Issue 4

Instead of the promised ‘tad early’ due to MIDIHACK, it looks like this was a ‘tad late’. However, this does mean that this has a special MIDIHACK-slanted version of The Latest Awesome for those who weren’t at the event. 

Industry News

Apple rumoured to add HD Audio to iOS8

Audiophile Apple fanboys the world rejoice that the latest rumours are suggesting that Apple will be adding HD Audio to iOS8, which comes off the reports that as it stands, the current Music app on iOS can’t support anything with a frequency above 48 kHz. They would clearly need an overhaul of the hardware side of the things too, with another earbud/headphone redesign likely. Personally, I’d like to see them start selling iPhones bundled with a nice pair of M50s…

macotakara.jp

Indie label advice from The Great Escape 2014

Hypebot have done a nice, concise rundown, with links off to more thorough coverage, of the conference side of the Great Espcape conference, with particular focus on how to run an indie label. It’s definitely worth checking out some of the conference coverage, as there were a few interesting talks/panels for anyone interested in the music business side of things

hypebot.com

The Chainsmokers sign ‘seven figure’ deal with Sony/ATV

The Chainsmokers, the duo behind the rather catchy #SELFIE, have signed to Sony/ATV in a massive record deal. These guys have had a couple of local and mild internet hits before blowing up online with #SELFIE, even though the record execs keep saying that they were talking to them before they reached 1m+ listens. I’m interested because I haven’t seen a viral record deal like this in a while, and that there’s still hope for my DJing career yet…

completemusicupdate.com

Spotify redesigns its Windows Phone offering, yet the experience is still sub-par

Spotify finally released an update to their Windows Phone app, yet reports so far are that the experience is still dragging behind that of the other major platforms. It’s a shame to see some pretty major functionality missing the cut (including non-Premium offering that came to the other platforms months ago), and it’s something I’m seeing as a wider trend across the music/tech space. That is, figure out your platform hierarchy (usually iOS > Android > Windows), and then make the experience shittier and shittier as you go down the chain, or in some cases just rely on third parties to develop apps for the other platforms (*ahem* – Hype Machine). I’d just like to see a bit more experience and feature parity across the different platforms.

mashable.com

Mark Ronson on how sampling changed music

This is from a couple of weeks ago, but it’s worth watching if you haven’t already. TED have posted Mark Ronson’s walk through the history of Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh’s ‘La Di Da Di’, and how it’s been sampled throughout the last 30 years. The point that he makes about how we now live in a post-sampling era, and any attempt to devalue music that uses samples is futile considering ‘the dam has broken,’ is a great one, especially against the so-called ‘rockists’ (“like racists, but for rock music”).

youtube.com

Rumours abound that Twitter are looking to buy Soundcloud

The rumours came out last night that Twitter are looking at an acquisition of Soundcloud, which is pretty major news, especially considering they’d be looking at around $1bn for the service, and don’t quite have the same clout as Facebook (Twitter is market capped at $18.6bn, according to Andrea). I’m also a little worried about a service that I love being bought by Twitter, considering their current track record with music services (RIP We Are Hunted). It’ll be interested to watch what happens over the coming weeks…

rockol.com

The Latest Awesome (MIDIHACK edition)

As I mentioned above, this weekend saw MIDIHACK take place in Spotify’s Stockholm offices. It was an amazing two days with some seriously crazy hacks coming out of the two days. You can see a list of all the hacks entered here, but here’s a rundown of my personal favourites:

Beatflux

Beatflux was put together by Adam Williams of Music Tech Fest and Bandcamp, and consisted of an old Gametrak controller, originally used for a boxing game, and a Numark ORBiT controller to capture gyroscopic data. Rolled together they created a way to make music with two gloves, as well as being able to control track information, filters and just about anything else in Ableton Live. Rather neat.

Look Mum, No Hands

Labelled the ‘anti-MIDI controller’, this amazing voice-based controller by Yuli Evtov from Reactify Music works with pitch and phrase recognition to trigger ableton clips and effects. The concept is amazing for instrumentalists and vocalists who’d prefer to not have to focus on triggering the technical aspects of their performance during the set, and instead focus on the performance itself. All of the heavy lifting is done before you begin, but it still leaves room for natural differences in performance, as it’s specific phrases that trigger the actions.

Up All Night and Day and Night and Day and Night Forever

Randomly generated musical compositions aren’t anything new. However, with this hack from David Whiting, the beauty was in the time and effort gone into making sure that whatever was generated sounded great. In fact, from the small sample that he played on stage, the composition wouldn’t be out of place in any minimal techno set in major European clubs. He’s put all of his code on to Github so that you can play with it as well.

Legotechno

The team from Native Instruments were not content in just sponsoring the conference and helping people out, but also built one of the coolest hacks there. They built a Lego scaffolding which gave way to a lego-based sequencer and controller using a transparent lego sheet, various blocks and pieces, and a camera, which then all controlled a Maschine. You need to watch the video to fully appreciate how awesome this was.

A huge thanks to the organisers Rikard and Sebastian, and to my awesome team Jon, Ben and Lewis for a great three days. Once we have a video of our (amazing) hack, I’ll hopefully post it on the Twitter…

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