Clubnacht sounds: heavy techno from Jessica Kert, Lana Lain, YOONE SEKS

Let’s transport you to Berlin for a while – with three of us who share interests in techno and experimental electronic music, drawn from broader music and technological background.

I’m fortunate to get to join Jessica Kert, Lana Lain, and SDX tonight at Berlin’s Suicide Club. I’ve been a fan of Jessica’s music ever since first giving it a deep listening on her Detroit Underground outing. And as Jessica is deep into technology, it’s also worth noting that Lana Lain’s backround in techno is drawn from classical education. I think the days when there was a line drawn between such things are over. (That also means, in turn, erasing the attitude toward dance music as being a lesser form of expression, which speaking as an American to me suggests some fairly racist overtones.)

But let’s skip directly to the music. I’ve also got a new mix out this week, revealing some of the heavier sounds I’ve been into.

Jessica Kert (pictured at work, top) is a familiar face as one of the experts staffing Schneidersladen, but you should know her music as well – both solo and as half of the duo ZV_K.

Her outing on Detroit Underground DW is a modular magnum opus and one of my favorite DU releases of late:

But she’s also an adept live performance improviser – which will be on showcase tonight.

Check out her mix, too:

She’ll be joined on live visuals by defasten, who has been up to some superb alien eye candy, produced with software (modular, of sorts) Notch:

Lana Lain was born in Russian Karelia, but established herself in Stockholm before recently moving to Berlin. She’s been hyperactive in the music scene, including building her ФОМО party series (and accompanying radio show on the UK’s Fnoob Techno Radio. That has carved a space in Sweden for international art friendly to gay, queer, and fetish culture. I hope to talk to her more about that network soon, but in the meantime, here’s the terrific techno mix she did recently for Fast Forward:

I’ll also share a new mix of my own, channeling some harder, driving sets and favorites – and digging through this, I’m encouraged by how the darker, weirder sides of electronic music have gotten some real popularity in techno. These artists aren’t fringe any more, at least getting a growing following around the rich networks of fans in parties in Europe and abroad.

ˈYO͞ONƏˌSEKS is the new podcast and party series from ANRI, the Yokohama-born, prolific producer, DJ, and party organizer. Her work got her deep into Tokyo’s underground, before bringing that sensibility to Berlin, where she’s served as a bridge between the techno communities in Japan and Germany. So it’s a pleasure to reflect a bit of what I’ve gotten to experience from her circle into my own response:

Track listing – go find those folks and labels on Bandcamp or your favorite store (like Rotterdam’s Mord, who I didn’t repeat her intentionally, but whose Bandcamp page is well worth a splurge):

  1. Pris – Ad Infinitum [Avian]
  2. Donato Dozzy – Parola featuring Anna Caragnano (Rework) [Spazio Disponibile]
  3. Judas – ID 14 [Arts]
  4. Th;en – Modular (Mike Vath & Robin Hirte Remix) [Tabula Recordings]
  5. Sawlin – Oblique [Arts]
  6. Ansome – Bearded Lady (JoeFarr Remix) [Them Recordings]
  7. Blawan – 993 [Nutrition]
  8. Oscar Mulero – Texture (Cassegrain Remix) [Warm Up Recordings]
  9. Rebekah – Code Black (Slam Remix) [Soma Records]
  10. Ethan Fawkes – Barricades Did Not Burn [Corresponding Positions]
  11. Fjaak – Drugs [Seilscheibenpfeiler Schallplatten Berlin]
  12. Dave Tarrida – Bound To You [Mona Records]
  13. Albert Van Abbe – In Rotterdam [Mord]
  14. Uun – Destruction of Heaven and Earth [Mord]
  15. YYYY – Repent [Weekend Circuit]
  16. Scalameriya – Crucible [Perc Trax]
  17. Thomas P. Heckmann – Bodywrap [Monnom Black]
  18. Paula Temple, Fever Ray – This Country (Paula Temple’s INSTRUMENTAL Version) [Rabid Records / Co-op]
  19. La Fraicheur – Eaux troubles (VTSS Remix) [InFine]
  20. Hiro Ikezawa – Spiral Arm [Murasame Industrial Records]
  21. Ket Robinson – The Fear (Mab Remix) [Taro Records]
  22. A001 – Cyprido [Mord]
  23. Nicolas Bougaïeff – Cognitive Resonance [novamute]
  24. Air Liquide – Semwave [Blue]
  25. Sleeparchive – Wood [Tresor Records]

Enjoy!

And if you’re in Berlin and want to stop by and say hi, that’ll be here, by Warschauer Str S-Bahn:

https://www.residentadvisor.net/events/1299870

https://web.facebook.com/events/2411618512416477/

More on music and visual artists from – well, this week, even, as Atonal is also on – very soon. Now excuse me; I may squeeze in a disco nap.

The post Clubnacht sounds: heavy techno from Jessica Kert, Lana Lain, YOONE SEKS appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Reason 11: tons of new devices, features, and now it’s a plug-in, too

Reason 11 unveils a bunch of new stuff – and the company that brought you ReWire is finally lets you use Reason as a plug-in. Oh, also – that company is no longer “Propellerhead.”

