Gays Hate Techno talk non-commercial techno culture, with a killer compilation to match

Their festival has no wristbands. Their lineups aren’t blowing up on socials. But when Gays Hate Techno throws a party or does a compilation – like the one that just dropped – what you get is nothing but musical spirit.

It’s just the kind of subversive attitude that has infused the best electronic music. Since we can’t all make the gathering, Gays Hate Techno compilations can bring you some of that feeling directly through the music. The comps have easily become must-hear events, and version 4.0 is no different.

I spoke with GHT founder Matt Fisher and compilation producer Benjamin B. Orphan Eksouzian to get insight into how it all comes together. They bring a hopeful message for anyone who feels like they’re not finding community in electronic music – and a template for how to work together to get that groove back.

Oh yeah, and – since this is a compilation, we’ve got something to queue up for listening. (Don’t miss the corker of a track by friend-of-the-site David Abravanel, whose music has the perfect wit for the task.) There’s a full megamix of the music (which you can also get by subscribing to their podcast):

Images courtesy GHT, from their gathering.

Peter: I know this is a unique kind of group; can you explain how you imagine this group and how it works?

Matt: Gays Hate Techno isn’t a commercial promoter in the traditional sense. We don’t have a set roster, resident DJs, or a particular agenda. We organize around doing projects like the gathering and compilations that support the online community, not the other way around. In that way, the compilation and the gathering have the same objective — they’re ways we can promote and celebrate relationships that otherwise exist only or mostly online. 

Peter: The people I know who have been to your events say it’s a really special chance to come together. How does the gathering function for the group?

Matt: The format for the gathering is modeled after radical faerie gatherings and Burning Man-style encampments, so it has objectives that are different from, say, a commercial music festival. We’re a low-cost slumber party built around music, but a community-building event first and foremost. What I mean by that is that we rely on participation, volunteering, and spontaneity more than maybe a festival would. We also try to be as low cost as possible, and we maintain a travel fund that defrays costs for our women, trans, nonbinary performers and performers of color. 

Peter: So how does the community work – how do people participate?

Matt: Anybody can and should participate. Our structure is built around facilitating personal interactions as much as it is producing a music lineup. We have an open call for performers, and we leave room around our curated program time for an open program for spontaneous sets and projects. 

People volunteer to cook meals, help park cars and help set up stages. We ask everyone to donate 2 hours of their time. They also bring art, conduct harm reduction training, act as our medical team, give massages, do yoga and meditation. Obviously an event our size doesn’t particularly need 400 volunteers. The objective of the volunteering is much more about shaking people out of spectator mode and giving them an excuse to make new friends while being part of the event, not just part of the audience. 

I think that the social focus leads to better performances, by the way. We set up an environment that makes for relaxed, enthusiastic listening, and people who’ve let their guards down a little bit, and encourage the DJs and musicians to pursue more personal, farther-out ideas than maybe they normally get to explore. There’s a great feedback loop there. We’re all there as music fans, and as a supportive network.

Benjamin: In terms of the compilation process, as Matt stated above, we view these compilations as a creative product of the members of Gays Hate Techno. Our aim is to promote our members’ art and to showcase their original work as expressed through the musical genre of techno. 

To that end, each year (cycle) we announce a call to participate to the current members of the facebook group, email contacts from previous compilations, as well as a Discord group for folks who have decided to leave Facebook, but want to stay connected to the gathering and community. Members create all of the content – music, album artwork, promotional video work, press release copy, and in most years the audio mastering of tracks. 

We encourage volunteer work and participation to create a compilation that reflects our community. We require the artist to declare the work as their own and to confirm that it doesn’t contain samples that could present a licensing issue. Outside of that, we don’t reject works from an aesthetic critique standpoint. This year, for example, we had more artwork submissions for the album artwork than we could use and decided to let the Facebook group vote to determine the final piece to represent Gays Hate Techno IV.

Peter: At the risk of making you explain a joke, I have to ask – what’s the story with the name?

Matt: Gays Hate Techno is a joke name that came out of a conversation I had with friends in NYC back in 2010 or 2011. They were running a party at the Stonewall Inn that featured techno, tech-house, and minimal more than what at the time was typical gay male club music. It was the answer to the question: why’s it so hard to get people to come out to listen to better music? 

Each of the three words was meant sarcastically, of course, with a sort of Kathy Griffin-type ironic dismissiveness. A couple of days later, I put together the Facebook group as a way for us to just toss around and post tracks we liked. People invited friends, and it very, very quickly became an international group. People would comment that they didn’t know any other queer people who liked the music people were posting. So there was a desire to connect with other people this way.

