Thumb piano + Pd.

Making Music Tools Free in Pd, from Hacking to Playing: Photos and Impressions, Amsterdam Thursday

There is something phenomenal happening in music technology right now. We usually write about the developments in the tools themselves. But if you want to see new things happening, it’s often more about the spread of knowledge around those tools. Watching it evolve is astounding. Focus only on the tools, and the landscape hasn’t changed much in recent years. But look at the people using them, and it’s a different story. More and more diverse audiences of artists are picking up the skills to use these inventions, and they bring a wider range of aesthetics and ideas to how they’re …

Brian Eno, portrait by Ralf Schmerberg.

Watch Artists Talk The Meaning of Life, Musically Speaking, In Free Feature Film [RBMA]

Forget for a moment that Red Bull Music Academy has for a decade and a half assembled some of the world’s greatest-known artists to dish out inspiration. Forget that that’s Brian Eno’s mug staring back at you with cool, blue eyes. Forget that music “careers” can span from finding ranking in Forbes to scraping together extra tips at a bar to own a synth, with a gulf in between that can make people question the value of their work. If you’re reading this, it means that you probably have made music your life. You build music and maybe you build …


Roedelius: Dreamy, Ambling Ambience from an Electronic Legend [Videos]

Born in a very different Berlin in 1934, Hans-Joachim Roedelius is an elder legend of electronic music and piano, having helped establish the voice of German krautrock and ambient music. (Think Cluster, Harmonia, Aquarello.) But today, he is as active in international tours as artists a fraction of his age, freely pouring out music. And his music itself is liberated, flowing … youthful. In a live performance captured recently at the arts space Mindpirates, he joins the excellent multi-instrumentalist and bass player Armin Metz. With great swells of sound amidst a nicely-meandering, jazz-like exploration of notes and mists, the two …


In Berlin, Mixing Learning with Hacking and Jamming, All With Free DIY Tools

CDM and yours truly team up with Berlin arts collective Mindpirates next week for a learning event we hope will be a little different than most. The idea behind the gathering is to combine learning in some new ways. The evenings begin with more traditional instruction, as I cover, step-by-step, how you’d assemble beat machines, instruments, effects, and video mixers using free software (Pure Data and Processing). But, we’ll go a little further, opening up sessions to hacking and jamming, finally using the event space at Mindpirates to try out ideas on the PA and projectors. By the last night, …


Weekend Listening: Sounds from the Mindpirates Silo, And DIY Music Scene’s Underground Nooks

Off the commercial radar, playing often for the joy of it, the bedroom producers and music DIYers are now making their noises live and in person. Secluded in “home studios” no more, production is real-time, in the basements and abandoned spaces at the corners of the music scene. And yes, Happy Record Store Day – but that’s even more reason to cap off an afternoon of record shopping with an evening of live music, wherever you are. And we can offer some sounds direct from artists to discover here. Our friends at Mindpirates can help. We visited the archaic concrete …


Sound from Silos: Live Experimental Audiovisuals Rumble a Man-made Cave [Watch, Listen]

Electronic music, once the exclusive domain of secluded art laboratories, has now made the connection to clubs inseparable. The rhythms of dance music draw a line from popular to research; the software and gear marketed for dance musicians cross-pollinating with more experimental tools, as music styles, textures, and timbres mix, as well. But now, finding a way out of that club context and its restrictions may be as vital as the emergence from the lab years ago. Making connections between Argentina and Germany, across an international collective of audiovisual artists, FxLD’s latest project invades a disused grain silo in Berlin. …


Experimental Electronics Listening: Biosphere, Samuel Kerridge, Bill Kouligas + PAN

Humming and hypnotic, moving from dripping-wet ambient surface textures to pulsing thumps like an alien rave in the next room of your spaceship, the sounds of these three artists and their taste in tracks can pleasantly absorb an evening. We have not one but three four separate mixes, enough experimental electronic sonic diversity that you should feel absolutely free to skip my textual ramblings and queue up some music to hear. In fact, I actually hope that you don’t know many of the artists featured, as simply encountering sound is a great pleasure – us journalists with our waterfalls of …

The man who fell to Earth: Onyx Ashanti's open source hardware/software rig goes beyond computer and acoustic interfaces, alike, in a cyborg-style, enhanced human performance rig. Photo Zin Chiang, at CDM's recent Open Source Music showcase at Retune, Berlin.

Way Out From Behind The Laptop: Onyx Ashanti’s Beatjazz-Augmented Body Keeps Mutating

Onyx Ashanti can wail on a computer with no computer in sight, jamming on a virtual horn that has vanished into his cyborg-like live rig. Mouthpiece and head-mounted prosthesis replace what might have been a virtual reality helmet – or sax reed. Sensors in his hands provide more expression. But this isn’t just some flash and theater, while a laptop dutifully plays back loops. It’s really an interface to performance, both surfing samples and providing live solo lines improvised in real-time, in mid-air. For a sense of what I mean, check out the party hosted by Berlin’s Mindpirates, at an …