This is the most news from the Props in a single day for a while, at least in my recent memory. Let’s do the run-down.

Reason 11 is coming, with some changes to how it’s delivered:

  • Reason 11 is in beta now, coming September 25.
  • Reason will come with a plug-in covering just instruments, effects, and sounds, called Reason Rack (VST3 in September, AU later this year).
  • There’s now a Suite version, which adds 16 of their own Rack Extensions (including one new addition).
  • New pricing – Reason Intro (€79), Reason (€349) and Reason Suite (€549).

Buried in the fine print, Suite gets you – Scenic Hybrid Instrument [new], Complex-1 Modular Synth, Umpf Club Drums, Umpf Retro Beats, Reason Electric Bass, Reason Drum Kits, Processed Pianos, Layers Wave Edition, Layers, Parsec Spectral Synthesizer, Radical Keys, Polar Dual Pitch Shifter, Rotor Rotary Speaker, PolyStep Sequencer, Quad Note Generator, Drum Sequencer.

To me, having the Buchla-inspired Complex-1 modular, the step sequencer and quad note generator, Drum Sequencer, and Parsec are enough for me to recommend Suite to enthusiast producers. Those are already to me the main reason to fire up Reason these days.

Reason 11’s availability as a plug-in is the feature that will get everyone’s attention in the new release, but there are a lot of improvements to functionality.

New features and devices:

  • There are a bunch of new devices: Chorus Ensemble, Sweeper Modulation, Master Bus Compressor, Channel Dynamics, and Channel EQ (the last three emulating landmark analog gear – and adapted from the existing mixer, but now possible to use in Combinator patches and the new plug-in)
  • Curved automation and audio clip crossfades (finally is definitely called for here)
  • Improved vertical zoom
  • New MIDI editing features (mute, multiple notes, selection enhancements)
  • Scenic Hybrid Instrument is a “cinematic dream machine.” It feels a little bit like a Swedish take on Omnisphere, with a fresh Nordic UI but – will check it out soon.

So, to translate there – Reason 11 gives you the ability to use another DAW, but it also gives you a bunch of reasons not to do that. Finally having curves and automation, plus rounding out the dynamics processing options, should make doing your track inside Reason way more fun.

What’s new in Reason 11

And lastly…

Propellerhead is dead. Long live Reason Studios. There’s no actual corporate change here, but there is a name change: the company we know as Propellerhead will now be Reason Studios. Plus, there’s a new logo, which reminds me of time spent playing Q*bert. Here, let me demonstrate:

Fun fact: I do all my measurements in units of lowercase ‘n.’

@!*?@! is something you’ll hear me say sometimes while working.

What’s it all mean?

So, fast take on this – all of this was a long time coming. And it’s great news for loyal Reason users.

The plug-in idea is a long time coming. ReWire was a clever idea, and it introduced at least some producers to the idea of combining different tools. It let you use Reason as a rack of instruments and effects in a DAW – and originally at a time when Reason’s own arrangement and audio facilities were limited. But ReWire hasn’t really survived as a technology, as operating systems advanced and security changes even make it untenable. (As far as I know, ReWire won’t even be possible in the imminent next version of macOS.)

Meanwhile, a plug-in does what you really need, by letting you keep your favorite instrument/effect racks inside software like Ableton Live. FL Studio already does this, so it’s not even uncharted territory, and those FL users seem really happy with it.

This also means that Reason’s excellent console tools and West Coast modular instrument are available in your DAW, which is a big deal – just to name two examples, among many. (I can’t wait to use the Complex-1 everywhere.)

The demise of Propellerhead as a name is a little bittersweet for all of us. The name Propellerhead was quirky, unique … “Reason” we’ve gotten used to, even if there was already a “Logic.” But sure, the logo looks overly 1990s, and there was always this Web domain problem of the company Propellerhead being at Propellerheads.se (plural).

And Propel– uh, Reason Studios – really has just one product. After unsuccessful efforts in hardware (an audio interface that never took off), plus Web and services (that effort was spun off as Alihoopa, then shuttered this year), the company is focusing on the one tool that never fails. That’s Reason, plus the flourishing ecosystem of instruments and effects that sits on top of it. And people really stick with the name of the tool they use every day – Pro Tools, “Ableton” (since most people don’t call it “Ableton Live”), Cakewalk (not SONAR, not 12 Tone Systems – eep).

This has been an end of an era for the company in a lot of ways – CEO and co-founder Ernst Nathorst-Böös turned over the reins to Niklas Agevik in June.

Now, the one big disappointment to me is, it still sounds like Reason lacks a proper scalable interface. I expect that will be a major architectural change, since it also will impact Rack Extensions. But it’s needed, and I’ll try to find out more.

Otherwise, Reason 11 looks like another compelling release from a company that continues to inspire passion in its users.

Product manager Mattias Häggström Gerdt weighs in:

Announcing Reason 11 – a word from the Product Manager

The post Reason 11: tons of new devices, features, and now it’s a plug-in, too appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Teenage Engineering has a record label and a pocket modular pop music video

Dear young Buster: why do you look so sad and lonely? Don’t you know that having a yellow Teenage Engineering pocket modular is all the love you need?

