Bitwig Studio 3.1 lets you do loads of creative stuff with pitch, tuning, slicing

The latest update from Bitwig offers variations on a theme – from microtuning to lots of new features for working with pitch editing and playing live. Oh, and it’s easier to learn, too.

Bitwig Studio 3.1 is now in testing, and while there’s a ton of new stuff, it’s really pitch and tuning that stand out.

Micro-pitch lets you get away from generic Western digital piano tuning and embrace lots of other options. That includes full support for the Scala SCL standard, which has now thousands of tunings from around the world. But since that can get, uh, overwhelming fast, there are also 30+ tuning presets that cover some basics for composers, theorists, and lovers of music traditions of China, Java, and more. There are even composer-specific options based on seminal works by the likes of Wendy Carlos and Harry Partch. Nerd. On.

Tuning freaks may already be using these in plug-ins – I’ve just gotten going in VCV Rack – but I really admire the elegance of the interface Bitwig built, including a nice graphical visualization.

I really hope it’s something other software copies, actually, because all of us benefit if music software is more open to tunings. It’s otherwise like being in an ice cream shop with only vanilla. I love vanilla, but not all the time.

It’s not just about this microtuning, as equally important are some other additions:

Pitch-12 lets you assign pitch classes as modulation sources for … well, anything you can imagine. This continues the evolution of Bitwig Studio into a modular design. Rough translation: playing keys on your keyboard can now do some freaky things with sound, easily and quickly. Cool.

PluckSlope ↗Slope ↘, and Follower in the modular Grid give you new envelope options. And yes, Pluck is useful for physical modeling ideas.

Transpose lets you create chords and stereo effects in the modular side of Bitwig Studio even without an input.

You’ll also find some great fast draw features. Quoting:

  • Quick Draw action: holding [ALT] with the pen tool will draw multiple notes at the current beat grid interval
  • Quick Draw action: drawing defaults to a single pitch for each note (think hi-hats), but adding [SHIFT] allows various pitches to be drawn (like a step sequencer)
  • Quick Slice action: holding [ALT] with the knife tool will cut any clip/event at the beat grid interval, for as far as you drag the mouse
  • Quick Slice action: slicing snaps its initial cut position to the beat grid, but adding [SHIFT] allows an off-grid starting position
  • Slice In Place function: will slice any selected clip(s)/event(s) at the detected audio Onsets, the set Beat Markers, or at a set beat grid interval

With some practice, those look like big timesavers.

Also, if you’re behind on exploring all this new stuff, Bitwig are expanding interactive help to more devices.

There are a bunch of new scripts and lots of additional fixes and improvements. Think little details like a ‘note chase’ option that lets you hear MIDI notes when you start the transport in the middle of them. See the full release notes:

https://downloads-as.bitwig.com/beta/3.1/Release-Notes-3.1-Beta-1.html

(at least for now, that’s a testing link)

And news item:

https://www.bitwig.com/en/19/bitwig-studio-3_1.html

Video walkthrough:

The post Bitwig Studio 3.1 lets you do loads of creative stuff with pitch, tuning, slicing appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

16″ MacBook Pro, a better MBP at 15″ prices, as Apple responds to user feedback

Apple has a 16″ MacBook Pro that improves performance, adds a bigger, better display, and makes promising changes to the keyboard – without increasing price. Next question: should you upgrade?

Apple’s flagship laptops still command a price premium: standard configurations are US$2,399 and $2,799, which can be punishing for cash-strapped musicians (especially in other countries once accounting for currency and cash). Figure budgeting at least $2599 for 1TB storage, and then the $2799 standard price point bumps processor speed and graphics.

But as before, what you get in exchange for the luxe price is some luxe hardware. That’s always been especially true of the display. Even big fans of the price/performance ratio on PCs have got to concede that Apple ships some big, bright, color-accurate, gorgeous displays.

And the 16″ revision does three things:

  1. It sweetens the display deal with what might be the best laptop display on the market.
  2. It improves the performance-to-price ratio with upgraded specs for the processor, graphics, and battery. But maybe most importantly –
  3. It fixes the damned keyboard. (Or at least first impressions suggest so.)
Now with an Escape key – and while the Touch Bar is standard, improved keyboard performance means there’s not really anything in particular to gripe about, we hope.

The keyboard had held a lot of people back. The butterfly-action keyboard on past models prompted some complaints about key travel, and worse, were subject to reliability problems. I was unable to attend the press preview for the new Apple laptop, but journalists more experienced with those issues are so far impressed – Dieter Bohn for The Verge and Roman Loyala for Macworld each have their first hands-on impressions. Apple are confident enough that they’re dubbing the new keyboard Magic Keyboard, in a nod to their well-liked Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad (all the way back to the Steve Jobs era, actually).

You still get the Touch Bar whether you want it or not. But it’s no longer at the expense of a dedicated escape button (it’s back), and the fingerprint sensor now also gets its own dedicated control. Plus even the inverted-T directional keys are back.

Having tested the old keyboard, I have to say this is the MacBook Pro I would save up for. But I think the most encouraging thing about this is it means Apple was listening to complaints from pro users.

