Watch Frenetic Beatboxing and Live Electronic Music in a Video Album by Ryo Fujimoto

Music into 2014 continues with about the wildest live vocal and electronic virtuosity you can imagine… If what “beatboxing” means to you is just someone sputtering drum sounds out of their mouth, Ryo Fujimoto might change your mind. Ryo, born in Japan but based in Berlin, is a whirling dervish of a performer. Vocal fragments do indeed form percussion, but listening to the artist himself is like listening to a human sampler. Sounds from his voice and assembled electronics spin and build in dizzying, hypnotic splendor, rapid-fire lyrics reaching frenzied proportions, before being dialed back more contemplative mantras. And Ryo, …

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Bitwig Audio Clips Video: No Need for Bland, Endless Loops

Yes, you know the phenomenon – loops sometimes get repetitive, cycling without variation. You can’t really blame the tool; Ableton Live, for instance, certainly allows loads of variation with automation envelopes. But as demonstrated in the latest beta video, Bitwig Studio will provide plenty of functionality for editing changes in audio clips. I’m not totally in love with the content of the video itself – I hope we can give the beta a go soon to check out the stretching algorithm with some other audio. But the features look very nice indeed: Multiple audio events inside a clip Drag to …

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Roland Meditation: TM404’s Amazing 303s and Machine Live Sets [Video]

Acid techno is transformed into dub-y trance in the masterful hands of TM404, aka Andreas Tilliander, aka Mokira (under Type and Raster-Noton). In a beautiful video released this month, a lineup of blinking Roland boxes becomes simply mesmerizing. It is technically acid techno, yes, but here those rhythms rotate gently in hypnotic harmony. Not that TM404 can’t also dial his ensemble of analog voices into a dervish-like dancefloor frenzy. That side was on evidence Saturday night in Berlin. Ostensibly, Andreas was there to promote Elektron’s new boxes, as a big Analog Four Keys banner hung behind him, but he might …

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DJing with Step Sequenced Traktor: Remix Decks Meet New Hardware

Light-up colored grids are hardly news in the controller scene. But what makes original, boutique hardware worthy of the name “Digital Warrior” is the unique take it brings to DJing and live remix – pushing the envelope with Native Instruments’ Traktor (all the while perhaps making even Ableton Live a little bit jealous). The new hardware takes Traktor’s Remix Decks and transforms them with built-in step sequencing, in a kind of mash-up of a lot of different techniques. You have to see the results in action to really appreciate how nice that can be. CDM reader and electronic music inventor …

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Cops on Fire: Crazy Russian Hip-hop-opera Theater, Played Live on Novation Launchpad

Imagine combining sampling, controllerism, opera, hip-hop, rap, cops, live theater, sound effects, school-play cardboard props, and radio plays, and then doing it all in Russian, and you’re getting in the ballpark of what “Cops on Fire” was like. As described in English for the 2010 Moscow trailer (translated by uploader Sasha Pas): The “Cops On Fire” show is a fusion of theater, culture and contemporary urban music. The genre of the show is “hip-hopera” (hip-hop + opera). Hip-hopera = live hip-hop arias + original decorations + stage tricks and choreography by professional artists. Got it? These guys are dedicated to …

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Stirring Solo Vocal + Ableton Push: Thomas Piper, Live at Webster Hall

If the computer can do one thing, it is to vastly expand what a single musician can do live. Whether you rise to that challenge has everything to do with who you are as an individual musician. It’s about the person as much as the machine. Thomas Piper, Jr. is at his absolute best in a soulful, no-holds-barred, energetic performance New York’s famed Webster Hall. (His son Zion, by the way, is also terrifically talented.) Here, his vocal is front and center far more than the computer, but the digital instrument also supports what he’s doing. At the Kompakt pop-up …

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An All-Hardware Elektron Set – and Chat – with Experimental Techno Maestro Bill Youngman

With over a decade in experimental techno (working with the likes of Jamie Lidell and Cristian Vogel), and years more in production, Bill Youngman has earned his veteran ribbons. But this isn’t about the past. This is about what happens when you switch on the machines and make music that can only be heard live once, music you have to dance to in the instant. It’s electronic music with the spontaneity of traditional instrumental music, inside the dance idiom. And yes, you can dance to it – it certainly had me shaking around in the early Saturday morning of Krake …

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Abuse Sampling for Sound Design: Free Tutorial, Rack in Ableton Live

The response to the breaking Live 9.1 news this week was fast and furious; we were honestly surprised at the vast readership of the story. A lot of you must have multiple displays or virtual desktops you want to use (or, now, even a Push). But sometimes the best upgrade is the one you can install in your brain. Improve your technique, and an array of musical possibilities open up. Take this terrific tutorial from DJ Vespers as an example, which involves varying very small sample slices in Ableton’s Sampler to create unique pads. It works especially nicely with Sampler’s …

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Grid Tricks: Japan and Jeremy Ellis Show Us How Maschine, MPC Can Be An Instrument

They’re two alternative universes with musical wonders in them, places we wish we could live. They both begin with the letter ‘J.’ One is Japan; one is … Jeremy Ellis. Each might as well be their own wonderful planet. In this case, each is also promoting Native Instruments’ Maschine hardware/software combo, but they’re doing it in a way that’s musically meaningful. First, let’s talk about Japan. The problem with many artist promos for music products is that they tend to trade on celebrity, bringing all the depth of sports stars endorsing a brand of sneakers. But I was glad to …

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Down with Sequencers: The Age of Glass Finger-Drums Through Their Beats, Live [Videos]

For years, drummers have had to look sideways at drum machines — boxes with step sequencers blinking, out to replace them. With acts like The Age of Glass, tables are turned. The sounds are electronic (Access Virus, Machinedrum), but the playing is all live. Drummer Nick Froud plays all those parts without any sequencing, fingers blazing. The band has a self-released (Bandcamp) EP out this week, as well as some videos of them working away at the studio. The results are jammy, trippy, grooving good times. Great to see the studio work and recording, but this must be a lot …

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