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An underground resource brings house and techno back to its roots

Let’s be clear: electronic music is what it is because of a spirit that emanated from people outside of what was popular, not inside. And underground isn’t just about what’s undiscovered. It’s also about people who are too often purposely sidelined: people of color, queer and trans and gay and bi- and lesbian people, people who don’t look like models, people who other people say are weird, people who don’t fit in for all sorts of reasons. Nerds, even. If you’re reading this site, honestly, you’re probably one of those people, if at least for the reason that you might love weird sounds. (It’s okay to love that out loud.)

So when we talk about affirmative action for those groups – yes, including advocating for the broad minority of “weirdos,” a group in which I am in full support – we’re not just doing it out of some kind of imagined political coolness. We’re doing it because the music we love isn’t just about fame and success or even just about skill – though those things can be well and good. They’re also about soul. Call it the soul of freakiness.

If anyone thinks that’s exclusive, you’ve totally missed the point.

Deep in the underground. Photo: Sequencer.club.

Deep in the underground. Photo: Sequencer.club.

Now, the real-world places for such oddness come and go. They have to be actively renewed each generation, and when it comes to music venues, they rely on fragile networks of people and unpredictable fortune with zoning rules and real estate and law enforcement. (Yeah, be thankful for every party that even starts, let alone finishes before being shut down by noise complaints or some such.)

The good news is, the geographical birthplace of a lot of what we think of in techno and house is making a comeback. The Midwest and Northeast in the USA are finally renewing themselves. People globally are more aware than ever of Detroit, in its history and presence. Cities like Pittsburgh are more vibrant than ever. Even titan New York City, while it still has those idiotic cabaret laws on the books, is far richer than it was seven years ago. (I should know – I moved out right at a relative low point.)

In fact, part of what America needs right now is blogs.

So log out of Facebook for a second, close those tabs for the mainstream electronic music media outlets, and get ready to pour through sequencer.club.

Its soundcasts make a perfect work soundtrack, and its long-form reading is worth reading end-to-end. It’s published not from Berlin, Germany, but Buffalo, New York, bringing you the happenings of the club scene in places like Rochester. (I have a feeling Rochester is not going to get a Resident Advisor profile any time soon.)

Let’s review.

The site has features like an exhaustive survey of Detroit, one more complete and more insightful than you’ll get out of larger publications:

313: Return To The Source / The History

The latest release, and the reason I heard about the site at all, comes from Noncompliant, the Indianapolis-based veteran who’s finally getting some notice on the wider scene (former project name: DJ Shiva). Lisa’s mixes are required listening any time you hear someone say “I’m kind of bored with techno.” Seriously, force headphones onto them, Clockwork Orange style, and see if they can say the same after the mix is on.

Yes, there are queer and trans artists front and center – with good reason. There’s a story here, about how the search for musical expression was tied up with loving and looking in a way that didn’t fit with the society around them. This is a story worth following, though, because it’s about the music we all love – and it’s a story with a happy ending.

As Jarvi puts it:

“I love music because it saved my life. It can say everything I can’t put into words. The music itself doesn’t judge me, it guides me. Without music I would never know the rave scene. I would never have found my chosen family in the underground where you can be anyone you want to be, as freaky and weird and out there as you want. Like-minded individuals all there together because the world doesn’t see us as the creative and beautiful individuals we are. PLUR forever.”

Yeah, that’s obviously more than a cool wristband – I know when a lot of people say “music saved my life,” they mean it literally, and even if you do nothing more than write manuals for synthesizers, that’s something you should think about every morning when you get up to go to work.

Jarvi’s mixes are terrific, but I love these raw, powerful tracks, so let’s embed those:

On that same topic, I know that while so-called identity politics speak to certain sets of people, mental health is essentially a universal need, and one uniquely bound up with music making. So, just as Maya Bouldry-Morrison aka Octo Octa’s profile deals with being trans, it also touches ways in which music helped deal with anxiety. As she tells the site:

“If I’m just having a hard day for no apparent reason then my self-care is to clean my apartment, work on music, take a bath, and maybe go for a walk to clear my head. It may or may not work, but trying anything beyond just shaking and thinking about how screwed I am helps.”

Well, I imagine Maya’s mix might contribute to self care for all of us, too. I totally love this mix:

Also, for anyone who’s unclear about why it’s important to some people to have defined spaces, and to choose those environments, she speaks to that:

I’m especially happy right now being more involved in the queer community. I’ve identified as queer since I was a teenager, but since I never came out to my parents my queerness wasn’t something that I would publicly discuss. Therefore I also wasn’t seen as someone who was queer and I wouldn’t necessarily be invited to play queer parties even though I really wanted to. They were the spaces I felt the most comfortable in.

