Friday, April 24, 2009

WIR #4

Been a good week. Enjoy!

Reinventing the Music Box (Again)
Score: 9/10
Don't let the score fool you; this puppy is a feature-length discussiong of FM3's recently-released Buddha Machine II, and what the technological add-ons (in this case, a pitch-wheel) mean for the device's reputation as a tool of simplicity.
Full article at PopMatters

Ras G - Brotha From Anotha Planet (Brainfeeder/Alpha Pup; 2009)
Score: 70/100
Equal parts Sun Ra and J Dilla, Ras G is a promising new beatmaking talent out of the fertile blunted-space-beats garden that is LA. Like contemporary Flying Lotus, only more spaced out (which is most often a good thing).
Full review at Cokemachineglow

Jane's Addiction - "Whores" (self-released; 2009)
Jane's Addiction are back with the original four members in tow - including, for the first time in 1991, bassist Eric Avery. Fittingly, they've laid down some blasting new studio versions of songs from their semi-live debut for inclusion in a free sampler for their "NINJA" tour with Nine Inch Nails and Street Sweeper (if you're unfamiliar with the latter, it's a new collaboration between Rage Against The Machine's Tom Morello and The Coup's Boots Riley).
Track review at Cokemachineglow

I'm aware of how lame it is that there's nothing on the milk factory this week. But I'll get something soon - promise!

Lastly, a couple new things. First off, I've started another freelance relationship, this one with Big Shot, a Brooklyn-based DJ magazine with some sweet features, reviews, and charts galore. I've written a review of Ableton Live 8 and a feature about Cylob's homemade DJ software (made in SuperCollider, my coding environment of choice, I might add) for the next issue.

Additionally, though it's not music-related, I've also started doing some writing for New York Magazine; I covered an ASPCA gala honoring Martha Stewart last night. You can read a couple items about it here and here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Hobnox Audiotool Is Now (even more) Unstoppable

Those of you readers with an interest in ACIEED (and the Roland machines that make it) will be well familiar by now with the Hobnox Autiotool, a fantastic environment for making music. Not only does the Audiotool sound incredibly like the classic machines it's charged with emulating (the 303 sounds almost as good as the proprietary AudioRealism Bassline instrument that I use), but it's free!

The Audiotool didn't necessarily need anything new; it already allowed the user to have as many instances of the TR-808 drum machine, TR-909 drum machine, or TB-303 bass synthesizer, as your processor could handle (not to mention 12 neat stompbox-like effects). Plus, you could record! There's still no sequencer, or ability to automate parameters or go back and post-edit anything you record...but seriously, for a free tool? It's some next-level stuff. Prepare to be rocked by the latest addition, the ToneMatrix:

Inspired by Yamaha's Tenori-On, the ToneMatrix is a new synthesizer that plays a pretty chime tone, with notes scaled by a matrix of buttons. While the ToneMatrix doesn't have the sampling capabilities of the Tenori-On, and cannot be used as a controller (nor can different rules be implemented for pattern sequencing), it's still a pretty incredible innovation from the truly brilliant minds at Hobnox. It should really be heard to be best understood:

Got it? Good. Now if you're human, chances are that somewhere, deep inside you, you have the desire to create. ToneMatrix now makes it incredible user-friendly to make beautiful melodies with a few clicks of a mouse. There's even preset modes to start you off. Happy music-making!

Monday, April 20, 2009

RIP J.G. Ballard

J.G. Ballard passed away yesterday. Ballard is one of my favorite authors, particularly his novel Crash, a look at people who fetishize car crashes. The book is one of many explorations from Ballard into the human (and often sexual nature) of technology; in this case, automobiles.

Ballard's work caught the eye of many musicians, most notably Daniel Miller, who recorded "Warm Leatherette," inspired by Crash. Released under the recording name The Normal, "Leatherette" became the first single on Miller's groundbreaking label, Mute. Here's the original version:

Warm Leatherette - The Normal

And a fantastic cover from Grace Jones:

Warm Leatherette - Grace Jones

Nine Inch Nails also covered it with Peter Murphy (from Bauhaus):

There are others, but I'll let you find them on your own. In the mean time, if you haven't read anything by Ballard, now's a great time! RIP to a visionary author.

Friday, April 10, 2009

WIR #3

Hola amigos. Been a while since I hollered at ya. I moved into a new apartment on Sunday (this one has an elevator, alright!) and have been busy with Pesach most of the week (family's in town). So, only a couple pieces this week, but I've received some interesting feedback about both.

Black Dice - Repo (Paw Tracks; 2009)
Score: 62/100
The veteran Brooklyn noise-makers with messed up beats unleash a record filled with collage pieces, reflecting the din of media in modern life. It's engaging, and as always there are some fascinating sounds, but Black Dice tend to be better when they work on crunchy rhythms and long ambient tracks.
Full review at Cokemachineglow

Eminem - "We Made You" (Shady/Aftermath; 2009)
After an inauspicious resurfacing, Em drops the first single off his upcoming Relapse. It's not surprising that "We Made You" is crap - I've long ago given up hope on Eminem ever being more than a self-pitying bigot with corny jokes - but that it actually sucks more than I could have expected. I know it's been customary to have the first single be the stupid joke track that's passe in two weeks, but cracks at Kim Kardashian and Bret Michaels aren't even remotely funny to begin with.
Track review at Cokemachineglow

Friday, April 3, 2009

WIR #2

Restarting another feature here - Weeking In Review (WIR for short, get it?). I'll run it every Friday, with links and summaries of pieces I've done that have been published that week. Since this is the inaugural one of this relaunch, I'm reaching further back into March for some pieces that I think merit the extra mention.

I'm also introducing a new color-code for pieces to indicate where they're published, as follows:
the milk factory

Here we go:

Babe, Terror - Weekend (Perdizes Dream; 2009)
Score: 78/100
Claudio Szynkier is a fantastic and unique new talent that I've previously blogged about. Weekend is constructed out of samples of his voice put through basic and obvious effects. Pure and primal, yet with a post-modern take. Check out the Babe, Terror Myspace for more.
Full review at Cokemachineglow

Ethan Rose - Oaks (Holocene; 2009)
Score: 7/10
Portland-based creator of ambient electro-acoustics makes an album about memory. All samples are taken from the organ at the Oaks Park Roller Rink, where I attended a number of birthday parties growing up. Needless to say, this review gets a bit personal. See Rose's lovely website for more.
Full review at PopMatters

Interview with Chris Willits
I sat down with ambient/experimental/drone guitarist Chris Willits after a recent show to discuss Ableton 8, his new venture, and what exactly "folding" is. See Willits' site for more background info and music samples.
Interview at the milk factory

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools Gold from Nine Inch Nails

Strobe Light - Trent Reznor's hilarious little April Fools prank. Announced this morning, it's a new album, produced by Timbaland, featuring guests such as Fergie, Sheryl Crow, and, of course, Al Jourgensen of Ministry and Maynard James Keenan of Tool. The package would cost close to $30 total and would arrive as WMA files. Personally, my favorite track title is "Clap Trap Crack Slap." Good move.

It works because last year's release of The Slip was similarly unannounced. That album, notably, is still available for free download in high quality formats. Get it here!