machine quotidienne


BlokDust is an amazing graphical sound tool in your browser

Just when you think you’ve tired of browser toys, of novel graphical modular sound thing-a-ma-jigs, then — this comes along. It’s called Blokdust. It’s beautiful. And … it’s surprisingly deep. Not only might you get sucked into playing with it, but thanks to some simply but powerful blocks and custom sample loading, you might even make a track with it. And for nerds, this is all fully free and open source and hipster-JavaScript-coder compliant if you want to toy with the stuff under the hood.

Here’s a teaser to give you a taste:

The tasteful, geometric interface recalls trendy indie games, a playful flat world to explore. The actual geometric representations themselves are a bit obtuse – it seems there was perhaps a missed opportunity to say something functional with the shapes and colors – but it’s easy enough to figure out anyway, and makes for a nice aesthetic experience. (And, indeed, some three decades into visual patcher software, why not play around with making them attractive?)

And then there are the modules. These are indeed simple enough for a first-time musician to play around with, but they sound good enough – and have enough necessary features and novelties – that the rest of you will like them, too.

Crucially, it’s not just some basic synths or pre-built samples. There’s a powerful granular and wavetable sound source, for instance. You can load your own samples into the granular source, and the generative wavetables are actually themselves worth giving this a go. (They’re really delightful. Try not to smile while messing about.)

And you can use a microphone. And there are a dozen clever effects, including a convolution reverb (with Teufelsberg impulse, no less).

You can play with MIDI (thanks, Chrome) or a computer keyboard, but there are also a section of automatic triggers the developers call “power.” These include particle emitters and the like, and they seem in fact the best opportunity for open source development, because they could take this all in some new directions.

In fact, really the only disappointment here is that there’s not a whole lot of advantage to running in a browser, apart from this being free. Sure, there’s a share feature, but this is nothing that couldn’t be in a standalone app – and you lose out on touch interactions since it’s built for desktop Chrome, unless you have capable hardware.

As design experiment, though, it’s brilliant. And you could still use a third-party audio recorder to capture sound, thus making this a real sketchpad.

I’m very interested to see where this might go. It’s perhaps the most compelling use of browser audio yet, through sheer force of the intelligence of the interaction design, looks, and sound.

The project is developed by Luke Twyman (Whitevinyl), Luke Phillips (Femur Design) and Ed Silverton. It’s made in the UK – Brighton to be exact – with Tone.js and of course the Web Audio API. And yes, it works best in Chrome. (Come on, Apple and Microsoft.)

Try it yourself:

That library (good stuff):

Genius work – congrats, lads.

Thanks to Noah Pred for the tip.

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Watch crazy sounds meet remote Finnish countryside

“Electronic music needs to be wilder” was the challenge issues by Matt Black (NinjaTune, Coldcut) last year at Ableton Loop at a talk I moderated. But maybe this could be interpreted as “into the wild” in a difference sense. At the moment, I’m part of an ongoing series of residencies that takes that in a different direction – taking music performance (electronic, electro-acoustic, and acoustic) into unexpected natural environments.

Artist Antye Greie-Ripatti aka AGF has been for a few years an initiator of a rich and varied series of outdoor performance interventions, via residencies set deep into the northern hemisphere. That centers on the Finnish island of Hailuoto, where I am now with a group of electronic artist/inventors.

The notion of wilderness may be a somewhat romantic construct, but we can at least view it as an opposite to the insular bunkers in which electronic music was first incubated. Now, thanks to sophisticated mobile recording technology, battery-powered synthesizers, DIY electronics, and mobile sound computation, sound performance can happen anywhere.

It’s an interesting test of how to push live sound exploration to its limits – all the while with self-sufficient objects, no longer tethered to wall warts and power sockets. But whether or not weird experimental sounds are your cup of tea, it also provides some more general lessons. Being on batteries with portable instruments means the ability to go where you want. Paying attention to the environment means the chance to mine the world around you for inspiration – that might be as relevant to someone making a hip hop record as a weirdo (guilty as charged) sound art thing.

Wiring up a DIY mobile noisemaker. Photo: Hai Art Hailuoto.

Wiring up a DIY mobile noisemaker. Photo: Hai Art Hailuoto.

And most of all, this means the ability to stage a retreat from your usual environs. (That phenomenon has a storied history – I can’t count the number of classic songs that artists attributed over the years to gadgets like a Tascam Portastudio. Mobility is a great way to triumph over creative blocks.)

What I think is most critical about that retreat may not be the relationship to nature itself, as much as the chance for people to interact in that space.

For her part, AGF has a knack for facilitating radical art – whether with local kids or established adult artists. I expect we may have some documentation of our own work here on Hailuoto, but while I get back to the residency, here’s a taste of some of the past events.

