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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.


AudioProFeeds-1

Red Bull “Beat It” Dance Battle in Paris, France | YAK FILMS Recap 2011 Street Dancing Show

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Music by MC Lyte – “Rockin With The Best” itunes.apple.com Outro music by B’ZWAX (available soon on Sound Cloud) www.redbull.fr FULL BATTLE on www.youtube.com www.YAKFILMS.com © YAK FILMS 2011
Video Rating: 4 / 5

New Micspawn Beatbox Freestyle in Paris Maurepas

Friday, May 13th, 2011

I met Micspawn, the beatmaker in Paris/Maurepas He was so kind to drop a beatbox Freestyle for me. too cool!!!

www.boyinaband.com – head over to my website to see the text version of the tutorial, grab some samples and check out my other blogs and Reason 4 tutorials! Dave from boyinaband explains how to make a dubstep drum beat for the first day of the 7 day song Dubstep tutorial! The song was inspired by Rusko, who is frickin’ awesome – you should youtube him. Sweet!
Video Rating: 4 / 5

Audio Damage Axon

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Audio Damage’s extensive range of effects are among the most distinctive and affordable around. Up until now they’ve released just one instrument, the fairly conventional (but great) Tattoo drum machine.

Instrument number two, Axon, is now with us, and it’s one of their most original plug-ins yet. Axon is a synthesiser and sequencer designed for producing primarily percussive parts. That’s where the normality ends.

“Axon’s unique style of sequencing produces genuinely original parts.”

Central to its concept is the Neuron Sequencer, a collection of so-called neurons, each of which can be connected to all the others and is able to send and receive pulses. These pulses are the key to the sequencer’s operation.

With the exception of neuron 0 (found in the centre), each neuron has a selectable Threshold value between 0 and 6. When the neuron receives the number of pulses defined by the threshold, it’s triggered.

Each neuron drives its own FM synthesis-based sound generator, and when it receives the specified number of pulses, it triggers the synth sound and fires out a pulse. The resulting rhythmic pattern is therefore defined by the interaction of the neurons.

Neuron 0 can take it’s pulse rate from the host sequencer or use an internal tempo setting, and it fires at a rate of either 1/8, 1/16 or 1/32.

Testing the threshold

What happens next entirely depends on the threshold of each neuron, and their connections. Of course, results are what count, and Axon doesn’t disappoint – it’s a loop-producing treasure trove. Its unique style of sequencing produces genuinely original parts, and the nature of it means that as different neurons interact, the riffs and patterns can evolve over the course of many bars.

And what about those synths? Well, they’re all identical, offering up simple FM synthesis with a carrier and modulator, and a selectable note for each. The envelopes are for amplitude and frequency, and each offers simple parameters designed for generating popping, percussive tones.

Below the envelopes are two X/Y pads. The first controls the modulation and ratio of the frequencies of the two oscillators, while the second – Timbre – lets you adjust the waveform.

And it doesn’t stop there: all of the synths can send their signals to both an FM bus and a Ring bus. In turn, the level of these central busses can be applied to any of the synths independently.

As you can imagine, the results can be rather intense, and it’s not uncommon to find some neurons pumping out far more audio action than others. To this end, Axon includes a mixer (with stereo delay on an FX bus), where you can set the pan, delay send and level for each neuron’s synth. There are even mute and solo neurons to help edit the sounds for each and choose your parts.

Our best tip is to switch off the delays while analysing Axon’s presets – it makes it much easier to figure out which Neurons are doing what!

While you can use Axon as a real-time instrument, we found that the resulting loops are the sort of thing that’s perfect for rendering to audio. That way, you can sift through them later and pick out the best bits.

Bells and whistles

It’s not necessary to completely understand FM synthesis to make use of Axon, but to make the most of it, you should at least have a basic grasp of the concept. With this under your belt you’ll have a much more thorough practical understanding of the plug-in.

In FM synthesis one oscillator, called the modulator, modulates another, called the carrier. Adjusting the modulator will change the sound of the carrier. The sheer range of sounds this can produce is rather astounding.

The key is learning the effects the modulator can have, and how to manipulate it to achieve them. While analogue FM synthesis is possible, it’s very much a rarity due to various technical issues. FM only really came of age with digital boxes (Yamaha’s DX7 synth being the classic example), so the resulting sounds are associated as being ‘digital’.

It’s not uncommon for more powerful FM synths to have multiple oscillators/modulators and numerous ways in which to interconnect them, leading to further sonic flexibility.

