Deep Bitwig tips: learn modular patching on The Grid, integrate with NI controllers

Bitwig has posted some really useful deep-dive tutorials lately. That includes building up your own from-scratch tools in the modular environment The Grid – and working with integration with Maschine+/MK3 and NI keyboards.

Choice isn’t worth much in music software if everything is … the same. Believe me, I know, as I’m regularly trying to juggle tools at least a little to stay up to date. So what is especially refreshing about Bitwig Studio is when it does things a bit differently.

Get hands-on control with NI hardware

First off, some quick tutorials if you’ve got the hardware. There’s nothing worse than “unitaskers” in music gear, especially for those of us with hybrid studios. And Maschine MK3 / Maschine+ in particular have great 4×4 pads, when you want that instead of an 8×8 grid (like Push and Launchpad and monome).

So it’s nice to see this kind of integration. It proves it’s possible, and it’s the kind of thing that can make users very happy.

The pads from Maschine and keys from Komplete Kontrol will work with any software. The integration here, though, allows more – navigation, browsing, scales, step sequencing, clip launching, note repeat and arpeggio. It even uses the displays:

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On the Komplete Kontrol keyboards, you also get mixing, navigation, and still all that automation and plug-in remote control.

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Now cool as that is, you just need an integration on the Linux side. (That’s actually probably Ableton Push, then!)

Learn modular

The modular patching environment The Grid is something unique to Bitwig Studio. It’s got some really friendly modules – high-level enough to be approachable, but with basic building blocks that allow a lot of variety. And it’s uniquely integrated with Bitwig Studio as host.

Bitwig have posted an extensive tutorial series on working in modular, and it’s elemental enough that you can also apply what you learn to other environments (like Reaktor, Max, and software and hardware modulars).

I love working through stuff like this, and I do find that these kinds of skills prove transferrable, too. The more you do them, the easier they get, and the more musical you can become with them.

See the full series:

Modular Concepts & Let’s Build an Everything…

So you learn:

Make your own synthesizer, which covers basics of synthesis from the start (even for beginners), plus waveshapers

… and your own sequencer

… and arpeggiator

… and distortion

… and repeater

Basic modulations and an introduction to the environment, plus a pitch LFO / vibrato

An introduction to phase, an essential concept in synthesis

My personal favorite, a full guide to math in signal processing – which is a tough notion for many folks to grasp in modular at first. (Don’t think, like, that course you were falling asleep in after lunch on calculus. More like modular functions as ways of handling signal, filters, feedback, envelopes – musical stuff with signal.)

Plus some notes on pitch and frequency (not microtuning or different tuning traditions – that’s a separate topic, but this will help you out, too)

And feedback – essential stuff, and one of the ones you may most need specific to an environment since different tools do tend to manage feedback differently

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In the latest episode, they dig into Polymer, their new synth – and one that bridges the world of modular and the other instruments/effects you see in Bitwig Studio as an end user:

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It’s all great stuff, and I can say pretty absolutely having come from time in Reaktor, Max, and Pd, The Grid is a different working experience and its relationship to the host is unique, as well.

But you know, I can also say – wow, is this an affordable solution. Bitwig Studio is rock-solid for me on Linux, and The Grid will keep you busy without even a single third-party tool. So on a fairly mid-spec PC, you could go far with just this tutorial series and have loads of sonic freedom and possibility.

That would be my answer to anyone who insists you need tons of expensive hardware to get expressive. And I don’t say that to win an argument or something – I’m excited knowing people will invent stuff with this.

Hope you have fun with this one, if Bitwig Studio is your tool of choice.

Independent Label Market to return to London this summer for 10th anniversary

The Independent Label Market (ILM) will return to London this summer, marking its tenth anniversary on 10th July 2021 at Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross. 

Founded in 2011 out of Soho’s Berwick Street market, the organisation has since expanded to events across the world, forging close ties to more than 600 imprints in the process. The UK capital’s 2020 edition was cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Labels involved at the forthcoming date include DJ Mag favourites like Hyperdub, Late Night Tales, AD 93, and Erased Tapes, the latter having just carried the latest long form from Nils Frahm. They join a host of seminal independents such as Sunday Best, Cherry Red, 4AD, Brownswood and Rough Trade. 

In addition to selling wax, ILM will also feature DJ sets from the rosters of labels on the bill, food and drinks, while groups such as climate campaigners Music Declares Emergency will also be present on the day. 

“When we came up with the idea for an indie label market, we never imagined doing a second one, let alone another 10 years of events. The idea back in 2011 was to bring together our favourite labels to celebrate a particular kind of creativity and passion that you only find in the independent sector,” said Joe Daniel, ILM co-founder.