From Field_Notes, an art-meets-science gathering in the Lapland/Finland hosted by the Finnish Society of Bioart, there are a number of provocative examples.

One group turned a remote reindeer fence into an instrument:

Sonic Wild Code – Reindeer Fence, Färist & Helicopter near ?áhkáljávri, Sápmi [Samiland] from Antye Greie-Ripatti on Vimeo.

Samiland: We took off Kilpisjarvi to ?áhkáljávri walked for an hour and then found the reindeer fence and crossing (swedish: färist) which turned into an incredible instrument and then a rich-tourist-helicopter came and then we played for about 1.5 hours and time was lost and we became a band: Sonic Wild Code
This is research.
Context: Hybrid Matter – Field Notes: Sept 2015
Sonic Wild Code: Anja Erdmann, Till Bovermann, Kristina Lindström, Antye Greie-Ripatti, Caspar Ström, Vygandas Simbelis, Dinah Bird

Another performance takes to a cavern:

Sonic Wild Code – Monster Cavern [Samiland] from Antye Greie-Ripatti on Vimeo.

Lest you think this project must be exclusively about sparse experimental music, there’s already a movement by another group to spread it for techno – hashtag-ready, even, as #FieldTechno. (This is now even more practical with Ableton Link. Grab your MeeBlip and volcas and Novation Circuit and other low-power gadgets.)

Field Techno from Marine on Vimeo.

RESEARCH: A wilderness improvisation during the Hybrid Matters’ Field Notes camp in Kilpisjärvi, Samiland 2015 with the ‘Sonic Wild Code’ group [Anja Erdmann, Till Bovermann, Kristina Lindström, Erich Berger, Antye Greie-Ripatti, Caspar Ström, Vygandas Simbelis, Dinah Bird]
Location at the border between Norway and Finland near Kilpisjarvi, off-road no-mans-land.

This next performance is in some way my favorite, though. On one level, not much happens – sonically or visually. But that itself takes on some sort of meditative quality, aided by the theatricality of the group tucked amongst the wall of rocks.

Antje excitedly tols us yesterday how a Sami reindeer herder, invited to watch, was enthralled (much to the artists’ surprise). He described the feeling of the piece, in a way that lent it a title: “Be without being but still exist.”

Place can take on political meaning, as well. A performance staged on a boat protested the siting of a proposed nuclear power plant – the artist herself a victim of Fukushima who collected stories from that event.

Sonic Boat Journey – documentary footage and recording of the boat performance feat. "Stones for Pyhäjoki" by Ryoko Akama – from Hai Art on Vimeo.

Sonic Boat Journey – “Stones- For Pyhäjoki” by Ryoko Akama (JP)
The piece was recorded on site Hanhikivi Cape in the Bothnian Bay, where the nuclear power plant is planned.
Hai Art during Case Pyhäjoki invited the artist to share her experience as a Fukushima victim in the context of Pyhäjoki nuclear power plant plans.
‘Case Pyhäjoki – Artistic reflections on nuclear influence’ is a transdisciplinary artistic expedition, production workshop and presentation events in Pyhäjoki, North Ostrobothnia, Finland 1st to 11th of August 2013. The sixth nuclear power plant of Finland is planned to be built at Hanhikivi Cape in Pyhäjoki.
For the Sonic Boat Journey Ryoko Akama wrote a musical score for a 60km boat journey through the Bothnian Bay from Hailuoto to Pyhäjoki. She collected 8 stones, 2 from Fukushima, 2 from Marumori, 2 from Hailuoto and 2 from Pyhäjoki. The geographical text & time based score was transmitted via a handmade geiger counter and performed by AGF and Ryoko on the Bothnian Bay/ Finland.
We support Pro-Hanhikivi in their resistance against the project, especially after investigating all angles around the Fennovoima plans.
Produced by Hai Art:


AGF is worth learning about on her own, too. Here’s an interview with her by way of introduction to her work:

AGF (AKA Antye Greie-Ripatti): “A DEEP MYSTERIOUS TONE” (Part 1): Interview by Malcolm Angelucci

The post Watch crazy sounds meet remote Finnish countryside appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Digging the Asian and African undergrounds with C-drík Kirdec

It’s time to get beyond the geographic bubble – without resorting to narrow expectations of “world music” – and really appreciate the wide-open world of music making in which we now live. To take us there, CDM’s Zuzana Friday talks to Cedrik Fermont, who is evangelical when it comes to breaking apart old stereotypes and digging deep into the underground. -Ed.

I met Cedrik Fermont, alias C-drík Kirdec, for the first time about six years ago in Brno, where he performed at a local experimental night I used to work for. We, a group of crazy young creatives behind the event, decided to take the party upstairs with our usual routine of drinks and an improvised snack baked in a roasting pan. (Said roasting pan had a few events earlier served as a musical instrument — my friend played it with a hammer.) Sober Cedrik politely refused a cup of tea with honey, saying that the bees suffer when the honey is taken from them. Distracted by music, party, and friends, I couldn’t entirely process this information. But that was the first time I saw past his chosen appearance (mohawk, tattoos, piercings, and head-to-toe black), to his caring, uncompromising devotion to what’s important to him.