Also encouraging – you get more ports. You’ll still need adapters for a lot of gear (or a hub), but with USB-C evolving, having four USB-C ports that also double as Thunderbolt 3 (yeah, all four of them) makes this a machine that’s easy to connect.

Computers have largely caught up with the needs of most musicians, meaning all these extra performance specs won’t matter to anyone. But producers pushing the envelope should appreciate the new machines. All images courtesy Apple.

We’ll need a full review before we can judge the on-paper specs, but so far the indications are positive.

  • Ninth-generation CPUs (6- or 8-core, depending on model) from Intel – these will be great for running things like modeled synths (hello, VCV Rack), as well as CPU-native operations for visuals and so on.
  • 100 watt-hour battery (that’s the biggest battery approved to fly in the USA), for longer battery life
  • AMD Radeon Pro 5000M GPU with 4GB VRAM, option for 8GB

This is new generation AMD stuff, made just for Apple, though that also means it’s tough to make a direct comparison. As in past models in this line, it’s middle of the road stuff. Just remember that Apple likes to choose balanced GPUs as far as heat and power draw; they’re not making gaming laptops with big fans.

The relevant factor there is, you still don’t get to take advantage of NVIDIA-specific instructions and acceleration. I guess we’ll see if Apple are able to push Adobe to finally optimize Creative Suite for the Apple GPUs. (Right now, CS uses NVIDIA CUDA optimizations, and suffers quite a bit when it comes to performance on AMD chips. Of course, Apple will be happy if you use Final Cut Pro, at least on the video side.)

You can load up to 64GB of memory, though that’s overkill for even some sample playback applications and as usual is a fairly expensive build-to-order.

Speaking of nice options for deep pockets, you can also add an 8TB SSD. Please don’t drop this machine when riding your helicopter.

But to me, it’s really the display and slick form factor where Apple continues to reign supreme. And, wow, that new display –

  • 16‑inch (diagonal) LED‑backlit display with IPS technology; 3072‑by‑1920 native resolution at 226 pixels per inch with support for millions of colors
  • 500 nits brightness
  • Wide color P3 / True Tone
  • Refresh rates: 47.95Hz, 48.00Hz, 50.00Hz, 59.94Hz, 60.00Hz

So everything is great, and you should go buy this – well, maybe.

The Catalina factor

Now that Apple has successfully responded to MacBook Pro customer feedback, let’s see how they handle complaints from developers. Developers I talk to are still venting widespread frustration with glitches under macOS Catalina – and Catalina is installed by default. These go beyond just eliminating 32-bit code and adding expected security improvements. Many developers I’ve talked to tell me that the major changes made to the OS are producing unexpected glitches and challenges.

I wish I could be more specific – Apple, for their part, infamously emailed developers to ask them to stop being so negative in their communication. But I can say this: Apple changed a lot of security features at once, and then shipped that OS on a strict timetable. That introduces a lot of variability, because it doesn’t leave a lot of time for even Apple to respond to developer and user feedback, let alone their third-party ecosystem.

16″ is the one to watch

I think the 16″ machine is likely to be a great choice in the long run – just maybe not today. As with new OSes, patience is a virtue.

If you can keep dust away from the keys, it’s even worth considering a refurb 15″ model for significant cost savings, which is what CDM contributor and friend David Abravanel just did. (Since we don’t live on the same continent, he’s safe from me showing up every day with croissants to see if I can torture test his new baby.) The 16″ model is almost certainly better, but if you get a great deal, that’s another matter. And a new Apple launch is likely to flood the market, especially since there’s no price increase here.

The 16″ model does look like the new sweet spot for the Mac. I would just wait a little bit to get some detailed reviews of the new laptop, and to wait as Apple inevitably works on any bug fixes for this new machine generation and/or macOS Catalina. Plus third party developers are working really hard on support, meaning even a couple of months from now, you can expect a smoother Catalina switch experience than now.

By then, maybe we’ll see this keyboard rolled out on the more affordable, more mobile 13″ model, too.

And Windows laptops remain an option. With more and more music software offering essentially identical experiences across OSes to end users – even in a growing number of cases, on Linux – we’re in a competitive landscape for laptops for music and live visuals.

But that’s a good thing. And it’s great to see a new laptop from Apple that promises to be genuinely inspiring again – and what users actually want.

https://www.apple.com/macbook-pro-16/

The post 16″ MacBook Pro, a better MBP at 15″ prices, as Apple responds to user feedback appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Game Boy music classic Nanoloop is coming to two dedicated mobile gadgets

Nanoloop, the ingeniously simple pocket music-making tool, is being reborn. Two new dedicated pocket hardware devices promise to do what once required Nintendo’s Game Boy.

Nanoloop began its life as a home-brewed cartridge for the Nintendo Game Boy. The software shipped in the same physical format as classic games like Legend of Zelda – on a cartridge. That allowed the title to take advantage of the distinctive chip synth in the mainstream gaming hardware.

