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Tag: "Electronic Music"

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Ghost in the Machine

Fred LaLande

Like many artists, Fred LaLande’s musical education began at home. And though he’s played several instruments since the age of 12, these days the Montreal-based artist spends more time on the keyboard creating experimental electronic music and less time in bands. LaLande’s solo career centers on the manipulation and layering of samples from the public domain. The result is an alien species of sound—dark, futuristic, a little frightening, and completely entrancing. Take, for instance, “Clomplexity,” where metallic textures spin and ricochet through the slow genesis of something unknown and terrifying. Things continue to fall apart in “Andromeda.” Synthesizers wail as they melt, air raid sirens sound in the distance, and a salvo of electric guitars is fired off. But even after such a battle, traces of humanity remain. On “Here Again” LaLande builds a softer, more utopian soundscape with whistles, yawning textures, and the dull chime of bells. Living through the second coming is pretty exciting, but you’ll be glad for a little post-war relief.

Ultra 2012

Over the weekend, 160,000 ravers gathered in South Beach Miami for the 2012 Ultra Music Festival. Taking the crowd by surprise, the event attracted several iconic celebrities, all of which shared their appreciation for EDM.

For starters, Madona’s introduction of headlining DJ/EDM producer Avicii was quite memorable.”Electronic dance music has been a part of my life since the beginning of my career,” she told the crowd. “I can honestly say a DJ saved my life.” (A reference to Junior Vasquez.) Lastly, she proposed a question for the audience: “I have a few questions for you,” she shouted. “How many people in this crowd have seen Molly? Are you ready to dance? Are you ready for the next DJ, motherfuckers?”

19 year-old Porter Robinson and 17 year-old Madeon performed memorable sets as well. The YouTube sensation and glitch-electro DJ tore up the UMF Korea Stage. Despite their age, these youngsters have acquired an incredible fan base over the last year. Robinson alone has opened for Skrillex and Tiësto, topping the iTunes dance chart, and sold out his own headlining tour.

Afrojack brought some celebrity buddies as well. During his awesome performance, rumored girlfriend Paris Hilton and rap buddy Lil’ John waved to the crowd and showed their support.

Fatboy Slim broke some local rules by mixing LMFAO‘s “I’m in Miami, Bitch” into his set. However, I’m sure most of the natives didn’t mind because the performance with inarguably amazing – as you can see in the video below.

 

 

Kraftwerk Announce Residency At MoMA

Krautrock fans rejoice! Kraftwerk, the four-piece band known widely as the pioneering force in electronic music, is set to perform an eight day exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, each night dedicated to an album from their discography. “Kraftwerk – Retrospective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8” will explore the sonic and visual elements of the Düsseldorf group.

According to the press release “each evening consists of a live performance and 3-D visualization of one of Kraftwerk’s studio albums—Autobahn(1974), Radio-Activity (1975), Trans-Europe Express (1977), The Man-Machine (1978), Computer World (1981), Techno Pop (1986),The Mix (1991), and Tour de France (2003).”

The exhibit will not pull entirely from these albums though, as Kraftwerk plan to follow each performance with additional compositions.

Check out some classic videos of Kraftwerk after the break; a band that was well ahead of their time, both creatively and technically.

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Simon Cowell To Create DJ Talent Show

What happens when the main stream music industry realizes that electronic music is no longer the fodder of Eminem one-liners? Or reserved for the underground clubs? The Rhiannas and Ke$has of the world start making (shitty) pop music based around traditional dance tracks, and Simon Cowell thinks making a DJ talent show will be a good idea.

Last week it was announced that Simon Cowell’s newest assault on the music industry would come in the form of a DJ talent show, hoping “to find the worlds greatest DJs”. Cowell also stated that “DJs are the new rock stars, it feels like the right time to make this show.”

While the majority of the DJ community, and EDM community at large is up in arms about their beloved culture being destroyed in the hands of the talent show mogul. I’m not as angry. Confusion would be a more appropriate word to describe my reaction to the news.

