Vienna in the snow, ca. 2008. Happy winter, Austria - this EP is a fitting soundtrack. Photo (CC-BY-SA) gego2605.

Cool Yule: Smart Austrian Ambient Electronica Album, Benefits Homeless

Call it experimental electro, ambient house… whatever the genre, Parque is smart, chilled-out music from Vienna. Full of cinematic cross-cuts and sharply-contrasted sound design, the EP “Amerika” is bathed in pleasantly-mellow melancholy. It’s only a debut, but an impressive one. The love and time put into production shines through. We’re pleased to introduce CDM reader Bene, aka Parque, to the site and listeners. And the Bavarian-born, Vienna-based Bene has a nice benefit in mind as he makes his holiday-timed release: All incoming proceeds until end of this year (minus Bandcamp and PayPal fees) will be forwarded to a Viennese homeless …

This holiday, take a holiday to another world, chip music style. An imagined NES dimension, here envisioned (CC-BY-SA) torley.

Cool Yule: Toy Company’s Free 8-bit/Lo-Fi Christmas Album, from Montreal

Whether you’re unwrapping presents or not, we’re spending these twenty four hours unwrapping some beautiful musical gifts: have a Yule that’s cool with fine, free/donationware releases. First in the queue… If unimaginative holiday music on endless repeat has given you the winter blues, the fine folks of Toy Company have the cure. The Montreal-based collective and 8-bit/lo-fi techno party series have brought together a number of friends with original tunes and noise and digital-fuzz-laden covers of tunes like “Joy to the World” and “Silent Night.” Meticulously-rendered, quirky music is free to hear, or thank the artists by naming your own …


Armageddon-Themed Pack for Ableton Live, EP, Featuring Korg Poly800 MKII

I can see exactly how this goes. Me. A Korg Poly800. One MIDI cable. A quiet moment in the studio. A completely ridiculous mis-interpretation of Mayan history that some have decided is the end of the world. Let me just light some candles to set the mood. “Hey there, Korg. So… this could be our last night on Earth. I know this is my friend’s studio. But — who knows if the sun is going to come up tomorrow. Let me just find out where you’re connected in the patch bay.” Actually, let me just stop there before I get …

Carrying her musical life on her back - in more ways than one. Zoe Keating, by Nadya Lev for Coilhouse. Photo courtesy the artist.

Zoe Keating, Cellist Who Exposed Her Musical Finances, Talks Music Making, Distribution [Interview]

She shocked the music business by revealing she wasn’t making money on Spotify – then shocked them again by revealing she was making money on our own. Now, CDM’s Matt Earp talks to cellist Zoe Keating about surviving as a creative musician, and keeping the music coming. Hint: “exposure” is not necessarily the key to survival. -Ed. Zoe Keating is an avant-garde cellist, a Canadian transplant to San Francisco who now lives on its far outskirts. Her sound slips back and forth between the classical and electronic worlds, conjuring sylvan images and dusty warehouses with equal clarity. Two self-released full-lengths, …

King Britt, performing in the garden. Photo:

The Bee and The Stamen: Complete Live Stream, King Britt Interview, As Nature Meets Electronic Music

For just a moment, take your mind somewhere a bit different. First, imagine the computer as part of nature, not something separate from nature. And then, put your head inside the mind of a bee. (You might not want to operate heavy machinery, just in case you start to imagine you’re seeing things through a compound eye.) That’s the journey we’re on with King Britt, the veteran producer from Philadelphia. He’s remixed everyone from Miles Davis to Tori Amos, but now, he remixes the world of the bee. And given how small we ultimately all are, perhaps that’s a worthy …

Phoebe in the studio. Photos for CDM courtesy the artist.

Listening, Behind the Scenes: Phoebe Kiddo, Traveling Through Earth and Space

The enchanting, carefully-handcrafted music of Phoebe Kiddo is yet another example of the wonders coming from under-the-radar digital artists in the production Renaissance now underway. We got to host Phoebe on our MusicMakers party last month in Berlin – full coverage of that show, with video, coming soon. Now, Phoebe tells CDM a bit about making music as a globe-trotting nomad, and how she works with monome live and in the studio. Phoebe’s music mixes taut beats and delicate, low-fidelity timbres with dense arrangements and spacey dubs. Her voice cuts dreamy melodic lines across introspective grooves that can then accelerate …

Mark Fell investigates nanostructures and dancing particles. A visual reveals some of those Brownian Motion-produced forms. Photo courtesy Mark Fell.

Nanomusic: Mark Fell Turns to Neuroscience and High-Power Microscopes for Particle Music

Making new sounds means doing more than just making new sounds. Artist/composer Mark Fell (also known as half of SND) dives directly into the thorny question of form. And when he looks for new forms, he literally looks. The visually-trained artist speaks about making “non-representational” music in the same way an abstract artist might. (No surprise that arresting imagery invariably accompanies his work.) And in his latest creation, he looks even further, collaborating with a neuroscientist to peer at tiny particles through a high-power optical microscope. The result is alien music, constructed from the dance of those nanostructures. The work …


Brian Eno Back to Ambient Roots, in iPad App with Peter Chilvers, Upcoming Album

Brian Eno’s influence on music, particularly music termed “ambient,” is such that it might itself blend into the background. But make no mistake, work like Music for Films and Music for Airports has left an indelible impression on the sound of a lot of music, and moreover in how we think about sound and structure. A newly-announced album on Warp promises to return to the long-form, expansive compositional ideas of those works, in a 75-minute opus called LUX. (More on that at bottom, though we can’t hear it yet.) But perhaps it’s even more appropriate to look at Eno’s work …


Mystery Artist Solvoid Delights Ears, Dodges Questions [Listening, Interview]

Solvoid is a mystery shrouded in a riddle. Three brilliant EPs have appeared from this artist online in the last several months, each one a tricky mixture of two-step, electro, breaks, and 8-bit arpeggios, with hints of the mystic, the playful, and the divine. As with Athena, they seem sprung fully-formed from the head of their creator, and yet there’s almost no discernible information out there about who he (she? they? it?) is. The level of technique and process in the releases point to someone who has been around the block a few times, but just what they might have …


Frag’mnts – An Enig’matik Records CDM Sampler, Ethno-step Diversity to Hear [Free Listening]

Forget the adage about “dancing about architecture” – talking about music is important. But talking about music is made more meaningful by listening, the real reason we do what we do. And so, we’re pleased to follow our profile of Australia’s Enig’matik Records with a collaborative sampler. It’s a diverse selection of tracks that lets you really hear these musical characters we think are making something worth exploring. Label founder Jake Rose aka Sun In Aquarius came to CDM with the idea, eventually leading to a full compilation to tell a more complete musical story. I’ll let contributor Matt Earp …