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Explore a Hyperactive Explosion of Sound, As Mouse on Mars Turns 21

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

MOMMusikFabrik010

Musically speaking, Mouse on Mars are like that kid who can’t keep still. In a good way.

But perhaps now is a perfect moment for that nervous energy, that quirky, disruptive approach to sounds. It can be refreshing colliding with the duo’s endless, too-much-coffee-when-saying-yes-to-projects collaborations, and anarchic playful love of noise. Because the anxieties of music can leave people creatively constipated. It can drive people to either a chin-stroking disdain for audiences at one extreme, a sort of retreat into abstract sounds with fear that anyone might feel a physical urge when listening, or buttoned-up commercial conformity at another.

This would all be noise if it didn’t have direction and reflection. But Mouse on Mars manage to be disinhibited with their creativity, while still being thoughtful and focused on what they’re doing. And that’s why it’s been great to get to know them.

In any event, Mouse on Mars are turning their 21st birthday as a duo into a crescendo of activity. It’s an acted-out manifesto of their approach to music and collaboration, culminating in events and releases. In short:

1. The WretchUp app (with myself and others) is out.
2. There’s a compilation, entitled 21 Again (listen below) – marking lots of their collaborations.
3. For fans of their past work, there’s a new box set charting their history, via Monkeytown Records.
4. And, oh yeah, there’s a packed 2-day festival, in collaboration with Berlin’s HAU and CTM Festival. (That’s fitting, because if there’s a city right now that doesn’t believe in the concept of “too much” as far as music, it’s Berlin.)

But if you can spare a short block of time, you can understand what this is all about. In 21 minutes, they make 21 tracks, courtesy a project with FACT Magazine. It’s hyper-kinetic stuff, but it’s also still considered (and at one point Jan chides Andi about something he didn’t like). There’s loads of use of the WretchUp app here, too, for a sense of what that feedback thing was about, plus some unreleased iOS stuff – like the forthcoming Elastic Drums drum machine. See also a lot of action in Apple’s Logic and with AKAI controllers and Nord keyboards and loads of loads of toys.

The collaborations from the compilation are to me interesting, in that they combine musical dimensions. With the similarly-prolific and imagination Matthew Herbert:

Making otherworldly landscapes with Oval:

– and in a violently enthusiastic celebration with composer Tyondai Braxton:

If you happen to be in Berlin, you can take in the live two-day event. Co-developer Oliver and I will be there making mayhem with WretchUp.

21 AGAIN Festival

But you can also catch MoM, Jan and Andi on tour, and in all this other output, expanding now as if something just went supernova. And the place to follow that is here:

mouseonmars.com

MouseOnMars_djset

The post Explore a Hyperactive Explosion of Sound, As Mouse on Mars Turns 21 appeared first on Create Digital Music.


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Prism Sound Titan

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Read more about Prism Sound Titan at MusicRadar.com


The Titan occupies the middle position in a trio of USB interfaces from Prism Sound. The smallest in the range, the Lyra, reviewed in July, and the Titan and its bigger brother, the Atlas, share the same basic architecture and convertors.

“The mic pres featured across the range are excellent as they are clean and transparent with plenty of available gain”

As we already know from the Lyra, the conversion quality of the range is just about as good as it gets and certainly maintains the reputation for excellence that Prism Sound have established in their Dream AD and DA products.

On top of that, the mic pres featured across the range are excellent as they are clean and transparent with plenty of available gain. The reasoning behind this USB range is flexibility. Pretty much any desktop or laptop has USB 2 or 3 and the Titan will connect to any PC or Mac running Vista or OSX 10.4.11 and up, making it ideal for the studio or as a portable unit.

In terms of connectivity there’s a lot. Eight analogue line ins and outs on 1/4-inch TRS jacks, four mic inputs on XLR, S/PDIF I/O on phono plugs and ADAT I/O which can also be configured as TOSLINK plus two front panel 1/4-inch headphone outs.

There is also an MDIO expansion slot to incorporate Pro Tools HDX and AES 3 should you need it and intended future developments include Thunderbolt.

