windows

Windows startup sounds transformed into amazing ambient music

Microsoft celebrated the 20th anniversary of the release of Windows 95. But the best part of all of this may be this oddly eerie, beautiful set of ambient tunes, slowing down the best-known Windows branding by 4000%. This is what Brian Eno sounds like when you Brian Eno-ify Brian Eno. While we’re at it, it’s worth revisiting some of the startup sounds over the years.

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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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light_show_0

Watch the Clavilux, an ethereal light organ from 100 years ago

Long before trippy visualizers and computer animation, before liquid light shows or laser parties, Thomas Wilfred was building organs for visuals. He called the art they produced Lumia, and the instrument Clavilux – a keyboard for light. That first instrument was built all the way back in 1919. But unlike a lot of the spectacles of the era, this one is still hypnotic today, even after all the advances of cinema and computing. Drawing on a tradition that included displays of fire and fireworks, and the ability to place sound “at the command of a skilled player at a piano,” …

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pierreschaeffer_grm

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):

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robert_hood

Techno innovator Robert Hood tears up as he recalls younger self

It’s easy to look at music’s superstars, the people on pedestals – regardless of genre – and see them as something beyond human. Yet the reality for most musicians, the lifeblood of what making music is, is people who are vulnerable. It’s wrapped up in the human experience. The thing is, we don’t always get to see famous artists go off-script, especially when getting personal. But that’s what happens in a moving interview with Robert Hood at RBMA Tokyo last year, posted yesterday to their Twitter feed. Robert Hood has been a seminal figure in techno across several decades, still …

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IDOW Gear 6 (Eurorack)

I Dream of Wires Doc Gets Premiere; Here are Pics and Facts

The modular synthesizer, that wild animal covered in wires, has seen its once-endangered populations flourish and its revival in full swing. And now, it has its own movie. Some years now in anticipation, and with limited screenings here and there at film festivals, I Dream of Wires gets a wide release. The film is surely a landmark, but the launch is likely to be, too, bringing one of the modular synth’s greatest composers (Morton Subotnick) back to Berlin, Germany for a gala release performance, joined by video artist Lillevan. Mr. Subotnick is a rare figure, having made an impact not …

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clapping

Free Clapping Music App Teaches You Steve Reich – And Rhythm

Before there was Rock Band and Guitar Hero, there was Steve Reich’s 1972 Clapping Music. And like all etudes, it’s a game. Now an iPhone app makes it an actual game.

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EMT 140 MkII

UAD’s EMT Plate is Basically Magic; Watch Videos Explain

Say what you want about what’s real or what’s authentic. The beauty of digital sometimes is that it lets us do things that would otherwise be impossible – or at least far out of our reach. I don’t know about you, but I certainly can’t my hands on an EMT 140 plate reverb. Practical, though, it ain’t: sure, you can covet “analog” gear, but this thing is a physical plate reverberation that’s the size of a car. You know “room” reverbs? This is a reverb that’s the size of a room. It weight 600 pounds. (Not figuratively. I mean it …

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elektron

Only One of These Czech Analog Synth Drum Machine Organs Exists

Before Elektron – you know, the Swedish drum machine company – there was Elektron. The Elektron-83 is the creation of Jožka Říhák, legendary in Moravia as a genius electronic instrument builder. His Syntezátor – 83 Unisono went into production, but the ELEKTRON – 83 is one of a kind. We got a live performance and demo/explanation of the creation at Brno’s Synth Fest hosted by Bastl Instruments and their new Noise Kitchen shop in the Czech Republic. And this thing is simply amazing.

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wrkshp

The Soul of Czech DIY, at Noise Kitchen Nerdfest and Party

From gear to music, welcome to the capital of DIY. Music technology makers and musicians from the experimental to the party end of the spectrum are gathering soon in central Europe, and they’re worth a listen and look wherever you may be. Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic, was already home to some terrific musical experimentation and the mind-tickling inventions of Bastl Instruments. Now, it’s getting its own shop – NOISE.KITCHEN – and a festival to celebrate, called Synth Fest. This is about as unlikely a place as you’d expect to find such things, but the whole …

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