CDM: Thanks to this whole crew – I’m tempted to call this group “Haters”? Do support the compilation and this wonderful community and give it a listen – and buy it if you like it.

GAYS HATE TECHNO IV

Featured artists you should get to know:

Jarvi aka Acid Daddy shares some of the background with us about their track – and it’s an essential and powerful story:

“i am honored to be included in the fourth edition of the Gays Hate Techno compilation! my track, “what they took from me i will never get back”, is a step towards healing. a sonic representation of my state of mind post-trauma, and the strain it has put on my interpersonal relationships because of the inflicted fear and pain. i am a survivor, but the memory is there with me each day i wake up, until the moments laying in bed before i drift to sleep.

since my abuse happened back home
in michigan, it is important for me to give back to the queer & trans folks there without medical help or accessibility. detroit, and michigan in general, have limited resources for LGBTQIA+ family, and there is no facility exclusively for queer and trans survivors of sexual abuse and rape, which is an important factor when you’re navigating this type of trauma. i have decided that i will match the sales of this record until december 18th of this year, and will be donating that on top of my own contribution to the Ruth Ellis Center, an organization in detroit that provides safe living for homeless queer and trans youth, support services, a drop in health center for wayne county residents who are medicaid eligible at no cost, and transition resources for trans youth, just to name a few. therapy is key in the healing process, and giving queer youth access to that is crucial.

i hope y’all enjoy the compilation. thank you for the continued support!…” –Jarvi Guðmundsdóttir aka Acid Daddy (excerpt from FB post)

https://www.facebook.com/synthezmanofficial/  
https://www.facebook.com/Trovarsiofficial/

More details and pictures from the gathering can be found on the official site:

gayshatetechno.com

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Now is your last chance to register for Ableton Loop, coming to Berlin, April 2020

After an edition in LA and a half-year break, the music-making summit hosted by Ableton is coming home to Berlin. Monday is your last chance to register if you want a chance to join.

After Live and Push, Loop has become a kind of third major product from Ableton. It isn’t an event about Live – Ableton’s software and hardware have seemed almost subdued in their role as the event has grown. It has instead become Ableton’s own contribution to bringing together the community of makers around their tools, with a strong emphasis on the diversity of that community – both in the people and how they work. (I’ve been at each edition.)

This year’s edition seems more than any before to promise to bring that full range of diversity back to the Berlin home base. So they’ve added Sylvia Massy, the experienced engineer who worked with the likes of Johnny Cash, REM, and Tool. But there’s also Mexican Sotomayor, continuing Loop’s interest in mixing electronic production with live instrumentation. There’s vocalist Colin Self, percussionist Evelyn Glennie, and the quartet Ex-Easter Island Head.

Very pleased Antenes is on the artist roster for this year – she embodies the spirit of creative production and DIY in her work, so CDM readers, take note.

That’s not to say tech or electronic music is getting short shrift. I’m really looking forward to seeing Antenes and Eric Pitra, who build their own instruments. Antenes, aka Lori Napoleon, is a singular personality who is both able to hold down epic techno sets around the world, and construct wild new experimental DIY instruments from telephone switchboards.

And we’re getting folks like the wondeful Deena Abdelwahed and Georgia Anne Muldrow, as well. It looks like a killer lineup, and clearly the Loop team continue to build on what is resonating with their audiences.

So, now is your chance. Monday the 4th is the deadline. A full pass is 275 EUR (or 375 EUR with one of the valuable workshops and studio sessions), but there are student and youth passes available (for 18-26 year olds), plus crucially subsidized passes for just 50 EUR which still include a studio session and workshop. (Details on who get subsidized are at the site.)

Ableton didn’t put me up to this – this isn’t an advert. I can’t think of anyone else in our industry doing anything like this. And the team at Loop have made an extraordinary commitment to removing boundaries based on gender, genre, age, and cultural background, as well as employing a strict code of conduct to make their spaces safe.

Of course, the one barrier to entry is, you do have to get yourself to Berlin and there are limited passes available.

And time remains a barrier. (Sorry, nothing we can do about that!) So you need submit by tomorrow Monday November 4, and then best of luck – I hope some CDM readers luck out in the drawing (or even with youth passes or subsidies).

