Loopmasters has released Lo-Fi Analogue Sessions 2, a sample pack by UNDRGRND Sounds featuring a collection of analog-sourced sounds. Looking for some proper analogue inspiration? Then load up on this 1GB collection of deep, melodic, raw, analogue-sourced sounds perfect for all shades of house and techno. Brimming with classic rhythmbox beats, expressive synth jams, deep […]
Loop is a Mecca for electronic musicians and music producers – an annual pilgrimage for some and a once-in-a-lifetime experience for others.… Read More Loop Berlin 2017 In Review: A Feast For The Ears, Eyes & Mind
AI is the buzzword on everyone’s lips these days. But how might musicians respond to themes of machine intelligence? That’s our topic in Berlin, 2018.
We’re calling this year’s theme “The Hacked Mind.” Inspired by AI and machine learning, we’re inviting artists to respond in the latest edition of our MusicMakers Hacklab hosted with CTM Festival in Berlin. In that collaborative environment, participants will have a chance to answer these questions however they like. They might harness machine learning to transform sound or create new instruments – or even answer ideas around machines and algorithms in other ways, through performance and composition ideas.
As always, the essential challenge isn’t just hacking code or circuits or art: it’s collaboration. By bringing together teams from diverse backgrounds and skill sets, we hope to exchange ideas and knowledge and build something new, together, on the spot.
The end result: a live performance at HAU2, capping off a dense week-plus festival of adventurous electronic music, art, and new ideas.
Hacklab application deadline: 05.12.2017
Hacklab runs: 29.1 – 4.2.2018 in Berlin (Friday opening, Monday – Saturday lab participation, Sunday presentation)
MusicMakers Hacklab – The Hacked Mind – Call for works
We’re not just looking for coders or hackers. We want artists from a range of backgrounds. We want people to wrestle with machine learning tools – absolutely, and some are specifically designed to train to recognize sounds and gestures and work with musical instruments. But we also hope for unorthodox artistic reactions to the topic and larger social implications.
To spur you on, we’ll have a packed lineup of guests, including Gene Kogan, who runs the amazing resource ml4a – machine learning for artists – and has done AV works like these:
And there’s Wesley Goatley, whose work delves into the hidden methods and biases behind machine learning techniques and what their implications might be.
Of course, machine learning and training on big data sets opens up new possibilities for musicians, too. Accusonus recently explained that to us in terms of new audio processing techniques. And tools like Wekinator now use training machines as ways of more intelligently recognizing gestures, so you can transform electronic instruments and how they’re played by humans.
Meet Ioann Maria
We have as always a special guest facilitator joining me. This time, it’s Ioann Maria, whose AV / visual background will be familiar to CDM readers, but who has since entered a realm of specialization that fits perfectly with this year’s theme.
Ioann wrote a personal statement about her involvement, so you can get to know where she’s come from:
My trip into the digital started with real-time audiovisual performance. From there, I went on to study Computer Science and AI, and quickly got into fundamentals of Robotics. The main interest and focus of my studies was all that concerns human-machine interaction.
While I was learning about CS and AI, I was co-directing LPM [Live Performers Meeting], the world’s largest annual meeting dedicated to live video performance and new creative technologies. In that time I started attending Dorkbot Alba meet-ups – “people doing strange things with electricity.” From our regular gatherings arose an idea of opening the first Scottish hackerspace, Edinburgh Hacklab (in 2010 – still prospering today).
I grew up in the spirit of the open source.
For the past couple of years, I’ve been working at the Sussex Humanities Lab at the University of Sussex, England, as a Research Technician, Programmer, and Technologist in Digital Humanities. SHL is dedicated to developing and expanding research into how digital technologies are shaping our culture and society.
I provide technical expertise to researchers at the Lab and University.
At the SHL, I do software and hardware development for content-specific events and projects. I’ve been working on long-term jobs involving big data analysis and visualization, where my main focus for example was to develop data visualization tools looking for speech patterns and analyzing anomalies in criminal proceedings in the UK over the centuries.