The DJ community has gone through quite the change over the past ten years. A pair of Technics turntables with a stock mixer was the universal set up, and DJs would bring their crate (remember vinyl?) full of handpicked tunes they thought were perfect for that given night. Those were the tools, everyone had them, and how you used them was what separated you from the pack. Everyone from hip hop turntablists to trance gods could play on a pair of Technics. With the advent of technology, DJ equipment evolved at a rapid pace; no longer were jockeys required to lug around heavy records from gig to gig, but they could start using CD players, and later software combined with a dummy vinyl record to manipulate their digital audio files much the same way as they used to do with traditional vinyl. Since the early days of digital, the field has changed even more. Now some jockeys are spinning on nothing more than a circuit board with a few buttons, knobs, faders and free spinning platters (an attempt to keep the “disc” in Disc Jockey). Which begs the question, what exactly is a DJ?

It’s a question that I can’t begin to answer, but something that the EDM community will have to figure out in this meteoric rise to the forefront of the music industry. Is Cowell up to the task? We certainly hope so.

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Electropolis: Improvisational Songwriting


Okay, so you’re at your digital audio workstation (DAW) ready to make a killer tune. You’ve been playing around with your setup and put together an awesome loop or two, but now you’re wondering (or maybe even confused about) the direction the song is heading in. Let’s face it, we’ve all been there before, and have even said, “F*** it”, thus leaving a perfectly awesome loop useless for public display. Unfortunately, these dry spells can be difficult to overcome without prior conceptualization. However, there are a couple of simple techniques from that boring thing we call “music theory” that are pretty helpful for improvisational song-writing—in fact, these ideas can be applied to any genre, style or whatever ‘word’ music’s typically categorized under.

Musical dynamics and phrasing are two essential aspects of composing that all musicians take into consideration either consciously or not. Dynamics simply refers to the volume of sound, as well as its the stylistic execution over an entire composition. A “phrase” consists merely of a single loop and the term “phrasing” refers to the organization of two or more loops. For the most part, both of these “theories” require a macro perspective verses a micro. To simply put it, whenever you create a loop, you’re engaging in a detailed micro process of song-writing. When you organize a series of loops, you’re viewing the production from a macro standpoint. The problem we’re referring to regards the initial creation of a direction to “phrase” your loops. Therefore, if you’re experiencing this common dilemma, try experimenting with “dynamics” to inspire new ideas for musical direction. Hey, it may be your bus ticket to somewhere other than the sixteenth repeat of a single loop.

For example, lets say you made a loop and want to accomplish one the following: a) create another verse, b) transition a loop into a rhythm change, c) go for a key change, d) create a break down or build up, e) increase the emotional impact of the chorus. The easiest way to trigger inspiration for all this stuff is by channeling your instruments/devices through a mixer to experiment with muting and soloing particular tracks. Another way is by making a minute’s worth of copies and mapping your MIDI controller to your synth or device’s Filter, LFO, Mod Envelope, Filter Envelope or any other parameters your wish to test out.

From here, it’s pretty straight forward. Simply play the track and see what comes out. Essentially, alternating these parameters effects the dynamics of the song, as well as the tonation of the instrument. You can really get complex with this stuff and create some radical changes, however it’s not aways necessary. Remember, music is meant to be listened to so use your own judgement about the appropriate time to get wild. Plus, the unexpected is what creates that sought after emotional punch in the face. The point of these experiments are to inspire your compositional direction and if you come across another way of essentially playing the same thing, simply record the loop with the desired alternation.

Once you’ve created a couple different versions of the loop/s using dynamic and parameter alterations, try to become aware of too much repetition. As stated earlier, experiment with muting tracks and devices via mixer to break any repetition. However, don’t be afraid to completely change up various musical aspects such as the bass line, melody, chord progression or rhythm. Just make sure a radical change is reasonably spaced apart and is used as a new section within the song’s form. (e.g. a bridge or breakdown.) Phrasing these newly created loops shouldn’t be super difficult after you’ve played around and automated dynamic alterations and articulations via synth parameters.

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Electropolis: How to Create a Customizable Arpeggiator

Here at OurStage, we recognize the time and patience it takes to humanize an otherwise “blocky” MIDI protocol. If done right, DJs, producers and digital masterminds can synthesize incredible soundscapes of textures and colors otherwise impossible. Due to their techy nature, it’s been a rough ride for “society” to determine whether these electronic artists are actually “musicians” or “musical engineers”. Whatever you choose to call them, they’re making music that people of all tastes seem to dig. Therefore, Electropolis is dedicated to inspiring your musical evolution by providing original editorials about the latest buzz within the e-music world. See ya in the studio!

