Fax, Circles Remixed EP, and the Post-Ambient, in Mexico And Beyond [Good Listening]

“Post-” is a prefix that comes up in an art world struggling with overlapping genres and non-linear history, one you’ll no doubt here today on an anniversary of a truly terrible day in Manhattan. But what does it mean to come after something, and where can it go? It’s sometimes best to simply listen to music to answer that. A clarion, original musical voice from Mexico, Fax – Ruben Alonso Tamayo – treads lines between ambient, minimal techno roots, and straight-up minimalism in electronic music. It’s no surprise he’s also a designer; there’s a sense of color and surface taking …


Beck Uses Sheet Music, Illustrations in Place of an Album; Could “Sing it Yourself” Have a Future?

Before recording, there was simply music making. When you wanted to hear music, you had to find some actual living, breathing, fleshy musicians to make it happen. “Live” was the only kind of music. And prior to the record album, the mass publication of sheet music was the disruption that built a music industry. But there’s no reason people can’t get together and play music themselves. So, the first question you might ask, when seeing that Beck is releasing an “album” in the form of a set of sheet music, is, “why not?” And, for music in general, “why not …


In Percussive Harmonies, A Record of a Year of Travel – Literally, on a Record [MeeBlip + Location Data]

Photos courtesy the artist. We have data in pictures, we have data in Facebook posts – why not data as music? In the latest data sonification project, the record of travel becomes an oddly-beautiful set of percussive harmonies. And it’s a “record” in every sense: artist and composer Brian House not only composes the data into pleasing sonorities, but presses them into a rather elegant limited-edition vinyl. And the whole project is powered by our very own open source MeeBlip synthesizer, demonstrating that you can coax a range of sounds out of traditional 2-oscillator subtractive synthesis. With that unique take …


Beats for Eva: Production Goodies Help One Woman Fight Cancer

Facing a health crisis, whether your own or a loved one’s, can be a serious challenge. It can make music making seem a remote activity. But here’s a case in which music production talent, the power to put together loops and tools, can help fight for someone’s health. What’s unique about this is that just using these tools in your own music – or contributing your own loops and tools – can get you involved, too. CDM reader Stefan Weise, a musician from Dallas, Texas, writes: My friend Jason and I run a label together called “Evoked Recordings” and he …


Camp America Releases a CD Encased in LEGO Blocks [Album Pick]

A paper cover is one option if you’re looking for ways of making music releases physical and tangible. But Steven Cowley went to something a bit more unusual. A release of his one-man project Camp America comes with a bag containing 125 LEGO pieces, and instructions for building the case. Steven writes us as he sees that paper example to show us some next-level physical release magic. And, oh yeah, importantly, it’s really good music – finely-polished, top-notch, synth-laden pop songs. It’s just darned good music, so the best I can say is, go take a listen. I also think …


In the Studio: Barker “Like an Animal” EP, Sam Barker + nd_baumecker [Stream + Gallery]

Surrounded by a whirlwind of gear, Sam Barker has been collecting musical tools – vintage and otherwise – since his first track, produced at age 13. Believe it or not, this is his old studio – the new one, with nd_baumecker, we profile below. Photo courtesy Leisure System Records. Being futuristic – really looking forward to music – has perhaps become less fashionable in some circles. Don’t tell that to people like UK-born Sam Barker, artist and co-founder of collective/label/party Leisure System. Sam is curating music tools and artists with the same electic passion, the same exploration of new sounds …


Sword & Sworcery, Remixed By Japanese Game Music Legends [Preview]

This may sum up how I feel about this project. It almost certainly embodies how composer Jim Guthrie must have felt, as a who’s who of Japanese game music takes on his work. Photo (of the Tokyo Game Show, natch) (CC-BY) kanegen. Sword & Sworcery, the iPad album-as-game, has gotten plenty of love from this site before, and recognition for friend-of-the-site composer Jim Guthrie. (See Jim open up about what happened behind the scenes.) Now, it seems the Canadian songwriter and soundmaker will meet up with some of the biggest game composers from Japan in a unique remix album. In …


Music for Plants, Music by Plants, in Two Eco-Themed Album Releases [Listen, Galleries]

These green things, for once, are the stars, in Data Garden Quartet. From the installation version in Philadelphia. All Data Garden photos courtesy the artists. “On lead synthesizer, a philodendron …” (And the crowd goes wild…) Vegetation may not be the first association you have when thinking of electronic music. But two new albums, each released via Bandcamp, celebrate biological life of the green, leafy variety. One is a benefit compilation, with proceeds going to help trees and music inspired by that green goodness. The other uses plants as “performers,” generating its form from plant life in an installation and …


From the iPad’s Screen, the Music of Human Boot Project [Tabletop]

Speaking of the iPad and music making, Japan’s Human Boot Project draw a music video release for their latest track directly from screen as they play, working in the app Tabletop. I really love the personality of the resulting sounds. There’s a rawness to their music, the dense downtempo jazz-inspired electronics, which you can enjoy on their new EP “Picture Over Picture.” It’s a Beatport exclusive from Greece’s V.I.M. Records: The artists say it’s “Downtempo beauty to Jazz Electronica futurism !!” (Exclamation points theirs, but … I agree.) Human Boot Project are a Japanese underground music unit. This is …


Unsuspected Sounds: Great Listening, Great Cause, in Analog Industries Community Compilation

Out of the noise of the Internet, don’t be surprised if some of the music being made is – unexpectedly – wonderful. So it is with a compilation curated by Chris Randall from the Analog Industries community. Unsuspected Sounds is unexpected. It’s proof that those people writing all those comments really do have time to make music. It’s nice seeing this come from Chris and the community he’s assembled. For his part, Chris doesn’t fit the stereotype of a blogger; he’s got industry experience as an engineer as an artist, is known to many as a veteran of Sister Machine …