Category Archives: Techno

Play beats like a pro with a virtual Roland TR-909 drum machine

There’s a Roland TR 909 virtual drum machine floating around on the internet, but it can be hard to track down.

Its address is, a name that doesn’t sound anything like “drum” or “roland.” I found it through @reaktorplayer on Twitter:

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On the “HTML-909 Rhythm Composer” you can click on any part of the drum machine you want, selecting bass and snare drum, hi-hat, hand-claps, crashes and rides, for 16 slots. Once you select those, you can pick the tempo and pattern, then save your creation or trash it. I’m still figuring it all out, and my creations are a bunch of gibberish, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun just to mess around with.

The Roland TR 909 drum machine is pretty revered and it’s been used by artists like Aphex Twin, Phil Collins, Moby, 808 State, Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy, RZA and Daft Punk.

Some have gone so far as to create a giant physical machine for really large people.

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The virtual drum machine was created by Teemu Kallio, a software developer from Finland who lives in Berlin.

The virtual Roland drum machine was just one of his projects, and he describes it aptly: “The Roland drum machine is a legendary drum machine from the 1980s and one could say it’s a keystone of techno music. I decided to make a replica of it using HTML 5 and audio API.”

His bio shows no indication he’d ever create a kick-ass drum machine, proof that musical inspiration and creativity can be found anywhere:

I’ve graduated from University of Helsinki at 2010 where I studied Computer Science and Mathematics. I’ve been working over 7 years in IT industry and last 4 years I’ve been building web and mobile applications with HTML5 technologies.

Thank you, Teemu, for giving us the power to be our own Phil Collins.

Thanks to @reaktorplayer too.

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Filed under Demos, Drumming, How Music is Made, Music News, Sound, Techno, Uncategorized, Virtual drum machine

Lindstrom remixes Frida’s ’80s hit “I Know There’s Something Going On”

Scandinavian artist Hans-Peter Lindstrom has released an 8-minute remix of Frida’s “I Know There’s Something Going On.” His techno/spacerock remix and dub version adds to the long line of covers and nods to the song since its release in the early ’80s.

The song has been covered by Finnish, Swedish and Italian bands — Foo Fighters borrowed the song’s drum line for their 2007 song “Erase/Replace,” according to the Foo’s Taylor Hawkins in this video. (You only have to skip ahead to the 2-minute mark to hear the reference.)

Some background:

In 1982, Abba singer Frida (Anni-Frid Lyngstad), while the band was on a break, struck out on her own with a solo album, “Something’s Going On.” The lead single, “I Know There’s Something Going On” ended up being a huge hit in the early ’80s, and has gone on to sell 3 millions copies to date. It’s actually got a killer guitar riff and a sexy sway to the song.

Frida’s voice is a pure standout, and she’s pretty much over whatever love she had with this guy — she’s ready to tell him the gig’s up. The chorus is incredibly catchy and never fails to stick in my head for hours, although it’s been several years since I heard this gem.

frida something going on

“If you want to leave, then why don’t you say it — your love is gone anyway,” she says matter-of-factly.

No real surprise the drum line is so popular — “Something’s Going On” was produced by Phil Collins, who also provides his signature shuffling/clapping drum sound. Some might know it as the “Miami Vice” sound.

Lindstrom’s covering Frida to celebrate her 70th birthday this year. The remix and a dub version will be released Oct. 23 along with a digital release by Polar Music. That release will be limited to 2,000 copies and will include a remastered CD of “Something Going On,” a documentary DVD, videos, a 7-inch single and a book of liner notes written by Frida.

You must also check out the incredibly dated video for “I Know Something’s Going On.”

Frida video

Frida’s dancing pretty tamely in what looks like a Grand Ole Opry dress with a backdrop of Star Wars-styled blue neon light strips. Music videos had to start somewhere; thank God they started in the ’80s.

Regardless, the song and remix are just enjoyable.

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Filed under Dub, Pop, Remix, Techno, VIdeos

Don’t blink now — FKA twigs is changing the face of music with “M3LL155X”

FKA Twigs M3LL155X cover art

There’s good reason FKA twigs easily commands a captive audience. The young British singer, songwriter and dancer has been consistently breaking new ground in electro-pop, dance and trip-hop genres, winning accolades along the way.

Her eye-popping music videos are often overtly sexual without revealing anything, and demonstrate her mature grasp of performance art, skirting the hazy line that separates NSFW and slick production.

Her latest five-song EP, “M3LL155X,” also called “Melissa,” moves fluidly between trip-hop, soul, house and R&B influences. The songs gracefully house her hushed and porcelain vocals, which can drop to almost nothing in one measure and soar wildly in the next.

fka twigs bedThe scratchy, drawn-out groan she emits in the electric “Figure 8” is only one testament to how far she’s willing to go in music. On the explosive “I’m Your Doll,” she portrays a blow-up doll ready to do her bidding. “I’m feeling like a loaded gun, and when it’s done, I’m the only one,” she whispers.