Arpeggiators…if you’ve never seen or heard of one, it’s simply a device that plays a sequence of ascending or descending notes, at a particular speed, within their chordal structure. However, many artists throughout the electronic music culture debate their use kinda like a game of tug-o-war. On one side of the rope, many argue that using randomizers and arpeggiators replaces the compositional challenge of making music. In contrast, the other end argues that these devices simply provide textures as the DJ works on other aspects of musical dynamic. Regardless of what side you’re on, arpeggiators and randomizers are commonly used in popular trance and techno music. For example, Darude’s “Sandstorm” is probably the pinnacle of the techno genre.

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CAMP BISCO 8: MUD, MAYHEM, MUSIC, & MAGIC

(L to R) Allen Aucoin, Alissa, Brownie, Kyle

Meeting The Disco Biscuits was amazing and Camp was one of the most fun times of my life!

-Alissa Miller

Last weekend I loaded up my ’97 Outback, now affectionately known as the “Biscomobile,” and boogied across I-90 to attend Camp BiscoThe Disco Biscuits‘ annual music festival in Mariaville, NY. I was on a mission: to make sure the band met their biggest fan. Mission accomplished, despite the ankle deep mud that destroyed my Pumas and the monsoon that totaled our camp site.

I had the chance to sit down and chat with The Disco Bisuits’ biggest fan Alissa Miller, and her boyfriend Kyle while waiting backstage for the meet and greet. If it wasn’t for entering the contest Alissa wouldn’t have been able to attend camp with her friends at all, let alone rub elbows with her favorite band. Once Alissa and Kyle saw the band it was nonstop, ear-to-ear smiles for both them and the band—bassist Marc “Brownie” Brownstein  appeared especially elated to meet the fan they chose as their biggest. Everyone was joking about the craziness of Camp and there were more than a few laughs describing the antics of fellow festival goers.

Helping The Disco Biscuits and their biggest fan meet one another was just one of the many highlights of this year’s Camp. The three days of non-stop musical fun left a lot of people wondering how next year’s line up could possibly top this year’s.

Marc Brownstein of The Disco Biscuits

Marc Brownstein of The Disco Biscuits

When I arrived on Thursday night, two nights prior to the meet and greet, The Disco Biscuits were ripping it up on the main stage. Biscuits fans in the crowd explained to me that the band started Camp Bisco in order to play longer sets in a festival atmosphere, and that with each passing year the festival gets bigger and better.  In fact, this was only the first of six Disco Biscuits sets over the course of the festival since the band was scheduled to headline every night—including multiple sets on Friday and Saturday. Talk about endurance!

After the Biscuits wrapped up their first performance, the crowd migrated over to the top of the hill for the Twisted All-Stars tent featuring the psychedelic synthesized sounds of Prometheus, Ott and Shpongle. Ott’s smooth dub tunes may have helped all the wearied road warriors in the crowd “chillax” after a long day of driving. However, they did little to quell the excitement that comes with seeing a rare US performance by Shpongle, especially one including the very groovy “Star Shpongled Banner.”

Toby Leaman (L) and Juston Stens (R) of Dr. Dog

Toby Leaman (L) and Juston Stens (R) of Dr. Dog

On Friday, the main stage kicked off at noon with one of my favorite Philly bands, Dr. Dog. With Beach Boy-like harmonies and energy to spare, it was the perfect wake-up call for festival goers camped out near the main stage. Set highlights included, “Worst Trip,” “The Rabbit, The Bat And The Reindeer” and “The Old Days”. After Dr. Dog, K’Naan serenaded the crowd with his unique brand of Somalian inspired hip hop. I knew that Camp Bisco was indeed a very special place for everyone to come together for a good time as I listened to the whole crowd singing his hit “Soobax.”

K'Naan

K'Naan

On Saturday after the meet and greet, I made my way through the mud to catch the rest of Sound Tribe Sector 9‘s (STS9) brilliant set on the main stage. Next was a double set by The Disco Biscuits with James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem sandwiched in between to give The Biscuits time to prepare for the most epic live show ever witnessed. I can only describe it as an eternity of mind-blowing jams plus inflatable walruses. The band was so into the groove that by the time their set was over, I wasn’t sure if anyone had enough energy for the festival-ending DFA Disco Tent.