You can do that here:

https://loop.ableton.com/2020/register/

https://loop.ableton.com/2020/

And here are some 2018 highlights, to either inspire you to register or, if you can’t, to let you sit back and make a little virtual Loop for youself in the comfort of your own home. (Now that’s also a nice way to spend a Sunday!)

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Listen to ambient sound from around the world, recorded with a 4’33” app

To anyone who says there are too many music makers in the world, maybe you aren’t aware of how much sound is in the world. Crowd-sourced iPhone recordings and the ghost of John Cage are here to set you straight.

First, there’s the app – the 4’33” app is an official, licensed app that makes field recordings to the exact specifications of John Cage’s infamous score as premiered in 1952 by pianist David Tudor. And yes, that means it even comes in the score’s original three movements – a fun fact you should definitely share at parties. (Hey, where did everybody go?)

The app has been out since 2014, courtesy John Cage Trust and publisher C.F. Peters. (Yes, C.F. Peters still owns the rights to a score that contains … nothing.) It’s $0.99 – a small price to pay for… well, for a new way of perceiving all the sounds of the world, maybe?

What’s really astounding about this is not so much the app, though, as the collection of sounds the app has made worldwide. And that has grown in the half decade since the app’s release. You might expect them to all be clustered around New York, San Francisco, and London, but instead six of the seven continents are represented. The iPhone microphone is pretty decent at recording a general monophonic ambience – a fancier stereo recording would do better, sure, but the phone somehow makes a representation of how we perceive and remember those spaces. So you can have a charming journey around the planet and its sounds.

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world…

4’33” App for iPhone [App site and interactive map with sounds]

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We need to discuss race in electronic music, and we need a new way to communicate

A social media meltdown reveals some deeper issues in the electronic dance music world – and the ways in which online media are amplifying divisions.

Humans and technology melted down this week – but that shouldn’t avail us of an obligation to stand up for people, even when it’s uncomfortable.

Forest fires are raging in California because of trivial sparks, literally. So, without weighing in on every social media tempest, we should still talk about some of the issues beneath. And this matters to music production and music technology because this is fundamentally about who produces music, how that interacts with privilege, and how technology is involved in musical production and communication.

First, here is what happened in paraphrase – one of this week’s microcosms of breakdowns in racial discrimination and online communication. (Resident Advisor has the full sequence since some content was deleted – no, the Internet doesn’t forget, sorry.) The details and even the incident aren’t really important in any large scheme, but see if you can spot the point where compassion goes badly off the rails.

  • Siberian-born Nina Kraviz got a haircut and took some selfies.
  • NYC-based Frankie Decaiza Hutchinson (among others) talked about why that related to deeper feelings about racism, and why it could be hurtful to other people of color.
  • Nina Kraviz told Frankie in effect those feelings were unimportant to her, because her perspective on the meaning of her gesture was different, and went as far as turning the accusation of racism the other way, without evidence. (Direct quotes: “I can wear whatever I want!” and “You think that spreading hate, agression [sic], separation, bullying in our scene and validating reverse racism is OK. “)
  • A whole lot of people of color spoke to their own experience about why that could trigger deeper feelings about racism, and why it could be hurtful to other people of color.

Then, in real-time, there was something we’ve seen regularly in social media: a pile on of short, on-the-spot monologues about the writer’s personal opinions, in a crescendo of polarized sides amplifying their own position. Troublingly, many attacks were directed at people of color and people who speak out about these issues. We’re seeing this cycle over and over again, yet at the same time, we can’t dismiss the problems beneath.

Now, what you saw of all of this is highly variable – not only through the very real filter of all of our own biases and internalized racism, but literally what the technology showed you. And this happens fast: the time window to see the originating tweets was roughly 2-3 hours on Monday evening.

Depending on who you follow on social media and how millions of lines of computer algorithms are personalizing that feed to heuristics about your taste, you may have missed this story altogether, or made a gesture that signaled to those algorithms your disinterest, causing them to vanish.

Alternatively, the algorithms’ complex mathematical rules may have bombarded you with an explosion of impassioned comments and chosen which would get priority. This weighting is constructed, as extensive research has shown, primarily to increase engagement and profit, with a questionable weighting on either your well-being or the accuracy and balance of what you’re shown. Even before these reached your brain, they were filtered by statistical machine learning rules intended to maximize your engagement.

And whether by algorithmic weighting or most-recent chronological ordering, the longer these discussions go, the more likely you are to see copy-of-a-copy punditry and waves of frustration than the original discussion, as if you walked in on the end of a barroom brawl.