“The fact that we are here 10 years later is a huge credit to the community of labels who consistently find new and exciting ways to grow and adapt in a fast changing industry. We love the camaraderie and their tireless commitment to presenting the most envelope-pushing music around,” he continued. 

 The ILM Mentoring Scheme is also back, and will now work with both Clue Records and Sad Club Records to platform live sets from artists whose work blurs lines between art, performance and music. For full details head to the official website, where labels can register interest in participation. Meanwhile, you can find a full list of all imprints currently confirmed below.   

Independent Label Market 10th Anniversary — Confirmed Partners



ACC Art Books


Bella Union


Big Scary Monsters



Bureau B

Burning Witches

Caught by the River 

Cherry Red

Les Disques Du Crépuscule 

Delusions of Grandeur

Deptford Northern Soul Club 

Drag City, Inc.

Dynamite Cuts


East London Printmakers

Erased Tapes

Factory Benelux

Far Out

Fierce Panda



Full Time Hobby

Gare du Nord



House Anxiety


Late Night Tales



Memphis Industries

Music Declares Emergency



One Little Independent 



Rough Trade

SA Recordings




Sonic Cathedral

Speedy Wunderground

Sunday Best



untitled (recs)

Upset The Rhythm

Vintage League Music

AD 93


Album Review: Squid—Bright Green Field

Album Review: Squid—Bright Green Field
Artist Name: Album Name:
Bright Green Field
Release Type: Release Date:
May 7, 2021
Record Label: Label Location:
Review Author: Review Date:
May 11, 2021
EM Review Rating:

From the singles released so far, we thought that we knew generally what we were getting from Squid‘s debut album, Bright Green Field. Even though there was a perpetual sense of chaos, there was a loose formula to the Brighton post-punk band’s pre-release tracks. They would generally start unhinged with a mechanical motorik funk and mastery of subtle melodies and eventually ascend into a deranged squawking schizoid blowout. It turns out we were wrong, the very unpredictability we thought we could predict somehow eluded our predictions. As debut albums go, Bright Green Field is a bold opening gambit, the fearless experimentation contained within ensuring that even when the band settle into a groove, the listener is never allowed to. Even when you find yourself involuntarily moving to a beat, it is always in the knowledge that something evil is never more than a semitone away.

Together with a host of other bands primarily on the Speedy Wunderground label, Squid are a part of a new offshoot of British rock music which is so uncompromising that no one has even settled on a definitive name for it yet. Having released their debut E.P. on Speedy Wunderground, Bright Green Field is released on UK experimental powerhouse Warp Records, and this raised profile and presumably budget has allowed the true scope of their vision to be realised. “G.S.K.” locks into its infectious pattern without delay, a lazy riff stretching out over an insistent beat punctuated by drum machine stabs while drummer and vocalist Ollie Judge re-imagines city terrains as a dystopian explorer, somewhere between the mind maps of Guy Debord and the fatalistic sci-fi visions of H.G. Wells. Lofty literary references out of the way, these psychogeographical notions are explored frequently throughout the album. “G.S.K.” takes a brief synth interlude before a saxophone impudently slinks in to open up those dopamine receptors. Squid are happy to play around with an idea for a few seconds before growing impatient and abandoning it then coming back to it briefly later, albeit a hideously mutated version. One could obviously draw parallels between this and the ever-changing urban landscape we occupy, with H&Ms popping up faster than they can be destroyed.

The paranoia and claustrophobia of the album’s influences, both musical and conceptual, bleed into the tracks until you feel like dancing, fretting, circling a room menacingly or completely giving up according to circumstance. “Boy Racers” channels krautrock and Fugazi flourishes into a focused force concentrating on the anxiety inherent in modern life.

“Were you mangled by a tree?

Were you a teen girl fantasy?

It’s not okay that we can’t sleep tonight

With boy racers in our dreams at night”

“Documentary Filmmaker” begins with a muted horn arrangement from Black Country, New Road’s Lewis Evans which gradually transforms from analogue to digital with an almost spoken word piece about a documentary filmed in a hospital incidentally thrown on top as one might toss a bomber jacket on a chair. This is one of the calmer tracks on the album, but it still cheerfully instils a deep sense of unease. Seemingly wholesome melodies and harmless lyrics betray something wrong on every conceivable level, which keeps you on your toes nicely.

The band takes a synth stab at industrial on “Peel St”, beginning with a dysfunctional machine whirr and morphing into the art-punk creeper Squid have had so many pints of ink spilled over. The track picks up steam so sneakily that you barely realise when it’s at primal level and you’ve somehow smashed your Xbox. “Global Groove” is the first track to tackle current issues explicitly. Any previous conscious moments were as oblique as possible, delivered with a knowing wink and a temple tap. The lyrics tackle the 24-hour news cycle and the sense of detachment we feel when viewing foreign wars over a tribal thud which gives way to rousing, mournful horns. This track seems to be the moment the anxiety on the previous tracks tips over into grief and rage.

