modulations

Watch a full-length electronic documentary from the 90s, and more free videos

America’s on-again, off-again love affair with electronic music – often, with idioms it helped create – is endlessly full of unexpected twists and turns. But all this bears examining. For some, it’s a journey back to the music that first inspired them. For others, it’s a chance to learn, perhaps, how where music has been might help lead to where it’s going. It’s a chance not just to repeat electronic music past, but go beyond it. And if you’re looking for something to entertain you this weekend, you could do worse than Modulations, a documentary from 1998. Back then, it …

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IDOW Gear 6 (Eurorack)

I Dream of Wires Doc Gets Premiere; Here are Pics and Facts

The modular synthesizer, that wild animal covered in wires, has seen its once-endangered populations flourish and its revival in full swing. And now, it has its own movie. Some years now in anticipation, and with limited screenings here and there at film festivals, I Dream of Wires gets a wide release. The film is surely a landmark, but the launch is likely to be, too, bringing one of the modular synth’s greatest composers (Morton Subotnick) back to Berlin, Germany for a gala release performance, joined by video artist Lillevan. Mr. Subotnick is a rare figure, having made an impact not …

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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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Crisp Beats from Iceland’s Magnoose, Free to Download, with Videos

Is anyone in Iceland not a musician/producer? Given the island nation has an absurdly-tiny population, there must be some explanation that so much music pours out. Well, we’re going back there again. This weekend’s selection is the lovely music of Magnoose, aka Magnus Skarp of Reykjavik. This little-known producer is putting out some really fine-quality music, in the form of clean, chilly-cool grooves. He labels these “dubstep,” and the tilt is there. But while there are some broken beat influences, the overwhelming impression is of pristine, perfectly-designed percussion, crystal-clear in the uncluttered foreground. Given the tendency of many emerging producers …

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A Bandcamp-Only Label of the Future? Australia’s Enig’matik Records and the Art of Detail

Artists and labels alike search for a sound and a business model that can flourish in this brave, new age in music. Against that struggle, Oz’s Enig’matik is something special. We’ve got more coming with this crew, but first, CDM’s Matt Earp takes an look inside what makes this record label work with its founder, in a way I think may resonate with other independent outlets and creators. And, oh yeah: true to form, Matt goes a bit deeper to chart the larger trends here, and a post-Tipper musical landscape. What’s that mean? I’ll let him explain. -PK It’s been …

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pilletu-2

A Haunting Chilean Single, Accompanied by Found Sound Videos [Listening + Vimeo]

In their lonely, intimate single “Pillatu,” the Chile-based duo of Vicente Espinoza and Alfredo Duarte offer some haunting music-making. Entitled El Gato, la Virgen & el Diablo (“the cat, the virgin, and the devil”), the artists are also making a kind of multimedia presentation of the work. Thanks to these CDM readers for sending in their work. Fire up the SoundCloud-based music, and you can play a series of video loops in a grid that sits alongside the music. It’s a nice window into their sonic world, with short video clips of sounds from bicycles to Korg Monotron. In fact, …

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In a World of Sonic Toys, Sound Design Craft Comes Alive: Simon Pyke Short Film

As pundits lament the loss of the album or conventional musical roles, it might be easy to miss a barely-hidden revolution in the craft of sound. Pieced together from the simplest of found acoustic instruments and strange electrified sonic organisms, fashioned with the most sophisticated of digital tools and computer music production machines, artists open an ocean of new musical and sonic discovery. The new venues and patrons proliferate, ranging from interactive installations to so-called “sonic branding,” sound design for games and motion spots and television, and yes, somewhere in there, even produce an album now and then. Just ask …

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Hands On Eigenharp: Exploring an Innovative New Digital Instrument

eigenzone.org : Eigenharp Alpha Unboxing from Geert Bevin on Vimeo. Eigenharp Alpha Experiment 20100624 from Geert Bevin on Vimeo. A genuinely new instrument isn’t something you can expect to simply pick up and judge. Part of what makes music so addictive, so satisfying, is the amount of time and energy we put in. One would expect the same of new digital instruments. And so, we’re fortunate that musician Geert Bevin is giving the Eigenharp, a new digital instrument combining touch-based, real depth and attention. The Eigenharp itself is a strange animal, with a crooked wind input and larger model form …

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Two Crazy Ableton Live Sets, with Mario and Animation; Send Us Yours!

We asked to see inside the Ableton Live sets you use in live performance, and you’ve responded with an overwhelming variety of responses. There are plenty of very practical submissions, from beginners and advanced users alike, which should give us a real sense of the ways in which people are playing Live as an instrument. Naturally, there are also some more unusual entries. At top: Mark Gutierrez has used the Live arrangement grid as a palette for animated pixel art, with 8-bit game characters from Space Invaders and Super Mario Brothers dancing across the screen. At bottom: Manuel Palenque has …

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