Saturday, March 26, 2016

Post-rehearsal thoughts

Amazing work today, all.

But something wasn't quite sitting right with me after our rehearsal: Although we've nailed a form for Cosmic Vibrations, there was a vibe floating in the air that aspects of the tune (or the way we're playing it) are "cheesy." Specifically, I think there was some discomfort with the confluence of rock, funk, and techno. The suggestion of listening to Cybotron's Enter as an aesthetic reference point is a good start. But I wanted to offer some other reference points that I think are important. Admittedly I don't think they'll necessarily directly inform specific parts for this tune, but I think it's important to recognize that funk, rock, and electronic music have touched each other in many different ways before. And we're treating "techno" itself as a reference point with the understanding that what we're doing (16 musicians! playing live!) is never going to be exactly "authentic" techno. Here's how I would triangulate this question with great music, off the top of my head. So, I suggest taking time to listen to:

Gap Band:


(Kudos to Prince, he has removed almost all traces of himself from the Internet. Be resourceful.)


Daft Punk:

I'd love hear your responses, too.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Hey everyone! This is what Paige and I have come up with so far for the poster. Please leave comments/suggestions so we can make it perfect. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Vocal Thoughts

I've been thinking of some different ways to enhance my vocals. I really hate that I have been having issues with the latency in Live. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Also I found this article on enhancing vocals in Live.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Picture of a laundry machine

I was just thinking about repetitive appliances . . .
I like this picture of a laundry machine because it looks like kind of a camera lens.
A repetitive industrial object as a lens into being.
I live above a cooking fan and sometimes I dream in rhythm with it as I come out of sleep.
are there any important appliance rhythms in any of your lives?

Takumi recommended this video of a brick in a laundry machine. Can we emulate this process in our music, with our new instruments? The visible destruction of rhythm?

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Stone Roses - Fools Gold

While I was home over break my dad showed me this song (one of his favorites). He remembers this being the music played at raves (what a hip guy amiright?!?!?!) before it all went electronic. This song was released in 1989.

It's similar to techno in that many elements gradually evolve over the duration of the song, and I love how mesmerizing and captivating the song is for the full 10 minutes. I also like how the song is mixed so that the vocals blend into the song and act more as an instrument than as a soloist.

Techno => now;

Motivated by the possibility of using ChucK as a techno instrument, I have been using the composition assignments in PAT 462 as a platform to create a suite of tools for techno composition in the ChucK programming language. This piece, In Inertia, is a draft I made in Ableton of a composition that I developed in ChucK. The piece is intentionally simplistic as expressing musical ideas in a programming language as low-leveled as ChucK can be burdensome without a great deal of abstraction. The piece itself is inspired by the idea of possessing physical inertia in an empty three-dimensional space void of outside force. In such a space, an initial impulse would cause you to float in one direction forever, taking your body on an infinite adventure beyond the known reaches of space.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Pink Noises Comeback!

I was cleaning out my old photos that have collected over the years, and I came across some pictures I took of Pink Noises when Professor Gurevich assigned us our final essay in PAT101. I think many of us used Pink Noises as a reliable source when gathering information regarding gender and electronic music. From the few screenshots I took of the book, I was surprised by how many of the interviewed artists were DJ's. According to the full book's bio online, women involved in the club/techno scene were also interviewed. I haven't had the chance to verify this myself yet, but I definitely plan to! I'm glad this book is coming up again and connecting to the other stuff we're getting in to lately because this book is PACKED with talented artists' interviews. Now I have a good excuse to check it out again!


Percussion Based Textures in Dance Music

I've been thinking about good songs for light controllers, ones that are less based on texture and more on the drum sounds themselves... Here are 2 songs I think are good examples:
I could not think of a better thing to be played with the light controllers than "Spastik"

Plastikman: Detroit Minimal Techno innovators "Spastik"... Check those snares

Jlin : Chicago Juke Newcomer's "Nandi"

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

In Honor of Gold Afrofunk Martian

First of all: today was great and I have so much fun discovering new musical ideas with all of you.
Second: Spring is coming and this track reminds me of spring.
Lastly: I really like how Peter was talking about how we should all listen to some funk this next week. I felt it appropriate to also share this track because I feel like it has some great representations of what we should aim for rhythmically in Gold Afrofunk Martian.

