female pressure’s techno compilation is heavy, required listening

This is a compilation of female artists, but that’s not – at first – why it’s worth mentioning. I would write about this particular compilation anyway. It’s dark; it’s heavy. It’s full of names you probably don’t know but should. The compilation is out now on Bandcamp from Barcelona’s inventive and adventurous label Different is Different Records. If techno isn’t your thing, skip straight to Electric Indigo’s crackling granular universe, “109.47 b.” Susanne Kirchmyer is a master of turning granular instruments into rich ambient landscapes of sonic color and shape, and this is eight and a half minutes of that. …


Minimoog controller reminds us hardware, software go hand in hand

What’s an ‘app’? For years, it was an uphill battle just getting people to recognize the ability of computers to generate sounds. When Native Instruments was founded in Berlin in 1996, their name was a clue to where they imagined the future going. Propellerhead’s release of ReBirth in 1997 began a concerted effort by the Stockholm-based company to campaign for in-the-box emulations of gear – and their partner Steinberg would shortly thereafter push ReWire and its own VST. Now, it’s not so much the app as the map – the physical control given to software. Whatever analog versus digital debates …


The music Web is now so closed, you can’t share your favorite song

Jam Supercut from Matthew Ogle on Vimeo. Call it a jam session that has completely fallen apart. Having Web services go dark is certainly not news in this day and age. We’ve come to expect that Internet services won’t be there forever. (Google Reader, anyone?) But if you pull apart some of the backstory behind the end of a service called “This Is My Jam,” you’ll come across an unnerving reality of the way music on the Web is evolving (or devolving). This Is My Jam began life as a kind of hack – pick your one and only favorite …


Web MIDI and More Surprises You Didn’t Expect From Yamaha’s Reface

Yamaha’s Reface synth line are out now, with full details. You can dig through the site rather than have to do it here – but let’s look at what you might find surprising. It has Web MIDI, not just MIDI. Yamaha promises the line will connect to Google Chrome via Web MIDI. Now, theoretically, that’s possible in the latest Chrome builds with any MIDI keyboard, not just the Yamaha. But it suggests that Yamaha are atypically embracing bleeding edge tech (previously seen only at hackdays and such) and making it a standard feature. And there’s more: “Soundmondo is a free …


Hands-on Video of the Yamaha Reface Series

Extensive videos emerge to give you a hands-on look at Yamaha’s new electric piano / synth / organ keyboard line. They put some of the company’s favorite instruments at your fingertips in an uncommonly compact package. Our take:

Remember when?

Apple Music Deja Vu: The Same Stuff, But a Single Package

It’s not just deja vu. You’ve seen this stuff before. The basic ingredients of Apple Music are all repackaged, refined, or integrated from existing ideas. It’s Beats Music meets BBC Radio 1 meets Apple Ping, in an iOS and Android app. What you haven’t seen is all of those ingredients in one place, working together. And that’s not a trivial matter – it might change nothing, but it could change everything. So, one by one, here what’s feeling like a trip down memory lane:


The Single USB-C Connector is Coming – But It’s Not Bad News

For years, the steady disappearance of ports from our computers has been unquestionably a bad thing for musicians. Things we used have been disappearing: Audio input jacks. Dedicated FireWire connections. Extra USB ports. And I’m not just talking Apple, here, either – slimmer and lighter PCs have often dumped connectors you needed, leaving us with a tangled mess of adapters and incompatibilities. Get a bunch of laptop owners together, and you’re lucky to connect anything without a Santa Claus-style bag of spaghetti. So, music and audio users can be forgiven to being resistant to change, because some of those changes …


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 …


The Ghost of Friedrich Nietzsche Reviews Tidal Streaming

After a press event briefly quoted famed philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, I’m pleased to announce that the Ghost of Friedrich Nietzsche today will make his review of Tidal, the new streaming service. It’s a surprise, of course – the master of perspectivism doesn’t normally take time out of his day for something like this! So I’m honored. Here’s Fred: Art is not merely an imitation of the reality of nature, but in truth a metaphysical supplement to the reality of nature, placed alongside thereof for its conquest. Did you see how they ripped off Spotify’s interface? Here, look at this image …

I tried this test once, took a lunch break, came back and tried again. Totally different results. Mainly, it taught me that I mostly don't want to listen to this music, and The Killers are a victim of the Loudness Wars.

This is the Only Thing You Need to Know About “Hifi” Tidal Streaming

So, in case you haven’t heard yet, there’s a new “hifi” streaming service called Tidal. Don’t waste your time watching the weird press event with Madonna and Daft Punk, congratulating themselves like they’re at the Grammies. Don’t let yourself be mesmerized by the desaturated music video in which Jay Z’s friends all get together to drink champagne and talk about “making a stand.” Don’t worry about the European startup that made the tech, or sweat the pricing. Don’t even hand over your credit card in order to start a free trial. No, the only thing you need to do is …