The next day, we took Cedrik to Zbrojovka, an old remote factory complex where guns were produced years ago and a handful of artists were at the timing living on the cheap. He made some field recordings of us, banging some metal junk on a construction of some kind, improvising musical instruments from found materials. In his next gig in Brno, he used these recordings in live set, which added a very personal character to the performance.

C-drik. Photo: Felix Xifel.

C-drik. Photo: Felix Xifel.

Since then, we met several times for interviews or on events, including a visit in a house project, where he resides when in Berlin – which seems to be about only half a year, the remainder spent touring Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Apart from defining himself as an anti-sexist, anti-racist, and anti-fascist straight-edge vegan, Cedrik is also an artist, show organizer, founder of the Syrphe record label, a member of approximately fifteen bands, a solo producer and field recording enthusiast, and an avid expert on independent, industrial, punk, hardcore, ambient, noise and various electronic music genres, particularly in Asia and Africa. You can explore that musical web in his compilations, in a vast database on Syrphe website, and soon in a book called Not Your World Music which Cedrik co-wrote with his colleague Dimitri della Faille. The book focuses on independent music scenes of Southeast Asia and will be published in September this year together with a CD.

At a time when the line between independent and commercial music is disappearing and the Western world is starting to turn its gaze to places it had previously neglected, Cedrik’s 20-plus years of activity seem more relevant than ever. I spoke to him about his life and work, as well as Western perception of African and Asian music, gender (in)equality in local scenes, and contemporary and historical gems from those landscapes.

Zuzana: Where does your interest in non-Western independent, electronic, punk and extreme music originate?

Cedrik: I suppose that it’s connected to where I come from and where I grew up. My family is partly from the DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo], where I was born (when it was still called Zaire). I only lived two years in the Congo and then grew up in Belgium. When I was a teenager, I faced the fact that I was one of the only non-white persons in my circle. That was in the 1980s. From the second half of the 80s, I started to trade electronic, industrial, and experimental music cassettes through the mail art network, started my first band Crno Klank in 1989, and then a tape label in 1991 where I published some of my projects and other international artists.

I quickly noticed that I would find a lot of music from North America and Western Europe, and a little from Eastern Europe (partly due to the fact that the world was divided between the capitalist West and the pseudo-communist East), or Australia and Japan. I was convinced that this music existed in many other places and I started to buy some fanzines, write letters to whoever could help, and step by step, I discovered electronic, noise, and experimental music artists mostly in places like Chile, Brazil, South Africa, Yugoslavia, the USSR, Czechoslovakia… I published a compilation cassette in 1996 which included several artists from South Africa, Brazil, Chile, Japan, and many others from other continents.

The difficulties I had to go through to find artists in let’s say the non-Western circuit were frustrating to me, as well as seeing a mostly white scene. I couldn’t believe that no one would do this kind of music in the non-Western world. I became totally obsessed and told myself that I would discover musicians and composers who do noise, experimental, electroacoustic, and similar genres in as many countries as possible. Many told me they didn’t believe I would find anything in Africa or Asia… But I started performing outside of the traditional circuits: in Turkey in 2003, Thailand in 2004, and a then I had a six month-long tour in far and Southeast Asia in 2005 where I was performing and collecting music and contacts in Singapore, China, South Korea, Malaysia, Laos, etc.

Now I can say that I published several compilations and albums of artists mostly coming from a lot of Asian countries, including the Middle East and to a lesser extent Africa, I wrote several essays, gave plenty of lectures and concerts in more than fifty countries, developed a database dedicated to Asia and Africa and some networks.

Zuzana: Do you think you would be interested in African and Asian music as much as you are if you hadn’t been born in the Congo and faced racism growing up in Belgium? (I remember that once when we talked, you explained that being the only mix-raced kid in the class wasn’t really a piece of cake.)

Cedrik: I cannot really say for sure, but obviously my life would have been different if I hadn’t been part of a sort of minority. But too many factors shape one’s character and paths. I’ve been rebelling all my life at some points, against my parents, schools, society… Not particularly because of my origins. So maybe I would have ended up doing more or less what I do now anyway. I’ll never be able to tell.

Belgium was full of electronic musicians and experimentalists back then. We were bathing in electronic music — whatever it was, from disco to electro-pop, electronic body music, new beat, techno or industrial. You couldn’t escape it.

