Chicago apartment, photo: Katherine Raz. More background. I have actually grown to appreciate year-end reviews. In grade school and high school, I was on different occasions both a yearbook guy and a newspaper guy (when not focusing energies on how to be as profoundly uncool as possible). There was a tension between the people who did the work of covering the information of the moment and the stuff you were supposed to save and cherish. If you’re addicted to content as a lot of …

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Music, Physics, Space in Perfect Fusion: Interview, Creators of Game Osmos

You’ll want superb music on loop, because it may … take some time to get out of this puzzle. Musicians and artists now have the power to fuse visuals, sound, and interaction, to make a spectacle, an album, and a game all at once. But with the blank canvas of three different media before you, what form should that fusion take? Space shooters with pounding electronic beats behind them have cleared some of the way. Now it’s ambient music’s turn. In the game Osmos, you become a mysterious particle, floating amongst gravity wells in various fields of material. By carefully …

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Michael Jackson Documentary on its Way, Featuring Final Rehearsal Footage

Michael Jackson’s This Is It in HD I’ve never been big on idol worship or celebrity; it’s my feeling you can draw inspiration from any musician as a fellow artist – it’s really the point of music. But that works both ways; for all that can be said of him, and for all that people may be suffering from Michael Jackson fatigue, the man’s talent can still be stunning. My editor at Keyboard, Steve Fortner (via Twitter), sends along this trailer for an upcoming Michael Jackson documentary. It features some of the rehearsal footage prior to the artist’s death. You …

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Linux Music Workflow: Switching from Mac OS X to Ubuntu with Kim Cascone

Here’s a switcher story of a different color: from the Mac, to Linux. It’s one thing to talk about operating systems and free software in theory, or to hear from died-in-the-wool advocates of their platform of choice. In this case, we turn to Kim Cascone, an experienced and gifted musician and composer with an impressive resume of releases and a rich sens of sound. This isn’t someone advocating any platform over another: it’s an on-the-ground, in-the-trenches, real-world example of how Kim made this set of tools work in his music, in the studio and on tour. A particular thanks, as …

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South Asian Electronica Lovers: Indian Electronic Festival Returns

Enough of all this nonsense about how the Western Empire is crumbling. In our new “world” in which Mumbai is as powerful a cultural compass as Berlin or New York, one thing is guaranteed: it’s going to be a great party. One stalwart Western-based advocate of a more pluralist electronica scene are the folks at Indian Electronica. Pumping out regular live events, podcasts, radio streams, and festivals, the crew is keeping music south Asian-flavored and eclectic. They’re truly inclusive: previous festivals spotlighted the likes of DJ Spooky, artists who are not connected to India by birth but love the music. …

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