Okay, so Buster is in fact Millenial Swedish pop star up and comer Emil Lennstrand, and he is the first face of a record label (really) from the perpetually-open-to-creative-distraction crew of Teenage Engineering. You see, having done cameras for IKEA and marketing campaigns and various synthesizers and … bicycles and lamps and other things … the Teenagers are now getting into a record label.

It’s surprisingly silky-smooth pop from this otherwise fairly hypernerdy and experimental Stockholm shop. But it does predictably feature Teenage Engineering instruments – in this case the pocket operator modular.

They bill the song as “partly produced” by that system 400 (what – the modular isn’t used on the vocals?). But it’s slick stuff, for sure.

The other star of the music video is this – TE’s pocket operator modular series.

So what’s up with the record label? It’s tough to tell from this one track, but here’s what the Teenagers say for themselves:

first teenage engineering started their own band to field test their instruments. now they are taking the next step starting a record label for songs made with teenage engineering products. there are just two rules, it needs to be a good song (easy) and have at least one of teenage engineerings instruments used in the song. the main distribution platform for their releases will be spotify.

Now that’s some serious Swedish loyalty, going Spotify only.

I’m slightly confused, but intrigued. To my mind, the OP-Z remains the best thing recently from Teenage Engineering hands down, but stay tuned for my explanation of why I feel that way.

And there’s more Teenage Engineering stuff to come, including me joining them in Barcelona during SONAR+D this summer – which means a chance to grill them for more information, of course.

https://teenage.engineering/

The post Teenage Engineering has a record label and a pocket modular pop music video appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Reason 10.3 will improve VST performance – here’s how

VST brings more choice to Reason, but more support demands, too. Here’s an update on how Propellerhead are optimizing Reason to bring plug-in performance in line with what users expect.

For years, Reason was a walled-off garden. Propellerhead resisted supporting third-party plug-ins, and when they did, introduced their own native Rack Extensions technology for supporting them. That enables more integrated workflows, better user experience, greater stability, and easier installation and updates than a format like VST or AU allows.

But hey, we have a lot of VSTs we want to run inside Reason, engineering arguments be damned. And so Propellerhead finally listened to users, delivering support for VST effects and instruments on Mac and Windows in Reason 9.5. (Currently only VST2 plug-ins are supported, not VST3.)

Propellerhead have been working on improving stability and performance continuously since then. Reason 10.3 is a much-anticipated update, because it addresses a significant performance issue with VST plug-ins – without disrupting one of the things that makes Reason’s native devices work well.

The bad news is, 10.3 is delayed.

The good news is, it works really well. It puts Reason on par with other DAWs as far as VST performance. That’s a big deal to Reason users, just because in many other ways Reason is unlike other DAWs.

I met with Propellerhead engineers yesterday in Stockholm, including Mattias Häggström Gerdt (product manager for Reason). We got to discuss the issue, their whole development effort, and get hands-on with their alpha version.

Why this took a while

Okay, first, some technical discussion. “Real time” is actually not a thing in digital hardware and software. The illusion of a system working in real time is created by buffering – using very small windows of time to pass audio information, so small that the results seem instantaneous to the user.

There’s a buffer size you set for your audio interface – this one you may already know about. But software also have internal buffers for processing, hidden to the user. In a modular environment, you really want this buffer to be as small as possible, so that patching and processing feels reponsive – just as it would if you were using analog hardware. Reason accordingly has an internal buffer of 64 frames to do just that. That means without any interruptions to your audio stream, you can patch and repatch and tweak and play to your heart’s content.

Here’s the catch: some plug-ins developers for design reasons prefer larger buffers (higher latency), in order to reduce CPU consumption even though their plug-in technically work in Reason’s small buffer environment. This is common in plug-ins where ultra-low latency internal processing isn’t as important. But running inside Reason, that approach adds strain to your CPU. Some users won’t notice anything, because they don’t use these plug-ins or use fewer instances of them. But some will see their machine run out of CPU resources faster in Reason than in other DAWs. The result: the same plug-in setup you used in another DAW will make Reason sputter, which is of course not what you want.

Another catch: if you have ever tried adjusting the audio buffer size on your interface to reduce CPU usage, in this case, that won’t help. So users encountering this issue are left frustrated.

This is a fixable problem. You give those plug-ins larger buffers when they demand them, while Reason and its devices continue to work as they always have. It’s just there’s a lot of work going back through all the rest of Reason’s code to adjust for the change. And like a lot of coding work, that takes time. Adding more people doesn’t necessarily even speed this up, either. (Ever tried adding more people to a kitchen to “speed up” cooking dinner? Like that.)

When it’s done, existing Reason users won’t notice anything. But users of the affected plug-ins will see big performance gains.

What to expect when it ships

I sat with the engineers looking at an alpha and we measured CPU usage. The results by plug-in are what you might expect.

We worked with three plug-ins by way of example – charts are here. With Izotope Ozone 7, there’s a massive gain in the new build. That makes sense – a mastering plug-in isn’t so concerned about low latency performance. With Xfer Records Serum, there’s almost none. Native Instruments’ Massive is somewhere in between. These are just typical examples – many other plug-ins will also fall along this range.

