LTJ Bukem remixes Above & Beyond’s ‘Homecoming’: Listen

LTJ Bukem has remixed Above & Beyond’s 2019 track ‘Homecoming’.

The original appeared on the trance trio’s instrumental album ‘Flow State’, which they released with a focus on mindfulness and meditation. LTJ Bukem’s take on the track marks his debut on Above & Beyond’s Anjunabeats label.

“Firstly, it was an absolute pleasure remixing Above and Beyond,” LTJ Bukem said of working on the track. “The music we both represent draws from such similar influences.

“‘Homecoming’ gave me a sense of warmth and calmness that I wanted to represent in my remix. I built the remix around the most important elements, the piano chords, and melody.

“I replayed the chords as a starting point and the rest just fell into place. I also love the analog synthesised arpeggios that run quietly through the original, so I resampled a few of them and made them louder in my mix. Again, thanks to the guys, and hope you enjoy my interpretation.”

The remix of ‘Homecoming’ is out now on Anjunabeats, and can be listened to below.

The release of LTJ Bukem’s remix follows on from Above & Beyond’s recent surprise EP, ‘Flow State: Healing With Nature’, which came out in June.

Last October, the trio shared their four-house Group Therapy 400 stream. Revisit it here.

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Commodore CBM 4064 with insanely powerful MSSIAH cart and Look Mum No Computer

Look Mum No Computer is denying what is literally written in his artist name and going full compy, with none other than the massive Commodore PET 64 (aka CBM 4064). Best of all, this ’82 beast has a modern, new ensemble of tools for it you can use, too. Yeah, speaking of chip art and music and how it’s evolving…

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The Commodore 64 line may be from the 80s, but the MSSIAH MIDI SID software practically turns it into something like Reason or ReBirth. And that’s possible, in turn, because Commodore was essentially packing tiny synthesizers into their computers – this being the legendary SID chip. MSSIAH gives you synth apps (inspired by the Pro-One and TB-303), a 909-style drum machine, a simple wave player, plus pretty powerful Cubase/Emagic Notator-style sequencing. And it’s got loads of hardware mods to let you save your data on USB sticks and play with mice and joysticks. More on that below.

Heck, the next time you brick your expensive PC or Mac with an OS update you may well be tempted to just go pick up an old Commodore and use that instead.

But first, with all the Commodore fever gripping electronic music right now, we should be clear on all those confusing computer names.

Travel back in time to the early 80s. Apple was dominating the North American school market with the Apple II (Apple ][ Plus if it’s 1982, precisely). The PET 64 was Commodore’s attempt to compete in education, by taking the guts of the Commodore 64 and packing it into … well, into a horrifically ugly PET 40XX case.

The original 1977 PET, which was upgraded to the business-minded CBM 8032 (see: Robert Henke). Photographer: Tomislav Medak from Flickr / Editing: Bill Bertram (Pixel8) / source (CC-BY-SA). (See also this prototype; didn’t know that before today.)
And the CBM 4064, which in turn is really just a PET 4xxxx case with a C64 inside and some minor changes. Source. I have a feeling Steve Jobs threw up a little any time he saw this enclosure.

For all intents and purposes, though, this really just is a Commodore 64 in a much more imposing-looking housing. It goes by a bunch of names in typical Commodore “throw stuff at the wall” branding fashion – the Educator 64 was the C64 rebadge, and the CBM 4064 or Educator 64-1 or PET 64 are the same in the PET case.

It’s basically for schools who said “sure, I’ll take a Commodore 64 since it’s way cheaper than the Apple, but can I have it in a terrifying ugly metal case?” (Hey, it was acceptable in the 80s.)

And that’s why it works for Look Mum No Computer – or should I say Look Ma At My Big Old Metal Garage Sale Computer?

But don’t let the PET case fool you. The passion for vintage computers may be the same, but this is the opposite of what Robert Henke and collaborators (like Anna Tskhovrebov on graphics) did with the CBM 8032 AV project:

I’ll go into that another time, but whereas MSSIAH makes use of the SID chip and Look Ma No Computer makes use of that finished solution, Robert’s CBM project treats those computers almost like raw materials for total audiovisual creation – check the full tech details. The case makes these look like related machines, but they’re really not – the CBM 8032 is the business update to the original Commodore PET. It’s still a Commodore box with BASIC on it, but has older, slower innards and no SID synth chip.