I didn’t face racism daily. It was more at school with a handful of kids, nothing more, but it could be violent, and I suffered, of course. And there had been some racism inside my family too. I was indeed one of the very few non-white kids at school – something that’s almost impossible to see these days in Belgium. So I would not say that I grew up in a racist environment, but I often had to face racism and intolerance. Now, an adult, brown man wearing skirts, piercings, tattoos and a mohawk, I still am confronted to what I call racism, but not especially in Berlin. All this shaped me and I like most of what I am.

You co-wrote the book with Dimitri della Faille, a Belgian-Canadian sociologist and also musician. Where did you meet and how did he come to share your interest in Asian independent music?

Dimitri and I met when I lived in Brussels or perhaps even a few years before I moved there. He had and still has a music project called Szkieve and started a label, Hushush, where he published some of the projects I was involved in, in the early 2000s: Ambre, Moonsanto, and my first solo CD. Thanks to his work at the university, Dimitri travels quite a lot, across the Americas and also in Asia, sometimes Europe and Africa. He would now and then ask me for contacts in Asia to perform, knowing that I’m very well connected all over the continent.

We have a different approach when we travel there. As you mention it, Dimitri is a sociologist, so not only does he play, but he also analyses the scenes there from a sociological viewpoint. On my side, I above all do research and dig in the past to collect music and information about the local scenes, all of which has unfortunately not been written yet, or which hasn’t been told loudly enough. I try to understand how those scenes and artists are interconnected, how all this is developing, from where, and when.

Which topics and countries will the book cover and how is it structured?

We speak about the noise scene or scenes in ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian] countries, so to speak Southeast Asia: Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines. It’s divided in several chapters: history, discography, interviews of local artists or organizers, definitions (of noise music, of a genre), sociological analyses, bibliography of popular music (from traditional to pop, dangdut [Indonesian music genre], noise, metal or electronica and so on), etc.

We try to cover many aspects — also gender issues. The historical part is not only limited to noise per se, as noise music is connected to other genres like electroacoustic music, improvised music or rock, grindcore and punk and politics — we also take account of those topics. The interviewees include women, men and one transgender artists, local artists and organizers but also some who’ve lived in the region for many years.

Do you also provide historical and socio-political context of each country?

We do. The historical chapter is divided by countries and starts with a small introduction about the past and present, the censorship (or freedom) the citizens and artists had to face, some cultural connections via politics. Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and somehow Myanmar by way of socialism; Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia due to the culture and languages, for example. I think it would be hard to understand why noise music exists or not somewhere without historical and socio-political and sometimes religious or philosophical context.

For how long have you been working on the book? And do you have any idea of how many hours of listening you’ve spent during your research?

It is hard for me to answer this question. Dimitri proposed that I write this book as I had been touring Southeast [Asia] and a bit the Far East in 2014 — 18 Asian countries. And I was working on a book I never finished, more global, about Asia and Africa, focusing on alternative electronic music such as electronica or breakcore and “experimental” like noise, electroacoustic, etc. But I am terribly slow because I think I never collect enough data, hence I tend to read more than I write and gather more and more information… I had plenty of documentation, some of it already written. Then Dimitri initiated the project which I’m really thankful for.

So we really started to work on that specific book in the summer 2015. As I’m writing this answer, we’re making some updates and corrections. We are reaching the end and it feels good. I don’t know how many hours I spent listening to music, not only to music but to what musicians and composers have to say — their opinions, their feelings, their knowledge. I have been to an incredible amount of concerts too when I didn’t organize them by myself. And I do radio shows… I think it would be easier to calculate how many hours I spent without listening to any music!

The book will also be accompanied by a compilation. In which format will it be and which artists will be featured on it?

There will be a CD and a digital version. The artists on the CD are: Cheryl Ong & Vivian Wang (Singapore), Menstrual Synthdrone (Indonesia), Nguy?n Hong Giang (Vietnam), Sodadosa (Indonesia), Dharma (Sigapore), Sound Awakener (Vietnam), Bergegas Mati (Indonesia), GAMNAD737 (Thailand), Goh Lee Kwang (Malaysia), Yandsen (Malaysia), Teresa Barrozo (the Philippines), Musica Htet (Myanmar).

The name of the book Not Your World Music reminds me something which you pointed out during your lecture at CTM 2016: that usually, Western people expect the music from Asia and Africa to have traditional elements, even when we’re talking about experimental music. How far are they from the truth? Is the book a way to disprove this assumption?

The book — just as my essays and talks — is partly there to disprove this myth. And the title is clear about it. Most noise artists don’t use traditional elements in their music, wherever they live on Earth, so why would Asians or Africans break the rule to fit their ex-colonizers’ expectations? Of course, some experiment with traditional elements such as Senyawa from Indonesia and many improvisers and electroacoustic composers such as Taiwanese pipa player Luo Chao Yun who collaborates with electronic musicians. It is interesting and important, but it should not be a mandatory rule or obvious expectation. We speak about noise (and experimental) music – it has to surprise us, not to fall in some kind of clichés.

