yak

Duet for Singer and Jet Plane: A Soviet Airliner as Instrument

Watch as a Yakovlev Yak-42 jetliner* was transformed last month into a giant percussion instrument, allowing a unique duet between vocalist (our friend Jekka) and machines. As part of last month’s Polytech Festival in Moscow, the performance is one of a number of international collaborations taking place around the museum’s art programs. A small army of teenagers got to participate in getting the whole thing working – learning about sound, sensing, and physical computing in the process. The last time we caught up with the Playtronica collective, they were engaging kids in science and electronics through the power of vegetables. …

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brolin

Romance Again: Intimate, Personal Music for the First Warmth of Spring

Who’s ready for some springtime romance? Show of hands? Thought so. Here in northern Europe, at least, we’re at that inflection point as spring first crawls its way out of winter, tiny buds on the trees and ice/rain mixes giving way to faintly warm sunbeams. This is music that matches that mood. And it’s music that finds a voice, that can sing – not just in beautiful vocals (and the likes of Brolin certainly suffices in his latest work), but in music that is crafted from some intimate place. These are productions that are immediate and intensely personal in the …

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jekka

Video: A Heart-Breaking Solo with Autoharp and iPad, by Jekka

The iPad as folk instrument – alongside an earlier iteration, the Autoharp. In a heartbreakingly lovely video, Jekka of Moscow goes acoustic with Samplr.

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A Dreamy Video, Remix with Loscil, and Other Christina Vantzou Gems

You know that feeling, on a hot day, of someone running an ice cube down the back of your neck? Or perhaps, going deeper, the dream of plunging into a frozen lake? That visceral, primeval emotion, that chill that prickles the hairs on your head – that might start to describe the eerily-lovely wonderlands of Christina Vantzou. Brussels-base artist Vantzou was the visual imagination behind The Dead Texan (with Stars of the Lid’s Adam Wiltzie), releasing an epic audiovisual masterpiece that paired cinematic ambience with video realizations. Vantzou has continued as a composer, with two records on Kranky Records (easy …

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How Gloves and Wearable Tech Could Change Music Performance: In Depth with Imogen Heap and Team

In fits and starts, musical interface inventors have tried for decades to make manipulating digital music more expressive. But that persistence comes out of a clear goal post. They want the machine’s seemingly-endlessly possibilities to fit the human like a glove. Imogen Heap is no stranger to pushing the boundaries of electronic musical performance, always making it seem as effortless as her songwriting and stage presence. For the Gloves Project, she assembled a super-team of wearable experts, interaction designers, and music researchers, several doctorates between them. This who’s-who have finally unveiled a project they’re ready to make public, and the …

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Been there. The artist Dillon, working magic on the studio and stage - but finding her muse in bed and beta waves, half-asleep with no one else around.

Writing Music When You’re Vulnerable: Dillon on Finding Creativity in the Middle of the Night

Electronic music has become associated with over-the-top lyrics, the plastic veneer of party-time superficiality. But in any medium, some people are writing from the heart, and that can obscure a simple reality: writing from your most vulnerable places can be hard. Whatever your music-making medium of choice, you may resonate with artist Dominique Dillon de Byington – born in Brazil, raised in Germany, now goes by the simpler Dillon. Berlin-based, English-language Electronic Beats has taken their superb video series Slices from a hard-to-locate DVD to the mass audience of YouTube, and shorts like this demonstrate why that’s good news. Dillon …

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Moldover, Playing Live with Latest Sensor-Laden, DIY Controllers (The Mojito!) [Music Video]

Matt “Moldy” Moldover helped champion the notion of controllerism, focusing live performance on manipulation of digital parameters. In his latest music video, he shows off his latest creations. What’s nice about what he’s doing currently is that he’s able to augment traditional live rigs with buttons and sensors. Having your controls clamped to a mic stand? Eminently practical for vocalists and instrumentalists. The guitar gets the full sensor treatment, too. Moldover explains to CDM: Both the guitar and mic controllers are prototypes I made for my recently completed Super Villain Tour. The microphone attachment is called The Mojito. It’s simply …

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Finnish vocalist Jolea onboard again for this one. Yes, to make collaborations happen, keep those backpack studios handy.

A Music Rig in a Backpack, A Single Made in an Attic: Recue + Jolea “Blame”

Recue X Jolea – In the Attic, Session #1 – Blame from recue on Vimeo. There’s something to be said for the rucksack studio. When we last caught up with Finnish artist Recue, our friend Riku Annala was stranded in an airport hotel room, but managed to coax a live jam out of the experience. This time, mobility wins again, in a collaboration with Helsinki-born vocalist / singer-songwriter / producer Jolea. http://www.audiobaum.com/artists/jolea/ It’s a reminder that you don’t need to wait for the studio setup of your dreams. You can produce just by carving out a small amount of space …

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mininova

Novation MiniNova: Little Keyboard, Vocal Effects, $500 – From a Synth Design Great [First Look]

Being popular as a person may be a complex formula. But for keyboard synths, “a fun, cute, cheap date” just about covers it. And — sorry, any snobs out there, but no complaints about that. So it is that Novation has a 37-keyboard that combines lots of sound and effects from the company’s UltraNova into a compact body, bringing the price at dealers to about $500 bucks US. (Actually, to quote Novation’s press release, personally I endeavor to be “compact” and “affordable,” myself, though I don’t think I qualify as “amazingly powerful.”) It’s impossible to look at this and not …

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Sculpting Sound with Maja Ratkje [Film]

The worlds of sound open to us as musicians seem limitless, endlessly unfolding in variety and possibility. So, even in a series of impressionistic moments from an upcoming film, it’s a delight to see composer Maja Ratkje play with sound. The Norwegian musician and vocalist, an improviser frequent collaborator with artists like Jaap Blonk, is seen making wild sounds with her voice, experimenting with found sounds from field recordings and music boxes, and playing, too, with electronics and technology. There’s perhaps not much more to say about this other than to let the experience of exploring sound in music wash …

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