Michal at work.

Conversations in live techno from the Polish underground

Techno is a thread in Europe that can bring people together, and be a lingua franca. That phenomenon can earn detractors and champions alike; the common currency threatens to devolve into sameness. But one thing I’ve found looking beyond centers like Berlin: there’s extraordinary talent on the horizon, answering to the beacon capital techno cities. If techno is giving people musical commonality, it’s also encouraging people to push their music such that they can extend beyond a hometown or home residency.

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Legowelt turned Amiga floppy samples into a free drum kit

Enough with pristine, immaculate in-the-box digital production. Let’s get back to grime and dirt. Gorgeous distortion is on offer any time Legowelt is on a sound system live. So it’s great to see the same approach in a free sample pack. This is not a “Top Deep House Production Kit.” It’s samples Legowelt dragged off of old Amiga discs, cranked to be even more evil.

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It's all acoustic technology. But, at last, it's 21st century acoustic technology. Photo: CDM.

Watch Una Corda, a software piano with a difference

The piano has been living with a beautiful legacy, but that legacy can double as tyranny. The Steinway Model D, favorite instrument of mine that it is, has also frozen the technological development of the keyboard instrument. And that’s why the Una Corda is different. Built custom by David Klavins, and associated with that builder’s collaboration with pianist Nils Frahm, this lightweight piano is unlike any you’ve seen or heard before. And now, you can get a taste of playing the real thing with a software instrument.

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Sakamoto and Alva Noto again create electronics, scoring masterpiece

I suspect many electronic music aficianados have the soundtrack for the film The Revenant on repeat who haven’t even seen the film. Any new Alva Noto/Ryuichi Sakamoto collaboration will get the attention of lovers of minimal electronic achievement, with good reason. And The Revenant might just be the perfect landscape for that collaboration. Its marathon portrait of bleakness and intense, lonely revenge make the film a platform for a perfect Alva Noto/Sakamoto score.

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gamut

Discover peculiar retro futuristic machines from gamut inc

The path from past to future has become delightfully twisted in our modern age. Some of the best new technologies mix old techniques with new. They treat the computer and electronics not as a separate entity, but for its potential hybridization. And one great example of that is gamut inc, a project that explores instrumental-electronic interactions. Founders Marion Wörle and Maciej Sledziecki came to visit us at the MusicMakers Hacklab we’re hosting at CTM Festival in Berlin. And they brought the most extraordinary inventions along.

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holotone

Meet Holotone, the out-there new label from Daniele Antezza

With galaxies of new sounds out there, we return to certain hubs to point us in stimulating new directions. And Daniele has done it again. We’ve heard some of the upcoming noises from Holotone, a label whose name (no kidding) draws from particle physics, and we have reason to be excited. CDM’s Zuzana Friday goes all in for an in-depth interview with plenty of music to go with the words. Apart from his work as a half of Dadub and his mastering output with Artefacts Mastering studio, Daniele Antezza produces personal and spiritual musical experiments under his Inner8 moniker. Recently, …

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There’s a new Technics SL-1200 coming, officially

The Technics SL-1200 turntable that defined DJing with record players has been awaiting a successor for some time now. Pioneer’s PLX-1000 is already earning some acclaim among DJs; it looks and feels like an SL-1200, but has great control and stability. Well, now it’s Panasonic’s turn. Having revived the Technics moniker for the hi-fi market, they had already teased the return of the SL-1200. Today via social media, that became official.

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Here’s the best 2015 music we’ll have on repeat in 2016

It’s an arbitrary division of time. But watching the calendar tick is a chance to review what really matters. And ignore the naysayers: this is a wonderful time for music, in quality and diversity, not just quantity. So, let’s use the beginning of the new year to queue up the best music from the old. We asked Zuzana and David from team CDM to contribute lists, too, as they’re each deep listeners. Let’s go back in time, and revisit the trends and sounds that we hope point to good things in 2016.

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The human voice and trance, as Lichens challenges how we listen

Much can be said and felt with the human voice without words – and that’s where Robert AA Lowe comes in. With his solo drone/improvisational project Lichens, or lending his talents as a singer, synthesist, and instrumentalist to the likes of OM, Lowe has carved out a unique and powerful space as an artist with a deep focus on vocal exploration.

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What’s the electronic music that’s not on the top 2015 lists?

It makes some people cringe each December as much as the appearance of WHAM! and Paul McCartney (oh, “Wonderful Christmastime”). It’s the end of year lists in electronic music. I have no particular problem with them, except that they’re limited in what they tell us. We get surveys that allow people to learn what the most popular music is by determining which music they … already think is the most popular. It’s like the musical equivalent of the Myers-Briggs test, or reading a horoscope. Sure, it’s entertaining, but the secret is, you’re basically just looking in a mirror and confirming …

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