The demise of Keyboard Magazine, after 41 years

Keyboard Magazine will cease to exist as a publication, after having been continuously published since 1975. And this isn’t just another “print is dead” footnote. Keyboard was the publication that defined commercial writing about electronic musical instruments. And whatever the logic behind the decision, the demise of Keyboard says something about the state of both publishing and electronic music production – and its absence will be felt. Keyboard will be rolled into Electronic Musician, with only the EM name surviving. Gino Robair will continue as editor-in-chief of EM. This is truly the end of an era – an era Keyboard …


New NAMM Music Gear in a Nutshell (English + Deutsch) with De:Bug

Photo (CC-BY-NC-SA) Henrik Berggren. De:Bug is one of my favorite reads in music technology. And while I can fake my way through French and Spanish, De:Bug is also the one non-English publication I read daily. So I’m gratified to get to write a byline for the publication, which someone was nice enough to translate into German. For our German-speaking readers, you actually don’t have to read this one in English (though there’s an English version, to) In this story, I pick out the major themes in new music tech at the NAMM show this month in Anaheim, California: Winter NAMM …


A Handmade Children’s Book, a 7″ Vinyl Record, and Tangible, Handmade Music

In the midst of all this talk of intangible digital intellectual property and arcane licensing and Internet policy, there’s something comforting about thinking of music and art as something you make with your hands and give to someone. It was a discussion of that – even in the context of technology – that first led me to the discussion of “Handmade Music.” (Tip of the hat to my friend, Etsy’s Matt Stinchcomb, with whom this discussion has crossed the Atlantic from Brooklyn to Berlin.) Via Cool Hunting, here’s an old-fashioned way of making a music object. The music is on …


Time To Scrap DJ Mag Top 100, Start Over, Says PR Guru and Former Editor

DJ Apathy, anyone? DJs and audiences alike may have lost the plot of the DJ Mag Top 100 list – but technology could help the list get its groove back, says a former writer. Photo (CC-BY vmiramontes. DJ Magazine’s Top 100 list of DJs is irrelevant and broken, based on a flawed methodology, prone to manipulation, and out of touch with what actually makes someone a top DJ. That’s the conclusion you’d probably reach after reading the latest critique of the poll, and the conclusion is that the list needs to get out of its print past and embrace new …


Magazine Cover Opens Imagined Worlds: Augmented Reality Publishing, Free Code

Boards Interactive Magazine – Walkthrough from Theo Watson on Vimeo. Augmented reality has inspired plenty of experiments, magazines included – some successful, some failing to get far beyond the gimmick. What’s nice about this work is that it introduces the concept of motion to the typically-static pages of print, and inspires readers to imagine a world beyond the bounds of the page. There’s also an elegant expression of the theme. It’s all made with OpenFrameworks (again – yes, OF is one of the easiest ways to hook into augmented reality). And none other than Theo Watson was involved. For the …


Mix Online To Offer Monthly Game Audio Digital Magazine

Speaking of gaming, here’s more news that the fledgling game audio and music area is getting more attention — something that we at CDM see as very good news. (See our sometimes-obsessive gaming stories.) CDM’s resident game composer and sound designer checks in … In an e-mail he sent to me yesterday, Peter pointed out that Mix was soon to offer a bi-monthly newsletter on game audio. We were both summarily unimpressed – until we discovered that the newsletter was in addition to a monthly digital magazine, a sample of which is now available on the Mix website. The sample …


MP3 Music: No Longer Connected to Your Brain?

MP3s, bad because they have less music in them. So much less music, in fact, that your brain loses the ability to feel emotions listening to them. Okay, sure, over-compressed MP3s sound awful, especially at lower bitrates. But get ready for some strange psychoacoustics here, folks. Producers howl over sound cut out by MP3 compression (and I see, while I was sitting on this, it got slashdotted, though no one took the bait As Joel Selvin writes for the The San Francisco Chronicle, MP3s have less music: …the music contained in these computer files represents less than 10 percent of …


How to Record Laptop Performances – And Make Them Sound Live (Keyboard Mag)

We’re serious when we say laptop performances — the Moscow Laptop Cyber Orchestra (“CybOrk”), influenced by similar groups like Princeton’s PLOrk, uses laptops as instruments, augmented by alternative controllers. Here’s the surprise: when they record it, they intentionally treat it as you would an acoustic ensemble. Photo by Elena Krysanova. My feature story for Keyboard Magazine on recording live laptop performance is now available online at (as well as in the July print issue). When I got the assignment, I think my editor imagined futuristic, sci-fi like network recording, in which audio was streamed entirely virtually from players to …


Enough with Smart-Mouthed Mac Advocates on Vista! What We Really Want to Know…

I can’t take it any more. In one corner, we have PC pundits negatively reviewing Apple’s possibly-upcoming iPhone weeks before it’s announced — reviewing a product they know nothing about that may not even exist. (Incidentally, Microsoft’s new MadeUp Pro 2007 Edition — total crap. So is the new Imaginesoft NeverNeverLand iMadeUp Express.) And in the other corner, we have a never-ending flood of reviews of Microsoft Windows Vista, weeks before third-party developers have shipped most of the drivers and application releases that would let them fully test it, bashing the new OS based on old, often misleading arguments. In …


Pimp Yourself: Free Shipping for Moo Minicards Until the 15th

I actually used my long-dormant Yahoo! messenger username to activate a Flickr account just so I could order some Moo Minicards. They’re US$20 for 100, including free international shipping. Business cards are a great promotional tool, and especially useful as a distracting device when punters approach you mid-set. I have a couple of designs for different occasions, but Moo’s double-sided, full colour cards seem much more relaxed and friendly. The Moo Flickr Group contains plenty of action shots and positive feedback.