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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Hands-on Live 9, with Robert Lippok: Producer Talks Process in Videos

Ableton visits the home studio of Berlin-based producer Robert Lippok (Raster Noton, To Rococo Rot). I’m a great fan of Robert’s work; to me, it’s full of musical imagination, and I like his reflective-but-free approach to his music. I had the fortune of interviewing Robert about iOS over the summer in front of the CDR Berlin crowd. (CDR is an excellent, multi-city event that puts production technique under the spotlight.) I know one of the things Robert probably wanted to talk about was the new stuff in Live 9. Now, he can – and it’s interesting to hear what moves …

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Phoebe in the studio. Photos for CDM courtesy the artist.

Listening, Behind the Scenes: Phoebe Kiddo, Traveling Through Earth and Space

The enchanting, carefully-handcrafted music of Phoebe Kiddo is yet another example of the wonders coming from under-the-radar digital artists in the production Renaissance now underway. We got to host Phoebe on our MusicMakers party last month in Berlin – full coverage of that show, with video, coming soon. Now, Phoebe tells CDM a bit about making music as a globe-trotting nomad, and how she works with monome live and in the studio. Phoebe’s music mixes taut beats and delicate, low-fidelity timbres with dense arrangements and spacey dubs. Her voice cuts dreamy melodic lines across introspective grooves that can then accelerate …

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Not Just Sampling, Studying: Frente Cumbiero and Maschine, 1.8 and Human Upgrades

Yes, the tools are better and shinier – but there is a method to what musicians are doing with them. Maschine 1.8 arrives today, a bit early, a free update. I looked at this release when we went hands-on with the updated software and new color hardware. Whether or not you get the new controller, it features a new transient follower and tube and tape saturation effects, improvements to pitch and time shift, and better file handling. You also get a free serial for NI’s Massive synth. This is a good thing. But let’s back up and talk about what …

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Weekend Listening: Kishi Bashi Shows the Simple, Elegant Art of Looping

For all the sophisticated synthesis and remix tools out there, for a lot of musicians, the best thing sound technology can do is just give them a way to record and play. Looping is a simple technique – it involves recording a snippet of sound, playing it back, and then adding layers. But used masterfully, it can become transformative, producing rhythms and layers and letting solo artists accompany themselves. “How do I get started looping?” is a question I hear from a lot of musicians, particularly those who are already expressive with their instruments and voice. There’s a technical answer …

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Tools and Music Production, as Explained Unwittingly by Chefs

The center of the macular portion of your eye is called the fovea; it’s the portion of your retina that most nearly represents what you’re looking at directly. I adopted from my father the phrase “thinking off the fovea.” It means tackling a problem not by focusing directly on it, but what’s at the periphery. And in any creative question, that can be a great tool for harnessing different ways of thinking. In music production, it’s doubly true: by necessity, working on music production can take large amounts of time and effort, and the more effort you spend, the further …

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Alien, Organic Beauty of Sepalcure Visuals, by Sougwen; Chat with the Artist

Like eerily-lush alien vegetation, Sougwen’s visual design for for Sepalcure’s tour blooms out of drifting shadows. Through some mysterious connection, they unearth some of the dream-like warmth you could feel from Sepalcure’s music, the collaboration by Machinedrum and Praveen. Having known Sougwen and followed her work for some time, they also manage to assimilate the intricate textures of her hand-drawn work with the 3D digital world. See, previously, our coverage of that side: Visuals for Shigeto Full Circle, and Reflections on Drawing by Hand If you’re in Europe or the UK, there’s a chance this talented bunch are coming to …

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