This also leads inevitably, in any case, to the same claim: “why aren’t xx people talking about yy.” Very often, these mirror a non-online, real ignorance. But rather than helping resolve that issue, social media can present an unmanageable torrent of disorganized information and even actively amplify ignorance, all while distorting timescale (again, realizing that some people are joining a conversation hours or days later than others).

To the extent it seems like discussions on Twitter have gotten more heated since, oh, about 2016, they absolutely have, due to algorithmic changes. Facebook has similar heuristics. Both are intended to keep you focused on these products.

Putting all that aside, whatever did reach your brain was filtered again through years of learned experience about race, which will have been very different based on who you are, what your skin color is, and where you grew up with that skin color. This changes your behavior, which then … feeds back into the algorithms.

We’re dealing with both human and machine heuristics that can be toxic and divisive, and worst of all, they’re locked in a feedback loop. Machines are learning from some of our worst impulses even as we fail to learn to be better. It also needs to be said, this same system is open to outside manipulation – and with or without that manipulation, it skews our perception of one another and of issues.

The technology shouldn’t excuse bad behavior or learned racism and bias. On the contrary – it means that racism and bias have more urgency than ever. If ever there was a doubt, time’s now up to listen to who is marginalized and needs to be heard.

While social media rages away, this also means it’s worth reading long-form content and taking time to consider.

So let’s read:

Ash Lauryn: Keeping It Real… [Underground & Black]

The author, a Detroit-based DJ / writer / radio host, was one of the first to react and one of the first to bear the brunt of a full-on pile on, often from white people (which is a serious sign that something is seriously wrong here, having nothing to do with hair or Russian DJs). Full credit – Axmed of Dutch Dance with Pride posted this; you can find this and other links to their organization on Linktree.

It’s possibly even useful reading the article – and other posts – more than once, to be really aware of the message and unpack our own reactions as well as to process what she says. Sometimes, a re-read can help remove some of our own filters; empathy doesn’t require agreement, but empathy takes practice.

Over and over again, I heard this – while many people focused on Nina’s original hair selfies, they ignored the concerns that it was the response from Nina that was so offensive. Highlighting that bit:

Rather than listen and attempt to have a constructive conversation about her use of the term “ghetto” and cultural appropriation, she jumped right into defense mode. The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was her having the audacity to call one of the most dedicated people to diversity in the scene right now, whom also happens to be a black woman, a racist. That’s the point when I lost all respect.

Also, something I heard many people echo, she talks about why this is so personal (excerpt) – that this is a particular badge of pride in particular because it represents what had been denied:

As a black woman who wears cornrows on a regular basis, I find pride and strength in rocking the style, and it often feels like a form of resistance against the white society that tells me I need to wear my hair straight to be accepted. Perhaps this is what makes the topic a sensitive one, because to me, the style is not simply a fad or a costume for the night- it’s my heritage.

This issue of cultural appropriation clearly isn’t a simple one, because the core of it is dealing with people’s emotions. And much as the right-wing pundits in my native country loves to mock that aspect of it, caring about people’s feelings and how you impact them is the essence of compassion.

And yet, for all the apparent trendiness of the issue, it’s clear the questions of racism don’t get talked about enough or with enough depth. That was the overwhelming message of the frustration with Nina Kraviz I was able to dig through – that this didn’t come out of the blue, but sparked a long-standing, quiet frustration with ignorance and appropriation.

I’m disappointed in Nina Kraviz, though I hope she will find a way to undo this damage. I respect her as an artist, for her label, for what she’s had to put up with because of sexism and jealousy directed at her. But when she finishes her discussion with “I am not a racist. And I hope you know and feel that” – she misses the point. If you rephrase this discussion with “this hurts people, and connects to a history of hurting people,” and the response “no, it doesn’t, I can do whatever I want,” you get at the core of the issue. The question isn’t who is “a racist” or not, like asking if someone is a Methodist or a plumber. We say things, they have consequences, they impact other people.

So the question is whether we listen and respond when that impact is hurtful. This isn’t political correctness; it’s basic human compassion and decency.

Some messages are simple – there is absolutely no reason to argue that Frankie was in the wrong; she defends herself on that:

Some issues this episode has raised are much harder, in that they might not only be uncomfortable to talk about but might require real reflection and disagreement and even radically different viewpoints. I do hope we tackle them, and I appreciate that they’ll take time. I also know plenty of writers have already written extensively about this issue, researched this issue, and they deserve more of a platform and more awareness.