Ps. I can TOTALLY see us yelling something like, "make it funky" in the piece. It's so fun!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Ewan Dobson

This guy is pretty inspirational. Especially his hat.

In all seriousness, it might be a cool compositional idea to have some sort of lead instrument with a tempo synced delay like this.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Here's the progression with the correct chords... I muted the leads I had in mind to open up some room for your ideas! The arpeggio thing could be cool if someone can make it better than what I have lol. Thanks!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Obscure Orbit

While preparing a project for PAT 462 I spent some time in Ableton drafting a bit of techno to play in ChucK. Maybe we can use it as a new track; maybe just play it during piece intermissions or via ChucK. Either way, feel free to take a listen.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Miles Davis - Full Concert - 08/18/70 - Tanglewood (OFFICIAL)

Ian Gold (former member of ECM) and I were watching this video over the weekend and it got me thinking about our group. MasterDJProfess. GuruGurv mentioned yesterday his hope for the ensemble to get to the level where we maneuver transitions, phrase durations/shaping, and the general performance without someone directing. I feel this video captures that sense of collective understanding among a big group of musicians quite well.

I don't really expect people to watch this entire video (although YOU SHOULD, THIS JOINT IS INCREDIBLE), BUT I WOULD ASK.......LET ME TURN OFF CAPS LOCK...that peeps would  watch the first few minutes and these specific time points to get a sense of the deep connection evident in this group-- to the point where, with seven musicians, the overall sound isn't too cluttered, and they all transition together without anyone saying anything. This is demonstrated perfectly at 8:00 where Miles plays a descending line and the rest of the band brings the energy way down with him. Another incredible example is when at 11:45, the band is in this free section, then Chick Corea (on keys) out of nowhere plays the opening chords of the next song and everyone else immediately catches on, hitting the next note with him. That level of mental intimacy is scary.

Also, note the dialogue between Miles and the drummer, Jack DeJohnette, at 9:45. That's the kind of dialogue I'm thinking of when, in the piece I brought in, there are a couple people playing over each  section and each person is essentially soloing and feeding off each other's ideas.

Sorry for the long winded post. Thanks to those who made it this far. Just have a lot of thoughts on these notions. Especially given how many people are in the group, listening becomes all the more crucial to our sense of trajectory and the impact of our musical statements.

P.S. I just want to cool they look.


I put together a little LPC Speech-ifier in Max, based on Mark Cartwright's LPC Toolkit. Muzik Nonstop.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016


Maybe we could make a piece where one of these voices says a bunch of whack stuff.

Either way, play around with this because it's super fun and has a visual element too!!!

Stalaglights in progress

Electroluminescent wires pulse to the beat. Audio signal from the laptop microphone is filtered and thresholded to light up when a certain band of the frequency spectrum has high energy.

Next step: develop the interaction with photocell for a compelling, audience driven musical result.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Letting Ideas Sit

I came across A.Mochi while listening to some of Shin Nishimura's tracks. I really respect how he uses repetition in a natural sounding way. I do not personally believe his work is ridiculously incredible by any means, but he takes his time time when showcasing individual sections. He never rushes between ideas and lets them sit comfortably for as long as he thinks they should. As a class, this is a challenge we often face-- letting our ideas sit long enough for a listener to digest. His melodies are, overall, not as complex as ours, and the amount of instrumentation he uses is also lower than us, yet he still lets sections repeat for long amounts of time. Although this repetitive element is a natural key to the minimalist techno genre, confidence also comes into play. If we are not confident with our track, we will not have the courage to play our melody that's a minute and a half long. I think we have recently been doing a good job at this, but for future tracks we should continue to remind ourselves of our confidence and rock for as long as we think we should!