There’s a lot more as far as music and philosophy in that interview, so do give yourself time to read the whole thing:

http://sequencer.club/sequencer-spotlight-octo-octa/

The site also has profiles of amazing musical humans who happen to be “true Detroiters” like Bruce Bailey. Bruce’s mix I think could heal any damaged heart with grooves:

By the way, there is as always a deep dialog going on between cities in Europe and the heartland USA. So, sure, someone like Kamal Naeem may be in Berlin now, but he keeps in touch with his upstate New York roots, those hills where the Moog synthesizers were born (and where he started the superior label Blank Slate).

Check out his profile and mix, too:

Sequencer Spotlight: Kamal Naeem

Actually, just go read the whole damned site end to end, which is more or less what I’m doing now, but one last signal boost for this absolutely essential story:

Harm Reduction Efforts Make Dance Floors Safer

And some final inspiration, from Detroit’s wonderful Erika:

erikaoct

“Letting go and dancing is a fundamental human thing that we’ve been doing for thousands of years – seeking a trance state through which to let go. It’s not about being a man or woman, it’s about being an animal trying to have a transcendental experience.” – Erika

Like / subscribe / share / tell your friends / stop people on the street / please help support independent media:

http://sequencer.club/

The post An underground resource brings house and techno back to its roots appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

An underground resource brings house and techno back to its roots

Let’s be clear: electronic music is what it is because of a spirit that emanated from people outside of what was popular, not inside. And underground isn’t just about what’s undiscovered. It’s also about people who are too often purposely sidelined: people of color, queer and trans and gay and bi- and lesbian people, people who don’t look like models, people who other people say are weird, people who don’t fit in for all sorts of reasons. Nerds, even. If you’re reading this site, honestly, you’re probably one of those people, if at least for the reason that you might love weird sounds. (It’s okay to love that out loud.)

So when we talk about affirmative action for those groups – yes, including advocating for the broad minority of “weirdos,” a group in which I am in full support – we’re not just doing it out of some kind of imagined political coolness. We’re doing it because the music we love isn’t just about fame and success or even just about skill – though those things can be well and good. They’re also about soul. Call it the soul of freakiness.

If anyone thinks that’s exclusive, you’ve totally missed the point.

Deep in the underground. Photo: Sequencer.club.

Deep in the underground. Photo: Sequencer.club.

Now, the real-world places for such oddness come and go. They have to be actively renewed each generation, and when it comes to music venues, they rely on fragile networks of people and unpredictable fortune with zoning rules and real estate and law enforcement. (Yeah, be thankful for every party that even starts, let alone finishes before being shut down by noise complaints or some such.)

The good news is, the geographical birthplace of a lot of what we think of in techno and house is making a comeback. The Midwest and Northeast in the USA are finally renewing themselves. People globally are more aware than ever of Detroit, in its history and presence. Cities like Pittsburgh are more vibrant than ever. Even titan New York City, while it still has those idiotic cabaret laws on the books, is far richer than it was seven years ago. (I should know – I moved out right at a relative low point.)

In fact, part of what America needs right now is blogs.

So log out of Facebook for a second, close those tabs for the mainstream electronic music media outlets, and get ready to pour through sequencer.club.

Its soundcasts make a perfect work soundtrack, and its long-form reading is worth reading end-to-end. It’s published not from Berlin, Germany, but Buffalo, New York, bringing you the happenings of the club scene in places like Rochester. (I have a feeling Rochester is not going to get a Resident Advisor profile any time soon.)

Let’s review.

The site has features like an exhaustive survey of Detroit, one more complete and more insightful than you’ll get out of larger publications:

313: Return To The Source / The History

The latest release, and the reason I heard about the site at all, comes from Noncompliant, the Indianapolis-based veteran who’s finally getting some notice on the wider scene (former project name: DJ Shiva). Lisa’s mixes are required listening any time you hear someone say “I’m kind of bored with techno.” Seriously, force headphones onto them, Clockwork Orange style, and see if they can say the same after the mix is on.

Yes, there are queer and trans artists front and center – with good reason. There’s a story here, about how the search for musical expression was tied up with loving and looking in a way that didn’t fit with the society around them. This is a story worth following, though, because it’s about the music we all love – and it’s a story with a happy ending.