Software control

As you can see from the front panel of the device, the Titan has pretty minimal physical controls, so the first thing that needs to be done is install the software. The control panel app has an upper window where you set sample rate, sync sources and define the additional digital inputs and outputs.

Beneath this sits the mixer section controlled by a row of tabs which switch between inputs, outputs and separate mixer pages for pairs of analogue and digital outputs.

On the input page the first four channels can be switched between mic, line and instrument, with phantom power selection for mic sources. Each input channel has switchable phase reverse, high-pass filter and the Prism overkiller circuit, which is a soft limiter useful for preventing accidental overloads.

Channels 1 and 2 can also be set to an RIAA filter so you can plug a vinyl deck straight in. All channel pairs can also be set to M/S mode for those Mid/Side mic’ing moments. Each channel has a peak meter alongside its fader and these are of a good resolution allow easy setting of levels.

The outputs tab allows you to designate the function of pairs of analogue outputs. For example, you might have output 1 and 2 set to DAW, providing the stereo out from your workstation and the other three analogue pairs to mixer.

These three pairs can have individual sub mixes of all the inputs (analogue and digital) plus the dedicated DAW return by flicking to their dedicated output pair tab and setting the required balance.

It is also possible to set a headphone balance to the dedicated headphone outputs on the front of the unit. As all these mixes are happening out of the DAW software, they are all low latency and therefore perfect for headphones during live recording.

The analogue outputs can also be assigned to have level control by the large control knob on the units front panel so it is possible to gang together a pair for stereo monitor control or up to all eight for 7.1 surround.

Flexible and intuitive

With its highly flexible internal routing and mixing capabilities the Titan is perfectly suited to native systems where low latency monitoring is an issue and, with its multitude of input and output sources, it will suit the demands of most professional musicians.

With so many features it is a complex beast but the software control is very intuitive and anyone used to modern DAW software will quickly find their way around it. Clever design that sounds great – who could ask for more?

Read more about Prism Sound Titan at MusicRadar.com







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Resonance Sound releases “Progressive House For Spire”

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Resonance Sound has announced the release of Progressive House For Spire – a new soundset by Derrek for Reveal Sound’s Spire synthesizer featuring 64 presets for Progressive House, EDM, Big Room [Read More]
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Wagsrfm releases Shock Wave Sound Library for Xfer Records Serum Wavetable Synthesizer

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Wagsrfm has released the Shock Wave sound library for Xfer Records Serum Wavetable Synthesizer. There are 350 sounds and 385 wavetables in this library. Sound library contains: 61 Bass Patches. [Read More]
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Sound Magic releases Live Performance Extension Pack for Neo Piano and updates Vocalist for Windows to v1.4

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

Sound Magic has released Live Performance Extension Pack for Neo Piano. Live Performance features specially designed presets for Sound Magic’s Pianos using the Neo Piano engine. These presets [Read More]
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Aiyn Zahev Sounds releases “Collider EDM” soundbank for Reveal Sound Spire

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Aiyn Zahev has released Collider EDM, a new soundbank for Reveal Sound Spire featuring 73 presets offering a creative mesh of house, big room & trance. Using every technique and all the effects [Read More]
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Groovy, Moody Songs, Flea Market Sound Design Finds: Meet Sofia Kourtesis

Monday, October 13th, 2014

sofia3

Half Greek, half Peruvian, born in Lima but raised between Germany and New York, Sofia Kourtesis is a fresh, emerging voice. Her music interweaves shadows and introspection with smart grooves – seductive melancholy. Her mixes, too, cross similar territory, aided by her broad knowledge of music as a globe-trotting DJ and booker.

So, it’s a perfect start to our week this week, with some listening and a peek inside a studio. This is what’s so exciting about being in music now: we get to hear those new artists find original paths.

Apart from being a sci-fi movie addict and teenage veteran of a hip-hop band, Sofia is an obsessively hard-working DJ, now turning her style to a more minimal, restrained approach in her own music. And in those productions, you’ll hear the chime of toys and lo-fi flea market finds alongside more – innocence and experience. That mix of styles finds new clarity in her single, “Killa,” which to my ears is a strong indication this is an artist to watch, in advance of a release coming soon. You can check in later to see if I was right.