“Watch your favourite war on TV

Just before you go to sleep

And then your favourite sitcom

Watch the tears roll down your cheek”

Bright Green Field is a masterful work, knowing when to wear its influences proudly and when to veer off wildly into its own lane. It’s not hard to make comparisons between Squid and Television playing in a Running Man dive bar, but such comparisons are futile. Squid are their own beast, and in Warp it seems they have found a home for their music which will neither curb nor dampen their wildest indulgences. As long as they keep their output consistent, dystopia seems bearable. Get the album here.

Connect with SquidInstagram | Spotify | Bandcamp Youtube

Posthumous DMX album, ‘Exodus’, will be released this month

A posthumous DMX album will be released this month, Exodus, slated to arrive via Def Jam Records on 28th May 

The legendary rapper, real name Earl Simmons, had been working on the record prior to his death last month, a process that began after reuniting with the label in 2019. The imprint previously carried some of his best-loved work, including inaugural 1988 outing, It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot

Long-term friend and executive producer Swiss Beatz dropped news of the forthcoming release via social media on Monday 10th May, and issued a statement giving some insight into a release that was already significant long before last month’s tragedy. 

“This album, X couldn’t wait for his fans all around the world to hear and show just how much he valued each and every single person that has supported him unconditionally,” the statement reads. “My brother X was one of the most pure and rare souls I’ve ever met. He lived his life dedicated to his family and music. Most of all, he was generous with his giving and loved his fans beyond measure.” 

DMX had confirmed a fresh project was incoming in several  interviews  before April, letting it slip a new LP would include features from Alicia Keys, Usher, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, Griselda Crew members and Pop Smoke. It’s not known if these will appear on Exodus itself. So far, two DMX tracks have been unveiled since his passing; the French Montana collaboration ‘Been To War’ from the Godfather of Harlem soundtrack, and ‘X Moves’, which sees Bootsy Collins join prog rockers Iain Prince and Steve Howe (respectively of Deep Purple and Yes) on the credits. 

DMX died in hospital on 9th April, having reportedly suffered an overdose and subsequent heart attack seven days earlier. The tragedy resulted in an outpouring of tributes to the 50 year old from the hip hop community and beyond. Millions watched his funeral, while his hometown of Yonkers, New York, announcing a statue or street would be named in his honour

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Audien inducts first solo single of 2021 ‘Learn To Love Again’ on Armada

Audien inducts first solo single of 2021 ‘Learn To Love Again’ on Armada20210506 151338

Just one week after placing a nostalgic progressive spin on End of the World’s “Dropout Boulevard,” Audien stepped out in solo fashion for his first unaccompanied single of the year “Learn To Love Again,” released via Armada Music.

“Learn To Love Again” is no ordinary production from the progressive house phenomenon. The new single—which consummates his newfound creative union with Armada Music, which recently signed the longtime fan favorite— explores the harmonic cadences of trap and bass by way of guitar riffs, basslines, and melodies, setting a new standard for the Connecticut-born DJ’s sound. “Learn To Love Again” loosely trails his one-hour Audien Presents: 20 Years Of Anjunabeats stint in March and highlights not only his versatile music chops but also his infallible ability to bridge dance and pop.

Listen to “Learn To Love Again” below.

Featured image: Audien/Twitter

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WaterBear – The College of Music, Carl Cox unveil scholarship for electronic music education

WaterBear – The College of Music, Carl Cox unveil scholarship for electronic music educationCarl Co Website Image Krtb Standard

Carl Cox is teaming up with WaterBear – The College of Music (of Brighton, England) to award a scholarship to one exemplary student seeking entry to the university’s new bachelor’s course in Electronic Music and Business, slated to launch in September. The degree course, conceptualized to teach students the tools they will need to start enduring careers as independent, self-sufficient artists, is fully accredited by Falmouth University and can be studied on-site in Brighton or remotely.

The scholarship recipient will win £15,000 worth of musical equipment (approximately $18,215) to support their musical studies and career establishment efforts. Cox, who sponsored the scholarship program, said,

“I’m really excited to support WaterBear – The College of Music in providing this scholarship award and contributing to someone’s career journey in music. Hopefully this will help the creative process and lead to some great new electronic music that we can all enjoy.”

Information on how apply can be found here. The deadline to submit an application is August 20.