And Nanoloop was an instant hit, helping drive the explosion of the chip music scene. While some musicians swore by Nanoloop’s leading rival, Little Sound DJ [LSDJ], and its 90s-style tracker interface, Nanoloop stood out for its distinctive graphical design. Minimal elements onscreen belied powerful editing features, and opened up music-making to artists drawn to that aesthetic and way of working.

If you really want to be a purist, you’ll continue to run Nanoloop exactly like that, on the vintage hardware. And of course, there are also mobile OS versions now available, though they lose the tactile feel that’s part of the whole draw.

But now there’s a third way – run Nanoloop on new, dedicated gadgets, not made by Nintendo. (Not that Nintendo needs to worry about the competition – the target market here are typically rabid enough fans that they already own and extensively use Nintendo Switch!)

Incredibly, there are two separate projects inbound that offer new ways of running Nanoloop. Nanoloop’s own developer is building hardware designed just for music makers to run his creation. And separately, a project to make new hardware that runs the original cartridges includes the Nanoloop synth, built-in.

I mean, I kind of want both. (Santa Claus, if you’re listening…) Here’s the scoop:

Analogue Pocket

We have fewer details on Analogue Pocket, but imagine a sleek, black remake of the original, with a high-density display in place of the original lo-fi one. It isn’t a software emulator as such – it actually plays the original Game Boy cartridges from all the different generations (Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance). Those afternoons spent around the flea market are about to get way more interesting, then.

In place of the original specs, though, you get modern features – as though you stepped into a mirror universe. So the display is 665ppi and 1600×1440. The battery is lithium-ion with USB-C charging. There’s an SD card slot.

What’s potentially interesting to music users is that the developers have a built-in version of Nanoloop. That seems to be the newer Nanoloop 2. I don’t yet have information on the Analogue Pocket’s sound engine, though, which will be crucial detail for chip enthusiasts wanting to use this as an instrument. Even Nanoloop developer Oliver Wittchow told me he’s trying to learn more about this device.

One thing we have been able to confirm – Oliver says the creators tell him the Analogue Pocket will have correct audio pin compatibility. That means the nanoloop mono cartridge – nanoloop 1 – will be compatible with the new hardware.

Meanwhile, Oliver is designing his own hardware around his app. That’s less interesting to mainstream gadget and gaming press, but even more interesting to us. And Oliver is making progress.

Nanoloop Hardware

I covered the nanoloop hardware project and its Kickstarter campaign earlier this year:

What makes it special is really its hardware matrix design, with gamepads – it’s a never-before-seen hybrid of light-up physical grid and gaming-style joy/directional-pads. Or to put it another way, it’s the love child of a Game Boy Advance and a monome, part modern gadget, part nerdy DIY contraption.

And goddamn, son, this thing sounds sweet. Check out the update from late October:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/734721310/nanoloop/posts/2665107

He’s dumped the dorky LEDs for a svelte, retro-futuristic set of dots on the main display – very nanoloop. The sound is exceptional, and it fits in your palm.

There’s also a post reflecting on form factor. The horizontal option seems to me a clear winner, and it’s stunning how much he’s fit in so small a space. It really for me outdoes even the tiny Teenage Engineering OP-Z in terms of economical user interface. I look forward to playing the two as a duo, though.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/734721310/nanoloop/posts/2628067

Don’t take my word for it, though. Follow the Kickstarter campaign and check out his sound demos, as Oliver has produced a unique instrument for lovers of tiny electronic musical things. If you’re feeling eager for this to arrive, I am, too, so we’ll keep you posted on how the work is coming.

Image at top: “Nanoloop in C” by v8media is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The post Game Boy music classic Nanoloop is coming to two dedicated mobile gadgets appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

You can learn a lot from Surgeon’s live rigs

Our friends at Resident Advisor took a peek at the techno legend’s battle-tested live rigs. And it’s not so much about gear – it says a lot about musical technique.

First, it’s simple but irresistible – Surgeon’s live rig is devastatingly effective, thanks to some economical decision making and inarguable musicianship:

  • Octatrack – six drum sounds, some backing tracks
  • LEPLOOP – FM oscillators, noise, and then sequenced sample and hold and LFO, plus it filters and delays the Octatrack
  • Faderfox controller accesses Octatrack parameters without menu diving (the PC4 pot controller, though see also the new EC4 if you prefer encoders and display)
  • OTO Machines BOUM – compressor/warmer

Laboratorio Elettronico Popolare’s LEPLOOP is the unexpected star of this one – a unique sequencer – synth – drum machine. Surgeon does say that devices tend to come and go, but I’m glad RA caught him with the LEPLOOP in the mix – it’s really adding a lot of dynamism to his sets at the moment. (Well, and it’s nice when the lesser-known gear gets some love!)

It’s also interesting that he uses the BOUM as a kind of glue to keep things from jumping out in the mix.

“It does make you want to … jump around.” Hell, yes.

He also takes a look at the “abstract” live set. Actually, I think this is more idiosyncratic – meaning it’s harder to learn from how he works. So, sure, the inexpensive SH-01A from Roland makes loads of sense – it’s a melodic favorite of mine, and I think a more versatile instrument than the all-about-acid 303s everyone has talked about lately. (I’m sticking with its Juno sibling, myself, but the SH-01A is my other favorite Boutique.) And the LYRA-8 is simply dreamy – it’s the creation of the wonderful SOMA, who I’ve profiled.