A track where the soundscape takes over and its sweet

I like how this track gets groovy and then gets spacy, yknow what I mean?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Your Very Own DX7

Alongside the cultural developments that provided an impetus for Detroit techno was the evolution of music technology, including the legendary DX7 synthesizer which found its way into just about everyone's music in the 1980's--Michael Jackson, Juan Atkins, Queen. Given the importance of the technology, I had a hunch that someone would try to emulate the sounds and interface of the DX7 into a VST. Turns out that not only does it exist, but it's free and sounds excellent! The VST is an open-source plug-in called Dexed, and is pretty fun to mess around with and create new sounds. For anyone interested in a more intuitive understanding on how to operate the DX7 and the plug-in, Chowning's FM Theory and Applications provides a host of example patches for the DX7 in a manner that systematically explores FM synthesis. I've found that translating Chowning's intended DX7 patches into Dexed parameters is fairly straightforward.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Here's a start of a track I've been working on... I'd really like to expand and play it with all you guys, so any feedback would be great!

Two-Faced Phantom Loops

Kraftwerk Must Have Had a Time Machine’s-computer-world-predicted-soundtrack-modern-life

The link above is an article that I read about Kraftwerk's prophetic sound. It seems a little crazy that some of their sounds were so close to what we hear everyday now. What if people have been modeling everything off of Kraftwerk though? *BOOM*

Anyways, check out this short article and listen to the tracks. :)


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Homemade Talkbox

Professor Gurevich suggested that I look into making a talk box, so I've been doing some research on how I might go about doing this. It turns out it's pretty simple, and all you need is a compression driver or old speaker, a plastic tube, and something to connect the tube to the driver. This guy's video is pretty comprehensive and his talkbox sounds pretty good, so I'll probably use his method.

Monday, February 8, 2016


Was figuring out how to clock sync when the Ableton 9.6 release notes came out...

Wireless clock sync.

Everyone using Live should update as soon as possible. We can start using Link!

Infected Mushrooms
So I don't know if you guys know Infected Mushroom or not, but they're an AWESOME Israeli psytrance/electronica duo formed in Haifa in 1996. They've said a lot of their inspiration comes from 80's techno. Although their music sounds a little different from what we're writing, the sounds they get are incredible and they have some really cool melodies I easily catch on to. You can tell a lot of thought went into composing their tracks.

Here's a link to one of my favorite albums of theirs.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Avalanches

So I was thinking on our trials towards writing lyrics for our tracks and I started to think about one of my favorite records, Since I Left You by The Avalanches. This record is produced almost entirely out of samples, and for many of the tracks to have lyrics, The Avalanches used various vocal samples to form various quirky sentences, which remind me of our "Silver Apples of the Moon" track. Anyways, I was hoping to distribute this as inspiration for these lyrics, and possibly an idea of a future track of ours with sample based vocal lyrics. Anyways, this beat isn't exactly techno, but it's also not that far off in a lot of ways! And if you have time, you should definitely check out the rest of this record.

Saturday, February 6, 2016


I know earlier this week we were talking about my being added to the vocal processing squad. This is my inspiration for vocal processing that I would like to bring into our techno realm. Arca's also one of my favorite producers (aside Dimlite). If you're looking for some insane sound design to chew on, bite his latest record Mutant.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Composing for a Space

Among the many things that the lab section is working on to augment our performance with novel instruments and compositional mediums is a project involving the conversion of our classroom into a suitable Ambisonic environment. Ambisonics--meaning "surround sound"--is a step beyond the typical 5.1 surround configurations that we've been exposed to, and ultimately masks the location of the speakers, allowing the sound to exist in a parameterized position in three-dimensional space. It also requires a crap-ton of speakers.