So if Robert is making the older CBM/PET into digital art medium, this is more about sticking in a cartridge and playing in a sort of 80s-21st century music-making hybrid – which is also brilliant:

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That being said, let’s talk about how stupidly cool MSSIAH is – and a good choice for LMNC. Just check the workflow here and feature set:

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MSSIAH cartridge:

  • SEQUENCER with external mouse, joystick and MIDI keyboard support, 32 SID instruments (both USB mouse with adapter and 1351 mouse)
  • MIDI MODE which turns the Commodore into a 6-track multi-timbral synth and a clever twist that turns wavetables into arpeggios for that classic retro sound
  • MONO SYNTH with an internal 303-style sequencer but a 2-oscillator sound (hey, we like that at MeeBlip HQ), plus support for MIDI notes, velocity, pitch wheel, program changes and CC
  • BASSLINE 303-style bass but… it’s a SID (and apparently sounds especially nice on the later 8580 SID with the “fixed” filter)
  • DRUMMER 909-style drum machine – with SID wavetables
  • WAVE-PLAYER 4-bit 6 KHz wave playback on three virtual channels, routed through the SID architecture. Honestly, do you need more bits or kilohertz, really?

And then you add additional capabilities with the Savyour add-on:

  • Disk drive emulator (use your USB memory stick like it actually is a Commodore 1541 drive)
  • Mouse interface for your new-fangled USB mice, in case you don’t have pride enough to use the proper 1351
  • Joystick interface for PlayStation and class-compliant USB joysticks, keyboards, and the like

And some other modding features, too. They’re out of serial cables, but I think you can fashion or find one of those fairly easily. The cartridge and Savyour don’t cost much. Your challenge now is to find a Commodore someone doesn’t want.

But maybe it’s better to just listen to this nice jam from Look Mum and … stay out of this rabbit hole. Just imagine it by reading this article. Know that it’s there. Get back to … I’m going to say running Emagic Notator on an Atari ST? Never mind…

Brooklyn Mirage calls in Carl Cox for fitting finale to its 2021 season [Watch]

Brooklyn Mirage calls in Carl Cox for fitting finale to its 2021 season [Watch]245016338 610093160016412 7921400020074331595 N

Brooklyn Mirage’s 2021 calendar might’ve gotten off to a late start thanks to the pandemic, but one of New York City’s most famed homes for dance music made the most out of its summer-to-fall run that ignited on July 4th weekend with Meduza. Before the move indoors to Avant Gardner becomes official and its first-ever Departures destination festival nears, the New York City venue brought in the techno king Carl Cox himself for a fitting final evening in Brooklyn. For those that were unable to there in person on October 9, Beatport came through to allow everyone to experience Carl Cox’s entire set—as well as openers Matthias Tanzmann and Charles Meyer—with a high-quality stream that’s now available to rewatch.

Spanning four hours while placed in front of a sold-out Brooklyn Mirage crowd, Carl Cox marched through a colossal total of 54 tracks that led him into the early hours of the following morning, including countless IDs and cuts from himself, CamelPhat and Rebūke, Eli Brown, Dubfire, Harry Romero, and more. Enjoy Carl Cox’s season-ending event from the Brooklyn Mirage below.

Featured image: Eric Cunningham

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Major UK music companies report 25.3% average gender pay gap

Six major music companies – Universal Music, Warner Music, Sony Music, Spotify, Apple and Live Nation – have reported an average gender pay gap of 25.3%, as of April 2020.

Companies operating in the UK, which employ more than 250 people, are legally required to share their gender pay stats annually, though this wasn’t enforced last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The independent figures for the companies, as of April 2020, were: 15.3% at Spotify, 18% at Apple, 25.4% at Sony Music, 29.2% at Universal Music, 30% at Warner Music, and 34.3% at Live Nation.

Having analysed the figures, Music Business Worldwide reports that the average gender pay gap across the three major record labels (Sony, Universal and Warner) was 28.2% as of April 2020, down slightly from the 29.6% average in 2019.

Music Business Worldwide also took a close look at the number of men and women working in various wage brackets at the companies, as well as the bonus figures. At all three major labels, the difference in bonuses paid to men and women was around 50%.

At Spotify, women were paid 40.3% less than their male counterparts, on average, while the figure at Apple was slightly less, at 33%.

Apple and Spotify have both shared their gender pay gap reports with additional comments from the companies. You can read the reports here (Apple) and here (Spotify).

Spotify recently launched a new section devoted to DJ mixes on the streaming platform.

Proof of full vaccination to be required for clubs in Los Angeles

A new health directive from the Los Angeles City Council will soon mean that patrons must show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination at nightclubs, indoor bars, wineries, breweries and similar spaces in the area.

The new rule will come into place from 4th November, and was passed by officials on a vote of 11-2. According to Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, this initiative will initially require patrons and workers to have had at least one vaccination dose by 7th October, and then to be fully vaccinated at the start of the following month.

