Revolution Void - The Politics of Desire

Filed under: Downloads, General, Music — alex @ 4:23 pm

Revolution Void have a new album out (following up Increase the Dosage) available for download at Jamendo. It’s similar to their other work, featuring catchy loops and breakbeats, guitars, samples still retaining jazz roots. The production values seem higher this time around, and the material seems more original and focused too.


Leo Villareal

Filed under: Digital Art, General, Visual arts — Alex @ 11:13 am

Screenshot of Villareal's software
Image from Cool Hunting's podcast

A few years ago I used to write a lot about digital art. I still like to keep tabs on computer-based arts, so I was excited when I saw Leo Villareal on Cool Hunting: Leo Villareal podcast.

He began by working with sequenced strobe lights, then moved to other forms including LEDs. The video shows software he’s using to infuse physics and simulation into his works. Nothing conveys why I enjoy Leo’s work more succinctly than comment at the end of the podcast: “it’s a deep thing [..] like looking into a fire, it’s kind of primal.”


British public don’t understand copyright issues

Filed under: General — Alex @ 7:10 pm

I’m unbelievably busy at the moment, but hopefully early next year should see me having enough time to write here again.

By the way, the British public apparently Public ’support longer copyright’. Whilst I don’t really agree with this, it’s not hard to imagine this kind of crap being used to shoehorn in more draconian legislation.


Netaudio London Festival Review

Filed under: Gigs, Music — alex @ 11:04 am


I recently wrote about the Netaudio London Festival, and you can nown read my full review at Netaudio London Festival.

I’ll be back to my usual netaudio reviewing schedule here as soon as things die down a bit with a recent software project I launched. Apologies to anyone who has emailed me with a review request: stay tuned! I love hearing the music you send through.


Norbury EP by ENAY

Filed under: Downloads, Music — alex @ 2:46 pm


I met ENAY at the recent London Netlabel Festival, and he kindly sent me a link to his most recent EP, Norbury I. It’s a short and sweet 5 track EP, containing instrumental tracks that are mainly electronica but also include some particularly well-placed guitar playing.

The first track, Gateway, includes a good mix of synths, guitars and piano, and some nicely programmed drums. Most of the tracks on Norbury have drums akin to Selected Ambient Works by Aphex Twin; but this is by no means a criticism. ENAY keeps the drums simple and clean, with enough variation to keep things feeling natural and alive. The second track, In the depths of house, demonstrates this perfectly.

Onehandroll feels more accomplished, musically, and feels like the peak of the EP. The drums are like drum and bass this time, and this suits the guitars particularly well. This is partially achieved through the production and composition, and again, ENAY keeps thing simple and too the point. High on delay has some excellent programming again through liberally applied snare rushes and epic basslines.

The page states that the author is looking for a label for this, so I suggest one of you netlabel owners seek him out!


Netaudio London event notes

Filed under: General, Gigs, Music — Alex @ 10:58 am

I visited the Netaudio London festival this weekend, took part in the coffee table discussions and caught a few performances. Judging by the turnout and interest from the participants, the event was a success, and I really look forward to future events.

All of the coffee discussions were informal, relaxed and well supplied with coffee, tea and beer (thanks to the gracious hosts!) The upshot of this was that many visitors were forced to speak to each other, instead of hanging out in their own groups, which created a good vibe that lasted on to the evening.

I sat in on the “free culture” discussion, hosted by Andrea Rota and Jonas Andersson. The topic of free culture is of particular interest to me, so I found the discussion productive in terms of understanding why I contribute to netlabels how free culture is important outside of music. Andrea and Jonas kept participants on topic and interesting, and managed to underline the issues of free culture beyond music (even though we kept bringing music back into the foreground.)

The Hyperlanguage live installation was a surprise to wander into. The lighting, layout and resulting atmosphere somehow encouraged the audience to explore what the performers were doing, so as I walked around I naturally checked out their laptop screens to see what they were doing. What made it interesting was the interaction between the performers — it was obvious they were working together, producing abstract and sometimes challenging music, but it was hard to see how. They reveal a little part of the technical process here:: Live processing layout explained. Here’s a little more background from their weblog:

Man/Machine Osmosis – it is now generally considered that human intelligence is being transformed into a “cognitive ecology” consisting of minds fused with networks, computer terminals, telephone systems, and other methods of high speed communication. We live in a world where old structures of representation and knowledge are fading away, and are being replaced by new, yet still barely formed theories of knowledge, imagination and social construct. We live and survive now not in one place, but in hundreds of places, physically separate, yet intimately connected. We inhabit not only this or that small physical territory, but also the immense, undefined realms borne of virtual technologies.

Paul Wilson, one of the musicians from the installation, told me:

It’s very much about integrating the audience into what’s maybe not
necessarily a ‘performance’ and attempting to address or challenge
aspects of live digital music where the visual is either non-existant
or potentially overpowering. rather, having no - or very little -
visual accompaniment (some lighting and an occasional single strobe)
was a deliberate strategy to put the onus on the sound.

