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Tricil Measures Topspin: One Solo Artist on Making it Online, Comparing Bandcamp

We hear plenty of hype about the Web’s power for artists, but what happens in the real world? That question is doubly interesting now that Topspin, already influential in its early test run, is available to everyone. Atlanta-based artist Tricil joins us for a special guest post to answer just that. It’s a chance to peer in the head of a Topspin power user. (If anyone wants to rebut this with the Bandcamp perspective, go for it.) I was curious, having followed this solo electronica performer, how his use of Web promotion and commerce tool Topspin was working for him. …

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Gold Panda on Sampling; Moby on Drum Machines

Something has happened to the mystique of the musical artist, as the superstars have faded. It seems people are increasingly interested with understanding process, in understanding what’s inside the magical black boxes of sound. Jess Gitner hosted Derwin Panda, aka Gold Panda, at National Public Radio’s studios for Morning Edition. She talked to the artist about the basics of how he constructs music from samples. It’s actually quite nice to me to see a story that’s elementary enough that it could be understood by non-specialists — it’s all to easy to forget that for the vast majority of even the …

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Let it All Out: Therapy for Radiohead Fans, Courtesy BBC

Readers have spoken, and it seems recent outings by Brian Eno can be a bit divisive. (Okay, I’ll admit – I wasn’t at all fond of Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, as a huge fan of Byrne and Eno.) But Eno isn’t the only English musical legend who … cough … might make fans long for the earlier stuff. See video explanation above. Music is, of course, taste – part of why we enjoy it is that it is emotional and not objective or (gasp) entirely quantitative. So, to me, there’s not a moment of the above BBC Web-only …

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Words and Music: New Brian Eno Coming on Warp, with Rick Holland Poetry; Listen Now to ‘Glitch’

Artwork by Brian Eno. Courtesy Warp. Used by permission. (Click for full-sized version. I like to get my eyeballs up against this one.) Packed tightly with interlaced rhythms, set against crisp cool intoned lyrics, the first cut of Brian Eno’s forthcoming “Drums Between the Bells” from Warp can give us all reason to look forward to the summer. Mr. Eno has been on something of a roll lately. We’ve certainly gone through periods when he wasn’s necessarily in command of electronic headlines in music, even as he contributed in other ways – the 90s brought pioneering work in generative music …

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Game Meets Album: Behind the Music and Design of the iPad Indie Blockbuster Swords & Sworcery

Jim Guthrie was a rockstar long before the iPad was. Paired with pixel-intense artist Craig D. Adams (aka Superbrothers) and the co-design and coding effort of a crack team of video game “wizards” at the indie studio capy, he’s made a soundtrack that’s destined to be a gaming classic. But if you don’t want to play it, you can still listen to it. And if you’re playing it, you may find that it feels as though you’re listening to it, and gazing into its artwork. From the moment you tap to launch it, Swords & Sworcery plunges you into a …

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Sonically-Rich Compilation for Japan Could be One of the Best You Hear All Year, via Microscopics, More

Artist Mat Jarvis in the studio. Yes, his gear collection is enviable – but more importantly, so, too, is his sound. Courtesy the artist. Musical tastes are fickle and diverse – it’s actually the disagreement that makes musical freedom such fun. So I can only ever speak for myself. But ever pick up a compilation, hear a couple of previews, and think to yourself – yup, this one’s going to be on heavy rotation for the coming months. In an outpouring of love for one of our neighbors, everyone seems to have some sort of benefit for Japan. But Mat …

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Hack by Day, Afrotronic Future Funk By Night: Handmade Music NYC Sat 4/2, Listening and More Free Now

If you’re in the NYC area, we hope you’ll mark your calendar; if not, we have some free listening for you to explore below. Hacking and inventing, creative musicians are making and modifying the tools of their performance to express the music they imagine, with stunning variety of results. And so it is that once a month (erm, more or less), we get together in Manhattan to celebrate music makers at a little thing we call Handmade Music. This month, experimental sound systems and Afrotronic future funk with new electronic instruments inspired by west African tradition join the lineup. 1-6 …

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Prefuse 73 to Release Female Vocalist-Packed Record; Get Shara Worden Track Free

Prefuse 73 at work; photo (CC-BY-SA) Claudio Ruiz. Sonically rich, thickly layered with texture, crackles, and low end, the upcoming full-length by Prefuse 73 nonetheless promises a focus on songwriting and vocals. That could make it a highlight of the year – whereas dense production can often render singers almost decorative, early samples of the new work suggest the singers step up. Prefuse 73, aka Guillermo Scott Herren, certainly has the resume. Here, he’s joined by a string of female vocalists (presumably represented by the mandala of naked ladies on the cover and the title), “The Only She Chapters.” The …

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A Gorgeous Compilation Benefits Cancer Research; Co-Creator Explains

“Gem Drops” is a rich, varied compilation covering “experimental electronic hip-hop inspired” music, with artists such as Anenon, yuk., Juj, Devonwho, Shigeto, and Sumsun. The 21 tracks were selected by curator Aaron Meola. It’s the sixth release from the collective Dropping Gems, and 100% of revenue will go to the American Cancer Society. Pay what you want for the download; a “very limited” run of handmade CDs with artwork will go to people who donate US $15 or more. I spoke with Kris Geffen, aka citymouth [SoundCloud page], about the release they put together to find out more.

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Interview: Anika, Working with Portishead’s Geoff Barrow, Makes an Album You Don’t Have to Like

Perhaps it’s something of an irony, here on a site that heralds shiny technology, but there is a longing among many musicians to return to something raw and unvarnished in music. There’s discontentment in the ranks of the techno-futurists, enough to sow the seeds of rebellions. If that feeling could be given a voice, Anika would be a good candidate. A political journalist who found herself, entirely unexpected, at a session with Portishead producer Geoff Barrow, she is a vinyl-loving, politically-minded throwback, an antidote to everything that commercially-calibrated in music. http://www.stonesthrow.com/anika The first thing you should know about Anika’s self-titled …

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