Laptop or iPad DJ? What If It Didn’t Matter? New NI Hardware, Mad Zach Demo

That’s one small step for DJ hardware, one giant leap into the post-PC era. Native Instruments today has updated their integrated hardware for Traktor DJs, the 4-channel Traktor Kontrol S4 and 2-channel Traktor Kontrol S2. But while the updates are nice, the biggest transformation is that you can watch a DJ working with these controllers alongside either an iPad or a Mac/PC laptop – and it really doesn’t matter which they’re using. Oh, sure, the laptop is more flexible when it comes to storage, and NI’s iOS software still lags on some of the nice features of the desktop version, …

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If the iPhone unnerves you and you want something a bit more ... nostalgic ... here's the MS-20 mini cozying up to long-time Japanese Korg rival Roland. Ebony and ivor... erm, gray. Photo by Deceptikon.

Deceptikon Pairs MS-20 mini, iPhone Arpeggionome – And Chooses Favorite Remixes

It’s all Deceptikon, in the remix – gear and tracks. First, 1978, meet 2013. The re-released Korg MS-20 mini here teams up with the lovely iPhone sequencer app Arpeggionome, courtesy the wonders of MIDI. (See our recent feature on the app.) As Arpeggionome’s clever developer Alexandernaut describes it: My friend Deceptikon (http://deceptikon.net) tries Arpeggionome for iPhone for the first time, connecting it to his MS-20 mini. Levels, drums, and effects with [M-Audio-made] Evolution U-Control controlling Ableton Live. Yes, Midiman acquired Evolution and continued to make the controller here. Shame the UC-33e hasn’t seen a successor, actually. And the whole rig …

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Bleeding-Edge Musical Innovation, Live from CCRMA; Full Report, Monolake + Tarik Barri Live

Ivory tower, let down your hair. Make no mistake. The slightly-impossible-to-pronounce acronym CCRMA (“karma”), standing for the not-terribly-sexy “Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics,” is one of the world’s hotbeds for innovation in electronic music. From the lowest-level DSP code to the craziest live performances, this northern California research center nesting at Stanford is where a lot is going on. So, when they put on a concert, this isn’t just another dry exposition of “tape” pieces, academics scratching their chins and trying not to nod off. (Trust me: I’ve … on occasion darned nearly rubbed my chin raw …

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Melodies in Triangles: Christopher Willits on Playing Grids of Push [Tutorial Video]

You can think about melodies and harmonies in geometric shapes. In fact, instrumentalists playing piano keys or guitar frets have already been doing that for some time. What’s happening with grid controllers like Push – among other alternatives – is that it’s now easy to rearrange melodic setups to see and play these relationships in new ways. Musician Christopher Willits has started a series of videos called CREATE (hmmm… like that name somehow), through the creative community platform Overlap. Willits tells CDM, “I really love this instrument. I’m excited to work with it more and become really comfortable. Like any …

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The record lives. Drip.fm co-founders Sam and Miguel merge subscription ease and affordability with high-quality downloads you keep, and even closer connections to artists and labels. Think "fan club," not "utility company." Here, Sam tells CDM how it came about. Photo: Will Calcutt.

Saving Downloads, Fans? Sam Valenti IV Talks Ghostly’s Drip.FM As Label Roster Grows

PK: In the digital age, subscription services or “all-you-can-eat” music gives passionate listeners nothing if not flexibility and a wealth of music. But they can also distance music lovers from labels they care about – and the reliance on streaming threatens to sever the special relationship you have with albums that are really special. Drip.fm is different. Founded by Ghostly International, it has the affordable monthly subscription rate – but with actual high-quality downloads you keep. First launched with some of Ghostly’s boutique-quality electronic music, it has since expanded to some big names. Today could be a watershed moment for …

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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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gtar

gTar, Digital Guitar that Scales from Easy Mode Up; Now Does Ableton Control, Too

Music games like Guitar Hero introduced the notion of musical instruments that scale digitally to the masses. By the time Harmonix introduced the latest version of Rock Band, complete with MIDI controllers, you are able to go from something that’s a toy to simply playing the instrument in a conventional way. The idea of scalability isn’t even new in instrument design – from capos to an instrument like the Autoharp to the very invention of frets, instrument builders have always designed instruments in ways to make them easier to play. In a digital/software realm, though, the plasticity of an instrument …

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dgphilly1

Music for Plants, Music by Plants, in Two Eco-Themed Album Releases [Listen, Galleries]

These green things, for once, are the stars, in Data Garden Quartet. From the installation version in Philadelphia. All Data Garden photos courtesy the artists. “On lead synthesizer, a philodendron …” (And the crowd goes wild…) Vegetation may not be the first association you have when thinking of electronic music. But two new albums, each released via Bandcamp, celebrate biological life of the green, leafy variety. One is a benefit compilation, with proceeds going to help trees and music inspired by that green goodness. The other uses plants as “performers,” generating its form from plant life in an installation and …

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SF’s Robotspeak, Music Geek Heaven – And Elsewhere On Earth? [Video, Survey]

There are a few spots in the world that are active hotspots for music tech geekery, and in San Francisco, it’s definitely all about Robotspeak. CNET’s Donald Bell – known to some of us back in the day as terrific IDM producer Chachi Jones – visits the store that once employed him. (This gives me extra-happy memories, because years ago I was fortunate enough to play an A/V set at Robotspeak alongside Donald and Daedalus.) Donald explains more of why Robotspeak is cool on a CNET blog post: Robotspeak: An electronic musician’s toy store All of this gives me an …

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In Videos, a Battle of Controllers and Live Electronic Performance

In a competitive show of virtuosity, artists at an event in San Francisco over the summer battled to show that live electronic and laptop performance can be physical. It’s dance music that makes the artist sweat, and not just the audience. Hosted by the new Controllerism.com blog with San Francisco’s LoveTech and Slayer’s Club communities, the West Coast Championship Controller battle saw some fierce competition from some top names in live laptop music. The events itself was back on June 25, but this week, full video documentation has become available, so those of us who couldn’t be there can get …

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