Native Instruments’ Massive gets a marginal but significant performance boost. Left: before. Right: after.

iZotope’s Ozone is a more dramatic example. Stack some instances of this mastering-focused plug-in, and you can max out the CPU quickly in Reason. (left) But in Reason 10.3 alpha, you can see the “big batch” approach yields resolves that performance issue. (right)

Those graphs are on the Mac but OS in this case won’t really matter.

The fix is coming to the public. The alpha is not something you want to run; it’s already in the hands of testers who don’t mind working with prerelease softare. A public beta won’t happen in the couple of weeks we have left in 2018, but it is coming soon – as soon as it’s done. And of course 10.3 will be a free upgrade for Reason 10 users.

When it ships, Reason 10.3 will give you performance on par with other DAWs. That is, your performance will depend on your CPU and which plug-ins you’re using, but Reason will be more or less the same as other hosts beyond that.

So this isn’t really exciting stuff, but it will make your life easier. We’ll let you know how it comes and try to test that final version.

Official announcement:

Update on Reason and VST performance

For more on Reason and VST support, see their support section:

Propellerhead Software Rack Extensions, ReFills and VSTs VSTs

The post Reason 10.3 will improve VST performance – here’s how appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Maracaibo to Berlin, Hyperaktivist on MESS, love, and music community

From Venezuela to Europe, DJ/producer Hyperaktivist’s passion for music has been about connecting people as it has about connecting music. She talks to us about that process of community building, even in the face of resistance – and shares hours of music mixed with Mohajer at her side.

MESS is “Mindful Electronic Sonic Selections.” It’s advertised as techno, as house, as “adventurous sounds.” The party itself is once every third month at Ohm, the intimate club built in the former battery room of the power plant that now houses Tresor and Atonal Festival. But follow the connections of this party, and you get a decent map to a range of inspiring DIY, collective efforts of artists around Europe and Latin America. For any of us struggling to put together our own musical lives, our own parties, our own collectives and communities, it’s a terrific instructive effort – not least because of the personality and will of Hyperaktivist, aka Maracaibo, Venezuela-born, Berlin-based Ana Laura Rincon.

I’m personally indebted to Ana Laura in the time I’ve known her, in that in a sometimes mercurial, transient Berlin scene, she has consistently been someone whose vision and friendship I’ve known I could always trust. Of course, maybe it’s better though to first listen to how she communicates musically. She shares with us a mix she made B2B with Mohajer (aka Melinda Mohajer), her Iranian-born partner.

The magical thing about music and perhaps specifically techno is, when someone makes a confident sonic statement, it makes that feeling of strength infectious:

Hyperaktivist went B2B with Mohajer for MESS in February – a perfect Valentine’s Day pairing. Listen to their full mix. Photo courtesy Ana Laura Rincon.

The Hyperaktivist B2B Mohajer set comes to us from the last edition, in February. MESS is never advertised as female-only lineups; it’s a completely mixed crowd, and it never uses artists’ gender as a selling point. For her part, Ana Laura just refers to “chemistry and style.” But the fact remains: some of the most significant forces on the musical scene are female, transgender, and non-binary. And a lot of those figures are still often very underground. So let’s let Ana Laura guide us.

For the edition coming up on Berlin Saturday May 26, we get to meet two special artists:

Nastya Muravyova (Celestial, Kyiv)

“She’s a rising, yet brightly shining star of Kyiv’s underground scene,” Ana Laura says. “She’s balancing on the edge of pumpy 4×4 techno and sharp breakbeat, slightly aggressive — and all the way sexy.”

facebook.com/vsehzhdetsmert

Jessie Granqvist (Esperanto, Stockholm)

Ana Laura: “She’s a product of the vibrant underground-scene that’s currently growing rapidly in Stockholm. With roots grounded in illegal raves and open airs, she has gained notoriety for her style of dark and meditative sounds merged together into a very danceable mix. With both technicality and an eclectic selection of records, she has the talent to truly build and build a long lasting vibe on every floor that she appears on.”

facebook.com/jessie.granqvist/

PK: I find it interesting that you’re pulling people connected to collectives, parties, scenes in other cities. What’s important to you about doing that?

Hyperaktivist: For me, at the moment, I’m really not finding my inspiration so much from the scene in Berlin. So I always try to invite and collaborate with people from other places – so we can experience something fresh and different for us here in Berlin. With bookings, I take my time to know that everyone is going to have a chemistry that will work through the night and that it will add something new.

I mean, it seems like that’s been a big part of what defined the scene in Berlin – bringing in influence from elsewhere, whether it’s Detroit or Latin America or another part of Germany. So that’s a problem if it becomes just an export culture, if it’s all the same, right?

Hype has taken over Berlin; that’s a fact. People come here to live that “Berlin experience.” What scares me is the effect this might have on some of the artists that reside in Berlin. I worry some DJs feel pressured to play what’s expected from them more than what they feel at the time. And I worry about the consequences of that for the people who actually live in Berlin – whether they’re feeling that they’re going to the same party over and over, or that there are actually new things happening.

