This dummy’s guide to making techno is oddly compelling to watch

How simple is techno – that genre that seems unstoppable, from Asia to Antarctica? It’s simple enough that it can be reduced to … six steps. No, kind of – seriously.

I expected to have my intelligence insulted by this video, and yet … uh, well, I’m an addict, because it just made me want to go make some new percussion samples. The approach is oddly on point and – let’s be honest – looks like fun.

You don’t need six steps, even, as I’m not sure what that acappella is about.

(The video was evidently created by artist Hobo, aka Canada/Detroit artist Joel Boychuk. And maybe part of why this works is, he’s a great artist.)

So, wait, before either a) some techno purists scoff at how wrong this is or how it’s just a joke, or b) some techno haters scoff at how this proves techno isn’t even music … let’s talk about what’s going on here.

So here’s my theory. Even before I get into my “techno is the new folk music” spiel, I can say this:

Making techno is like making pasta.

Anyone can make pasta. Anyone can enjoy making pasta. You can dump in a box of dry pasta, boil it, dump a can of tomato sauce on it and some cheese, and it’s pretty delicious. That might … cause … health problems after a while, so you can make pasta out of veggies or gluten-free pasta. You can add meat or fish or whatever. It’s still a pretty simple thing.

Even the sophisticated ways of making great pasta are not hard to understand. There are recipes. There are video tutorials. You can do it.

None of that accessibility has made pasta less desirable. (Again, if you’re anti-carbs, you can even do this veggie pasta thing – insert “experimental techno” forms here.)

Pasta is available all over the world now.

And yet even given all those things, none of this has robbed expert chefs of making truly exceptional pasta. What they’re doing is fundamentally no different from what you’re doing. You can even learn from what they’re doing and improve your dinner. But they’re still able to master truly great pasta, because that’s not about complexity, but about nuance.

And the beauty of simplicity is, it allows you to focus on nuance. When the template is this basic, then it’s obvious that variation is everything. And some of those variations can be discovered in an instant.

Of course, it’s possible I’m totally wrong, and the use of pans for sampling threw me off, or this is all ridiculous and I’m actually just hungry. But that’s okay, because some noodles will satisfy me, and then I won’t really care about what anyone else thinks, and I won’t really even need a metaphor.

Actually – that last bit may have been more important than any of the others.

And Hobo is still a master chef.

The post This dummy’s guide to making techno is oddly compelling to watch appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.


Widespread Panic: April 21, 2017 Wanee Festival (Live Oak, FL)

Perennial Southern-rock favorites Widespread Panic have always been better than they had to be. If you go to many festivals that involve like-minded bands, you could be forgiven for getting one bluesy-sounding rock band confused with another. After the deluge of classic rock covers that comes your way, few of these groups really distinguish themselves, but they all get the applause.

Widespread has long been a different animal. Sure, the underlying vein of bluesy-rockness is there, as are some choice covers. But Widespread isn’t just playing the familiar — especially on their best nights, it’s their transcendent playing of both the familiar and their originals that makes them so special. If the Allman Brothers’ “Mountain Jam” or Talking Heads’ “Heaven” is one you’ve heard before, fine, but it’s hard to argue with the Widespread treatment of it, particularly the former. Here at Wanee Festival, Widespread were probably the main draw for a significant portion of the crowd, and they acted like they knew that, playing a finely-honed two-hour set that headed deep into the jam zone during an epic sequence of “The Last Straw”>”Mountain Jam”>”Impossible”>”Big Wooly Mammoth”>”Christmas Katie” and finally “One Kind Favor.” If there’s any upside to the reduced touring of Widespread Panic these days, it’s the fact that it makes each individual show a bit more special.

I recorded this set with Schoeps MK4V microphones in a centered “forward of the board” position. If not quite as good sounding as the Trey Anastasio and Bob Weir sets, the sound quality is nonetheless excellent. Enjoy!