Senyawa, Jogjakarta, Indonesia 2014 by C-dr¡k

Breaking another stereotype, you introduced Egyptian composer Halim El-Dabh as one of the electronic music pioneers. I also have to admit that even when studying electroacoustic music history at a university, I have never heard of him. Do you also cover his work in the book, and are there other composers or collaborations between Western and Non-Western artists which happened until the 1970s?

I don’t talk about El-Dabh in this book as we focus on South East Asia only. But I speak about some ASEAN pioneers in the field of experimental, electroacoustic and tape music from the late 1950s until the 1970s, like Filipino artists David Medalla and José Maceda, Indonesian composers Slamet Abdul Sjukur, Yose Haryo Suyoto, Harry Ruesli, Otto Sidharta, Adhi Susanto and so on.

How is the situation with female and queer scene in countries of South East Asia, where does it blossom and female artist play often and where is it still male-dominated?
The scene there is mostly male-dominated and only Vietnam, for several reasons I try to explain in the book, has a scene which is not too uneven, followed by the Singaporean scene.
Nevertheless, some movements are growing and raise awareness – in Indonesia for example, some women, like noise musician Indonesian Rega Ayundya Putri (of the noise duo Mati Gabah Jasus) or Vietnamese musician Nguy?n Nhung (Sound Awakener) are well aware of it. Singapore has got some active queer or non-heteronormative artists such as X’Ho and Tara Transitory. Indonesia and Malaysia, such as Singapore have a huge punk hardcore scene, hence gender issues aren’t put aside there.

In 2014, in Yangon (Myanmar), I attended a discussion panel about women, gay and lesbian and minority rights during a biennial. We were a small group to attend the event but it’s a good step. Recently, Indonesian film maker Hera Maryani made a documentary about women in the punk hardcore scene in Java: Ini Scene Kami Juga! (roughly translated: We are part of this scene too!). It is of course not always easy for women or queer people to openly express themselves in conservative societies but the situation has improved in the past decade.

What about noise music? It’s apparently big in Indonesia, there is Psychomedusa magazine, or video by Noisey documenting it. Why would you say that noise and improvisation found their listeners and creators specifically there?

Indonesia has got the biggest noise scene of Southast Asia. It’s blooming and full of experiments. The punk, metal and grindcore scenes are enormous too, some of the biggest on Earth, I think. There are a lot of netlabels and some publish physical releases. There are many fanzines, too, and an interesting media library in Surabaya (c2o Library), where one can attend concerts, talks, buy fanzines, music, books… Mostly from local underground artists.

Some musicians in Indonesia say they reject the way a part of the punk scene which became too “mainstream”, for example, Balinese punk band Superman Is Dead (S.I.D.) signed years ago to Sony/BMG and it frustrated some. So you find a lot of artists coming from the punk, metal, grindcore scene who do noise now as they want something more radical and free. I’m not sure of the answer I can give about why it is like that, as I still try to understand it myself.

Do you see any breaking points in the evolution of experimental or electronic music of countries of South East Asia? For example the time when synthesizers became more accessible, or later computers, laptops…?

Yes, there are some important events that shaped that landscape: access to the internet, the political changes (fall or change of dictatorship) and of course economic progress, mostly for young urban people. In some countries, smartphones, internet communities and platforms such as MySpace, Soundclick, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, Facebook have helped to spread this knowledge. For example, many people in Indonesia cannot afford to have a computer, but they have a cheap smartphone or go to internet cafés where they can surf the net. One can make noise or experimental music without any computer, and many artists in Indonesia build their own instruments, electronic or not.

What are the most valuable or hidden gems of these countries which you found throughout the years? Some artist, collective, cassette or a record, a concert…?

New Music China, a compilation published in 1988. It contains a bit of everything from dull pop to classical and folk but above all a piece by one of the pioneers of Chinese experimental music and musique concrete: Jing Jing Luo. I was looking for her composition Monologue Part 1 (Excerpt) for a while and finally managed to get the tape.

The collective Jogja Noise Bombing, doing harsh noise performances in public spaces, like parks, streets, restaurants. And their concept is spreading across Indonesia.

The first mini-festival for noise, improve, and experimental music in Myanmar in 2014. It was not only great to play there but also meet all the musicians, hear them and see all the people of the neighbourhood attending with their children who were dancing on noise music.

I should stop here… In the past 13 years, I’ve seen so many concerts in Asia and a bit in Africa and collected so many recordings and books, it’s hard to make a short selection.

Since you also dig the African and East-European (as far as I remember) music scene, can we look forward to more books in the future?

