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Interview: Anika, Working with Portishead’s Geoff Barrow, Makes an Album You Don’t Have to Like

Perhaps it’s something of an irony, here on a site that heralds shiny technology, but there is a longing among many musicians to return to something raw and unvarnished in music. There’s discontentment in the ranks of the techno-futurists, enough to sow the seeds of rebellions. If that feeling could be given a voice, Anika would be a good candidate. A political journalist who found herself, entirely unexpected, at a session with Portishead producer Geoff Barrow, she is a vinyl-loving, politically-minded throwback, an antidote to everything that commercially-calibrated in music. http://www.stonesthrow.com/anika The first thing you should know about Anika’s self-titled …

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We Love DJ Kool Herc: Free Compilation for the Father of Hip-Hop

Saturn Never Sleeps, the band and label, released a new free compilation late last night to send love and thanks to DJ Kool Herc, the pioneering Jamaican-born DJ who gave birth to the hip-hop age in the West Bronx, New York City. I’m honored to have been part of the compilation along with a broad range of artists: DaM-Funk, Damon Bennett, Dego, King Britt Presents Sylk 130, Ursula Rucker, Lushlife, ZIN, Hezekiah, Soul Litchfield, Illvibe Collective, Rucyl, Shigeto, Galapagoose (recently seen here on CDM sporting the monome software he co-created), Ras_G, Chuck Treece, Suzi Analogue, and Stef Eye King Britt, …

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Meet the Music and Sound Oscar Nominees, and Learn from Hours of Info from Sonic Masters

Shared dreams, indeed: welcome to Hollywood. And in 2011, the music and soundscapes of blockbuster films suddenly seem very much like the future of our dreams, from ground-breaking surround sound to interactive music to scores combining low-fidelity and high – and one breaktakingly-terrific score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross that stands on its own. The Internet, as the subject of one Oscar-nominated film, is full of short attention spans and flirts, social dysfunction and lust. But there’s another side of the Internet. Someone interested in finding expressive inspiration, in learning the craft of music and sound, can virtually apprentice …

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Boomerang III is the Live Looper Box Texas Made Great; Video Tutorials

As we’ve been looking at live looper options from BOSS and VOX, Mike Nelson from Boomerang points us to his company’s live-oriented loopers, boutique-made in Texas. And they look as delicious as Texas BBQ. What’s unique about the Boomerang III “phrase sampler” is just how much it can do with loops once recorded, with computer-like manipulation of your samples. You can undo and redo, play back one-shots, stutter, re-sample, line up loops in sequence, play up to four loops as once, sync to tempo, drift to different tempos, fade, play at half speed, and play in reverse. (Software makers, take …

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Looping Technique: New BOSS, VOX Loopers Will Do One-Shots

So, you’re the fastest one-shot sampler in the West, huh? We’ve got good news for you, then – you can now proceed to spend money on new gear. Photo (CC-BY) William Clifford. What was the most-asked question around new music tech announcements earlier this month, coinciding with the industry’s NAMM trade show? Was it, “What’s the best accessory for my iPad?” Was it, “what was the game changer for music workstations?” Nope – not among CDM readers, anyway. It was, “can I do one-shot samples with the new loopers? A one-shot sample – for those of you thinking of True …

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Open Thread: What is Virtuosity on a Drum Machine?

Photo (CC-BY-SA) bdu. Electronic music has always had a funny relationship with musicianship. It isn’t playing a traditional instrument; instead, it lies somewhere between instrumentalism and composition, between playing and conducting. Sometimes, that scale is tipped away from virtuosity of any kind. But lately, I’ve had an increasing number of conversations with people who make the tools with which we make music about what this all means. I’ll be able to share one of those conversations in a bit, but I’m curious to hear what readers think. Computers are fairly open-ended devices, so let’s take the familiar drum machine. What …

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Alternative Controllers: Eigenharp Users Reflect on Playing a New Kind of Instrument

Photo courtesy Eigenlabs. Novel instruments come and go; futuristic ideas appear in demos, wow crowds, and then vanish just as quickly. In order to really become part of musical practice, they require practice. And with something as unusual as the Eigenharp – a digital music controller that looks like the love child of a bassoon and a fretboard and connects to a computer – they even necessitate new techniques and strategies. Enter musician Geert Bevin. As the creator of the fan site Eigenzone, he’s been a tireless champion of the instrument. He’s been compiling videos revealing player techniques and ideas …

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Artist, Software Maker, monomist makingthenoise, Talks His New Album

mtn, at work in his bedroom studio, in medium-format film glory. All photos courtesy the artist. Artists and engineers, coders and musicians – maybe once these were perceived as separate cultures, but today, you can find people tap-dancing across the categories with ease – people like Adam. Adam Ribaudo, aka makingthenoise, is known in the monome community as the creator of SevenUp, an Ableton Live and Max for Live construction that is so named for combining seven functions. It is Navigation, Stepper, Sequencer, Controller, Looper, Loop Recorder, Melodizers, Clip Launcher, and Masterizer. But Adam is also a force in live …

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From MGM’s Music Master, a View of Sound in Technicolor

Now that digital technology allows rapid creation of new interfaces for music and sound, the question of how to represent those elements visually has new life. But whether digital or not, practitioners of music have long been interested in applying further descriptions to music, from the Baroque Doctrine of Affectations to the involuntary association of color in Synesthesia. Applying colors to the notes of a musical scale is one particularly common idea, but the late master composer/orchestrator Arthur Lange had a different idea: why not give colors to range? Building on ideas from orchestrators Francois Auguste Geveart and Rimsky-Korsakov, he …

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David Byrne on Collaboration, Process

David Byrne is, of course, a legendary name. But part of what I love about music is, for all the hero worship that sometimes accompanies music writing and fandom, there’s always something to learn from musicians whose work you enjoy – whether famous or obscure. David Byrne has been singularly open in talking about his work and process. In an extensive post this week, he shares how collaborations with other artists are born, evolve, and unfold: 03.15.10: Collaborations And, boy, are the collaborations coming now. The new Here Lies Love is a project with Fatboy Slim. In the post above, …

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