Download the complete set: [MP3/FLAC/ALAC]

Stream the complete set:

Widespread Panic
April 21, 2017
Wanee Music Festival
Peach Stage
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oak, FL

Hosted at
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Schoeps MK4V (FOB, DFC)>KC5>PFA>Zoom F8>24/44.1kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CC>Isotope Ozone 5>Audacity 2.0.3 (amplify, track, downsample)>FLAC ( level 8 )

01 Ain’t Life Grand
02 Love Tractor
03 Cease Fire >
04 Heaven [Talking Heads]
05 Little Kin >
06 Junior
07 Party At Your Mama’s House >
08 Stop Breakin’ Down Blues
09 Tall Boy
10 The Last Straw >
11 Mountain Jam* >
12 Impossible >
13 Big Wooly Mammoth > Jam >
14 Christmas Katie >
15 One Kind Favor >
16 Saint Ex
17 Imitation Leather Shoes
[encore break removed]
18 Blackout Blues
19 End Of The Show

* with Marcus King on guitar

SUPPORT Widespread Panic: Website | Store


With Autist and Rainbow Arabia, pop retro futurism meets the club

Electronic music’s popular future is unquestionably tied up with techno nightclubs – for better and for worse. And that’s perhaps no more true than in Berlin, birthplace of Traktor and Ableton Live, in this nation that birthed major DAWs and modular revivals, then became a beacon for the use of said tools to make dance music.

So the question is, where do we go from here? Are clubs about producing effective repetition (literally), or are they also some kind of laboratory for new hybrids of styles?

I’m involved in a second time in a Thursday night experiment of sorts at Berghain, mixing video/visual art with live acts who represent a divergence from the usual form there.

“Berghain” has become a byword for a particular brand of techno, but living next to it means seeing its regular conversion for other purposes, from the Pop-Kultur festival to all manner of live experimentation, sometimes from the bookings from the club and sometimes – as tomorrow night – from guest bookings. And if this is in fact an incubator for some of electronic music’s styles, particularly around Europe, then we get to play with some alternate futures – at least for an evening.

Listen closely to some of these sounds at the edges, and I think you can hear a unique Millennial obsession with making nostalgia and futurism indistinguishable. Those 80s synth tropes and electro and punk flavors become the basis of a musical sci-fi reboot.

And you know, you might buy it, or you might not. It might sound fresh, or it might sound like a throwback. But it is certainly representative of splashes of color, unapologetic pop, and lavish love of synthesizers in the electro context. As some electronic music embraces the darkest side of punk, here’s its poppy, less-goth, electro-not-just-punk alternative.

And for the second time, it’ll play to a Berghain crowd who wouldn’t normally see it inside the aesthetic confines of that space.

Austist is the duo Gariel Santini and Julie Bourgeois. You can almost hear the Paris-to-Berlin transplant process here. It’s French electro and pop, given a transfusion of that unique Berlin vampire blood — heavy synthesizer sounds and bass. And that can be viewed even in technical terms. I once sat in New York listening to David Byrne talk about the impact CBGB’s had on the punk sound. What happens to punk when you do listen regularly to sound systems like Berghain’s Funktion-One, and similar? Of course production and aesthetics will change – even just going out and hearing this, let alone playing on it.

The new record is Constance, and I think is well deserving of a listen.

It’s even telling how this is being released – the music is the project of Tata Christiane, the fashion label at the heart of Berlin’s staunchly anti-conservative, aggressively experimental alternative fashion scene.

It’s hard to describe the whole project, but here’s their sweeping description:

Their recordings aim to expand and connect musical horizons, mixing electronic and acoustic instrumentations, from noisy dance to experimental chanson and soundscapes, with english, french and german lyrics, from spoken words to screaming vocals. The band live performances are an intense physical and sensory experience, integrating heavy wall of electronic, drums, razors guitars, abyssal vocals on top of their own light and video show.

I love this remix, as well – with the latest video:

LA’s Rainbow Arabia (Danny Preston and Tiffany Preston) represent their own unique take on “electro-punk.” Pitchfork I think really hit it on the nose in terms of the ways this is a hybrid. Coming from a release on Kompakt, Rainbow Arabia have polished their sound into a pop synthesis in their fall release, sunnier songs with clear 80s heritage. The video for “Modern Contemporary” is pure Los Angeles Technicolor / Cindy Sherman fantasy:

The release’s standouts are unquestionably to me that track and “Plena”, though I enjoy the totality of this self-released gem:

I meanwhile got cheeky with my own remix of this (free download link included here), playing with speeding up and pitching down the vocals, for a slightly more House-y, androgynous version:

So, you get two sets of duos as headliners – one French, one American, one LA, one Berlin.

