On the Eve of New 808 Film, Techno’s Roots Matter More Than Ever [Videos]

If rock music had the Gibson Les Paul and Fender Stratocaster, hip hop and dance music have the TR-808. And if its sound seems sometimes overly familiar, even that is in some sense a hat-tip (pardon the pun) to its enduring ubiquity. Now, the Roland TR-808 gets its own full-length documentary, told primarily through the eyes of the people who repurposed its idiosyncratic sound to spin new musical genres and start a revolution. The film features extensive input from Arthur Baker, who acts as a centerpiece for the movie. Baker was the producer behind Afrika Bambaataa’s ‘Planet Rock,’ a record …


SoundCloud More Affordable for Creators, As Service Attempts Balancing Acts [Analysis]

We hear some pretty clear messages from CDM readers about SoundCloud. One, almost all of you seem to have some criticisms of it. Two, almost all of you appear to use it, complaints or none. Even as other services remain valuable, SoundCloud is practically its own category. (In fact, the level of detail about those complaints suggests to me that they come from ongoing, intensive usage.) Ubiquity is an understatement. “Do you have a SoundCloud?” is a question I hear about as much as I once heard “do you have a MySpace?” a few years ago. People ask it in …


A World of Sounds: Academik’s Francis Preve Shares Label’s Music, Studio Advice, Samples for Live

Francis Prève works the crowd. Photo courtesy the artist. The abundance of music, and the preceived ease of producing it, comes to some as bad news – or even harbinger of apocalypse. But load up a craft with quantity, and quality is what stands out. Francis Prève is a perfect Renaissance producer. With years of experience as a music technology journalist and sound designer, his own, signature flavor of tech-house is uniquely focused on timbre. His label, Academik Records, debuted last year at Austin’s South by Southwest, but it’s just now kicking into high gear. (If you are in Austin …


That’s Right, You’re Not From Texas: CDM SxSW Picks, Gone Tech-y, Starting Today

Austin comes into view. Photo (CC-BY) David Berkowitz. Okay, I may be in Germany (see you next week, Messe!), but if you’re in Austin, Texas, the CDM radar is picking up some strong blips of things you probably want to be doing, starting today, Do. 15 Mär. (Erm, uh, sorry, Thursday March 15!) Highlights include a Neon Indian show paired with visuals, music, and the good folks of Switched On, fine music from Robot Koch, TYCHO, and Sepalcure, a Saturday night dance party with Academik on a beautiful rooftop in the heart of town, and workshops – much of this …


From Sounds to Wave Patterns to iPhone Cases, a Design Made from Footsteps

Adorn your iPhone with audio, courtesy 3D printers Shapeways and an unusual use of the SoundCloud API to get at the data. The content we watch on the Internet is, ultimately, just data. We view that data in fairly narrow, conventional ways, but there’s no reason that has to be the limit. In one of the more novel applications of the API for audio-storing service SoundCloud, one 3D printer is happily turning your music tracks and recordings into custom iPhone cases, each uniquely based on the waveform of your sounds. This week in Austin at South by Southwest, SoundCloud was …


SoundToys’ Distorting Compressor Free for Two More Days, Plus Some Great Production Reading

Through Thursday, March 31 at midnight, you can grab SoundToys’ Devil-Loc plug-in for free, concluding a giveaway that began at the TapeOp party at South by Southwest. Devil-Loc is a nice-sounding emulation of the Shure M62. Chris Conover, in thanks for a Record beta I sent his way, points to the offer, a code (which I’ll share with readers), and mentions some ways he likes to use it – particularly, he says, on drum room mics: It is inspired by the Shure M62 Level-Loc, which was designed to be a leveling amplifier for microphones to avoid spikes and fades. Users …


Electronic Music in Austin; Free Listening from Eskmo

Austin isn’t generally associated with electronic music, but from bands to strictly electronic acts, you see lines blurring all over the place. And amidst the many, many things happening here in Texas in the coming days, we’re fortunate at CDM to help support two events. Tonight is the Allies Electronic Lounge – 416 W Cesar Chavez, 9-2, no badge and free, with Two Fresh, DJ Vadim, Eskmo, and Mindelixer. I’m especially excited about Eskmo’s music, and wherever you are in the world, you can take a listen, free. (Topspin just launched their media platform for everyone if you want to …


Synth Madness, as Sound-making Manufacturers of Austin Gather Today at Switched On

Images from Bleep Labs (top), Livid (bottom) — that’s a SxSW-only edition of Livid’s Block controller, complete with a Texas star. Not pictured: lots of insane analog modules and other audio gadgetry, because I couldn’t get good images. I’m quite excited about those, too, so stay tuned. I’m guessing a lot of gear is showing up later today. Analog and digital, gadgetry and module, DIY and ready-to-play, today in Austin we’re blessed with a get-together at the insanely-amazing Switched On music store. Austin’s noisiest manufacturers are dropping in to show some of their wears. If you’re not in Austin, have …


Mobile Recording with SoundCloud: More Powerful, Less Buggy, Android + iOS, FourSquare Locations

Photo (CC-BY) John Fischer/stickergiant. Sometimes things look interesting even before you can fully grasp just what they mean. Such is the case, I think, with what’s happening with SoundCloud’s on-the-go tools. Now, back in the beginning of this service, I predicted it’d become the Flickr of audio, and I wasn’t alone. But it’s becoming something else, something that really involves mobility. The SoundCloud crew are out at South by Southwest, as good a gathering as any for the intersection of Web nerd culture with music and film. And they have something to show for it, too: they’re unveiling new Android …


CDM@SxSW: Free Live Electronics, Academik Record Launch, Local Electronic Instrument Get-Together

Get your dancing boots on. Striped footware spotted recently at Austin’s hip rooftop lounge Lanai, where we’ll be with Academik Records Friday night. Photo (CC-BY) Cameron Russell. Next week, as the South by Southwest Music Festival descends on Austin, Texas, I’m pleased CDM gets to be involved in a few terrific independent events. No badges, no cover, free drinks and even free giveaways – if you happen to be in Austin, you can save money and then do what I’ll probably do, spend it all at the awesome Switched On synth boutique. Here’s the schedule: Wednesday 3/16: Switched On Meet …