I went back and re-read Frankie’s answers to this site, as she talked about self-care and how she handles social media. It’s also important to note the ways she said at the time social media can be important and productive – and I think we have to listen to those, too. (It’s absurd not to be able to use a medium and to criticize it – I would flip it around and say it’s necessary to do both those things.)

Yes, to Ash Lauryn’s plea that the press and artists need to respond to these kinds of incidents, we damned well better find a way to do it. Yes, folks like me have an added responsibility to educate ourselves on our privilege because otherwise we’re part of the problem.

No, this can’t always happen in real-time, and it can’t always fit on social media, because of the limitations of human health and the fact that social media platforms are moderated by machines, not humans, and the machines’ priorities are set by corporations.

The best I can do is suggest we respond as thoughtfully as we can on social media, and make some space outside social media to have conversations, too. And since the press in the past hasn’t always done a job of opening up space, I hope that independent, open Web media can try to do better. That should mean giving up some space to other voices.

This is not labor to do this in music; it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to share with others access to a medium that lets us channel how we feel. When race, class, accessibility, gender, geography, sexual orientation, and other variables become barriers to music, we’re lucky to have any chance to make any change. So we need to listen to what we can do.

I can’t personally say more beyond that, so let’s just finish on Ash Lauryn’s mix for RA. If anyone says “make it about the music,” don’t worry – the people I quoted here are on that, too:

If people do want to share experience, and if there are other articles to add, please get in touch. You can actually reach me on Twitter, even. (Ahem.)

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This month is a meteor shower of great music; Objekt compiles a list to get you started

It’s the simplest social media revolution ever – bombard the Internets with music tips, not trolling. Objekt tweeted out his latest Bandcamp haul, and let me just add – “aye, sir.”

Producers are opting out of the sticky ooze of streaming, algorithms, and industry muck, choosing instead to find music the old-fashioned way – hey, here’s a list of stuff I found. And there’s a concerted effort among even big-name festival headliners to promote paying for downloads, with a decided emphasis on fan-favorite, artist-beloved Bandcamp.

Objekt is a special sort of headliner; playing massive mainstages, but constantly surprising with risky, gutsy moves even there. He also has a tendency to show up at tiny venues for love – as he did recently with Berlin’s TRADE at Ohm, where I caught a jaunty broken trip. And, as here, he’s also a steadfast champion of eclectic underground stuff and is outspoken about his choices.

I bring up Objekt because I have been digging a lot of the same stuff lately. That’s not some promo list or algorithm or cool kids’ club; these people are making a splash via word of mouth. I mean, this isn’t representative of all that’s awesome – I’m digging more into the Philippines and southeast Asian experimentalism this week, so watch this space – but it is a nice selection of adventurous electronic explorations to get goingt’s g

Let’s go:

Emptyset live were a highlight for me already, having watched them rattle the walls of a Latvian warehouse at Kontaktor Festival in Riga in June – and then they’ve gone and done this excellent full length:

https://emptyset1.bandcamp.com/album/blossoms

We already talked about Loraine James on Hyperdub:

Rui Ho is really excellent:

I hope to talk more about Dawn Of The Failed Units, a new international imprint helmed by Berlin’s Thomas Romana. Smog has an excellent “post-gabber” debut – see a detailed writeup on The Ransom Note. That’s Paolo Combes, who co-founded the oqko collective seen previously on CDM. And this one is a corker:

The Antwood remix is already streaming, the rest shortly:

https://failedunits.bandcamp.com/album/dawn-of-the-failed-units-pt-3

And, sorry, embeds are weird so you’ll see that twice, but also – Blawan remains at the forefront of techno, so if it’s all you listen to, still a good choice:

I have been thoroughly enjoying the music coming out of Shanghai ever since I got to stop through there in April. That very much includes the wonderful production work of 33EMYBW, who has also been doing some superb remix work lately – more on that soon – and the hypernerdy goodness of Gooooose (who also does some terrific Max for Live invention, while we’re at it). It’s all out on Shanghai’s Svbkvlt imprint, which has been blowing up lately at the center of the city’s small, tight-knit, but innovative scene.

Check out the label page:

https://svbkvlt.bandcamp.com/

And there’s more:

One of the great things about Bandcamp is that it makes it uncommonly easy to keep up with great new stuff to love. If you choose the ‘subscribe’ option when you follow a label or buy music, you’ll have more latest releases delivered to your inbox. So I think part of what is keeping Bandcamp users loyal is, the more people acquire, the more the service is full of new music to appreciate. And in turn, that keeps those producers making new music.

