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Production, Beyond the Track: Mad Zach on Collaboration, Combining Tech and Technique [Interview]

“Producer”: in electronic music, this used to mean some person who makes tracks. Today, some special electronic musicians go way beyond that role. They’re combining skills partly because it means diversifying income, but also out of a real love for doing a variety of stuff. They’re holed up in the studio making music, sure – but they’re also finding collaborative ways of doing that, often online, and sharing skills and sounds as they develop them. It’s a more open, connected approach to electronic musical practice. And Mad Zach is a great example. He’s a producer and DJ, but he’s also …

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Ethereal Ambient Textures, Sonic and Visual, and How They Were Made [unrender]

Artists David Abravanel (music) and Theresa Baumgartner (visuals) joined us at the inaugural installment of the CDM co-hosted unrender to take us on a fluid journey through dreamy imagery and sounds. As we get ready for unrender #2 on Friday, David and Theresa share a bit of their process and ideas. Here’s their work, live: David Abravanel (Music) & Theresa Baumgartner (Visuals) live at UNRENDER //Lehrter 17 from Theresa Baumgartner on Vimeo.

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Before Computers, the Godfather of House Made Remixes with Razor Blades: Frankie Knuckles, RIP

The picture of old-school DJing is someone hauling around a crate of records. Frankie Knuckles, the house pioneer, was playing The Warehouse in Chicago and touring with reels of tapes. Remixing was something done with a razor blade. The saddening news has arrived that “godfather of house” Frankie Knuckles has died at the age of 59. His friend and collaborator David Morales shared the news via Twitter late Tuesday. (See Ben Rogerson’s report in MusicRadar, which comments a bit on the origins of Jamie Principle’s Your Love.) The man most associated with Chicago house music actually was born in the …

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Getting Intuitive with Machines: Inside the Music of Lando and Machinedrum

Getting closer to your machines shouldn’t mean getting further from the feelings that drive your work. That sense of instinct is what keeps music moving forward. How do you make that connection? How to you link your musical roots to the track you’re banging out in the studio today, that first intuitive inspiration to the end product? It’s nice to have artists like Machinedrum and Lando for some insight – even if you’re working in a different genre – as they have a terrific handle on the craft of channeling emotion into finished tracks. Odds are better that you know …

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Ephemeral Images in Water: Projection on a Water Fountain, Lichtsicht Biennale [Gallery]

advection | robert seidel | projection on a water fountain | lichtsicht biennale 2013 from Robert Seidel on Vimeo. This goes far, far off the screen. Light dances across water droplets, disappearing into mists, images rippling on reflections on the pond’s surface. Projecting onto a fountain means some seriously-powerful projectors, but armed with that, the effect is spectacular – another reminder of the possibilities beyond conventional projection surfaces. And the results in Robert Seidel’s work, a commission for the Lichtsicht Biennale, Bad Rothenfelde, Germany, are simply spectacular, a show in wet, colored sprays. Full details:

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Launchpad + Raspberry Pi = Standalone Grid Piano Practice Machine, Boots in 10 Seconds

A standalone grid musical instrument? Done. And it can be a new way to venture into the worlds of harmony. Marc “Nostromo” Resibois is back with another clever Raspberry Pi hack. We saw him last fall, beating KORG to the punch with his own – digital – MS-20 mini, using the Pi. It’s still appealing, in that he has some other synth ideas the analog recreation can’t muster. This time, he’s made a standalone practice instrument for grid players, using a Novation Launchpad and the Raspberry Pi computer. Some shopping around for a Launchpad could mean you could put together …

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Marcel Dettmann: When Sci-Fi Futurism and Continuity Meet, in Sound [Video]

Techno icon Marcel Dettmann has just released a second full-length. While associated with insistent-symmetrical dancefloor rhythms and phrases, it may be sound and timbre that are worth appreciating here. Dettmann did a wonderful interview for Electronic Beats (released in the summer, shot last winter, below). And the timing of that release makes it a perfect moment to listen to what he has to say. (You do have to get past a distracting faux film effect, an odd choice for the usually-tasteful video productions from EB.) Dettmann’s perspective: Techno “still is music for the future, it’s science fiction.” But to get …

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From Wires: Keith Fullerton Whitman’s Modular Music, Conversation with CDM, 12 Hours of Music

We make music through objects, whether instruments or machines. And so we have this relationship between our ideas and those objects, between our imagination and the imagination of the people who built them. Talking to Keith Fullerton Whitman about his suitcase of modular gear, then, wasn’t just geeking out. It was a chance to understand how he relates his music to those bits of gear, and the community of people who make them. (For another glimpse of that community, see our tour of a booth of a passionate distributor at Musikmesse.) Keith joined us at CTM Festival, Berlin, over the …

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Listen to Albums by Eloui, Lusine, Full of Electronic Craft and Great Songwriting

As electronic musicians craft songs in digital collage, the distinction between “producer” and “writer” has never really made much sense. Samples, synthetic sounds, and the technology used to bring them together are all an extension of compositional imagination. I’m reminded of this when I regularly explain what I do. (This is really fun in crowded, noisy bars.) “I run a site about … music and technology.” “Oh… what?” “Like the technology people use to make music.” [Insert dazed look.] “You know, if you hear music these days, it was all actually produced on computers? So I write about those tools. …

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From Empty Bookshelves, Music Video Composes in Form: Chat with Harald Haraldsson

Baarregaard & Briem – “Love With You” from Harald Haraldsson on Vimeo. It begins with the hopping groove of a house track, and it’s shot using only light, projection, and an array of empty bookshelves. But somehow in the volumes of those shelves, Icelandic director Harald Haraldsson creates an abstract expressionist composition, rotating in fragmented spaces. The black-and-white narrative behind then takes on a kind of architecture – stereotyped emotions, confined in structures like a sort of neon-colored neuro-scientific portrait. It adds a new layer of drama to the dancefloor-friendly ballad, the work of Baarregaard & Briem, a collaboration between …

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