This holiday, take a holiday to another world, chip music style. An imagined NES dimension, here envisioned (CC-BY-SA) torley.

Cool Yule: Toy Company’s Free 8-bit/Lo-Fi Christmas Album, from Montreal

Whether you’re unwrapping presents or not, we’re spending these twenty four hours unwrapping some beautiful musical gifts: have a Yule that’s cool with fine, free/donationware releases. First in the queue… If unimaginative holiday music on endless repeat has given you the winter blues, the fine folks of Toy Company have the cure. The Montreal-based collective and 8-bit/lo-fi techno party series have brought together a number of friends with original tunes and noise and digital-fuzz-laden covers of tunes like “Joy to the World” and “Silent Night.” Meticulously-rendered, quirky music is free to hear, or thank the artists by naming your own …

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The record lives. Drip.fm co-founders Sam and Miguel merge subscription ease and affordability with high-quality downloads you keep, and even closer connections to artists and labels. Think "fan club," not "utility company." Here, Sam tells CDM how it came about. Photo: Will Calcutt.

Saving Downloads, Fans? Sam Valenti IV Talks Ghostly’s Drip.FM As Label Roster Grows

PK: In the digital age, subscription services or “all-you-can-eat” music gives passionate listeners nothing if not flexibility and a wealth of music. But they can also distance music lovers from labels they care about – and the reliance on streaming threatens to sever the special relationship you have with albums that are really special. Drip.fm is different. Founded by Ghostly International, it has the affordable monthly subscription rate – but with actual high-quality downloads you keep. First launched with some of Ghostly’s boutique-quality electronic music, it has since expanded to some big names. Today could be a watershed moment for …

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Chroma + Gris-Gris: Sequence Live with Anything, Then Let the Synth Run Wild [Reaktor]

Chroma and Gris-Gris are a beautiful pairing, a performance-savvy sequencer and a “monster” monosynth. If the release of the OSC implementation we dreamed of in Reaktor wasn’t enough to make you dust off NI’s modular flagship, this will surely do the trick. It’s the work of Montreal-based Reaktor guru Peter Dines, veteran CDM contributor and one of our favorite patchers anywhere, on any platform, for his eminently-practical, sonically-lovely creations. And just as the Chrome sequencer goes nicely with the Gris-Gris synth, the whole thing comes alive with Reaktor’s new OSC implementation, letting you perform sequences – alone or in public …

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Pedestrians, Re-Sequenced: Walking Becomes Audiovisual Performance in “LAYERS”

LAYERS (teaser) / Audiovisual performance from NOhista on Vimeo. In Madeleine L’Engle’s seminal science fiction novel A Wrinkle in Time, the characters on Camazotz walk in time to a pervasive beat produced by a telepathic brain known as IT. In “LAYERS,” synchronistic pedestrians are perhaps not so sinister. But in a more playful experiment, those figures become part of an audiovisual composition, a kind of beat-sequenced set of sampled walking people moving through volumes of color. The result is that an otherwise ordinary, mundane feature of the landscape becomes aesthetic. Pedestrians, in other words, need not be pedestrian. More information:

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Pedestrians, Re-Sequenced: Walking Becomes Audiovisual Performance in "LAYERS"

LAYERS (teaser) / Audiovisual performance from NOhista on Vimeo. In Madeleine L’Engle’s seminal science fiction novel A Wrinkle in Time, the characters on Camazotz walk in time to a pervasive beat produced by a telepathic brain known as IT. In “LAYERS,” synchronistic pedestrians are perhaps not so sinister. But in a more playful experiment, those figures become part of an audiovisual composition, a kind of beat-sequenced set of sampled walking people moving through volumes of color. The result is that an otherwise ordinary, mundane feature of the landscape becomes aesthetic. Pedestrians, in other words, need not be pedestrian. More information:

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Immersive AV Dome, as Pole Meets ZEF&SANTO at Mutek, SAT [Featured Live Set]

Pole @ SAT /// MUTEK 2012 – Immersive visual performance by ZEF&SANTO from Santo / Pharaoz /antoine St Maur on Vimeo. You want to see movies on the big screen. (Ask recent Batman ticket buyers.) You want to hear sound on big, loud, clear PAs. So, if you want one way to make audiovisual performance more satisfying, sorry to point to the projection toys, but make it more immersive. You want it to fill the space. In short, you want the giant dome at Montreal’s SAT. And that’s what visualists ZEF&SANTO did in a terrific live collaboration with Berlin’s Pole …

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Immersive AV Dome, as Pole Meets ZEF&SANTO at Mutek, SAT [Featured Live Set]

Pole @ SAT /// MUTEK 2012 – Immersive visual performance by ZEF&SANTO from Santo / Pharaoz /antoine St Maur on Vimeo. You want to see movies on the big screen. (Ask recent Batman ticket buyers.) You want to hear sound on big, loud, clear PAs. So, if you want one way to make audiovisual performance more satisfying, sorry to point to the projection toys, but make it more immersive. You want it to fill the space. In short, you want the giant dome at Montreal’s SAT. And that’s what visualists ZEF&SANTO did in a terrific live collaboration with Berlin’s Pole …

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I Dream of Wires Documentary: Carl Craig, Canada, and Modular’s Beauty and Agony [Video]

Like the modulars themselves, an upcoming documentary on these analog synth beasts has been lurking behind closed doors. But that won’t be the case for long. “I Dream of Wires,” the crowd-funded documentary that probes artists’ fascination with making music by connecting patch cords, will see a public showcase at Montreal’s MUTEK Festival. This and an upcoming film release, atop a big get-together in New York, could make this a proper summer of modular. In anticipation of their showcase, MUTEK has released two significant excerpts from the film. One talks to Carl Craig, Detroit techno legend, top. Craig describes how …

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FRACT, 3D Adventure Game Played with Synths and Sequencers: Myst Meets Music Making

FRACT is a curious combination of music studio and puzzle game, merging elements of games like Myst with the sorts of synths and pattern editors you’d expect somewhere like Ableton Live. You have to make sounds and melodies to solve puzzles; by the end of the game, say the creators, you’re even producing original music. The work of a small student team out of Montreal, FRACT looks like it has all the makings of an underground indie hit – at least for music nerds. As the creators describe it: FRACT is a first person adventure game for Windows & Mac …

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mhdmtl-hard_at_work

Face Sequencers, Sonic Databases, Automatic Dub Remixes, More Montreal Music Hackday Hacks

Hard at work at Music Hack Day Montréal. Ed.: Hacking Web databases to search sounds, remixing tools to automatically create dub tunes, cameras to sequence and analyze images in new ways, Montréal hackers have been busy. Trevor Knight writes from the event with full coverage from Canada, latest outpost of this global music coding phenomenon: Music Hack Day made its first appearance in Canada at the end of September, painting the event with a Montréal flavour, complete with bilingualism, Montréal-style bagels, and even an appearance of Stephen Harper in a hack. Over the Saturday-Sunday event, musicians, programmers, and hackers scramble …

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