That sounds obvious or like some sort of infomercial for Bandcamp, but it’s important to note that major streaming services don’t work like this. These tools drive more and more “engagement” in the form of streams, but there’s very little feedback to the people making the music, let alone money. Bandcamp can at least cover making cassette tapes or paying for mastering, even in fairly underground stuff, and grows from there – plus people get real feedback on what they’re releasing. And there isn’t the kind of algorithmic intervention pushing people from their human, personal choices toward whatever the service thinks they should want. Services like Traxsource and Beatport do allow following, too, and can offer the same benefits, but those tend to be more genre-specific – Bandcamp is far more eclectic, and not limited to dance music.

Featured image: 33EMYBW by Marco Microbi, at CTM Festival.

The post This month is a meteor shower of great music; Objekt compiles a list to get you started appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

This month is a meteor shower of great music; Objekt compiles a list to get you started

It’s the simplest social media revolution ever – bombard the Internets with music tips, not trolling. Objekt tweeted out his latest Bandcamp haul, and let me just add – “aye, sir.”

Producers are opting out of the sticky ooze of streaming, algorithms, and industry muck, choosing instead to find music the old-fashioned way – hey, here’s a list of stuff I found. And there’s a concerted effort among even big-name festival headliners to promote paying for downloads, with a decided emphasis on fan-favorite, artist-beloved Bandcamp.

Objekt is a special sort of headliner; playing massive mainstages, but constantly surprising with risky, gutsy moves even there. He also has a tendency to show up at tiny venues for love – as he did recently with Berlin’s TRADE at Ohm, where I caught a jaunty broken trip. And, as here, he’s also a steadfast champion of eclectic underground stuff and is outspoken about his choices.

I bring up Objekt because I have been digging a lot of the same stuff lately. That’s not some promo list or algorithm or cool kids’ club; these people are making a splash via word of mouth. I mean, this isn’t representative of all that’s awesome – I’m digging more into the Philippines and southeast Asian experimentalism this week, so watch this space – but it is a nice selection of adventurous electronic explorations to get goingt’s g

Let’s go:

Emptyset live were a highlight for me already, having watched them rattle the walls of a Latvian warehouse at Kontaktor Festival in Riga in June – and then they’ve gone and done this excellent full length:

https://emptyset1.bandcamp.com/album/blossoms

We already talked about Loraine James on Hyperdub:

Rui Ho is really excellent:

I hope to talk more about Dawn Of The Failed Units, a new international imprint helmed by Berlin’s Thomas Romana. Smog has an excellent “post-gabber” debut – see a detailed writeup on The Ransom Note. That’s Paolo Combes, who co-founded the oqko collective seen previously on CDM. And this one is a corker:

The Antwood remix is already streaming, the rest shortly:

https://failedunits.bandcamp.com/album/dawn-of-the-failed-units-pt-3

And, sorry, embeds are weird so you’ll see that twice, but also – Blawan remains at the forefront of techno, so if it’s all you listen to, still a good choice:

I have been thoroughly enjoying the music coming out of Shanghai ever since I got to stop through there in April. That very much includes the wonderful production work of 33EMYBW, who has also been doing some superb remix work lately – more on that soon – and the hypernerdy goodness of Gooooose (who also does some terrific Max for Live invention, while we’re at it). It’s all out on Shanghai’s Svbkvlt imprint, which has been blowing up lately at the center of the city’s small, tight-knit, but innovative scene.

Check out the label page:

https://svbkvlt.bandcamp.com/

And there’s more:

One of the great things about Bandcamp is that it makes it uncommonly easy to keep up with great new stuff to love. If you choose the ‘subscribe’ option when you follow a label or buy music, you’ll have more latest releases delivered to your inbox. So I think part of what is keeping Bandcamp users loyal is, the more people acquire, the more the service is full of new music to appreciate. And in turn, that keeps those producers making new music.

That sounds obvious or like some sort of infomercial for Bandcamp, but it’s important to note that major streaming services don’t work like this. These tools drive more and more “engagement” in the form of streams, but there’s very little feedback to the people making the music, let alone money. Bandcamp can at least cover making cassette tapes or paying for mastering, even in fairly underground stuff, and grows from there – plus people get real feedback on what they’re releasing. And there isn’t the kind of algorithmic intervention pushing people from their human, personal choices toward whatever the service thinks they should want. Services like Traxsource and Beatport do allow following, too, and can offer the same benefits, but those tend to be more genre-specific – Bandcamp is far more eclectic, and not limited to dance music.

