Can make the biggest acts' live shows tick - but can also rock a live performance like she's just landed from a flying saucer. Check. Laura Escudé, achieving superhuman levels of music-technological knowhow, can still share what she's learned with us Earthlings.

Live Music Tools at the Bleeding Edge: Laura Escudé, From Herbie Hancock Collabs to Solo (Live Berlin, Sat)

It’s one thing to talk about tools. It’s quite another to put them into action, to make them withstand the rigors of creative process and idiosyncracy, let alone the torture test of touring. Laura Escudé is as deep in the trenches, on a day-to-day basis, as just about anyone on the planet. The music tech guru has worked with some of the world’s best-known artists, bending technology to their imaginative desires and world-trotting live shows. (Think Herbie Hancock, Bon Iver, and Cirque du Soleil, among others.) But she’s still found time to develop her own, unique sonic voice and live …

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Weekend Listening: Kishi Bashi Shows the Simple, Elegant Art of Looping

For all the sophisticated synthesis and remix tools out there, for a lot of musicians, the best thing sound technology can do is just give them a way to record and play. Looping is a simple technique – it involves recording a snippet of sound, playing it back, and then adding layers. But used masterfully, it can become transformative, producing rhythms and layers and letting solo artists accompany themselves. “How do I get started looping?” is a question I hear from a lot of musicians, particularly those who are already expressive with their instruments and voice. There’s a technical answer …

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Letting Out Ethereal Cries, a Slide Guitar Meets Synthesis in the Hands of a Bluegrass Master

When musical traditions meet, handled by people with real mastery of their technique, wonderful things can happen. That can be true of master instrument builders, for one. I got a chance to hear the sounds of the Moog Lap Steel Guitar in June while meeting with the folks from Moog Music. It’s an incredibly-delicious instrument, both in terms of how it’s engineered as a guitar and in bringing the filter from the Moog synth, now itself a tradition. But more importantly, in the stage that comes after those tools are built, traditions fuse beneath the fingers of master musicians. Chris …

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Real for Reel: The Amazing Sherlock Holmes Experibass, and More Winter Cinema Sounds

Sometimes, the best sounds come not from synthesis, not even from electrified instruments, but from the purity of a mic and acoustic instrumentation. It remains electronic, or even digital sound, but its source is organic. And so, one of the best reasons to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie in theaters is the wonderful noises that bounce around Hans Zimmer’s score. Behind many great film scores are great soloists as much as great composers, and Sherlock Holmes is no exception. Zimmer worked with Diego Stocco, sound designer, sound artist, inventor, and composer in his own right. To realize the inner …

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South Asian Electronica Lovers: Indian Electronic Festival Returns

Enough of all this nonsense about how the Western Empire is crumbling. In our new “world” in which Mumbai is as powerful a cultural compass as Berlin or New York, one thing is guaranteed: it’s going to be a great party. One stalwart Western-based advocate of a more pluralist electronica scene are the folks at Indian Electronica. Pumping out regular live events, podcasts, radio streams, and festivals, the crew is keeping music south Asian-flavored and eclectic. They’re truly inclusive: previous festivals spotlighted the likes of DJ Spooky, artists who are not connected to India by birth but love the music. …

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Maker-Faire Music: The K-Bow for Sensor-Augmented Violin

Barry Threw demos the K-Bow at Maker Faire from The Amazing Rolo on Vimeo. Yann Seznec aka The Amazing Rolo brings CDM his coverage of music tech at the Maker Faire in three episodes today. As long as there have been computers, violinists have looked for ways of extending the nuances of their physical performance into the digital realm. (Us keyboardists have it easy – we’re used to pressing an array of levers, and a lot of the gestures we make are, arguably, superfluous.) Many of these concepts return to the idea of the bow. The K-Bow by Keith McMillen …

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Video: Violin vs. Robot Guitar, With Mari Kimura and GuitarBot

Mari Kimura is an experimental string player extraordinaire, regularly venturing to the edge of what’s possible at the meeting of acoustic and electronic technology. GuitarBot is a “guitar”-playing robot (perhaps more reminiscent of a shamisen), an invention of Eric Singer, founder of the League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots. The two meet above in a lovely video – not new, but well worth watching any old time, as reminded to us by Richard Swelling’s Etherbomb blog. Mari writes in comments on YouTube: HI, Mari here. For those wondering what’s happening: Behind the white box, there is a Mac and an …

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