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Perfect, Beautiful Music for Free From Erased Tapes [2014 in Review]

Erased Tapes was an endlessly inspiring label in 2014. With a singular, understated focus on quality and music orbiting the keyboard, the acoustic, and minimal post-classical introspection, they were a calming counterpart to the year’s steroid-pumped festival commercialism. And first and foremost, they were about records — not fancy design accessories, not “throw everything at a wall and see what sticks” experiments in distribution. (There’s a place for that, yes, but a record label about records was nonetheless refreshing.) And Nils Frahm was a consistent star amidst all of this, a favorite live performer cutting across genres, wrangling keys electronic …

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This Record Sleeve Turns Into a Wireless Touch DJ Controller: DJ Qbert and Novalia

As the CD jewel box and compact cassette case and digital download have failed to inspire, the record sleeve has endured. Now, the LP album jacket isn’t just besting those formats in the physical realm. It’s proving it can outdo them in the age of digital and mobile, too. Digital controls can be printed directly onto the surface of the packaging, via simple conductive technology, then interface with machines over wireless connections. DJ Qbert went to fans early last year to crowd-fund the release of EXTRATERRESTRIA – to the tune of six-figures. The project was all-ecompassing: “preorder” funders would put …

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Susanne Ciani is a beacon of inspiration - not simply a pioneer to visit in the archives, but working on fresh, new collaborations, a light for 2014, too.

Watch These Amazing Suzanne Ciani Videos – then Let Neotantrik Launch You Into Dreamland

The electronic music calendar makes the shift of seasons readily apparent. It’s not unlike the movies. Gone is summer blockbuster season, sequels and comic book movies, Ibiza and confetti cannons, big-budget special effects. Now, as in the cinemas, it’s date night dinner and a movie, trip-out night, delicious chin scratching, voyages to other worlds. And it’s not that we love this time because it’s smarter and summer is dumber: it’s because this is the season where the festival calendar can bring us deeper pleasures, richer sensations, and more powerful feelings, the shallow popcorn diversions out of the way. There’s indeed …

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Beautiful New Music from tehn, the Maker of the monome [Interview]

Brian Crabtree, alongside partner Kelli Cain, nicely exemplifies a lot of this site’s raison d’├¬tre over the the past ten years. Artmaker and toolmaker are indistinct roles; they’re both flipsides of the act of making. The monome, the invention for which Brian is best known, is at first blush nothing more than a box of buttons. It’s even lifeless until connected to a computer. But in its design is a statement that draws a thread from the design of tools to the design of music. Ideas about compositional technique are embodied in the software; notions of aesthetics are evident in …

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Think Stormtroopers more than Diane Keaton when you hear her name. And don't expect her to give up any rebel secrets, really. Photo of the artist, courtesy the artist.

You Should Listen to Fuzzy Cut-up Goodness, Heavy Techno from Annie Hall [Detroit Underground]

Annie Hall – Random Paraphilia EP PROMO from annie hall on Vimeo. Spanish-born, Windsor-based producer/DJ Annie Hall is always something special, a gift to techno and experimental music. Pushing her digital sound to the edge, she can sharpen her sound to glitch, fuzz, but always with a sense of warmth and intimacy. It’s cut tightly, but manages to tread techno-electro paths in its asymmetrical grooves. There’s never an absence of forward motion: like one of those crazy new robotic insects, all the complex kinetic action somehow makes it sprint. And then, as she does this summer, she can head straight …

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Shake-to-Get-a-Free-Album: Apple Called it Too Useless to Approve

Nid & Sancy – The Cut up Jeans Technique app from Lab101 on Vimeo. Like an attention-starved Tamagotchi – or a two-and-a-half year-old toddler – this is an app that wants to shake around and gets easily bored. Yes, we’ve seen endless predictions that apps might replace albums. (I said it on a panel once, so I’m guilty.) But… how, exactly? In a novel and entertainingly-juvenile concept, the app R.A.N.D.Y. is a handheld dancing character who wants to be shaken around in order to keep the music playing. Worth it? Well, with the funky sounds of Belgian electronic/punk act Nid …

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In Living Rooms, Homes, Beautiful Music as a Ritual: Olafur Arnalds; Matthew Flook; Free

For centuries, music was something made in a living room, made at home. It was a brief fluke of the 20th Century that music came out of a heroic process in a hidden-away studio. But if the gold-plated, magical record is threatened, some artists are trying to bring the daily ritual of home music making back. ├ôlafur Arnalds and Matthew Flook are each making gorgeous, cinematic-ambient tracks, and each have made projects that involve doing so on a regular basis in their homes. Let’s listen. Arnalds has been making some of the finest scores anywhere, and now has earned the …

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Listen to This: Mute Speaker’s Jong Wuk Charity Album, Available on Liquid Noise

Enough gear. Let’s get some music to hear. From the UK to Cambodia, Rob O’Hara is making beautifully-crafted music we never want to miss. So a new record is absolutely time for attention – and time to bring in our friend and regular columnist Matt Earp, aka Kid Kameleon, to give a listen. I’ve written about Rob O’Hara before for CDM, about this time last year – he’s mega-talented and makes excellent, no-frills hip-hop head-nodders under the name Mute Speaker. All his tunes just kick and punch and spin in all the right ways. You can grab most of his …

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10 Great Releases From 2013 You Might Have Missed

Happiness is a list of new SoundCloud links to follow, records to go buy, artist names and sounds that are new – not the reappearance of repeated artists and musicians, usual suspects, and expected names, but something to actually discover. So, we’re grateful to CDM contributor Matt Earp, aka Kid Kameleon, for his selecting talents. Grab the headphones. -Ed. Top 10 lists are played out. Deconstructing what’s bad about Top 10 lists is ALSO played out. And people who make Top 10 lists miss a lot of music for all kinds of reasons – because an album isn’t in a …

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‘Edge of Nostalgia’ is a Calming Ambient iPhone Album Transformed by Mic

Edge of Nostalgia from Michael McDermott on Vimeo. Ambient, and — actually, literally ambient. Mikronesia’s “Edge of Nostalgia” is a chilled-out 7-track record of gentle grooves and crystalline melodies, delivered as an app. That’s nice enough. But with the aid of your iPhone’s microphone, you and the environment around you become part of the soundscape. Ambient sounds are fed through great washes of reverb and chattering chains of delays. Recently updated for iOS 7, the result is an album that is different each time you listen. As the creator notes, plenty of records include stock sounds of field recordings. Here, …

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