As Jarvi puts it:

“I love music because it saved my life. It can say everything I can’t put into words. The music itself doesn’t judge me, it guides me. Without music I would never know the rave scene. I would never have found my chosen family in the underground where you can be anyone you want to be, as freaky and weird and out there as you want. Like-minded individuals all there together because the world doesn’t see us as the creative and beautiful individuals we are. PLUR forever.”

Yeah, that’s obviously more than a cool wristband – I know when a lot of people say “music saved my life,” they mean it literally, and even if you do nothing more than write manuals for synthesizers, that’s something you should think about every morning when you get up to go to work.

Jarvi’s mixes are terrific, but I love these raw, powerful tracks, so let’s embed those:

On that same topic, I know that while so-called identity politics speak to certain sets of people, mental health is essentially a universal need, and one uniquely bound up with music making. So, just as Maya Bouldry-Morrison aka Octo Octa’s profile deals with being trans, it also touches ways in which music helped deal with anxiety. As she tells the site:

“If I’m just having a hard day for no apparent reason then my self-care is to clean my apartment, work on music, take a bath, and maybe go for a walk to clear my head. It may or may not work, but trying anything beyond just shaking and thinking about how screwed I am helps.”

Well, I imagine Maya’s mix might contribute to self care for all of us, too. I totally love this mix:

Also, for anyone who’s unclear about why it’s important to some people to have defined spaces, and to choose those environments, she speaks to that:

I’m especially happy right now being more involved in the queer community. I’ve identified as queer since I was a teenager, but since I never came out to my parents my queerness wasn’t something that I would publicly discuss. Therefore I also wasn’t seen as someone who was queer and I wouldn’t necessarily be invited to play queer parties even though I really wanted to. They were the spaces I felt the most comfortable in.

There’s a lot more as far as music and philosophy in that interview, so do give yourself time to read the whole thing:

http://sequencer.club/sequencer-spotlight-octo-octa/

The site also has profiles of amazing musical humans who happen to be “true Detroiters” like Bruce Bailey. Bruce’s mix I think could heal any damaged heart with grooves:

By the way, there is as always a deep dialog going on between cities in Europe and the heartland USA. So, sure, someone like Kamal Naeem may be in Berlin now, but he keeps in touch with his upstate New York roots, those hills where the Moog synthesizers were born (and where he started the superior label Blank Slate).

Check out his profile and mix, too:

Sequencer Spotlight: Kamal Naeem

Actually, just go read the whole damned site end to end, which is more or less what I’m doing now, but one last signal boost for this absolutely essential story:

Harm Reduction Efforts Make Dance Floors Safer

And some final inspiration, from Detroit’s wonderful Erika:

erikaoct

“Letting go and dancing is a fundamental human thing that we’ve been doing for thousands of years – seeking a trance state through which to let go. It’s not about being a man or woman, it’s about being an animal trying to have a transcendental experience.” – Erika

Like / subscribe / share / tell your friends / stop people on the street / please help support independent media:

http://sequencer.club/

The post An underground resource brings house and techno back to its roots appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Someone tried redesigning Ableton Live, and he’s getting lots of attention

Ableton Live’s dominance over a lot of workflows is unparalleled. But the software itself is looking long in the tooth. There are clearly some features long in coming, and despite some updates, the UI is still largely unchanged since the software’s debut over a decade and a half ago. That’s good in some ways, but it means the software can be clunky on modern displays and in certain use cases.

It says something about the love for the software that UI/UX designer Nenad Milosevic would create a deep redesign project, spec, just for the heck of it.

If Nenad’s redesign demonstrates anything, it may be to prove just how hard a redesign is. But the results are nothing if not interesting, even if you wouldn’t necessarily want to replace Ableton Live with this UI. Especially compelling, Nenad did extensive polling to determine what features mattered and how they would look. So the results have some ideas in them, and reflect a bit of what the Ableton user base imagines they’d like a future version of the software to look like.

nndmlsvc_-_small-browser-session-view-fx-racks2x

Personally, I really like the colors, and would love someone to implement a skin of this. (It’s not a skin yet. Anyone?)

And yeah, the similarity to Bitwig Studio is unmistakable.

This is a telling line, too: “I didn’t blindly follow what Live users said in surveys I conducted. Because 1. what users assume they need do not necessarily align with what they really need. 2. I didn’t conduct usability testing to see what actually needs fixing and how users behave.”

