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Watch a wild Loop Station performance made in one shot

Can you whistle? Can you hum? Sing? Dance? Let’s assume for a moment that the problem isn’t your musicality, because you have something to express. The point of technology and music skill is really to express that inner musicality. For a beautiful demonstration of that, watch one guy roam the streets of Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighborhood with one piece of gear – and make an amazing song just from looping.

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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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These are the Best Things at Musikmesse: CDM Best of Show Awards

What a week it’s been. Musikmesse in Frankfurt, one of the world’s largest gatherings of the music instruments industry, was host to a range of new gear, new technologies, and new revelations. I decided it’s finally time to crown my own picks as the most significant appearances at the show. Not because I have any particular right to do so, but I felt strongly enough about who was deserving. First, some honorable mentions:

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stvincentpedals

The Harder Side of St. Vincent’s Live Rig: Custom Rack, Eventide Stompboxes, MIDI

St. Vincent is doing some amazing live shows, so it’s little wonder that a look inside the software rig and approach to computer-enhanced performance got some attention Friday. Eagle-eyed readers, though, weren’t only satisfied hearing from the band about the role of Ableton Live and Reason. That expansive rack of stompboxes, including some of my personal favorites from New Jersey-based maker Eventide, clearly matters, too. In comments, there’s a full explanation of what you’re seeing. As Dan writes: Mike Vegas of Nice Rack Canada (formerly Nice Rack NYC) built that board for Annie. The MasterMind provides switching for the analog …

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Weekend Listening: Kishi Bashi Shows the Simple, Elegant Art of Looping

For all the sophisticated synthesis and remix tools out there, for a lot of musicians, the best thing sound technology can do is just give them a way to record and play. Looping is a simple technique – it involves recording a snippet of sound, playing it back, and then adding layers. But used masterfully, it can become transformative, producing rhythms and layers and letting solo artists accompany themselves. “How do I get started looping?” is a question I hear from a lot of musicians, particularly those who are already expressive with their instruments and voice. There’s a technical answer …

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King Britt, in the Studio: Fhloston Paradigm and Making Music Like It’s 1983 [Video]

We’ve heard the new Fhloston Paradigm; here’s an up-close look at the studio setup on which it was made. Making music can be about collecting the best, not just the newest, finding what’s inspiring to build your own tradition. Perhaps that’s why so many artists increasingly turn to vintage analog gear not just because they idolize the sound, but because it opens up working techniques that move their music forward. After all, digital emulations get better by the day at copying sounds, but it may be less a matter of old and new and more unlocking some personal creativity. In …

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Looping Technique: New BOSS, VOX Loopers Will Do One-Shots

So, you’re the fastest one-shot sampler in the West, huh? We’ve got good news for you, then – you can now proceed to spend money on new gear. Photo (CC-BY) William Clifford. What was the most-asked question around new music tech announcements earlier this month, coinciding with the industry’s NAMM trade show? Was it, “What’s the best accessory for my iPad?” Was it, “what was the game changer for music workstations?” Nope – not among CDM readers, anyway. It was, “can I do one-shot samples with the new loopers? A one-shot sample – for those of you thinking of True …

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New Boss Loop Stations Add Features, Up to Three Hours of Recording; the Loopers to Beat

You might not see it on a magazine cover or tattooed to someone’s arm, but the lowly looper is one of those things many musicians find invaluable. And in hardware loopers, the BOSS Loop Station reigns supreme – I’ve even seen a San Francisco-based musical act who call themselves LOOP ! STATION. Believe it or not, the (actual) Loop Station hardware from BOSS has just turned ten. In one of the more overlooked hardware announcements this week, BOSS has rolled out some significant and promising-looking upgrades to these well-loved, affordable tools. There’s a new RC-3 stereo stompbox-style model, as well …

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BOSS Pedal Sketch: BOSS Stompboxes as Free iPhone Download

The BOSS Pedal Sketch application, a free download today for iPhone and iPod touch, probably isn’t what you think it is – but it is a novel concept in mobile apps, and a sign of some of the new ideas to be explored. If your first thought was that this is a handheld set of virtual stompboxes, as we’ve seen recently from the likes of IK Multimedia, you’d be wrong. (That’s okay, that’s what I thought at first glance, too.) Of course, as I’ve observed before, while these apps are cool for practice sessions, they’re no replacement for hardware – …

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Roland Round-up: A Mobile Juno Workstation, Realistic Piano Models, More

Roland dropped a slew of news announcements today, from new keyboards to software. There’s a new JUNO-Gi, which takes Roland’s economical synth workstation and adds multitrack recording and BOSS effects. The virtual piano lineup has all been remade in the image of the V-Piano, with more realistic sampling tech. And there’s a set of offerings as broad as what we’re accustomed to seeing at trade shows, including one nice-looking harmonic stompbox. Here are the highlights, focusing on what you need to know. The JUNO that Records A keyboard workstation, multitrack recording, and BOSS effects, mobile at just over a grand …

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