Far From Four on the Floor, Digital Cumbia’s Colorful Syncopations [Video, Playlist]

Emanating from Latin America, cumbia rhythms are fast becoming as international as the ubiquitous sounds of house and techno. And as they spread, they’re bringing shuffling syncopations and vibrant polyrhythms, bright-colored timbres that blend traditional sounds with new electronic forms. When those noises dance out of familiar hardware and software rigs, they’re also a reminder that common tools need not mean homogenized results – not once in the hands of creative musicians. Thump, the VICE property which has been putting out fine-quality and diverse music reporting even despite a name with crowd-grabbing EDM overtones, visits Lima in their latest video. …

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Moog Werkstatt: Listen to its Creator Make Sounds; Why It Could Bring Moog Back to Modular

The newest Moog Music synth is in the hands of a select few. Werkstatt means, effectively, “workshop” in German. And so, Moog Music at Moogfest this year unveiled a synth you can’t buy anywhere but in a workshop. (Not to be confused with the one you might be able to buy, but can’t afford! Start on those lottery tickets!) Available exclusively to Moogfest Engineer VIP Package purchasers, Werkstatt was more than just a fun piece of gear. Designer/engineer Steve Dunnington of Moog Music, creator of the instrument, led participants in soldering and assembling the synth, then into exploring the world …

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Just Do It: Moog Engineer Explains Why They Remade Keith Emerson’s Modular [Videos, Audio]

It started as an April Fools’ Joke. Then it turned out to be real. But with plenty of new instruments to work on, why would Moog remake a dinosaur – both in form and literal size? Engineer Gene Stopp doesn’t blink when asked that question. In a tour of the modular for me and Keyboard Magazine – a magazine whose very existence is partly indebted to the legacy of Keith Emerson and Moog – he was confident. Do this once, and no one can ever question whether you know what it means to make a real, exact replica of the …

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Outpouring of Respect for DJ Rashad, Footwork Pioneer; Listen and Watch

“Music has lost a legend,” rapper Danny Brown puts it. This week, DJ Rashad was found dead, in a major loss to modern music. There is not yet a conclusive cause of death. The Chicago artist was best known as a leading pioneer of footwork, but beyond that at age 34 was deeply connected to musicians in a variety of genres. Official statements already put this more eloquently and succinctly than I could, so instead I offer only my grief and condolences, and those statements alongside video and music of his work. (Rashad will close out the Hyperdub 10th anniversary …

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In Living Rooms, Homes, Beautiful Music as a Ritual: Olafur Arnalds; Matthew Flook; Free

For centuries, music was something made in a living room, made at home. It was a brief fluke of the 20th Century that music came out of a heroic process in a hidden-away studio. But if the gold-plated, magical record is threatened, some artists are trying to bring the daily ritual of home music making back. Ólafur Arnalds and Matthew Flook are each making gorgeous, cinematic-ambient tracks, and each have made projects that involve doing so on a regular basis in their homes. Let’s listen. Arnalds has been making some of the finest scores anywhere, and now has earned the …

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Listen to First Sounds of Elektron’s Analog Rytm Drum Machine

Elektron’s upcoming hardware drum machine, the Analog Rytm, is silent no more. The Swedish maker has posted audio samples of this 8-voice box, covering a range of styles. And you can see some specs now on the product page: http://www.elektron.se/products/analog-rytm What you can’t do is order the Analog Rytm – not yet. There’s a waiting list so you can be notified when it goes on sale (not really a waiting list for the preorder, so much as a “now you can buy it” list): http://www.elektron.se/content/analog-rytm We expect to be on top of a review before the beginning of summer. In …

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Hexonator Resonator Makes Any Sound into Harmonies, Sequences

Resonators are a breed that could use some new life. Let’s not even talk about Ableton Live – use one of the presets in the built-in effect in that software, and any producers are likely to perk up their ears – and turn up their nose. But that’s why it’s nice to see the latest effort from Artemiy Pavlov and Sinevibes. The Ukrainian developer has just been on a roll lately with clever, Mac-friendly (Retina Display, even) creative plug-ins. And the latest is a fresh twist on a resonator. Six tuned resonators already makes a nice resonator plug-in, but Hexonator …

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Listen to Waldorf’s Buttery, New String Synth, the Streichfett [Hands-on]

A dedicated hardware synth just for vintage string sounds is about the last thing you’d expect to make headlines at Europe’s biggest music trade show. But an even bigger surprise: Waldorf’s new Streichfett is pretty delicious. The pun isn’t directly translatable. German speakers use the same word for “bowing” as spreading (as with a knife), and are passionate enough about putting fat on bread that they have idiomatic ways of talking about it that makes sense only to them. (At least, this is what my research into the Waldorf name and, um, eating have suggested.) But after a first hands-on …

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See the Max Patch Robert Henke Built Before Ableton Live; Hear the Music it Made

This is what a Monolake live set sounded like in 1999. And in the days before Ableton Live was a finished product, running patterns was a job for self-built software in Max. Robert describes the music thusly: This is a live recording, captured at Ego club in Düsseldorf, June 5 1999. The music has been created with a self written step sequencer, the PX-18, controlling a basic sample player and effects engine, all done in MaxMSP, running on a Powerbook G3. The step sequencer had some unique features, e.g. the ability to switch patterns independently in each track, which later …

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Learn from the Master: Diego Stocco Makes Music with Sound Design, Then Shows You How

Is it sound design, or is it composition? Is it musicianship, or is it technical control? Is it live, or is it Ableton Live? Yes. Diego Stocco is simply one of the best bleeding-edge musicians, composers, and sound designers – all in one. And that has made him rightfully in-demand in the media of technology (Spectrasonics), movies (Sherlock Holmes), TV (The Tudors), and games (Assasin’s Creed). He’s of course also a big hit around sites like this one. Now, he’s sharing his secrets. He revealed about a week ago that he would be offering the first of his sound design …

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