So how does it sound? Electronic bells, clangs, bongs, thudding basses – all of these are FM’s forte. While Axon’s FM implementation is simple, there’s still a world of squelchy pings, bleeps and bangs to explore.

Experiment to win

Being essentially an innovative sequencer driving a bunch of fairly simple synths, you might be wondering what it would be like to use Axon to trigger other instruments. Happily, Axon can run in MIDI mode, sending out MIDI triggers that can be routed to other instruments – it’s fascinating to use with synths or drum banks.

Unfortunately, this isn’t available with the Audio Units version, which Audio Damage put down to limitations with the AU format. You can also trigger the Axon synthesis section via MIDI, but that’s a bonus, not a headline feature.

It’s hard to knock something so simple and ingenious, but we do have two tiny grumbles. Currently, the only way to set which neuron’s synth is displayed in the Editor section is to click on the cell itself, but it would be great if you could see it when you’re working in the mixer section and setting the levels too.

Thankfully, Audio Damage have already scheduled this for a forthcoming update. And while there is an argument for only showing one synth at a time, this can make it difficult to quickly tweak various synths to create riffs. An optional GUI showing all synths at once would be a nice addition.

So is Axon for you? As our audio demos demonstrate, it is primarily a percussive FM riff and percussion tool. But that’s no bad thing. Anybody involved in electronic music, especially dance and ambient, will find much inspiration here.

If you like playing with esoteric, fun and inspirational sonic toys, Axon is definitely for you. But if you struggle with unconventional approaches, you may want to steer clear of it.

This plug-in isn’t complicated, but it warrants a little concentration and experimentation to get the best out of. As for us, we’re off to tax our neurons to the limit.

Now listen to our audio demos to hear a few examples of what the Axon can do:

A Train To Gay Paris

Hollow Worlds

Intercontinental Beat Missile

Judder Step

Maximal

Tera Formed

Thanks Brian

Related Stories

Go here to read the rest:
Audio Damage Axon

OTO Machines BISCUIT: 8-bit + Analog Filter Effect; Designing New Hardware

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

OTO Machines’ BISCUIT is new 8-bit effect processing hardware from a boutique design firm in Paris. The essential effect is all 8-bit: using 8-bit converters and processing, you can add crunchy, digital waveshaping, delay, pitch shift, and step filter effects. But because those processes produce distortion and aliasing, BISCUIT combines its 8-bit effects with an analog resonant filter. (It’s switchable, so if you want to retain all the artifacts, you can — but you also have a filter at the ready.)

The whole design is a lovely exercise in reducing a set of sound capabilities to their most essential elements. The appearance of the front panel, though, is deceptively simple. Multifunctional uses, all provided within the eight buttons at bottom and the parameter controls at top, allow effects from filtering and basic bit reduction to wild, radical bit destruction, step-sequenced filtering, delay, and even a little synthesis.

The BISCUIT is also fully MIDI-enabled: every control sends MIDI, and every function receives MIDI CC. Critical to its step-sequenced and delay functions, BISCUIT receives MIDI clock, as well, or you can use tap tempo.

Finally, quality and local production figure prominently in the OTO: the company advertises that they don’t outsource production and work entirely with local companies in France.

Price: EUR529 including VAT (so 442,30 if you’re outside Europe). Available now:
http://www.otomachines.com

That’s pricey, I know, but it also packs as much sonic power as a collection of several Moog effects — and likewise might be the only effects box you need.

And, oh yeah — the future of BISCUIT may provide more than it does now.

I got to look more closely at the BISCUIT (think “bis-QWEE” as in French), at least on paper. I’ve also had the chance to talk to one of the creators about the evolution of this box, which reveals something of the process of hardware creation in general.

First, let’s take a closer look at the hardware.

Inside the Hardware

Onboard controls include:

  • Drive: Input gain, up to +15 dB (which can clip your sound prior to conversion)
  • Naked: dry signal
  • Dressed: 8-bit (wet) signal
  • Filter controls: set to green (low-pass), yellow (band-pass), or orange (hi-pass), then adjust cutoff (20-15kHz) and Q
  • Brain: changes the function of the rectangular switches at the bottom, between selecting parameters and muting/inverting the 8-bit signal
  • Clock: 250-30kHz sample clock frequency
  • Bypass: a true relay bypass
  • Switches 1-8: mute or invert your 8-bits, select effects and parameters, and recall presets/snapshots

The main issue is that it’s using the 8 rectangular switches along the bottom of the unit that most directly shapes the sound, by allowing you to set each bit independently — literally, the eight bits of the signal itself. Switch off “Brain” mode, and you can directly manipulate the bits of the signal, then mix that signal with your dry source.

