A force of pure imagination

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Jan 092012

Electronica: Zlatko Tanodi, the new album of Croatian composer Zlatko Tanodi‘s highly imaginative electo-acoustic music has just been released under the Cantus label. Tanodi is a true musical eclectic; as adept at writing orchestral and chamber music as jazz and pop arrangements and scoring films, he tours internationally, performing keyboards with his jazz ensemble Opus X and also serves as the Head of the Department of Composition and Theory at the Zagreb Academy of Music. All of these experiences are evident in the music on this disc which slips easily from the classical avant-garde to a cinematic dramaturgy worthy of a Hollywood space fantasy and even includes brief snatches of DnB. Throughout, Tanodi has woven a surprising and delightful thread of pure sound design and a fascination with the human voice (both speaking and singing). Even more impressive than Tanodi’s masterful command of an astonishing variety of musical styles, though, is the force of his unspoiled, almost child-like imagination. Sounds transform themselves in a seemingly inevitable way from operatic diva to demonic baby; string quartets, frogs, and abstract sine wave modulations receive equal amounts of loving attention to detail and craftsmanship.

For a little foretaste of the sonic delights you’ll enjoy in the full album, check out Tanodi’s introduction to his contributions to the Recombinant Art compilation, produced by Edmund EaganElectronica is a must-hear for anyone who enjoys the pure physical pleasure of being immersed in sound and music and is eager to be transported to another world, at least for the duration of this CD. You can order the full album from the Cantus web site (100 HRK is approximately USD17).

Robotronic Bird

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Jun 292011

Andrew Bird has released a couple of fun little EP’s this month, both with plenty of Kyma touches throughout. “Keep Climbing The Mountain” features plenty of Euverb, Granulated Guitar and Subtractive Synthesis sweeps and hits to create the atmosphere behind the energetic “In My Skies”.  And on the Robotronic EP, Kyma is doing all of the vocal harmonising and vocoding.

Both EPs will have you smiling and on your feet dancing within nanoseconds, and both are available on iTunes.

Metallica’s Secret Recording Project

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Jun 272011

Rumors of a secret Metallica recording project were finally confirmed on June 15, when Metallica announced on their web site that they’ve just finished recording a full-length album with the legendary Lou Reed.  In the photo (http://www.metallica.com/images/Metallica_LouReed_wide4.jpg) you can see Lou Reed (seated on the left) and Sarth Calhoun (standing on the right) with his Continuum and Kyma + Paca setup.

Everyone is looking forward to hearing the final result (with the possible of exception of one evil psychopath).

Steampunk Meets Sgt Pepper & Some Tiny Skeletons

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Jun 012011


Amon Tobin & Tessa Farmer ‘ISAM: Control Over Nature’ Preview from Ninja Tune on Vimeo.

Amon Tobin has just launched ISAM — an album, audio-visual live performance tour and art exhibition — pairing Tobin’s original and evocative music with Tessa Farmer’s intriguingly organic sculptures. Both artists, Tobin in sound and Farmer in sculpture, explore the rearrangement of the “familiar” in disturbing, playful and highly original ways. Imagine opening the specimen drawer in a darkly lit Victorian-style natural history museum in a parallel universe while a steampunk science-fiction-meets-Sgt.-Pepper score plays in the background and you’ll start to get the picture.

In ISAM, Tobin uses Kyma to successfully blur the distinction between sound design and music: transforming sound effects into drippy, gurgly beats that sound like they were emitted from steam-powered machines; continuously gliding pitches seamlessly morph into harmonic anthems; and repeating rhythmic and harmonic patterns with endlessly changing orchestrations and backgrounds; glockenspiel fairy tales juxtaposed with aliens bursting unexpectedly out of bubbling tar pits. The music is evocative, cinematic, and highly original: chopped spectra with hints of vocal resynthesis; Klangfarben rhythms; electronic insects encountering R2D2, repeating distortion patterns; the soundtrack from a childhood nightmare set to a swinging 6/8 nursery rhyme beat; sitars followed by glass beads flung across a frozen pond at midnight; aliens dancing heavily & deliberately at BPM = 76; and those ubiquitous miniature skeletons dancing so wildly that tiny bones fly off at right angles, making tinkly sounds as they hit the floor.

The audio quality is superb, always crisp, clean and masterfully mastered.

Despite all the little skeletons, the overall atmosphere of ISAM is playful, rousing, and at times downright cheerful—and the BPMs hovering between 76-88 make it the perfect iPod soundtrack for strutting in the city or skipping your way through a crowded airport.

ISAM: Control over Nature will be shown at the Crypt Gallery in London (26 May – 3 June 2011) followed by a showing at L’espace Art Roch in Paris (13 – 23 June 2011). Live tour dates so far are:

01.06.2011 Astra, Berlin, Germany
09.06.2011 AB Club, Brussels, Belgium
10.06.2011 Bataclan, Paris, France
11.06-17.2011 The Roundhouse, London, UK

Black Swan (the original!)

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Dec 152010

Long before Natalie Portman donned the sequined black bird’s eye makeup, composer Cristian Vogel and choreographer Gilles Jobin were collaborating on their own Black Swan, the music for which was released in December under the Sub Rosa label (SR303).

Boomcat reviewed the recording on the Global Noises forum:

Those who follow Vogel’s movements will already know he is deeply involved with the legendary Kyma digital synthesis/sequencing system, and ‘Black Swan’ feels like the perfect extension of those interests.

Rahman Scores 127 Hours

 Film, Film Score, Release, Sound Recording  Comments Off on Rahman Scores 127 Hours
Oct 162010

Internationally acclaimed film composer, AR Rahman used Kyma (Harm Visser’s physical modeling toolkit) controlled by the Haken Audio Continuum Fingerboard to perform the lead on the dignified and ethereal Acid Darbari.  Rahman’s full soundtrack, composed for Danny Boyles’ film, 127 hours, is available for download from iTunes, Rhapsody and Amazon Direct links available here: http://www.arrahman.com.

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