Attempt to Make A Music Award That Matters, But Winning Act Calls It ‘F***ing Insane’

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Amidst award shows like the Grammies, Canada’s Polaris Awards seemed to be something different. As Internet over-abundance has made some feel big media has grown yet more powerful, Polaris seemed oozing with indie cred. Metric, Purity Ring, and Metz played the award ceremonies. Tegan and Sara, Zaki Ibrahim, and A Tribe Called Red got shortlisted. There’s even a cute infographic explaining how the selection process works, and it seems legitimate. (One potentially-bad sign: cloned, hipster-like characters in the image, vintage eyewear present, people of color entirely absent. But designers will be designers.) Past …

A Cage music walk - or, perhaps, a model for a pro-Cage protest march today - CC-BY Steve Bowbrick

John Cage at 100: A Celebration in Words, Listening, and Prepared Piano iPhones

“I Have Nothing to Say and I Am Saying It,” a John Cage title, might well be the creed of the blogger – doubly so this music technology writer. So, here we go again. The notion of John Cage at 100 is humbling in itself. The idea that Cage is a century old cements the awareness that the radical modern consciousness has a history, that the revolution has arrived and settled in for the winter, repeating itself in cycles of life and death like an endless tape loop. But to say it as concisely as possible, Cage’s legacy in electronic …


Weekend Listening: Kishi Bashi Shows the Simple, Elegant Art of Looping

For all the sophisticated synthesis and remix tools out there, for a lot of musicians, the best thing sound technology can do is just give them a way to record and play. Looping is a simple technique – it involves recording a snippet of sound, playing it back, and then adding layers. But used masterfully, it can become transformative, producing rhythms and layers and letting solo artists accompany themselves. “How do I get started looping?” is a question I hear from a lot of musicians, particularly those who are already expressive with their instruments and voice. There’s a technical answer …


Coming Home: America and the UK, Dance Resurgence, Insanely Great Flying Lotus and Stones Throw

Techno originator Juan Atkins. Now, dance music may finally be coming home properly to stay. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Adrien Mogenet. Any one of us, myself included, may break at any moment into armchair analysis of the music scene. But it’s worth asking an expert. Taste-setting, deeply influential DJs Pete Tong and Gilles Peterson of BBC Radio 1 recently stopped by National Public Radio’s thoughtful music program, All Songs Considered. Joining the American hosts, the BBC stars play favorite tracks and weigh in on the connections in electronica and club music in the US and the UK. The timing was appropriate: with …


Gold Panda on Sampling; Moby on Drum Machines

Something has happened to the mystique of the musical artist, as the superstars have faded. It seems people are increasingly interested with understanding process, in understanding what’s inside the magical black boxes of sound. Jess Gitner hosted Derwin Panda, aka Gold Panda, at National Public Radio’s studios for Morning Edition. She talked to the artist about the basics of how he constructs music from samples. It’s actually quite nice to me to see a story that’s elementary enough that it could be understood by non-specialists — it’s all to easy to forget that for the vast majority of even the …