Maybe the most telling part of this is the Electro-Harmonix looper, the 45000. Just as the techno set is all about controlled modulation, the spice of the LEPLOOP atop the foundation of the Octatrack, here the composition focuses on the looper’s structure. That allows spontaneous layering of new material, with the regular patterns from the Roland and Lyra building up a skeleton.

There’s a full feature interview on RA, and well worth a read – it’s a must if you’re a Surgeon fan, but full of sage advice even if your own music lies in another idiom.

The Art Of Production: Surgeon

The whole series from RA has been great, but I’d wager this one may be the most useful to other artists – and of course, I’m a sucker for anyone talking about how they actually play live.

For some longer-form discussion with Surgeon, he also gave a recorded 45-minute talk at Berlin landmark SchneidersLaden:

Oh yeah, and the set? It’s a couple of years old, but here’s a nice video from Glasgow:

The post You can learn a lot from Surgeon’s live rigs appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Behringer 303 clones revealed: $199 street

Behringer’s analog remake of the 303 is now out in the open – a $199 set of red, blue, and silver synths called the TD-3.

On one hand, this might be the least exceptional of the low-cost Behringer synths, in that there are a lot of 303 remakes around already. There are boutique models, things called “Boutique” from Roland, the open-source hardware x0xb0x and its ilk (which even served as a template to open source music hardware generally), and plug-ins and software emulations galore.

On the other hand, the same thing makes the TD-3 newsworthy. It’s a synth everyone knows, and it’s now US$199 street. Get ready for a lot more acid — that’s for sure.

So what did Behringer actually do?

The TD-3 roughly approximates the TB-303 layout, without being slavish. And Behringer says they’ve recreated the essential analog circuits, down to the matched transistors.

It’s easier, then, to describe what’s new – apart from seeing a Behringer logo instead of a Roland one.

There’s a distortion circuit, which Behringer says is modeled on the DS-1. That presumably means a BOSS DS-1. And that’s actually the ballsy move here; Behringer has tangled with Roland before over BOSS.

The sequencer functionality borrows the 303’s interactions, but there’s more here – an arpeggiator, 250 user patterns x 7 tracks, and an intriguing ppq (parts per quarter) setting.

There’s also more I/O, bringing this more in line with a hacked/modded 303 than the original. You get USB, MIDI, and filter in / sync in / CV out / gate out, in addition to the original’s basic sync features.

Behringer are offering this in three colors, which otherwise are functionally identical – so TD-3-BU, RD, and SR are blue, red, and silver, respectively.

It’s really the price that’s the big deal, at US$199. That mainly hurts the Roland TB-03, which has a street of nearly twice that. Now, I don’t much expect anyone to dump the TB-03 – it sounds great whether it’s analog or not, it’s got a delay/reverb this lacks, and it runs on batteries. For that matter, I don’t know that people will dump any of their existing 303 emulations.

But for someone picking up the 303 who doesn’t have one, it’s going to be tough to compete with Behringer.

On the other hand, Behringer now joins a lot of low-cost, cool synths. Synthtopia compares the TD-3 with the KORG volca NuBass. I don’t know if that comparison came from Behringer, but the KORG seems like a totally different animal – different sound, different features, different workflow, and you know, a volca.

https://www.behringer.com/search/Behringer?text=TD-3

My question is – who’s going to use some strange bass sound to invent a new musical genre? It feels like we’re due.

I know, I know – “Karplus-Strong Techno” is really not a thing like acid house.

Okay – can someone make that a thing?

The post Behringer 303 clones revealed: $199 street appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Don’t miss bangers from DutchAfro, more, in compilation for Dutch LGBTQIA+ refugees

When it comes to activism, talented music producers still speak best in music. And now hear this – the Netherlands might be a different place than the one you imagine, starting with this killer cut from DutchAfro.

Let’s listen to “Time to Trip” in entirety first, as it’s just massive stuff, and from an artist largely unknown in the larger scene. “DutchAfro, Anna, is 24 years old and lives in Utrecht. Music has always been one of her big interests. Growing up in a cultural mixed family, she got stimulated to discover and explore music from the West (mainly Jazz and Motown) and Angola. “

That’s the kind of track I want to throw money at with or without a cause, but – yeah, there’s a cause, too. Place: The Netherlands is the latest in a series of electronic music compilations from industry heavyweight Kompakt, together with Air Texture from New York. The pitch: present music from a locale, not just as a sonic flavor, but as a platform for making real social change.

The series already knocked out must-hear gatherings of tracks from Colombia and Georgia (the European one). But its latest installment moves to the Netherlands – speaking of European politics. And it gives you a portrait of the Netherlands that might defy all kinds of biases, aesthetic ones included.

Among other cuts, get lost in the stacatto rhythmic fire of “Fibonacci Konnakol” by B C Manjunath. Or go deep into DJ Bone – the featured track on Bandcamp. Enter the abstract disorientation of blusher (an artist I’ve generally been finding lately). Dim Garden’s “Only You” seems it could drop in the middle of an EBM set for some catastrophic melodramatic theatrics. Or other brain ticklers and muscle stimulants… I could go on.