I also touched on the technical possibilities and limitations of today’s conversational interfaces, learning more about natural language processing, speech recognition and machine learning.
There’s a lot going on in our Digital Humanities Lab at Sussex and I’m feeling lucky to have a chance to work with super brains I got to meet there.
In the past years, I dedicated my time speaking about the issues of digital privacy, computer security and promoting hacktivism. That too found its way to exist within the academic environment – in 2016 we started the Sussex Surveillance Group, a cross-university network that explores critical approaches to understanding the role and impact of surveillance techniques, their legislative oversight and systems of accountability in the countries that make up what are known as the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence alliance.
With my background in new media arts and performance and some knowledge, in computing I’m awfully curious about what will happen during the MusicMakers Hacklab 2018.
What fascinating and sorrowful times we happen to live in. How will AI manifest and substantiate our potential, and how will we translate this whole weight and meaning into music, into performing art? It going to be us for, or against the machine? I can’t wait to meet our to-be-chosen Hacklab participants, link our brains and forces into a creative-tech-new – entirely IRL!
In collaboration with CTM Festival, CDM, and the SHAPE Platform.
With support from Native Instruments.
The post MusicMakers Hacklab Berlin to take on artificial minds as theme appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.
Belief Defect’s dark, grungy, distorted sounds come from hardware modulars in tandem with Reaktor and Maschine. Here’s how the Raster artists make it work.
Belief Defect is a duo from two known techno artists, minus their usual identities, with a full-length out on Raster (the label formerly known as Raster-Noton). It digresses from techno into aggressively crunchy left-field sonic tableau and gothic song constructions. There are some video excerpts from their stunning live debut at Berlin’s Atonal Festival, featuring visuals by OKTAform:
They’ve got analog modulars in the studio and onstage, but a whole lot of the live set’s sounds emanate from computers – and the computer pulls the live show together. That’s no less expressive or performative – on the contrary, the combination with Maschine hardware means easy access to playing percussion live and controlling parameters.
Native Instruments asked me to do an in-depth interview for the new NI Blog, to get to talk about their music. The full interview:
Belief Defect on their Maschine and Reaktor modular rig [blog.native-instruments.com]
They’ve got a diverse setup: modular gear across two studios, Bitwig Studio running some stems (and useful in the studio for interfacing with modulars), a Nord Drum connected via MIDI, and then one laptop running Maschine and Reaktor that ties it all together.
Here are some tips picked up from that interview and reviewing the Reaktor patch at the heart of their album and live rig:
1. Embrace your Dr. Frankenstein.
Patching together something from existing stuff to get what you want can give you a tool that gets used and reused. In this case, Belief Defect used some familiar Reaktor ensemble bits to produce their versatile drum kit and effects combo.
2. Saturator love.
Don’t overlook the simple. A lot of the sound of Belief Defect is clever, economical use of the distinctive sound of delay, reverb, filter, and distortion. The distortion, for instance, is the sound of Reaktor’s built-in Saturator 2 module, which is routed after the filter. I suspect that’s not accidental – by not overcomplicating layers of effects, it frees up the artists to use their ears, focus on their source material, and dial in just the sound they want.
And remember if you’re playing with the excellent Reaktor Blocks, you can always modify a module using these tried-and-true bits and pieces from the Reaktor library.
For more saturation, check out the free download they recommend, which you can drop into your Blocks modular rig, too:
ThatOneKnob Compressor [Reaktor User Library]
3. Check out Molekular for vocals.
Also included with Reaktor 6, Molekular is its own modular multi-effects environment. Belief Defect used it on vocals via the harmonic quantizer. And it’s “free” once you have Reaktor – waiting to be used, or even picked apart.
“Using the harmonic quantizer, and then going crazy and have everything not drift into gibberish was just amazing.”
4. Maschine can act as a controller and snapshot recall for Reaktor.
One challenge I suspect for some Reaktor users is, whereas your patching and sound design process is initially all about the mouse and computer, when you play you want to get tangible. Here, Belief Defect have used Reaktor inside Maschine. Then the Maschine pads trigger drum sounds, and the encoders control parameters.
