The making of a fanciful album imagining a post-apocalyptic future

What would your future clone think of you now, looking back across an apocalyptic reshaping of humanity? That’s the question posed by the 2005 novel The Possibility of an Island, and it resonates in Franz Kirmann’s new album Elysian Park. This might sound bleak, but it isn’t. Kirmann’s new record paints a science fiction sound portrait in dense textures and hyperreal washes of color. There are stuttering and spectacular rhythms making bold shuffles across the music. It’s headphone stuff for sonic dreaming, relentlessly futuristic and endlessly engaging. It’s a world you’ll want to enter and reenter, an addictive time warp. …


Arturia’s DrumBrute is a $499 hands-on analog drum machine

Boom! No, that’s not the sound of a kick drum – it’s the sound of the analog drum machine getting friendlier and cheaper the same way analog monosynths have. Arturia’s DrumBrute is US$499 (449€), and it’s loaded with hands-on sound controls and extra features. At that price and with all this stuff to play with on the front panel, this is guaranteed big news. The sound DNA come from Arturia’s other Brute instruments – so expect edgy sounds and, naturally, another Steiner-Parker filter. (That particular filter design has shown up on the whole family.) Here’s a demo video sent to …


BAM is OTO Machines’ musical, retro reverb box

Reverb: it’s something everyone needs. And yet in hardware, you almost always see the same couple of boxes. It seems about time for a new player. And OTO Machines, known for their BISCUIT 8-bit effect box and filter, might have just the candidate. BAM, coming soon, emulates the reverbs of the 70s and 80s. And in the demo, it sounds amazing.


Eowave’s Ribbon 2 synth-controller is an updated classic

Amidst a bumper crop of new, multi-dimensional hardware, it’s a wonderful time for the expressive controller. But Eowave’s unique boutique instrument is one in the classic mold: a long, touch-sensitive strip that can act as a synth or controller. It’s now updated in a new model called the Ribbon 2.


The new Arturia MatrixBrute is 100% analog, 100% insane

Well, f*** minimalism, apparently. We’ve seen monophonic/duophonic synths. We’ve seen new analog keyboards. What we haven’t seen is analog keyboards that seemed to be designed when an inventory of pads and knobs exploded – in your face. And that’s what the new Arturia MatrixBrute is. It looks like a fake Photoshop mockup you’d see on a forum, perhaps. But it’s real. All real. Close your eyes for a second and let your retinas recover, and let’s sort out what is actually even happening here.


IRCAMAX 2 effects put sonic science into your Ableton Live sets

IRCAM is Paris’ legendary research center. It’s the place where the original Max was born, and it’s still a hub for some of the brightest minds in sound in the world. IRCAMAX 2 is a new set of effects and instruments for Max for Live. And it does some amazing stuff – though maybe the best way to demonstrate that is not to explain, but to let you listen. They’ve made not just demos but some beautiful music, via artist Najo:


Take a beach holiday on an alien planet with these ambient videos

You’re under stress. Trapped in a fluorescent-lit prison of your own making, chained to your desk behind the cold glow of your computer. You dream of being a futuristic cosmonaut-tourist, truly getting away from it all. French-born photographer/filmmaker Diane Drubay has what you need. Her hyperreal, dreamy videos use real seaside footage, warped into acidic colors. To gaze into her sunsets and rippling surfaces is to give yourself the holiday in the Alpha Centuari system you’ll never have. (Okay, it really is all Earth – maybe Earth is space-ier than you thought.)

Horty Shooter

Idyllic nature meets heavy beats on an emerging Paris label

We talk about the idea that online democratization should be unearthing new musical gems – but you have to find them first. CDM contributor Zuzana Friday is scouring the Web, looking for the collectives and labels and artists who stand out of that virtual noise. First up: Paris’ Lpc. With the growing popularity of contemporary (post)techno, there have been many collectives, platforms and labels forming around the globe who want to promote and share their own angle on this music, its aesthetics and its attitude. Amidst that overwhelming superabundance, one of the collectives that genuinely deserves your attention is a …


Dreamy music videos take you under the sea, light painting in air

Floating Points – Silhouettes (official video) from floating points on Vimeo. Two videos for us today transport us to other imagined worlds. ‘Silhouettes’ from Floating Points is already lush and fantastic, synths crooning atop buttery strings and vocals, cinematic extravagance for a new generation. It’s sexy stuff. And for the video, Barcelona-based experimental filmmakers Pablo Barquín, Junior Martínez, Nathan Grimes, and Anna Diaz Ortuño make some optical fireworks in the form of some seriously sophisticated light painting. At one point in the video the camera pulls back on the rig, and you see that, while the process goes digital, it …


If you use samples, then wish Pierre Schaeffer a happy birthday

It’s French composer Pierre Schaeffer’s birthday, and if you’re using any form of sampling, it’s worth pausing to remember him. At 105 years of age, he’s more relevant than ever. Listen, to his Cinq études de bruits : Étude aux chemins de fer. Amazingly, this 1948 piece (made when my Mom was born) sounds like it’d still be a good listen on SoundCloud today (thanks, Yuri Spitsyn):