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Idyllic nature meets heavy beats on an emerging Paris label

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

stage Lpc

We talk about the idea that online democratization should be unearthing new musical gems — but you have to find them first. CDM contributor Zuzana Friday is scouring the Web, looking for the collectives and labels and artists who stand out of that virtual noise. First up: Paris’ Lpc.

With the growing popularity of contemporary (post)techno, there have been many collectives, platforms and labels forming around the globe who want to promote and share their own angle on this music, its aesthetics and its attitude. Amidst that overwhelming superabundance, one of the collectives that genuinely deserves your attention is a Paris-based Lpc, aka La petite compagnie. We already shared Aquatic Life, a beautiful oceanic video of theirs; now let’s check them out in detail.

Lpc is an independent label founded in 2012 by a small collective of friends who met in the south of France. They’ve dedicated the project to the memory of Antoine Debens, who they call “their faithful friend and former president of the association.” So far, Lpc consists of duos Keadz and Monochrome and two solo artists, XVII and Mas, who all name-check influences like labels Stroboscopic Artefacts, raster-noton, and 12k, and artists like Yves de Mey and Samuel Kerridge.

In the productions on Lpc, various elements of techno, dubstep/post-dubstep, and deep dub techno meet ambient and ethereal, organic atmospheres — a mix of inspiration from contemporary techno titans and nature. Those natural aesthetics are interwoven with field recordings in the sound, but also in the images they choose for promotion and music videos. The visual side of the label is run by Mas, who shares his inspiration in photo albums dominated by black-and-white shots of trees, forrest, and sky.

Keadz blurred

Mas

Nature for Lpc means “purity, timelessness, and simplicity,” says member Tarek Iked, “and that joins the idea of beauty that we have. Nature is very inspiring for us. When we are in a countryside, listening to nature’s sounds, we don’t have the impression that someone is talking to us — in contrary to music made by humans. Nature’s sounds are random and unpredictable, they vary constantly, and that’s what makes them beautiful.”

Opening Ceremony// Abyss from LPC on Vimeo.

In Paris, Lpc runs parties called Ceremony, each themed with headings like like “Abyss,” “Night,” and “Desert.” “We choose the themes so that the image and sound are completely inseparable,” says Ikeda. “By defining a theme, we have the feeling that the artists we’re inviting make a special performance for this occasion. We also noticed that artists like to be given a sort of restriction, because it awakens their creativity.” Records take themes like this, as well.

The previous compilation, Quiet Sum, aimed to “transform summer’s rest and quietness into music.” The compilation is the work of a group of friends, retreating together to the countryside to produce the music. Lpc’s next release deals with chosen artists’ perception of silence. It will include tracks by Elle from Hypnus, Fjäder from Full Panda Records, Lpc artists, and Paris’ Hydrangea, whose album Dawn Lights I also highly recommend.

Was 4’33” an inspiration? “Of course we know John Cage’s work, but it didn’t directly inspire us,” says Ikeda. “This album was an opportunity for the different artists to reveal their personalities through the meaning of silence. It was also a way to create something homogeneous and linked. For the moment, we have most of the tracks, and we can say that there are no blank records. But in case we would have received something like this, we would have probably keep it as it is.”

With the positive feedback for Monochrome’s fourth EP by artists like Cio d’Or, Cassegrain and Edit Select, the awareness of Lpc’s artists and activities slowly grows. But with such beautiful work, this is a label to watch.

Horty Shooter

lpc

http://soundcloud.com/la-petite-compagnie

https://www.facebook.com/PetiteCompagnie

keadz.bandcamp.com

quietsum.bandcamp.com

Keadz
soundcloud.com/keadz
on.fb.me/1iKgWE9

Monochrome

soundcloud.com/monochromemusique
on.fb.me/IcD3EN

XVII
soundcloud.com/lpcxvii/mix-i

mas
soundcloud.com/mas111

The post Idyllic nature meets heavy beats on an emerging Paris label appeared first on Create Digital Music.


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Adam Monroe Music releases AU Version of Adam Monroe’s Beats Drum Sample Library

Saturday, September 12th, 2015

Adam Monroe Music has released an Audio Unit version of Adam Monroe’s Beats drum sample library for Mac OS X 10.9 or later. The Audio Unit version functions the same as the VST versions, and [Read More]
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Super Deal on KORG Volca Beats, Keys & Bass!