At this point I’m trying to go back to the roots a bit, thinking about why I started DJing and organizing parties in the first place. For me it all started in Venezuela, a country with few electronic music affiliations.

I discovered the electronic music scene when I was about 16 or 17. That happened to be around the first time I saw a DJ playing – there were maybe three or four people in my whole city who owned turntables.

It might sound funny, but for me it was a revelation. I knew right there, this is something I wanted to do. I was collecting music already; my mom had a great music collection and she was among other things a radio host. I was already completely fascinated about music and how we needed it to express ourselves and how we naturally feel like sharing it with others. So for me, seeing a DJ – “the master of ceremony” – was a turning point.

I started to get into it, but the scene was small and many people wouldn’t really have access to it. I first started organizing parties and eventually I even opened the first club in my city dedicated to electronic music only. I did it with my three best friends; we ran it for four years. During this time, we would also throw free parties in the streets. We had the intention of making electronic music more accessible to anyone and somehow contributing to the development of this scene that had already become a very important, determinant part of my life

That’s why I try to work with collectives that I feel are working to develop the scene in their own countries. When you start to do this in a place that’s not like Berlin, that’s not well developed, where the industry is not like here, you know that people are doing this because they love it. And they love it so much that they need it and if it doesn’t exist, then they do it. They need it to be part of their lives, so they make it happen.

So I like to work with people I feel are involved in music for these reasons, and doing something with heart and that is honest. Not only because of hype or because they want to be famous. It’s more because we fucking love it.

How do you describe what MESS is about? I know you aren’t explicitly talking about this being female + non-binary only, as far as lineups – so how would you express that dimension?

First of all, I feel the concept of MESS is ever-evolving. We need to pay attention to the necessities of the electronic music scene, what needs work and what’s overlooked.

Berlin is such a masculine city in many ways, music scene included. I’ve met some of the most amazing women and the most strong personalities in Berlin. So I have a hard time accepting why women still need to fight very hard and prove themselves over and over in order to be accepted and sometimes even welcomed.

I think about MESS as a space where I don’t want to make a political statement. I have come to understand the best points are made when you don’t have to explain too much but instead you let things speak by themselves. Actions speak louder than words, right?

So I put together bookings based on chemistry and style. I invite super talented artists and I let them do their thing. And slowly but surely, people are realizing that there’s something different. And I get feedback on it – sometimes at the party, people come to me and say, like, ‘this is really cool, what you’re doing, there’s something different about the party.’ So it’s great to let people see by themselves.

I also always try to put together bookings where people are from diverse cultural backgrounds, so you see different approaches.

In my utopian world, we shouldn’t even be having these discussions between each other. At the end of the day, more than anything else, it should be about the music, about friendship, acceptance, respect — about the feeling you are part of something special.

And this is what MESS is at the moment.

Ana Laura aka Hyperaktivist. Photo by Melinda Mohajer.

So when you go to find these artists, these collectives and other scenes – how are you connecting with them?

Research. [laughs] I spend time – a lot of time, listening to the music. Not only once. You know how it is with music – this day you hear this and you think, oh wow, I love this … next day you hear the same and it’s like, this is actually fatal. I give myself time to hear it, in different moods, see how I feel about it. I hear it with friends. There are different things that catch me. Usually, the things that catch me are related to attitude — when I see that this person wants to say something, there’s something there.

It takes time. That’s why I do MESS every three months, because I need time to prepare and I also want to have a good reason to make the party. For example, the last edition happened on February 17th, the weekend after Valentine’s Day. We decided to make a “Club Affair” and have only couples playing, as in back to back. So we invited Isabella from Colombia B2B Bella Sarris from Australia, Johanna Schneider with Philippa Pacho from Sweden with their B2B project Sthlm Murder Girls, and I played with Melinda Mohajer from Iran. I saved our recording specially for you at CDM.

Схема. Via Facebook.

Hyperaktivist vs. Maricas Maricas, Barcelona.

I’ve been collaborating with various collectives / parties. For a few examples:

Maricas, a queer party collective from Barcelona, run by Isabella, a Colombian DJ who played at our last edition, along with Uruguayan friends

www.facebook.com/pg/maricasmaricasmaricas
www.instagram.com/maricasmaricas/

Fast Forward from Copenhagen — these guys are making exciting new techno and crazy illegal parties, and you feel their collective really has these family vibe, which I love.

www.facebook.com/fastforwardcopenhagen/

Esperanto music from Sweden – they’re pushing up-and-coming Swedish artists.

https://www.facebook.com/EsperantoMusic/

esperantomusic.net

Cxema from Ukraine, where they are taking abandoned locations and throwing badass raves and putting the Ukraine scene on the international radar.

www.facebook.com/cxemapage/
http://www.c-x-e-m-a.com/

How does that experience compare to when you were running a club in Venezuela?

It was the same – collaborating with the development of the scene and the culture of electronic music. It’s what I’ve been working for, always.

I had this friend, and he had this house downtown in my city Maracaibo, the second largest city in Venezuela. And he was like, ”I want to do something here, what should I do?” I didn’t even think for one second — I turned around and told him, we’re gonna do a club.