Featured image: 33EMYBW by Marco Microbi, at CTM Festival.

The post This month is a meteor shower of great music; Objekt compiles a list to get you started appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

First Floor is what happens when music journalism arrives in your email inbox, unfiltered

Journalism is often a nomadic field, as outlets come and go — music journalism, doubly so. But Shawn Reynaldo reinvented his homeless radio show as a mailing list, and the results are refreshing.

The odd thing is, reading through First Floor feels more intimate than the days of print writing. Don’t get me wrong – I love reading things on paper, there are publications that only make sense this way, and I’ve cherished those times my own byline showed up on dead trees. But it’s an oddly lonely endeavor.

The Web resolved this – for a while. Then we got social media, algorithms dictating what we see to maximize engagement and Facebook profits, botnets and explosions of trolls, until most big-name artists and music journalists I know started to just tune out. Instead of reading and communicating, we manage our Instagram stories, argue with some random strangers who turn out to be propaganda plants, monologue about our pet issues and how our last flight connection was annoying, and then shut off. That’s … depressing.

So back to First Floor. Shawn Reynaldo helmed this widely appreciated radio show for Red Bull Music Academy, before that entire project was shelved. Shawn still has bylines elsewhere – I first got to know his podcasts and writing when he was at XLR8R, and now he’s on the likes of DJ Mag. But First Floor itself has been reborn as a newsletter. (Good thing, too, as it seems unless I’m mistaken, Red Bull annihilated all their archives. Cute.)

Having everyone writing in your inbox wouldn’t be journalism, exactly – we’d be back to the social media problem. But Shawn’s first take on the newsletter is already a rich and varied read. It’s like the conversations you with music journalists and expert aficionados in person, over a couple of beers or coffee. That’s just the sort of communication we’ve lost when those same people are at the perpetual mercy of commerce.

See, ladies and gentlemen, he’s really like you – he even hates the term conceptronica, as you do.

It’s also frankly useful even to have a mailer from Shawn where he keeps you posted on what he’s writing for the other publications (even if that means we should all have a look at redesigning our site navigation).

This also allows something else social media was supposed to do. Shawn Reynaldo, like me and many other authors, is also involved in music. (What a thought!) So he talks about his DJ gigs.

Plus, you get links to Buy Music Club – another recent coping mechanism for our broken musical Internet, which I’ve been meaning to write about and start using more actively. Initiated by Avalon Emerson, the site was a simple hack that lets people post links to Bandcamp. It’s designed so you can both discover new music via human-selected, non-corporate-algorithm lists, and actually buy the music, as the name suggests. It supports humans choosing what they love in music rather than algorithms choosing what their business masters thinks will make them rich and powerful, and it supports the artists and labels putting the stuff out. For example:

https://buymusic.club/list/shawn-reynaldo-first-floor-6

I know, I know – apart from making readers of this site blow their money on gear, I also make you blow it on music. But, hey, you’re happier for it, right, and life is short?

Shawn also tackles this problem of drowning in promos, which I had just discussed with Emily Bick of The Wire, another writer whose work I follow. It’s clear we’re all on the same page, but sometimes that page gets lost in Twitter chaos. (Well, I’m knocking social media, but I’ve noticed people are having the same conversations there, too, so maybe we are making headway.)

Direct link:

Drowning in Promos

Oh yeah, and he’s thinking about streaming, too, of course. Here’s that link:

https://firstfloor.substack.com/p/first-floor-4-streaming-blues

— and he gets to comment on another DJ Mag story:

https://djmag.com/longreads/how-producers-can-get-paid-through-streaming-services

I’ve become an addict of The New York Times‘ podcast, The Daily. This is text, not audio, but the idea is similar. Even as it seems we don’t have enough time, hearing directly from the journalists actually helps us to understand the journalism and paradoxically gives us more time to focus on their work.

Shawn also mentions another project I think has some promise – Support Organize Sustain is a project by DVS1 dedicated to supporting music culture. This isn’t a fly-by-night operation, either – it’s got some heavy hitters in the industry already involved. I wasn’t in Amsterdam for the ADE event this week, so I’ve no idea how that first installment went, but I presume I’ll hear soon.

https://www.supportorganizesustain.org/

All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven. Perhaps after all this short-form chaos, we can ignore what the apps and corporations want us to do, and read and listen the way we want.

https://firstfloor.substack.com/

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Techno to terraforming: this ex-Berlin collective is planting 27,027 trees in Portugal

Could techno makers wind up shifting to rural landscapes from the usual urban ones? One collective imagines “terraforming … a sustainable green oasis.”

