The Arcane Arts of Experimental Instrument Design: 3DMIN [Videos, Gallery]

From the dawn of civilization, musicians could always be counted on as the ones inventing the truly weird technologies to make noise. Here – bang on this. Blow into this. It’ll make some sound; it’ll be noisy; it’ll get everyone’s attention. And so, the art of such designs continues. New instrument design explorations have gone hand in hand with electronic music research from the moment electronics (and, eventually, digital technology) were capable of real-time performance. But if 3DMIN follows in the footsteps of those programs, it also seeks to intertwine questions about other fields and disciplines. And tonight in Berlin, …

Life is short. We're going to die. Listen to good music. (CC-BY-SA) David Dennis.

For Allhallowtide, Here Are Hours of Brilliant Underground Music to Make You Feel Undead

Happy Hallowe’en, and the entry in the northern hemisphere into short days and long, dark nights – perfect for getting lost in music listening and music making. That means it’s time to start queueing sounds to pass the time, and as it happens the CDM inbox has a selection just arriving. These are mixes unafraid of shadows and adventurous sound, and — well, the best is to let you listen. Leave the cheesy horror Theremin to someone else, and let’s enjoy something that is truly and deliciously evil in music. Lower Order Ethics, aka Szilvia Lednitzky, can send chills up …


Folk Dub: Listen to Greg Gives Peter Space, Imagine Futures Past [CDM Presents]

Greg Gives Peter Space – A Clear View (Video Teaser) from Erased Tapes on Vimeo. Left with the artifacts of the analog age, the digital revolution now fully commonplace, artists are treating vintage techniques and musical materials as creative colors. Freed from the iron grip of nostalgia or historical accuracy, a record can be simply an ode to the things you love. That feeling is especially alive and well at Erased Tapes, the London-based record label, an imprint experimental in tastes but sharing a focused philosophy of music making. Certainly, their roster includes plenty of things with “post-” as prefix. …


In Living Rooms, Homes, Beautiful Music as a Ritual: Olafur Arnalds; Matthew Flook; Free

For centuries, music was something made in a living room, made at home. It was a brief fluke of the 20th Century that music came out of a heroic process in a hidden-away studio. But if the gold-plated, magical record is threatened, some artists are trying to bring the daily ritual of home music making back. ├ôlafur Arnalds and Matthew Flook are each making gorgeous, cinematic-ambient tracks, and each have made projects that involve doing so on a regular basis in their homes. Let’s listen. Arnalds has been making some of the finest scores anywhere, and now has earned the …


New Leaves: A Mix of 2013 Artists and Music to Inspire Your 2014

Ed.: If you, like those of us at CDM, find yourself again at the precipice of new musical possibilities, now is a wonderful time to get you bearings. It means as producers and music lovers that we try to find sounds not just to imitate or accept passively, but that can push us further. In German, there’s a wonderful New Year’s greeting that has no direct translation – “Guten Rutsch!” means literally a good “slide” into the new year. Matt Earp aka Kid Kameleon helps us navigate that slide, from the old to the new, that’s at the heart of …


Mixtape Alpha: An 8-bit Stylophone Synth in a Cassette Tape, $42

Electronic instruments really are becoming like folk instruments. US$42 now buys you a small board that you can touch directly, one that’s immediate and from which anyone can coax sounds. You can jam with it, pocket it; it’s affordable and direct and playable. And it all fits in a plastic cassette tape box. The re-released Mixtape Alpha (the first run sold out) looks like a real gem. It’s a crowd-funded run this time – eschewing Kickstarter for the Portland-based Crowd Supply. An ATmega328p-powered 8-bit synth (that is, using the chip that’s also in the Arduino, among others), Mixtape Alpha has …


The VJ Rigs That Power Momo (for deadmau5), Eclectic Method, Live [VDMX]

What’s making performance video shows tick for the like of live visuals for deadmau5 and Eclectic Method? And once those tools are in order, how do the artists express their ideas live? Vidvox, makers of Mac live visual tool VDMX, have kicked off their own blog offering some insights into how people are actually making stuff with their software. We saw one very nice example portfolio yesterday working with VDMX. And here are two more excellent examples. First up, our friend Momo the Monster, who last guided us through his live Glitch Mob show, is now working on deadmau5. The …


Shine: An LED Wall Looks Great, Tours Easily, And You Can Build It [Open Source Hardware]

Brilliant in more ways than one, this LED wall is affordable, practical, beautiful, and completely open source, from physical design to software. Hans Lindauer of Portland, Oregon sends us his project, constructed with collaborator Alex Norman for the band STRFKR, on tour with it now. Check it out in action: It defies the idea that LED wall tech has to be pricey, the domain only of big, commercial acts and specialized makers. There are a number of clever features engineered into this DIY wall:


Ambient Listening: Cory Allen + Marcus Fischer (USA) Track Congruities in Two Gorgeous Tracks

In two ambient works, musicians Cory Allen (Austin, Texas) and Marcus Fischer (Portland, Oregon) chart connected sound worlds mined from shared samples, in a sweeping opus of a musical environent. Released yesterday on February 22, coinciding with birthdays of the artist and Chopin, it generously has the you’ve-just-got-to-buy-this price of US$2.22, well worth adding to your downloaded collection. TWO / TWENTY-TWO by CORY ALLEN + MARCUS FISCHER The first track is nothing if not womb-like. It begins with a warm, pulsing hum, delicate tones peeking above the blur. Then it gradually succumbs to binaural fuzz, producing a whitened atmosphere of …


New Audiovisual Community in the Pacific Northwest

Calling Portland, Seattle, Vancouver BC and beyond — Momo the Monster has just moved from Los Angeles and the comforting company of the Los Angeles Video Artists to Portland, Oregon. Join the discussion at and shape the future of VJing and AV Performance in the Northwest US. Or at least get together for monthly meetings of screenings, beer drinking and AV Geekery.