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Concubine, the free album you need, has an app-made video to match

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015


Can you think, dance, and dream at the same time? We get to debut a new video for Concubine, and it’s the perfect time to look at what this duo has accomplished in 2015.

Concubine, the project from Noah Pred and Rick Bull, is never cold, but it’s always expressing several sentiments simultaneously. It’s at once hypnotic and cerebral, visceral and abstract. Smartly-calibrated percussion politely swings atop future-prog funk flights of fancy. It’ll get a little cheeky, but within a song framework that’s been obsessively constructed. And the album itself is put together similarly. Driving dance tracks are effortless interspersed with ambient tracks that keep the dynamic energy moving — rather than feeling like incidental excursions. It is relentlessly high quality, always at a level of polish — music made by proper gentlemen who nonetheless know how to have a good time. By the time the synth sirens start going off in Entropia, you’re ready for a night out in Blade Runner’s Michelin-starred restaurant and … see where the night leads.

This is exactly the sort of music you’d expect to form when two richly-experienced producers combine efforts. Australian-born Rick Bull is better known as Deepchild, the versatile and prolific house and techno DJ and producer with outings on Get Physical and Leisure System and more. Noah Pred we’ve seen round these parts before; the Thoughtless Music label chief has bridged Canada and Berlin with prescient good taste while remaining productive with his own music. (See Juno-nominated Third Culture, for one.)

Both artists also have spoken about how this production (and subsequent live show) helped each of them through tough life turns — it’s deeply attentive music making as therapy.

And so Concubine has been widely visible in critical attention, but has also generally flown under the radar of crowds looking for more quickly-digestible snacks. This is a dance album that demands some processing — some time to settle into the details. It doesn’t stray too far from its references in technique; it elevates those techniques to peak performance, which requires you to sharpen your ears. They’re producers’ producers, and this is the record that fits that, a fleshed out full-length in the desert of EPs.

Clearly, then, if you have escaped downloading it already, go do it. It’s free from the mini-site for the self-titled debut, and you can pay what you want on Bandcamp — just the means of consuming music other DJs, producers, and enthusiasts now prefer.


What we get now is a music video — premiering here exclusively on CDM.

Concubine — Luxend [Video Edit] from Concubine Sound on Vimeo.

The official video for Luxend from the debut Concubine album — download it free: http://www.concubine.cc


Mastered by Roofless Creations: http://www.rooflesscreations.com
Video created with Generate Pro: http://www.generateapp.com

Also on YouTube if you prefer to share there.

Happily, it takes the record’s funkiest outing, Luxend. The film is a rainbow-hued spin in the woods, monster vision rave style. It feels more improvised than the production of the music, perhaps, but it also has a unique real-time source.

The video was created live with Generate, the new iOS and Android app that lets you reimagine video creating and sharing by applying spontaneous creative filters. Instead of the edit and edit and render workflow, Generate is part paint tool, part video, made for in-the-moment videos — and certainly worth a look on its own soon. Noah and Rick are evidently part of the artist program, using the app and providing feedback.


Rick and Noah did an all-hardware set live at Panorama Bar in June; I’ll be keen to see where they drive this project next. Stay tuned.

SoundCloud / Bandcamp:

Concubine by Concubine

The post Concubine, the free album you need, has an app-made video to match appeared first on Create Digital Music.


Hands-on Video of the Yamaha Reface Series

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

SonicState got an exclusive hands-on with the new Yamaha line. And the story is becoming clear: the word for these is convenience. You get sleek, minimal design that reduces hands-on control to the essentials, while providing real-time effects and the ability to dial in loads of sounds. The mini keys aren’t a full-sized keybed, but it seems what Yamaha hasn’t done is make something cheaply. Both the sound and apparently physical form are top-of-range, and you don’t sacrifice essentials like MIDI ports. So that bucks some industry tendencies to a race to the bottom. And even if you don’t like these Yamahas, I think it’s important that someone in the industry is doing that apart from boutique Eurorack.

Another reason I’ll defend mini keys — provided these feel good — is that piano-sized keys are just enormous. Recall that part of the reason they’re the size they are is nothing to do with ergonomics and everything to do with the size required by acoustic strings and so on.

We’re hearing US$ 799 list, but that’d mean a street closer to US$ 500.

Now, the downside is, you have to choose. Then again, it seems Yamaha is betting on each model appealing to a different audience/genre, which is rather what I’ve gotten chatting with people casually — and this focus also means, unlike the do-anything SYSTEM-1 from Roland, these keyboards are focused on a particular range of controls. That helps keeps the control complement to a minimum.