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

korg volca deal
Great chance for our UK and European readers! Amazon is having a special lightning sale for the KORG Volca Beats, Keys & Bass.
They are all available right now for only £69!!
Shipping is pretty cheap if you live in the rest of Europe.

How does it work?
The deal is ending soon. Run, don’t walk!!!

Click on the links above/below to start browsing and then pick your item

NOTE: you’ll only see the deal price after clicking on each product.

Special KORG Volca Deal! Buy Now!

Good luck & enjoy your Volca!

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Mosaic Beats releases AutoTheory 2.0

Saturday, July 4th, 2015

Mosaic Beats has released version 2.0 of AutoTheory. The upgrade includes a new Chord Memory function, multiple workflow enhancements, more options for existing parameters and more flexibility [Read More]
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Adam Monroe Music Updates VST version of Adam Monroe’s Beats Drum Sample Library to v2.2 for Windows

Friday, June 12th, 2015

Adam Monroe Music has updated Adam Monroe’s Beats Drum Sample library to v2.2. This update effects the VST version, there are no changes to the Kontakt version. Changes to VST version: Fixed [Read More]
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ModeAudio Releases ‘Sunset Electronica – Guitar Loops & Beats’

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

ModeAudio has released Sunset Electronica – Guitar Loops & Beats, a royalty-free loop and sample collection based around electric guitar recordings. Featuring guitars in both wet and dry [Read More]
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Adam Monroe Music releases “Adam Monroe’s Beats” v2.0 – Drum Sample Library for Windows VSTi and Kontakt

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Adam Monroe Music has released a new version of Adam Monroe’s Beats, a drum sample library VSTi plugin for Windows operating systems. The new version includes a huge update to the code base, [Read More]
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Mozaic Beats Introduces AutoTheory MIDI Mapper

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Mozaic Beats has introduced AutoTheory, a new Paradigm in MIDI. AutoTheory, the popular rack extension for Propellerhead’s Reason music production software, is now available as a multiplatform MIDI ma [Read More]
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Mozaic Beats AutoTheory

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Read more about Mozaic Beats AutoTheory at MusicRadar.com


Debuting in late 2013 as a Rack Extension for Reason, Mozaic Beats’ AutoTheory is now available as a standalone app for PC and Mac.

A ‘MIDI mapper’ designed to make it easy to create quality compositions, it intercepts MIDI data from your keyboard and passes it to your DAW’s MIDI inputs in the form of chords and melodies based on your chosen key and scale.

“It’s essentially a more configurable take on the ‘key/scale locking’ features found in systems like Ableton Push “

It’s essentially a more configurable take on the ‘key/scale locking’ features found in systems like Ableton Push and Arturia BeatStep.

Since it acts as a conduit between your MIDI keyboard and your DAW, the developers recommend disabling the former completely within the latter before launching it. Some DAWs make this easier than others, but there’s plenty of info on the Mozaic Beats website to assist you.

Along the top of the interface are controls for selecting your base key and scale, together with a mapping selector that determines how the keys you play are reassigned to new notes.

Below these is the Chord Generator, which produces harmonically correct chord shapes dependent on the selected key, through the user holding down single white keys. To its right, the Melody Lock remaps your played-in melodies (just hit keys at random, if you like!) so that they conform to the currently selected scale.

AutoTheory effectively splits your keyboard into two halves – the lower keys control the Chord Generator, while the upper half takes care of the Melody Lock. Both Chord Generator and Melody Lock also boast virtual keyboards that can be clicked or played from your QWERTY keyboard.

The central third of the interface comprises the Chord Editor, where you tailor the shape of the generated chords between normal triads, inverted triads and four different flavours of seventh chord. There’s also a Strum mode to emulate guitar strumming, with controls for adjusting strum duration and velocity.

A further set of buttons to the right can be used to add extensions in the form of sevenths, ninths, 11ths and 13ths, and you can set the octave for each individual note in the chord, as well as nudge them up or down a semitone.

The lower third of the interface determines which of AutoTheory’s eight output channels transmits the data generated by the Chord Generator and Melody Lock. These can then be assigned as MIDI inputs for your DAW’s software instrument channels.

Let’s get theory-ous

“Since the Melody Lock dynamically reassigns the keys on your keyboard, you can be confident of your input always fitting the chord”

Once configured, you’re free to improvise away, changing chords with a single finger of your left hand and noodling away on the melody with your right. Since the Melody Lock dynamically reassigns the keys on your keyboard, you can be confident of your input always fitting the chord supplied by the Chord Generator.

