Franck's work Flesh. Courtesy the artist.

Interview – Franck Vigroux is celebrating technology but resisting normality

Can you look deep into dystopias, and the darkest uses of technology for surveillance, and come away optimistic? Can you work across every medium imaginable, eschewing any particular style or genre, yet retain a voice? For the answer to these questions through an artist with a unique level of experience and a long-standing body of work, CDM’s Zuzana Friday talks to Franck Vigroux. It’s a vision of a dark future that might just encourage you. -Ed. Looking at Franck Vigroux’s resume, you’d never imagine he’d fly under the radar. Yet this award-winning, endlessly touring, prolific collaborator of a musician only …

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Pauline Oliveros, who transformed how we listen and think

This year continues a stunning series of losses of some of the most important pioneers in electronic music. But of all those, Pauline Oliveros is without peer – an innovator in the art of listening itself. And we’ve learned she’s died at the age of 84. No one else in music has a resume like hers. She was capable of turning the accordion into an avant garde electronic instrument. She had a black belt in karate. She was one of the original members of the San Francisco Tape Center, a defining figure in the entire west coast electronic scene. She …

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Watch an amazing unboxing and jam with MeeBlip triode

Working in the synth business is basically one of the most fun things you can do. So in addition to the pleasure of getting reports from owners, we wake to total surprises like this video from Olivier Ozoux, who has made a terrific stop motion unboxing video and live jam with the synth. MeeBlip joins the Korg electribe sampler and Squarp Pyramid sequencer for a rather fine all-hardware setup. You watch the triode emerge from its box, where it’s been hand-packed by MeeBlip creator James Grahame, then dive into the jam. (He manages to make the resonance sound like an …

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We’ve started a record label – here’s the first release

I’m lucky to be part of a community of people who both make things and share things, who learn by doing but also learn by teaching. CDM is of course about creating music as it is about creating tools for music. So, this year I’m extending what we do to sharing music. We live in an age of growing populations of music producers and expanding access to more music than ever before. Running something like a record label thus becomes even more insane — if also more essential. So just as I understand how a DAW or DJ app works …

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Watch Kate Simko mix Classical and club music with her ensemble

A friend of mine joked recently that someone having “classically trained” in their bio probably mean they’d had three months of piano lessons once. I’m sure that’s true for some people, but the fact is, there’s a growing population that mixes experience in electronic music and the club. And Kate Simko is one of the people pushing that boundary – just as she exemplifies some of the best technique in production generally.

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Watch these video reviews of 303, 909 and comparisons to originals

Now, with the embargo lifted on new Roland gear, brace yourself for a lot of discussion. On some level, any comparison of a $349-$399 new gadget to anything before it is a bit silly – when original 909s start selling for three figures, let us know. And I think starting with a direct comparison misses the point: the TR-909 and TB-303 sound terrific, and you’re unlikely to record or play either totally dry. (Classic records, uh, used processing too, ya know?) Relax and go enjoy a great drum machine and bassline.

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Zoom’s weird frisbee groove machine looks fun in this Japanese video

The ZOOM ARQ AR-96 can be filed confidently under “wha?” in the annals of music tech. It’s a round, all-in-one groovebox with drum machine, loads of patterns and sounds, and synths. Oh yeah, and there’s a rechargeable, detachable doughnut/frisbee, uh, thing, which has velocity-sensitive touch sensors and responds to orientation so you can wave it around. Basically, it’s insane. But as at least one friend of mine suspected, it could also be insanely fun. No English-language reviewers could really do this thing justice. No, for that we turn to musictrackjp – who do better demos, anyway. Sure, 97% of CDM’s …

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A rabbit and a guinea pig playing Korg is the most amazing jam ever

Drop whatever you’re doing and watch this video of a rabbit and a guinea pig playing Korg. It’s likely to be one of the most amazing synth jams you’ve ever seen.

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Watch a perfect explanation of modular physical modeling

Eventually, even the most impassioned synth lover gets bored of mixing oscillators together. You need a little spice in your sound life. You need Karplus-Strong synthesis. Commonly associated with physical modeling strings, Karplus-Strong can also be thought of as a flexible feedback system of delayed, filtered noise. Okay, that’s a lot more abstract than imagining fake strings, but I say that for a reason – because it’s a system with lots of component parts, you can use it to create a wide palette of sounds. Some might sound like strings. Some might sound more artificial. Some might sound like percussion. …

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