I’ll be at Berghain tomorrow, showing an AV installation with Czech light artist Gabriela Prochazka. (Happy to let you know about that, if you’re interested.) If you’re around, say hello. And for everyone else, we’ll keep an eye on these acts and these threads in music.


The post With Autist and Rainbow Arabia, pop retro futurism meets the club appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.


s i g n s [1]

This classically based mix was built upon the skeletal structure of burned out Chevrolets an unreleased mix from 2012, entitled ‘another fripp’ (which was a Robert Fripp inspired mix revolving around his release The Wine of Silence‘). I was never fully enthralled with the final deliverable and would pop it on & off my phone for listening now & again.

Then, this past March, I received a promotional copy of  Izumi Kuremoto‘s Late Chrysanthemums, which I very much enjoyed. And in April, I tripped across Daníel Bjarnason‘s ‘Recurrence’ while on Twitter; and the mixological wheels began to churn…

Thus ‘s i g n s’ (parts 1 & 2) became a mix project wrapped around Recurrence, performed by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra (and recycling a few of the compositions from ‘another fripp’).

It is one of the more aggressive projects I’ve undertaken in awhile: segmenting tracks, using portions of material or bits of compositions & layering tracks to construct an entirely new & reconstructed f-l-o-w of sound.

The cover art is a nod to an old & strange fiancé of mine, named g.a.b. l@bs – ;- )

Part 1 | 81:11

01 Leonardo Rosado – The Blue Nature of Everyday Var. in Blue #1- Dusk
02 Ambient Landscape – Intro 2 [custom wash]
03 Daníel Bjarnason – BD (excerpt)
04 Robert Fripp – Glass & Breath (excerpt)
05 Izumi Kuremoto – Three Movements for Harp & Strings (1; excerpt)
06 Yo-Yo Ma, David Zinman, Baltimore Symphony Orch – The Dormition of the Mother of God (excerpt)
07 Iceland Symphony Orchestra – Flow & Fusion
08 Ralph Vaughan Williams – In the Fen Country
09 Daníel Bjarnaso – Emergence  I. Silence
10 Andrew Keeling/Robert Fripp – Miserere Mei
11 Iceland Symphony Orchestra – Emergence II. Black Breathing




l@b_sand with title + signature s i g n s _ 2b


IK’s solution for recording everything: audio, video, iOS, Android

Cobbling together a rig for documenting your work as a musician/DJ/producer/vocalist is, let’s face it, kind of a nightmare. Sharing your work could be a great pleasure – but it often feels like an extra job you have to work.

The iPhone (or more generally smartphone) has been kind of a mixed blessing. The software/sensor combination, while powerful and always in your pocket, are great. But nothing else about a phone is well suited to shooting anything above basic quality stuff – because you’ve got to hold the thing steady and capture audio effectively (sometimes multiple streams of audio).

So, a lot of musicians I find are turning to the GoPro. But it’s only natural that we’d see some more artist-friendly options (since those needs aren’t quite the same as, like, people snowboarding).

Zoom have some offerings that look appealing in the standalone/dedicated category – basically, coupling good internal mics and mic attachments with their own cameras.

If you want to use your phone, though, the solutions from IK Multimedia keep getting more complete.

First, there’s the app – updated this week. iRig Recorder 3 is available for both iOS and Android (meaning you can use some of these great new Android phone cameras, like Google Pixel, and you aren’t limited to Apple).

The banner feature is that you add video features to audio. That’s essential, as sound is sort of a second-class citizen on the dominant social networks – and you can’t get people’s attention with it if their device’s sound is muted. (You need moving pictures to snag their eyes, so you can presumably convince them to unmute.)

