Returning for his first original submission of the year, Eli Brown spares no mercy in his sweltering deployment of “Trouble” with Talk Show. The Bristol producer’s collaborative ventures have been strikingly impressive, from Solardo team-up, “My Life” to Green Velvet union, “Unapologetic Raver.” Having locked down a Love Regenerator EP in 2020, Brown hones further in on his expanding domain, as seen in his recruitment of new wave punk outfit Talk Show on the Polydor Records release.
Brown conceives an acidic universe from the unlikely combination of UK peers, with punkish vocal support materializing as an anarchic command among pounding kicks and unrelenting energy. The incisive cut’s squelching synth-work and gritty aura clock in a strong techno undertaking by Brown, placing itself alongside his burgeoning vault of high-octane productions. Leaving no question of compatibility, “Trouble” etches in a fruitful sonic piece and artistic relationship “that will yield further offerings in the near future,” according to a press statement.
Stream Eli Brown’s “Trouble” with Talk Show below.
Carl Cox has a brand new remix out this week, and you can have an exclusive first listen below.
Coxy’s first new music of 2021 comes in the form of a storming techno remix of London live electronic group Breakcode’s ‘What Lies Beneath’. The legendary DJ adds some additional heft to the track’s already storming atmosphere, brimming with ferocious bass, acid and percussion.
Speaking of the remix, Cox said: “BreakCode is making some seriously mental music, creating it more like a band would instead of a DJ. I supported it all last year since its inception and it was amazing to put my own take on such a great idea for a different track that seriously stands out amongst the rest.”
The track is officially out tomorrow, 26th February, but you check it out now via DJ Mag’s Soundcloud below.
Visualists and audiovisualists, rejoice. A major rabbit hole of 3D eye candy is now free for both Unreal and Unity.
Houdini is the insanely powerful node-based procedural visual engine that laid the groundwork for a lot of what’s happening in digital art today. An early version was even the basis of TouchDesigner. (A quirk of all these workflows is, the tools tend not to compete directly – a lot of TouchDesigner users will benefit from Houdini and this deal specifically, even. And in turn the availability of Houdini might well lead more people to Touch, too.)
The pricing deal is about people using Unity and Unreal Engine and wanting to add Houdini’s procedural powers inside. It’s refreshing to see both Unity and Unreal here, because artists tend to be evenly split between the two tools – including musicians who are now diving into the world of visuals. Epic Games made an undisclosed minority investment into SideFX, which you might expect would mean Unreal would get preferential treatment. Instead, everybody wins. (This is in stark contrast to whatever feud is going on between Epic and Apple, which seems to be more about those two companies than the rest of us.)
Anyway, artists had Houdini Indie for artists, but now you’re not restricted by application.
This also means, crucially, easier collaboration with artists who know Houdini. They can create assets, you work in Unreal or Unity, and you don’t really even need to know how Houdini works.
It doesn’t eliminate the need for a Houdini license for a lot of other cases. But 3D creation is looking a lot like music creation – a diverse landscape of interconnected tools. And whereas by contrast music customers are often wary of subscription models, in the 3D world, rental fees allow you to take on work and start earning money without a huge up-front investment – all inside a pro tool.
All of this seems very good news at a time when a lot of people are looking to drum up work in the middle of the pandemic.
Reason Studios has introduced Algoritm, a hybrid FM synthesizer Rack Extension that’s designed to be powerful and fun to use.
Here’s what they have to say about it:
“With nine operator slots that you can connect any way you want, Algoritm takes FM synthesis to a new level.
Classic FM operators are at the heart of Algoritm, but each slot can also house a wavetable oscillator, shaper, or filter for a wealth of both familiar and new sounds. This is an instrument designed to make it fun and easy to explore the world of FM, a type of synthesis known for being unapproachable and obtuse for anyone but the most invested.
Algoritm comes stacked with modulation capabilities and sound-shaping effects to finish your sounds. With the three built-in LFOs and two flexible Curves, you can add complex movement far beyond the classic envelopes of FM. The effects include key ingredients to sound great, like reverb and delay, but also a unique unison section for a thicker sound and a resonator with loads of character.
If you don’t want to dive head first into the depths of frequency modulation, you can still reach the deepest levels of sound complexity by rolling the dice with the Randomizer. Just drag it to morph the chosen synth parameters into an endless source of new sounds. Or use any of the over 250 expertly crafted patches for a taste of the incredible sounds you can make with Algoritm.”