The presets portion can incorporate all of your own presets, with 16 slots and SysEx dump functions for storage and recall on your computer. (Hmmm, may be time to dig up an editor/librarian tool, or make a new, simpler one.)

I/O:
Unbalanced 1/4″ inputs (2x mono L+R)
Unbalanced 1/4″ outputs (2x mono L+R)
MIDI in, MIDI out
9V AC adapter

Form factor:
Metal case
1.27 lb (580g)
7.48″ x 2.36″ x 4.60″ (190mm x 60mm x 117mm)

Interview with the Founder/Creator

I talked to Denis Cazajeux, creator of BISCUIT, about his work.

It took time to design this device. I started by building stompboxes in my kitchen under the name Cazatronics (http://www.myspace.com/cazatronics). I built some MIDI controllers, SID and FM Midibox synths (I lover [MIDIBox creator] Ucapps !), analog reverb stompboxes…

Few years ago, I built a box in a plastic butterdish, to simulate the sound of an old Fairlight CMI, but without have to sample through this machine.

The idea was simple: use an 8-bit AD converter with a parrallel output, and connect these 8 outputs to an 8-bit parrallel input DA converter. The sampling frequency was controlled by a special pot. You could pass sounds from a modern hardware or sofware sampler through this box to get an old-school 8-bit sampler sound.

I discovered that I could get some very harsh and radical digital distortion by simply mute (always 0) or invert (a 0 becomes a 1 and the opposite) one or several of the 8 lines between AD and DA converters. The initial box was then upgraded with 8 toggle switches, each with 3 positions (on, mute and invert).

As the sound can become very strong and aggressive, I added a 12db/octave low-pass filter with a Q control.

I forget a little bit this box in my kitchen for some years. One day, I met an engineer/producer in a vintage studio near Paris, where I worked as a sound engineer and maintenance tech. We shared the same passion for music, electronics, lo-fi, 8-bits,… (Thanks for your blog, we really love CDM and have a look on it few times a week!).

He loved the 8-bit box and we started the idea to sell this thing, as there were no other things like that on the market (except Frostwave Sonic Alienator). It took me 2 years to set the company, find the money, improve the initial design (MIDI, stereo, FX, multimode filter, pads instead of toggle switches,…), find subcontractors…

I wanted a strong box, with soft switches similar to a monome, customs knobs…

There’s more than 350 components inside BISCUIT, most of them are SMD (Surface Mount Devices) to keep the product small and not too much expensive. This is small and local economy: all parts (electronics boards, metalwork, pad and knobs design, packaging…) are made in french factories (most of them are in Normandy). Each Biscuit is assembled by our hands and tested by our ears in our workshop.

Input gain (Drive pot), little mixer (Naked and Dressed pots) and filter are analog, but with digital control (using Maxim digital pots IC’s), so you can memorize some presets and have a MIDI control.
I choose to use hi-quality parts (Panasonic low signal relay for bypass, Polypro Caps for filter, Neutrik jacks, linear -8v/+8v power supply…).

Digital processing (waveshapers, delay, pitch, bit manipulations) is pure 8-bits, using a simple Microchip PIC microcontroller. Delay and pitchshifter use the internal PIC RAM (3kB !).

The PIC microcontroller can upgrade its firmware, using a MIDI SysEx utility (SysEx Librarian for MAC users or MIDI OX for PCs).

All firmware upgrades are for free, as a simple SysEx file to download from our website.

In case it wasn’t evident from the gorgeous design of the case and associated graphics, yes, there was a significant design collaboration behind all of this, says Denis:

We worked with graphic artists H5 (http://www.h5.fr/).

They design the:

OTO and BISCUIT logo,
Knob design,
Silkscreen drawing,
User Manual layout.

They work in advertisment for companies such as Dior, Yves St Laurent, Audi…but also for music (record cover and videoclip) : Air, Royksopp (“Remind Me” videoclip), Massive Attack, Goldfrapp, Etienne de Crécy, Alex Gopher,…

They did a very nice job for us so I wanted to talk about them!

Producer/engineer Stéphane Alf Briat is the partner with Denis, and the man who prompted actually releasing BISCUIT as a product.

Let us know if you have further questions for Denis. This is far more information than I usually do for a product preview, but it’s fantastic, of course, to be provided with this much detail. It looks like a fascinating design, and I can think of a couple of friends I expect will want one. More coming soon.

http://www.otomachines.com

More here:
OTO Machines BISCUIT: 8-bit + Analog Filter Effect; Designing New Hardware