Creative Coding with Adam Rokshar

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Many of us are either left-brained or right-brained. We expect the lefties to write software for the righties to create art with. It’s rare to find someone comfortable on both sides of this intersection, but Adam Rokshar pulls it off with style. He develops beautiful video software with Max for Live, teaches Max to other musicians, and performs a unique blend of future funk under the name RUWA – using the software tools he himself created!

Adam recently taught a workshop at the Electronic Music Producers Meetup in NYC, where he walked the audience through two of his newest creations. He recently released the M4L device RokVid, which makes it easy for anyone to create a pretty impressive realtime video performance – right inside Ableton Live! The device can load a series of video files that can be intercut and transformed all in time with a Live set, with little preparation. There are eight different video effects in RokVid; these can be blended together to create everything from subtle filtering to an electro-acid video freakout. All the transformations can be connected to elements of your musical performance. So, kick drums might crossfade between video clips, or maybe you’d like your video to get darker as the music gets louder. The possibilities are extensive!

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Next Adam showed off a device called GlitchPix. It works a little like RokVid, however it’s based on transforming still images. All you need to do is drop some images into the device, and it will generate live video in time with your performance. The device only has three sliders, but it’s surprising what you can get out of it with minimal effort.

While RokVid and GlitchPix are impressive bits of programming, what is REALLY incredible is that in addition to creating them, Adam has somehow found time to make amazing music and videos using his tools. His production on RUWA’s newest record “Science Fiction” is tight, soulful, electronic R&B that reminds me of early Prince tunes. There are also a number of videos for his songs, many of which have been made using his video devices.

I’m looking forward to another workshop with Adam and hopefully there will be a RUWA live show in NYC soon. Check out “Science Fiction” on RUWA’s bandcamp page! You can get RokVid from Ableton.com and Glitchpix from Winksound.com. If you’d like to learn more about creating cool things with Max and Max for Live you can get in touch with Adam through his website http://makeyourselftransparent.tumblr.com

New Sounds from Deadboy

I’m thrilled to see that UK-based producer Deadboy has posted a new track on his Soundcloud page. His early singles on Well Rounded records and recent EPs on the Scottish powerhouse label Numbers get a lot of plays at my house.

The new track “Quan Yin” has a melodic, dreamy, sound that is reminiscent of early 2000s era Warp Records releases, with a rhythm that is pure 2-step. The release notes for this song call it a B-side which means I can’t wait to hear the A-side.

If you haven’t already heard Deadboy, I recommend checking out “U Cheated” on Well Rounded, “If U Want Me” on Numbers, and “Here” also from Numbers.

Certain Creatures live at Mercury Lounge – Gig Review

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A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to catch Certain Creatures, the current project from Brooklyn-based Oliver Chapoy (ex-Warm Ghost), live at the Mercury Lounge in NYC. He performed a set of simmering, dark electronic music from a stark black stage using little more than a table of some eurorack modular gear, a synth, and stompboxes. The performance was definitely one of the best I’ve seen so far this year.

The last time I saw Certain Creatures was about a year and a half ago when he played at Glasslands alongside Brooklyn stalwarts Tippy Toes and Weeknight. That night his set had been ethereal, a warm fog of electronics floating over the club.

This time around, his sound has progressed into a darker study in hazy Brooklyn techno, right at home alongside the black on black rock acts also on the bill. Each song flows into the next, melodies emerging from between the layers of modular noise. Hooks bubble up just long enough to get cheers from the crowd before being swallowed and churned out into the next track.

The stage visuals consist of simple grey waveforms and static being projected across the stage. For a moment, things look a bit like the cover art for Joy Division’s “Unknown Pleasures” album. That’s not a bad comparison really. I imagine if Ian Curtis had stuck around long enough to follow the rest of his band into the dance era, his music might have sounded a bit like Certain Creatures!

Styles Upon Styles Records has just released a new two song 12″ from Oliver as a part of their Bangers and Ash series. Be sure to check it out, it’s getting a lot of play here in the office, and I can’t wait for his next show.


**Nerd footnote: Martin Hannett, the mad genius who produced “Unknown Pleasures”, recorded tons of beautiful electronic atmospheres in the studio while working with Joy Division. These recordings have been released as an album called Joy Division: In the studio with Martin Hannett which is really more like a Hannett solo record. It would sound right at home at a Certain Creatures gig.

Elektron Night of Machines

Night Of Machines — An Elektron Launch Party

Set your alarms. Saturday Nov 23 we’ll throw a big party at Humboldthain Club in Berlin. Why? We have a new machine to show you. Welcome!

Live:

Very Special Guest (Kompakt)
TM-404 – aka Andreas Tilliander (Kontra-Musik)
Cascandy (Monaberry)
Andre Kronert (Stockholm LTD, Neurotron)

 

DJs:

Dataline
Marlon & Karxman

Time:
Saturday Nov 23.
Doors open at 23:00.
Venue: Humboldthain (S-bahn Humboldthain)
Hochstr. 46 133 57 Berlin Germany

The Foundations Of Synthesis, With Marc Doty

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“The Bob Moog Foundation – a non-profit organization devoted to the preservation of Bob Moog’s legacy – has shared a great series of videos looking at the foundations of synthesis. The video series, created in conjunction with MacProVideo, features BMF’s Marc Doty.”

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Elektron Jam Session #1

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Elektron has just started a brand new video series showing off what you can do with all four Elektron Machines at once. This is a seriously impressive display of what these boxes are capable of!