Liquid Sky and ringleader Ingmar Koch aka Dr. Walker began life in Germany, but recently migrated to southwest Portugal. They are reforesting the land, as Ingmar joins with local architect Carina Guerreiro and others, planting and maintaining some 27,027 trees.

It could at least be a novel way for frequent-traveling DJs and producers to acquire carbon offsets, as the project needs significant investment in time for weekly maintenance of the trees. But once planted, these trees not only suck carbon out of the air, but will provide some fruit (for humans and animals), shelter for indigenous wildlife, and resistance to brush fires.

That promises a more self-sufficient, ecological, pleasant environment for the Liquid Sky collective, but Ingmar also says he plans working with neighboring areas in the future.

You can track the project here:

https://www.facebook.com/liquidskyproject27027/

It’s a small project, but it could also be an early sign that the techno scene of the future might have new associations, not just its perpetual post-industrial, toxic cliche.

More environmental projects we should know about? Let us know.

All photos courtesy Liquid Sky.

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A poetic choreographic vision of change, in Hercules & Love Affair video

It’s called “dance music,” but it’s rare to find music, movement, and emotion captured to film. That’s what makes this new music video must-watch.

And it’s all a meditation on “change” – that theme, and the feelings around it, I think make this video something all of us can relate to:

Videos for dance tracks have become so pedestrian that I almost dread anything mentioning a video or video premiere in my inbox. The difference here: Andrew Butler’s Hercules & Love Affair is already a project that integrates dance, and his work here is as director as well as music producer.

Butler (who you see make cameos in the video) teamed up with Joie Iacono, another talented DJ with deep musical sensibilities, to co-produce and co-direct the video. It’s polyglot meets polyglot, each of them having transplanted themselves from central roles in the New York scene to new life in Europe (Mr. Butler to Belgium, Ms. Iacono to Berlin). Joie’s photographic imagination pairs perfectly with Andrew’s groove and dance fantasies.

And the results are simple, but arresting – concise, motivated gestures with occasional stuttered edits to match the music. This sort of thing can quickly become cliche, but veteran choreographer Joshua Hubbard has a uniquely well suited language. He has worked with the likes of Elton John, but that’s not the main thing here – his choreography is irregular, contorted, yet still relentlessly lyrical. So the result is the ability to make haiku-like mysteries out of simple moments.

And well, watch him improvise to see what I mean:

It’s a shame dance music videos can’t always be on this level, so it’s worth taking note when they are.

The track is produced by Andy Butler with Alec Storey as Hercules & Love Affair, and you also get sculptures in the video by Egon Van Herreweghe and Thomas Min.

The EP is out on November 1. More at PAPER, who premiered this:

https://www.papermag.com/hercules-love-affair-change-2640928744.html?rebelltitem=3#rebelltitem3

Hopefully we’ll talk choreography more soon, as it plays a central role in new audiovisual work by Alessandro Cortini, which I caught at Slovenia’s Sonica Festival.

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Autechre streamed a 12-hour set live on Mixlr Sunday; listen to all of it

With sounds ranging experimental hip hop to eclectic, the legendary Warp act seems to have made an unexpected virtual DJ appearance over the weekend.

So, for anyone pondering how to fill 12 hours with music, here you go:

http://mixlr.com/autechre/showreel/autechre-on-mixlr-2/?fbclid=IwAR3gteRcTIQj_-leORUdwQWrguNEEXBS41hU1QGuiG2PWWquUbcLfuDoNHY

Mixlr is an independent tool for live streaming, with broadcast tools for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. I wasn’t tuned in on Sunday when this happened, but it seems there was live chat with (presumably Sean).

The company is based in Shoreditch, London, and is itself an interesting story – still private, still independent since its 2010 launch, even as many other audio and music startups have come and gone and even mighty SoundCloud has seen its founders depart the leadership team. So it’s kind of encouraging to see Autechre show up there.

There’s some fun chatter on Reddit to follow:

Thanks to Mike of Wunderblock Records for the tip, as I shake jetlag from 10,000 km of travel yesterday! Feel free to chime in on comments with a) track IDs, b) your own live streaming experience/station, or anything else.

Feature image:

“Autechre – Confield | CD Cover Design” by Gita Elek, Visual Arts Institute Eger is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

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