I guess so and I wish, but I will need to put some limits and not try to condense everything at once and I will have to face the fact that some information will always be missing, as frustrating as it is. I can’t tell exactly what a next hypothetical book will be about, but it will be connected to Asia and or Africa. There is a lot to be written about sound art, noise, and industrial music in China/Hong Kong/Macau/Taiwan, electroacoustic and ambient music in Iran (I will write an essay about it to be published in autumn if all goes well), improvised and experimental music in Turkey, electronic music in North Africa, electronica in India/Pakistan/Bangladesh or search deeper in the underground scenes of Indonesia… We first need to publish our book, relax a bit and see what will come next.

And last but not least, how and when will ‘Not Your World Music’ be available for purchase? How many exemplars will you have in the first edition?

We are very late and I have to apologize for that. The book will be out in September; the compilation has already been sent to the pressing plant, there will be 500 copies of the CD, but not all of them will be for sale as we offer many copies to the artists and some cultural centers. As for the book, it will not be a limited edition and for those who prefer or cannot afford it, there will be a free online version.

A version of this interview was originally published in HIS Voice in Czech. Edited for CDM.

The post Digging the Asian and African undergrounds with C-drík Kirdec appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Roland is releasing 30+ new things on 909 – September 9

The next big Roland product unveiling isn’t at a trade show – it’s on the Internet. At a 24-hour streaming “online musical instruments festival,” the Japanese giant is promising a bunch of new stuff (30+).

The date is an auspicious one for the company – September 9, or 909. And sure enough, they’re also calling it a celebration of 33 years of their legendary drum machine.

In addition to the product unveilings, they’re live in a bunch of cities with artist performances and other events, too – LA, NYC, Toronto, Paris, Brussels, Tokyo, and here in Berlin, among others. (The global south gets left out of that, which is a bit unfortunate!)

We are always on the Internet, as it were, but we’ll be catching up with Roland in Berlin, I hope – in person, even.

Watch the trailer for more:

As for what to expect in products, this is structured an awful lot like a Roland press conference. (And with all due respect to Roland the brand, whose products I often love, I do … rather hope this is very different from such a press conference, which is better geared for dealers than the rest of us.)

They’re doing launches in multiple categories – synths, keyboards, DJ stuff, but also video equipment. In other words, it’s all CDM territory (even Create Digital Motion).

And this video shows just how excited they are about the 909 bit. It seems new AIRA stuff is a definite go. I still wouldn’t put it past the company to do a reissue of the 909, by the way, given used prices – and given that Roland has done all sorts of things we would have never imagined until recently. (Eurorack?!)

But given the 909 date, and the fact that 909 sounds were already available for the AIRA TR-8 machine, some sort of new 909 product seems a no-brainer to me. I’m guessing something either called the TR-9 as a successor to the hit AIRA drum machine, or a 909-based product in the more compact, ready-to-play Boutique line.

We’ll be watching. And in case you don’t want to watch the whole stream, we’ll of course also get news for you as soon as we can.

I have no idea what it means to redefine the future, exactly. I’m going to put off figuring that out until tomorrow. Oh… wait.

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Funklet teaches you your favorite grooves in your browser

You can learn a lot from a drummer. The best grooves of all time are meticulously constructed – and understanding them means understanding a lot about rhythm and form. So these are objects worth study. What your Web browser can do is make that study easier – even if you’ve never touched a drum kit.

That comes at the right time, too. Thanks to the power of the computer and electronic music hardware, we’ve all of us become composers or expanded our compositional horizons. We may not imagine that we’re composing drum parts when we mess about with drum machines or edit patterns, but of course that’s precisely what we’re doing.

And even apart from that, music study is fun.

Funklet proves just how much fun that can be with an interactive tool at hand, in the new Web audio-powered browser tool. You can both hear and visualize drum parts from your favorite tunes (like Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”). Apart from that, you can even try modifying those patterns, editing individual steps. (There are other features, too, like adjustable reverb). And the Funklet curators have not only chosen some nice examples, but also included commentary, anecdotes, videos, and the like.

If you want to create your own pattern from scratch, too, this is also an in-browser drum machine:

It’s a clever creation, the product of Jack Stratton and
Rob Stenson – the latter not only a coder but also apparently able to play the fretless clawhammer banjo. (If you prefer making music outside the browser, see also their compression plug-in for the Mac).

Check it out here:

An alternative drum machine is available, too (same content, different sounds):

Good times. Found other tools for learning more about rhythm? (Hey, paper books welcome, too!) Let us know in comments.

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Bengal could be the Ableton synth you’ve been waiting for

Years ago, when Ableton’s Operator FM synth designed by Robert Henke made its debut, it was a revelation. Its clear panel design and flexible architecture made FM synthesis more accessible to countless Ableton Live users. But now Operator, while still a great go-to instrument, certainly deserves some competition. And that makes Bengal special. The production of Max for Cats (and Christian Kleine, another key designer of Ableton instruments), Bengal also innovates in the area of clear design and architecture. And with a semi-modular design, it goes further than Operator in opening up avenues for creative sound design.