[quote style=”boxed”]We are proud to present the brand new Elektron Jam Session video series. The series will be focusing on how Elektron machines can be used in a live context. The first video showcases the combined power of the Analog Four, the Octatrack, the Machinedrum, and the Monomachine. Get inspired!  [/quote]

 

Advanced Ableton Sessions – AES Edition – Oct 17th

Hello boys and girls! After a nice, hot, summer full of dancing, it’s time to get back to work on new tunes. With the Audio Engineering Society (AES) show just around the corner there will be even more producers in town then usual. Why not get together and show off some tricks, hear some beats, and have some drinks.

The next installment of our Ableton Advanced Users Meetup is taking place on Thursday October 17th, the same day AES kicks off in NYC.

Ableton Advanced Users Meetup Thursday October 17th Presenters:

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DJ Kiva
Brooklyn based artist and founder of record label Adios Babylon, DJ Kiva will demonstrate Generative Beats with Max4Live. The addition of Max4Live to Ableton 9 adds many new tools for generating beats, chords, and melodies and he will show some of his favorite methods for generating abstract new musical ideas using it. Also an Ableton Certified trainer, Kiva currently teaches music production at Manhattan music school Dubspot.

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Brian Jackson
Brian recently completed writing a book for Cengage Learning, which includes a chapter dedicated to creative process. Using Ableton Live’s core feature set, he is going to demonstrate techniques that should interest every electronic musician – whether dealing with a creative block, looking for some additional inspiration, or simply for fun. Brian will give you some ideas on how to: 1) find interesting sounds that are hidden in unexpected files already on your computer, 2) quickly generate parts and variations, and 3) how to easily generate ideas with collaborative methods coveted by key 20th century avant-garde artists. These ideas, and much more, are in “The Music Producer’s Survival Guide: Chaos, Creativity, and Career in Independent and Electronic Music“ [due out November 13th, 2013].

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Emch
Emch from NYC’s Subatomic Sound System performs as a DJ, solo electronic artist, and also as the band leader for dub legend Lee Scratch Perry’s live band. This past year he has toured in India, Europe, and across the US including Coachella, Red Bull Music Academy, and Dub Champions Festival. He is also an instructor at Dubspot and will demonstrate using Ableton and Traktor simultaneously with a Novation Remote MIDI controller to take advantage of the strengths of each programs in various live performance contexts whether as a DJ or incorporating mics and live instruments.

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Ben Casey
Tekserve audio wizard and resident presenter Ben Casey will talk about some important tips and tricks to make sharing your tracks and collaborating with musicians [no matter where they are] a breeze. Keep track of all your mixes and samples and enjoy the global music scene.

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Thomas Piper
Artist, songwriter and Ableton ninja Thomas Piper will provide the soundtrack throughout the night featuring songs from his upcoming album.

 

Get in on the action and RSVP now and stay tuned for the forthcoming full details.
The Ableton Advanced Users Meetup
Presented by Shocklee & Tekserve
Powered by
Tekserve + NYC Electronic Music Producers Group + Devotion Learn + TechCamp + Shocklee.com
Thursday, October 17, 2013
7:00-9:30p
@ Tekserve
119 West 23rd Street
[between 6th & 7th Avenues] New York, NY 10011
MAP IT
RSVP: http://www.techcampnyc.eventbrite.com/ – All music creators are invited to join us.
We’ll be live streaming it here 7:00-9:30 EST / 4:00-6:30pm PST / 1:00-3:30 CEST – tune in & join the chat!

Drinks to follow nearby.

The Snazzy FX ARDcore

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The Snazzy FX Ardcore is a Eurorack Modular synth module based around the Arduino development environment. Which means it can quickly be reprogrammed to be pretty much any type of module you would want. Use it to process audio and CV or to control a computer or Processing Sketch.

Dan from Snazzy FX  is based right here in Brooklyn and stopped by to show off a ton of the ARDcore sketches available, including one I hadn’t seen before: controlling a Processing Sketch from your modular!

Use can use these links to jump straight to some featured Sketchs or check out the whole video below:
FM Oscillator
Drum Sampler
With the Chaos Brother
Controlling Processing Sketches
SH101 Style Sequencer
Sequencer Running at Audio Rate
Voltage Controlled Envelope
CV Quantizer

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We still have a few ARDcore‘s left in stock and there are some awesome updates on the way!

For more info and ARDcore Sketches check out:
http://snazzyfx.com
http://20objects.com

GRANDMA TAPES – A fantastic sample filled EP from Brooklyn’s Ink Jet

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When I visited Ink Jet’s Brooklyn-based studio early this year I got the chance to hear some early edits of an EP he’d been working with his Octatrack. It’s a fantastic and very personal approach to making a record which has really paid off. Check out the first he has made and pickup up a copy here: http://inkjetmusic.com/Grandma-Tapes

When my grandma Celia died in 2011, I inherited her cassette collection. She was an avid classical music listener all of her life – particularly Romantic composers – and had amassed many interesting tapes.

Music was an interest we shared. Whenever we talked, my grandma would tell me what she’d been listening to lately. When we were together, we’d go to hear live music.

Earlier this year, I set out to make a record based on samples from her collection. The Grandma Tapes EP is the result. At the start of the process, I came up with three rules to guide me:

  1. All sounds come from the tapes. Everything you hear is a sample. For the most part, these samples are quite short – individual notes and chords rather than longer phrases. The sounds have been processed – pitch-shifted, filtered, delayed, etc. – but they all started out as classical music. Even the drum sounds are samples, albeit extremely short ones that have been significantly warped.
  2. One tape per track. Each of the six tracks on Grandma Tapes has its own corresponding sample tape. Furthermore, each track is composed of samples from a single composer, and usually a single composition.
  3. No software. All of the sounds were recorded, processed, arranged, and mixed on a hardware sampler. This forced me to work less visually and rely more on my ears.