During the day there were also performances downstairs, in the Candid Arts Centre. One which stuck in my mind was Gagarin’s set. He was relatively unique as he played his set 99% removed from a laptop using a drum pad (with his hands). Most of the other sets featured visuals in some form, generally reminiscent of rave and acid house videos, yet Gagarin didn’t have visuals. The speed and accuracy of his live rhythm and melodic programming through the drum pad inherently required no visual accompaniment, and musicians in the venue flocked to see what he was doing.

The evening’s event was a club night, where laptop sets were played live within the Electrowerkz venue, replete with faux-militerary stylings and yet more visuals. During the start of the night a few technical glitches didn’t prevent the musicians from rocking out, and the atmosphere was no different from a typical (albeit underground) club night.


Netaudio ‘06

Filed under: General, Gigs, Music — Alex @ 2:00 pm

I’m going to Netaudio ‘06, on behalf of Furthernoise. If you read my blog, want to meet up for a drink during the festivities, let me know via my contact form. Especially if you’re a netlabel/creative commons musician who wants something reviewed!

There’s a lot going on at the festival, which runs from Friday 15th September to Saturday 16th, with music in the daytime and evening, as well as various discussions and events. Of particular note are the Pure Data workshops.

Here’s am email from Andi Studer, project co-ordinator of Netaudio’06:

Netaudio’06: London’s first festival dedicated to free Internet music hosts a divers education and exchange programme. It informs about emerging Internet and Music software technologies as well it explores their cultural impact in Music production and consumption.

The Knowledge Fair allows the visitor to learn more about Internet based distribution and music production technologies. It is the Netaudio ad-hoc workshop event where visitors can follow their own schedule and get information on individual basis.
15th September, open from 4pm to 8pm @ Candid

The Coffee Table Discussion round will explore the cultural impact
of Internet distributed music. It is the Netaudio’06 alternative to a
podium discussion. Speakers are hosting a small discussion group
each,offering you direct and in depth exchange.
16th September, 4pm, duration 2hrs approx. @ Candid

Two special workshops are dedicated to Pure Data. Pure Data is a free and Open Source real-time graphical programming environment for audio, video, and graphical processing. The workshops are scheduled in 2 parts, for beginners and advanced users. The Pure Data workshops hold only 12 participants – RSVP.
16th September, 2pm (Beginners) resp 4pm (advanced), duration 1hr @
The Hub above Candid.

The central Music Server allows visitors to access netaudio and contribute their own productions. All visitors are encouraged to bring their laptops iPods or any other digital storage device along.
15th &16th September, open from noon to 10pm @ Candid

Entry to the Netaudio’06: Education and Exchange programme is free.

Venue Details: Candid Arts Centre, 3 Torrens St, London EC1V 1NQ


One Lit Window by The Starry Tides

Filed under: General, Music — Alex @ 10:31 am

Cover for The Starry Tides

One Lit Window by The Starry Tides is a 7 track EP of post-rock tracks, with occasional vocals and electronic experimentation. This is their first release as The Starry Tides, and they promise a new EP on by the end of 2006.

The first track, Seaport Town, will immediately remind post-rock fans of Mogwai or Mono. I suppose you might think the vocals and playfulness of Don’t be a Stranger, but that doesn’t seem representative of the direction of the other tracks. I find Three Point Turn interesting, because the form the music takes on many levels is reminiscent of electronica. The last three tracks are aesthetically quite similar - short, melancholy and lo-fi.

The Starry Tides keep their tracks succinct, slightly unusual for a post-rock band, but very welcome. And they’ve got a myspace page that won’t gouge your eyes out with animated/tiled gifs!


Flika by MaBento, SelfMadeMusic, Bleep

Filed under: Downloads, General, Music — Alex @ 5:44 pm

Flika EP cover

Flika is an EP by MaBento, SelfMadeMusic and Bleep. It’s a collection of three awesome laid back tracks, perfect for a long Summer evening. Makunouchi Bento’s track starts off quiet, with bells, and eventually introduces some cunning drum and bass-inspired breaks (yet totally relaxed and somehow more interesting than standard jungle breaks). The second track mixes some wild contemporary sounds with distorted guitar melodies, and comes to several climaxes before eventually calming down. The third track’s got vocals! How about that?

I’d write more, but I don’t have time. So why don’t you just download the EP?


Do not rip Pandora streams

Filed under: General — Alex @ 6:16 pm

I’ve seen a lot of articles talking about ripping tracks from Do not do this. Pandora provides a service sustained through subscriptions and advertising. By ripping their streams, you’re subverting their revenue generation and stealing from the artists.

Some of you are probably getting angry at this point, thinking “well Coldplay are rich anyway!” Let me tell you why this argument is flawed: there’s more music than you could realistically listen to in your lifetime on the Internet for free, created by artists who don’t live off the money their music makes. I’m talking about musicians who release their music under liberal copyleft licenses.

If you’re a Pandora ripper: please use your brain and pay for commercial music. Explore my weblog, check out things you can download for free. Go to, find things you like, email the people who made it and let them know you liked it. And enjoy it, because you’re part of a cultural revolution!

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