Group A on Maschine houses the Reaktor ensemble. Macro controls are mapped consistently, so that turning the third encoder always has the same result. Then Reaktor snapshots are triggered from clips, so that each track can have presets ready to go.
This is so significant, in fact, that I’ll be looking at this in some future tutorials. (Reaktor also pairs nicely with Ableton Push in the same way; I’ve done that live with Reaktor Blocks rigs. Since what you lose going virtual is hands-on control, this gets it back – and handles that preset recall that analog modulars, cough, don’t exactly do.)
5. Maschine can also act as a bridge to hardware.
On a separate group, Belief Defect control their Nord Drum – this time using MIDI CC messages mapped to encoders. That group is color-coded Nord red (cute).
6. Build a committed relationship.
Well, with an instrument, that is. By practicing with that one Reaktor ensemble, they built a coherent sound, tied the album together, and then had room to play – live and in the studio – by really making it an instrument and an extension of themselves. The drum sounds they point out lasted ten years. On the hardware side, there’s a parallel – like talking about taking their Buchla Music Easel out to work on.
Check out the full interview:
Belief Defect on their Maschine and Reaktor modular rig [blog.native-instruments.com]
Follow Belief Defect on Twitter:
Photo credits: Giovanni Dominice.
The post What you can learn from Belief Defect’s modular-PC live rig appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.
Detunized has released Ambisonic City, a multi-channel sound library that features an ambisonic sound image of a modern city in Western Europe. The library delivers a vast variety of spherical surround sounds of vehicles, public transport trains, trams and airplanes that were captured at crowded intersections, various squares, arterial roads and the Tegel airport. As […]
Soundbox has released Berin Tech House, a sample pack that comes straight out of the clubs of Germany’s capital city. The pack features 464MB of the latest loops and samples ready to create your next killer track and grace the sound systems of Berghain, Tresor and Watergate. Subbed-out kicks, pumping bass-lines, hypnotic synth-leads, speaker-shaking drums […]
Big industry news last week: Native Instruments, purveyors of Traktor, Maschine, Reaktor, and Komplete, got 50 million Euros. Let’s make sense of that.
NI apparently wanted a reveal here. With Amsterdam Dance Event looking more like Pioneer turf these days – that company is dominant with CDJs and mixers and now even turntables, and had its own sampler on hand – NI got the attention of DJs at the keynote.
But what does it mean that the Berlin-based company got 50 million Euros? Well, some points to consider:
50 million is a lot. This is a lot for a company in the musical instruments sector of the business. Our quiet little corner of stuff for electronic musicians has begun to see some action, it’s true. For instance, Focusrite PLC (parent of Novation) made an initial public offering in 2014, and ROLI saw an unprecedented $27 million Series B funding back in 2016.
But 50 million euros opens up the possibility of significant investment. (Despite all that cash, NI retains its private ownership.)
The money is coming from a firm linked to music and pop stars. Billboard wrote the best piece I’ve seen on this yet:
So who are EMH? Well, they’re led by a bunch of white German guys in matching blue suits, who look like the people at the front of the queue for first class on your Lufthansa flight or an a Capella vocal quartet, or both.
But, apart from that, EMH are fairly interesting. You won’t gather much from their Website. (Example: they say they have “a special focus on consumer, retail, software, technology, financial services, business services, and health care.” That… doesn’t narrow it down much.)
I can translate, though. They help companies offering digital services grow. And they’ve got money to do it. The clients may shift – one of their previous big investments was in a tire e-service company (those round rubber things on cars), called Tirendo. And there was a search engine for vacation rentals. Plus a company with really futuristic lights.
NI were ahead of the curve on figuring out software would help musicians. They started simple – with things like a Hammond organ emulation and guitar effects. So now, it seems the gamble is what services would extend to larger groups of musicians.
NI will probably hire people. The one concrete piece of information: expect NI to hire new people to support new growth. So this is really about human investment.
