Good Watching: Synth Interviews, British Synth Artists, Musical Pioneers from Detroit to Berlin

Pour some port, find a comfy spot on the couch, and fire up the YouTubes. A surprisingly-rich raft of terrific documentary video for synth and electronic music enthusiasts has been making the rounds. In our queue: Analog Suicide interviews a legendary vintage synth spot in Berlin, an hourlong documentary features not only Richie Hawtin but a range of techno pioneers, as well as other shorts from T-Mobile (yes, the phone company), and the BBC scores more history of the British side of the synth revolution in music. Sit down and get ready, because here we go. From Detroit to Berlin …

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With Neon Guitars and Immersive Projection, 1024 Architecture Become Audiovisual Rock Band

Euphorie live at the Elektra Festival. Photo courtesy Elektra. When a brainy, abstract audiovisual act can elicit some laughs and cheers, you know something is going right. Euphorie, the live music and projection act by François Wunschel, Fernando Favier, and stage designer Pier Schneider of the collectives 1024 Architecture and EXYZT, isn’t brand new. But in the cavernous, packed Usine C at Montreal’s Elektra Festival earlier this month, it surely shone. Inside that booming rehabilitated factory, sound and video elements seemed to just click, the happy result of months of development, practice, and iteration meeting a highly appreciative crowd. Projectors …

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Recommended Listening: Experimental Electronica from Australia’s Enig’matik Records

Image: mindBuffer. From an Australian curator comes a diverse compilation of “experimental electronica” spanning artists from down under, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand. Selected by artist / Enig-matik founder SUN IN AQUARIUS, it’s some finely-produced, “glitch-tinged” music covering a gamut of personalities, a nice sampling of some of the kind of quality work getting made. The compilation is streamable free or can be purchased for AUD$15. Honestly, I think the biggest challenge with all this music isn’t listening to it or finding it, but deciding what to call it. Electronica? Leftfield? Ambient — no, not really. Glitch? Please. Even …

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Lovely, Ethereal Music, Made from New and Updated Reaktor Patches You Can Download

The wonderful, sometimes-inspiring, sometimes-daunting capability of the computer is to make any sound you like. Give someone an open toolbox, and they really limited only by skill and imagination. Graphical modular environment Reaktor by Native Instruments has a reputation for crunchy granular sounds and elaborate, multi-layered glitches, and those are to some of us certainly a good thing. But here’s some music made in Reaktor that tends in another direction. The creatoors give us some nice tools, to be sure, but they also give us some actual music and sounds to explore. At top, our friend Peter Dines has been …

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Sonic Pulp Fiction: The Unsound Festival, Respun as Imaginary Narrative

Silhouetted in a fog, Unsound in 2009. Photo (CC-BY-ND) andrej/asebest. “This sounds crazy. I want to see this. I think I may have to see this to understand what you mean. But I want to see this.” David Dodson, journalist, writer, and electronic musician (“Primus Luta” and, most recently at our Handmade Music series, Concrete Sound System), has just told me he wants to cover New York’s Unsound Festival, the Polish-based electronic and “advanced” music festival. Only he wants to cover it … fictionally. There’s a love story. There’s drama. There a bits of review, interwoven with a story. In …

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Listen to Amon Tobin’s Sound Design Magnum Opus ISAM; Commentary, Behind-the-Scenes Details

The artist at sound check. Beware the Fog of Doom that’s enveloping the stage! Photo (CC-BY) MDL.hu. With a full length record, we also get a glimpse into sound design and live touch control, along with a cross-media event involving photography and sculpture. It’s the latest Amon Tobin, and for lovers of digital sonic manipulation, it’s big news. Amon Tobin’s ISAM arrived this week, and it’s an epic opus of ambience and digitally-sculpted sound candy. It’s digitally-distorted without being glitch, off on cinematic reveries through noise before breaking into the odd deep-bass break. It’s also a virtuoso solo album on …

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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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