In the meantime, I was curious to talk to Sofia a little about how she works.

Your setup is built around Ableton Live, right? What will find in your production toolkit?

I use also an MPC that I found in a German flea market, old Casio keyboard synths [a Casio PT-1]. I sample a lot of children toys – triangles for children, mini keyboards – and sound that I record from the streets.

I love the sounds of old tapes; I just recorded some of those.

I’ve found myself talking a lot lately about how people learn. How did you go about learning production?

I learned by doing. I have a good friend of mine that is musician and help me out with some details and teaching me how to use Ableton Push.

studio2

studio1

And DJing, what’s your tool of choice?

I use vinyls and and old Casio machine and an MPC.

Your voice seems to me the most essential part of your productions. Tell us about that a bit.

My voice is the line in between my productions. I create the beats sometimes out of it, by sampling just some bits of it.

You’ve been really active as a DJ and touring. Can you tell us a bit about where we’d find you, and what you’ve been working on?

I’ve been working on my first EP, called “This is It” — the first Single is “Killa.” I had been playing in New York lately, Berlin, Tel Aviv, and New Zealand — I love doing it.

For more:

sofia1

Give a listen to the darker tunes that came before Killa and the upcoming EP, spooky sounds and ephemeral drifting voice in the mist:

It’s also worth listening to Sofia’s mixes, giving you a sense of the threads of her musical influence:

Local Suicide did a great interview in their LSD Faze Time series.

German speakers, Thump DE has also done a profile.

And you can follow her here:

Sofia Kourtesis * MissSofie* [Facebook]

https://soundcloud.com/sofia-kourtesis

The post Groovy, Moody Songs, Flea Market Sound Design Finds: Meet Sofia Kourtesis appeared first on Create Digital Music.


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Morpheme is a Microscopic Audiovisual Journey Into Sound by Electric Indigo

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Morpheme excerpt [Electric Indigo & Thomas Wagensommerer] from Electric Indigo on Vimeo.

Journey into “Morpheme,” a half-hour audiovisual odyssey by Electric Indigo (aka Susanne Kirchmayr) and visualist Thomas Wagensommerer. An exercise in granular extremism, it begins as a delicately crackling mist of noise, as if atoms were dancing. Just about five and a half minutes into this excerpt, someone switches on a light, and it buzzes with pounding, angrily-vibrating rhythms.

Electric Indigo’s music is a regular feature here because I never cease to be amazed at the breadth of her musical output, ranging from darkly-grooving club-ready material to more idiosyncratic experimental voyages, over a 20-plus-year career. On top of that, her female:pressure project continues to spotlight deserving and under-appreciated women in electronic music. (For more of what you can dance to, if you need to move around a bit at the moment, read on.)

“Morpheme” with Wagensommerer is a literal, imaginative microcosm.

The visuals are evocative in the excerpt, but you can get still more of the range of sounds in a slightly longer SoundCloud excerpt, which opens up into slowly-modulating, pitched digital colors.

Susanne expands on the description of the project.

All sounds are derived from a sentence Sadie Plant said: “To let noise into the system is a kind of fine art in both cybernetic terms and in terms of making music, too.” It was recorded at the ctm panel “sound, gender, technology” this year, which was organized by Annie Goh.

The video is derived from a transcription of the sentence, too. Each character has a 3d representation, and these representations are equally deconstructed and re-assembled. We both use various FFT applications to achieve this. I mostly worked with Robert [henke]‘s granulator II [Max patch - that's free for Ableton Live / Max for Live].

The resulting auditive and visual structures correlate. When performed live, Thomas receives an audio signal of my sum.

I am going to develop a surround version of it. The stereo, pure audio version of Morpheme was premiered at Heroines of Sound Festival at Berghain Kantine in june 2014.

If we are lucky, we could present it as multichannel audio and surround HD video one day.

There you go – any presenters who want to help make some of that “luck,” ahem, here we are!

We’ll share the results of the panel, incidentally, next week – I’ve got a story on that and full audio, to share as CDM heads to Amsterdam Dance Event.