NI already are established and successful. It’s also worth saying, NI aren’t a startup. They have not one, but multiple successful product lines. They’re established around the globe, in both software in hardware. They’re not getting investment because they’re burning cash and need to keep the lights on (cough, SoundCloud). This is money that can go directly into growth – without threatening the existing business.
So, about that growth —
What are they going to spend this on? This part is unclear, but you can bet on “services” for musicians, with musicians defined more broadly than the audience NI reaches now. This most important parts of the press release NI sent last week deal with that – and mention “breaking down the barriers to music creation.”
Over the past 12 months the company has made key hires in Berlin and Los Angeles, including the former CEO of Beatport, Matthew Adell. These specialized teams have commenced development of new digital services designed to redefine the landscape of music creation and the surrounding industry over the next year.
Here was my commentary on Adell at the time:
Service – for what? Here’s the mystery: what will these services actually do?
It seems that the means of breaking down barriers – and playing on relationships with the likes of “Alicia Keys, Skrillex and Carl Cox” (mentioned in the press release) – is all about letting people remix music.
Of course, this makes yesterday’s news from ROLI seem a little desperate, as their initial remix offering just covers that earworm you finally got out of your head about a year ago, Parrell Williams’ “Happy.” NI have a significant headstart.
But it should also raise some red flags: that is, NI have the contacts, the brains, and the money, but what problem will they solve for music lovers, exactly? Dreams of growth do often hit up against simple realities of what consumers actually do turn out to want and what they want to pay for.
There’s not much in the Magic Eight Ball here now, though, so – let’s see what the actual plan is. (It could also be that this has nothing to do with remixes at all, and the value of Adell is unrelated to his previous gig in remix monetization.)
NI aren’t alone in services, either. Apart from Roland’s somewhat strange Cloud offering (which is mainly a subscription plug-in offering with some twists), Cakewalk now have something called Momentum – a subscription-based service and mobile/desktop combination that promises to take ideas captured on your phone and easily load them into your DAW.
What are these NI executives actually saying with these words?
Daniel Haver, CEO, isn’t helping here – he says the new target is “increasingly diverse market segments.”
Or, to translate, “like, a bunch more different people.” (Fair. There is demand from a bunch more of y’all people folks – and I’m not even kidding.)
Mate Gallic, the CTO/founder – and someone whose past life as an experimental electronic artist will be familiar to CDM readers – also has learned to speak corporate.
“We believe music creation products and services should be integrated in a more appealing, intuitive and cohesive way,” Mate Galic, CTO and President of Native Instruments, said in a statement. “We foresee an easily accessible music creation ecosystem that connects user centric design, with powerful technology and data, to further enable the music creators of today, and welcome the new creators of tomorrow.”
(Don’t worry, Mate and Daniel do talk like normal human beings outside of company press releases!)
Translation: they want to make stuff that works together, and it’ll use data. Also fair, though some concerns, Mate: part of what makes music technology beautiful is that the “ecosystem” doesn’t come from just one vendor, and some of it is intentionally left unintuitive and non-cohesive because people who make music find its anarchy appealing. You could also take the words above and wind up with a remix app that uploads to the cloud, a combination of Facebook and a DAW, or… well, almost anything.
So, they’ll be spending 50 million on a service that does something for people. Music people. Guess we have to wait and see. (Probably the one thing you can say is, “service” implies “subscription.” Everything is Netflix and Amazon Prime now, huh?)
The big challenge for the whole industry right now is: how do we reach more people without screwing up what we’ve already got? With new and emerging audiences, how do you work out what people want? How do you bridge what beginners want and need with what an existing (somewhat weird) specialized audience wants and needs?
For NI, of course, I’m sure all of us will watch to make sure that this supports, rather than distracts from, the tools we use regularly. (It’d certainly be nice to finally see a TRAKTOR overhaul, and I don’t know if there’s any connection of its fate to what we’re seeing here – very possibly not.)
I’ll be sure to share if I learn more, when the time is right. I am this company’s literal next-door neighbor.
