Akai artist Needlz set up this MPC+computer rig with Renaissance ... in a hotel room (to get out of the house). No, no standalone MPC hardware at the moment, but 1.8's software features might help you forget that.

MPC 1.8 Update Expands How You Play; Inside Look with the Developers

“MPC” these days is a name on a lot of Akai stuff, down to even various MIDI controllers that happen to have pads. But to die-hard MPC users, “MPC” means a way of working. So, workflow is vitally important. And MPC users who cut their teeth on Akai’s dedicated hardware have been waiting to see the software/controller combination really come into its own. Native Instruments’ rival Maschine got to the software game first, but now it’s a question of how the MPC can again set itself apart. That makes any software updates a big deal. You’d be forgiven for assuming …

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beats

Watch Carol of the Bells Transformed with Sampling Technique

Shorter days means longer nights making music. And Christmas songs on repeat means it’s time for some creativity. So even though it’s a holiday, let’s head to school – in the best possible way. Toronto-based Andrew Triple A sends us a quick beat-making video. It’s nice to see someone not just lean heavily on a single sample, but use that riff as inspiration to play. Whether this is your musical taste or not, there’s something you can learn here. And I was intrigued to look more into the melody behind this tune I’ve heard over and over again. I finally …

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Wu Tang Debuts Song in Hackable Form: New Track on Blend First

If the album business model is collapsing, the frantic rush to everything else is at least interesting. Hip hop as a genre, of course, came from a deconstruction and reconstruction of the album, from the early evolution of DJ techniques and sampling. So, the fact that Wu Tang is skipping the conventional release altogether is new, but it’s also connected to history. Sure, plenty of artists have gone for remix contests and the like. What’s different in Wu Tang’s case is that this time, the debut track “So Many Detailz” from their Parent Advisory will head straight to Blend as …

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Listen to This: Mute Speaker’s Jong Wuk Charity Album, Available on Liquid Noise

Enough gear. Let’s get some music to hear. From the UK to Cambodia, Rob O’Hara is making beautifully-crafted music we never want to miss. So a new record is absolutely time for attention – and time to bring in our friend and regular columnist Matt Earp, aka Kid Kameleon, to give a listen. I’ve written about Rob O’Hara before for CDM, about this time last year – he’s mega-talented and makes excellent, no-frills hip-hop head-nodders under the name Mute Speaker. All his tunes just kick and punch and spin in all the right ways. You can grab most of his …

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Cops on Fire: Crazy Russian Hip-hop-opera Theater, Played Live on Novation Launchpad

Imagine combining sampling, controllerism, opera, hip-hop, rap, cops, live theater, sound effects, school-play cardboard props, and radio plays, and then doing it all in Russian, and you’re getting in the ballpark of what “Cops on Fire” was like. As described in English for the 2010 Moscow trailer (translated by uploader Sasha Pas): The “Cops On Fire” show is a fusion of theater, culture and contemporary urban music. The genre of the show is “hip-hopera” (hip-hop + opera). Hip-hopera = live hip-hop arias + original decorations + stage tricks and choreography by professional artists. Got it? These guys are dedicated to …

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Gorgeous Beats from Philly’s NO SIR E, Ode to monome Love [Live Set, Sounds]

Faptronica? Trapmetal? Glitchfap? Fapdance? Genre labels make a fun muddle of things for Philadelphia’s NO SIR E. But his music is perfect for this time of the Northern Hemisphere’s summer, that feeling of diving out of a sweltering heat into the water. It’s refreshing, with the dirty, muddy bits in the bottom you’d want to stick your toes into. And then it glitches in satisfying distortion, a motorboat or jetski racing across the smoo… I’m sorry. It’s hard to write in the summer. (Or … well, you can Google what “fap” means, but that’s a bit less … musical in …

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lion

Finger-Drumming Video EP: Three Tracks, Played Live on MPD24, Zynewave Podium

We live in an age of finger drumming virtuosos, where drum pads are instruments. And so, while much of production is anything but real-time, here it makes perfect sense for three tracks to have accompanying live videos. The songs are each performances, something to be seen as well as heard. Peppered with samples from Bollywood, the EP Sacred Sounds is due out December 23 from Detroit-based producer/rapper JUST Muziq aka Lion. The artist says it’s a “controllerism-inspired” EP release, with music videos for each track showing off the connection of fingers to composition. Lion’s work is notable here, too, in …

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Created: Berlin’s Project Mooncircle is a Label to Watch; Releases Past and Future

If, in my opinion, you want to see how to run a label in 2012, look no further than Project Mooncircle (PMC). It’s based out of Berlin and was originally an offshoot of HipHopVinyl Records – a store I wandered into one summer day in 2004 and left, several hours later, minus a quarter of my summer tour earnings. The label bills itself as “specializing in the conjunction between electronic and organic music.” I could expand on that a little by saying that PMC’s music falls somewhere in the gray intersection between instrumental hip-hop, soul, and jazz, with a particular …

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WeLoveDjKoolHerc2

We Love DJ Kool Herc: Free Compilation for the Father of Hip-Hop

Saturn Never Sleeps, the band and label, released a new free compilation late last night to send love and thanks to DJ Kool Herc, the pioneering Jamaican-born DJ who gave birth to the hip-hop age in the West Bronx, New York City. I’m honored to have been part of the compilation along with a broad range of artists: DaM-Funk, Damon Bennett, Dego, King Britt Presents Sylk 130, Ursula Rucker, Lushlife, ZIN, Hezekiah, Soul Litchfield, Illvibe Collective, Rucyl, Shigeto, Galapagoose (recently seen here on CDM sporting the monome software he co-created), Ras_G, Chuck Treece, Suzi Analogue, and Stef Eye King Britt, …

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Tinchy Stryder and Crew on Ten iPads – No, Actually, It’s Really Good

I’ve begun to dread the appearance of iPad jams in my inbox; you may feel the same way. When affordable digital synths were new in the 80s, there were various embarrassing videos as vendors like Casio showed off the new capabilities. Listen! Who needs a real trumpet when you can use a keyboard that sounds like a trumpet? Sort of! Not really! But – it sure is amazing for what it is! Kind of! It sounds awful, but it is cheap and fake! It took years for people to appreciate those instruments for what they actually were, and then on …

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