Aphex Twin uses an obscure British synth to sell new EP

If you’re looking for the nerdiest way possible to market a music album, you’re going to have a tough time one-upping Aphex Twin. The Warp Records artist has used a rare British synth as the cornerstone of the record – one with a reputation for being impossible to use – alongside a speech synth for the ZX Spectrum computer. He and his label have been teasing the resulting EP with marketing that looks like a vintage synth flyer. But that’s not even the biggest measure of how serious he is about this. Aphex Twin went so far as to rent …

Loop points, at last. Side-by-side editing on iPad, too. Photos courtesy NI.

$5 iMaschine App Grows Up, with iPad Support, New Features – And Entertains Amazing Kids

iMaschine was always an intriguing drum machine, with uncommonly-simple on-the-go audio sampling and a workflow that lets you bring drumkits back into Maschine on desktop. But it was hampered by limitations: you couldn’t set loop points properly, and there was no version for the iPad. iMaschine 1.1 doesn’t give you everything you’d ever want, but it gives you enough in a free update (or US$4.99 new) that it could practically be called iMaschine 2.0. New in this release: Native iPad support, with a generous layout that takes advantage of the added space by putting editing and performing on the same …


In Mutemath Projection Mapping, Rabbit Hole Creative Melds Image with Stage Setup

MUTEMATH Stage Projection Mapping from Rabbit Hole Creative on Vimeo. A rectangle behind performers can work. It can fit the content, and the stage picture. It’s just that, very often, it — doesn’t. Projection mapping in the tour for the band Mutemath isn’t just a way to create the illusion of three-dimensionality. It’s also a means for creating a stage set in which projection is an integral part of the picture the audience sees. Rather than a jarringly-disconnected flat screen, the visuals are part of the overall stage design. What’s especially notable about this project is that it was produced …


Inside Mostly Robot Superband: Jamie Lidell + Shiftee + Tim Exile + Mr Jimmy + Jeremy Ellis + Pfadfanderei

The cast of characters crazy enough to try this. Image courtesy Native Instruments. In 1985, Thomas Dolby, Herbie Hancock, Howard Jones, and Stevie Wonder met onstage in Los Angeles to perform a Synthesizer Medley. (See video, bottom.) Can vocalist/electronic music legend Jamie Lidell (and keyboadist Mr. Jimmy), experimental sound guru and producer Tim Exile, champion turntablist DJ Shiftee, and “finger drummer” virtuoso Jeremy Ellis pull off something that epic, backed by visuals from Berlin’s Pfadfinderei? That’s what music tech vendor Native Instruments is hoping, as it debuts the “superband” Mostly Robot at SÓNAR in Barcelona in June. Now, when you …


For the Music Manufacturers, a Subdued Trade Show; For Nashville, Badly-Needed Relief

Nashville locals Jeremy Dickens (logickal) and Tony Youngblood were on-site this month for CDM to cover the Nashville’s NAMM show, the summer installment of the major music manufacturer trade show. The Summer 2010 edition of the North American Music Merchants trade show (Summer NAMM to most of us) has come and gone. For three days in humid downtown Nashville, members of the gear manufacturing, distribution, and retailing businesses converged upon the convention center to see the latest new merchandise being brought to market. This year, however, they did so against the backdrop of a city whose economy faces an uncertain …


NAMM Music Industry Meeting in Nashville Takes on Special Meaning

Nashville’s skyline, ringed in smoke from a fireworks show, in 2008. Photo (CC-BY) Jim Davenport. Nashville is a special place for music, and just as any natural disaster in the world hits musical communities, so, too, has recent flooding taken its toll on this American city. The NAMM summer convention, a top gathering for the musical instruments industry, will go ahead as planned in Nashville on the 18th through the 20th of this month. For their part, industry group NAMM says that they’ll pump some $13 million into the local economy. Other efforts: The MusiCares flood relief fund, targeting aid …


Musical Instrument Loss and Recovery After the Nashville Flood

Photo courtesy Guitar Center. They describe the scene: “A shattered Kay acoustic guitar (Circa late 1950’s or early 1960’s) sits on the floor of Soundcheck Nashville, waiting to be assessed for damage.” Wherever they occur in the world, disasters’ material impact can be nearly as emotionally and personally challenging as loss of life. Floods in Nashville, Tennessee have illustrated this vividly, as irreplaceable instruments at facilities like the legendary Soundcheck Nashville have born the brunt of the rising flood waters. For their part, Soundcheck has been running a flood blog covering recovery and equipment load out. National Public Radio’s All …


Beat Thang Drum Machine: Hands-on Tour with Creators, Rockwilder

Beat Kangz, the upstart drum machine maker out of Nashville, has been cooking up a new device for some time. That creation, the Beat Thang, is finally nearing production. It may not have a nameplate like Akai or Roland, but I can testify that this independently-designed gadget may nonetheless be one to watch. The hardware feels fantastic, appears to have the right pieces falling into place, and promises release soon. The founding team behind it blends backgrounds in areas ranging from hip-hop to computer science, and even production legend Bob Ezrin (that’ll be the Pink Floyd: The Wall Bob Ezrin). …