Are you interested in making ambient, drifting, densely-layered electronic music? But don't know where to even start? This is the most thoughtful and gentle introduction I'm aware of, from a fine musician. It's a 45-minute video workshop from Rich Vreeland aka Disasterpeace, composer of the gorgeous, acclaimed Fez soundtrack. Rich composes a Fez-like track on the fly, explaining what he's doing in the process. While he uses Logic and the softsynth Massive in this workshop, his general approach and attention to sound design and synthesis will be applicable to whatever software or hardware you choose to use. (Hat tip to sparkletone for the link. Fez previously on Metafilter.)
The Wall Street Journal celebrates the 20th anniversary of John Carpenter's In The Mouth of Madness. Meanwhile, at VICE, John Carpenter wouldn't explain his new album, so they got a bunch of artists to each provide their own interpretation.
Word has arrived that Edgar Froese, founding member of the massively influential electronic group Tangerine Dream, has passed away. Froese was a pioneering figure in the German Krautrock and Kosmische styles, and contributed an unfathomable amount to the world of ambient/psychedelic electronic music. [more inside]
808 State is an English electronic group that formed in 1987, and take their name from the Roland TR-808 drum machine and their shared state of mind. As a trio, they produced their iconic track, Pacific, which fused influences of house music, jazz fusion and exotica. The group changed membership a bit over the years, but one way or another 808 State have released six albums* to date, and a number of singles, EPs, and promotional discs. 808state.com has a ton of information, including an extensive visual discography, a list of other productions and remixes, and over a gig of demos, live tracks, and other non-album audio to download. Given the group's 27 year-long history, there's a lot more to see and hear. [more inside]
The BeyondSynth Podcast is a podcast with artists and producers who make synthwave/new-retro/electronic music. From his home base in Canada, Adam talks to the top artists in the scene. Links to guests' music pages for each episode inside. [more inside]
If cruising through neon wireframe landscapes is your kind of thing, and previous mefi posts haven’t satisfied your burning desire for synth wave/retro electro/neo 80s, then perhaps you would be interested in a few of the following albums... [more inside]
While we've discussed it before, the link was removed but YouTube's new content guidelines have allowed it to be re-uploaded. In 2001, photographer and filmmaker David LaChapelle directed a video to be shown before Heatherette's first runway show and MAC cosmetics in-store video. Starring Amanda Lepore, the 6 minute video is a bizarre gunshot of pink lipstick, gay cowboys, 80s pop music, and constant full frontal nudity. YouTube (sign-in required) Vimeo. (NSFW)
Every now and then it's just good for the soul to hear a nice, filtery, fat and squelchy analog modular synthesizer, don'tcha think? Let's drop in on David Baron, then, who's been kind enough to offer us a taste of several of the finest modular machines ever made, in his Tour Of The Universe - Analog Modular Synthesizer Journey. [more inside]
Panos Cosmatos 2010 feature film Beyond The Black Rainbow (previously) was largely panned as being a self-indulgent, incoherent mess. But just about every reviewer who couldn't stand the homage to 70's/80's mindfuck cinema agreed with one thing: Jeremy Schmidts original score for the film, itself distilling all the best essences of 70's/80's era synth experimentation was a triumph.
Your hair is falling out and your teeth have gone, your legs are still together but it won't be long
Fad Gadget was the brainchild of Leeds-born electronic music pioneer Frank Tovey He died on April 3, 2002, just as his career was entering a new phase with his first arena tour in support of Depeche Mode's Exciter tour. He left a legacy of 10 albums, most of which are now out of print, and his name is largely forgotten, although his legacy (ever so slightly NSFW) lives on. [more inside]
Celebrating the memory of beloved synth pioneer Bob Moog and commemorating his birthday, Google's home page (currently in Australia, live in the US tomorrow) is a fully working, multi-trackable Moog synthesizer. Share your masterpiece!
Delia Derbyshire, most famous for the original Doctor Who theme tune, would have been 75 years old last Saturday. In celebration of her pioneering work on electronic music, and her role at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, British remix artist Soundhog created an hour-long mix of Derbyshire's words and music, combined with more work from the Radiophonic Workshop and other electronic music pioneers of the time. (mp3 download) [more inside]
musicForProgramming(); a series of mixes intended for listening to while programming to aid concentration and increase productivity (also compatible with other activities). [more inside]
When not terrorizing Mr Bond, from the late 1970s until 1994, Mike Mangino and Chris Shepard were in a basement full of musical toys, novelty space microphones, a TR-606, and a SH-09 in Piscataway, NJ recording cassettes as the band Smersh. In 1981 Smersh released their first cassette under their own label of Atlas King. They never rehearsed, they couldn't read music, and they never played live, and they contributed to far too many compilations throughout the known world. In the early eighties they established a unique sound that is known and loved, combining cheap electronics and wild guitar sounds with distorted vocals. By trading cassettes they garnered international acclaim leading to releases on dozens of other labels. [more inside]
In 1978 a tiny English company called Electronic Dream Plant produced their first product, the EDP Wasp synthesizer, the first of a short-lived range of creepy-crawly-named devices. In the golden age of big wooden and metal synths the wasp was made of plastic, battery-powered, with a built-in speaker, a keyboard with no moving parts, and used a brilliantly minimalist CMOS circuit design (in fact, people are still copying the Wasp filter circuit). It was the first analog synth to be truly affordable. The Wasp's accessibility, unique sound and portability saw it quickly used by musicians ranging from buskers to rock stars. [more inside]
Singer, knob twiddler and bass player MNDR has had a great year, especially considering that she hasn’t even finished her first full-length solo recording yet. MNDR is best known in the pop world so far for her collaboration with Mark Ronson and Q-tip on Bang Bang Bang, a song that plays with the french children’s song alouette with a double entendre squeezed out of the consonants in “plucking feathers.” [more inside]
Adachi Tomomi, Alex Baker, Ian Baxter, Ithai Benjamin, Lesley Flanigan, Lorin Edwin Parker, Peter Blasser, Phil Archer, Todd Bailey, Tommy Stephenson & Patrick McCarthy, Tuomao Tammenpaa, and Vasco Alvo are all featured in Nicolas Collins' extraordinarily good book Handmade Electronic Music.