Nine operator slots each configurable as an FM operator, wavetable oscillator, multi-mode filter, or shaper
Freely connect the operator slots to create your algorithms
Create both classic FM sounds and brand new hybrid tones
Randomizer function to morph any patch into new sounds
Puma has partnered with DJ Snake to breathe new life into the PUMA Mirage, a shoe that has subsisted for 50 years after initially getting its start as a track and field shoe. Later in the course of the Mirage line, Puma converted the track and field shoe to a casual running shoe that, even today, adds flair to casual street fits.
The newest edition of the PUMA Mirage, for which DJ Snake has been named a brand ambassador, sees a bright, eye-catching red juxtaposed with a dull grey and black base—a design that has style without getting too busy. The new-issue Mirage is also available in other color schemes.
In a press release, DJ Snake said of his newfound brand ambassadorship,
“I am a fan of fashion and sneaker culture, being able to join the PUMA family is an exceptional achievement, and I know my closet will have some great new additions. As a sneakerhead, I’ve always followed what PUMA releases, featuring some of them in my videos and performances. With this new partnership, I will be supporting the Mirage franchise, bringing a new perspective to one of my favorites silhouettes.”
Exclusively to Apple Music comes Zane Lowe‘s Daft Punk tribute mix, through which the New Zealand-born DJ honors his personal connection to the iconic duo, who confirmed their split in an eight-minute video, “Epilogue,” published on February 22. In a public statement, Lowe poignantly commented on Daft Punk’s split, stating,
“28 years ago, the robots came to earth and…they tried to figure out a way to get through to us as humans, but they’re robots. And they figured out that the purest way to do it was through art. That is the only way that you can truly communicate and not have your message ruined by the system. That if you make music, it’s yours, purely yours, and no one can get in between you and the people who hear it. And that’s what they did. And through music and performance, they just tried to feed us the way. They tried to show us how to connect. Put us in fields, clubs, gave us songs, made us want to hug each other, dance together, relationships, marriages, families, deep friendships, all forged thanks to the robots and their music.
…thank you, Daft Punk. I’m going to take your lessons with me forever, and my kids will and their kids will, and maybe through art, we will find a way.”
Qu-Bit Electronix has introduced the Cascade, a ratcheting envelope generator, VCA, and sound source module for Eurorack systems.
The Cascade is designed to make it easy to create ratcheting sequences, ‘bouncy-ball’ modulation, and pumping compression.
At its core, Cascade is a powerful envelope generator, which is normalized to a high fidelity 2164-based VCA. You can patch in external audio to the VCA, or take advantage of 4 internal audio algorithms: white noise, 808 kick and hi-hat, and a high frequency sine tone.
Envelope output and internal audio generated at 96kHz
High fidelity 2164 based analog VCA topology
Analog signal path with digital control for envelope following, compression, and classic VCA behaviors
Snappy envelopes all the way down to 500 microseconds in length
It’s like something out of a William Gibson plotline. Nothing is headquartered in London and will make … something. And apart from tapping alumni of Apple, Twitch, Reddit, YouTube, and a CEO from OnePlus – they’re also bringing in Swedish designers Teenage Engineering.
It seems our previously quiet world of synthesizers is suddenly the object of investor interest and the larger tech world – and that some of that interest is being actively courted. Far from synths as a sideline to piano and effect pedal manufacturers, we’re seeing big money going into firms like ROLI, Native Instruments, and Output. And whereas the first generation of synth inventors tended to keep their design aspirations focused on instruments, new creators have other horizons in mind, too. (That’s not to privilege one approach or the other – just to note a shift. Hey, Lev Termen did some serious moonlighting design-wise for the KGB, so it’s tough to top that.)
For their part, the team at Teenage Engineering have long seemed to view synths as being just one calling card for a larger design business.
Nothing is the buzzed-about startup with a self-consciously snarky name. (See also: The Boring Company.) For now, that name – laid out in faux dot-matrix type – might be a bit on the nose, as no one knows what they’ll make. They’ve got the co-founder of phone maker OnePlus as the new founder and CEO. And they’ll make smart devices, which “should fade into the background and feel like nothing.” And um… earbuds? But also “so much more than that.” An ecosystem of things? Anyway, they have some money already. (See the most recent Verge update. There’s also an extensive profile in Wired.)
Maybe the most telling addition is that Tony Fadell, who famously led the iPod effort at Apple before starting Nest, is one of the main investors. (Fadell likes to be called its “inventor,” though I think that depends on who writes the history. He certainly did contribute the initial concepts and ran the team, and had a heavy hand in the original iPhone, as well.)
