Gorgeous Beats from Philly’s NO SIR E, Ode to monome Love [Live Set, Sounds]

Faptronica? Trapmetal? Glitchfap? Fapdance? Genre labels make a fun muddle of things for Philadelphia’s NO SIR E. But his music is perfect for this time of the Northern Hemisphere’s summer, that feeling of diving out of a sweltering heat into the water. It’s refreshing, with the dirty, muddy bits in the bottom you’d want to stick your toes into. And then it glitches in satisfying distortion, a motorboat or jetski racing across the smoo… I’m sorry. It’s hard to write in the summer. (Or … well, you can Google what “fap” means, but that’s a bit less … musical in …

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Happy Independence Day: The Legacy of the Computer is Not the Mouse

Oregon-born engineer, inventor, and thinker Douglas Engelbart has died. He’ll be listed in many outlets as, mundanely, the inventor of the computer mouse. Certainly, the demo of that technology in 1968 had a profound impact. But what’s stunning is that even at that demo, the mouse wasn’t the most impressive thing Engelbart showed. At the same talk, he demonstrated videoconferencing and textual hyperlinks. And the real legacy of Engelbart was his computer humanism, an idea that spread virally to motivate the world of computing as personally powerful, communicative and expressive. What enabled Engelbart to look so far into the future, …

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Giant Steps for Step Sequencing: Two Free Ableton Sequencers, with a Twist

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of physical control of a step sequencer for immediate, musical results. But you’d be forgiven for thinking there isn’t much more you can do with the concept. Think again. New step sequencers demonstrate how to get more with less, using clever tricks to maximize the musical variations you can get with just a few pads. They’re each free, and they’re each from Ableton Live, coming to us from our friends Sebastian Tomczak aka little-scale, the obscenely-prolific musical inventor in Australia, and Matt Black (UK, of Ninja Tune / Coldcut fame) working with Ableton guru …

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Fab Speakers: Open Source Portable Speakers, Online and in Glass Jars [Gallery]

From top: Sarah Pease’s glass jar portable speaker design, and the David A. Mellis open source creation that inspired it. audioJar image courtesy Sarah Pease; all other images (CC-BY) David A. Mellis. Who says you can’t make your own consumer electronics? David A. Mellis, a co-creator of Arduino who now is starting a PhD in Leah Buechley’s group, High-Low Tech, at the MIT Media Lab, has shared his Fab Speakers, an open source, portable speaker project: These portable speakers are made from laser-cut wood, fabric, veneer, and electronics. They are powered by three AAA batteries and compatible with any standard …

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Accepting Grammy Awards, Skrillex Acknowledges Dance Roots, EDM Community

The Grammy Awards faced controversy long before this year’s ceremony; more than 30 categories faced the axe. With music outside Billboard lists already facing marginalization, the changes angered many artists by combining genders and averaging together genres. More fundamentally, artists can easily argue that the awards lack direct relevance to music they value, and look instead to validation from other sources. But watching the acceptance speeches by Skrillex, you see an impression not so much of how the Grammy Awards view Electronic Dance Music as how Skrillex views the EDM community. Winning three awards – Best Dance Recording, Best Electronic/Dance …

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Bassnectar on Beat Structure, EDM, and Dubstep, Illustrated: Hearing Rhythm

How do you hear? What do you hear? Coming to agreement about something rooted in perception is by definition a doomed exercise. But that means the best thing to do is not so much to agree as to talk about the music – about what you hear – and not just the labels. Amidst glib online comments and the micro-fragmentation of genre, it’s hard to get anyone to give you a straight answer about just what’s going on in electronic dance music. That’s ironic – because, at its essence, it’s pretty straightforward. The situation has gotten worse: as “dubstep,” the …

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Opinion: US Internet Censorship Could Cripple Online Music Web; Where to Find Out More, Where to Act

If you haven’t been following the (excellent) coverage elsewhere, just how bad is the “Firewall of the United States,” the draconian Internet dystopia misguided legislation in the US proposes to create? That legislation is so vague, so far-reaching, so poorly-designed, that it potentially threatens all kinds of sites musicians regularly use. And little wonder: a backwards legislation process in the US has locked out the very Internet and tech companies that have until now been glimmers of hope in a stagnant US economy. The crux of this issue is the impact on legal sites, and democracy and speech online. For …

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As Gaming Faces Supreme Court Case, Music Industry Defends Free Speech

Music or games – free speech is free speech, say legal, advocacy, and industry groups. Photo (CC-BY-SA) FHKE. A California ban of the sale of violent video games to minors may not seem relevant to the world of music on first blush. But the music industry, joining everyone from software makers to legal groups to state Attorneys General, feels otherwise. Overzealous restriction of the sale of games, these groups say, is tantamount to an attack on rights of free speech protected by the United States Constitution. And while the California law would make a separate set of rules for gaming, …

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