But there are other serious features here, too – including support for connecting the app to other apps, if you’re invested in the iOS app ecosystem for production. The redesigned interface now includes:


New audio effects: doubling the previous version, you now get a pretty serious arsenal of effects. You can change speed and pitch (useful for practice and transcription), add compression and EQ (essential), and even do creative stuff like morph or add reverb, chorus, and delay. This coming from IK, the stuff is likely to sound good.

Text and photo markers for precise editing. Pairs well with added video support, as does:

Export audio and video as separate files.

Now integrates with your (iOS) studio. For those who want to integrate with a workflow with other apps, there’s Inter-App Audio and Audiobus compatibility.

Export / share to anywhere. (iOS) Expanded in this version, now includes Airdrop, Messages, SoundCloud, Facebook, WhatsApp, DropBox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, E-mail, Wi-Fi, FTP, iTunes File Sharing. Not on Android, but then file management is more direct on Android so it’s less important.


This is worth some separate look, but then all this is designed to integrate with IK’s line of audio accessories. Those are all illustrated on the product site below. This includes some handy accessories for holding your device steady, recording from a mic, connecting an instrument, or recording line signal.

I’ve got some gear from IK; I’ll try to put this together and do a proper test – which, truly, will be a real world one. That iRIG Duo is especially handy:

The post IK’s solution for recording everything: audio, video, iOS, Android appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.


This music video generates landscapes from a wild alien duo’s music

If you haven’t seen it already, Meier & Erdmann absolutely nailed it with their video for the tune “Howler Monkey.” First, it doesn’t hurt that this is a crisp, funky, uncluttered earworm gem. Second, the video is dazzling.

Here’s the thing: there’s absolutely no reason why sound visualization needs to be so boring and familiar.

There’s a lot to learn here.

Even just change the colors goes a long way. Here, the familiar spectral view over time is carefully tuned to form fantastical landscapes, the camera panning around lazily. I keep re-watching the video partly because so much was carefully tuned (either intentionally or through happy accidents – I suspect some combination). Mapping surreal buildings or alien flower growths to particular frequencies highlights particular musical features. Persisting the landscape for a while after sounds occur more neatly mimics how we seem to hear music – the memory of what has just happened layering on top of our perception of what’s happening now.

And it’s all brought together into a compelling, coherent scene – a 290-second day-to-dusk-to-night cycle giving the track’s visualization a sense of real progression. Processing is a favorite tool.

The video side is the work of Víctor Doval, a prolific artist with a particular knack for generative work based in Valencia, Spain. See his generative work here – often made into Tumblr-friendly GIFs:

And his full project work here:

That includes some Processing.js stuff you can play in browser.

He writes about the process:

The whole sequence has been created in a procedural way where the definition of every part has been based on mathematical integrations.
To manage all this data flow I worked with Processing and Blender. The Blender add-on Sverchok has been the cornerstone in the creation and transformation of the geometry.
The initial idea came from the understanding of music as a temporal journey, a changing landscape that is perceived via the ears. The track Howler Monkey written and performed by Meier & Erdmann invites the listener to travel through the subjective/individual and the abstract.

Motion nerds: Sverchok is an amazing parametric tool, built in Python. Basically, it gives you the ability to bring in data easily, visualize that data, and otherwise modify geometry in some incredibly powerful ways. (It gets deeper than that from there.)

So, great music, dazzling video, getting lots of deserved attention, and the whole LP is brilli–

WAIT A MINUTE. Why did no one buy this LP? Please go buy this LP. (I don’t need vinyl, but I’m happy to cherish a download. Going to put my money where my mouth is.) The single sounds as such, but elsewhere there are eerie soundscapes that seem to have emerged from the vegetation in a Salvador Dalí landscape, perhaps as retold by a Japanese video game that fell through a wormhole from the future. Atop those are layered manic, weirdo synth lines.

The fact that the genius video and utterly original sound design and composition didn’t net album sales depresses me, but if you feel the same, you can help turn that around.

More music:

And here’s some extra news – the label will show you how to make delicious eggplant dishes, Pakistani-style.

The post This music video generates landscapes from a wild alien duo’s music appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.


