The Subharchord. Photo Gerhard Steinke.

Meet the Subharchord, subharmonic organ of the DDR

Once upon a time in East Germany, an alternate branch of the evolution of the synthesizer and the organ came into being. And now it has a second chance to capture imaginations. The Subharchord was the DDR-era invention of engineer Enrst Schreiber, first designed in 1958. It was an original production but inspired by Oskar Sala’s so-called Mixtur-Trautonium. State backing came from the unlikely goal of serving as a commercial rival to the Hammond organ, thus bringing revenue to the cash-strapped Communist nation. Unfortunately, practicality and politics intervened. But that’s not to say the Subharchord wasn’t ahead of its time …

READ MORE →
1989-3-Bob Teaching

Get to know Bob Moog in online pictures, artifacts

What are you doing right now? Want to drop what you’re doing and nerd out with a bunch of amazing Bob Moog pictures and ephemera? Great!

READ MORE →
The industry standard. (CC-BY) Dave Walker.

Let’s talk about laptops in the DJ booth

Last week stirred up something of a fracas in the DJ community, as Los Angeles club The Cure and the Cause announced a ban on laptops in the DJ booth – the announcement of which then went perdictably viral. That much turned out to be brilliant publicity: club trolls DJs, magazine trolls DJs, “controversy” generates social media traffic. Here’s the problem, though: once you get past the nonsense about “talent” and laptops, I think there should really be no controversy here. What The Club and the Cure said about laptops and controllers I think is dead-on – and hard to …

READ MORE →
fakeandgay

Watch a live looper performance troll itself

YouTube is a mystery – completely arbitrary videos getting down votes for no reason, arbitrarily angry comments, spam, conspiracy theories… well, one artist has decided, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Artist Arkaei has made a very respectable live looper performance using Ableton Live and Push 2. And rather than wait, he’s delivered it with its own angry comments. Call it con-troll-erism. (Uff, let me really apologize for that.)

READ MORE →
train

Get some inspiration in the magic of field recording

Field recording isn’t just an empty exercise. It can change how you think. Just listen to Chris Watson, who records nature for a living: “Listening in a positive way – that is, actively taking the decision to focus on certain things and reject others … stimulates my thought process. It makes me think more laterally about problem solving. It makes me think in a different way.”

READ MORE →
screenshot_437

Shazam’s app matches your music to other songs

You’ve probably used Shazam. If you’re a dance music fan, you’ve probably even both used Shazam to get a track ID at a club and cursed someone else for using Shazam to get a track ID at a club. What surprisingly few people know, though, is that Shazam has desktop clients as well as the phone apps. And unlike the phone apps, these apps will lurk in the background listening to everything on your computer’s mic, and pops up a notification when it “hears” something it recognizes. This is presumably useful at those times you’ve sat at a coffee shop …

READ MORE →
screenshot_436

Now you can practice getting into Berghain in your browser

Well, it’s official: viral online jokes about Berghain, Berlin’s club venue, occur with the same frequency as its Klubnacht. But this deserves some mention, in that it says perhaps less about Berghain as it does about Berlin’s culture of obsessive-compulsive technologists. Because this throwaway joke about getting into the club is actually a pretty impressive interactive video game.

READ MORE →
after1

A photo series documents clubs after the party

DJs, electronic musicians, and true fans know a side of clubland that is anything but glamorous. They know the brutal boredom of dressing rooms, the glaring reality of clubs with all the lights on. And DJs and staff are all too familiar with the wrecked landscape of clubs after the patrons have left.

READ MORE →
Virginia-by-Lisa-Swarna-Khanna

Virginia’s Fierce For The Night brings the heart house needs

Caught in the shadow of lost idols and shaken faith, pop is wanting some new soul. Now, Ostgut Ton might be the last place you’d expect to look for one of 2016’s great songwriting fixes. (“Singing along” and “Berghain” tend not to be uttered together.) And yet, here we are. Virginia, the Panorama Bar resident, as a new record. And it’s an utter triumph.

READ MORE →
karachi_files_5135

Karachi Files, Pakistan, and music in displacement

We live in worlds of displacement. Some of those new geographies are chosen, are freeing. This is the age of cheap airfares, of migratory artists crossing oceans, of global communication and spontaneous international collaborations. Then, there’s the inescapable darker side: forced migration, refugees. There are flights of fancy, flights of exile. And as through the history of music, musical practice traces those human movements. Karachi, Pakistan has served as a stage for very different kinds of displacement and resulting creative expression. Some of those were explored recently, which I glimpsed in a festival held by Berlin’s Hebbel am Ufer (HAU) …

READ MORE →