Phantom's Hanna Toivonen, live. Mask by Jenni Ahtiainen/ gTie. Photo: Kiki Ylimutka — at Flow Festival 2012.

Singing Serenades with Laptops: Intimate Sessions with Solar Year, Phantom [Video]

NFOP SESSIONS #13: Phantom – Albuquerque from Tonje Thilesen on Vimeo. Far from being an icy presence in front of an unmoving operator, the laptop has quietly become second nature. As tools mature and musicians gain comfort, music software can at last become another instrument. So, let’s get comfy and close with some musicians who are finding intimate, personal expressions with impromptu human-and-laptop ensembles. Our friends at No Fear of Pop – a top-notch, pretension-free chronicle of new music – have in the past year been doing live portraits of artists in their NFOP Sessions series. This is the feeling …

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Kidsuke, the joint project of Kidkanevil And Daisuke Tanabe on PROJECT: Mooncircle, was one big highlight for us. Matt Earp walks us through other discoveries of 2012 that could be worth a permanent place in your early 2013 listening.

Under-the-Radar Music From 2012 Starts Your 2013 Right [Round-up, Listen]

The beginning of 2013 is as good a landmark as any to begin a return to music making and creativity. But the top-ten lists that crowded the Web in the last couple of weeks may not be your best guide. Instead of working out what’s “best,” we invited CDM’s music contributor Matt Earp, aka artist Kid Kameleon, to let us know what music found a permanent home in his music library – not just streaming, not just a one-time listen, but repeat performances. That seems an ideal way to give yourself some listening inspiration to fight the darkness (in some …

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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 …

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The Listening Tree: A Holiday Tree Whose Colored Lights Respond to Sound

Wintertree from Limbic Media on Vimeo. Winter: it’s dark. So, it’s no coincidence that holiday traditions from Christian to Jewish to Pagan to … uh, New Year’s … celebrate light. And it’s fun watching in this video the delight as colored lights respond to sound – not in the endlessly-playing annoying-Christmas-tune way, but in the “you can sing to a tree and it’ll light up” way. Limbic Media writes CDM with this project they did in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA) commissioned Limbic Media to design an audio reactive tree for the holiday season using …

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Chroma + Gris-Gris: Sequence Live with Anything, Then Let the Synth Run Wild [Reaktor]

Chroma and Gris-Gris are a beautiful pairing, a performance-savvy sequencer and a “monster” monosynth. If the release of the OSC implementation we dreamed of in Reaktor wasn’t enough to make you dust off NI’s modular flagship, this will surely do the trick. It’s the work of Montreal-based Reaktor guru Peter Dines, veteran CDM contributor and one of our favorite patchers anywhere, on any platform, for his eminently-practical, sonically-lovely creations. And just as the Chrome sequencer goes nicely with the Gris-Gris synth, the whole thing comes alive with Reaktor’s new OSC implementation, letting you perform sequences – alone or in public …

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Miami Vice, by King Deluxe, An Acid-Neon Palmtree Vacation; Lullaby for Nameless Creatures

It’s late Friday here, which is roughly the point that I want to watch neon-colored animations of palm trees and Miami Vice-style vector animation. You? Canadian-based, international art collective King Deluxe is full of musical video wonders; this one is by French animator Alexandre Louvenaz, to music from an upcoming Fancy Mike album entitled Mary B James. Thanks to Peter Krahn from King Deluxe for sending this our way. For more of their work: https://vimeo.com/channels/kingdeluxe For something entirely different, Estonian artist Elina Kasesalu’s “Lullaby for a Nameless Creature” is a beautiful animation drawing from a terrific psychedelic past, fitting perfectly …

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Pedestrians, Re-Sequenced: Walking Becomes Audiovisual Performance in “LAYERS”

LAYERS (teaser) / Audiovisual performance from NOhista on Vimeo. In Madeleine L’Engle’s seminal science fiction novel A Wrinkle in Time, the characters on Camazotz walk in time to a pervasive beat produced by a telepathic brain known as IT. In “LAYERS,” synchronistic pedestrians are perhaps not so sinister. But in a more playful experiment, those figures become part of an audiovisual composition, a kind of beat-sequenced set of sampled walking people moving through volumes of color. The result is that an otherwise ordinary, mundane feature of the landscape becomes aesthetic. Pedestrians, in other words, need not be pedestrian. More information:

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Pedestrians, Re-Sequenced: Walking Becomes Audiovisual Performance in "LAYERS"

LAYERS (teaser) / Audiovisual performance from NOhista on Vimeo. In Madeleine L’Engle’s seminal science fiction novel A Wrinkle in Time, the characters on Camazotz walk in time to a pervasive beat produced by a telepathic brain known as IT. In “LAYERS,” synchronistic pedestrians are perhaps not so sinister. But in a more playful experiment, those figures become part of an audiovisual composition, a kind of beat-sequenced set of sampled walking people moving through volumes of color. The result is that an otherwise ordinary, mundane feature of the landscape becomes aesthetic. Pedestrians, in other words, need not be pedestrian. More information:

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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 …

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Decoding Secret Imagery from Toronto’s CN Tower, Slit-Scan Style

Cities around the world are populated with grand television towers, but Toronto has one with a twist: the colored patterns of LEDs along its shaft are very often thin-sliced imagery. It’s a convergence of lighting and motion imagery that’s too get to pass up on this site. The Torontoist blog turns to visual effects designer / compositor Avi Salem to “decode” that imagery. He tells them in an email: Since [each image pans] across the elevator shaft revealing a sliver of itself, all I had to do was do the opposite. Using compositing software, I created a slit scan effect …

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