swarm_front

CDM + Handmade Music Lounge at Solid Sound: Meet These Sonic Builders, in 11 Noisey Videos

The Swarmatron, made infamous by The Social Network, is just one of the crazy sonic creations we’ll be seeing this weekend. Photo credit: Joshua Sarner. This weekend in North Adams, Massachusetts at MASS MoCA, the band Wilco is gathering their very own music and arts festival, Solid Sound. It’s become a real oasis of unique programming, musical and otherwise, and I’m pleased to be a part of it. Wilco’s Mikael Jorgensen and I put together a showcase of some of the best musical builders and DIYers. We’ll be gathering this weekend and talking to all the artists, so any questions …

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Bring-Back-Before-Album-Cover

An Eclectic Mix of Sounds for Joplin, MO Recovery, as Charity Compilations Gain Momentum

CDM regular Zaxx Davros sends word of a new, sprawling compilation to benefit Joplin, Missouri in the aftermath of that town’s devastating tornado. Charity compilations seem to be growing in number, but perhaps that in itself is worth mentioning. As social networks and (ahem) blogs spread, increasingly crowd-stimulated micro-donations drive charity. One-click giving is no substitute for getting involved in communities as a volunteer and getting out on the ground, but as a way of keeping charitable organizations funded and engaged, it shows promise. Some readers have pointed to criticism of some of those organizations, like the various entities of …

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Platforming as Musical Interface: Jonathan Mak Shows Sound Shapes for New PlayStation Vita

Load up an Ableton set or mix samples, and you’re already in the domain of interactive music. With joysticks and arcade buttons and other controls, the blending of game and musical interface into generative compositional fusion is even clearer. It’s little wonder many electronic musicians take an interest in the nexus of gaming and music. Any discussion of interactive music scores for games would be incomplete without Jonathan Mak. His self-produced title Everyday Shooter used classic top-down space combat as a musical experience: not only do sound effects in the game act as musical elements, but even the flow of …

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phoenicia

Weekend Listening: Cinematic Sonic Treats from Phoenecia

If you’re looking to give your ears one last adventure this weekend, I highly recommend the stream of an upcoming full-length from Joshua Kay and Romulo del Castillo, recording as Phoenecia. On Josh’s Schematic label, the work hits the far reaches of electronic sound design, in an always-satisfying, soundtrack-like tapestry of musical exploration. It has the feel of exploring imaginary landscapes, to steal a phrase from Cage. The album comes out June 14; the duo is already taking advantage of Bandcamp’s recently-unveiled preorder purchase system, and you can listen in full on either Bandcamp or (embedded here) SoundCloud. Hope to …

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juanatkins

Coming Home: America and the UK, Dance Resurgence, Insanely Great Flying Lotus and Stones Throw

Techno originator Juan Atkins. Now, dance music may finally be coming home properly to stay. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Adrien Mogenet. Any one of us, myself included, may break at any moment into armchair analysis of the music scene. But it’s worth asking an expert. Taste-setting, deeply influential DJs Pete Tong and Gilles Peterson of BBC Radio 1 recently stopped by National Public Radio’s thoughtful music program, All Songs Considered. Joining the American hosts, the BBC stars play favorite tracks and weigh in on the connections in electronica and club music in the US and the UK. The timing was appropriate: with …

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doritchrysler

One Woman Band: Theremin, Laptop, and Voice with Dorit Chrysler in Moog Sound Lab

Photo courtesy Moog Music. The earliest major analog electronic instrument meets laptop, as artist Dorit Chrysler demonstrates the power of her voice and musicianship in the Moog Sound Lab. How it works: To function as a one woman band, Dorit triggers a prerecorded backtrack on her laptop, adding vocals and theremin in real time. At her feet are a Moogerfooger MF-104Z Analog Delay and an Akai Head Rush looper that add layers of complexity to the sonic depth to her sound. It’s an eminently practical rig, with the sort of gear you can really cherish rather than just dispose – …

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An Album That Can Be Heard Only in One Location, in Interactive Ode to Washington, D.C.

“You had to be there.” Live performance has always been dictated by being present in a particular place, at a particular time. Now, the same is true of an interactive album produced by brothers Hays and Ryan Holladay, aka Bluebrain. Both a two-man band and a two-man development team, there’s no clear dividing line between “coder” and “musician” for the artists on this project. But the only way to hear the work is to physically go to Washington, D.C.’s National Mall, and begin walking around. The satellites that populate the GPS received in your smartphone, currently on iOS but with …

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portallove

Portal 2’s Musical World, Available Free, in Non-Adaptive Form “For Testing”

Portal 2? It’s only love, and that is all. Following the score in adaptive – and freely-downloadable non-adaptive – form. Photo (CC-BY-ND) _Superbeast_. Game lovers may lap up anything the title Portal touches as though it’s covered in powdered sugar, but resident Valve Software composer Mike Morasky deserves special mention. His music for Portal, and now Portal 2, is dead-on: chilly, atmospheric, dystopian, but also pulsing with energy and able to capture the gaming blockbuster’s strange combination of diabolical cerebral puzzles with wit. It’s all the more impressive, as Morasky has straight-up parodied musical styles in his whimsical Team Fortress …

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cp35

A Free Sampled Yamaha CP-35 Saves You From Lifting; Handmade Albums Lift You Up

Yamaha’s CP-35 may fall short of being a classic, but it is capable of some pleasant, dreamy sounds. That is, if you can actually lift it. Impossibly heavy and cumbersome, here’s a job for sampling if ever there was one. A free Ableton Live rack gives you convenient access to the instruments and live effects. I should note, by the way, that Ableton Live is not a prerequisite to using the samples AfroDjMac, aka Brian, aka Nairb Funk, aka the guy who’s been giving us the gift of tons of free Ableton Live stuff, talks to CDM. He shares some …

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eotd_bailey

End of Train Device, New Album from Your Editor, and an Experiment in Releasing Music

A closer look at Richard Bailey’s artwork, made in paint, and not digital. Yes, I create digital music, too. One of the things I’ve loved about CDM is the chance to share music making, from the construction of the tools to the production of performances and recordings. If that’s all we ever get out of music – getting to share with someone else – that’s already more than enough for me. This week I’ve released my own End of Train Device, a full-length ambient / leftfield electronic album. You can listen to the record in its entirety streaming on SoundCloud, …

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