Leftover Salmon: April 20, 2017 Wanee Festival, Mushroom Stage (Live Oak, FL)

Much as I have been known to harsh on the classic rock coverin’ ways of jam band festival denizens, it’s hard to argue with Leftover Salmon covering Neil Young songs on 4/20 at Wanee Festival. This set, held on the Mushroom Stage, featured faithful renditions of some of Young’s best and lesser-known songs reinterpreted in the Salmon’s modern bluegrass style. As you’d imagine, some things were a better fit than others, but “Old Man” in particular went off like a champ. “Down by the River” closed things out with guitar wunderkind Marcus King joining, and of course, there was a tribute to this special date in the form of “420 Long Years.” Wanee Festival was just beginning at this point, and Leftover Salmon’s set helped set the tone for the days ahead.

I recorded this set with Schoeps MK4V microphones back at the soundboard. The sound quality is excellent. Enjoy!

Download the complete set from the Live Music Archive: [MP3] | [FLAC]

Leftover Salmon
April 20, 2017
Wanee Music Festival
Peach Stage
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oak, FL

Hosted at
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Schoeps MK4V (FOB, ROC)>KC5>PFA>Zoom F8>24/44.1kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CC>Isotope Ozone 5>Audacity 2.0.3 (amplify, track, downsample)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time 1:25:47]
01 Comes a Time
02 Heart of Gold
03 Out On The Weekend
04 Cowgirl In The Sand
05 Are You Ready For The Country?
06 420 Long Years
07 Look Out For My Love
08 Old Man
09 There’s a World
10 Alabama
11 Down By The River *

Support Leftover Salmon: Website



Hungarian guitarist Ferenc Snétberger made a lot of new friends with his ECM solo debut In Concert (“a beautiful, assured performance” – All About Jazz) and will make many more with Titok, which features his trio with Swedish bassist Anders Jormin and US drummer Joey Baron.  Recorded at Oslo’s Rainbow Studio in May 2015 and produced by Manfred Eicher, it’s a warm and involving album, with an emphasis on intensely melodic improvisation and interaction which draws the listener gently into its sound-world.

The rapport between Snétberger and Jormin is evident from the outset, as both guitar and bass explore the contours of Ference’s compositions. Throughout, Joey Baron’s drums and cymbals provide shading and texture with restraint and subtlety.

Hungarian guitarist Ferenc Snétberger leads a trio with Swedish bassist Anders Jormin and US drummer Joey Baron in this warm and involving recording, produced by Manfred Eicher in Oslo, and intensely melodic improvisation draws the listener gently into its sound-world. The gracefully flowing guitar (Snétberger has a way of making even complex phrases seem effortless), the enveloping rhythmic undertow, and the highly creative playing from all participants captivate throughout Titok. There is soloistic brilliance here and high-level interplay, and the music takes the time it needs to unfold, breathing very naturally. The compound sound of the trio, with Ferenc’s acoustic nylon-string guitar partnered by bass and drums, is special. Joey Baron shades and colours the music with great subtlety using brushes, stick and hands, and the rapport between Snétberger and Jormin is evident from the outset, as both guitar and bass explore the contours of Ferenc’s compositions. “The dialogue here between classical guitar and Anders’s way of playing the bass seems to me unique,” observes Ferenc Snétberger. “Anders has a special ‘voicing’, a special way of entering into my music. And, together, he and Joey offer inspirations which are mirrored in my playing. Manfred’s participation was also inspiring – without his ideas, and his choice of pieces and the sequencing of them, the album could not have existed in this form.”