What will this technology mean for our performance? At a minimum, it will allow us to use the space that we play in as a compositional medium in itself by prescribing sonic elements motion and location on the surface of a hemisphere surrounding the audience. If realistic distance cues can be created, we may even be able to use the entire space of the audience. The project will take time to implement, but in the mean time I challenge everyone to think about a new compositional consideration: where in space does my sound fit? Is it bouncing around exuberantly? Descending around the audience? Gently hovering above them? Similar to how animation techniques can give a character personality, this extra dimension can shape how a sound is perceived--including its emotional context. Of course, being able to use this spatialization technology does not mean we should use it for every song or every part, so just as with our choice of timbre and layering we will have to exercise our judgment in using this new tool.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Sexuality / Intersectionality in Techno

above is a link to an article that goes over the various techno scenes and what queer and marginalized groups literally created the genres before they got sucked into the 3D vector vacuum of Mainstream Club Culture and appropriated to "EDM" as we know it today, which is generally dominated by white males in the United States as far as I know -
(this might be a broad overarching statement so please prove me wrong in the comments!)

There are still queer spaces for techno. Of those I know - Honcho's Hot Mass in Pittsburgh, this recent development serves as a queer space for many.

This article is very thorough and also gives you the sense of the international scene too.
What was happening in parallel in different places and the like - including a queer women-oriented scene in Paris which I had no idea about,    Check it out -

Wednesday, February 3, 2016



Event Name: State of Satori
Our Very own Jeff Garcia is DJ-ing.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

In Triplicate

In Triplicate from Matt Romein on Vimeo.

I found this incredible video piece yesterday. It seems pretty techno to me.

Not sure if something like this is worth considering for our show, but I could definitely see something like this going well with beats!

Monday, February 1, 2016

This Vocoder...

Today Sir Everett Reid showed the folks in Digital Sound Synthesis some music by Dimlite.

I was inspired to listen to more music by this sound design genius and came upon this track. The vocoder is awesome. I hear pitch modulation and I think there's some layering and some other stuff going on. He could just be doing the pitch mod with his pitch wheel, but I'd like to find a way to automate this effect using vibrato or something.  My goal is to try to figure it out and use it for a piece in class.

Ps. If you weren't in Digital Sound Synthesis listen to this as well...

Sunday, January 31, 2016

I got my first detroit techno record!!!!!

Hey guys, I went to underground sound a few days ago just to check out the records. I wasnt even thinking about techno or looking for it at all and I found ONE COPY of Cybotrons debut "techno record" Enter.  Enter is the record with clear, cosmic cars, the alleys of your mind, techno city, etc.

IT SOUNDS SOO WEIRD.  The entire first side of the record is this weird disco/rock music, with tons of juan atkins vocals and electric guitar solos. Very very odd sounding stuff.

He talks about techno-fying the world to save it from the bias. The bias being detroit's economic and social downfalls on the community and the black community im assuming.

VERY COOL to think about that message. If anyone wants to listen to it on vinyl, lets make a time!

Check it out on digital either way. Enter, 1983 by Cybotron (Juan Atkins).

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sepalcure - live from WUK club / Wien 12.7.2011

I've been thinking a lot about the different sub-styles of techno (as in, Kraftwerk is a lot different than AtomTM). I've been analyzing the different nuances of each style--the do's and don'ts per se--and trying to figure out how I personally maneuver my musical gestures authentically through each style. So far in class I feel we've deeply explored the Kraftwerk style, especially with Isaac's joint on Thursday, and I'm thinking if eventually we can explore a later style of "techno" as seen in this video. I have a really basic sketch of a two-section-oscilating jam for us to try on Tuesday that is inspired by AtomTM and this group, Sepalcure (made of Machinedrum and Braille, if you're familiar with them).

Since my assignment is Gibber, I thought this video can demonstrate how it could be a powerful tool. However, I have found Gibber to be quite a challenge as it is a new coding environment for me. One thing that often throws me off while coding in Gibber is keeping track of each sound and its parameters. A big objective is to recreate the sound I hear in the form of code.

