Getting closer to your machines shouldn’t mean getting further from the feelings that drive your work. That sense of instinct is what keeps music moving forward.
How do you make that connection? How to you link your musical roots to the track you’re banging out in the studio today, that first intuitive inspiration to the end product?
It’s nice to have artists like Machinedrum and Lando for some insight – even if you’re working in a different genre – as they have a terrific handle on the craft of channeling emotion into finished tracks. Odds are better that you know Machinedrum than Lando; they’re each producers’ producers, but Machinedrum has earned more press notoriety, particularly as Vapor City climbed to the top of year-end lists in 2013. But if Lando has flown under some people’s radar (despite big releases on Hotflush, Rush Hour, and others, plus a packed DJ calendar), 2014 promises to be a year that more people take notice. So, let’s make sure you get to know Lando’s rising star.
Trans-Atlantic connections in electronic music continue to produce cross-pollination, it’s true – and so two Americans, Machinedrum (Travis Stewart) and Lando (Antaeus Roy), are found working together here in Ableton’s hometown Berlin. But while Europe has added new dimensions to their sound, they’re as much New York as anything, veterans of Cassette NYC alongside Falty DL and Praveen. (Travis even recently relocated back to the Big Apple.)
Ableton spoke to the two of them in a pair of interview videos. One traces their musical process in general; the other watches them produce a track with Push hardware.
The Push video is impressive once it gets rolling as it’s striking how quickly, using just bare elements, they get to a signature sound that’s their own. But it’s also worth watching the background video, as you get a sense of how their musical histories and families inspired their work today. They take different angles to that end, too. For Travis, keeping things “in the box” in Ableton keeps them readily accessible, whereas Lando uses hands-on access to hardware and keeps the laptop primarily for tracking.
The Machinedrum/Lando overview video, complete with epic slow-mo dancing, focuses on their personal backgrounds and their collaborations and resonating ideas:
The hands-on video largely focuses how Travis works with Push. There’s some criticism in YouTube comments (wait, newsflash!) — but I think it’s best to see this as a track getting started. What you often do in production later is muck up some of those basic elements and take them somewhere different; the speed of laying some idea down means taking that first step.
So, if that’s where these artists came from and where their tracks begin, let’s visit where they wind up.
Machinedrum last month shared “Heavy Weight” as a thank-you present to Twitter for 30,000 followers. It … okay, you can figure out what it sounds like from the title, can’t you? No comment. What I will say is, Machinedrum’s footwork-heavy approach has really defined his recent sound.
For an extra surprise, though, Lando shares with CDM two special unreleased cuts: “Moves” and “They Act.” That heavy, big sound comes straight out of his hardware-intensive approach (oh, and possibly some Alesis reverb as you see in the video). This is music without all the second-guessing and after-the-fact production, instantly soulful against a deep hardware-constructed groove.
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