Fract, Synth Studio as Game, Looks Better, Sounds Better, Wants Your Vote [Video, Gallery]

Amidst its future-arcade, glowing 3D architecture, Fract is a game. In a broken-down “abstract world,” you are piecing together puzzles, reconstructing machinery. But Fract is also a synth studio, one that promises the ability to create your own synth instruments, design your own sounds, and eventually piece together your own music. If Tron let you imagine a fantasy inside the computer, Fract takes you inside your synth. It’s like getting sucked into Reason. (Damn, now I want to meet Thor and Redrum…) I called it Myst meets music making when we saw it last year. Since then, the Montreal-based indie …


How Music Label Vlek Makes Ephemeral Sound Physical, While Giving Away Their Catalog [Gallery, Interview]

When music moved from live venues to radios and recordings, artists had to find a way to respond. Now, labels struggle to be heard in the era of Spotify and streaming, always-on, always-overabundant media. We could talk grander themes, but the possibilities of this conflict are most vivid in a microcosm. Call it post-digital or what you will, but being digital now means something different. For Belgian label, Vlek, that reality takes a number of forms, suggestive of the direction for independent electronic music. And so, in Ssaliva’s release for Vlek, executed by Dimitri Runkkari (part of Brussels’ design studio …

Vienna in the snow, ca. 2008. Happy winter, Austria - this EP is a fitting soundtrack. Photo (CC-BY-SA) gego2605.

Cool Yule: Smart Austrian Ambient Electronica Album, Benefits Homeless

Call it experimental electro, ambient house… whatever the genre, Parque is smart, chilled-out music from Vienna. Full of cinematic cross-cuts and sharply-contrasted sound design, the EP “Amerika” is bathed in pleasantly-mellow melancholy. It’s only a debut, but an impressive one. The love and time put into production shines through. We’re pleased to introduce CDM reader Bene, aka Parque, to the site and listeners. And the Bavarian-born, Vienna-based Bene has a nice benefit in mind as he makes his holiday-timed release: All incoming proceeds until end of this year (minus Bandcamp and PayPal fees) will be forwarded to a Viennese homeless …

Yep, this is about to get as awesome as you think it is. Time for some Belgian bots banging beats.

Shiny Robot-Jamming Gear Pr0n, Cassette Labels: The Future Is What It Used To Be [Awesome Video]

Disappointed our electronic music present didn’t turn out the way it was supposed to when it was still the future? Sad you didn’t get shiny, knob-laden synths, robot masks, blindingly-colorful lens flares, funky-crisp electro jams, and beloved music distributed on cassette? Well, you could sit around getting all wistful, or you could simply make that future happen. Belgian synth collective Chrome BrulĂ©e chose action over nostalgia, constructing the universe seen in glossy Roland and Sequential ads from Keyboard Magazine, circa 1983. And the music video they’ve produced is just the teaser: stay tuned for music on, of course, cassette tape. …


Pixels, Sublime, as Side-Scrolling Gaming Meets Tabla Music

BARABARIBALL TRAILER from noah on Vimeo. Aesthetics can collide, just like a sprite against a wall – to coin a game phrase. Glitchy digital can live alongside traditional South Asian music. Just watch this oddly-soothing, moving footage of a wonderful-looking side-scrolling game for a window into the creative energy of yet another indie game wonder. I could say more, but instead I’ll just watch the thing again. (Sorry.) Thanks, anonymous reader tip! bbb beta footage for no quarter 2012 music: Tabla solo by Kanai Dutta


A Haunting Chilean Single, Accompanied by Found Sound Videos [Listening + Vimeo]

In their lonely, intimate single “Pillatu,” the Chile-based duo of Vicente Espinoza and Alfredo Duarte offer some haunting music-making. Entitled El Gato, la Virgen & el Diablo (“the cat, the virgin, and the devil”), the artists are also making a kind of multimedia presentation of the work. Thanks to these CDM readers for sending in their work. Fire up the SoundCloud-based music, and you can play a series of video loops in a grid that sits alongside the music. It’s a nice window into their sonic world, with short video clips of sounds from bicycles to Korg Monotron. In fact, …


Sword & Sworcery, Remixed By Japanese Game Music Legends [Preview]

This may sum up how I feel about this project. It almost certainly embodies how composer Jim Guthrie must have felt, as a who’s who of Japanese game music takes on his work. Photo (of the Tokyo Game Show, natch) (CC-BY) kanegen. Sword & Sworcery, the iPad album-as-game, has gotten plenty of love from this site before, and recognition for friend-of-the-site composer Jim Guthrie. (See Jim open up about what happened behind the scenes.) Now, it seems the Canadian songwriter and soundmaker will meet up with some of the biggest game composers from Japan in a unique remix album. In …


A Massive Bundle of Game Music, the Magical Machinarium Score, and the Quiet Indie Music Revolution

As musical old-timers repeatedly sing the sad song of the supposed demise of the full-length album, a funny thing has happened. Lovers of games have taken up a growing passion for game music, and in particular the indie score for indie games. Independent game publishing and independent music composition – from truly unsigned, unknown artists – go hand in hand. Indeed, the download and purchase charts on Bandcamp are often dominated by game scores. Fueled by word-of-mouth, these go viral in enthusiast communities largely ignored by either music or game reportage. Far from the big-budget blockbuster war game, these scores …


Parallax, Upcoming Game, Warps Space with Style

In case you haven’t yet seen it make the rounds, the upcoming indie game Parallax deserves special aesthetic mention. A kind of monochromatic take on Portal, its slick, cool, understated world opens windows through space, producing inverse chromatic values that give cues to the overlaid spatial dimensions. It’s a glimpse of the kinds of visual worlds possible with digital rendering, and in a teaser trailer, at least, appears to be a minimal aesthetic triumph. These spatial visual languages have suggestions for the world of live visuals, too — all the more so as projection mapping produces spatial illusions and 3D …


Celebrating the Adventurous and the Indie in Berlin's Gaming Scene, Fri+Sat

There’s no question independent gaming has found its voice. But it’s increasingly finding something else: a scene. And that doesn’t just mean people huddled quietly around glowing displays in quiet isolation. Artists, advocates, and aficionados gather to celebrate gaming as an art form, as an event. It’s not just some aesthetic or nostalgic experience of gaming, either, as with the explosion of 8-bit: people are gathering for love of mechanics. And as the game mechanic and art venture in new directions, that is an exciting time for digital visual and interactive culture, generally. One such hub is A MAZE. Centered …