The surprise twist is, Teenage Engineering are onboard as co-founders and leadership. The Teenagers made that announcement in a letter today from CEO Jesper Kouthoofd, with a cheeky photo of Jesper going cross-eyed and the idea of “split vision.” Basically, Teenage Engineering seems to remain what it is as far as the synth products, and they take on design and aesthetics for whatever it is Nothing is doing.
They also have significant leadership roles. Nothing announces that Jesper is “the visionary behind Nothing’s design world” and Tom Howard from Teenage’s design team will take over as Nothing’s Head of Design.
That work has evidently begun; Nothing says “over the past months, their unique craftsmanship and thorough experience in industrial design have been instrumental in shaping Nothing’s design identity.”
There’s this video with Tom and Jesper:
Jesper writes in the letter a somewhat cryptic statement:
for over a decade, we have been thinking about instruments, user interfaces, electronics and sound. endless prototypes have been built and a majority of them have been rejected. now here’s the interesting part – some were rejected not because they were bad but because they didn’t fit our vision – and our focus on sound.
So basically, partnering with Nothing means they can expand design work to other products and actually realize them. That said, keep in mind this company has done an instant camera and a hackable IKEA speaker range. There were also wild projects, some not fully finished, including modular bicycle and lighting systems. (I think at one point the bikes, lights, and synths were all meant to work together. The synth was even going to make sound for the bikes.)
Jesper goes on to explain the personal connection:
I met Carl for the first time in October last year, we talked for an hour, a week later we agreed and everything has moved very fast since then.
They promise a “split vision” and that “this new decade we will focus on sound and nothing” as “our wild vision of future products just got accelerated.”
Jesper does make mention of the OP-1 at its ten-year anniversary and says he’s “looking forward to when we can all get together and make noise again.”
Hey, if they stay as crazy as always, I’m onboard, especially in the somewhat hyper-normalized and conservative world of consumer electronics. We’ll have to watch to see what something comes out of this.
a new vision.
for over a decade, we have been thinking about instruments, user interfaces, electronics and sound.
endless prototypes have been built and a majority of them have been rejected. now here’s the interesting part — some were rejected not because they were bad but because they didn’t fit our vision — and our focus on sound.
but today that will change, as | am writing to you to officially announce that teenage engineering are co-founders at nothing.
this new company will be based in london and |s headed by carl pei, former co-founder of one plus.
i met carl for the first time in october last year, we talked for an hour, a week later we agreed and everything has moved very fast since then, leading up to today when we finally can talk more freely about tt.
nothing will open up a whole new universe for teenage engineering where we can create and design products that we just couldn’t do before. and with this, our wild vision of future products just got accelerated. so, this new decade we will focus on sound and nothing.
call it split vision if you like.
by the way, this year we will celebrate the 10th year anniversary of the OP-1 and i want to personally thank all of you who have been with us since the start. thank you for the trust, the patience and for the creative feedback.
looking forward to when we all can get together and make noise again.
Traxman, RP Boo and DJ Clent are to teach an online workshop series on footwork and juke production.
Launching later this year, Chicago Footworkology Music Edition is an online workship series presented by Creation Global, which will offer three online masterclasses across one weekend.
On April 10th & 11th 2021, Cornelius Ferguson AKA Traxman, co-founder of G.E.T.O DJZ INC and member DJ Rashad & DJ Spinn’s Teklife crew, alongside fellow Chicago footwork originators RP Boo and DJ Clent, will present workshops on Chicago Footwork production, Chicago music history and culture, and the connection between music and dance forms in Chicago.
The full weekend camp cost is $50, and a drop in is $20 per class. Traxman’s worshop, titled the Exploration of Chicago Dance Music, will launch the masterclass triptych on Saturday 10th April. You can find out more about Chicago Footworkology Music Edition and apply for the masterclasses here.
Copyright Thrust Publishing Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.djmag.com as the source.
KAYTRANADA and Madlib are the foci of Driven by Sound, a new two-part documentary series spearheaded by Pitchfork that will offer viewers a chance to delve deep into the minds of the producers. Driven by Sound will specifically span in-depth conversations about their relationship to vinyl records and the impact that the musical medium has had on their respective careers.
The short docuseries will also feature a behind the scenes glimpse at the Lexus IS Wax Edition, a custom car complete with a fully operational in-car turntable. As an added bonus, Madlib and KAYTRANADA’s talents will converge on a seven-inch record accessible in Vinyl Me, Please subscribers’ April member shipments. Watch the first four minutes of the series here. Part two is due March 15.