But even if it’s not practical to expect anything of this project, I think UI buffs will find it entertaining, and Nenad did a lot of lovely work. It also speaks to the appetite for a new generation of Ableton Live software that this story has been all over the Web.

Check it out, along with other design goodies:

http://nenadmilosevic.co/ableton-live-redesign/
live-view-less-densefull

I will meanwhile wait for the real thing, as I don’t necessarily see anything here I’d want to use, personally. A new skin would be cool, though.

The post Someone tried redesigning Ableton Live, and he’s getting lots of attention appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Someone tried redesigning Ableton Live, and he’s getting lots of attention

Ableton Live’s dominance over a lot of workflows is unparalleled. But the software itself is looking long in the tooth. There are clearly some features long in coming, and despite some updates, the UI is still largely unchanged since the software’s debut over a decade and a half ago. That’s good in some ways, but it means the software can be clunky on modern displays and in certain use cases.

It says something about the love for the software that UI/UX designer Nenad Milosevic would create a deep redesign project, spec, just for the heck of it.

If Nenad’s redesign demonstrates anything, it may be to prove just how hard a redesign is. But the results are nothing if not interesting, even if you wouldn’t necessarily want to replace Ableton Live with this UI. Especially compelling, Nenad did extensive polling to determine what features mattered and how they would look. So the results have some ideas in them, and reflect a bit of what the Ableton user base imagines they’d like a future version of the software to look like.

nndmlsvc_-_small-browser-session-view-fx-racks2x

Personally, I really like the colors, and would love someone to implement a skin of this. (It’s not a skin yet. Anyone?)

And yeah, the similarity to Bitwig Studio is unmistakable.

This is a telling line, too: “I didn’t blindly follow what Live users said in surveys I conducted. Because 1. what users assume they need do not necessarily align with what they really need. 2. I didn’t conduct usability testing to see what actually needs fixing and how users behave.”

But even if it’s not practical to expect anything of this project, I think UI buffs will find it entertaining, and Nenad did a lot of lovely work. It also speaks to the appetite for a new generation of Ableton Live software that this story has been all over the Web.

Check it out, along with other design goodies:

http://nenadmilosevic.co/ableton-live-redesign/
live-view-less-densefull

I will meanwhile wait for the real thing, as I don’t necessarily see anything here I’d want to use, personally. A new skin would be cool, though.

The post Someone tried redesigning Ableton Live, and he’s getting lots of attention appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Inside the transformational AV duo of Paula Temple and Jem the Misfit

Paula Temple and Jem the Misfit are working on the latest iteration of a project about transformation. It melts and fragments, crystallizes and forms, from its rich palette of hybridized techno and ambient textures, sonic and visual alike.

And now, it’s set to be involved in some way in transformation beyond just the confines of a single performance – as a statement about what society might do differently and how artists can contribute. With NODE Forum in Frankfurt am Main, Germany at the end of the month, the duo will premiere Nonagon II, a sequel to their stunning 2014 AV show in Amsterdam’s retina-popping EYE cinema (as one of the real highlights of that year’s Amsterdam Dance Event). They’re looking to extend a profound but sadly, rarely-seen collaboration into updated structures while engaging NODE’s activist theme, “Designing Hope.”

That makes for a perfect time for CDM to join the two together – Paul Temple, the techno legend (R&S Records) known for her brutal produtions, and Jem the Misfit, one of the top practitioners of live visual performance.

For reference, here’s a look at the previous iteration, though we’re keen to see the new evolution:

Jem the Misfit (aka Jemma Woolmore), left, with Paula Temple, right.

Jem the Misfit (aka Jemma Woolmore), left, with Paula Temple, right.

CDM: First, I think from an AV standpoint, it’s really significant that you’re together on stage. Obviously that sends a message to the audience, but what does it mean for playing together? Are you communicating there – even if just by your presence?

Jem: Paula and I work closely together before and during the show. Being on stage physical is really important for timing and connection in the performance; we give each other verbal cues, but also react with our body language. We also work closely together before the show, practicing and discussing the ideas and flow of the performance. It is also important that we are both onstage to highlight that this is a collaboration between two artist working together to build the show.

Jemma, it feels like what you’re doing is really cinematic, but it also breaks up that rectangle (with geometries, etc.). What’s your approach to the screen here? Of course, in the first version, you were in an actual cinema – where might this go in future?