I love instruments that can prove wildly different results. For contrast, see Granulator II in the hands of Robert Henke — equally beautiful, but very different both sonically and compositionally. And that to me is the mark of a great tool, that ability to be surprised.

For her part, Electric Indigo can make you move around as well as scratch your chin. Having played the intimate Kantine next door in June, she’s playing Sunday evening at Berghain. (Pay no mind to Berghain’s “Innervisions” title – quite a lot of other labels represented in this 24+-hour span, and Indigo flying her female:pressure banner.)

And it’s nice to see artists bold enough to take one name for experimental and club projects alike. With that in mind, here’s a new podcast for Detroit’s Just Dreams, one that nicely inter-weaves techno and … well, delicious oddness. Also some music from Paula Temple, whom I look forward to catching up with next week at ADE.

Full specs, links, and track listing:

twitter.com/justdreamsmusic
facebook.com/justdreamsmusic
justdreamsmusic.tumblr.com

More dreams. Good music.

Episode 011 – Electric Indigo

@electricindigo
twitter.com/electric_indigo
@indigo
www.residentadvisor.net/dj/electricindigo
vimeo.com/electricindigo
www.youtube.com/user/electricindigo

[TRACKLISTING]

01. Irradiation – Entropy [Temp~ 017d]
02. Electric Indigo – Morphem SN [unreleased]
03. Antonio Ruscito – Ionosfera [Resiliens 011]
04. Sejon – Dark Tunnel / Aleja Sanchez Remix [Etichetta Nera 031]
05. Bruno Sacco – Hallucinegenics [Gravite 005]
06. Electric Indigo – Cinq [Suicide Circus Dark Series 007]
07. Synus0006 – Weird [B4CK6ROUNDNO1SE Y01]
08. Mike Parker – Flying Nerves [REPITCH 04]
09. Orphx – Drowning For You [Sonic Groove D1466]
10. Aerts – Fracture / Developer Remix [Authentic Pew 010]
11. The Plant Worker – 1 [LIMITED.G 005]
12. Electric Indigo – Zero [Suicide Circus Dark Series 007]
13. Mental Resonance – 31.0 / Angel Costa Remix [Serial Number 849 031]
14. VSK – Resistance [Genesa 005]
15. Terrence Fixmer – Elka [Deeply Rooted 047]
16. Svaag – Sade [Semantica 66]
16. Yaleesa Hall – Second Leyland [Will & Ink 004]
17. Paula Temple – Monstro [R&S 1412]
18. Scalameriya – Kneel! [Newrhythmic 015 Ltd]
19. Val_Ex – Metacognition [Solar One Music 030]
20. Orphx – Tangled Paths [Sonic Groove D1466]
21. Allen – EM26 [M_Rec Ltd 22]
22. SNTS – N4 [SNTS 05]
23. Val_Ex – Atom [Solar One Music 030]

I need words other than dark. Bleak? Unsettling? Evil? Wrong in a good way? Something. It’s Friday. Dancing about architecture and whatnot. Just listen.

The post Morpheme is a Microscopic Audiovisual Journey Into Sound by Electric Indigo appeared first on Create Digital Music.


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Alchemy libraries pt.3 – More sound delights

Friday, October 10th, 2014

We have covered Camel Audio Alchemy and its sound libraries a few times in the past (see pt.1 and pt.2 ). This time we are focusing on Iceland, Water and Dream Voices. Each library features 150 presets (and 1200 variations), and if you haven’t got the full version of Alchemy, each sound-pack comes with the Alchemy Player, included for free.
If you are familiar with Alchemy’s libraries, you’ll know that when trying a new one you’re in for a treat – and these three products are no exception. As usual, while they all share a great attention to details and a certain ‘soundscape attitude’, each of them boasts its own personality.