The semi-modular idea is the key selling point. We’ve already seen live patching interfaces from Max for Cats. This time, you can use the patching metaphor to rewire the operators, filter, and other components in a ready-to-play instrument.

As with Operator, Bengal focuses on four operators. This time, you can use a bank of 20 sets of sine wave partials which you can edit directly, or you can load one of 40 wavetables, or you can drag and drop your own samples to use those as wavetables.

That flexibility alone should be a winner. But each operator also has additional features: independent ADSR envelopes with curve shaping and looping.

The key to FM synthesis, of course, is then how you route the different operators. Here, you can use one of six algorithms, or patch using the patch bay.

For the filter section, you get two multimode resonant filters. These also have different types – so in addition to lowpass, highpass, and bandpass, you get notch, comb with adjustable feedback, and the option of a Moog-style ladder lowpass. Each filter also comes with drive saturation and wet/dry controls. You can also route the two filters either in parallel or stick filter 2 after filter 1.

And then there are the modulation options:

Two LFOs (which can themselves become FM sources), 0.1Hz up to audible-range speeds
An eight-step sequencer (which outputs MIDI notes or modulation, plus scale snapping, swing, and randomization)
Four modifiers – smooth, scale, apply math functions, do four-way mixers
Six audio effects – reverb, delay, distortion, chorus, limiting, stereo widening

Each LFO and each operator envelope (not just the sources, the envelopes) is available for routing to anything – even to the effects controls. So even calling this semi-modular perhaps belies how much is there. You just drag from source to target, as you like – and this being software, of course, you get patch storage and recall and never run out of cables.

Once you’ve come up with your patching routing, you can also map to eight Macro controls on the Device – which in turn you can access from Push or other hardware controllers (like even my lowly Akai MPK mini keyboard, for example).


Now, any software instrument can pack a lot of power – one of the advantages of working in software as a medium is that you’re constrained only by available memory and computational resources. So the measure is really making this all accessible. And I think the key there is making the structure clear on the front panel. There’s also visual feedback, with a selectable Scope, Phase, and Spectrum view for showing your signal and its frequency and stereo positioning information.

Here you can see it in action (as demo’ed at the Ableton offices):

Or watch the trailer for the release – charming, this one:

And lastly, here’s a complete video walkthrough of how to work with it:

This one looks epic. I expect to be spending a lot of my fall with this particular instrument, so expect more soon.


USD 59 / EUR 49.

The post Bengal could be the Ableton synth you’ve been waiting for appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Programmation de la rentrée culturelle | Automne 2016

Extrait du communiqué de presse :

« Montréal, le 10 août 2016 – Le Centre de design de l’UQAM annonce sa programmation de l’automne 2016. À venir : la maîtrise du dessin et des films d’animation de Michèle Lemieux et une rétrospective des œuvres diffusées à l’international de l’affichiste Nelu Wolfensohn.

Le tout et la partie
Michèle Lemieux, du dessin au film d’animation
Commissaire: Angela Grauerholz, professeure à l’École de design de l’UQAM
22 septembre au 6 novembre 2016
Vernissage : mercredi 21 septembre 2016, à 18 heures

Cette exposition est consacrée au travail de l’illustratrice québécoise, cinéaste de films d’animation et professeure à l’École de design de l’UQAM Michèle Lemieux. L‘exposition portera principalement sur les nombreux carnets de croquis de Lemieux en rapport avec les films d’animation qu’elle a réalisés pour l’Office national du film du Canada (ONF) entre 2003 et 2012.


Notes vagabondes | Nelu Wolfensohn
Commissaire : Jocelyne Le Bœuf, directrice recherche et valorisation des Design Labs de l’École de design Nantes Atlantique
17 novembre au 11 décembre 2016
Vernissage : mercredi 16 novembre, à 18 heures

Notes vagabondes est une rétrospective d’affiches réalisées par Nelu Wolfensohn, professeur à l’École de design de l’UQAM et membre honoraire de la Société des designers graphiques du Québec. Majoritairement sélectionnées dans le cadre de concours internationaux de design, celles-ci abordent des sujets ancrés dans l’actualité politique, sociale ou culturelle se référant autant à la réalité québécoise qu’aux problèmes universels de notre époque.

[…] »

Pour consulter l’intégral du communiqué de presse…

Pour visiter le site internet du Centre de design de l’UQAM…

Cet article Programmation de la rentrée culturelle | Automne 2016 est apparu en premier sur Kollectif.

Call for entries | 2016 Canadian Architect Awards of Excellence

Announcement :

« Friday, September 2, 2016: Early bird deadline for submissions
Friday, September 23, 2016: Final deadline for submissions

Canadian Architect is now receiving entries for its annual awards recognizing the country’s best design-stage projects. The Awards of Excellence are open to all architects registered in Canada and to Canadian architectural graduates for buildings designed in Canada and abroad. Foreign architects are also permitted to submit, provided they have partnered with a Canadian-registered architect.

