verbatim

If Record Store Day is Dead, Maybe We Can Celebrate Music

Record Store Day has come and gone over the weekend. But 2015 will surely be remembered as a year in which Record Store Day did less to increase the visibility of vinyl records so much as to increase the visibility of how much everyone has grown to hate Record Store Day. And that seems it’s time for a post mortem – and a call to action. I watched closely the reports from this weekend, just to see if there was anything positive – and there was. For every Foo Fighters (Grohl was this year’s ambassador, weirdly), there’s something with more …

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generalmidi

MIDI Piano Roll Turned Into Platformer: Adventures of General MIDI

It turns Logic Pro into a game level editor. It makes a standard MIDI file into a terrain of platforms to explore. As you navigate, your footfalls on piano roll-visualized notes procedurally generate sound effects and music. And it turns General MIDI — and Super Midio, and my personal favorite, the SysExorcist — into heroes. It’s Adventures of General MIDI, a platformer made from MIDI files. And it’s the creation of Will Bedford, who quips that he fails miserably at his own game in the YouTube video and gives up at the end. Even more unlikely (arguably), it’s built in …

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Attempt to Make A Music Award That Matters, But Winning Act Calls It ‘F***ing Insane’

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Amidst award shows like the Grammies, Canada’s Polaris Awards seemed to be something different. As Internet over-abundance has made some feel big media has grown yet more powerful, Polaris seemed oozing with indie cred. Metric, Purity Ring, and Metz played the award ceremonies. Tegan and Sara, Zaki Ibrahim, and A Tribe Called Red got shortlisted. There’s even a cute infographic explaining how the selection process works, and it seems legitimate. (One potentially-bad sign: cloned, hipster-like characters in the image, vintage eyewear present, people of color entirely absent. But designers will be designers.) Past …

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Playable 8-bit Game as Promo, and Okkervil River’s Nostalgia-Drenched Wonderlands

The standards for advance promotion of an album may be getting a little … intense. Photos? Track listing? Advance music video? Streaming preview? How about a complete, playable adventure video game in your Web browser, free, with charming graphics and an original chip music soundtrack adapting the songs from the record in 8-bit form? Due out Tuesday, September 3, Okkervil River’s LP “The Silver Gymnasium” isn’t shy about its nostalgia factor. The whole record is a re-imagining of frontman Will Sheff’s 80s childhood. That might be a bit much were the browser game not so beautifully executed. Sheff created the …

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An Exquisite Corpse Game Jam, Made with OSC, Starts this Week

Game jams have already begun encouraging creative, improvisatory game jam, by gathering designers and artists together and motivating them with tight deadlines. But here’s a new concept: what if all the games could talk to one another? What if they could all respond to the same basic game inputs, but with differing results? Using the network protocol OpenSoundControl (OSC), a game jam this week tests what would happen. Each game is both transmitter and receiver, dealing with the position and color of a player (in two-dimensional space), and position and color of an “entity” (be that an alien, a hamburger, …

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A Grand Piano of Light, Illuminating Rachmaninoff [Arduino+LEDs]

Nail the finger fireworks of a particularly hard Rachmaninoff, and you may well feel like blasts of light are shooting out of the piano. But to give the audience the same sense, a DIY instrument made of cardboard and homebrewed responsive lighting translates that keyboard virtuosity to an optical show. Reader Aylwin Lo sends us this project out of Canada: Rachmaninoff’s Étude-Tableaux Op. 39 No. 6, as performed by YT//ST’s Brendan Swanson from Aylwin Lo on Vimeo. I’m with YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN. We’re an art collective based in Toronto and Montreal that is most known for making music and …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 Brulée 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. …

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