The making of a fanciful album imagining a post-apocalyptic future

What would your future clone think of you now, looking back across an apocalyptic reshaping of humanity? That’s the question posed by the 2005 novel The Possibility of an Island, and it resonates in Franz Kirmann’s new album Elysian Park. This might sound bleak, but it isn’t. Kirmann’s new record paints a science fiction sound portrait in dense textures and hyperreal washes of color. There are stuttering and spectacular rhythms making bold shuffles across the music. It’s headphone stuff for sonic dreaming, relentlessly futuristic and endlessly engaging. It’s a world you’ll want to enter and reenter, an addictive time warp. …


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 …

Andrew Quinn / Nikolay Popov AV performance.

How one community was mapping the future of visuals this summer

There’s a shift on in the worldwide community of visualists, of the growing field of people using electronic visuals as a medium for performance, art, and inquiry. As these media become more mature and more international, there’s a renewed sense of closeness among practitioners. While big media festivals focus on novelty and show, these maker-to-maker events emphasize something else: craft. This summer seemed a particularly historic moment for not one but two tools – each of them built by small teams who make art themselves. We already covered the Berlin gathering for Isadora, the visual performance tool that has rich …

RYAT's production setup.

In LA, looking to what new tech means for music makers

This week, the eyes of the music world will look at what’s new in toys. But how about looking further, to how technology is used? Going deeper to what’s happening in live music and music making is the essence of our new series Practice Space. CDM is excited to host a living-room style gathering of musicians and performance artists in the heart of downtown LA, and we hope you’ll join us – in person and online.


This Could Be Your Next DJ or Visual Controller: Allen & Heath Xone:K1

UK DJ builder Allen & Heath may be best known as a mixer company, not so much a controller maker. But that’s a pity, because they make one of the most compelling controller units on the market. Spoiler alert – the K1, like the K2 before it, feels great, has a terrific layout, works with anything you like, and more or less beats every other slim-line controller for DJing or VJing. Whatever you own now, you may find yourself wanting one of these to go along with it.


Synthesizing Sound and Image: A Conversation with a Creative Duo from Korea [unrender]

From deep in Seoul’s underground, Maxqueen (Kloe) and Chang Park have forged an intimate audiovisual collaboration, in a rich dance of minimal, generated geometries in live music and image. Spanning Korea, Baltimore, Maryland, and now Berlin, they’ve played some of the biggest tickets in live techno (for Maxqueen) and digital media art (for Chang). We’re thrilled to have them playing together – in their individual projects and then a duo – in Berlin on Friday night. And we wanted to talk to them a bit about the craft of collaboration, and generating live performance through careful control of parameters in …


unrender: Celebrating Visual Expression as Something Live; Online and in Berlin Friday

There’s not a word yet for visuals as event. We know it when we see it. And we know it in other media. With music, there’s no question when something becomes performative, when the human element is something you can’t subtract. But in electronic visuals, in light and image, the awareness of what is emerging in the medium seems latent. The narrow view of VJing and club visuals is dated. And disconnecting those media from generative and interactive work misses an explosive and dynamic new craft. Whether it’s clever work with optical analog and overhead projectors, or a delicately-constructed piece …


City of Light: A Sparkly, Geometric Wonderland at Barneys, by Joanie Lemercier, All-Star Team

No wooden gingerbread houses and fake snow here. Visualist Joanie Lemercier teamed up with a dream team of artists to transform New York’s Barneys into a shining future fantasy. In Light Fragments, the city that never sleeps hosted the electronic artist from the City of Light, along with some very fine friends. The audiovisual installation took over Barneys’ show windows and a pop-up gallery. In “City,” paper, projection mapping, and 3D animation became an imagined skyline, teaming Joanie with artist Davy McGuire. “Quartz,” with digital rockstar Kyle McDonald, produced a parametric crystalline structure that refracts light into constellations of glowing …


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 …


Three Layers of Live Visuals: Flying Lotus + Strangeloop + Timeboy, In Immersive Scrims

Flying Lotus ‘Layer 3’ – A Red Bull Music Academy Film from Red Bull Music Academy on Vimeo. Immersion isn’t necessarily about big stage pieces, or hiding the performer, or scale, or brightness. It seems it should be about finding a creative connection between visuals and music, between visualists and musicians, and creating some dimension that suggests you’re seeing more than only what you’re seeing. Flying Lotus has long collaborated with Strangeloop and other Southern California visualists. True to his Los Angeles home, his label Brainfeeder routinely sets up cinema-style, laptop artists dwarfed by the big silver screen of the …