If you actually know how to play keyboard ‘properly’, it can initially be a bit disconcerting going for an E to find it’s become an E♭; but after a while, you start to pick out melodies and chord progressions that you wouldn’t have come up with otherwise. The app provides a musical safety net by making it harder to get things wrong, so you find yourself punching way above your compositional weight.

AutoTheory is a useful tool for pointing the way forward when you’re stuck for a chord progression or melody, and a comfy gateway to the world of music theory. Whether you’re an experienced keysmith or a total beginner, it really does pave the way towards composing better, more structurally sound music.

Read more about Mozaic Beats AutoTheory at MusicRadar.com




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In the Age of Beats and Spotify, Winners – and Opportunities

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

iphone-now-playing-spotify

There is an accelerating transformation of music listening; that much is clear. And if you change the way people listen, you will change the way people produce. So who and what wins in this brave new world? Let’s consider.

The month of May brought still more signs of tectonic shifts, with Apple buying Beats and Spotify showing no signs of slowing. The Apple acquisition of Beats can’t really be measured in dollars, because Apple has so much cash on-hand. (US$ 150 billion — and expect that dry powder to start getting loaded into cannons.) At least unlike Facebook or Google, Apple doesn’t just randomly burn that cash on speculative purchases — you know, like Oculus Rift or robots. So this is really about strategic value, given they’ve waited this long to touch their war chest.

Apple with Beats, of course, combines two leaders in a whole mess of categories; it’s obvious, but it’s worth saying again. Apple makes the most popular computers for producing music, the most popular mobile device for playing music, the most popular computer software for listening to music, and the most popular store for buying music downloads. Beats makes the most popular hardware accessory for listening to music, and while they don’t have the most popular streaming service, they’ve got perhaps the closest relationship to the music industry of any streaming service. (Remember, Apple’s last acquisition got them … NeXT, and Jobs. This time, they get Jimmy Iovine, a veteran of Interscope-Geffen-A&M, and loads of connections from both Dre and Iovine to the music scene in LA.) Beats are a huge player, whether you like them or not.

Then there’s Spotify. No one else doing streaming is currently playing in the same league — not even Apple — and streaming continues to grow as download sales continue to sink. (35% growth in streaming versus a 13% drop in sales, as in the USA? Yeah, like that.) Add to that the appearance of Spotify in very-usable form in DJ apps (in the form of Algoriddim’s djay), and — relevant to us music makers, anyway — there’s something big going on.

Here are, I think, the winners in that landscape:

The whole consumer widget. Consumer listening — hardware, software, and service all together.
Streams for everyone. Streams for listeners and casual DJs.
Pros for the stuff you don’t stream. Downloads, physical media, and production-friendly tools for more serious DJs, enthusiasts, and producers.
Humans. The ongoing power of the human being.

In other words, music just got a lot more holistic and a lot more human than ever — even against the backdrop of music as a service as available as electricity or running water. You need everyone from good, quirky DJs to branding specialists and industrial designers, and everyone matters. So strap in.

Yeah, those. But there's something to the ubiquity of this logo. Only Apple and Sony have done it before quite like this. Photo (CC-BY) pooliestudios.

Yeah, those. But there’s something to the ubiquity of this logo. Only Apple and Sony have done it before quite like this. Photo (CC-BY) pooliestudios.

Winner: the consumerization of music listening. Complain all you like about the quality of Beats headphones. They’ve captured the imagination of the public in a way no other brand can — not Shure, not Sennheiser, not any of your favorite brands. (Not that that’s stopped respected makers like Audio-Technica from doing brightly-colored cans for retail in the hope of getting in on the action. Look at DJ headphones, and your local music store now looks more like Best Buy than ever.)

There just isn’t a brand that says headphones to people — not other than Beats. Beats have done that, and convinced consumers to pay premium price for mobile listening, something that only Apple and Sony have done before. That’s no small accomplishment. Remember, most kids today have no idea who Dr. Dre is. This is the power of the brand Beats now — and Dre deserves some serious credit for fighting to make that happen.

The upshot in all of this is that brands matter; consumer impact matters. And you’ll notice one brand in each category: Apple. Beats. Spotify. This isn’t Coke versus Pepsi. It’s Coke, and then some small niche players (a nice bottle of organic Cabernet for the specialists, sold in small batches).

