Your new stage, your new studio. Photo: Hai Art Hailuoto.

Watch crazy sounds meet remote Finnish countryside

“Electronic music needs to be wilder” was the challenge issues by Matt Black (NinjaTune, Coldcut) last year at Ableton Loop at a talk I moderated. But maybe this could be interpreted as “into the wild” in a difference sense. At the moment, I’m part of an ongoing series of residencies that takes that in a different direction – taking music performance (electronic, electro-acoustic, and acoustic) into unexpected natural environments.

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The Joy of Little Boxes, and Lovely Music by Recue x Jolea

From small boxes, big sound, and enormous fun… Something has happened in the evolution of electronic music production. What was once so often a slow process has become a jam, what was carefully orchestrated on screens finds itself embodied in gear. And small and affordable “toys” can often deliver the greatest “switch-on-and-play” satisfaction. Helsinki’s Recue and Jolea first found their way to their album by playing live, so it’s fitting we start with a live set from them. Their fusion is beat-driven, left-field pop – settling into moody, experimental grooves with effortless hooks over top. It’s melancholy surfaces with sparkling …

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Reconnect with Electronic Music’s Revolutionary Roots, in Stunning Images [Gallery, Videos]

“On a western device, you push a button and get a result. On a Soviet instrument, you push a button and get something.” -Benzo When music was first electrified, it was nothing short of a revolution – literally. And as today’s technologies again attempt to fuse human and machine, there’s no better time to connect with past visions again. “Discontinuity” is the theme of the this year’s CTM Festival in Berlin. But it sets the stage for an unprecedented movement to put today’s machines back in context, across the barriers of time, and – increasingly, in a closer European/west Asian …

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Summer Studio: Portable Music BBQ, in the Finnish Countryside [MS-20, Maschine]

There just isn’t a season of the year where music making can’t entertain you. But once upon a time, music technology woefully confined its producers to windowless, underground lairs established as dusty academic laboratories. No more. Now you can toss everything in a backpack, head to the Finnish countryside, and put on a barbecue while you jam. (Just don’t forget to check the grill, lest you burn something.) And that’s what Helsinki-based artist Riku Annala – Recue – has done. The sounds of the grill crackling sharply in the background, a lazy, golden Northern Hemisphere sunlight bathing the black hulls …

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Vladislav Delay, In Nearly an Hour-long Live Performance, Demonstrates Laptops Have Soul [Video, Tracks]

Perhaps part of what you need for laptop music to evolve into an appreciated live performance art medium is simply time. Finnish artist Sasu Ripatti is a good candidate for mastery of the form. Honing his production and performance skills since the late 90s, he’s become a maestro of digital music. Moments in his music stretch out into shadowy industrial landscapes, as if painting the mysterious worlds that lie between the beats. Others crank the machinery of the dance floor back into mystical frenzy. Now, I believe the best way to experience a live performance is in the same room …

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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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"Look, [darling significant other], it'll even be totally at home in our modern decor!" Photos courtesy the artist.

Flying Saucer UFO Controller, Ultrasonic MIDI Instrument; Coming as Kit [Arduino]

The desire to be a little different in a band might drive someone to choose a custom guitar, or maybe, you know, change their hair. For some, it drives them to build a giant flying saucer they can play like an instrument by waving their hands. No, MIDI controller, don’t destroy Earth. Klaatu barada nikto. That’s the case with Helsinki-born artist Tommi Koskinen, now doing this as part of an MA thesis in the Media Lab of Aalto University. Another strange gestural controller? Yes. But this flying saucer might just land a bit closer to home. This is just the …

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Finnish vocalist Jolea onboard again for this one. Yes, to make collaborations happen, keep those backpack studios handy.

A Music Rig in a Backpack, A Single Made in an Attic: Recue + Jolea “Blame”

Recue X Jolea – In the Attic, Session #1 – Blame from recue on Vimeo. There’s something to be said for the rucksack studio. When we last caught up with Finnish artist Recue, our friend Riku Annala was stranded in an airport hotel room, but managed to coax a live jam out of the experience. This time, mobility wins again, in a collaboration with Helsinki-born vocalist / singer-songwriter / producer Jolea. http://www.audiobaum.com/artists/jolea/ It’s a reminder that you don’t need to wait for the studio setup of your dreams. You can produce just by carving out a small amount of space …

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The Hand-Cranked, Antique MIDI Sequencer (High-Res Images, Details)

Music, ephemeral and fleeting, to many of us wants tangible embodiment, some physical sense of the tug we feel from its unseen vibrations. We’ve regularly featured the image of the circle as a sequence; even as music software prefers left-to-right piano rolls and scores and tracks, it’s a logical shape. Here, Finnish sound artist Martin Bircher looks to a last-century invention to build a mechanical expression of the sequencer. From an antique music box, comes MIDI, as in the video above. And if that’s too discordant for you, have a look at the original video below. Even in comparison to …

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Chip Strikes Back: Finnish Label Sues Timbaland, Nelly Furtado

MusicRadar’s Joe Bosso reports that the long-simmering controversy over alleged 8-bit music intellectual property theft has come to a lawsuit: Timbaland, Nelly Furtado sued for plagiarism [MusicRadar] The suit is being brought by the Finland-based Kernel Records, which acquired the song Acidjazzed Evening. The case again puts musical sampling in the spotlight. Timbaland’s response in 2007, which you can read in the MusicRadar article, basically amounted to “I didn’t know where it came from, so it’s not theft.” Oh, and then there’s this gem: “It’s from a video game, idiot.” That’ll be Timbaland demonstrating that he doesn’t understand what 8-bit …

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