Modern Kraftwerk

Technology doesn't stop progressing, and--fittingly--it appears as though much of Kraftwerk's recent performances are a reflection of this trend. I happened upon this video of a Kraftwerk show from within the past 2 years, and I was surprised how well the group managed to adapt their familiar tunes to the trends of both music and technology. The songs now seem to align with the anticipatory patterns of modern electronic music, such as in the transitions between "Computer Music" and "Numbers," and many of the original, synthesized sounds have undergone a lot of processing, giving them sounds that are still uniquely Kraftwerk but comparable in sound quality to modern electronic records. Some songs go so far as to only preserve a number of signature elements--synth and vocal lines--while giving the group a framework on which they can experiment--similar in many respects to the compositional style we often relied upon last year in ECM. "Autobahn" was a good example of this, and I don't think I would have recognized many of the song's segments in isolation. The amount of time given to improvisational sections was also surprising, but it makes me appreciate the transparency, vulnerability, and musicianship of the performance.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


I've been getting into an artist named Jayforce lately. He comes up with a lot of subtle melodies that aren't only just musically interesting but have really really great timbres. It's helping me start to come up with some of my own sounds for future jams!

Timeline of Apple Products

Wikipedia is admittedly good for some things:


MoodyMann So true...

I've been listening to this song for over the past year.
MoodyMann is a Detroit based producer/DJ who makes grooves so true its ridiculous.
Check it out : my words do it no justice...

Down On My Luck - Vic Mensa

Tuesday's jam led by Ian reminded me of this song, which I haven't listened to in a pretty long time... Vic Mensa is a rapper who got his start with a 7 piece hip hop/jazz/rock fusion group named Kids These Days. They have since gone separate ways and this is one of the first singles Vic released since the end of KTD. Sweet groove with an interesting vocal part. Could be used as inspiration!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Night drive to button press

Its working!

Refresher on Vocal Processing in Ableton

As I am tasked with creating a vocal rig I have been watching videos to refresh and expand my knowledge of vocal processing using Ableton Live. I really love the vocoder in Ableton and I've used it a lot, but I hope to use it in new ways to create fresh sounds for our ensemble. If anyone else is interested in learning about vocal processing with Live their are a ton of videos on YouTube.

Here's one that I found very useful in a technical sense:

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Future of Music (1987)

I came upon this article and I really like it. It's an insight into what computer musicians (in 1987) thought about what was to come for music as technology became more and more integrated into the composition and performance of music.

Here is the link: 

Also...Larry Polansky lists "leaving the planet; becoming fully communicative inhabitants of the galaxy" as something essential in the future of music, which is something I never thought about before but will probably think about from now on. Do aliens make music?

Form Transcription of Alleys Of Your Mind

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Kraftwelt existed

I was making noise boxes with my electronics/circuit bending guru and he suggested I check out Kraftwelt - they sound kinda like a 90s industrial Kraftwerk. The Kraftwerk formula is used in plenty of their tracks.

I'm drawn to this because it's heavily Kraftwerk influenced with an emphasis on non-tonal sounds, which is something I'm interested in exploring with our group this semester.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Slightly More Gibberish

Among the various technical obstacles that I personally have encountered in Gibber is the lack of ability to publish my code to the server or retrieve other users' code via the search functionality on my computer. Nonetheless, I wanted to allow anyone who was interested the chance to explore, tweak, completely tear apart and reconstruct, or otherwise act on creative impulse with the Gibber code that I presented in class the other day. Note that this is a very small example--and not nearly as well documented--compared to the tutorials offered on the Gibber website.