Prediction: these will be huge sellers, precisely because they aren’t huge. Devices like the iPad have finally convinced people that luxury doesn’t have to mean big, and gigging keyboardists have struggled with luggage long enough. They’re not cheap, fun ways into synthesis in the mold of the Arturia MicroBrute or the KORG microKORG, but they are a chance for people who formerly bought big keyboards just to get the sounds they want to finally downsize. And it seems they may have nailed sound, access, and design. People without the cash will be shouting loudly on the forums, but people with the cash will be quietly making money for Yamaha in the kind of segment the company had more or less ceded lately to competitors.

Kudos to the SonicState lads for shooting this in such detail.

The post Hands-on Video of the Yamaha Reface Series appeared first on Create Digital Music.


Audiomux 2 Review With Video Walkthrough

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

Audiomux v2 was released on Jun 27th. With it came some really nice new features and upgrades. They integrated IAA, they added support for Windows platforms. Most importantly they added VST and AU for easy integration into your favorite DAW. Another cool new feature is the addition of a per channel mixer with volume, mute and monitor controls. You can also send audio between each of the channels as well.

We have already covered the basic functions of Audiomux in a previous article so I will just be going over the new features.
Firstly, the interface has changed. It has 8 channels of audio that can house either an effect, an instrument or both. You can also route between each of the channels by clicking the top of each channel. This is helpful if you want to route more than one instrument to a single effect.

It now sports a new mixer window as well. Each of the channels has an in and out volume level as well as the ability to turn monitoring on and off and mute. Although Audiomux still fully supports Audiobus, they have also fully integrated IAA support. They do however recommend if you plan on using Audiobus along side Audiomux you will need to open Audiobus first to avoid any complications.

Let’s move to the computer side of things. Audiomux server supports MAC OS X 10.7+ as well as both 32 and 64 bit versions of Windows 7+. They have also made it easy to install the server and plugins on your computer. So far I have tested it in Logic Pro X and Ableton Live 9 Lite on my MacBook Pro. What I think is great about the implementation of AU and VST is it brings the iPad into the studio as an external instrument, an effects processor, guitar amp, or whatever you want it to be.

I will say that as of right now the Instrument plug-in side cannot send midi to the iPad. I emailed the developers and they are working on it. In both Ableton and Logic it is easy to send midi to an external instrument on the iPad using their other app Midimux. It makes sending and receiving midi data super easy between devices.

I would highly recommend Audiomux and their other app MidiMux. It makes integrating your iOS synths and effects seamless. The developers are working hard to continue to improve the app and add features (a new beta was just released this afternoon). Even though Apple announced the basic integration of audio sending via USB in the upcoming software updates, it is only a single stereo channel. So I do not think this app will become obsolete since it offers way more functionality.
Here’s a quick video walkthrough of Audiomux 2 with Apple Logic Pro and Ableton Live. Questions? Issues? Please leave your  comment here below.


Video Tutorials Show You How to Make Cheap DJ Booths from IKEA Stuff

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

It’s fun to watch the hate lobbed at DJs “DJing in their bedrooms.” But… come on. We’re all music lovers here. What other priority would you possibly have for your bedroom? (Sleep, for instance, really robs you of time you could be playing records and producing music. Such a loss.)

And as it happens, the folks cobbling together $ 300 “DJ booths” out of IKEA bits are getting fairly clever and industrious, making some nice setups that leave them money to spare on important stuff — like synthesizers.

At top, a video by DJ Puzzle that just started making the rounds. Significantly, since this whole discussion started (apparently somewhere on the DJ Tech Tools forums), IKEA has made revisions to their product line, so this video reflects what’s available in 2015. (KALLAX now replaces EXPEDIT, for instance.)

Below, a slightly older film from 2014. It’s worth watching the end for the nice slide show of pretty examples from around the Web.

Here are the instructions and parts for that:

1: EXPEDIT-Shelving unit
2. CAPITA legs
3. CAPITA Bracket
4. LACK wall-shelf
5. 2 x small LACK shelves
6. 2 x GODMORGON legs
7. BJÄRNUM-Folding hook
8. DIODER LED 4 piece strip set

Step 1 : Mount the CAPTIPA legs to the underside of the EXPEDIT shelving unit
Step 2 : Mount the angular CAPITA legs to the LACK wall shelf
Step 3 : Then mount connect to the EXPEDIT shelving unit
Step 4 : Connect the GODMORGON legs to the EXPEDIT shelving unit
Step 5 : Connect the small LACK shelves to the GODMORGON Legs
Step 6 : Connect the BJARNUM hooks to the side for headphones

Now, there are dedicated products for this purpose, but prices do start to escalate.


