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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Music Making, and Living, with The Books’ Nick Zammuto, in a Touching Short Film

When we say “handmade music,” we really mean this sense of crafting something , of touching something – not so much the technique or the technology as the intention behind what you do. In a striking film portrait of Nick Zammuto for nakedmusicians.com, the craft of living is spotlighted as much as the craft of music making. Nick, is known for his role in duo The Books (with Dutch-born Paul de Jong), and their distinctive, rhythmic, homebrewed-original sound. Here, he covers his manipulations of everything physical and temporal. Sound sampling is a tangible process, the poetry of things put together …

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Monolake Explains Great Mastering Technique in 44 Seconds

At last, you, too, can achieve great mastering. Mastering – a step by step guide to good sound by monolake Sadly, as Robert Henke concedes: i still think it needs to be louder and it lacks dynamics and punch. I STILL THINK IT NEEDS TO BE LOUDER AND IT LACKS DYNAMICS AND PUNCH! It’s like banging your head against a brick wall. No further comment at this time.

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What You Don’t Need to Make Music: With A Poly 800 and Renoise, Dkon Talks Music Making, New Label

Deceptikon morphs into Dkon — and talks to us about doing more with less. Photo courtesy the artist. Artist Zack Wright, for a handful of followers of what we used to call IDM, will be a blast from the past. Recording as Deceptikon on labels like Merck and Daly City Records, Zack is back. His name is now Dkon, and the story is more than just him: in the absence of a Merck to release adventurous music, Dkon is helping launch a new label entitled Tokyo Ghost Island, with an EP to be followed soon by new records from Jemapur, …

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Sound Inventor Diego Stocco on Ideas, Sonic Memory; New Cinematic Oxygen Tank Soundscape to Hear

Compose and sound designer Diego Stocco, seen often in these parts, has an endlessly-inspiring approach to inventing new timbres. That process of, as he puts it, “bringing music into the process of creating sounds” is sometimes destructive – as in, sawing an instrument in half destructive. It seems often at the edge of obliterating the object, but sliced thinly onto the side of unleashing its auditory potential. Sometimes, it’s gentle, putting an ear to the world. But his work is always exploring new frontiers of possibility. Diego himself comes to the microphone to explain his philosophy and background in a …

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