Clock.bpm = 140

b = FM({index:15, cmRatio:1.0333})
 .note.seq( ['c1', ,'c1', ], [1/4,1/8,1/4,3/8])
 .fx.add( LPF(0.2) )
b2 = Synth({waveform:'Sine'})
 .note.seq( ['c2', ,'c2', ], [1/4,1/8,1/4,3/8])
 .fx.add( LPF(0.5) )

d = XOX('xxxx')

e = XOX('..o.....', 1/4)
  .fx.add( Reverb(1) )
  .fx.add( Crush(10, 0.8))

c = XOX('**..*..*..*.**.*').fx.add( Delay(3/16) )
  .fx.add( Reverb(0.8) )

s = XOX('oo....oo........oo..oooo........', 1/16).amp(0.3)

a = Synth({ attack:ms(1000), maxVoices:4 })
 .chord.seq( ['c4min7'], 1 )
 .fx.add( LPF(0.4) )


I also wanted to extend the offer of assisting anyone who is interested with installing Gibber locally on his/her computer. The process requires a small amount of knowledge on Git, command line, and node.js and allows you to use your computer's processor to run Gibber rather than limiting yourself to the processing bandwidth of your internet connection. For more computationally intensive tasks in Gibber--chordal synths, graphics, etc.--this is a must.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


I've been digging for new, preferably techno, music through the "Related Artists" tab on Spotify for the past week or so... Starting with Carl Craig, I somehow ended up on Squarepusher. The most interesting part of all the songs I've listened to was unique usage of reverb and space. Whether it's a pad drowned in a long reverb or just a gated snare, our choices with reverb are as emotional and powerful as any melody or tempo. I would really like to see our group focus on being aware of the types of spaces our instruments are in. Squarepusher's "Red Hot Car" is an awesome example of this... The drums are dry at the start, but sound completely different by the middle section. It'd be cool if we could compose with changes of reverb in mind.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Interview with local Live-PA artist Erika

Interview Link

Erika is a killer producer and live performer who used to be a DJ at WCBN in Ann Arbor. She does her performances with an all-hardware live setup and I can say from experience it is a very dynamic show. I feel she pays great attention to sonic detail and the result is very genuine. She plays regularly in Detroit where I saw her once three years ago at the Leland, and in 2013 at DEMF. She's bound to play a show sometime soon - consider going.

Tune Here: Erika - Tow Ride

Carl Craig

So, I know we already listened to this one the other day, but it's so awesome I can't get over it!

Every single sound in this track is gold.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Paula Temple

I was searching far and wide for a cool female "techno" producer to post about and came upon Paula Temple. She's from Berlin, Germany and her style is pretty industrial and heavy. I'd suggest checking out the track called "Gegen":

Yay women!!

First Techno (Kraftwerk 1970)

 Even though this piece is from 1970, the year Kraftwerk was formed, it already contains many similarities to techno music. I could see how this was a starting point where it would later develop into techno. Even though techno was based from Detroit, the founders of techno were heavily influenced by Kraftwerk.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Actress - Always Human

yo whaddown ECMJAMBALAYA2016?*?*&*&*)*)*?*?                   *?

This is a real quick jam I'm really inspired by. I'd love to work with chopped up samples in this fashion  to create melodies on the fly, or even just dope non-melodic repetitive motifs like the vocal sample at 2:00. It'll be fly, I trust.

Techno as "Post-Disco"

One theory of the emergence of Techno in Detroit is that it was facilitated by the sudden (and deliberate) decline of disco. It is difficult to overestimate how culturally important disco music was by the end of the 1970s. It was the club music of much of the decade, and worked its way into every corner of the music world.

Exhibit A:

By the end of the decade, disco became reviled by many, primarily white fans of rock 'n' roll. Its destruction was literal, vehement, and violent, with racist and homophobic overtones, as disco music was especially popular among African American, Hispanic, and gay communities. The Detroit radio station WRIF issued D.R.E.A.D. cards (Detroit Rockers Engaged in the Abolition of Disco) to its listeners:

A Chicago radio station incited the infamous Disco Demolition Night riot of 1979:

Although there aren't always strong musical connections between disco and techno, this helps explain how disco's sudden absence left a hole for techno to thrive.

