horselords

Enjoy the sweet sound of guitar just intonation on this album

Sorry. I’m terrible at writing headlines, actually. I’m also mostly terrible at writing reviews. So let me just say that if you haven’t heard Horse Lords, the Baltimore-based indie band, since their 2010 founding, you deserve to. And they make a great argument for why alternative tunings really do matter in music.

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battles

Watch Battles Reflect on Loops, Ableton in a Live Band Setting

On some deeper level, maybe it doesn’t matter how something repeats – whether it’s looped in a pedal, looped in software, or simply repeated by a human player, for instance. On another level, given just how much repetition matters to music, maybe that’s why we care so much about how it’s accomplished. Ableton this week released a visit to New York’s experimental rock trio Battles, in a film and interview under the header “The Art of Repetition.” There, we get to learn more about the process behind Battles’ dense, hypnotic sound. The film is a bit long, but there are …

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From the Heart of Belgrade’s Underground, Inside a New Festival Experience

Summertime. You certainly can’t complain about your options in electronic music festivals. But in some of the best festivals, there’s also a sameness – talented lineups, repeated from weekend to weekend. That predictability is part of the draw, part of the commercial viability of many of these events and of the artist industry they support. But where do you go if you want something different to happen? If you want a mix of music that’s different, an environment that’s different, if you want all the things that wouldn’t work elsewhere? One place to go is the countryside of Serbia, from …

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Staying Mobile, Imperfect; Music and Talk from Robert Lippok, To Rococo Rot

It’s festival season, a time for pre-packaged artists, album-perfect live sets, pristine digital worlds that sometimes literally come from the folks at Google. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But maybe now is a good time to look to the other avenue – to keeping things rough and loud, flawed, live in the sense that has mistakes. Robert Lippok, the always-busy, long-working Berlin-based artist, can celebrate both that messiness and obsessive control. As a soloist, he’s been a staple on Raster Noton; he’s also known for being one third of To Rococo Rot. 2014 is bringing new things from both …

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A Sci-Fi Band and Music Made from Ozone Data: Elektron Drum Machine, Sax Sonification

In a new touring piece by an electrified audiovisual band, the musical score is data. Space F!ght, off to tour London on Sunday, are a multi-media ensemble inspired by the greatest writers in science fiction. But science fact is the source of their latest piece, as they collaborate with the Stockholm Environment Institute and NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies to turn ozone data into the materials of their performance. That data has a message, as ozone levels directly impact human health. See the video at the top for a look at how the whole system works. Dr. Radek Rudnicki, …

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Playable 8-bit Game as Promo, and Okkervil River’s Nostalgia-Drenched Wonderlands

The standards for advance promotion of an album may be getting a little … intense. Photos? Track listing? Advance music video? Streaming preview? How about a complete, playable adventure video game in your Web browser, free, with charming graphics and an original chip music soundtrack adapting the songs from the record in 8-bit form? Due out Tuesday, September 3, Okkervil River’s LP “The Silver Gymnasium” isn’t shy about its nostalgia factor. The whole record is a re-imagining of frontman Will Sheff’s 80s childhood. That might be a bit much were the browser game not so beautifully executed. Sheff created the …

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Mission accomplished. Photo (CC-BY) Thoth God of Knowledge.

Create (Really) Analog Music: Music Video Made on Historic Edison Wax Cylinder

The miracle of recording is somehow no less extraordinary in this digital age – the ability to capture sound, the revolution that transformed music making worldwide, for better and for worse. In fact, if anything, the abundance of digital music is causing some people to rediscover the recording techniques that preceded it. Andy Deitrich of Chicago’s Mucca Pazza writes to share the experience of returning to that means of recording. I love the saturated quality of the sounds you get: it’s really evident how much the medium here colors the sound. Andy writes:

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In Mutemath Projection Mapping, Rabbit Hole Creative Melds Image with Stage Setup

MUTEMATH Stage Projection Mapping from Rabbit Hole Creative on Vimeo. A rectangle behind performers can work. It can fit the content, and the stage picture. It’s just that, very often, it — doesn’t. Projection mapping in the tour for the band Mutemath isn’t just a way to create the illusion of three-dimensionality. It’s also a means for creating a stage set in which projection is an integral part of the picture the audience sees. Rather than a jarringly-disconnected flat screen, the visuals are part of the overall stage design. What’s especially notable about this project is that it was produced …

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2000 Photos, Held by 300 Fans, Make a Stop-Action Music Video for j.viewz

Artists these days are always grasping for ideas to involve fans. In a video for j.viewz’ “rivers and homes,” fans literally get in on the act. Give the video above a moment – after a more conventional intro, it shifts to a stop-motion sequence made from photographed stills of the film. Some 2000 photos, printed out and then held up by 300 fans, then fuse again into motion, beneath the smiling faces of the artist’s most loyal fans. We’ve seen this sort of special effect before, but certainly not with fans helping produce the motion. Not to give away the …

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mostlyrobot

Inside Mostly Robot Superband: Jamie Lidell + Shiftee + Tim Exile + Mr Jimmy + Jeremy Ellis + Pfadfanderei

The cast of characters crazy enough to try this. Image courtesy Native Instruments. In 1985, Thomas Dolby, Herbie Hancock, Howard Jones, and Stevie Wonder met onstage in Los Angeles to perform a Synthesizer Medley. (See video, bottom.) Can vocalist/electronic music legend Jamie Lidell (and keyboadist Mr. Jimmy), experimental sound guru and producer Tim Exile, champion turntablist DJ Shiftee, and “finger drummer” virtuoso Jeremy Ellis pull off something that epic, backed by visuals from Berlin’s Pfadfinderei? That’s what music tech vendor Native Instruments is hoping, as it debuts the “superband” Mostly Robot at SÓNAR in Barcelona in June. Now, when you …

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