Of course, if you’re handy enough, you can go entirely custom. You know, with wood and stuff. And that’s quite affordable. But IKEA’s accessibility somehow captivates the imagination of the Internet in the meantime. And that means this entire post can become a great excuse to run this video on CDM:

The post Video Tutorials Show You How to Make Cheap DJ Booths from IKEA Stuff appeared first on Create Digital Music.


Sony Creative Software Releases New Catalyst Production Suite – Updated Catalyst Prepare and New Catalyst Edit Comprise Cross-Platform Video and Audio Production Suite

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

Sony Creative Software has announced the official launch of its newest media production package, Catalyst Production Suite, which includes a new version of Catalyst Prepare and the brand-new [Read More]

This Video Demonstrates How Akai’s New Keyboard Controls Everything

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

It’s a horse race. Two keyboards — one from Native Instruments, one from AKAI — really want to be the interface between you and every plug-in you own. And we’re getting closer to find out if either deserves your attention.

You’ve heard this story before. Sure, you have powerful software on your computer screen. But when you want physical control of those instruments beyond just playing keys, you’re left either manually mapping controls or reaching for your mouse or trackpad.

So, over the years various solutions have tried to solve this automagically. There was Automap, seen in Propellerhead Reason and then from Novation. There was Cakewalk’s ACT. Native Instruments’ KORE. M-audio’s HyperControl. And probably some others I’ve forgotten — maybe tried to forget. These solutions weren’t always completely horrible, but I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who was completely satisfied with them, either. Now, I’m sure some of you will protest. Reason, for instance, often worked well — a closed system that originated the idea — and if you got things working, more power to you. But beyond that handful, I’ve met a whole lot of people who wound up giving up and going back to manually mapping MIDI. (Or just give me that trackpad, already, because it’s faster.)

Well, now the Akai ADVANCE is here. It knows you’ve been hurt before. But it wants you to love automatic mapping again. And … surprisingly, there are some early indications you ought to leave the heartache behind and give it a chance to prove itself.

Our friends over at AskAudio got an exclusive tour in New York. (The ADVANCE hails from the Eastern Seaboard, after all; the Komplete Kontrol from the banks of Berlin’s river Spree.)

Akai Pro Advance Keyboards In-Depth Preview (Video) [askaudiomag.com]

You can check out their impressions in the story; the video gives a detailed walkthrough. Remember that the software isn’t feature complete, but you can at least see where AKAI are going.




I can vouch for the hardware; I had a go on it at Musikmesse. This may be the nicest build from anything with Akai on it, ever. Whether you like the aesthetics of the styling or not, the quality of the units I saw at Musikmesse was outstanding, the color display is clear, and everything feels solid. Akai’s MAX range of keyboards — unlike the cheap stuff at the entry level — already had a nice keybed, so I’m not surprised, and finally we go back to encoders instead of touch trips.

The challenge the ADVANCE will face is that being a nice-feeling keyboard isn’t enough. The software has to work well, or you’ll take a pass on this line. Or worse, you’ll buy it, and wind up figuring out how to convince anyone to take it out of your closet. Obsolescence is the single worst threat to this stuff.

We know now what the strategy is at rival Native Instruments. Whereas their Komplete Kontrol initially couldn’t so much as send arpeggiator notes to your host, let alone handle software that wasn’t part of Komplete, all will be better soon:

Komplete Kontrol Now Plays Nice with Plug-ins, Hosts, And More is Coming

At the very least, all the chords and patterns you play on the keyboard now work with a host. And inside the Komplete Kontrol software, you can use plug-ins. And if software is specifically designed to support NI’s Native Kontrol Standard (NKS), plug-ins will appear with the proper metadata, control mappings, and extra features that work with NI’s hardware.

I wouldn’t describe it as more “closed” than Akai, but suffice to say NI’s approach — at least as they describe it — is the artisanal, bespoke approach to integrating your plug-in presets with your keyboard. Metadata is (supposed to be) lovingly hand-crafted, mappings gently tailored to fit snugly on the controls.

