Live 9.2 Answers Your Warp, Automation, Tuner, and Pad Wishes

It’s nice to get what you ask for. More than any recent release I can recall, Ableton Live 9.2 feels like it’s ticking off a task list of user requests. The software enters (a very stable, in my experience) public beta this week. There’s nothing earth-shaking, but I know CDM has enough Ableton users that this will matter. To get there, though, be forewarned: Ableton is dropping support for some older Mac and Windows operating systems. (10.6 and earlier / Vista and earlier, respectively.) If you make the cut, though, you’ll likely find some welcome changes in this free update …

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Perfect, Beautiful Music for Free From Erased Tapes [2014 in Review]

Erased Tapes was an endlessly inspiring label in 2014. With a singular, understated focus on quality and music orbiting the keyboard, the acoustic, and minimal post-classical introspection, they were a calming counterpart to the year’s steroid-pumped festival commercialism. And first and foremost, they were about records — not fancy design accessories, not “throw everything at a wall and see what sticks” experiments in distribution. (There’s a place for that, yes, but a record label about records was nonetheless refreshing.) And Nils Frahm was a consistent star amidst all of this, a favorite live performer cutting across genres, wrangling keys electronic …

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Paula Temple. Photo: Julia Gunther.

A Pounding Free Download, A New Label, and Lots of Other Reasons to Love Paula Temple

For me, one of the best things about 2014 was, simply, Paula Temple. The artist, on R&S Records, consistently demonstrates that you can combine a dedication to heavy, left-field but traditional techno with an expansive appetite for experimentation. And then there are her signature, over-the-top-in-a-good way bass detonations. Her DJ sets were each highlights – check out the Goûte Mes Mix below, heavily featuring her regular collaborations Dadub, Eomac, and Lakker (the latter whom I got to join Friday in Amsterdam, lovely lads). And then there was her audiovisual show with Jem the Misfit, a shining beacon at this year’s …

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Watch Holly Herndon Talk About Giving Laptops a Voice

American artist Holly Herndon has built an extraordinary musical performance idiom in her live sets and records. She blends deep rhythms with ethereal vocals, interweaving electronic and processed and human sounds with unusual fluidity. Her vocal chords are beautifully present, as are her own custom-made Max patch sound designs. But she can also draw the computer’s electrical vocal chords, harnessing, Nikola Tesla-style, the unseen electro-static and mechanical life of her computer itself. This is not laptop music meant to make the computer invisible. This is laptop music that recognizes that our strange metal devices have become new instruments, machines that …

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Watch Music Made from Clicky Keyboards

Click. It’s incredible how much sound is part of our world, sometimes in ways so profound we actually somehow miss them. Tech site The Verge wanted to spice up a story on the anniversary of IBM’s Model M keyboard, a product for which sound was an integral part of the experience. (That’s so true, in fact, that people will pay a premium for products like Das Keyboard that emulate it.) The result will come as beautiful music to touch typists everywhere, an etude in spacebars performed on a dizzying array of gadgets of the past. Producer John Lagomarsino goes into …

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Crazy Video: Giant Robot Cassette Kills Giant Robot iPod Classic

The iPod Classic is dead, sure. Now it’s really dead. And the cassette player outlasts its shiny Apple hipster-fashion-accessory counterpart with the non-removable battery – by kicking its sorry ass with a giant mecha fist punch to the face. Hold on… if it seems we may be losing our grip on reality, that’s just because we’re entering the wild world of cassette label / music collective Chrome Brulée. The retro-electro artists, comprising Tony Johnson, Michael Shredlove, Alex Mayhem, Kid Supreme, Aximus & Club Cannibal, make music that’s intentionally backwards-looking, and then release it on cassettes. And then they make crazy …

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Spinning Optical Drum Buddy and the Wild DIY Punk World of Quintron and Miss Pussycat

Deep in the Ninth Word of New Orleans lies the workbench and studio of one Mr. Quintron, the inventor-organist who has applied his DIY mad-scientist sonic production to a unique flavor of insistent punk. Mr. Quintron was this week in my home neighborhood in Berlin, accompanied by his wife Miss Pussycat – maraca player (maracaist?), vocalist, and puppeteer behind Flossie and the Unicorns. There was a puppet show. It was about cake – demon cake. There was the debut of a new inflatable puppet. Shirts came off. Sounds were made. It was hot. It was loud. Just as these puppets …

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Video: A Heart-Breaking Solo with Autoharp and iPad, by Jekka

The iPad as folk instrument – alongside an earlier iteration, the Autoharp. In a heartbreakingly lovely video, Jekka of Moscow goes acoustic with Samplr.

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A Dreamy Video, Remix with Loscil, and Other Christina Vantzou Gems

You know that feeling, on a hot day, of someone running an ice cube down the back of your neck? Or perhaps, going deeper, the dream of plunging into a frozen lake? That visceral, primeval emotion, that chill that prickles the hairs on your head – that might start to describe the eerily-lovely wonderlands of Christina Vantzou. Brussels-base artist Vantzou was the visual imagination behind The Dead Texan (with Stars of the Lid’s Adam Wiltzie), releasing an epic audiovisual masterpiece that paired cinematic ambience with video realizations. Vantzou has continued as a composer, with two records on Kranky Records (easy …

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Blood and Electronics: Don’t Miss the Stunning New Lusine Arterial Video

The new music video for Lusine, like the track itself, is almost sickeningly stomach-turning, it’s so beautiful. Director Christophe Thockler has made an epic opus. The last time we caught up with Thockler, he had set 36,000 photos of melting ice to the chilling music of Ben Neill and Mimi Goese. This time around, we’ve gone from ice to the titular blood. And that’s lots of blood – enough to attract vampires from a couple of cities away. 5 litters of blood rush through some 15 kg of components salvaged from TVs, phones, and computers, waste turned into what the …

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