As of 7th October, attendees and staff at outdoor “mega-events” with more than 10,000 people will also be required to provide proof of vaccination or demonstrate that they have recently tested negative for coronavirus. For indoor events with a capacity of at least 1,000 people, this rule is also in place.

Businesses who do not respect the new ruling will face fines, while the measure will cease to exist once Los Angeles lifts its state of emergency.

Patrons and staff can submit a written exemption stating that they are unable to receive the vaccination due to religious or medical reasons, but they must provide a negative test to enter indoor events still, according to the new legislation.

Los Angeles’ move towards requiring full vaccination follows on from an order, put in place in August, which stated that clubs in New York should also ask for proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to allow people inside.

Listen to records using your teeth using this setup

Science educator Sam Haynor has come up with a new way of listening to your vinyl records, curiously using your teeth.

As The Vinyl Factory reports, the tooth phonograph method allows you to listen to records by attaching the record needle to a wooden skewer and biting down. From there, vibrations will travel up into the teeth and jaw, allowing the music to resonate inside your head.

Haynor has also shared instructions on how you can create a makeshift turntable, with just a pencil and some cardboard, in order to carry out his alternative listening methods.

Sharing his ideas, Haynor wrote: “Now you can hear Miles Davis with your molars and The Cure with your canines. With only a few basic supplies, you can tap into the physical grooves of records as they vibrate your jaw, playing music and resonating inside your head. Never before have record stores and dentistry been so tightly linked. Toothfully, you just have to try it.”

You can find a full breakdown of instructions on how to carry out his listening method, and the materials you need, here.

Read DJ Mag’s recent feature on the current issues around the pressing of vinyl that are befalling small, independent labels, here.

Manila Killa and Yuna come together for the first time on otherworldly ‘Reminisce’

Manila Killa and Yuna come together for the first time on otherworldly ‘Reminisce’Manila Kill Yuna

Manila Killa adds a brand new original work to his catalog, “Reminisce” featuring vocals from Yuna. It is the pair’s first time working together, though an evident chemistry is present across the track. Yuna’s vocals are presented as atmospheric and ethereal, giving the song an otherworldly feel. It is easy to get submerged into the depths of Manila Killa’s production thanks to the smooth melody blending brilliantly with a groovy flair.

The producer explains the backstory of the release, sharing, “I started the instrumental track ‘Reminisce’ during quarantine when I felt no pressure to create a specific type of music. It was during a time where I felt artistically free – there were no shows coming up and everything was at a stand still so I took the opportunity to try some things out I haven’t before.” He continues, “When I found out Yuna was interested in the track I was so so excited to work with her as I’ve been a long time fan. She totally understood the mood I was going for with the track and turned it from this fun disco demo into something raw, emotional, and reminiscent of better times.”

“Reminisce” is out as part of PARADISE RISING’s semilucent 2, an EP that celebrates Filipino American History Month. PARADISE RISING is the sister label of 88rising, and it is dedicated to promoting and establishing Filipino artists. The EP follows the first installment of semilucent, which came out in July of 2020, and Manila Killa and Yuna’s “Reminisce” is the perfect addition to the celebratory EP, which is out in full here.

Featured Image: @nattografi

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Armin van Buuren rewires SLANDER and Dylan Matthews’ ‘Love Is Gone’

Armin van Buuren rewires SLANDER and Dylan Matthews’ ‘Love Is Gone’Armin Van Buuren

Armin van Buuren recently joined fellow producers Alok, Kaskade, and R3HAB in remixing SLANDER and Dylan Matthews‘ 2019 collaborative hit, “Love Is Gone.” Though fans may not have expected a SLANDER-championed remix from the likes of Armin van Buuren, the fourth and final flip of the collection manages to work exceptionally well.

Layered over a pulsing kick, Dylan Matthews’ slowed topline leads us toward a single yet explosive electro-house drop. The veteran Dutch DJ brings his sonic signature to SLANDER and Matthews’ original framework, injecting his own distinct appeal to track, breathing new life into “Love is Gone” in a way only the distinguished Armada helmer could.

Out now via Gud Vibrations, view the official visualizer for “Love Is Gone (Armin van Buuren Remix),” below.

Featured image: DJ Mag

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Au5 unravels sonic bliss with new single, ‘Awaken’

Au5 unravels sonic bliss with new single, ‘Awaken’15391429 1103435133109602 3367448064759484273 O

Au5 is questions the nature of his reality with his latest single “Awaken” featuring NOHC. The New Jersey-native is continuing to raise the bar with his melodic mastery. The new Monstercat-released track follows up on Au5’s Ophelia Records solo debut “The Paper Owl” in July, as well as his June collaboration “Make You Cry” with Supernovas-featured singer RUNN. Speaking on his latest single, Au5 shared,

 “The song to me is about the will to find truth in oneself and the world in spite of the challenges and pain that come with it. It is vulnerable, heartfelt, and unrestrained.”