And then we started the club, and it was amazing. It became a meeting point for all the scene in the city and across the country. So we started to do the same – invited collectives from Caracas and all the other cities from Venezuela to come to play, and then we would go to play their parties in their cities. And then it grew, and it started to happen between Colombia, Brazil, Argentina. Then we started to bring artists from Europe, but at this point the political situation of the country started to critically worsen. We had an exchange control that started to happen and wouldn’t allow us to access any foreign currency anymore, so buying records, equipment, or making international bookings became impossible. The whole country started to go down down and boom – it was gone. And that’s when we stopped.

But now one of the best clubs in Bogota, Video Club, is run by a good friend of mine Enrique Leon with I used to have the club with in Venezuela. And he’s putting together great bookings, making showcases with everyone. Dekmental Sound System, Aurora Halal, etc….

If you’re in Berlin, don’t miss MESS tomorrow at Ohm, Saturday 26 May. Or see you in the scene in your neck of the woods.

MESS at OHM
Facebook event
Resident Advisor

More from Hyperaktivist / Mess

www.facebook.com/Hyperaktivist/
www.soundcloud.com/hyperaktivist
www.soundcloud.com/messberlin
www.facebook.com/messberlin

At top: Hyperaktivist – Pic by Honza Kolář.

The post Maracaibo to Berlin, Hyperaktivist on MESS, love, and music community appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

A video glimpse of Teenage Engineering’s OP-Z in action

It looks like a small remote control for a game system, but it’s a musical instrument. The OP-Z caught our imagination earlier this year at NAMM with a host of bizarre and wonderful functions, from sequenced instruments and drums to live visual animation accompaniment (seriously).

Now, Cuckoo Music catches up with Teenage Engineering in his ongoing video series. That means a chance to see how the pocket music gizmo has progressed, as well as what’s happening with live visuals. Teenage Engineer David Mollerstedt joins:

Meanwhile, TE’s instruments see other lovely action. Mikael Jorgensen writes CDM to tell us about his new project Rancho Electro, a kind of visual music label featuring performance in the open air. As he describes it to us, it’s “electronic music, performed, filmed and recorded live and in a natural setting.”

Love that idea. If Mikael’s name is familiar, it might be from other band projects – one of them being keyboardist for Wilco. We’ll have to go more in-depth with this soon, but let’s immediately enjoy some lovely, jangling music out in nature.

Apart from the OP-1, you’ll spot a KORG volca beats and a Pocket Piano in there.

The post A video glimpse of Teenage Engineering’s OP-Z in action appeared first on cdm createdigitalmusic.

Watch 16 Rubik’s Cubes Turn Into a Visual Music Sequencer

The future happens gradually — and then by the time you’re sequencing a Web browser using Rubik’s Cubes, you might barely notice.

But Sweden’s most inventive producer is back yet again with his latest novelty, this time turning one of the world’s best-selling toys (hundreds of millions of units) into a usable sequencer.

Håkan Lidbo (concept and sound design) teams up with Per-Olov Jernberg (programming & visual design) and Romeo Brahasteanu (game board). The clever conceit here is to swap black for one of the colors, thus creating a foreground and background. Make a 4×4 grid of these cubes of 4×4 each, and you have a very usable sequencer – in fact, one more flexible than a lot of hardware sequencers out there, I might add. (It also bears some resemblance to my favorite drum machine of the moment, iOS’ Elastic Drums.)

The design is simple. And the functionality, like other computer vision-powered sequencers, is reasonably straightforward.

A camera and led lights are mounted over a game board painted in matte black.
A color recognizing algorithm built in a web sequencer for Chrome playing back sounds. Each color represent one musical instrument, totally 6 different instruments. Each position horizontally represents a beat in a 4/4 loop. Each position vertically represents a key from low pitch closest to the player and high pitch further up.

But, wait a minute — remember that what made Rubik’s Cube so popular is that it’s a puzzle. As it happens, making this work as a sequencer is intentionally, and possibly entertainingly, challenging:

The setups can be any sound you put into the sequencer but in the demo film, this is the set up: White is drums, green is bass, orange is percussion, red is synth 1, yellow is synth 2, blue is synth 3.In order to compose, the played have to place the right cube in the right box and then twist the cube to get the desired combination. This is quite complicated as it is but when changing one instrument it effect other instruments. So composing music becomes a puzzle. A very difficult puzzle. But why does it have to be easy? Most of today’s electronic music tools have a low learning curve. But the Cube Sequencer is not easy. Just like learning how to play the violin or chess – or to solve the Rubik’s Cube, this takes time to master.

Welcome to the game of sequencing.

Fun stuff.

cubesequencer_bigbild

CubeSequencer2_bigbild

More on the project:

http://hakanlidbo.com/archives/3892

If this all seems too mechanical for you, check out Hakan’s last project, which tends in a different direction entirely – tunnels that sing back to you, based on pitch recognition.

The post Watch 16 Rubik’s Cubes Turn Into a Visual Music Sequencer appeared first on Create Digital Music.