Maybe it’s no coincidence that political compilations lately have been so good. We’re in a generation of artists who feel urgency to their political cries, and whose outward spiraling production chops need outlets that aren’t only commercial and conformist.

Stream and buy the whole compilation on Beatport —

https://www.beatport.com/release/place-the-netherlands/2752631

or go preorder on Bandcamp:

Preorder now to get this when it arrives on the 15th. I mean, now is the time to do that – others are coming later.

Speaking of DJ Bone and the impact these sorts of benefits can have, Mixmag recently covered his epic ADE fundraiser:

DJ Bone and the power of charity through raving

More on this release – it is also a really special collaboration of two individuals:

Created in collaboration with Jasmin Hoek and Axmed Maxamed.
Jasmin Hoek is a DJ who plays under the name Jasmín. She was born and grew up in the east of The Netherlands, Enschede, and has now made her way to Amsterdam through Antwerp and Utrecht. In Utrecht she still hosts her own radio show on local radio station Stranded FM, as well as on Amsterdam’s Red Light Radio. Since her first club appearance two years ago, she has quickly made her way to the booths of Dutch clubs and festivals. In the past year, she started paving her way internationally with gigs in Berlin and New York.Next to djing she writes about music and club culture for various platforms, using her Gender Studies background as a framework.

​https://soundcloud.com/jasminhoek

Axmed Maxamed is a Queer Diasporic Somali activist, organizer and music nerd. Axmed was born in Xamar, Somalia where he also spent his early years until his family had to flee during the civil war and ended up in the Netherlands via other countries. He spent his formative years in Breda in the south of the Netherlands until he moved to Amsterdam some years ago. In Amsterdam Axmed co-founded Dance with Pride, a queer initiative which aims to re-unify dance music with its queer roots and raise money for grass roots queer initiatives with their fundraiser parties and sales of the Dance with Pride T-shirt. In addition to that Axmed is involved in other queer initiatives, with focus on QTIBPOC. Together with Ladan Maandeeq, Axmed started working on ‘Queer Somali Pasts and Presents: A Storytelling and Archival Project’ which will focus on the lives of Queer Somalis in the diaspora and Somalia, both in the present day and the past. As someone who came to the Netherlands as a refugee and is queer, this cause touches Axmed on a personal level.

Link: ​http://linktr.ee/axmed

Social Cause

ll over the world people from the LGBTQIA+ community are in danger. They are discriminated, persecuted, or worse in many parts of the world, forcing them to leave their homes to seek safety and protection in more socially accepting countries. People travel far from home without family or support systems.

In the Netherlands, many come seeking safety, but confront a difficult system where the process is confrontational and arbitrary. The Immigration and Naturalisation (IND) treats LGBTQIA+ refugees very poorly. Many have to prove they are Queer with detailed sexual and personal history – an invasion of privacy forcing the burden of proof on the individual at risk.

Many don’t get granted asylum and scared they will be sent back, are forced into a situation where they become undocumented. Outside of the system even basic needs like health care are not available.
The Netherlands positions itself as progressive and open but to People of Colour and other minority groups it is very different. LGBTQIA+ refugees are the most marginalized and the most at risk.

For Place : Netherlands we wanted to bring attention and funds to organizations that help Queer refugees get advice, find an extended sense of family and belonging, get legal work, and reenter society.

Partner Organization

Open Closet LGBT Netherlands

The Open Closet LGBT Netherlands was co-founded by Teddy Lyon as a response to the difficulties of his personal experience with the local immigration authorities (IND). Having decided that he is here to stay, the South-African born activist wanted to make sure that what happened to him does not happen to others.

Open Closet not only ensures that incoming LGBTQIA+ asylum seekers are properly registered, but also provides help with food, support towards the procedures required, counseling and a family where everybody is welcome. They provide a place to come together and cover for traveling costs if needed. By organising meetings regularly, they create a sense of community and belonging for queer asylum seekers in the Netherlands. Open Closet also ensures that asylum seekers are properly informed of their rights and options.

Link: ​https://www.facebook.com/2017radio.nl/

Go for it:

http://musicandactivism.bandcamp.com/album/place-the-netherlands

The post Don’t miss bangers from DutchAfro, more, in compilation for Dutch LGBTQIA+ refugees appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

White Privilege and the Electronic Music Artist – BELP shares one European take

Don’t go offline yet – there’s an opportunity to discuss deeper issues around race, politics, power, and electronic music. Guest writer BELP delves into the core of the challenges in those issues – and invites more discussion.

To anyone who wants to question whether this conversation belongs here, let me answer that directly – I see this as fundamentally and obviously in tune with the mission of exploring ideas for futuristic music. Apart from being an ethical responsibility and the right thing to do, for any of us who love music, here’s a chance to learn and expand music making and remove some very ugly obstacles that many of us otherwise will help perpetuate.

(See last week’s discussion for why the issue of race in electronic music blew up at that particular moment on social media. I’d also argue that Twitter in 2019 counts as relevant music tech as much as the production tools, for better and for worse.)

