Music in the Key of monome: From Samples, a Community Makes a Free Album

Keys open doors to creative music making in a community-led process. Photo (CC-BY) Cassie / Angelandspot. What an extraordinary thing an interface can be, a map to making music. A new community-generated album from users of the now-legendary monome grid instrument yields a variety of musical outcomes. The results are instrumental and lovely, breaking off on lots of different stylistic vectors, but glued together by the notion of key and pitch. Let’s let contributor Joshua Saddler explain this – and the holiday album – as well as share some of the music. If you celebrate Orthodox Christmas or more generally …


An Eclectic Mix of Sounds for Joplin, MO Recovery, as Charity Compilations Gain Momentum

CDM regular Zaxx Davros sends word of a new, sprawling compilation to benefit Joplin, Missouri in the aftermath of that town’s devastating tornado. Charity compilations seem to be growing in number, but perhaps that in itself is worth mentioning. As social networks and (ahem) blogs spread, increasingly crowd-stimulated micro-donations drive charity. One-click giving is no substitute for getting involved in communities as a volunteer and getting out on the ground, but as a way of keeping charitable organizations funded and engaged, it shows promise. Some readers have pointed to criticism of some of those organizations, like the various entities of …


A Beautiful Compilation from 40+ Artists Shows Support for Japan

In a more connected world, we begin to understand more profoundly the life we share on a planet that is both fragile and potentially destructive. I remember the sobering feeling of listening to radio reports from Haiti during NAMM last year. There are countless calls for support for Japan, and I hope that, as in any disaster, people do learn more about disaster response worldwide, since any one of us can wind up as its recipient. But without covering every single one of those calls for aid, CDM contributor Primus Luta brings one wonderful musical compilation you may want to …


A Gorgeous Compilation Benefits Cancer Research; Co-Creator Explains

“Gem Drops” is a rich, varied compilation covering “experimental electronic hip-hop inspired” music, with artists such as Anenon, yuk., Juj, Devonwho, Shigeto, and Sumsun. The 21 tracks were selected by curator Aaron Meola. It’s the sixth release from the collective Dropping Gems, and 100% of revenue will go to the American Cancer Society. Pay what you want for the download; a “very limited” run of handmade CDs with artwork will go to people who donate US $15 or more. I spoke with Kris Geffen, aka citymouth [SoundCloud page], about the release they put together to find out more.


We Love DJ Kool Herc: Free Compilation for the Father of Hip-Hop

Saturn Never Sleeps, the band and label, released a new free compilation late last night to send love and thanks to DJ Kool Herc, the pioneering Jamaican-born DJ who gave birth to the hip-hop age in the West Bronx, New York City. I’m honored to have been part of the compilation along with a broad range of artists: DaM-Funk, Damon Bennett, Dego, King Britt Presents Sylk 130, Ursula Rucker, Lushlife, ZIN, Hezekiah, Soul Litchfield, Illvibe Collective, Rucyl, Shigeto, Galapagoose (recently seen here on CDM sporting the monome software he co-created), Ras_G, Chuck Treece, Suzi Analogue, and Stef Eye King Britt, …


HAITI 2010 Monome Community Compilation + Other Efforts to Help in Haiti

Album artwork by Pau Cabruja ( . Artists and creators around the world have been moved by the suffering of Haitians in the wake of last week’s earthquake. There are ways we can help, like giving to relief organizations to give them the capacity to respond wherever needed. The next crisis could be halfway across the world or in our own neighborhood. The monome community is about more than just the button-grid, open-source controller with which they work. They’re an example of the kind of collective spirit that musicians, digital or otherwise, can share internationally (see the map of these …