Among the ones I’ve tested this time, Iceland was probably my favorite. Created by Biomechanoid and Deru, it offers 550MB of exclusive sample content recorded around Iceland, including streams, glaciers, caves and an Icelandic girls’ choir. As often happens with Alchemy’s libraries, synths, soundscapes and pads are the main content. The demo provided on Camel Audio’s product page is quite extensive and can give you an idea of the quality and variety of the presets. What I’ve really appreciated is the organic quality of the sound-design and at the same time the fact that they seem to be working well in a mix, unlike what often happens with very rich-sounding sound libraries. There’s definitely a certain ‘nordic vibe’ in these sounds, and thanks to the 8 remix pads possibilities are, as usual with Camel Audio libraries, almost endless. Browsing Iceland presets, it’s easy to go from very beautifully soothing sounds to spooky ones and everything in between.
It’s not just about soundscapes though. Simpler sounds like percussions, bass and keys are included as well, making Iceland a complete library. Definitely recommended, and not just for sound-design purposes.

Dream Voices is probably the most creative product of this trio. Featuring nearly 1.3GB of vocal samples, it shows off the individual character and style of four solo female vocalists (Anna-Lynne Williams, Anneke Kampman, Chantal Acda and Elly May Irving). The samples have been carefully treated by a large group of sound designers (biomechanoid, Martin Walker, Nick Moritz, Ian Boddy, Patchen, Simon Stockhausen, Ole Jeppesen, Andre Ettema, Christian Kjeldsen, Corin Neff, Tasmodia, Himalaya), and while in general I tend to lean towards libraries created by a smaller number of sound designers, Dream Voices is definitely a well focused and solid product.
Needless to say, the human voice is the queen of the show here, but in many cases that’s just a starting point for the creativity of the designers; expect granular-spectral treatments brought to the extreme, making the original samples often completely unrecognisable.
I’ll be honest with you, I’m a sucker for female voices, choirs and such things. If you’re like me (and/or you’re into heavily processed samples), Dream Voices is definitely a worthwhile addition to your Alchemy library.

Water is – not surprisingly – a water-themed library that collects the work of sound designers like Nick Moritz, biomechanoid, patchen preston, Ian Boddy, Chris Sciurba, Himalaya, Martin Walker, bManic, Luftrum, Corin Neff, Bryan Lee and Ole Jeppesen. Approx. 500 Mb of samples, for a wide range of presets that (like in Iceland) cover mostly soundscapes, pads, fx and synths, but offer also percussive elements, bass and harps (including also a Waterphone clone). A pristine recording and a truly creative manipulation of the samples makes this library a must for those musicians and sound-designers looking for a water-inspired sound experience (and not willing to risk their precious microphones under or near the water!).

Personally, (and this is a very subjective thing) while I appreciate the quality behind Water, I find it slightly less appealing than the other two libraries mentioned above. It could be due to the fact that one of my first keyboards was a Korg M1, and after awhile I couldn’t stand that first preset anymore (Universe, with its water-like tail, remember?), who knows?
Again, listen to the demos or check out the helpful YouTube video. I’m sure you’ll be able to tell if this library is your cup of tea or not.

Last but not least, if you have an iPad and you are still wondering (like I was) what the best controller for Alchemy is, I would recommend getting the free Alchemy app and buying the Pro Upgrade ($ 14.99/€13.99). While the free app is a little gem of its own, the Pro Upgrade enables some must-have features like (among many) the possibility to download a mobile version of any desktop Sound Libraries you own for free, and most importantly, allows your iPad to become a remote, wireless controller for the desktop version of Alchemy (be it the plug-in or the Alchemy Player), with all the advantages of having a touch screen to control those remix pads and other parameters. Absolutely recommended!

Conclusion
Another wunder-trio from Camel Audio, for those looking to expand Alchemy’s palette. Couple them with the iPad app for a more dynamic performance, and you’re in sound-design heaven!

Price
$ 59/€49/£39 each

Product page

PROS

  • Creative and varied, perfect to spice up your sound-design options
  • Almost endless possibilities, thanks to the sound controls

LOVE IT OR HATE IT

  • Oh well, you may get lost in sound

CONS

  • None, really

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Reveal Sound updates Spire to v1.0.18 – incl. AAX for Mac

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Reveal Sound has updated Spire to v1.0.18. Changes: Added Spire AAX for Pro Tools 11 (Mac only). Updated Factory 5 Sound Bank (now 128 presets). Fixed minor bugs. Please download on reveal-sound.com [Read More]
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