Beautiful New Music from tehn, the Maker of the monome [Interview]

Brian Crabtree, alongside partner Kelli Cain, nicely exemplifies a lot of this site’s raison d’être over the the past ten years. Artmaker and toolmaker are indistinct roles; they’re both flipsides of the act of making. The monome, the invention for which Brian is best known, is at first blush nothing more than a box of buttons. It’s even lifeless until connected to a computer. But in its design is a statement that draws a thread from the design of tools to the design of music. Ideas about compositional technique are embodied in the software; notions of aesthetics are evident in …


This iPad App Turns Elektron’s Analog Rytm Into a Hyper Drum Machine

It samples. It slices. It mangles. It generates. It mutates. It’s like what happens when a drum machine is invaded by nanobots, and they start improving everything. Let me explain. Take your favorite iPad samplers. Now, imagine they’re the basis of samples in an analog Elektron drum machine – colourful slicing interface and all. Then imagine this same iPad app does what Elektron themselves seemed unable to do: making an easy, logical way of transferring samples. And then, imagine that this app also can spawn new rhythms for you. It’s as if you took everything powerful about the Elektron Analog …


Video: A Heart-Breaking Solo with Autoharp and iPad, by Jekka

The iPad as folk instrument – alongside an earlier iteration, the Autoharp. In a heartbreakingly lovely video, Jekka of Moscow goes acoustic with Samplr.

It's an MPC you can take with you to the laundromat.

Hands-on with Akai’s new iMPC Pro for iPad: Mobile Beat Production

MPC-style editing – on the go. iMPC Pro samples other apps, and iTunes, and a big library of sounds, and then makes those sounds easy to play from your fingers (or special accessory hardware).


iMPC Pro Developing Fast, Shows Why Drum Machines Could be Essential on iPad

The sampling drum machine may have been born as hardware – as the Linn 9000 and MPC – but it’s looking perfectly at home on the iPad. And competition is heating up. In many ways, MPC/Linn-style workflows fit the touch tablet perfectly. They emphasize quick sampling and manipulation, with simple editing (in a minimum of taps). They keep sounds organized spatially – thank that 4×4 grid – rather than a complicated, mixer-style layout. Speed and immediacy win out, which is perfect for mobile. Mobile developer Retronyms is documenting progress as they go on the iMPC Pro for iPad, due out …


Grab Free Drum Kits for Ableton Live and Other Tools: Vintage, Vinyl, Synth, Pine Cone

Sometimes, it takes just that one set of sounds to unfreeze your creativity and get a song started. And that’s why freebies are sometimes such fun: they’re even a bit more odd, a handful of offbeat sounds that just begs to be turned into … something. The folks at Puremagnetik have been posting some gems to their Tumblr account. This just in: “Wicked Kits” is a collection of five drum kits pre-configured for Ableton Live. (As with any Live kit, there are raw samples you can use in any tool you like – Renoise, MPC, whatever.) The emphasis here is …

Hey, there's a modular inside my drum machine. Images courtesy Arturia.

Watch Arturia Spark 2, as $129 Drum Machine Adds Modular Sound Design, Song and Loop Powers

For all the wonders of the hardware drum machine, there’s nothing quite like the flexibility of the software drum machine. More than mere groove-makers, beneath the conventional and familiar drum machine paradigm lies some real potential for sample manipulation and sound design. Native Instruments won over users by demonstrating the hybrid hardware/software workflow in Maschine, and various software instruments (FXpansion, anyone?) have put pressure on hardware with the sheer range of what they can do. But somewhere in the shadow of Maschine and Akai’s MPC Renaissance, Arturia’s Spark has been a little-known, compact, inexpensive challenger. And that’s why Spark 2 …


A Music Video Made from Sound of Clothes, Micro-Edited into a Song

Sounds and images need not be synthesized from fancy gear. The snap of a bra strap or the rustling sound of silk can become musical materials. That’s exactly what happens in Faces of N., an EP and series of music videos made from the sounds of clothing, micro-edited into visual/sonic sequences. The project is the work of Gabriel Shalom, an interdisciplinary artist whose work often treads across media, and who has fused visual and sonic content before, treating each as a single material to be manipulated. The first video is out this week, with five more to follow – one …


Sector is a Stuttering Stochastic Sample Slicer, Using Probability and Curving Lines [iPad]

Now we know how an MPC would behave if it were engineered on planet Vulcan. If you’re tired of conventional slicers and step sequencers, Sector turns audio into glitchy, stuttering, elaborate electronic patterns. Sound is fractured into a massive circle, resembling nothing if not some sort of archaic astronomical calendar, as arcing lines connect one slice to another and brightly-colored dots in the center illuminate to show more conventional steps as they advance. Still too regular for you? Fret not. All of this is randomized for coin-flip pattern variations. Warp modes and modulation shapes, all controllable, add additional glitching and …


Video Inside DJ Software: Mixvibes Cross 3 Adds Visual Features, Samples and Syncs Video

We’ve seen plenty of dedicated VJ products or third-party add-ons. But when it comes to mixing and management, most DJ software still focuses exclusively on music libraries. The lone exception has been the Video-SL add-on in Serato. Cross 3 from Mixvibes goes further to integrate video natively than any DJ tool previously. The new release of the software adds an extensive set of video features. And the aim remains appealing to DJs, particularly those who want Pioneer hardware integration or who come from the club scene. Mixvibes isn’t just a random developer – it’s the same company that developer rekordbox …