Jem: Breaking the regular rectangle of the screen is something I try to achieve in all my performances. With the Nonagon show, I have a clear geometric language built around the nine-sided nonagon form and I construct abstract forms using MadMapper to translate the visuals through these geometries. As you say, the Nonagon show is highly cinematic and was originally designed for a cinema context for our show at The Eye in Amsterdam. For Nonagon II at NODE, I am using a little less of the Nonagon geometries and instead moving from these fixed, tight geometries, eventually breaking their borders and allowing the visuals to flow across the screen as the show develops. I am also interested in putting emphasis on light intensity and color to influence mood in this version of the show. In future iterations I could envisage this leading to more development in using lighting as well as video and bringing the geometries off the main screen and out into 3D space.

paula

Paula, this is a different sound world than a lot of people know from you. Is there a connection to the techno productions they may know better? Does that impact the approach to timbre, to rhythm?

Paula: I think it is the same sound world, just not as strictly dance floor-aimed. But I know what you mean, it even surprises me how people who follow my music easily recognizes my style in my more experimental live sets. It is one reason why I prefer to perform the experimental sets at festivals such as UNSOUND or INTONAL or the NONAGON II AV at NODE; the crowd knows my music more like an emotional expression and can therefore connect to the music beyond a released piece of music. There’s still recognizable elements, like from my track called Deathvox. When I’m producing I never consciously think about timbre or rhythm — that way of thinking is too detached. I’m feeling emotionally, I’m opening my sensory gating channels, connecting feelings into electronic sound without thinking too technically, and therefore being deeply immersed in that state to give a translation of those emotions through sound. People who really like my music seem to be tuned into that state too.

https://soundcloud.com/paulatemple/deathvox-deathvox-ep [embedding not allowed here]

Can you tell us a bit about the sound world here? What are its sources; how was it produced?

Paula: The sources to me are the thoughts and feeling that develop into these pieces. Lately, they have come from reflecting on social injustices happening and dystopian dreams, or even falling asleep to movies and waking up at a scary moment!

For example, one track has a working title called “Earth,” where I would have a recurring dream where everything green — plants, trees, vegetables — turns black and dies within seconds, and Earth is so hurt, so angry at what we humans have done, that Earth asks the Sun for help and asks the Sun to eat Earth. I remember at the time of making “Earth,” I was trying to watch the movie Melancholia and as always, I fall asleep and then I’m waking up as the movie ends, still half asleep, wondering what’s happening!

When producing, I am working in Ableton Live, with customized drum devices I’ve developed in the last 3 years and jamming on my [Dave Smith Instruments] Oberheim OB-6 or a virtual instrument like Tension [in Ableton Suite].

You’ve changed the music here for this edition, I know. What’s new in this version?

Paula: We’ve decided to keep the remix I made for Fink in the show as the lyrics literally relate to hope, not giving up. Plus there are new pieces relating to what Jem has also been inspired by lately, such as corporate made environmental or socioeconomic regressions and aggression, Entanglement or the Angela Davies book Freedom is Constant Struggle.

Jemma, how did you work on the visual material; how was it influenced by that music? I know there was some shooting of stuff melting, but … how did that come about; where was the design intention on your side and how did you collaborate together on that?

Jem: For the original Nonagon show, Paula and I developed the music and visuals in tandem, based around a common structure that included working in 9 parts and using 9 specific actions (such as distort, reverse, stretch etc) to apply visually or musically. This lead me to find ways of manipulating form both in virtual space but also using real forms, as you say, building and melting geometric objects and capturing this in time-lapse. So visually, Nonagon was about applying these specific actions to geometries and moving through a exploration of form, in connection with Paula also manipulating her sound in similar ways.

In Nonagon II, the focus has shifted from purely formal aims to more specific thematic ideas. When NODE approached me about performing at the festival, their theme ‘Designing Hope’ really caught me as a challenge, and I knew Paula would also be interested in tackling this theme. When I contacted Paula about NODE, we both agreed that we should shift the focus in Nonagon to try and address this idea of designing or generating hope through our performance – hence creating Nonagon II.

Our approach to the theme is that there can be no hope without action. So as well as Paula’s action to donate her fee to the charity Women in Exile, the new trajectory for Nonagon II is to move from a place of fear through to an empowering place of action. Through the show we transition from simplification to complexity, individuality to multiplicity, fear to action.

nonagon-ii_image1

nonagon-ii-planning-01

Visually, I am signifying this (again) through geometries that develop from simple shapes into complex systems, falling, melting and merging along the way, using color and light intensity to transform the emotional impact throughout the show.

