How Music Label Vlek Makes Ephemeral Sound Physical, While Giving Away Their Catalog [Gallery, Interview]

When music moved from live venues to radios and recordings, artists had to find a way to respond. Now, labels struggle to be heard in the era of Spotify and streaming, always-on, always-overabundant media. We could talk grander themes, but the possibilities of this conflict are most vivid in a microcosm. Call it post-digital or what you will, but being digital now means something different. For Belgian label, Vlek, that reality takes a number of forms, suggestive of the direction for independent electronic music. And so, in Ssaliva’s release for Vlek, executed by Dimitri Runkkari (part of Brussels’ design studio …

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2 Heads, Good Habits: New Collabs from False Image, A Guy Called Gerald and a Wunderkind [Listen]

January may be the season of New Years’ Resolutions and detox routines. But rather than force yourself into promises you can’t keep, why not find a friend with whom you can form good habits together? It’s definitely working for two pairings in Berlin. After the apocalypse-obsessed December 2012, and some end-of-year music reviews that seemed nearly as pessimistic, there’s plenty of music and musicians to make you feel optimistic. And one of these two creative marriages gives us reason to wake up bleary-eyed Thursday morning: I love the idea of dedicating every Wednesday night to music making. Oscar Burnside, born …

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Kidsuke, the joint project of Kidkanevil And Daisuke Tanabe on PROJECT: Mooncircle, was one big highlight for us. Matt Earp walks us through other discoveries of 2012 that could be worth a permanent place in your early 2013 listening.

Under-the-Radar Music From 2012 Starts Your 2013 Right [Round-up, Listen]

The beginning of 2013 is as good a landmark as any to begin a return to music making and creativity. But the top-ten lists that crowded the Web in the last couple of weeks may not be your best guide. Instead of working out what’s “best,” we invited CDM’s music contributor Matt Earp, aka artist Kid Kameleon, to let us know what music found a permanent home in his music library – not just streaming, not just a one-time listen, but repeat performances. That seems an ideal way to give yourself some listening inspiration to fight the darkness (in some …

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This holiday, take a holiday to another world, chip music style. An imagined NES dimension, here envisioned (CC-BY-SA) torley.

Cool Yule: Toy Company’s Free 8-bit/Lo-Fi Christmas Album, from Montreal

Whether you’re unwrapping presents or not, we’re spending these twenty four hours unwrapping some beautiful musical gifts: have a Yule that’s cool with fine, free/donationware releases. First in the queue… If unimaginative holiday music on endless repeat has given you the winter blues, the fine folks of Toy Company have the cure. The Montreal-based collective and 8-bit/lo-fi techno party series have brought together a number of friends with original tunes and noise and digital-fuzz-laden covers of tunes like “Joy to the World” and “Silent Night.” Meticulously-rendered, quirky music is free to hear, or thank the artists by naming your own …

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Carrying her musical life on her back - in more ways than one. Zoe Keating, by Nadya Lev for Coilhouse. Photo courtesy the artist.

Zoe Keating, Cellist Who Exposed Her Musical Finances, Talks Music Making, Distribution [Interview]

She shocked the music business by revealing she wasn’t making money on Spotify – then shocked them again by revealing she was making money on our own. Now, CDM’s Matt Earp talks to cellist Zoe Keating about surviving as a creative musician, and keeping the music coming. Hint: “exposure” is not necessarily the key to survival. -Ed. Zoe Keating is an avant-garde cellist, a Canadian transplant to San Francisco who now lives on its far outskirts. Her sound slips back and forth between the classical and electronic worlds, conjuring sylvan images and dusty warehouses with equal clarity. Two self-released full-lengths, …

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Wow… Mouse on Mars, Charting New Sonic Worlds in Two New Releases [Listen]

It’s a good time to be following this duo: Mouse on Mars seem to have entered a period of explosive creativity. And so it’s doubly a pleasure to be working with them now. As I hear younger artists complaining that they feel confined in musical expression, here are artists unafraid to explore strange, wonderful sonic worlds. What’s special about two new releases is that, while they still represent a tremendous amount of effort and labor, they’re also more spontaneous. As the press announcement that went out with WOW noted, the five-year project that was Parastrophics now gives way to music …

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King Britt, performing in the garden. Photo:

The Bee and The Stamen: Complete Live Stream, King Britt Interview, As Nature Meets Electronic Music

For just a moment, take your mind somewhere a bit different. First, imagine the computer as part of nature, not something separate from nature. And then, put your head inside the mind of a bee. (You might not want to operate heavy machinery, just in case you start to imagine you’re seeing things through a compound eye.) That’s the journey we’re on with King Britt, the veteran producer from Philadelphia. He’s remixed everyone from Miles Davis to Tori Amos, but now, he remixes the world of the bee. And given how small we ultimately all are, perhaps that’s a worthy …

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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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Phoebe in the studio. Photos for CDM courtesy the artist.

Listening, Behind the Scenes: Phoebe Kiddo, Traveling Through Earth and Space

The enchanting, carefully-handcrafted music of Phoebe Kiddo is yet another example of the wonders coming from under-the-radar digital artists in the production Renaissance now underway. We got to host Phoebe on our MusicMakers party last month in Berlin – full coverage of that show, with video, coming soon. Now, Phoebe tells CDM a bit about making music as a globe-trotting nomad, and how she works with monome live and in the studio. Phoebe’s music mixes taut beats and delicate, low-fidelity timbres with dense arrangements and spacey dubs. Her voice cuts dreamy melodic lines across introspective grooves that can then accelerate …

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poletrilogy

Pole’s waldgeschichten are Mossy, Leafy Electronic Grooves; How They Were Made

In this age of maximalist, aggressive productions, the leafy green imagery for Pole’s waldgeschichten (literally, “forest stories”) fits perfectly. The trilogy of releases, the latest arriving at the end of last week, is easy-going and reserved. Each sound is precisely placed, gently shuffling interlaced dub-like patterns set against calm swells, sometimes resembling the cry of imaginary electronic creatures. It’s the much-needed trip out into the outlying forests of sound to find a different pace. And with each track, you can imagine wondrous six-legged insect creatures climbing up a tree – mechanical machines (see the drum machine notes below) that are …

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