Earlier this year, the BBC's Arena produced and aired an excellent documentary on Brian Eno entitled "Another Green World" containing "a series of conversations on science, art, systems analysis, producing and cybernetics". [more inside]
Kasio Kristmas (2 3 4 5) Traditional Christmas Songs played on a casio keyboard by a man in a conehead mask.
folktek do beautiful things with sound and sculpture that are so unique as to defy description
Now is the time on MetaFilter when we dance: with GROSSE FREIHEIT, Mera naam Chin Chin Chu (Hindi: मेरा नाम चिन चिन चू, Urdu: میرا نام چِن چِن چو) , and Occult Chemistry - Fire.
Gijs Gieskes is an astonishing inventor/hacker/bender/maker of electro/mechanical/audio/artistic devices.
What The Future Sounded Like (1 2 3) is an excellent documentary about the birth of electronic music. [more inside]
The Chipophone is a homemade 8-bit synthesizer. [SLYT] So this guy has taken an old organ and re-engineered it into an 8 bit synth to play live chip tune music. [more inside]
Herbie Hancock delivers a TED Talk. Not much talking, plenty of jamming. Marcus Miller and Harvey Mason accompany Hancock. Check out the monster Watermelon Man that starts around fourteen minutes in.
Synth Britannia "Documentary following a generation of post-punk musicians who took the synthesiser from the experimental fringes to the centre of the pop stage. In the late 1970s, small pockets of electronic artists including the Human League, Daniel Miller and Cabaret Voltaire were inspired by Kraftwerk and JG Ballard and dreamt of the sound of the future against the backdrop of bleak, high-rise Britain."
Zomeeggz's channel of post-proto trance-punk minimalist-futurist synth-wave: Snowy Red - Come On Dance::Holger Hiller::Die Kapazität - Kurzfilm::Mekanik Kommando - Stop And Play::Carol - So Low
It's time to learn about . . . the Stylophone! (YouTube link) This very portable instrument has been used in some famous songs, and has inspired many to do Stylophone versions of their own faves like Pacman, Star Wars Death March, and The Model. The Stylophone master of all time is quirky Brett Domino, who not only made the short film in the main link but does this lovely 80's Hits Medley. (All links go directly or indirectly to YouTube.) [via ZoomForum] [more inside]
The Tone Generation is a radio series by Ian Helliwell 'looking at different themes or composers in the era of analogue tape and early synthesizer technology'. The original globe-trotting series: Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, USA, Canada, Rest of World. Bonus programmes: Expo 58, The RCA Synthesizer. All links are to MP3 files, except the first one. Alternatively, you can slurp down the lot in one go by subscribing to the podcast feed.
It seems almost incredible that Ursula Bogner's musical talents should have remained undiscovered until now.
Matmos provides a song-by-song exposition of their synth-only* album Supreme Balloon, including explicit pics of the gear they used. Highlights include the Electronic Valve Instrument, the Coupigny, & everything else.
*Mostly - all sound sources were synths, some software controllers were used.
*Mostly - all sound sources were synths, some software controllers were used.
Imagine a massively multiplayer music studio, connected worldwide over the Internet. Log in, and everyone sees a set of synths, effects, sequencers, or other custom patches. Everyone’s looking at essentially the same screen, and can add beats, trip out effects, slide the bpm up and down, and reprogram synths — all at once. That’s the basic idea of netpd.
Doktor Future's modular synthesizer has been set up to send a real audio stream, 24/7. The analog modular synthesizer will be running a quadraphonic aleatoric patch that will change from day to day. (via Matrixsynth)
Have you ever seen a synth and said "Man, what this needs is cartoon eyes?" A bit similar to the Buchla Box or theremin in that they don't have a keyboard to control the sounds -- it's probably closest to the Booper, invented by The Weatherman from Negativland (or, well, Circuit Bending), the Thingamagoop is a photosynthesizer... which means it basically uses light sensors to generate sounds. The signal's run through a couple oscillators and, well, it comes out as somethin' that's pretty dang awesome. I'm on the fence on pickin' this one up. On one hand, it's a really neat toy that makes noise... on the other hand, um.... um.... I dunno. It's not made of candy?
David Webber makes awesome sound art things from christmas trees, pot plants, household stuff, food blenders and hard drives. His good friend Ray Wilson builds awesome modular synths. Ray will also show you how to make your own Weird Sound Generator.
DIY Instruments: Guitar, Bass, A Drum, Yokobue, Pipes, analog synth sound effects. And for those of you who don't want to build anything - you can play the spoons.