Interestingly, in the time since we last worked together – which is over a year – Paula and I have found that our ideas and development in our work have followed similar processes and align in many areas. We have both independently decided to use the term ‘entanglement,’ this idea that everything is linked and that over-simplification of systems, ignoring their relationship to one another is incredibly dangerous – for instance, the supposed self-maintaining economic system championed by neo-liberalism, ignoring its entangled relationship with climate and natural resource systems. We also have both read Angela Davis book ‘Freedom is a constant struggle,’ which also talks about building connections across political movements and the importance of moving outside narrowly-defined communities and working together.

Also, the idea of acknowledging fragility in the balance of all our systems and having some humility in regard to our place in this universe has been important for both our practices.jemmisfit

Can you each describe a bit your live rig onstage? Now, presumably we’re meant to be watching the screen, not you two, but is it important for you to be able to make this a live improvisation?

For the visual set up, I am running Resolume [VJ/visual performance tool/media server] and MadMapper software, and using the Xone:K2 MIDI controller from Allen & Heath. There is no pre-programmed timeline in any of this setup, so it is all improvised. Paula and I like to practice the performance several times so that we have worked through the flow and impact of specific points in the show, but we are able to improvise fully making each performance unique.

Paula: My set up is simple — Ableton Live, Push 2 controller and Allen & Heath K2 controller. I care more about the music working succinctly with Jem’s visuals to encourage the audience to feel, to reflect within or get a sense taking some kind of positive action, than about making it a live improvisation.

01

“Designing Hope” is the theme of this year’s NODE. Paula, I understand you donated your fee – what’s your intention as far as doing something socially active, with this project, or with other projects?

Paula: Considering the theme ‘Designing Hope’ came the simple question to reflect on, who needs hope the most right now? Then looking at who locally is giving hope and I learned about Women in Exile, a non profit organization founded in 2002 by refugee women who work closely with refugee women in and around Brandenburg and Berlin.

In their activities, Women in Exile visit the refugee camps in Brandenburg to offer proactive support to refugee women from the perspective of those affected, to exchange information on what is going on and to gather information on the needs of women living in the camps. They organize seminars and workshops for refugee women in different topics on how to improve their difficult living situation and develop perspectives to fight for their rights in the asylum procedure and to defend themselves against sexualized/physical violence, discrimination and exclusion. They present the current issues, such as the hopelessness of deportation, to different organization nationwide in order to bring awareness to refugee women issues to the society. They give an incredible amount of energy and support to women whose world have turned upside down. Donating a fee is the least we could do. We hope, with our best intentions, is to invite others at the event to think about who are we designing hope for.

[Ed.: I’m familiar with this organization, too – you can find more or contact them directly:]

https://www.women-in-exile.net/
info[at]women-in-exile.net

What does it mean to be involved with NODE here, and with this community? (Realizing neither of us is a VVVV user, Jemma, but of course there’s more than that! Curious if that’s meaningful to you to be able to soak up some of that side of this, too.)

Jem: I think we are both excited about being involved at NODE this year and interacting with a community that is working at the intersection of technology and art as well as pushing ideas around how art/tech crossover can be used to inspire communities outside of art+tech. This is where I see our performance fitting even if we are not specifically using VVVV. Personally, I am looking forward to a few extra days at the festival and exploring the possibilities of VVVV, as well as meeting at the VVVV community and exploring possible crossovers in our work.

https://nodeforum.org/ | https://17.nodeforum.org/

https://17.nodeforum.org/events/nonagon-jem-the-misfit-paula-temple/

http://jemthemisfit.com/

http://paulatemple.com/

The post Inside the transformational AV duo of Paula Temple and Jem the Misfit appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Platform is finally a desk made for electronic musicians, engineered by an architect

It’s often overlooked, but the one piece of technology that has advanced the least in electronic music making in the past decades might be … the furniture.

Output, whom regular readers will know mainly as a software instrument maker, have decided to make something that’s harder – as in a desk. PLATFORM is a simple but elegant design at an affordable price that ticks a lot of boxes of things musicians have tended to miss. It’s a chance to upgrade from IKEA-level studio gear without spending too much more money. And it’s surprisingly sensible.

