New Ambient Electronic Sketch

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I made this today – just a sketch, using my Novation Launchpad Pro (thanks team!) and Ableton Push. It turned out more melancholy than I expected. Please click like on SoundCloud if you like it. It’s available under Creative Commons Share Alike license:


Acoustic Guitar MIDI Mod

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Check this out!

ACPAD – World’s First Wireless MIDI Controller for Acoustic Guitar. The perfect bridge between electronic and acoustic music!

The ACPAD allows players to blend both acoustic and electronic sounds with FX and assignable tap pads. Create whatever sound you want with ACPAD. It is strong, flexible and offers a new world of creativity you have been looking for. ACPAD is an electronic orchestra in your hands!

Look for this project on KickStarter.

via my mate @chuparkoff


Brian Fitzy – Virtuoso Live Looping – Valerie

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Brian Fitzy starts this jam out with a straight-up acoustic guitar song but by half way has built up half a dozen layers including electric violin and decent beatboxing. Don’t quit out before you get to the good stuff. Nice breakdown too.


New Track – Chris Mountford – Elliptic Curve – Bitcoin Mix

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Created as part of the soundtrack for The Bitcoin Doco, here’s the original Bitcoin Mix.

The documentary is quite interesting:

The Bitcoin Doco
https://vimeo.com/112223859


Tenori-On Synthesiser Test

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Yamaha produced a kind of experimental control surface for electronic musicians called the Tenori-On. The interface is a little too experimental for my taste, but it does show how you can control almost every aspect of a multi-track composition with a simple matrix of lights – track volume, modulation, instrument selection, melodic sequencing and pattern composition to name a few. I had a chance to play with a software reproduction of this device for the iPhone. The result is a very rough sketch of a melodic electronica vibe:


Marley on War Remixed by Matty G

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Neneh Cherry – Manchild

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Classic Neneh Cherry from the 80s


A sad song today

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Welcome to “Tears in the Typing Pool” by English band Broadcast, active over the past decade or two on the Warp label (which also houses Autechre, Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada and Flying Lotus).

It’s a sad song but so nicely done.

However, while this song does showcase Broadcast’s sound production signature, with that weird combo of retro and future sound, many of my favourite of their tracks feature richer, stronger rhythms.

If that sounds like your cup of well-grounded noisy subpop then also try Man Is Not A Bird and Pendulum from their album Ha Ha Sound.

But for now, shed some tears in the typing pool.


Space Oddity Music Video shot in Space

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Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do…


Ableton Major Lazer Tutorial

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I’ve been following a lot of tutorials on how to use Ableton Live, the most popular and flexible music producer’s software today. Officially it’s only one of many in the category of DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). This is like saying Photoshop is a Digital Graphical Workstation. It’s a lame term to me.

Anyway Ableton version 9 is pretty new and many tutorials are covering the new features. One category of tutorials which are pretty useful for learning specific skills and understanding commonly used production techniques is when a well-known tune is disassembled and recreated from scratch.

The great thing about these tutorials is that they are forced to cover the full range of techniques used to produce a whole track. Other tutorials might focus exclusively on compression or mastering or EQ or particular plugins. It’s good to have a bit of each.

Here’s a fairly accessible two part tutorial which focuses on how to reproduce several main musical parts of Major Lazer’s incredible track Get Free, if you don’t know it, go watch the Get Free video clip now. It’s so fantastic.

Now, check the tutorial:

and part 2:


Kill the Buddha

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This is basically my first track. I’ve dabbled in the past but I’m putting a fork in this one and calling it done. Funny, because I had no plan to make a track like this but the main melodic theme just took over. To be honest I was trying to make a fugue but I got distracted by the actual sound.

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities. In the expert’s mind, there are few.

If you like it, like it 🙂


Witness The Fitness One Hope Dub Mix

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Witness this classic Roots Manuva track, on the version “Folkloric”, lovingly dubified by Dub Folk.

via @fbiradio


Dibby Dougherty & David Young – Tiger Forest

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We’ve been posting a lot of bytes lately. Here’s some beats. Epic tune, appears on Structures Two* (Mixed By John Digweed).

Dibby Dougherty & David Young – Tiger Forest (Ryan Davis Rework)

http://youtu.be/par4k6RHFYg

*Pretty sure the track on Structures Two is the original version. Which is also amazing.


Major Lazer – Get Free MP3

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I’ve been obsessing about this song for more than a week now. It haunts me. I’ll tell you where you can download the mp3 for free but first let me tell you how I feel about it.

Having been exploring Jamaican music recently – dancehall, ska reggae, rocksteady etc, when I first heard “Get Free” I just felt like I’d tapped into some kind of deep underground thermal spring of good vibes.

The pieces work so well together.

The voice is really interesting. Amber Coffman from Dirty Projectors delivers a sultry mixture of  matter-of-fact lyrics and rallying calls over a wide and capable modern production that happily remains inconspicuous and doesn’t fight the basic, chilled out rhythm for prominence. Amber’s voice trails off in the wind in a series of rich dischordant siren harmonies reminding me of Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares (The Mystery Voices of Bulgaria) with shrill quartertones that befit a cry from Carpathian mountain battlements.

The warm off-beat organs, nasal guitar riffs, life-giving bass rich with spacy old amplifier artifacts including what might be genuine original Studio One speaker cone dust… this is reggae. Brassy synths and monster sax leads burst and tumble like a steel drum on a humid night in Kingston (or did you hear one?)

Amber’s presence builds in layers. She sings in rounds. Peaceful, insistent, sometimes close to your ear, sometimes through the loud hailer.

There are remixes – and rightly so, the rhythm is pretty subtle and understated… you’d think a driving drum & bass mix could be great – but so far none of them that I’ve heard have penetrated the massive presence of the original. The remix by Andy C unfortunately seems to squash the energy (and the chord progression) with 19 layers of multi-octave pads, and tiresome 90s swooshing effects and kick rushes.

But the video clip is the jewel in the crown. Simple yet apocalyptic, artful yet apparently affordable.

It seems Major Lazer is exactly the kind of interplanetary soldier who stares impenetrably at the horizon in his mirror shades and his bandolier of microphones, sitting on the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Poignant. Triumphant. Vigilant. Pure.

Go get the mp3 for free.


Starwars Theme Played by Floppy Drives

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Many of our readers will remember that there used to be a kind of technology, a bit like a huge, flat, noisy slow USB key that stored less than 2 Megs of data. Not gigs, megs.

So anyway, these were called Floppy Disks (even though they were square and rigid (the actual disk is inside the casing) and the floppy drives that each computer had back in the before time, well they were NEVER ever used to make music like this, except by extreme geeks with too much time on their hands:

The sound comes from getting the disk to “seek” by moving the read/write “head” with its little motor to read different parts of the disk, but moving in a stuttering, stepping fashion. The stuttering speed is fast enough to make a “tone”. The tones can be “played” by (somehow) converting a midi file into commands that cause the floppy drives to move in just the right way when it’s their turn to play the “note”. Freak!