Humans and Machines: Kompakt’s 20th Birthday Links Techno, Artists, Tech

Techno is no longer new, no longer radical, no longer industrial, no longer trendy, no longer shocking. But it just might be something else: lasting. Famed Köln label Kompakt, as sure a bellweather for techno as anything, turns twenty this year. And in celebrating its birthday, humans and machines meet again. Electronic dance music has long had a conversation with minimalist currents and ostinati in Classical music, with Indonesian gamelan ensembles, and yes, infamously, even with the oom-pah repetition of marching bands. In the video above, we see what happens when the label’s music makes those conversations explicit. And it’s …

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An Exquisite Corpse Game Jam, Made with OSC, Starts this Week

Game jams have already begun encouraging creative, improvisatory game jam, by gathering designers and artists together and motivating them with tight deadlines. But here’s a new concept: what if all the games could talk to one another? What if they could all respond to the same basic game inputs, but with differing results? Using the network protocol OpenSoundControl (OSC), a game jam this week tests what would happen. Each game is both transmitter and receiver, dealing with the position and color of a player (in two-dimensional space), and position and color of an “entity” (be that an alien, a hamburger, …

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In Berlin, Mixing Learning with Hacking and Jamming, All With Free DIY Tools

CDM and yours truly team up with Berlin arts collective Mindpirates next week for a learning event we hope will be a little different than most. The idea behind the gathering is to combine learning in some new ways. The evenings begin with more traditional instruction, as I cover, step-by-step, how you’d assemble beat machines, instruments, effects, and video mixers using free software (Pure Data and Processing). But, we’ll go a little further, opening up sessions to hacking and jamming, finally using the event space at Mindpirates to try out ideas on the PA and projectors. By the last night, …

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In Boston, a VJ Competition, and a Glimpse Inside the Live Visual Scene

Along with New York, Boston was really my introduction to what was happening in live visuals and VJing. So, I already took interest when a couple of friends sent word of a VJ competition in Boston. Then, of course, things in that city turned very strange indeed. The festival “Together,” scheduled in May, couldn’t have a better title – we’re thinking of you. So, Northeast USA, I absolutely am pleased to alert you to this competition; I hope we get some CDM readers in it. And for the rest of us around the world, here’s a look at what a …

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SoundCloud More Affordable for Creators, As Service Attempts Balancing Acts [Analysis]

We hear some pretty clear messages from CDM readers about SoundCloud. One, almost all of you seem to have some criticisms of it. Two, almost all of you appear to use it, complaints or none. Even as other services remain valuable, SoundCloud is practically its own category. (In fact, the level of detail about those complaints suggests to me that they come from ongoing, intensive usage.) Ubiquity is an understatement. “Do you have a SoundCloud?” is a question I hear about as much as I once heard “do you have a MySpace?” a few years ago. People ask it in …

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Time To Act? Sobering Stats and Call for Change on International Women’s Day [Report, Editorial]

Announcing their findings in a wide variety of languages, femalepressure, a 56-country network representing hundreds of women in music from bookings to DJing, have put the electronic music scene into numbers. In a report formally released today, they quantify the sinking suspicion that labels, festivals, and media outlets are badly lacking in female representation. Just how few women are there in top festivals, label releases, and the media? Few enough that when the numbers break 10%, the results “can be considered above average.” Press Release (English) [femalepressure] Full March 2013 Report [PDF; worth reading in its entirety to see where …

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Ableton Releases Live 9, Push Preorder; Watch Live-streamed Push Tutorials

Ableton has just launched their new site with Live 9 available for purchase and download, and the new Push hardware available for preorder. If you’re an existing Live user logged into your user account, you’ll see upgrade options for the software. Push can be preordered direct online, and Ableton has for the first time announced shipping information, listed as “2-4 weeks.” It’ll be interesting to see if the preorder sells out. http://ableton.com Updated: Apparently in response to demand, Ableton is having some issues with their webshop. Readers report some problems with accessing the site and ordering. We’ll let you know …

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Poems in Light, Sound, and Facades, in the Land of Goethe [Videos, Call for Proposals]

As we trace the spread of audiovisual culture and architectural mapping practice, here’s the latest episode. Weimar is planning the second edition of their projection=centric digital media festival Genius Loci Weimar. There, in the land of Liszt and the country of Goethe, they reimagine the city’s landscape in light and sound. The centerpiece of the first edition was a team of Turkish artists, twenty of whom descended on the Franz Liszt Academy of Music’s Fürstenhaus, on Platz der Demokratie. There’s rich documentation of that creation below, in moments of calm beauty, plus a behind-the-scenes series on the whole festival. It’s …

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Cut From a Different Cloth: Threads and Circuits at MusicMakers Hacklab CTM [Video, Gallery, Pt. 2]

So much is possible when we just open up the materials of musical invention to a range of people – and those materials can be cloth, circuits, acoustic, electronic, light, sound. I was reminded of that yet again last week, thanks to an amazing group of artists, developers, facilitators, and organizers. I’m still recovering – in a good way – from five days last week filled with people sewing and soldering, wearable interfaces and constructed projection-mapped kinetic sculptures and new digital instruments. Native Instruments and Ableton took us inside their development process – and provided hardware, pretzels, pastries, and Club-Mate. …

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MusicMakers Hacklab Report: Blinking Lightbulbs with MIDI, Why Working Together Matters

It’s a wonderful time to be experimenting with technology and music. You can create something that looks like the stuff most people imagine as “the future” – elaborate dances of light, power over sound just by waving your hand, software that seems directly out of Star Trek. But you can do it with technology that is now reaching maturity – decades of experience of artists, engineers, and designers is at your back. “That’s not new,” someone might say. Exactly. Instead of technology being a disposable commodity, forgotten in a couple of years, it’s actually something you can get good at. …

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