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Gear: Aiaiai TMA-1 Headphones

The first thing that strikes you about the TMA-1 (MSRP: $199) is its design: distinctive and minimalist, the hyper-clean silhouette is underscored by a glorious matte, rubberized finish. Pick them up and the solidity is immediately apparent—this is a solid set of cans, and one unlikely to break under even the most drunken of circumstances. The headphone cable is removable, and the ear cushions pop off in favor of a higher-isolation pair for noisy clubs, included in the box. Read more » 

  • Filed under: gear
  • 12/24/2010

Gear: Building an Iconic Sound: Einstürzende Neubauten

As the legend goes, in 1980, a West German punk named Blixa Bargeld set out to make an "ethnic" record. He wondered about his "authentic" background while listening to an Ethiopian folk record, and his attention turned to the debris that littered his own hometown's streets. Read more » 

  • Filed under: gear
  • 12/15/2010

Gear: Building an Iconic Sound: Portishead's Geoff Barrow

As one-third of Portishead, Bristol-based producer Geoff Barrow has used the mixing board as an instrument to arrange haunted electronics, percussive cast-off, and furrowed laments. He's also produced "traditional" records for bands such as The Coral and The Horrors, helping to hone rough ideas in the studio with instructions of "half of a little bit, or a whole lot of it," as he describes his informal way of applying EQ, compression, and other things. However, with his recent turn as drummer of BEAK>, a Krautrock-infused trio, and as a musician and producer for no-wave politico Anika (who has a dubby album on Stones Throw), Barrow has adopted a live tracking, overdubs-free approach to raw, crawling groove he finds especially fulfilling. Eschewing the idea that recording should indulge every snare smack and leave creative balance for the mix, Barrow took a moment to discuss discordant beauty and his projects' philosophy that "it's better to use fewer channels and make more decisions." Read more » 

  • Filed under: gear
  • 12/10/2010

Gear: Propellerhead Reason 5 Production Software

MSRP; $299; Propellerhead

  • Filed under: gear
  • 12/10/2010

Gear: Building an Iconic Sound: Moby

So how do you make a classic, fat rave bassline? If you're Moby, you go out and buy Joey Beltram's old analog synth. "About 18 years ago... there used to be a store called Rogue Music [in New York], and I bought this Jupiter 6 that no one wanted," the techno legend recalls between mixing sessions for his new, as-yet-untitled album. Read more » 

  • Filed under: gear
  • 12/08/2010

Gear: Numark V7 DJ Controller

The ever-evolving landscape of DJ hardware seems to be experiencing something of a surge, with companies like Denon and NI releasing new flagship DJ controllers. Now Numark has its own digital turntable solution at the ready: The V7 (MSRP: $499), itself a successor to last year's NS-7. Combining the physicality of vinyl with the utility of digital formats, Numark has produced a very solid entry. Read more » 

  • Filed under: gear
  • 12/03/2010

Gear: Building an Iconic Sound: Mala

2010 hasn't exactly been a banner year for dubstep. Wobble-craving bros are threatening to take over the scene, each month an obscure new musical strain further splinters the genre, and the music is taking more and more whippings from critics and tastemakers alike. Nevertheless, even with all the mud thrown in dubstep's direction, a few of its originators remain pretty much untouchable, both in terms of respect and their continued dedication to moving the music into the future. Mala (the south London producer known to his mum as Mark Lawrence) is one such producer. Not only has he been instrumental in keeping the extremely bass-heavy style evolving, but he and his Digital Mystikz partners-in-crime Coki, Loefah, and Sgt. Pokes are also responsible for continually bringing dubstep to the masses via their genre-defining DMZ night in Brixton. We tapped Mala for a few tips on how he crafts his crazy, unrelenting low-end sound, both from the practical and philosophical standpoints. Read more » 

  • Filed under: gear
  • 11/30/2010

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