modulations

Watch a full-length electronic documentary from the 90s, and more free videos

America’s on-again, off-again love affair with electronic music – often, with idioms it helped create – is endlessly full of unexpected twists and turns. But all this bears examining. For some, it’s a journey back to the music that first inspired them. For others, it’s a chance to learn, perhaps, how where music has been might help lead to where it’s going. It’s a chance not just to repeat electronic music past, but go beyond it. And if you’re looking for something to entertain you this weekend, you could do worse than Modulations, a documentary from 1998. Back then, it …

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The Player Piano with Drums and Gunshots: An Oddity of the Silent Film Era [Videos]

If you want wild, futuristic, and inventive, some of the craziest inventions come from the past. The Photoplayer makes today’s music tech look positively dull. Joe Rinaudo has made a business of bringing back antiques, but his 1926 Photoplayer may top the list. Built to add dynamic soundtracks for silent films, the machine is an ingenious contrivance for live music generation. First, it has the ability to run “two decks” – that is, by having two rolls instead of one, you can queue up the next roll while the other is playing. (Okay, so it sort of invented DJing.) Second, …

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A Cage music walk - or, perhaps, a model for a pro-Cage protest march today - CC-BY Steve Bowbrick

John Cage at 100: A Celebration in Words, Listening, and Prepared Piano iPhones

“I Have Nothing to Say and I Am Saying It,” a John Cage title, might well be the creed of the blogger – doubly so this music technology writer. So, here we go again. The notion of John Cage at 100 is humbling in itself. The idea that Cage is a century old cements the awareness that the radical modern consciousness has a history, that the revolution has arrived and settled in for the winter, repeating itself in cycles of life and death like an endless tape loop. But to say it as concisely as possible, Cage’s legacy in electronic …

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pwr2mca

Remembering Adam Yauch, and the Videos You Probably Haven’t Seen That Should Make You Smile

By popular reader demand, CDM remembers Adam Yauch this week, teaming up with our friends at Network Awesome, who dig deep into the archives for some video gems. Peace, Adam, indeed. Try http://networkawesome.com/2012-5-11 if the video above isn’t loading for you. It’s not hard to understand the impact of the loss of Adam Yauch, aka MCA, founding Beastie Boy. With the passing of music idols comes a sense of the passage of time, all the more so when they’re barely into middle age. But MCA, to a swath of music fans, is more than a distant idol. He, and the …

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networkawesome

Network Awesome Electronic Music Week: Way More Electronic Music Videos Than You Can Handle

Quit your job, leave your loved ones, stock up on food, and get ready to destroy your life with videos from YouTube. Network Awesome, a kind of curatorial “TV” network full of free online videos, has been assembling the best documentaries dealing with electronic music online, with hours and hours and hours of things that could basically keep you from, ironically, reading this site for the rest of the week if you like. This isn’t just some random assortment, either. There are thoughtful assortments and surprise discoveries, including a celebrity-chosen set of some pretty far-out live shows pulled by Jan …

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