“Awaken” exemplifies Au5’s rejuvenated effort in balancing his early sonic influences of trance and dubstep with more modern melodic bass elements. The vocal-driven single evokes flashes of euphoria and emotion. The new collaboration marks the second time Au5 and NOHC have collaborated after the two released “Goodbye” in 2020. Hear “Awaken” below.

Featured image: Bassdrop

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Watch the 2006 documentary 8 BIT to see chip music and art at its peak – now online

It’s hard to believe not only that 15 years have passed since this movie, but how far chip aesthetics have exploded in global culture. So transport yourself back in time and treat yourself to an essential documentary on the scene, now watchable online. It’s the next best thing to a time machine to the mid-2000s premiere at MOMA.

Original poster art was by eboy (hey, they no longer have a site?) – Kai Vermehr, Steffen Sauerteig and Svend Smital.

In 2006, the best smartphones were still Blackberries and Sony and Nokia candybars. Laptop music was only just gaining momentum – and naysayers. But already a burgeoning community had returned to retro computers and gaming handhelds, from Commodore 64 to Game Boy, and embraced a fully punk-digital aesthetic. This film by Polish-born, Brooklyn-based Marcin Ramocki along with Justin Strawhand launched in the heat of that moment – when New York was filling clubs with sweaty ravers going wild to the sounds of LittleGPTracker and nanoloop on custom Game Boy cartridges. Check the trailer:

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For anyone who has known this scene and artists, just reading the notes is a blast from the past – and for those of you who don’t, you’re in for a treat. Enjoy.

A combination “rockumentary,” art expose, and culture-critical investigation, 8 BIT ties together the 1980s demo scene, chip-tune music, and artists using “machinima” and modified computer games. Produced in New York City, Los Angeles, Paris, and Tokyo, the documentary brings a global perspective to the new artistic approaches of the DIY generation that grew up playing Atari, Commodore 64, and other video game console.

8 BIT. (2006). USA. Original concept and direction by Marcin Ramocki. Produced and co-directed by Justin Strawhand. With artists Cory Arcangel, BIT SHIFTER, Bodenstandig 2000, Bubblyfish, Covox, Mary Flanagan, Alex Galloway, Gameboyzz Orchestra, Glomag, HUAROTRON, JODI, Paul Johnson, John Klima, Johan Kotlinski, Nullsleep, Joe McKay, Tom Moody, Akiko Sakaizumi, Eddo Stern, TEAMTENDO, Treewave, Chiaki Watanabe, and Carlo Zanni; curator Isabelle Arvers; media critic Ed Halter; and new media curator/writer Christiane Paul.

8 BIT premiered on October 7th, 2006 at the Museum of Modern Art in NY.

8 BIT on-demand on Vimeo

8 BIT (2006)Marcin Ramocki site

For added nostalgia, read Tom Moody’s blog posts from the MOMA premiere:

..and an even earlier event at vertexList gallery.

Rentals are about 3 bucks, depending on your local currency. (2,59EUR here – better deal than those Disney premieres, for sure.)

Is this 80s nostalgia, mid-2000s nostalgia (yipes), the future? All of the above? Stills from the film.

And now is in many ways the perfect moment. New York’s venues may have gotten scrambled through time and gentrification, but chip sounds and images have only flourished since. I mean, in some ways it’s funny to even write this copy, because nowadays I think you don’t have to explain what chip aesthetics are the way you did in 2006. No, of course it’s not just nostalgia – least of all as younger artists experiment with lo-fi pixel art and synths who are too young to remember the original hardware. No, it isn’t only about gaming – but now the line between game culture and digital art is blurred enough that I doubt anyone cares arguing.

And maybe in the midst of a massive short of semiconductors – a Chipageddon, if you will – now it’s even more urgent to think of rehabilitating old hardware.

At the same time – supply chain breakdowns be damned – there’s a generation of engineers making dedicated hardware that’s built to last as a musical instrument. None other than musician/artist nullsleep reports on the progress of the Dirtywave M8 Tracker, which it appears is dealing with that supply chain and shipping preorders to customers. Of course, this sort of boutique and DIY hardware is also built to be repaired and supported in the long haul in a way consumer electronics is not, so we can applaud that progress, too.

The M8 promises to be a platform for developers and creators much like the monome hardware has been – and isn’t even alone. There’s the dedicated nanoloop FM, specialized hardware from one of the developers who made chip music catch on. Panic is working on their playdate, which should also support apps.

You want a pixel art documentary, too? Fine, here’s one:

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