Some follow-ups

Here are a couple of references for those who want to know more about the dance music scene in Detroit in the 1980s. This is the Ken Collier mix I found on Mixcloud, dated to somewhere in the mid-1980s:

Everyone should read Chapters 2 and 3 of Dan Sicko's book Techno Rebels: The Renegades of Electronic Funk. It's available online through the U-M library with your Michigan login credentials. Hopefully this link will work:

I'm going to add some of the precursor music discussed in Chapter 2 to the Spotify playlist.

Thursday, January 14, 2016


After seeing Alvin's equipment today, I wanted more info on his tr-909. I think this article does a really good job at explaining why the tr-909 was so great for techno in the 80's-- not just because of its sound abilities but because of its unique expressiveness.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Quote to check out :

"When we say that [technologies] are 'mere automatisms', we project as much as when we say they are 'loving creatures'; the only difference is that the latter is an anthropomorphism and the former a technomorphism"

-from "Toward a New Organology: Instruments of Music and Science" by John Tresch and Emily Dolan

I like this quote in regards to us using technology as performers of electronic music. Our performance will inevitably have a dynamic between our humanity and our instruments of choice [a dynamic between anthropomorphism and technomorphism], and I want it to remain an active conversation that we can choose either to be dominant from piece to piece.

Elements of Techno in the Music of Dhafer Youssef

Dhafer Youssef is an avant-garde jazz and world music composer and performer. I was first drawn in to Youssef's sounds when I came across this performance--still one of the most cathartic musical moments I've seen. As I've been delving more and more into techno, I couldn't help but notice the underlying elements that Youssef's compositions share with techno music: repetition and augmented repetition; gradual builds; incorporation of unique and electronic sounds; and the presentation, removal, and resurgence of key musical material. I find this to be most heavily represented in his composition "Odd Poetry". The composition does delve into jazz tropes--an ABA form, improvisation, and acoustic instrumentation--in parallel to those found in techno, so it is certainly a far cry from the original Detroit techno. Still, I think it is an interesting piece to explore in order for us to understand both the origins of techno as well as the diversity of its modern ancestors.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Son Lux

I'm sure by now many of you know about Son Lux. I had the pleasure of seeing them perform in Detroit a couple years back. If you ever hear of them doing a concert go to it. It was such an awesome experience.

If you don't know much about the group, they have done a few full length albums now and they have also done film composition, such as their work for "The Disapperance of Eleanor Rigby: Them."

Lord also remixed their song "Easy." TOTALLY LISTEN TO IT.

Digital Tape Machine

Digital Tape Machine has an interesting approach to live electronic music. Unfortunately, they're really only a side project of a bunch of musicians from other bands (Their drummer is from my favorite band, Umphrey's McGee. If you haven't heard me rant/talk about how great Umphrey's is, I can nearly guarantee you will at some point this semester lol). DTM has released just one album. Definitely worth a listen. It's called "Be Here Now" While they most likely aren't traditional "techno", I think there are a few aspects of their sound our group can find inspiration in. I love the combination of a real drum kit and electronic samples. If we've got any percussionists or drummers in the group we should definitely incorporate 'em!!! At around 4:00 in the above video, one of the DJ's (? I don't really know what to call her) does some cool stuff with scratching and delay. Lastly, a lot of DTM's live shows are improvised. I'm really excited to see where our group goes when not restricted to a composition or specific form!!!

Working on a track

I've been working on this track since the weekend.

Definitely a work in progress. Thoughts appreciated. Thinking of adding words? it techno??