With MIDI, A Simple iOS Piano Roll App Gets More Useful: Auxy Update

auxy

From a design standpoint, it was beautiful. Auxy already demonstrated that a stripped-down app could provide an elegant way to simply produce musical patterns. Using a clean, piano roll-style graphical interface, it was finally a demonstration that you could make a music app for editing notes that felt native to a touch environment.

There was just one problem, a big one: you were limited to the very basic built-in sounds. So, Auxy was a bit of a conundrum. It was the perfect app for making patterns for other apps and hardware, but it didn’t have the ability to connect to them. It seemed a perfect way to sketch musical patterns on the go, but it didn’t have MIDI export so you could use those sketches with other tools. An overly-simple island, it was something beautiful … that you might never use.

That changes with the release this week of MIDI functionality. Now, Auxy is an island no more.

First, you can use it to send MIDI. You can route patterns to other apps. Or, using a hardware interface, you can connect to outboard hardware.

Second, you can export patterns. I can imagine using this on the go to sketch quick ideas, then to drop them as clips in an Ableton Live session for later use.

Seriously, as predicted, I haven’t felt the need to pick up Auxy since it came out. Now, I will.

It’s a good thing they’ve added other features, too. Triplets and 1/32 notes are here, too, so Auxy progresses beyond the musical education level of a toddler (or, okay, some of us adults when we’re making techno – ahem).

To celebrate the release, Auxy also have a video hands-on called “Auxy loves analog.” Swedish producer combines Auxy with a drool-worthy studio containing a Dave Smith Tempest drum machine, Moog Minimoog Voyager, Eurorack modular, and Virus Indigo. Now, by the time you’ve bought all that, you might wonder why you didn’t keep spending money on a hardware sequencer. On the other hand, the mobility of the iPad makes it perfectly suited to doing this sort of hardware sequencing elsewhere – for those of us who can’t afford an extra rack of sequencing gear.

Looks great. Of course, now that we’re using Auxy, we’ll probably find other stuff for them to add, but I say bring it on. And, this isn’t the only MIDI iPad… ahem. Sorry. Separate story.

Bottom line: Auxy without MIDI was a pretty example of good design. Auxy with MIDI is a must-have. And it could change the way you work on the go.

MIDI functionality is a US$8 in-app purchase. But I’ll defend this model: it means you can try the app itself for free to see if you like it, then invest roughly the cost of what a standalone app might be.

More:

http://appstore.com/auxy
http://auxy.co/

The post With MIDI, A Simple iOS Piano Roll App Gets More Useful: Auxy Update appeared first on Create Digital Music.

How TE’s $59 Drum Machine Sounds – And How The Pocket Operators Work

pocketoperator

Teenage Engineering have also shared with us their video tutorials on the PO (Pocket Operator) line. The basic stuff to know (having been playing around with today rather than doing NAMM work):

This being Nintendo-inspired, yes, there’s a metronome and alarm clock function.
Select one of sixteen patterns, and one of sixteen sounds, with the respective buttons.
Toggle between playing notes with the buttons, or inputing them with the step sequencer, using the “write” button.
Hold “write,” and you can write parameters over top of playing sequences (effects work this way, too). That means you can automate patterns, etc.
“bpm” – several of you asked about this. You can toggle between bpm presets, or dial in specific bpm and swing independently.

For more detail, watch the videos. These really are deceptively powerful, if they require some practice to learn to use. But as a little tiny thing to keep in your studio to generate ideas, well… yep, pretty irresistible.

(These hadn’t been listed yet – I begged for them partly because there were some features that confused me!)

One by one:

And here’s an explanation of how “sync jamming” works:

You’ll find right away that each of these units has multiple personalities inside. So, while you’ll be tempted to get all three, even just one is capable of making a track. There are some synth voices on the rhythm, for instance. There’s a nice percussion kit on the sub. In fact, I think the factory is the only one that might seem a bit lonely on its own.

And yes, I couldn’t resist making some tracks with the rhythm to start things out. Technoooooocrastination! (I’m supposed to be reading through press releases or something…)

Have fun. No edits (apart from one mistake on the first track which required a cut when I bumped “play” – yeah, watch out for that). I added some light plate reverb, which I think is totally fair. And you hear that these really are things you could use in a production.

Some of the “rhythm” sounds are certainly weird – no normal clap, for instance, and a lot of really glitchy digital stuff, though that’s a selling point for some. I will say, some of it sounds fantastic. I think there’s a wider palette of sounds than on the volca beats (twice the price, though that’s still a great buy), and the sound of the unit puts the Akai Rhythm Wolf to shame (at three times the price). Now, sure, those things give you luxuries like MIDI or, I don’t know, a case other than a bare board. But… well, listen.

You know, if a restaurant is good enough, at the right price, you will skip luxuries like walls, a roof, tables, chairs, and … plates. Just stuff it in my mouth, really. And to think, I thought products needed enclosures.

Now, some criticisms, perhaps:

1. Yeah, they’re fragile. I want to try the silicon cases, for sure.
2. Augh, no mute. This one is painful on the rhythm – you can’t easily mute parts, which is part of why my jams get a bit rambly.
3. “fx” is fun on the rhythm, but confusing as hell.
4. You probably won’t spend almost any time looking at the cute animations, to be fair.
5. There’s some mystery here… octopus? Uh, letter? Function? Yes, you’ll get most of what you need to know from the videos, but I expect we’ll have some people posting their own tutorials to make up for the absent documentation.