Both keyboards are also intended as platforms to sell you more software. NI is apparently content to let their Komplete suite speak for itself — and use the promise of more software sales to entice developers to create custom support for the keyboard. AKAI is joining the now-everything-is-an-app-store bandwagon, with the ability to buy software inside the keyboard. (Fine, but can I get food delivery so I don’t have to interrupt my studio session? Startups, opportunity knocks.)

Reaktor Lighting up Komplete Kontrol



Above: Native Instruments’ competitor. Is it less ADVANCEd, or more KOMPLETE? Well, we can at least say that it has 100% more light-up colored keys and 100% less light-up colored pads…

Akai, by contrast, is the Roomba of the two, hoovering up everything on your machine and dumping it into the ADVANCE keyboard.

If it’s a VST, the ADVANCE will find its presets, find its controls. It’s not all automatic: Akai themselves are going through mapping popular software by hand, too, apparently in some sort of sound content sweatshops where sound designers wipe sweat off their forehead with numb fingers finding each filter cutoff knob in every plug-in you might ever find on KVR. (Disclaimer: I have no idea how they’re doing this.)

Which will work better? Well, the end result may wind up being exactly the same — which is better for users.

In Frankfurt, Native Instruments threw a party off-campus (open bar!) while AKAI were in a proper booth (what? sorry, what did you say? here’s my business card).


The interesting thing was that both NI and AKAI showed their keyboards with Ableton Live. Both made prominent usage of Arturia software — doubly encouraging, given Arturia make controller bundles for their own products. And AKAI was even glad to show off Absynth running on the ADVANCE. Remember, the AKAI isn’t shipping yet, and Native Instruments haven’t released the software updates that support NKS (some of those features won’t arrive until the summer, some earlier).

I think this is probably the most important thing to know. The worst possible scenario would be if you had to buy a different keyboard each time you wanted to use a different piece of software, then, 80s pop-star style, array them on multi-tiered keyboard racks all over your studio. The nightmare scenario: oh, sure, the Komplete Kontrol works great with Reaktor and Kontakt, but you need the AKAI with AIR, the Arturia with your emulations, the Ableton Keys with Ableton Live, and an MPC hybrid every time you want to make beats. No. That would be horrible.

Fortunately, there’s no indication from anyone I’ve talked to that that’ll happen. It seems everyone is more or less trying to play ball with everyone else, even as they make competing products — and the rabid hunger for keyboards in the market, I’m guessing, will keep this from becoming a zero sum game.

So, which will you buy? There’s no way of knowing until they ship. AKAI and Native Instruments have both built hardware that feels great. AKAI packs more onboard, with pads and color screens, but then you might prefer the sparser NI keyboard and touch strips. AKAI certainly seem to have the edge on compatibility with loads of stuff, and the ADVANCE ships with their excellent AIR software, but NI finally came around and added an instrumental/effect suite to Komplete Kontrol, and we’ll see if they cane make tighter integration more appealing than the one-size-fits-all approach of the ADVANCE.

And, of course, both products still have to prove themselves versus the toughest competition: a keyboard with some knobs and none of these bells and whistles.

I seriously doubt a single solution will please everyone, but I’m glad to see keyboards that at least feel better and try harder on integration. MIDI keyboards have been ubiquitous, but too often low-quality, uninventive, and with unfinished and frustrating paired software.

When you look this much like something as beloved as a grand piano, you had better try harder.

So, I very much look forward to the Summer Games of MIDI Keyboards.

The post This Video Demonstrates How Akai’s New Keyboard Controls Everything appeared first on Create Digital Music.


You Want to Stare into Schneider’s Giant Rotating Eurorack Modular [Video]

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Round and round and round it goes…

It’s the motorized rotating pillar of Eurorack modular synthesizers from Berlin’s Schneidersladen, which served this evening as backdrop to an excellent workshop from the boys of Bastl Instruments of the Czech Republic.

And, well, we’re not sure what happens to your brain if you keep watching this. Here, seen at twelve times normal rotation speed, thanks to Hyperlapse and my iPhone. This being Berlin, you can get this and falafel within a fairly short walk.

Follow the Schneiders blog here:

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Watch a Mechanical Drum Machine That Uses Wheels and Magnets [Video]

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Drum Machine — XOXX Composer from Axel Bluhme on Vimeo.

Can you design a drum machine that does more than simply hide its workings inside an invisible box?

XOXX Composer does just that. A project by Axel Bluhme, it turns the inner functions of sampling, looping, and sequencing, into tangible, kinetic, sculptural form. Wheels turn. Magnets trigger sounds. And in what looks like the love child of a 606 and a player piano, you get a mechanical take on patterned sound.