Monday, January 11, 2016

it is 2016 and yr still goth

this is barely techno related but i figured i'd mix it up a bit. i've been listening to a lot of darkwave/post-punk as of late, something about cold, sterile mixes and gated reverb on snares has really grabbed hold of me. the following post is not at all meant to be a deep or even a surface-level foray into darkwave, just stuff that i've listened to lately

she past away (bursa, turkey) and winter severity index (rome, italy) are probably my two favorites right now in addition to also being the two that are traditionally "rock band instrument" centered. pretty much just if you put new order/joy division in a freezer in east europe

cold cave (philadelphia, pa) and tr/st (toronto, ontario) are more on the synth-pop side of things, which seems to have gotten them a little more attention in north america. the main dude behind cold cave was in the hardcore punk band american nightmare if that means anything 2 you (i think he was born with one hand or something too). that tr/st video was posted by noisey/vice which i thought was pretty cool. if you dig chvrches and stuff like that but wish it were edgier and in a dark room then here's your dig

were you reading this post and thinking to yourself "well that's all well and good but i also love rammstein and i am watching the matrix"? you're in the right place. girls under glass and in strict confidence are two german groups who really just make super industrial dance music (i think the term people on the internet use is electronic body music?). hilariously enough these are the first groups i've put in this post that are before the year 1990. im a poser

A Bit of Gibberish

Gibber is more than just another language for music synthesis. Being a tool that resides in the browser, Gibber opens up the ideas of being able to source your musical and visual elements from various media storage servers (e.g., calling Freesound() to access the Freesound sample database) and use them in real-time performance. I'm especially interested in how the practice of live coding at a moderately high level of abstraction places a constraint on timing: natural periods of repetition occur due to the time required to type and execute a new command. The ability enforces the idiomatic, gradual building of layers in techno music. This video is one of the many live coding sessions done by Charlie Roberts, the creator of the software.

Carl Craig - Sparkle

I really like how each instrument gradually comes in starting from the high pitched strings and the glissando-ish sound to the bass then the kicks. The piece seems to have a direction all the time and moves forward at a perfect pace, just when I was settling in the new idea either a new element comes in or an existing element is taken away, one at a time. The groove also changes around halfway through the piece, but there are still the synth strings and the glissando sound that link back to the beginning (almost like a theme). The 'theme' then returns in the ending of the piece. I think this piece is very well structured and all the sounds complemented each other really well. :)

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Dimitri Kneppers - The Kick Off

Going off of Joey's recent post, I decided to do some more research on Carl Craig and ended up looking further into his Planet-E Communications label. I listened through many of their current artists, but Dimitri Kneppers caught my interest the most. Compared to their other artists, Kneppers' classification of techno as a genre appears more open in terms of risks he's willing to take with both his composition and instrumentation choices. In this track, not all sounds can be classified as electronically produced by the ear. His use of piano sound, for example, had me thinking about originality in techno music. Because our class strives to not misrepresent the sound of techno, I've been worried that I may not freely explore compositional choices and avoid taking risks. This song explores how this can be possible in techno and still showcase the genre appropriately.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Some of my favorite tracks right now!!!


Hey guys, I thought to get the ball rolling we could start track sharing!!!!

These are some of the most influential tracks I have heard and loved and learned from over the past year of diving into techno.

Nude Photo - Rhythm is Rhythm (Derrick May)

This track....  the syncopation says it all.... check out how he moves where you feel "one" and how he makes the phrasing feel unique each time by introducing loops and elements on different beats throughout the track...
AND THAT SYNTH SOUND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

if i remember correctly this was one of his first releases, or one of the first releases that the clubs responded to really highly... either way. check out derrick may.  hes crucial to the history and innovation of the Detroit sound.

JUAN ATKINS (Cybotron, Model 500, etc)
"he invented techno"

this is his Sonic Sunset album
please check out this whole record one of my favorites of his model 5 sound
Especially Neptune.....
His patience is strong!!!!
You will know when the kick comes in....

also check out this House track, by a French dude named Mad Rey, not much documentation on him. he released an EP in 2014 and people speak about him with anticipation and respect. its a nice contrast to the detroit stuff...
Also Peter and I help shoot a piece for PBS Detroit Public Television on Juan Atkins focused mostly about Kraftwerks influence on him as a techno artist. I cant upload that rough cut publicly, but if anyone is interested, I can send the cut privately via email or something.