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Gear: In the Studio: Clark

When listening through his extensive discography, Berlin-based English producer Chris Clark appears to be a prime candidate for XLR8R's ongoing In the Studio feature series; all seven of his albums seem like they're absolutely brimming with hand-crafted original sounds, intricately processed synth patches, and all manner of hallucinatory effects processes. And that includes Clark, the artist's eponymous new LP for Warp, a confident record which finds its creator returning to the gritty dance music of an album like Turning Dragon and forging a newfound, techno-friendly space with those ideas. However, Clark's way of discovering that space, not to mention excellent lead singles like "Unfurla" and "The Grit in the Pearl," was counter-intuitive to the usual In the Studio feature: he abandoned his cluttered Berlin HQ, sequestered himself in a cabin in the English countryside, and only brought a few necessary pieces of equipment with him. Read more » 

  • Filed under: gear
  • 11/05/2014

Gear: Mute Collaborates with Dirty Electronics on New Hand-Held Synth

Longstanding UK label Mute has joined forces with Dirty Electronics to create a hand-held synthesizer that will be released alongside a compilation of music featuring tracks from a number of artists associated with each camp. Read more » 

  • Filed under: gear
  • 10/30/2014

Gear: Kuvo: What Is It, How Does It Work, and Is It a Good Idea? (a.k.a. an XLR8R Interview with Pioneer About Its Newest Product)

A few weeks ago, Pioneer DJ took advantage of the sprawling Amsterdam Dance Event to announce the launch of Kuvo, a new, cloud-based social platform and app that enables DJs to automatically broadcast a tracklist of what they're playing in the club. (The system also allows users to log in to Kuvo and follow along in real time, or to check out a particular DJ's playlist after the fact.) Although Pioneer primarily framed the product as a new sharing tool and even claimed that Kuvo could be utilized to help artists get paid royalties when their music is played in the club—check the launch video for a more complete rundown about what the system is supposedly designed for and capable of—many people (ourselves included) were left wondering about exactly how Kuvo would work, what its impact on the club environment (and the larger music industry) would be, and what Pioneer's motives were in introducing this product. In search of answers, we headed down to the company's pop-up space at ADE and spoke with Rik Parkinson from the product development team. His answers may not have satisfied all of our concerns about Kuvo, but they did shed a bit more light on what motivated its creation and how Pioneer hopes to implement it, both now and in the future. Read more » 

  • Filed under: gear
  • 10/30/2014

Gear: Ask the Experts: Vladislav Delay

Over the past few months, Ask the Experts has quickly become one of our most popular series, probably because it gives our readers the chance to speak directly to some of their favorite artists. Even better, it affords them the chance to ask for a bit of insight or just solicit some advice. This month's edition features wise words from Finnish producer Vladislav Delay (a.k.a. Sasu Ripatti), who will soon be releasing Visa, his first ambient album in more than 10 years, via his own Ripatti imprint. While we usually expect our "experts" to answer just a handful of the questions submitted by our audience, Ripatti went the extra mile. He may not have answered them all, but he certainly answered a lot of questions, touching on his studio set-up, mixing and mastering techniques, the role of nature in his music, the difference between natural and urban environments, and much more. Those interested in his live set-up—and based on the inquiries we received, it seems like there are a lot of people in this category—should especially make sure to read all the way to the end, as Ripatti combined several of these questions and delivered an extended answer about how he approaches live performance. Read more » 

  • Filed under: gear
  • 10/30/2014

Gear: In the Studio: Surgeon

When it comes to techno, Anthony Child commands a level of respect that few artists can match. Since moving to Birmingham in the late '80s, he's released records as Surgeon via esteemed labels like Downwards, Tresor, and Blueprint, though he most recently issued his first solo record in over three years through Belgian imprint Token. This, coupled with the announcement of a six-part reissue series compiling some of his early material from old DAT tapes, got us thinking about the time in between and how Child has managed to keep his studio an exciting place throughout a 20-year career. Having recently been experimenting with a new modular set-up, the UK producer was more than happy to share some of the ups and downs he's experienced along the way, and during the course of our conversation, he also touched upon the art of live performance and the importance of taking on new challenges. Read more » 

  • Filed under: gear
  • 10/29/2014

Gear: Review: Komplete Kontrol S-Series Keyboards

For a company that’s been churning out software synthesizers and emulations of acoustic instruments for nearly 20 years, it's somewhat remarkable that Native Instruments has never released its own keyboard MIDI controller. Apparently five years in the making, the Komplete Kontrol S-Series is just that: they are controllers built to integrate seamlessly with the Komplete suite of VST instruments and effects using NI;s Komplete Browser and "Native Map" technology. Along with a high-quality keybed, "Light Guide" play modes, a great arpeggiator, and some smart, physics-enabled touch sliders, the S-Series keyboard is a very impressive piece of kit. Read more » 

  • Filed under: gear
  • 10/27/2014

Gear: Artist Tips: Matom Shares Five of Its Key Production Philosophies

Earlier this year, the world was introduced to Matom, a collaborative project from Thomas Gandey and Radio Slave (a.k.a. Matt Edwards). The pair started its run in grand fashion, issuing an LP, 'Love Mistakes,' via Carl Craig's Planet E label. (Originally released on vinyl over the summer, the record was given a wider release on CD and digital formats last month.) Clearly created by veteran artists who know their way around the studio, 'Love Mistakes' is packed with lengthy explorations that often only lightly reference house while incorporating elements of jazz, new age, and a myriad of smoothly introspective sounds. Given that so much knowledge went into the record, we figured its creators might be willing to share a bit of it with the XLR8R audience, and enlisted Gandey to spell out a few of the artistic and production philosophies that he and Edwards have relied upon over the years. Read more » 

  • Filed under: gear
  • 10/22/2014

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