Learn about Reaktor from experts in this two hour video

It’s a marvelous time to be a musician. You can imagine a musical instrument, a compositional invention, and then realize that idea in short order. So I was glad to get the chance to emcee an evening of discussion with Reaktor experts, including the folks who built the tool, last month in the software’s hometown Berlin. That discussion ultimately was partly about Reaktor, but partly about the act of instrument building itself – meaning there were insights for anyone interested in working with electronics or software to dream up new musical tools.


Finding beauty even in fiery oil refineries: meet Jonáš Gruska

From oil refineries to electromagnetic fields to bats, meet an artist from Slovakia discovering beautiful new sounds. Interview – and CDM events in Berlin.


Confidence, humanity, and drumming: Kiran Gandhi interview

It’s clear right away that Kiran Gandhi is an “always-on artist.” We’re sitting down with the drummer/singer/electronic musician/businesswoman at Ableton’s Loop conference, and as she reflects on the acoustics of the outdoor tent where we’re recording, she sings an impromptu recording into her phone. There’s even a lyric reminding her to write about tents. The tone is set for our whole conversation: as Kiran longs for a higher-fidelity phone microphone, technology alone can’t keep pace with her spontaneity.


A tour of musical inspiration in Moscow from Pixelord, Novation

Bridging the worlds of bass music and video games, Pixelord is a Siberian-born artist transplanted to Moscow. In a new video from Novation, he takes the English manufacturer on a tour of his sources of inspiration in the Russian capital. This is of course by no means a complete tour of Moscow or its scene – that’s like having one person show you around The Netherlands for nine minutes. (Actually, literally like that.) But you do get a nice little taste of Alexey Devyanin’s personality, in the midst of a new album he’s working on.


Let’s talk consent: how to make nightlife safe from harassment

Eletronic music as a medium is now interwoven with nightlife culture, even in a lot of the experimental end of the spectrum. So that means for those of us who care about the medium, it’s time to face a reality about night venues: a lot of people, particularly women, don’t feel comfortable and safe. Talk to regular clubgoers, and you’ll hear an unnerving number of tales about harassment. We’re not talking people just getting a little aggressive – we’re talking being groped repeatedly on the dance floor.


Want new sounds? Come explore spectral resynthesis

Theoretically, digital sound can sound like anything. And I do mean anything: at the frontier of what is conceptually possible, digital representations can produce any sound. Despite this, so many of the sounds we hear, well, the same. Dealing with that kind of generative freedom is no minor challenge. And that could explain the cult-like dedication of some sonic explorers to the sound environment Kyma. Kyma isn’t the only tool that can do spectral analysis and resynthesis. But it has a special history of working with data in this way, both as one of the first tools to do so …


As PRS battles SoundCloud, what does it mean for your own music?

PRS for Music, a UK performing rights organization, at the end of last month sued SoundCloud for copyright infringement on behalf of its members. The action may prove a decisive moment for the Berlin-based streaming service. It represents a collision between SoundCloud’s approach and the organizations involved in administering copyright, and more broadly, between the conventional models for sharing and monetizing music and those evolving on the Internet. I spoke to representatives from PRS and SoundCloud to try to get greater clarity. Those responses were naturally a bit guarded, as the two are actively engaged in legal action. However, there’s …


Native Instruments CEO, SoundCloud CTO talk music’s future direction

With each creation tool, each means of broadcasting audio via the Web, the force of music technological access accelerates. What was once limited to an elite able to make use of studios and labels spreads to more corners of the globe. But what will that democratization mean? Earlier this summer, I got to speak to two people whose companies have been instrumental in the ways in which people make and share music today. Eric Wahlforss is co-founder and CTO of SoundCloud; Daniel Haver is CEO of Native Instruments. Those jobs keep them pretty busy, so this is the first time …


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 …


Mix your weekend with these songs that inspire Sofia Kourtesis

Sometimes the narrow apertures of musical genre can be a dead-end for inspiration. You often just can’t find a way to kick-start your creative process by listening only to songs that sound like you want. So, mixes really ought to be mixes. They ought to be personal. And even for producers and DJs, listening ought to be a pleasure. This weekend, we invite back Sofia Kourtesis, the globe-trotting German-Greek-Peruvian producer and DJ, to share some of her sonic touchstones. (She was part of a big mix-up of mixes posted in March, and has also shared her techniques for mining flea …