Moogfest, By Day, Will Feature Historic Gathering of Futurists, Music’s Top Inventive Minds

New York? Berlin? London? San Francisco? Lately, it’s looking like Asheville, North Carolina is the place to be. In case you missed the aptly-named Mountain Oasis and its gathering of big-name electronic artists and inventors, you don’t have to wait even until next fall. Asheville will next host Moogfest, April 23-27. Nighttime programming falls to Paxahau, the team behind Detroit’s Movement, already one of the biggest electronic tickets of the year worldwide. (AC Entertainment, the Bonnaroo-producing Knoxville team, have taken over Mountain Oasis. Rather than splitting the energy, the results seem to have more than doubled it.) We should learn …

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Data Privacy, The Terrifying 3D Animated Movie by Beeple [+VJ Clips]

Can shiny, rotating 3D eye candy have a message? They can if they’re in the masterful hands of motion graphics / visualist wizard Beeple, aka Mike Winkelmann. His latest short is retina-singeing, brain-stimulating imagination of the issue of transparency and data privacy, in the age of Snowden and the NSA, targeted Facebook ads, Foursquare check-ins, and Google Glass. And it works not simply because it’s impressive animation, but because that impressive animation reminds us that the science fiction universe we imagined is around us now – a Ghost in the Machine, Serial Experiments Lain, cyberpunk universe that can be utopian …

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Erika: Musical Restraint, Space, Future, BBSes, Detroit [Interview]

From being a long-time mainstay of the Detroit scene to, at last, debuting a proper solo LP with Hexagon Cloud, the one word that can sum up Erika for me is, simply, “inspiring.” And if Hexagon Cloud’s perfectly-calibrated analog sounds and imaginative musical frequencies indulge our futuristic sonic fantasies, here we get the chance to talk to Erika a bit about what lies beyond musical parameters, too. That ranges from Detroit (past the fetishization of ruined buildings, please) to the liberation of early-90s BBSing to the appeal of outer space. You can listen to Erika’s work and revisit some reflections …

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Moog Says Goodbye to Little Phatty with Lush Video, as Company, Synths Grow

What an extraordinary time of transformation it’s been in music instruments – one which has coincided unintentionally with the development of this site. When the Little Phatty first hit the market in 2006, it really was a very different era. While Moog Music had already shipped the Voyager and brought back Bob Moog’s name to their products, the market was dominated by digital instruments and in particular big workstations. Now, a whole lot of keyboards follow the path established by the Little Phatty: provide affordable instruments for musicians, use analog circuitry, embrace the monosynth, adopt one-to-one control of parameters. It’s …

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Plumbing the Depths of Bass Music Culture: Listening, Reading, and Reflection

Against the sweeping tide of a term as meaningless as “EDM” – perhaps describing a commercial phenomenon more than a genre – or the historically-ambiguous “techno” or “electro,” there is “bass music.” There’s no “treble music,” but there is “bass music,” and even a “bass music culture” to go along with it. If the term is clumsy and foggy, though, the ideas behind it are potent, the latest blossoms in a deeply-rooted musical tree. And in its latest iteration, the music appeals to people well outside a demographic or commercial context or even continent. It appeals to people like my …

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Playable 8-bit Game as Promo, and Okkervil River’s Nostalgia-Drenched Wonderlands

The standards for advance promotion of an album may be getting a little … intense. Photos? Track listing? Advance music video? Streaming preview? How about a complete, playable adventure video game in your Web browser, free, with charming graphics and an original chip music soundtrack adapting the songs from the record in 8-bit form? Due out Tuesday, September 3, Okkervil River’s LP “The Silver Gymnasium” isn’t shy about its nostalgia factor. The whole record is a re-imagining of frontman Will Sheff’s 80s childhood. That might be a bit much were the browser game not so beautifully executed. Sheff created the …

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Dancing Nomads and Afro Futurism: Fhloston Paradigm Chasing Rainbows Video, from King Britt

Chasing Rainbows (Festival Edit) – Fhloston Paradigm from King Britt on Vimeo. Fhloston Paradigm is King Britt’s project from last year on Kode9’s Hyperdub label, dripping with all-analog sound and sci-fi afro futurism. And now it has the music video to match. It could well inspire you to get up and dance, survivalist style. The project grows out of King’s drool-worthy studio – a compact balance of Roland DR110, Korg Mono/Poly, Korg MS20, Roland JX3P, Moog Sonic 6 and SQ10 sequencer. King’s touring now, with the live debut of Fhloston Paradigm slated for October 26th at the Mountain Oasis Festival …

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Playlist: The Best Music Mixes, Jams, and Releases to Queue Up Now

Our cup runneth over. And just as we’re adding our favorite stories to read to the new Reading List feature, we bring you some of our favorite listening. This is what’s playing through my cans as I’m working and meditating. Releases Ras G – Back On The Planet is, simply, out of this world. Forget what you know about Brainfeeder and LA; this is earning Afrofuturism comparisons to Sun Ra and George Clinton with good reason. Dense, jazzy, and splendidly improvisatory, it’s some of the most dynamic hip hop/electronic music to come out this summer. Gregory Shorter, Jr. is doing …

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Wacky, Wooden Shnth Makes Eerie Sounds, Colors Outside the Lines [Documentary]

Shnth is a digital synth in a wooden box with a surprisingly open-ended programming language. It’s like a lo-fi sonic computer, touched with your fingers via a handmade interface, and with sonic capabilities that can be re-programmed over USB. And there’s a coloring book to go with it, too, with pictures of Max Mathews and microsound for you to sketch in. The drawings there, like the sounds that come out of its outputs, full of rough, digital edges and unexpected swoops and swirls of timbre, seem to encourage coloring outside the lines. Peter Blasser of Baltimore is the synth’s creator …

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You know, a happy-go-lucky party venue for the summer. Um... Berlin style. Photos courtesy Berlin Atonal.

Dark Shadows: A Selection of Sounds and Images from Berlin’s Atonal

Only Berlin would go this dark, musically speaking, in second half of … July. Atonal Festival, an event founded in a very different city way back in 1982, has been resurrected. And the sounds set to echo through the concrete cavern of a former power station represent the cross-currents of an international scene of experimental music. No longer about what happens in Germany (the artists come from every corner of the globe), Atonal – like winter’s CTM Festival – represents an angle in electronic music that is growing in popularity but decidedly anti-commercial, adventurous without necessarily being overly cerebral. It’s …

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