For the synth-pop dance song “In Time,” she implores a man to stay committed, promising that together they’ll be unstoppable. But she also softly warns him, “The way you dismiss me/Will turn into missing me like I am yours.” On the tempo-jumping single “Glass & Patron,” she experiences a catharsis that frees her from the deep-seated pain of “being told who I am.” It’s her version of “Vogue” for the 21st century.

fka twigs red dance

Her accompanying 16-minute conceptual video for the EP sways wildly between vivid imagery and unsettling beauty – it screams to be seen. It’s safe to say few others in music are taking the kinds of risks that FKA twigs is fast becoming known for.

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Filed under Dance, Dance-Synth, Hip-Hop, Techno, Trip hop

PC Music about to become more visible with first live event at SXSW

PC Music flier

The ever-elusive PC Music announces an event at SXSW Showcase, March 19, from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. This will be the first time the entire PC Music roster are billed in the same lineup.

Set to perform will be artists such as Hannah Diamond and GFOTY, both of whom are expected to drop albums this year. In addition, QT will present her stage show ahead of the release of her single “Hey QT” on XL Recordings. SOPHIE, Felicita and Kane West will also debut new music.

PC Music also released a single to celebrate its upcoming performances. The insanely hyper-drive personality of GFOTY is tempered only slightly as she lends a hand to A.G. Cook’s song “Drop FM” (listen at Soundcloud). Between tweets about shopping for new kicks and plugging the Brit singer’s latest music, GFOTY’s latest tweet read: “TiVo box isn’t working and I’ve eaten all my sweets and I think I might jump out window before sxsw tbh if this carries on”


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Filed under Concert info, Techno

Watch New Hands’ GIF-generated video “Strange Attractor”

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Just a little bit of techno-geek: GIFs are bitmap pictures of just 256 colors usually reserved for low-res film clips. That turns out to be the perfect formula for what synth band New Hands’ wanted for their latest video.

The electronic group has put out a GIF-based generative video for their new-wave song “Strange Attractor,” taking people’s random vintage home videos from Youtube and mashing them up in strange ways.

The idea seems bred from the vein of John Cougar Mellencamp’s “Jack and Diane” video;

jack and diane image

But for “Strange Attractor,” New Hands has curated more than 900 images — of young children, a guy trying to stuff something in a car trunk, skateboarders, dancers over the decades, Las Vegas, a man with a mask, car crashes, karate events, — usually catching people at their most awkward-looking.

These mundane images are familiar, wonderful and mysterious at the same time. The clashes of culture are oddly at home together on “Strange Attractor.”

Every time you click on New Hands’ video generator for “Strange Attractor,”, it regenerates the order of 329 of these images, for a unique experience every time. You could also just watch the YouTube version, which is slightly easier.

Sometimes the beat of “Strange Attractor” feeds off one of the images, but most of the time the awkward pictures are unsettling but extremely interesting to watch. You can never really latch on to one picture because in a few seconds, any attachment you might have to that is replaced with something different and new.

Drummer Gord Bond explained why the GIF format appealed to him:

““It was the GIF format that intrigued me. Technically it is a picture file, but it allows for animation. To me this was an interesting dualism. On the one hand it’s a video and on the other a still image. By using the GIF files we compiled as the frames for the video we are bringing attention to the structural element of video – the individual frame, which when stitched together create movement. This idea of stillness vs movement is also repeated in the thematic element of the video. The GIFs all contain some form of movement. Movement is critical to the song itself, it is constantly in motion.””

If you’re not into any of that, you can still just listen to the song at Soundcloud.

The song was mixed by Graham Walsh of Holy Fuck.  New Hands’ debut full-length album is due next year.




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Filed under Dance, Electro-pop, Electronic, New Wave, Synth pop, Techno, VIdeos

Kimbra’s “Golden Echo” streaming on NPR

Kimbra Golden Echo

You can thank us later. Kimbra’s new album “The Golden Echo” is now streaming on NPR First Listen. The album is a shot in the arm by the singer as she pays homage to her different influences over the 70s, 80s and 90s. It’s a giant leap forward for her — although she can effectively left her Gotye days behind long ago.

“Golden Echo” is due Aug. 19  via Warner Bros.

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Filed under Electronic, New Music, Retro Soul, Soul, Synth pop, Techno

Lil Silva, BANKS shine on “Don’t You Love”

British producer Lil Silva’s gotten some impressive feedback from his latest EP “Mabel” and rightly so.

The single “Don’t You Love” from Lil Silva features a techno-soul beat with a deep bass that cuts cleanly across the music.
The song begins with a cerebral Asian-flavoured sound that gyrates like a rubber elastic and forms the melody and backbone of the song. If you hear that strange sound and this is your first exposure to Lil Silva — just keep listening.
The singer BANKS adds a trance-like sultry layer that beckons you in further.
“Don’t You Love,” on Soundcloud, contains a house-techno remix of the song that’s even more mysterious.
“Mabel” was released Aug. 5 on True Panther in North America, and Good Years in the UK.
The track listing for “Mabel,” which you can stream here, is:

01. First Mark

02. Kimmy

03. Don’t You Love (feat. BANKS)

04. Mabel

05. Right For You (feat. BANKS)

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Filed under Electronic, Retro Soul, Techno