The mash-up of an 808 and the US elections no one asked for

I’d wager at this point 100% of you would rather think about drum machines than the American elections. But somewhere, vintage voting machines – they of the hole punch and hanging chads – await retirement. Here, they get a second lease on life. Instead of gloomily voting for Trump or accidentally for Pat Buchanan, they can produce sliced-up audiovisual jams. (Hey, if you’re going to have to watch debate clips ad infinitum, why not turn it into something you can dance to?) Maybe beat box voting machines would be the answer to get Millennials to the polls. So, basically what …


How might the Brexit impact music?

As in other industries, the UK referendum to leave Europe has sent shockwaves through the music community. My friends at Das Filter, a superb German-language online magazine about music and culture, wanted to respond. And so they invited a number of us to talk last week. I’ve found myself awkwardly running my mouth about UK politics, which, quite frankly, is not something I am in any way qualified to do, in the way that I would be able to talk about things on the American side. So, British friends – accept my advance apologies, please, and I’m keen to hear …

(CC-BY)  Sancho McCann.

Love in electronic music, more than ever

When tragedy is mass tragedy, it becomes political – whether we want to “politicize” it or not. So we’re left with the question of how to respond. Now seems as necessary a time as ever.


Meet the new faces of DJing in this unique video series

In the age of five- and six-figure commercialism, empty and sugary big-stage shows, “DJ” has for some become the butt of a joke, a self-caricature. But DJs are essential to music lovers – now more than ever, with a deep catalog of records past and an astounding volume of new work produced daily, with the DJs shaping tastes and tone in clubs and beyond. Even if you never step into a club, these are the people shaping the way your audience hears. And so it’s refreshing to see the work of Mint Berlin, a booking agency augmented by parties and …


7 Ways SONAR+D is Asking Bigger Questions About Music Tech

Lineup Sónar+D 2015 from Sónar on Vimeo. There’s nothing inherently wrong with asking the same questions repeatedly. Cyclical inquiries are necessary in any practice. And over time, you refine answers. But this year’s SONAR+D program promises something different. SONAR+D is the younger, digital discourse alongside Barcelona’s massive electronic music festival. SONAR itself deserves a lot of credit for helping create the template a lot of digital music and media festivals follow today. And as that has since blurred into a parade of headliners, SONAR+D added a lot of dimension. There were good talks, hacklabs, workshops, and a showcase of makers. …


Data Privacy, The Terrifying 3D Animated Movie by Beeple [+VJ Clips]

Can shiny, rotating 3D eye candy have a message? They can if they’re in the masterful hands of motion graphics / visualist wizard Beeple, aka Mike Winkelmann. His latest short is retina-singeing, brain-stimulating imagination of the issue of transparency and data privacy, in the age of Snowden and the NSA, targeted Facebook ads, Foursquare check-ins, and Google Glass. And it works not simply because it’s impressive animation, but because that impressive animation reminds us that the science fiction universe we imagined is around us now – a Ghost in the Machine, Serial Experiments Lain, cyberpunk universe that can be utopian …


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 …


Time To Act? Sobering Stats and Call for Change on International Women’s Day [Report, Editorial]

Announcing their findings in a wide variety of languages, femalepressure, a 56-country network representing hundreds of women in music from bookings to DJing, have put the electronic music scene into numbers. In a report formally released today, they quantify the sinking suspicion that labels, festivals, and media outlets are badly lacking in female representation. Just how few women are there in top festivals, label releases, and the media? Few enough that when the numbers break 10%, the results “can be considered above average.” Press Release (English) [femalepressure] Full March 2013 Report [PDF; worth reading in its entirety to see where …

The 555 chip, imagined as delicious chocolate-covered graham crackers. And it was indeed a tasty chip, a major landmark in electronics. Photo (CC-BY) Windell H. Oskay.

Inventor of 555 Dies; Remember Him with an Atari Punk Console, Circuit You Can Make

Hans R. Camenzind, the Swiss-born engineer who worked in the United States, is responsible for major advancements in electronics and circuit design, but perhaps none so great as the 555 chip. This single integrated circuit is one of the most ubiquitous ever created, but even more importantly, has been for many a curious youngster, electronics hobbyist, or musician a window into the world of electronics. It can be a key to a world where you make your own electronic creations, rather than just relying on some distant manufacturer to produce them for you in a sealed case. And, oh yes, …


MegaUpload Raided; Do You Feel Your Future as a Creator is Brighter Yet?

Anonymous 2. And, uh, jeez, if you like uptime, you don’t want to annoy Anonymous. (CC-BY-SA) liryon. Well, that happened. It’s a surreal episode that seems not to have any clear winners, as the US government on one side and hackers on the other face off over what is and isn’t freedom online. The mystery is, what will be the long-term outcome for people making content – or, for that matter, do these kinds of dramatics even really have any logic in your work at all? While the music tech industry was holed away in the palm tree-lined walls of …