You’ve seen desks that look roughly like this before. But finally this is a desk where gear will fit perfectly, which is surprisingly rare outside custom furniture.

output-platform-web-editorial-5

output-platform-web-editorial-3

Talking points:

It looks modern, not just utilitarian.
It’s designed by an architect.
The spaces actually fit 3U rack space – some three of them.
It fits 500-series gear and Eurorack.
There’s a slide-out tray for a keyboard. (Common.)
— and that will hold up to 88 keys. (Not common.)
— and there’s a cutout in the tray so you don’t crush your knees. (Finally.)
There’s cable management.
It comes in two different stains: natural, kodiak brown.

Let me talk about how much I dig this thing without a conflict of interest: I can’t have one. Yeah, while this is great Scandinavian design, the realities of furniture and, like, geography dictate that it’s available in the US and Canada.

Fine. Enjoy, North American residents. Let me just go take a nice ride on a tram and then … uh … measure my flat in the Metric system, and maybe go on a train and visit Beethoven’s grave. Because Europe.

Prediction: with areas like plug-ins, mobile apps, and Eurorack modules fully saturated, now will be the time to think about electronic music accessories. Because what are we supposed to spend our money on, if not our music making? (Don’t answer that.)

Available now. Price: US$549+.

Obligatory splashy product page and Apple-style video, go!

https://output.com/products/platform

The post Platform is finally a desk made for electronic musicians, engineered by an architect appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

This free B-side from Machinedrum is the perfect thing for the solstice

Ready to raise your energy level and channel your higher self on the longest day of the year? (Or the shortest day of the year, if you’re in the southern hemisphere?)

Machinedrum (the artist, not the Elektron box) has quietly released the track that has the perfect vibe for that – even if you didn’t spot the track name. And it’s now a free download. It’s short, but otherwise sounds as much hit single as b-side, warm, friendly, and uncomplicated – genius.

You might put it on repeat as instant anti-depressant. Enjoy!

THE
HIGHER SELF
OF A PERSON
IS SEEN AS
THE
DIVINE SPARK
WITHIN WE ARE
1 W/ GOD

B-Side from the album “Human Energy”

Vocals : Daisy

And oh yeah, catch that whole album:

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/machine-drum/playlist/2WlTPLCSOi3XoRVeHyVUeV

Want to see Travis in person? He’s got a busy tour schedule for the USA and Europe, from Slovakia to North Carolina:

http://machinedrum.net/

The post This free B-side from Machinedrum is the perfect thing for the solstice appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Roland SE-02 is $499 analog synth with sequencer, actually boutique

Roland today has announced a desktop monosynth that’s all-analog at US$/EUR 499. It’s got a bunch of nicely balanced sound features, plus a sequencer. And it represents a new collaboration for Roland, working with an actual boutique synth maker – Studio Electronics.

Roland has already called a cute set of synths “boutique,” but … it was unclear they knew what that word meant. (Like, small?) But Studio Electronics qualifies as genuinely boutique. Sure enough, Roland is adding this to a new line called the Boutique Designer Series. (Note the additional word “designer.”)

And that means a new direction for the industry, possibly – a small maker doing the design, but a big maker providing the scale (and thus lower cost). I think this could also lead to a bizarro universe where, now that big brands are doing analog at lower cost, boutique manufacturers may wind up embracing digital technology to continue to do things at smaller scale. That contrasts with the landscape from just a few years ago, when it was small makers embracing the analog tech bigger manufacturers had more or less abandoned. (Stay tuned and see if I’m right, or feel free to argue.)

Back to the SE-02, though, it looks great. Oh, yeah, and remember how a certain German manufacturer was going on forums crowing about how it was the only one providing low-cost synths to starving musicians? Uh… about that.

Let’s have a look:
roland_se-02_angledjpg

Three oscillators, temperature stabilized / automatic tuning
Six waveforms
Three types of cross modulation
24 dB low-pass filter
Filter feedback loop
Tempo-syncing LFO with nine waveforms, envelope sweeping and inverting
Oscillator sync
Noise generator
Tempo-synced delay
Nearly one-to-one correspondence of controls to function

So, you get a lot of additional synthesis and sound design functions – which to me is more interesting than another Moog clone, even if this may have a three oscillator architecture and front panel layout obviously more than a little inspired by the Minimoog.

That’d really be enough, but in deference to today’s appetites, there’s also a step sequencer with per-step gate, per-step automation of any parameter on the front panel, and adjustable glide, plus sync via trigger, USB, or MIDI DIN. Also, while presets themselves may or may not be interesting to you (there are 384 of them if you do care), what’s really nice is the ability to store presets with the sequences – making this really appealing for live. (There’s ample user memory – 128 (Patch), 128 (Pattern), 16 (Song).)

