Back to Back Mixing on Traktor S8 is a Pleasure; Also, Techno!

This is, first and foremost, a plea for the pleasures of back-to-back DJing and mixing (for podcasts and the like) the same way. The controller, being the S8 but also any related hardware, plays a supporting role, not the other way round. But like so much else in the world of electronic music technology, solo too often trumps ensemble. So let’s talk about gear – and why I was surprised to like something as huge as the S8 more than I thought I would. I finally convinced my techno-making musical partner Nerk to lug the S8 out of the offices …


Sophisticated Rhythms: 2 Mixes, 2 Approaches, For Your Listening Pleasure

Mixes have become another essential reflex of this age of overabundance, a way of navigating in material form the rhythms that come our way. I turn this weekend to mixes by two close friends. Matt Earp, aka Kid Kameleon (top), has been a CDM contributor in the past; his background spans music and technology and a wide breadth and depth of knowledge in those areas. Noah Pred is simply one of the finest DJs and producers I know, the ever-tasteful mind behind the massively underrated but prescient label Thoughtless Music. Each mix is singular in purpose, full of the sort …

nilsstudio_Alexander Schneider_06

Hear Beautiful, Melancholy Christmas Mixes from Nils Frahm

Nils Frahm is a gem in music right now, a sensitive and reflective voice. And infused into everything he does is an unwavering sense of taste. If you’re feeling the weight of the endless rotation of overplayed saccarine-sweet Christmas tunes, Nils can cure what ails you. For the second year in a row, he’s released an achingly mellow mix of favorites he’s dusted off from his vinyl collection. Curl up under the crackling analog fuzz of those records and settle in. Each has obvious touchstones of piano inspiration; last year’s he described as “your mobile campfire.” We have this year’s …

Life is short. We're going to die. Listen to good music. (CC-BY-SA) David Dennis.

For Allhallowtide, Here Are Hours of Brilliant Underground Music to Make You Feel Undead

Happy Hallowe’en, and the entry in the northern hemisphere into short days and long, dark nights – perfect for getting lost in music listening and music making. That means it’s time to start queueing sounds to pass the time, and as it happens the CDM inbox has a selection just arriving. These are mixes unafraid of shadows and adventurous sound, and — well, the best is to let you listen. Leave the cheesy horror Theremin to someone else, and let’s enjoy something that is truly and deliciously evil in music. Lower Order Ethics, aka Szilvia Lednitzky, can send chills up …


After 100 Releases, A Label You May Not Know, But Should [Thoughtless Interview]

Noah Pred didn’t just run his own label. He has run a label that has traced a lot of the finest music of the past years, making its way from Toronto to Berlin. And he did it while juggling his own career as a techno producers’ producer, a DJ’s DJ. At 100 releases, he’s got plenty to say about what that musical journey has meant – and not just the easy bits. I pressed Noah to reflect on what he really thinks of the flow of the music industry’s power and resources to the top, and the conflicts that can …

King Britt pays his dues to Sun Ra. Photo : Keith Hodges.

100 Years of Sun Ra: Space is the Place, Now More Than Ever [King Britt Mix]

In a world of 24-hour news cycles, keynote speeches, new gadgets replacing those from six months ago … dire warnings of melting ice sheets, starving people, the end of energy and food and wildlife … it’s easy to lose site of optimism about the future. Yet there are those sounds that can be futuristic and radical in a way that doesn’t fade. Sun Ra’s records and performances sound as revolutionary today as ever, even though last week the artist would have been one hundred years old. This is a futurism unlimited and un-aging – like space itself. I imagine it …


Outpouring of Respect for DJ Rashad, Footwork Pioneer; Listen and Watch

“Music has lost a legend,” rapper Danny Brown puts it. This week, DJ Rashad was found dead, in a major loss to modern music. There is not yet a conclusive cause of death. The Chicago artist was best known as a leading pioneer of footwork, but beyond that at age 34 was deeply connected to musicians in a variety of genres. Official statements already put this more eloquently and succinctly than I could, so instead I offer only my grief and condolences, and those statements alongside video and music of his work. (Rashad will close out the Hyperdub 10th anniversary …

reliq at full tilt during a live set, bending time and space. Photo courtesy the band.

Playlist: Anika and Moderna Bring Sonic Caffeine, reliq and Erika Open the Airlock

Monday is a perfect time to try to shift moods with music, to change the mix. So here’s a melange of Monday mixes … mmmmmmm. (Good God, I’m glad we have music to start the week, as words are generally failing me.) Here’s a bit of what we’re cueing up here – from deep, perk-you-up sounds from Anika and Moderna to richly-diverse experimental sounds via reliq and Erika.

You know, a happy-go-lucky party venue for the summer. Um... Berlin style. Photos courtesy Berlin Atonal.

Dark Shadows: A Selection of Sounds and Images from Berlin’s Atonal

Only Berlin would go this dark, musically speaking, in second half of … July. Atonal Festival, an event founded in a very different city way back in 1982, has been resurrected. And the sounds set to echo through the concrete cavern of a former power station represent the cross-currents of an international scene of experimental music. No longer about what happens in Germany (the artists come from every corner of the globe), Atonal – like winter’s CTM Festival – represents an angle in electronic music that is growing in popularity but decidedly anti-commercial, adventurous without necessarily being overly cerebral. It’s …


From Spain, Abstract, Ambient Mix and Transcendent Images [Listen, Gallery]

If your ears and spirit need an ambient reboot, you could do worse than this gorgeous, abstract wash of sound pieced together from two wonderful Spanish artists. From bzzzbip, aka multimedia artist Antònia Folguera, and about:blank!, a photographer/filmmaker/artist, comes this project in sonic exchange. Antònia writes: About:Blank! and I exchanged songs via email and dropbox in order to put together an abstract ambient mixtape. When we were done with the selection I mixed the first half, and he did the other half. If it were an actual mixtape that would be side A and side B. this is the result. …