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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Punched-Hole Tunes: Ritornell’s Musicbox Business Cards, as Delicate and Magical as the Music

Experimenting with twinkling timbres made both by acoustic and electronic means, the music of Ritornell (the duo of composer Dr. Richard Eigner and pianist Roman Gerold, Austria) is effortlessly expressive and spontaneous. Little wonder that that spirit could translate even to a small object. Designer Katharina Hölzl made business cards into both a signature identity for Ritornell and a physical manifestation of how they play their music. They’re not just a physical gimmick, though: audiences get to participate with music making in the production of live, performative loops. (Sadly, no site for Katharina – you just have to get hold …

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The Artist on Your Playlist: James Blake’s Haunting Voice Owns the Internet

When I asked what albums readers were loving early in 2011, England-based James Blake’s full-length stood out in numerous reader comments. If you haven’t already seen him plugged on radio and online – and at least some of you haven’t yet – it’s a perfect time to check him out, with the full-length this week available for digital download even outside the UK. Blake made a name for himself in some astonishing EPs over 2010, with a haunting but fragile voice singing soulful melodies atop minimal percussion and warm, fuzzy keys in close-fingered voicings. Now, his full-length is here. If …

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Summer NAMM: New Gear in Videos, Photos, for Guitarists, DJs, Vocalists, Producers

Effect pedals on CDM? Heck, yes. Electro-Harmonix may have just stolen the show in Nashville with the Freeze pedal alone. Continuing our coverage with Nashville locals and musicians Tony and Jeremy, we have some hands-on videos, images, and impressions of the gear on offer. Don’t miss yesterday’s story on how the trade show helps Nashville recover from flooding. They offered a sobering picture of the state of the show, as well, but that didn’t stop them from finding good stuff to share. -Ed. Summer NAMM was never the size of its winter counterpart. We were still surprised by the poor …

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For Singers, Effects and Looping All in One Box

Singers often get left out, at least when compared to the toys heaped on guitarists and keyboardists. But vocalists looking to add effects and loop their vocalizations can now do so in one box, all attachable to a mic stand. TC-Helicon has an intriguing-looking gadget they’ve unveiled for vocalists, just in time for the summer NAMM trade show in Nashville, Tennessee. Called the VoiceLive Touch, it’s an all-in-one processing and looping box. TC are no stranger to vocal effects, with the recent, compact (and akwardly-named) VoiceTone Create XT and the hefty, stompbox-style VoiceLive. What’s different here is that the resulting …

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Maker-Faire Music: VAMP and Glove-Controlled Vocals

Elly Jessop and VAMP at the 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. Continuing the tradition of computer-augmented vocal performance and interactive gloves, Elena “Elly” Jessop shows off her VAMP system at Maker Faire. Elly is a Masters student at the MIT Media Lab’s Opera of the Future research group, headed by Todd Machover. Interestingly, Elly’s background is in conventional theater, including stage and costume design and choreography. http://web.media.mit.edu/~ejessop/ VAMP stands for “Vocal Augmentation and Manipulation Prosthesis.” What’s …

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Jamie Lidell “Remixes” the Nintendo DSi; How About DSiTracker in an App Store?

Well, fine, Jamie Lidell. Now you go and ruin it for the rest of us. See, none of us playing with a Nintendo DSi will possibly look as good as you do. I jest, of course. Jamie Lidell, the wildly-talented vocalist, picks up the new, online-savvy take of the Nintendo DS and breathes cool into it. This is what Sony ads tried to do, but Jamie does masterfully. And, okay, don’t expect the built-in sound app on the DSi to do as much as it appears to be doing here – there’s quite a lot of non-real-time, non-DSi remixing going …

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Is Beyonce Tone Deaf? Is Leaked Board Mix Real? Is Auto-Tune That Powerful? (No)

Updated, for all time: Readers are nearly 100% for judging this one. It was a fake. And the site with a really stupid name (hellohomo??) admits that it was faux. Howard Stern Hoaxed! Beyoncé "Outtakes" Are Fake, Creator Admits [E! Online] Wow, that may be the last time CDM links to E! Lesson learned: yes, the Internet has the power to spread rumors at new speeds. It can also debunk them even faster. That’s something to pass along to the “get off my lawn!” crowd.

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Electro-Harmonix Voice Box: $200, Fun Voice and Instrument Effects, Gender, Vocoder

Electro-Harmonix has made a quick-and-dirty vocal effects box. Usable parameters, good fun, and $200 – sure, it may not be the highest-fidelity vocal box ever, but what’s not to love? Our friend Collin Cunningham at MAKE gets the jump on this one. It’s got some surprisingly unique features: 256-band vocoder “designed by the same EMS genius who made vocoding famous,” they say It will harmonically match electric instruments as well as vocals. 2- to 4-part harmonization, at the 3rd and 5th (labeled “Low” and “High” in case you slept through Music Theory class) 9 programmable presets Gliss Gender bender male/female …

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Virtual Frontman Plug-in Replaces Need for Human Vocalists

Today, CDM is proud to announce a new feature to keep us competitive with fast-moving music technology coverage on the Web. It’s called “Industry Clipboard Connection,” and it allows us to fully connect you with the latest industry news by giving you complete, un-edited press release content, pasted up to the minute. And we kick it off with what I think is a really game-changing product that could change the relationship of vocalists to bands forever. Be sure to read the full press release for the complete details. Seriously. I think you’ll want to read to the end. Sweetwater announces …

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