BELP responded via Twitter that he was working on a text to deal with some of the more nuanced dimensions of these questions.

BELP’s production and curation is a stand-out of an up-and-coming scene in Munich. He’s a self-described “DJ / Producer from Munich, Europe, having released several albums with electronic music, focussing on broken beats, ambient & noise. Involved with running the JAHMONI Music / Schamoni Musik label and as an artist member of the SVS Records collective.” (Seriously, check out the diverse Munich musical scene at the moment – and “stick to the music” crowd, uh, yeah, go listen to BELP and other Munich cats and don’t waste time trolling our comments.)

So that gives us a musical soundtrack, not just words (more links at the bottom of this story):

There is an open invitation to develop this text over time, not just from BELP’s own perspective. And my favorite phrase: “you can still be a genuine human being acting normally.” (Yes, please do that.)

Let’s read.

By BELP, November 2019

White Privilege and the (Electronic) Music Artist

As seen from a european perspective

Introduction

I would like to share my
thoughts on the recent debates on white privilege and the electronic music
scene, especially in Europe. This is not intended to lecture you. I am simply
documenting my (current) position and thoughts. By doing so I am not implying I
have more knowledge than you or anybody else. Nor do I think it will make me
immune to criticism. It might appear self-centered, and maybe it even is – at
the same time, the debates around white supremacy, structural racism, inherent
white privelege, western dominance and collective colonial responsibility will not
go away. I believe they will even intensify further. This is why I believe
being silent and ignoring all this is not going to help. So here is what I, as
someone from the electronic music scene in Europe, currently believe is worth
pointing out.

Reducing yourself to being
just a single individual saying you treat every person as equal (regardless of
race/origin/ethnicity/etc.) is simply not enough.

As a white person and a
member of a western society, you cannot simply opt-out and reduce everything to
yourself. This is one of the biggest misunderstandings. You do have some
collective responsibility. We profit from past and current colonialism, as well
as structural mechanisms in place that ensure western dominance and wealth.
Even if that wealth is not with you personally on your bank account you still
very much profit from all this indirectly.

Multiculturalism is great,
but its only great when every culture is coming from a more or less equal
position.

And this is very often not
the case. As a (white) member of a western society, when you engage in
multicultural artistic work, even if you have people of other ethnicities
involved directly within your work or even if the work itself is a mixed-race
effort to begin with, you as a member of a (white) western society have
inherently more power and responsibility associated with yourself (your
options, your behaviours, your ability to express and distribute yourself) than
members from an oppressed group, a member from a different ethnicity and/or
part of the world with less access to resources, wealth, power and rights. You
must be aware of that, and not pretend everything is okay, even if you meet
(and work) in real-life with these people as human beings and show respect. You
must not be over-apologetic or excuse yourself and do weird things, you
can still be a genuine human being acting normally, but when you see an
opportunity to counter-balance this imbalance of power you should rather try
and make it happen than rather not try to make it happen. This means
understanding other perspectives and making room for non-eurocentristic voices
and individuals in your (musical) work with the consent of those, if you
can and it is appropriate.

If you are not directly
involved with individuals from a different cultural background in the work you
are doing (which is totally fine), you can split things up, while still being
honest about references and giving credits where stuff comes from in your work
(knowing where you profited e.g. from black culture as an influence and being
honest about that), on a personal/private level you try to understand those
perspectives, you have those debates and try to help, within your circles,
where you possibly can, to reduce these inequalities, acknowledging that this tension is generated by the imbalance of power, and not dismissing it.

Nuanced criticism vs.
Defensiveness.

Having said the above, things
are still incredibly complex here. One of the issues I found is that people (of
all backgrounds) are coming from very different places in this construct called
the Western World pretending to be able to apply the same principles and
supposedly commonly shared values and background knowledge in debates on The
Internet. The so-called West is a somewhat artificial construct that is very
much linked to american (cultural) imperialism. On the other hand, it becomes
very real with military / economic power structures (e.g. NATO) and a shared
cultural domain (Netflix / Pop Culture), while non-US-western nations often do
a poor job differentiating / distancing themselves when necessary.

But at the same time it should be said, many of these debates are coming from a US-domestic background, with specific (segregated) racial situations happening in the US, and are being extrapolated 1:1 from there on to everything that is remotely associated with The West or even just “white”. While many things can be applied and linked, some cannot. Those distinctions are unfortunately currently not really being made. There is for instance a specific european version of collective colonial responsibility that is slightly different than the US-version. There is a specific real-life mixed-race day-by-day practice being lived in a city like London that is slightly different than in some other metropolitan area in North America (e.g. Brooklyn). And German colourblindness is slightly different than American colourblindness (due to different historical backgrounds), etc., etc. I am not saying anything is better or worse by-the-way, just different, without us even really knowing about those differences well enough when those debates happen. This is just one of the reasons why there can be such really big misunderstandings / shitstorms on the internet, currently (apart from a definitive level of ignorance, unawareness and defensiveness electronic music  artists certainly have).