Full description:

A drum machine that is fun and easy to use
This project started with a curiosity to understand when, why and how people take their first steps into producing music. The goal is to inspire and allow this exploration even though there might be lack of confidence or knowledge.
A tangible sound arranger that uses magnets to activate sound samples and that is very easy to engage with. Capture sounds from your surroundings or sample records, simply let curiosity and creativity lead the way to quickly create unique beats.
The physical interface is made up from eight rotating discs allowing the user to layer up to eight different sounds.
Each set of eight discs are colour coded and each individual disc in the set has its own pattern so as to allow the user to create their own mental system and means of organising their sounds.
Every disc is quantised into four bars, which is indicated by the coloured lines on their faces, and each bar is divided into four steps. That means every disc has sixteen steps which allows the user to explore a variety of different music styles and degrees of complexity.

The project will be shown at Ugly Duck in Bermondsey (London), as part of a collaboration between Sonos and the Royal College of Art.

Axel has other industrial design ideas, like how to make food truck kitchens work. (Your hipster future, basically, is right here.)

Great stuff! Thanks, Johannes Lohbihler, for sending this our way.

The post Watch a Mechanical Drum Machine That Uses Wheels and Magnets [Video] appeared first on Create Digital Music.


Hands On MeeBlip anode, with Robert Lippok (raster noton) [Video]

Friday, March 13th, 2015


When we designed MeeBlip anode, we tried to do more with less: make every knob and switch meaningful and musical.

Composer/musician and artist Robert Lippok invited us into his studio as he tried out those controls. Robert is really thoughtful about his approach to sound and control in my experience working with him, and so it was nice to get his feedback on our instrument. (If you don’t know Robert’s music, he is a Berlin native, a long-time member of the label raster noton, and a former member of the band To Rococo Rot.)

One by one, he demonstrates how these sound controls work. (This is just the default Pulse Width mode; there are more colors to access in the hidden wavetable mode.)

Through Saturday only, you can get a MeeBlip anode for yourself for $ 99.95 as we celebrate this video and the launch of our new store:

You can also find anode in our dealer network — including several fine shops in Robert’s native city, Berlin:
MeeBlip Dealers

For more on Robert:
Robert Lippok [raster-noton Artists]

The post Hands On MeeBlip anode, with Robert Lippok (raster noton) [Video] appeared first on Create Digital Music.


Here’s How To Connect the iPad’s Easiest Pattern Maker to Your Mac [Video Tutorial]

Saturday, March 7th, 2015


Remember the days of clicking laboriously to add notes to a piano roll editor? Well, that’s a bit silly nowadays if there’s a touchscreen sitting next to your desk. You probably want to make use of it — and maybe without stumbling around helper apps and wifi configuration.

We’ve already seen how Auxy, the iPad pattern editor, reduced a widely-known music process to its simplest elements. The recent addition of MIDI opens it up to external hardware.

But it also makes a nice example of what the new utility midimux can do: connecting this app to the wealth of sounds and production tools on your computer can make for a useful pair.

The first ingredient is midimux, which alongside the forthcoming audio companion audiomux, can link up apps and hardware on your iPad or iPhone to apps and hardware on your Mac, all the sync cable you already own:

Now, Across iOS and Mac, Everything is Musically Connected [Video]

Fab from ANR (audio news room) has already illustrated a specific example. He takes Auxy, the pattern editor, and then augments its sonic capabilities by adding in Apple’s own Logic Pro. And he’s made some nice video tutorials that make it all clearer. First, on the iPad:

Next, on the Mac side of things:

More sound samples:

One big caveat. I don’t mind paying for MIDI in Auxy — I bought that the day it came out. But there’s no sync support yet; I hope the In App Purchases support development of that. (You do want to implement it right, and it isn’t easy on iOS — trust me, have this conversation with developers all the time.)

Then again, this is just one example. Apple already makes controller tools for Logic in its own iOS Logic Remote app, but when you think of cool instruments like Sculpture, I can imagine a lot of other interesting sources to use. And we’re looking forward to the ModStep sequencer — which does, by the way, support sync. (You’ll see what I did there: subtle hints to the developers of ModStep. We’re really looking forward. Just … hugely excited. On our seat with anticipation. La, la, just can’t wait. Finish and submit that thing, darnit.)

Thanks to ANR for this one — good enough that it was, ahem, worth ripping off directly!

How-To: Auxy Meets Logic Via midimux – Video Tutorial

And more great reading there; just added this one to my feed in Reeder!


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