The producer recommended Jormin and Baron for this project and the trio came together to play three concerts in Hungary before the session at Rainbow Studios, where spontaneity was the watchword. The album is framed by music freely created in the moment: the opening piece “Cou Cou”, the title track “Titok” and the three concluding pieces “Clown”, “Rush” and “Inference” are all improvised discoveries. The sense of searching and finding in the opening moments gives way to the clearly etched melody of “Kék Kerék”, a rather beautiful older melody of Ferenc’s. “Rambling” is the first of several pieces written for this trio, the writing leaving space for bass and drums to add their statements. The tenderly phrased “Fairytale” likewise invites Jormin to add countermelodies in the deep end. “Leolo”, dedicated to Ferenc and Angela Snétberger’s grandson Leo, begins with nursery rhyme melodic simplicity and develops into elegant chamber music, including a fine section with Jormin’s arco bass…

Ferenc Snétberger’s thoroughly distinctive guitar style has been gradually shaped through the absorption and transformation of many influences. Born in 1957 into a very musical family, Ferenc had classical guitar lessons from age 13, and studied jazz guitar in Budapest. Based in Berlin from 1988, he began to harmonize the full range of his guitaristic interests, from Django Reinhardt and Roma music to Brazilian and other Latin American musics via US jazz and European classical tradition – from the baroque to contemporary composition. “Alom” on the present disc is an adaptation of an old theme referencing Roma music, while “Orange Tango” and “Renaissance” acknowledge their inspirational sources in their titles. Yet none of these pieces sounds “eclectic”, the diverse sources are integrated organically inside Snétberger’s music, and accessed readily through the guitar. (Throughout Titok, Ferenc plays a guitar hand-built to his specifications by the late German luthier Tom Launhardt.)

Titok is the second ECM album by Ferenc Snétberger. It follows the critically-acclaimed In Concert, recorded at Budapest’s Franz List Academy of Music (“A beautiful, assured performance” – All About Jazz).

Anders Jormin and Joey Baron have appeared on many ECM records, but Titok marks the first time they have played together on a session for the label (they have periodically crossed paths in live contexts – playing for instance in trio with the late John Taylor). Jormin has made several albums as a leader for ECM, most recently Trees of Light, with singer and fiddler Lena Willemark and koto player Karin Nakagawa. His other discs include Xieyi, In winds, in light, and Ad Lucem. A long-time member of the Bobo Stenson Trio, he also appears on albums with Don Cherry, Charles Lloyd, Tomasz Stanko, Sinikka Langeland and others.

Joey Baron has been John Abercrombie’s drummer of choice for two decades and appears on the Abercrombie Quartet’s newest release Up and Coming. Baron is also currently a member of the trios of Jakob Bro (album: Streams) and Gary Peacock (albums: Now This and the forthcoming Tangents, due this autumn).

Plans for further Snétberger concerts with Jormin and Baron are currently being worked on. Meanwhile, Ferenc also fronts an admirable trio with British bassist Phil Donkin and New York-based Hungarian drummer Ferenc Németh, which recently brought some of the Titok repertoire to Europe’s clubs and concert halls. In October 2017 Ferenc Snétberger will tour in trio with Anders Jormin and Ferenc Németh.

Ferenc Snétberger   Guitar

Anders Jormin   Double Bass
Joey Baron   Drums



Track list
1. Cou Cou Ferenc Snétberger, Anders Jormin, Joey Baron 02:53
2. Titok (Ferenc Snétberger) 02:18
3. Kék Kerék 04:01
4. Rambling 07:22
5. Orange Tango 05:13
6. Fairytale 05:24
7. Álom 07:05
8. Leolo 05:53
9. Ease 05:23
10. Renaissance 05:14
11. Clown 05:09
12. Rush 01:53
13. Inference 02:16



Monthly Theme: Sound Language & Lingo

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Welcome! Bienvenue! Добро пожаловать! Soo dhowow! ยินดีต้อนรับ

Join us this month as we explore Sound Language & Lingo. That could include the language of sound, languages and language itself, the specific language and lingo of sound and who knows, perhaps even a sound programming language. And do you ever notice when you speak using language and keep repeating a word such as say “language”, it doesn’t sound like a word anymore in the language you’re using?

So if you can’t tell your LFOAs from your LFOs, or decide whether ADR stands for Automated / Automatic / Additional Dialog Replacement / Recording, then this month is for you.

Want to join in the conversation? Comment below, ask a question in the Designing Sound Exchange, post to Facebook, or start up a conversation on Twitter!

Please email richard [at] this site to contribute an article for this month’s topic. And as always, please feel free to go “off-topic” if there’s something else you’re burning to share with the community.