Via: WaterBear – The College of Music

Featured image: Steve Turvey

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HI-LO completes Filth On Acid EP with Will Clarke-aided ‘Check’

HI-LO completes Filth On Acid EP with Will Clarke-aided ‘Check’Www.youredm.com456oliver Heldens Ultra 2019 Rukes

HI-LO has sealed his two-track HADES / Check EP with the Will Clarke-accompanied “Check.” The single promptly follows “HADES” with T78, which offered listeners a first look at what was to come when the second half of the outing descended. Under his HI-LO moniker, Oliver Heldens amplifies his techno mastery via Reinier Zonneveld‘s Filth On Acid label with the EP’s concluding dance floor belter.

“Check” reaches a crowning point of both producers’ underground influences, which culminate in a contemporary blend of captivating warehouse grooves and resounding tech house basslines. The hypnotic single made its debut on Heldens’ SLAM! FM Het Avondcircus DJ set in April and has even been played live at a coronavirus-proof trial event in The Netherlands. Through industrial rhythms and acidic soundscapes, “Check” catalogs yet another underrated production from one of dance music’s most talented and most consistent stars.

Listen to “Check” below.

Featured image: Rukes

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Elephante releases his most personal piece to date—experience ‘High Water’

Elephante releases his most personal piece to date—experience ‘High Water’Elephante PC Ale Lopes

A vocal-led release that listeners have come to know as “High Water” emerges as one of Elephante‘s most personal pieces to date. Produced and written by the artist during the COVID-19 lockdowns, “High Water” and its accompanying music video confront the musician’s “experience in [his] younger years withdrawing from opioids,” he said. Elephante, born Tim Wu, elaborated,

“The darkest moment in addiction is when your mind gets so twisted that all you can think about is getting back to that high. During the pandemic, I thought a lot about that time in my life and saw a lot of parallels with life in quarantine, where all I wanted was to get back to the way things were pre-COVID, no matter the cost.”

The thing that really saved me was leaning into the music I loved as a kid. Back to basics—singing, playing guitar, and writing songs, every day. I realized I wanted to bring more of those elements into my more recent electronic sound and create something organic and grandiose and heartfelt that tells my personal story and connects my past and my present.”

This stylistic shift is indicative of what fans can expect from his newly announced sophomore album, which is set to be released later this summer. In the official music video for “High Water,” Wu replicates a slow, drug-induced haze by filming the entire visual underwater. The artist did all of the underwater scenes without special effects, nose plugs, or oxygen tanks. After filming for 12 hours in a pool, Wu was sick for three days after the shoot.

“High Water” is out now; the video is available on 88rising‘s YouTube channel.

Featured Image: Alex Lopes

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Matt Nash returns to STMPD RCRDS with Nikki Ambers-backed ‘Ready Or Not,’ hints at debut LP

Matt Nash returns to STMPD RCRDS with Nikki Ambers-backed ‘Ready Or Not,’ hints at debut LP126170910 217524609731725 5281446390572972780 N

AREA21 may not be the only full-length project that STMPD RCRDS will be standing behind in 2021. Matt Nash unsuspectingly joined the conversation at the backend of April, all but confirming on Instagram that his debut LP was finalized. He’s now stacking up a trilogy of releases in just the former half of the year (R, I don’t get this, might just be me, but consider clarifying phrasing. Do you mean latter half of 2020?)—which may or may not wind up on the album’s eventual tracklist— with “Ready Or Not” alongside Nikki Ambers.

Matt Nash seems to cleverly foster his progression deep into A-list pace on STMPD RCRDS through every single round on Martin Garrix’s imprint. Setting out to ideate a polished summer crossover, Nash brought in Nikki Ambers to match his seasoned brand of club-graded house with a set of beaming lyrical colors, tied to a Tron-like visual counterpart and artwork that triumphantly translates the track’s glory.

Featured image: Matt Nash/Instagram

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Porter Robinson announces 30-date live tour for new album, ‘Nurture’

Porter Robinson has announced a 30-date North American tour after summer, in support of his first album in seven years, ‘Nurture’. 

The record landed on 23rd April in the wake of well-received singles like ‘Look At The Sky’ and ‘Musician’. A day later the LP was performed live for the first time at Secret Sky, the online version of Robinson’s own Second Sky festival, which he launched in 2019. 

‘Nurture’ shows begin in Eugene, Oregon, on 23rd September, calling at Seattle, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Chicago, Washington, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, Austin, Houston and Phoenix, among other cities, before a final performance in San Diego mid-November. Fans in New York can pick from three gigs at Brooklyn’s Avant Gardner on 21st, 22nd and 23rd October. Check out all the live dates on the official tour website, and watch Robinson’s recent digital show below. 

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