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How Dutch archives turned into a Lakker AV show about water

Wade in the water, indeed. Set the Irish duo Lakker loose in a Dutch film archive, and what you get is a dense, heavy experimental techno album and a live show exploring the Netherlands’ ongoing battle with the sea. It’s a 2016 album, but even if you caught it before, now we get some insight into its evolution into a live audiovisual show. Even before you get the sense of the historical narrative behind it, the music itself is evocative, dark, and rich. I actually like that we’re calling all this music “techno” now – this isn’t in the four-in-the-floor …

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TouchDown Houston at Day For Night Festival; photo Roger Ho.

A bunch of tricks and tools for generative visual tool TouchDesigner

TouchDesigner, the visual development environment for interactive media, is a not-so-secret weapon for the artists creating some of the best eye candy today. And it’s likely to earn more attention now that it’s available for both macOS and Windows. (It was previously Windows-only.) But it’s not just the power of the tool itself that makes it stand out. It’s just as much a community behind it, sharing resources with one another. That says something, really. People working on interactive and event visuals often pull in some pretty hefty fees, and they justify those fees by making sure their tech tricks …

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Now you can sync up live visuals with Ableton Link

Ableton Link has already proven itself as a way of syncing up Ableton Live, mobile apps (iOS), and various desktop apps (Reason, Traktor, Maschine, and more), in various combinations. Now, we’re seeing support for live visuals and VJing, too. Three major Mac apps have added native Ableton Link support for jamming in the last couple of weeks: CoGe, VDMX, and a new app called Mixvibes. Each of those is somewhat modular in fashion, too. Oh, and since the whole point of Ableton Link is adding synchronization over wireless networks or wired networking connections with any number of people jamming, you …

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Recreate classic MP3 visualizers, free – and use them in VJ apps

It’s funny, some things you really didn’t imagine looking back on with nostalgia. And yet, there you are – reminiscing about the days of staring at your Winamp MP3 visualizer. Well, I totally missed it, but there are some free projects that let you bring back those visualizers. Better still, you can pipe them into VJ apps on both Mac and Windows. First off, MilkDrop itself is a fascinating story. I won’t dive all the way down that rabbit hole at the moment, but here’s a short version of the story. Creator Ryan Geiss was (and is) a talented electronic …

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How a meetup space for female music makers is making a difference

Ed.: If we’re going to see more women or other underrepresented groups in music, one place to start is by creating new spaces. CDM contributor Zuzana Friday is involved in an effort in Berlin that does just that. The idea is an informal one: just have exclusively female-identified artists meet for a couple of hours, to give them an environment all their own, then open up to anyone interested thereafter – covering musicians but also quite a lot of visualists, too. Even the name is simple: “Meetup.” That approach has proven fertile enough that it’s fired up the music network …

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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. …

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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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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 …

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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.

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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.

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