AutoTune: The Song, a $99 Version (Hide!), and Some History

AutoTune, easily the most famous software plug-in in history – one even the general public has heard of – continues to reach mainstream, viral audiences. But the surprise is, originally its number crunching powers were applied to geology, oil, and pipelines, not bad vocalists. (Sadly, the latter are a more renewable resource.) This week, the Web is buzzing over the music video of AutoTune, the (parody) song. Sadly, this video could have been so much more – not even so much as a Cher reference, really? (Cher’s producers: AutoTuning way before Kanye West, and then lying about it! Brilliant!) For …

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Survey: What Labels Would You Put on a “Genre” Knob?

The original microKORG genre-selecting knob, sure to baffle and delight with its nonsensical labels. Careful: you may actually transform yourself with the genres. Okay, first, a disclaimer: the fact that the upcoming microKORG XL has a “genre” knob for selecting presets isn’t big news. The original microKORG had genre-selectable presets, too. The beauty of the original, though, was how incoherently these settings were labeled. (Retro, or Hiphop/Vintage, anyone?) Sometimes, the labels that don’t fit are better than the real ones. “What type of music do you play?” “I play VOCODER!” (From here on out, any time the mention of VOCODER …

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MeatWater “Survival Beverage” Offers Techno Stimulus Package for Economy

Photo: Todd Thille. Used by permission. MeatWater (C) Liquid Innovations. If this economy is getting you down, our friends at MeatWater, the “high-efficiency survival beverage,” have a prescription. A prescription for techno: MeatWater MP3 Techno Remix Now, perhaps this is just a crass ploy for MeatWater to sell more of their MeatWater-protein drinks, which come in flavors like Gyros, Beef Stroganof, Hungarian BBQ, and Dirty Hot Dog. But if there’s one thing I believe in more than the health-giving power of proteins, it’s in the stimulating power of techno. I’m steps away from the stock market, so I may take …

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Radiohead Rap by Adam Buxton, Brilliant Commentary on Remixes and TV Rights

I can’t say anything this song doesn’t say brilliantly. Comedian Adam Buxton takes on the Radiohead remix contest with his own entry, which cuts through the hype brings a bit of wit to TV incidental music and remixing alike. And, really, how often do you get to say "Radiohead" and "rap" in the same sentence? Take my mechanical rights, please! See, there, I said something. It wasn’t very good. Just so listen to the song and thank me later, okay? See also Adam Buxton’s sketch for BBC3’s Rush Hour which cleans up NWA to "Help Da Police." Thanks, Jaymis!

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Pd vs. Max/MSP Results, in a Battle of Multimedia Tech Nerds

Nerd warfare. It’s like Mexican wrestling for people who enjoy, um, patching together interactive tools for music and visuals! And on one fateful Toronto day, the open source challenger took the prize. As promised, a group of music tech geeks challenged DIY multimedia software environments Pure Data (Pd) and Max/MSP to a mano-a-mano contest of wits. These competing patching environments share interface concepts, code, and even a surprising amount of compatibility, but open source Pd and commercial, more polished-looking Max each have their own loyal converts. I’m pleased to offer the results – though I’m already hearing calls for a …

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Off-Topic: Flight of the Conchords Video Asks, Do You Like Ladies?

In fairness, this isn’t really off-topic. The connection of ladies to music is clear here. There are, too, the fantastic Ladies of CDM — few in number, yes, but mind-bogglingly awesome in quality. (Ladies, feel free to roar here.) And, of course, for those of you who are not ladies yourselves but an aficionado of ladies, it’s clear that, like roller skates, synths and music are part of the essential lady-attracting formula. The bad news I have to break for Flight of the Conchords fans:you’ll be waiting until well into 2009 for a new season. Side note: CDM loves New …

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Ableton Live’s “Secret” Vocoder; No One Needs a Vocoder

Updated: Let me sum this up. Ableton may or may not have a vocoder in the works (signs actually do point to yes on that). The best part of this story is the remixed “no one needs a vocoder” video, which encapsulates electronic music’s current love/hate/cliche relationship with the thing. And other than that, there’s a lot of me talking without really have any idea what I’m talking about — which is why I usually don’t post on Sundays. Doh. Just watch the video / sample it in your next Live set. I haven’t necessarily been following Live’s forums lately, …

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Beamz Laser Harp, as You’ve Never Heard it Before

Forget all my blathering on about the Sharper Image Beamz thing, because this video says it better than I possibly could. No, it’s not the video you’ve seen already. Think Beamz gone experimental — and keep watching until about :30. (Thanks to Chachi and Matt for this one.) It’s official: Beamz has become stuff of Web legendz. I can haz alternative interface, or whatever.

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April Foolery Round-Up

Since it’s now April 2, the music technology April Foolishness has been revealed for what it is. Composer/educator Steve Horelick provided a sneak glimpse of future functionality in an “unreleased” version of Apple’s Logic Pro: Logic 303: Logic TNT … although I wouldn’t be surprised to see Region Animation in a future version of FL “Fruity Loops” Studio. Moog Music claimed to introduce a Moog guitar in a video teaser segment — that video appears to still be up. Personally, I thought this wasn’t as classic as the Moogerfooger MF-433‘s “pure analog silence” — but some people did think it …

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Richie Hawtin Now Uses Traktor; Does That Make it Ubercoolische?

Minimal techno pioneer, digital vinyl advocate, DJ superstar, and subject of a surrealist Internet parody and very popular joke t-shirt line Richie Hawtin is now evidently using Traktor and Traktor Scratch. So is Magda (of “make the tea” fame). So is Troy Pierce. Gentle hint to NI’s DJ marketing: embrace it. Give us a special “Ubercoolische Edition” of Traktor Scratch. Heck, I’d buy one. I assume people in Berlin may also find it funny, given the influx of us Americans into their city. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read on.) Internet memes aside, the real reason …

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