But this last point
especially brings me to why I believe it is so important to get involved, to
try to understand and follow those debates, to reflect, to question yourself –
because for instance, copying US black activism debates 1:1 onto your local
(european) community will not really work and not really help. But that doesn’t
mean we don’t have similar issues and problems over here in Europe as well we
really need to discuss and fix. You should be able to understand those issues
better and be able to engage in those debates with our own, nuanced position
and perspective, instead of remaining completely silent or being defensive.

Most producers I personally
know actually have good mechanisms, ideas, views how to navigate within a
multi-ethnic / multicultural artistic space, but they lack the terminology,
buzzwords and background knowledge that would currently be necessary to engage
in these debates on a global (US-dominated) internet scale. I encourage you as
a fellow artist and musician to not be too afraid here. Speaking up is
important, learning is important. Only through communication we can slowly make
this a more fruitful debate for everyone (and bring positive change), instead
of remaining silent and waiting for the next shitstorm in this US-style callout
/ cancel culture to happen and then just go duck and cover.

Disecting what was not meant
to be disected: What is the goal – Inclusion or exclusion?

Personally, I believe segregation is never ideal, should not be the
goal. I realise that sometimes things go so bad, that separation remains the
only option. Just like in personal relationships, there can be a point of no
return where ending contact and communication becomes the only way out. But
this is then the last option, and very sad. A lot of things went wrong before
that.

White supremacy far-right groups want racial purity and segregation. As
a result and consequence, communities of other ethnicities and cultural
backgrounds living in these western societies where white supremacy ideologies
are particularly dominant (e.g. the US under Trump, but not only) want to
largely distance themselves, be left alone and peacefully do their own thing,
as far as this is possible within that particular western society. I have total
sympathy for this. It must be possible in a democracy “to leave” and
be left alone, for self-defense and self-healing reasons.

But is this the case everywhere in the so-called West? I don’t even
really know, and I am of course not entitled to make a qualified judgement
about this here since I do not belong to a marginalized group, nor do I have
enough knowledge about how things are in each and every western society. But
must we now a priori assume this new bottom line of de facto
segregation
– regardless, for a moment, whether one group agressively
called for this initially or its the other group‘s reaction being under attack
– as the default setting behind every white privilege / white supremacy /
cultural appropriation debate on The Internet? Can we still believe in
integration (as opposed to assimilation, segregation or marginalization)? Is
the mixing of cultures always by default harmful – a “sell-out” of a
“weaker” / oppressed culture towards a dominant (white / western)
culture?

It is complicated. Personally, when you want segregation in
principle
, I would like to respectfully disagree. If you want segregation
only as a (temporary) consequence of past and current oppression and harm, I
fully agree. So to me, the intention, the end goal, is the important thing. I
am okay to be called out for cultural appropriation I may have done, for my
white privilege, etc. as an intermediate, temporary step to overcome
inequalities (by pointing them out, so we learn) and to even perhaps take a
step back from all this mixing and integration (multiculturalism) for healing,
self-reflection and adjustment for a while, as long as this is not meant to be
the ideal situation forever and later we can perhaps mix again (culture-wise),
when we as the (white) dominant western society have learned how to do this in
a less (and hopefully zero) aggressive way.

If we assume for a moment, that throughout the so-called Western
World, we have different distributions / ratios of whether you believe in
inclusion or exclusion, whether you believe segregation is the way to go in the
long run, or not, and different views and lived practices of exactly what level
of (cultural / racial) mixing / integration is good and where to draw the line,
what happens when you say, publish or post something reflecting one background
setting
from some part of the so-called West, without any geographical
delimiter or mention of any scope, to all other parts?

Lets try and go further towards specifically the (Electronic) Music
Artist in Europe, while not questioning that some basic, broad argumentation
lines (intentionally kept a bit vague here) do indeed apply everywhere in the
so-called West, e.g. western dominance / imperialism, eurocentrism, colonial damage
& responsibilities (+ reparations) and inherent white privilege, but not
pretending that the so-called West is a mono-ethnic, mono-cultural, monolithic
bloc where everything is the same everywhere just because The Internet might
imply that.

Easy to assemble, hard to take apart.

Before we go there, we need some background. This entire debate is very
important, it is an opportunity to finally bring some very important issues on
to the table. After centuries of colonialism, Europe & North America – The
West – are under serious attack, and very rightfully so. Rarely has any western
culture taken full collective responsibility for anything. In fact, Germany’s
understanding of its responsibility for the Holocaust, albeit this not being
enough and past achievements being currently reversed, is one of the few
exceptions. But even Germany is completely ignoring the genocide of the Herero
and Nama in its former colony Namibia, unwilling to make a connection between
extra-territorial white terror & genocide as a predecessor, a
“prototype”, for european domestic genocide at a much larger scale
later on, unwilling to officially accept this earlier genocide on african
territory and pay real reparations, instead of half-heartedly “foreign
aid” as merely a form of White Saviour Complex.

The list of colonial aggressions and violence is endless. The ignorance
and defensiveness to at least mention and remember those within western
societies is immense, without even mentioning the possibility of reparations. A
rise of (far-)right governments in western countries over the last decade,
making this principle of ignoring past failures and aggressions even a state
doctrine, made things even worse.