All in all, I had an incredible time and I’m glad that Alissa did too. I’d like to thank The Disco Biscuits and the folks over at Meatcamp Productions for putting on one heck of a fest. I can’t wait to go again next year!

BREAKIN’: AN OURSTAGE BREAKDANCING PLAYLIST

Summer Heights High's Jonah Takalua busting a move

Summer Heights High's Jonah Takalua busting a move

Amongst music scholars, breakdancing is considered to be one of the four foundational elements of the hip hop culture in addition to DJing, MCing and graffiti art. With its humble beginnings in the Bronx  during the late 70′s at a time when gang violence ran rampantbreakdancing became an alternative medium for rival gangs to compete with one another. Hip hop pioneers such as DJ Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash selected records featuring catchy drum break sections and mixed them together in a continuous “loop” while their MC’s egged on the “B-Boys” and “B-girls” to bust their best moves. No doubt hip hop’s early DJs inspired several generations of electronic musicians and record producers, such as Fatboy Slim and Rick Rubin. Today, the torch is carried by some great artists on OurStage like Metermaids a hip hop duo who put their own spin on Sufjan Steven’s “Chicago.”

 

Feel like you’re ready to krush groove? We suggest you put on your best kicks and start the circle because it’s time for an OurStage breakdancing set!

HELP THE DISCO BISCUITS FIND THEIR BIGGEST FAN: WIN TICKETS TO CAMP BISCO 8 & MEET THE BAND!

The Disco Biscuits

The Disco Biscuits

Break out the sunscreen, glow sticks and canteen because you’re about to go on a magical electronic journey to upstate New York for Camp Bisco 8! Yes, it’s that time of year when electrorock pioneers, The Disco Biscuits, headline each night of their annual three day flagship festival. This summer, Camp Bisco is set to take place July 16th-18th, and will feature a diverse lineup including Damien Marley, Nas, STS9, Chromeo, Kid Cudi, Asher Roth, Flying Lotus, Pretty Lights, and fellow Philadelphians Dr. Dog. DJ’s from DFA records, such as members of LCD Soundsystem, will have your feet stomping the grounds of the Indian Lookout Country Club in Mariaville, NY long after the sun goes down.

The Disco Biscuits—with some help from OurStage—want to reward their biggest fan with a pair of tickets to Camp Bisco 8 along with an exclusive meet and greet with the band at the festival! No matter what crazy act of fandom you’ve committed in the name of The Disco Biscuits — attending each and every rock opera performance in person, blinding yourself while recreating their famous light show in your living room, walking half way across the country barefoot to attend Bisco Inferno—you now have the chance to let the band know you’re number one. If you think you’ve got what it takes to to win the title, follow these two, easy steps:

1. Register and fill out an OurStage fan profile, if you don’t already have one, by clicking here

2. Once you are registered, leave a comment for The Disco Biscuits on their OurStage page explaining why you’re their biggest fan. When your post is up, you’ll be automatically entered into the contest.

Please note multiple comments do not increase your chances of winning. So play nice and only post one time. The deadline to enter is July 3rd, 11:59 PM EST —all posts made after the deadline are ineligible. The winners will be selected by The Disco Biscuits and announced on July 6th. The winner will be responsible for their own transportation to and from the event.

Stay tuned to the OurStage Blog around festival time for exclusive Camp Bisco coverage!

DOWNLOAD OF THE WEEK: CLAYMORE

OurStage band, Claymore, may have been digging around Trent Reznor’s musical closet before they dropped the track “Papercuts”. With dark emotional vocals, distorted synths, crunchy guitar, and machinelike drums that never stop, “Papercuts” brings you back to the days when you couldn’t stop playing Pretty Hate Machine on repeat at high volume because your parents grounded you for wasting your lunch money on trip pants from Hot Topic.

Last month the band released their debut album, Metronome; however since the band hails from Bosnia many of you might have trouble getting to their merch table to pick up a copy. If that’s the case be sure to check out the rest of their tracks on OurStage and hound them to release their album in the States.

 


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