Winner: those Beats headphones. Sorry, but that also means you’re going to keep seeing those headphones. (Apple Store placement has probably helped that over the years, too.) And, hey, they’re actually not that bad. A CDM reader who works for Beats quietly handed me a white pair of Beats Studio headphones at Musikmesse last year. To my surprise, they’re actually rather good in terms of sound, they’re insanely rugged (more so than my studio headphones), and reasonably comfy, if rather heavy; I’ve even traveled with them to give my ATH-M50s a rest. These aren’t the same Beats made by Monster, the company’s earlier partner, some of which were absolutely horrible. They’re fine.

Would I recommend them to someone? No. You can get a significantly better-sounding pair of headphones for literally half the price. But that comes back to the marketing issue. I’m betting a lot of people who buy Beats haven’t ever tried the other headphones. Be glad they’re listening to your music on these and not white earbuds.

Spotify

Winner: Spotify — and streaming. Apple’s investment is a second vote of confidence in streaming — on top of iTunes Radio. Otherwise, they could have simply bought some headphone manufacturer and stuck their logo on it, and that’s not what they’re doing. And the numbers don’t lie: people are streaming more, downloading less. That trend should only accelerate as Internet access, both wired and wireless, gets faster.

Spotify wins even with Apple buying Beats, because it validates their market-leading position — which means they can get more capital if they need it, and their value has gone up in any future acquisition deal. Paradoxically, I think that means Apple buying Beats guarantees the future of Spotify — they’ve already got the mindshare, the listeners, the subscribers, the music collection, and now they’re valuable enough that it’s hard to imagine anything driving them out of business, at least for now. The only wildcard is if Apple finds some ingenious way to build a better streaming tool. But if Tim Cook is to believed, Beats has done that already — and it hasn’t made much of a dent in Spotify’s listeners.

With Spotify’s future secure, and with Apple investing in streaming, no amount of wishing on the part of artists or labels can make the streaming model go away. And that means —

Drip

Winner: Music as service. The success of streaming doesn’t have to mean the end of downloads, but it most likely will mean a change in how people buy those downloads. Downloads will still be the medium of choice for serious DJs, for audiophiles, for collectors. But all those markets are streaming these days, too, which means they’re likely to expect to be able to get those downloads via a service. That’s why Drip.fm, the startup from the folks behind Ghostly International, makes sense — and why they’re signing cool labels at such a speed. By providing a “wine of the month”-club model for your favorite artists and labels, they allow those aficionados hooked on music to pay a monthly fee for a steady stream of their favorite work. (Another clever idea: Hyperdub offers a member card that gets you guest list to events along with downloads.)

beatportpro

Winner: Downloads for “pro” DJs (for now). Serious DJing is likely to remain the one haven for downloaded files — for now. Licensing rules mean that no DJ app appears to be able to access music from a streaming service offline — yet. Slow access, especially in clubs (called “underground” for a reason), means you’d have to be nuts to rely on a streaming connection to DJ any serious gigs — yet. All these variables could change in the future, but you’ve got to gig this weekend, so that doesn’t matter.

That also means download sites (like Beatport) that cater directly to the DJ market and dance music fans are likely to thrive. See also: labels’ own stores. (Now’s the time to invest in making those things you’d want to actually use.) And Bandcamp looks great for the same reason, especially as artists discover labels are too oversaturated to take on more artists.

The importance of iTunes, however, might continue to shrink, unless Apple figures out smarter ways of driving download sales from streams. (iTunes Radio actually works beautifully in this regard, but the problem is no one uses iTunes Radio, and the radio itself is poor — too many repeated tracks. Maybe a Beats/iTunes mash-up will solve that; we’ll see.)

Winner: Internet-connected DJing. All of this said, streaming DJs are going to be a thing, too. If you’re playing a wedding, or a friend’s party, or a small bar, or any number of casual gigs that make up a huge part of the DJ market, streams start to make sense. The pressure is lower in those situations, it’s more likely you can check for a reliable Internet connection in advance, and the importance of requests is greater.

All that was missing was an app that made DJing with streams nearly as easy as playing from Spotify. Algoriddim’s djay is that app. I expect other DJ app developers like Native Instruments and their immensely popular Traktor on iPad to follow soon. It’s also clear that streams pair nicely with mobile DJing.

Minus Records jewelry. Okay... maybe. Something physical, though.

Minus Records jewelry. Okay… maybe. Something physical, though.