Per-step control of every parameter is reason enough to have a look at this instrument.

You can also connect to modular rigs with trigger I/O and CV ins.

USB does both audio and MIDI.

Did I mention this is only five hundred bucks?roland_se-02_straight

That puts the Roland head to head with Novation’s Circuit Mono Station, which has its own unique voice architecture and sound capabilities, and the advantage of an 8×4 grid controller (in place of the more conventional step sequencer here). They’re each totally new, totally unique in character, and take a very different approach from one another. I think that adds up to a real win for new designs.

We should have access to the new Roland by next week here in Berlin, so stay tuned for a hands-on.

In the meantime, Roland have done us the favor of posting a sound-only demo. And I love it – it sounds a bit raw and alive and very Studio Electronics. Still, it’s tough to judge by these videos alone; our hands-on will hopefully help. (Just don’t expect me to play live … there’s a step sequencer for a reason, I say. Sorry to my various piano teachers. ???? )

Full details:

https://www.roland.com/global/products/se-02/

The post Roland SE-02 is $499 analog synth with sequencer, actually boutique appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Desktop Mutoscope featuring Animations by Anna Taberko

Our friend Joe Freedman at LeafPDX wrote to tell us about a new mechanical animation project.

Joe writes:

I just launched my new Kickstarter project which is Desktop Mutoscope in collaboration with a young animator from Minneapolis, Anna Taberko. Her work consists of blooming flowers, swirling insects, and animals. These animated loops capture illustrations in a constant state of motion, whether they’re moving or standing still.

Here is the Kickstarter page where you can see the animations in action. Beautiful!


Fantasy Mansion is an EP that’s also a generative, 8-bit circuit with sync

The golden age of the recorded album may be long past, but the golden age of the album-as-instrument may be just getting started.

Captain Credible is the latest artist to embrace the idea of releasing his music as circuit board and interactive musical instrument and not just a set of tracks you can hear (erm, stream). So, yes, Fantasy Mansion is a set of tracks if you want it to be. But it’s also an 8-bit instrument.

This isn’t the Norwegian artist’s first go at something like this. But Fantasy Mansion is notable not just because of its adorable vintage video game haunted house looks, but also for some surprisingly sophisticated features – including sync.

This also wins the prize (to my knowledge) of coolest thing to put a download code on.

fantasy-mansionback

There’s an eight-track (linear) EP, plus the circuit board, with 32 step sequencer and three-part 8-bit sounds.

The instruction copy is hilarious. The board promises to “harvest compositions from adjacent parallel universes using a Perlington demon gate.” In, uh, more pedestrian terms, what you get is a lead melody, bassline, and drum part you can edit. There are parameters for decay and octave, and effects for glitch, repitch, and shuffle, plus a “Theremin” continuous pitch mode. And you get lots of shift functions, organized cleverly around “matter” and “antimatter” modes. (Sometimes that means something as simple as adding or removing steps in the sequencer, sometimes something much weirder.)

The modification features are dubbed “A.I.,” though that’s a bit of a stretch. (Well, one feature is the ability to “fuck up” patterns. I’m for that.)

You can sync send/receive as desired with other gear, making this a nice complement to stuff like the KORG volca series or Teenage Engineering Pocket Operators.

Here’s the instruction manual (click for full size):

operation-manual

Video teaser:

And longer explanation:

Captain Credible isn’t just a one-trick pony making an 8-bit circuit board and calling it a day. No, he can also be found playing “home made blinking pyramids, motion sensing helmets, candles, lasers and magic crystals.” Yeah. He’s one of us.

Behold:
livea

There is so, so, so much going on at Captain Credible. There are crazy destructive VST plug-ins. There are live performances. There are workshops and weird inventions, and a section called “Art” where installations are controlled by interactive helmets and powered by candles. If you’re in Norway or nearby, book this guy. If not, move to Norway, find some remote farmland, and start a festival so he can headline.

http://captaincredible.com

I’m listening to the music now. It’s surprisingly dreamy (relative to the hyperactive nerdgasm above), shoegaze-to-video game theme-to quirky jams. It’s gorgeous, eccentric, and ingeniously inconsistent, the output of somewhat with a broken attention span and overflowing imagination – in a way to be genuinely thankful for. Maybe it’s not attention span: maybe different dimensions are actually converging, some of them flat video game worlds, some of them introspective Scandinavian emotional odysseys. So enjoy!

The post Fantasy Mansion is an EP that’s also a generative, 8-bit circuit with sync appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

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