But… you did work out that there’s a game you can play, too, right?

Oh, Teenage Engineering, we love you.

The post How TE’s $59 Drum Machine Sounds – And How The Pocket Operators Work appeared first on Create Digital Music.

Nintendo Game & Watch Inspires Tiny, $59 Synths from Teenage Engineering [CDM Hands-on]

tePO_13

“Pocket” is a term often used loosely to mean anything small. Not so the Teenage Engineering PO-12 series of instruments. They’re each literally small enough that you could put them in your jeans comfortably and still cram in your phone.

We’ve got units from TE (and collaborator Cheap Monday) here at CDM, so let’s talk about what our wacky Stockholm friends have done this time.

Remember Nintendo’s Game & Watch series? These business card-sized pocket games used crude but charming LCD animations, characters making jerky, repetitive movements for basic games. The ultra-cheap toy titles preceded the NES, the ingenious work of game designer Gunpei Yokoi. They were brutally simple, but stunningly addictive. Oh, and they also doubled as a clock/alarm clock – battery life was so impossibly minimal, you could prop them on your bedside and count on them to wake you up in the morning.

Here’s where we enter the weird and wonderful imagination of Teenage Engineering and founder Jesper Kouthoofd – and their usual Japan fetish, down to the writing on the box. The PO cross-breeds the Game & Watch with synths and a drum machine and a step sequencer. The lab coat-wearing TE team have unveiled three models – a “Factory” melodic synth, a “Sub” bass synth, and a “Rhythm” drum machine. Each is US$59.

CDM was the first to see the PO-12 when the drum machine – sans display – showed up in a talk I hosted at Moogfest last year. Now, the Game & Watch connection is explicit: that blank space on the board hosts a gaming display. And yes, it’s also an alarm clock. And no, the TE guys haven’t come up with any housing: this is still a board with a hanger and a wire stand for the back. You pop in AA batteries and go. There’s not even a power switch: it powers off automatically; any key brings it (nearly) instantly to life.

So, okay. It’s a cute toy, a nerdy gimmick for design lovers. It’s available in Colette in Paris. Skinny jeans maker Cheap Monday is in on it. Fine. It’s a fun hipster throwaway. It’s certainly not a musical instrument.

Wrong.

Actually, completely wrong.

I had an inkling that this might turn into something that was more than a toy when I talked to Jesper last year and he started mentioning “parameter locks.” See, Jesper hasn’t just been designing cool stuff for rich cool kids in Stockholm – his background also includes working on the first legendary Elektron drum machines. It’s a bit as if Roger Linn had done the MPC, but then gone on to work at an ad agency, but then gone on to turn Atari Tempest into a modular. Jesper’s that kind of guy. And he’s filled his lab with other similarly over-qualified music tech geniuses.

So here’s the thing – in fact, the only thing you need to know.

The PO-12 devices sound $#(*&ing amazing.

tePO_05

tePO_11

First, here’s the game-like bits: yes, you get some animations, and if you can lay your fingers on those tiny knobs and buttons, you can control things. A built-in speaker gives you the tinny reproduction you’d expect.

Inside my brain: “Hmm, cute, well, this is fun to play with … no volca or anything like that, but… yeah, let’s just plug my studio headphones in into the audio output and … gah … the $#(&*?!”

Part of why I’m impressed is that my PO units are happily playing away on my desk, perfectly loud and clear when plugged into a line or headphone, and yet … I can’t seem to kill the batteries. We’re talking just two AA’s, not the array of batteries the volca series routinely eats through. And, sure, for your sixty bucks you get a device that has no case and no MIDI, but… well, let’s listen.

If you’re wondering about sync, there is a second minijack that allows you to chain and synchronize tempo between units. (I had encouraged Jesper to do that when I first saw these and he was already contemplating it; I have to find out if you can make the minijack work with apps or volcas or MIDI or the like.)

Each additionally has effects options, parameters to tweak, and 16 different sounds. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but they’re voiced and designed nicely enough that almost everything is satisfying – so figure sixty bucks buys you a 16-step grid of 16 sounds with layers of parameters and it always sounds good. I’m also curious if there will be ways to hack additional functionality (syncing other gear, as I said, being the place to start).

Where things really get interesting is actually in the sequencing. You have real parameter locks and lots of access to edits for effects and grooves – yes, including swing. In fact, there’s so much there, that I have to admit I got a little muddled – I’ll walk through these features by next week with some better sound samples.

Anyway, there’s really no reason not to take these things absolutely seriously and wire them into a serious rig. I’d just get a little bag to protect them.

I’ll wait on a full review and test shortly with more sounds. But… I bet you’re already sold.

Gallery:

tePO_01

tePO_04

tePO_03

tePO_02

tePO_10

tePO_09

tePO_08

tePO_07

tePO_06

tePO_12

The post Nintendo Game & Watch Inspires Tiny, $59 Synths from Teenage Engineering [CDM Hands-on] appeared first on Create Digital Music.