Submissions are due in September, judging takes place in October and the winning schemes are celebrated at a gala event and in our December awards issue.


The jury for the 2016 Canadian Architect Awards of Excellence has been finalized. We are proud to introduce our esteemed jurors: Patricia Patkau, founding principal of Patkau Architects in Vancouver; David Sisam, founding principal of Montgomery Sisam Architects in Toronto; and Manon Asselin, founding principal of Atelier TAG in Montreal. »

For more information about the jury…

For more information about the Canadian Architect Awards of Excellence…

To submit an entry…

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Cet article Call for entries | 2016 Canadian Architect Awards of Excellence est apparu en premier sur Kollectif.

Exposition Cabanes de pêche par Claude Guérin et Bertrand Rougier

Extrait du communiqué de presse :

« À la Maison de l’architecture du Québec
Du 17 août au 25 septembre 2016
Soirée de discussion avec les artistes, > mercredi 14 septembre 2016 à 18h

La Maison de l’architecture du Québec est heureuse de présenter l’exposition Cabanes de pêche qui met en écho deux recherches artistiques de longue haleine, portant sur ces micro-architectures vernaculaires. Comment voir et considérer la cabane de pêche sur glace, si typique de nos paysages ? Nuisance visuelle proliférante ? Mode d’occupation territoriale ? Répertoire des goûts populaires en matière d’abri temporaire ? Les archivages attentifs du photographe Claude Guérin, comme les relevés sublimés de l’architecte stagiaire Bertrand Rougier, offrent un regard neuf sur ce fait ancien… Gare à la pêche miraculeuse aux idées fraîches et points de vue surprise !

D’une part, l’artiste Claude Guérin propose un répertoire photographique tout en couleurs et en textures de ces abris dans leur habitat naturel, lui qui arpente, à chaque hiver depuis 2010, les sites de pêche blanche de la province. Il s’est rendu à plusieurs reprises sur les eaux glacées du Saguenay, de la rivière des Outaouais et du fleuve Saint-Laurent ainsi qu’au large des lacs Saint-Pierre, Saint-Louis, Saint-François et des Deux-Montagnes aux alentours de Montréal. À l’hiver 2015, il est allé à L’Îsle-Verte dans le Bas-du-Fleuve, à Rimou-ski, à Gaspé, dans la Baie-des-Chaleurs à Escouminac, Pointe-à-la-Garde et Miguasha et jusqu’à la péninsule acadienne du Nouveau-Brunswick où il continue à tirer le portrait de ces cabanes à la personnalité si singulière.

Proche de l’anthropologie, le travail de Claude Guérin établit un archivage de ces structures, prises frontalement et dans leur monumentalité, malgré leur courte espérance de vie. »

Pour lire la suite du communiqué de presse…

Pour visiter le site internet de la Maison de l’architecture du Québec…

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Visites guidées ArchitecTours : Le métro de Montréal et ses quartiers

Extrait du communiqué de presse :

« Montréal, 20 juillet 2016 – Cet été, dans le cadre de sa populaire série de visites guidées ArchitecTours et à l’occasion du 50e anniversaire du métro de Montréal, Héritage Montréal présente 8 circuits pédestres pour (re)découvrir ce fascinant réseau de transport souterrain et ses quartiers environnants. Des stations Parc à Viau, en passant par Place-des-Arts et Bonaventure, ces nouveaux parcours architecturaux témoignent de l’influence indéniable qu’a eue le métro sur le paysage urbain et culturel de la métropole.

Du 6 août au 25 septembre prochains, partez à la rencontre de ce réseau de transport collectif qui facilite quotidiennement le déplacement de millions de citoyens. Les stations de métro de différentes générations seront mises de l’avant afin d’aborder autant leur architecture que leur relation avec les quartiers où elles évoluent :

  • Acadie et Parc : De carrefour industriel à campus étudiant
  • Atwater : Un mini-centre-ville à l’ouest
  • Champ-de-Mars et Place-d’Armes : Une succession de grands projets
  • Université-de-Montréal et Édouard-Montpetit : Nouveaux accès du Campus
  • LaSalle, De l’Église et Verdun : Trois quartiers, trois stations
  • Peel et Bonaventure : Au cœur de l’action
  • Pie-IX et Viau : De nouvelles stations pour les Olympiques
  • Place-des-Arts et Saint-Laurent : Au cœur de la vie culturelle montréalaise »

Pour lire la suite du communiqué de presse…

Pour visiter le site internet d’Héritage Montréal…

Cet article Visites guidées ArchitecTours : Le métro de Montréal et ses quartiers est apparu en premier sur Kollectif.

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