We revere the modular synthesizers of the past, but that ignores important innovations both in how modules are designed and how people play. Apart from the fact that Eurorack is quite a lot slimmer, lighter, and cheaper than its predecessors, we have vastly expanded the range of what modules do in ways that lend themselves to live performances. That’s not to say it’s for everyone – a modular performance still involves a lot of pre-patching for people, and there’s clearly something to be said for computers and standalone gear. But that’s perhaps partly the point: the modular solution can stand …
In the age of the algorithm and overabundant streams, the mix might be more important than ever. Mixes can give us insights into tastemakers’ and producers’ imagination; they can be intimate and human at a time when so much of our music stream is faceless. But then, with so many mixes out there, who curates the curators? Meet a new feature on CDM, finding mixes across various genres. To kick off the series, CDM’s Zuzana Friday gives us her seasonal picks. The mixtape may have gone digital, but it’s no less relevant. -Ed.
There’s a Eurorack craze on. Synth fever continues to spread. Instrument and software makers keep innovating. And there was reason to time all of this new gear madness to the beginning of this month – with not one but two massive trade shows, each a short Bahn ride away from one another in Germany. It’s almost too much. So, we’ve put our favorites all together, to keep it all straight.
raster-noton is already a beloved imprint for those who care about out-there sounds. But if you thought you’d heard every click and oscillation that name could bring, you probably haven’t heard Kyoka – the Japanese-born artist who always manages to wander out into new territory. And even before we had a chance to get the least bit tired of her last outing, she’s fresh from a trip to Stockholm’s EMS with something altogether different. CDM’s Zuzana Friday invites Kyoka over to charm and wow us all over again.
It’s genuinely hard to describe the Superbooth in words. The synthesizer lovefest dreamt up by Andreas Schneider and team in Berlin was a collision between a festival and a trade show, scattered in impromptu fashion through the chambers of the former East Germany radio facility. Visitors wandered from knob-twiddling displays into quadraphonic concerts, from combined performance-demos by modular makers and artists to encounters with legendary synth pioneers over a queue for beer. And the whole week was an exercise in overabundance. Far from the linear experience of a convention floor, the maze of studios and halls at the Funkhaus venue …
Eat, Drink, Shop, Relax is the opposite of the mindless consumption suggested by the title. The new EP from Lucy is a sumptuously gorgeous electronic pleasure, one that literally grows out of meditation.
SoundCloud has become a popular punching bag for the music press. The formula runs something like this: choose a screaming headline predicting the company’s doom, run some out-of-context business numbers and some negative quotes by an unnamed source, then (presumably) rake in clicks.
I suspect many electronic music aficianados have the soundtrack for the film The Revenant on repeat who haven’t even seen the film. Any new Alva Noto/Ryuichi Sakamoto collaboration will get the attention of lovers of minimal electronic achievement, with good reason. And The Revenant might just be the perfect landscape for that collaboration. Its marathon portrait of bleakness and intense, lonely revenge make the film a platform for a perfect Alva Noto/Sakamoto score.
The path from past to future has become delightfully twisted in our modern age. Some of the best new technologies mix old techniques with new. They treat the computer and electronics not as a separate entity, but for its potential hybridization. And one great example of that is gamut inc, a project that explores instrumental-electronic interactions. Founders Marion Wörle and Maciej Sledziecki came to visit us at the MusicMakers Hacklab we’re hosting at CTM Festival in Berlin. And they brought the most extraordinary inventions along.
This could be the NAMM of modular synths in the Eurorack format. The question is, with vendors big and small crowding into this niche market, what will stand apart? Waldorf’s answer is to draw on the company’s history (hello, wavetables!), and in an announcement this week, to offer up a range of modules that fit into a keyboard. The upshot: an all-in-one solution.