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Perfect, Beautiful Music for Free From Erased Tapes [2014 in Review]

Erased Tapes was an endlessly inspiring label in 2014. With a singular, understated focus on quality and music orbiting the keyboard, the acoustic, and minimal post-classical introspection, they were a calming counterpart to the year’s steroid-pumped festival commercialism. And first and foremost, they were about records — not fancy design accessories, not “throw everything at a wall and see what sticks” experiments in distribution. (There’s a place for that, yes, but a record label about records was nonetheless refreshing.) And Nils Frahm was a consistent star amidst all of this, a favorite live performer cutting across genres, wrangling keys electronic …

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Careful, drinking this much coffee could start some Internet feuding. I know. Photo from the artist.

deadmau5 Goes Experimental on SoundCloud, and it’s Kind of Awesome

Enjoy it, because this will be about the only time something this weird racks up hundreds of thousands of SoundCloud plays. Yes, it’s Toronto’s Joel Zimmerman, aka deadmau5, uploading this week to SoundCloud. 432 is an ode to 432 Hz, with horror movie-spooky sounds oozing over the top. “DAT KICK DOE” from earlier this year is a raunchy, thumping distorted loop. (Back story: this sonic horror is how deadmau5 trolls. Well, I’m all for sound as a way to settle feuds.) This is noteworthy for a couple of reasons. One, it’s a return to the service after he deleted it …

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Obsessing About Sound and Process: Climb Into Stewart Walker’s Ivory Tour

There’s a Japanese Taishogoto and vintage Lexicon PCM reverb and loads of computer production. But even for us souls tempted by gear lust, it’s the soul of process that has us talking, and talking, and talking – and listening, on repeat – with Stewart Walker. Native Instruments employee by day, prolific producer by night, he was kind enough to give us an extensive window into his world for CDM. In the dizzying flurry of music racing past, Stewart Walker’s “Ivory Tower Broadcast” is one I keep coming back to me. It’s one that somehow I’ve gotten closer to on repeated …

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The Arcane Arts of Experimental Instrument Design: 3DMIN [Videos, Gallery]

From the dawn of civilization, musicians could always be counted on as the ones inventing the truly weird technologies to make noise. Here – bang on this. Blow into this. It’ll make some sound; it’ll be noisy; it’ll get everyone’s attention. And so, the art of such designs continues. New instrument design explorations have gone hand in hand with electronic music research from the moment electronics (and, eventually, digital technology) were capable of real-time performance. But if 3DMIN follows in the footsteps of those programs, it also seeks to intertwine questions about other fields and disciplines. And tonight in Berlin, …

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Life is short. We're going to die. Listen to good music. (CC-BY-SA) David Dennis.

For Allhallowtide, Here Are Hours of Brilliant Underground Music to Make You Feel Undead

Happy Hallowe’en, and the entry in the northern hemisphere into short days and long, dark nights – perfect for getting lost in music listening and music making. That means it’s time to start queueing sounds to pass the time, and as it happens the CDM inbox has a selection just arriving. These are mixes unafraid of shadows and adventurous sound, and — well, the best is to let you listen. Leave the cheesy horror Theremin to someone else, and let’s enjoy something that is truly and deliciously evil in music. Lower Order Ethics, aka Szilvia Lednitzky, can send chills up …

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Beautiful 1974 circuitry makes eerie sounds that inspire today.

Pea Soup to Go Puts Decades of Experimental Sounds into Your Browser

Oh, sure, the future of the music industry might be U2 showing up in your iTunes or streams of chart-topping hits. Or, just maybe, the future just for now will be instead weird, humming soundscapes that drone on in a browser tab, generatively faded from decades of performances of a legendary experimental piece. Option number two may be wildly unrealistic and wholly unviable commercially but – hey, it’s your browser, and you can make that choice happen right now, for free. Sonic legend Nicolas Collins, sound professor, editor of Leonardo Music Journal, and electronic music inventor, has unveiled his latest …

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Groovy, Moody Songs, Flea Market Sound Design Finds: Meet Sofia Kourtesis

Half Greek, half Peruvian, born in Lima but raised between Germany and New York, Sofia Kourtesis is a fresh, emerging voice. Her music interweaves shadows and introspection with smart grooves – seductive melancholy. Her mixes, too, cross similar territory, aided by her broad knowledge of music as a globe-trotting DJ and booker. So, it’s a perfect start to our week this week, with some listening and a peek inside a studio. This is what’s so exciting about being in music now: we get to hear those new artists find original paths. Apart from being a sci-fi movie addict and teenage …

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Morpheme is a Microscopic Audiovisual Journey Into Sound by Electric Indigo

Morpheme excerpt [Electric Indigo & Thomas Wagensommerer] from Electric Indigo on Vimeo. Journey into “Morpheme,” a half-hour audiovisual odyssey by Electric Indigo (aka Susanne Kirchmayr) and visualist Thomas Wagensommerer. An exercise in granular extremism, it begins as a delicately crackling mist of noise, as if atoms were dancing. Just about five and a half minutes into this excerpt, someone switches on a light, and it buzzes with pounding, angrily-vibrating rhythms. Electric Indigo’s music is a regular feature here because I never cease to be amazed at the breadth of her musical output, ranging from darkly-grooving club-ready material to more idiosyncratic …

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Photo (CC-BY) @ fr4dd. Music below.

In 20 Minutes, with 20 Cables, Learn to Get Started with Modular Synths [Video]

Modular aficionados are fond of describing the potential of their boxes full of wires as unlimited, endless. That might well raise the question – where do you actually start? Schneidersladen, the unofficial headquarters for European lovers of Euroracks hidden away above a grocery store, has an intro course. Don’t watch this expecting stunning sounds – this isn’t about showing off. Instead, get ready for a big basket of bread and butter, the starting points to learn how to actually begin working. From there, you can get as fancy as you like. But the pace is methodical and beginner-friendly. German, but …

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Spatial Audio, Explained: How the 4DSOUND System Could Change How You Hear [Videos]

It was inspired by Nikolas Tesla’s radical ideas about energy in air – and site-specific opera. It breaks every notion you have of how to mix, how to set volume, and what “panning” or “stereo” means. It’s, specifically, the forest of metal columns filled with omni-directional speakers we’ve come to know as 4DSOUND. And it’s all coming to Amsterdam Dance Event in October in a big way. But what’s most important about 4DSOUND isn’t just this particular, not-inexpensive and specific installation. It’s the fact that once you start imagining sound as virtually projected into three-dimensional space, you probably won’t really …

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