So there is a lot to unpack here, for generations to come. In the
meanwhile, what can an ethnic group, a minority, living within The West,
knowing all this, suffering from all this to this very day, having direct links
thru its ancestry to past colonial oppression, even perhaps having been
displaced by colonialism and stripped of its original culture by colonisers and
now additionally (still) suffering from structural racism, actually do? For one
thing, keeping, upholding, re-establishing and rebuilding their unique cultural
identity and not giving it up to a general (white) culture surrounding them
being associated with their oppressors, the colonisers.

This is the reason why multiculturalism is being attacked.
Multiculturalism, from this perspective, is a violent “Mixing
Machine”, it consumes all other cultures and integrates them into a single,
bigger, more powerful, white / western culture. In fact it is the mixing of
cultures, the assimilation of everything you throw at The West from elsewhere,
that makes The West powerful. You can even make the picture look like: The West
sucks everything else in, without asking for permission, like a black hole, not
giving anything back. This is one of the aspects of modern colonialism, to many
marginalised groups, today. First The West took resources and labour (slaves),
now its culture.

At the same time, attacking multiculturalism is a very powerful sword
indeed. The West would basically stop to exist if it ended multiculturalism.
There is actually not much it really owns, not much it can truly rely on, in
terms of any attractive pieces of truly own culture. Everything was mixed, or
stolen, depending on how you look at it.

This entire idea of course depends on the model of Social Capital
– the idea that cultures or cultural assets are owned by specific social and /
or ethnic groups. You can dismiss this idea entirely, saying no-one owns
anything, but doing so is only possible from a dominant perspective where there
is little truly own culture people really want and more culture from elsewhere
integrated you actually depend on to make yourself (also economically)
attractive (apart from maybe Oktoberfest). If you are an oppressed and
marginalised group with limited access, suffering from structural racism but
with some attractive cultural assets you call your own, then of course you will
want to protect that, and not give it away for nothing.

Has this something to do with copyright? Yes, also. Has this something
to do with respect? Of course, always, but not only. The issue is, in the days
of neoliberalism white western individuals do exactly what they are told to do
within neoliberalism – act as individuals, only. It is precisely the musician,
the artist, who often is reluctant to see these bigger connections and
collective responsibilities and chooses to act on a personal consumer-level
only: the consumption of cultures. Things tend to get even more ironic when
those artists consider themselves as outsiders of society, believing it
makes them automatically allies with truly oppressed groups.

It is nearly impossible for artists to escape their role, as this is a
really fundamental, intrinsic mechanism to western societies – artists as scientists
exploring ever new forms of mixtures of cultures for the advancement of
western culture. When a (white) western artist or musician is for instance
attacked for some form of cultural appropriation, this goes deep. It goes
beyond not having understood inherent white privilege, it goes beyond not
realising structural racism or not understanding western dominance or colonial
collective responsibilities – it essentially questions himself entirely, his
role within The West and The West in itself (and this is not meant to be any
excuse in terms of white tears or white fragility, just the way it is).

Is this a good thing?

Not in terms of individual feelings, but as a system-wide end result
when we think this further: Has The West f*cked up so entirely, that the only
option is to dismantle it completely (or to at least slow down its machinery of
cultural progression by limiting the possibilities for some key protagonists,
the artists)?

Perhaps, yes. However, I find this to be too fatalistic and dark.
Essentially, this is just a continuation / redistribution of already conducted
(and ongoing) oppression and violence, even if its very legitimate to do so and
probably hitting the right people when you come from a marginalised group.
However, this cycle should be stopped (at some point in time). We ought to do
better, as humans, not because we are supposedly nice people, but the entire
business of applying limitations to humanity is fundamentally rather
undesirable (for marginalised groups in the first place and key actors within
western societies such as artists as a counter-measure and consequence in the
second place), even if there might be really good reasons for doing so. It can only
be the second best option, after we ran out of any better options, for everyone
(and maybe, for the time being in this age of Trump, Brexit and the rise of
far-right / nationalist movements, we did run out of better options).

I personally do understand that relaying / distributing the pressure a marginalised group experiences to a more privileged group through callout / cancel culture and sanctions will probably make that privileged group start to think and re-think for the very first time, which could well be the only reason why I am writing these words now, having seen this happening. That said, not questioning this form of resistance, not trying to end this process too quickly, not saying marginalised groups don‘t have really good reasons for being loud and making their pain under white supremacy, structural racism and colonialism visible by making other groups closer to the power structures of their oppressors feel that pain thru the few mechanisms they can actually use (within the domain of culture and this actually being a effective strategy), we shall respectfully try and move forward.

More on BELP: [because you should always be digging new music]

http://belp.audio

http://jahmoni.com

Image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. NASA Earth Observatory image by Robert Simmon, using Suomi NPP VIIRS data provided courtesy of Chris Elvidge (NOAA National Geophysical Data Center). Suomi NPP is the result of a partnership between NASA, NOAA, and the Department of Defense. More information on this image.

The post White Privilege and the Electronic Music Artist – BELP shares one European take appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

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.)

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

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.