The post Native Instruments got a huge chunk of investment to grow appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.
Loopmasters has released Lo-Fi House by Jacob Korn, a vintage collection of old-school House and Techno samples using the seminal gear which made the sound and the scene. This new royalty free sample pack delivers the sound and the heartbeat from Berlin to Detroit, and is ideal for all forms of House, Techno, Old School […]
Sample Magic has released Techno Textural Toolkit, a new sample pack that lets you immerse yourself in the ultimate toolkit for your next Techno production. The pack includes a collection of fat kicks, layered snares, analogue basses, twisted textures, foley sounds, FX and more. Techno Textural Toolkit is designed to be the ultimate beat-making collection […]
100 cars, 100 sound systems, 100 different versions of the pitch A: Ryoji Ikeda has one heck of a polyphonic automobile synthesizer coming.
The project is also the first new hardware from Tatsuya Takahashi after the engineer/designer stepped down from his role heading up the analog gear division at KORG. And so from the man who saw the release of products like the KORG volca series and Minilogue during his tenure, we get something really rather different: a bunch of oscillators connected to cars to produce sound art.
Tats teams up for this project with Maximilian Rest, the man behind boutique maker E-RM, who has proven his obsessive-compulsive engineering chops on their Multiclock.
And wow, that industrial design. From big factories to small run (100 units), Tats has come a long way – and this is the most beautiful design I’ve seen yet from Max and E-RM. It’s a drool-worthy design fetish object recalling Dieter Rams and Braun.
I spoke briefly to Tatsuya to get some background on the project, though the details will be revealed in the performance in Los Angeles and by Red Bull Music Academy.
The original hardware is simple. In almost a throwback to the earliest days of electronic music, the boxes themselves are just tone generators. Those controls you see on the panel determine octave and volume. Before the performance, details on the execution are a bit guarded, but this sounds like just the sort of simple box that would perfectly match Max’s insanely perfectionist approach.
What makes this tone generator special is, there are a hundred of them, each hooked up to one of one hundred cars.
Yeah, you heard right: we’re talking massively polyphonic, art-y ghetto blasting. The organizers say the cars were selected for their unique audio systems. (Now, that’s my way of being a car fan.) Car owners even contributed special cars to the symphony, making this an auto show cum sound happening, evidently both in an installation and performance.
One hundred cars tuned to the same frequency would sound like … well, phase cancellation. So each oscillator is tuned to a different frequency, in a kind of museum of what the note “A” has been over the years. The reality is, we’re probably hearing a whole lot of classical music in the “wrong” key, because the tuning of A was only in standardized in the past century. (Even today, A=440Hz and A=442Hz compete in symphonies, with A=440Hz is the most common in general use, and near-universal in electronic music.)
That huge range is part of why any discussions of the “mathematically pure” or “healing” 432 Hz is, well, nonsense. (I can deal with that some time if you really want, but let’s for now file it under “weird things you can read on the Internet,” alongside the flat Earth.)
Once you get away from the modern blandness of everything being 440 Hz, or the pseudo-science weirdness of the 432 Hz cult, you can discover all sorts of interesting variety. For instance, one of the oscillators in the performance is tuned to this:
A = 376.3Hz
*1700 : Pitch taken by Delezenne from an old dilapidated organ of l’Hospice Comtesse, Lille, France
Hey, who’s to say that particular organ isn’t the one “tuned to the natural frequency of the universe”?
You’ll get all those frequencies in some huge, wondrous cacophony if you’re lucky enough to be in LA for the performance.
It’s presented as part of the Red Bull Music Academy Music Festival, October 15. (I have no idea how you’d evaluate the claim that this is the largest-ever symphony orchestra, though with one hundred cars, it’s probably the heaviest! If anyone has historical ideas on that, I’m all ears.)
And of course, it’s in the perfect place for a piece about cars: Los Angeles. Wish I were there; let us know how it is!
Photo credit: Carys Huws for RBMA.
The post There’s a synth symphony for 100 cars coming, based on tuning appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.