modulations

Watch a full-length electronic documentary from the 90s, and more free videos

America’s on-again, off-again love affair with electronic music – often, with idioms it helped create – is endlessly full of unexpected twists and turns. But all this bears examining. For some, it’s a journey back to the music that first inspired them. For others, it’s a chance to learn, perhaps, how where music has been might help lead to where it’s going. It’s a chance not just to repeat electronic music past, but go beyond it. And if you’re looking for something to entertain you this weekend, you could do worse than Modulations, a documentary from 1998. Back then, it …

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A powerful version of the Studio One DAW is now free

The very fact that a tool is called a “digital audio workstation” rather than “music making software” tells you something. Historically, these have been tools that do a lot of things in a fairly complex interface. And so a lot of DAWs seem to be counting how many windows and views and tools they can provide. PreSonus’ Studio One is among a handful of tools that has bucked the trend, putting everything in a streamlined single window view. The notion is to provide the multitude of features producers demand, but keeping everything close at hand and operating quickly. And now, …

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Drum machines in your browser, and more places to find Web Audio and MIDI

Open a new tab, and suddenly you have a powerful, sequenced drum synth making grooves. Give it a shot: https://irritantcreative.ca/projects/x0x Or read more. (This latest creation came out in June.) This is either the future of collaborative music making or the Single Greatest Way To Make Music While Pretending To Do Other Work I’ve ever seen. But, as a new effort works on sharing music scores in the browser, it’s worth checking up on the Web Audio API – the stuff that makes interactive sound possible – and connections to hardware via MIDI. And there’s a lot going on, the …

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Space Sounds from ESA are Now Free to Use on SoundCloud

What does it sound like when a comet “sings” into a magnetic field? Or when you rotate a 600-ton deep space observation station? What if you could hear the radar echoes from a probe descending onto Saturn’s moon Titan? Oh, yeah, and what’s the sound you hear that tells you the International Space Station is on fire and you should get into that docked Soyuz RFN? Well, the European Space Agency has released those and more, from sonifying the inaudible to letting you hear the voices of the people who are leading some of the human race’s latest exploits into …

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Free Plug-in Makes Music from Serial Numbers – And Sounds Awesome

Careful what you joke about on the forums. It just might turn into reality. Somehow, it all started with some discussion about what software serial numbers “sound” best. Apparently developer SzcZ / Fairly Confusing Waveforms decided to take the idea and run with it. The result is a free plug-in that’s good enough that you can safely ignore how it’s working and just have fun creating gorgeous, percussive, granular cinematic soundscapes. You could easily make a whole album out of this stuff. Listen:

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Grab Some Free Analog Drum Samples, Featuring MFB-522

60 24-bit WAV drum samples with presets are yours for the asking, free. And the source is worth mentioning on its own. If you want a hardware drum machine that’s compact, unique, and affordable, your options are surprisingly few – analog or otherwise. But one that tops the list is the Berlin-made MFB-522 Drum Computer. Now, it seems that part of the whole point of “analog” in drum machines is having something you can tweak directly. But… well, there are those times when you don’t want to pack cables and power and boxes. And, for that matter, sample kits can …

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1GB Free Music Mixed by Function Will Take Your Brain to Berghain

Techno right now has a problem. It’s kind of a nice problem to have. There’s some music that’s just terrifically well-produced in the spotlight, so much so that it’s tough to say no to it. It’s a bit like having the number to a Chinese takeout place and knowing every time they deliver it’s going to be delicious. Yeah, tonight you should really cook a nice, heal– oh, come on, though, sesame chicken. What I mean is nicely summed up by the latest mix from Function. This is about as perfect a snapshot you’ll find of a particular mode in …

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Add Classic 80s Yamaha Drum Machine Sounds to Your Set, Free

Ready for some poppy, retro Cocteau Twins feeling in your Mac or Windows plug-in collection? The aptly-named “Vintage Drum Elements” does the job for free. The sound source for the plug-in drum machine is the classic Yamaha RX5, with its distinctive, synthetic sound sets. And while this is advertised for your synthpop and chillwave 80s fans, you get a range of cutting timbres you could easily apply to something else – not just Depeche Mode throwbacks. There’s also more than one kit. Four basic drum selections are included, including a harsher “synthetic” option and and “ethnic” variant, plus some really …

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Free Version, Linux Support: 7 Cool New Things About Tracktion DAW

With users loyal to some great tools, how do you get attention as a different music production tool? Well, a $60 price, a solid free version, Linux support, and some cool features will definitely get you somewhere. So don’t overlook the lesser-known options yet – if they can make you happy and get your work done, the choice is up to you. Tracktion is one of those underdogs. Here are some reasons it’s gotten my attention. 1. You can use it for free, then spend $60 for the latest version. On Windows, Mac, and Linux, Tracktion 4 is now completely …

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Here’s Why the New Version of the Free Ardour 4 DAW is Great

It’s easy to make an argument to any cash-strapped producer that a free DAW is good news. And it’s easy to convince a free and open source software advocate that a free-as-in-freedom DAW is a good thing. But that’s not enough. If we’re going to talk about software, let’s make sure it’s worth using. Ardour, the free and open source DAW, has always been powerful. But it hasn’t always been seamless to use – especially outside of Linux. Ardour 1 and Ardour 2 were incredible feats of engineering, and some people used them to make music, but let’s be honest …

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