Winner: Tangible music. The more downloads shrink, the more vinyl and other physical releases will start to look appealing. And actually, with computers streaming music, it seems at least some DJs will win back dance floor respect by looking to vinyl. Maybe Pioneer really is going to make a turntable. Not everyone can go the vinyl route, so expect more other creative physical products — books and color photos, for instance, still retain value even with digital counterparts, because you flip through them and set them on coffee tables. Music has a different problem: arguing about analog versus digital aside, the reality is that everything eventually reaches a speaker.

Can you expect these to be a significant revenue source? Frankly, in a lot of cases, no. But you can expect a lot to try, and some artists and labels will find some winning formulas, especially if they have the right fans and the right designs behind those tangible goods.

Yes, this is happening. Products like "sounds" at Beatport, for producers, may eclipse track downloads - while the listeners go streaming.

Yes, this is happening. Products like “sounds” at Beatport, for producers, may eclipse track downloads — while the listeners go streaming.

Winner: Stems, samples, apps, content. With pros gravitating toward downloads as consumers go streaming, it also makes more sense than ever to sell a release to other producers. Beatport’s Sounds section is already growing fast — and could be what that business needs to protect itself against the growing incursion of streaming, even into DJ apps. The DJ market itself continues to grow. And these formats provide content that streams can’t; I don’t imagine Spotify or Beats successfully streaming individual stems any time soon, nor would any sane artist or label release them to them. Add in other delivery methods, from custom apps to Ableton sets or Traktor Remix Decks, and you have a spectrum of digital releases that aren’t threatened by streams.

Winner: Industry insiders. Bad news: the Internet didn’t quite work out the way we expected. It’s wound up with kingmakers, just as radio and record labels once had. So, sure, the cost of making music has gone down. But making music was always potentially free: go to a street corner and start singing. Distribution and marketing is what ultimately costs, and the reduction in studio time hasn’t changed that. Now, Spotify and Apple are in powerful positions. And they’ve turned back to that industry to get the biggest, most successful acts. Apple has so much as said in no uncertain terms that they bought Beats partly to get closer to the industry in LA.

beatsmusic_collage

Winner: Human selectors, human personality. Commonly called “curation,” I think “selection” and “personality” are better words. A funny thing has happened as computer algorithms for automatically selecting music have gotten better: people realize that the human beings were there for more than just picking the music. What humans can do is both select music and tell a story about it, in a way an algorithm really can’t. They also can provide a personality around those selections. Beats has invested heavily in this model, even as Spotify has put more into the algorithms. It hasn’t paid off yet, but it could — look how valuable radio still is. (See Evolver on the Beats curators, apart from the celebrity ones.)

Don’t get me wrong: I actually enjoy the algorithms. It’s like a more interesting take on “shuffle.” But the reason radio and hand-picked mixes and podcasts survive is because people don’t just want a playlist, they want a person to go with it. They listen to the radio because it keeps them company. And the more machine algorithms dominate music, the more they may long for that company as a point of differentiation and a way of enriching the experience.

So, the flipside of the staying power of insider industry culture is something more positive: the human DJ matters more than ever.

A must-read that sums up a lot of these trends. BBC’s Radio 1 today exemplifies the new breed. It’s radio, and it’s popular for the reasons radio has always been popular. It has human selectors. They are still kingmakers, still mass-media. They still work with power brokers, even if that landscape is transposed. We’re talking mass media — but mass media on the Internet, driven by statistics in followers on YouTube and the like.

Radio 1′s playlist secrets uncovered: the battle of the ‘brands’

Windows of opportunity. And that to me is the bottom line.

The early days of the Internet came with a lot of illusions. We imagined indie labels and artists would blossom. They did — but the long tail turned out to get so crowded, those same artists often got lost, and revenue streams shrank and were watered down rather than growing. We imagined big power players would go away. Wrong: the big kingmakers might shuffle about, but a few winners would become more powerful than ever. We thought technology would trend toward greater fidelity. It didn’t — not exactly. We imagined quality, in our own eyes, would always win out. That’s always naive.

But there are cracks through which the independent artist and label can survive. The explosion in production and DJing is one. For all that people complain that DJing and making tracks has gotten too easy, that might create the very enthusiast audience that saves a lot of music. It just means that musicians are the ones consuming. Another is the fact that the more our musical world tends to machines producing intangible music that switches on like radio, the more people may seek out human beings and physical goods.

The one thing you can’t expect is for things to stay stable. It seems that if we want to play in this new musical world, we’d better be up for a challenge.

CDM welcomes your thoughts — and any guest posts on these topics.

The post In the Age of Beats and Spotify, Winners — and Opportunities appeared first on Create Digital Music.


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