It’s time for our annual favourite - what have artists, producers, engineers, and innovators we’ve featured got on their Xmas wish lists and why?
Wormhole World is a new label based in South Wales and Lancashire, that’s making its mark with its acclaimed eclectic electronic releases, and bills itself as a ‘micro netlabel doing it for love, not money’. We spoke to Paul Wormhole about the label roster, the underground scene, and the importance of twitter.
Loud Women Fest is back - now in its fourth fantastic year. It sets out to showcase the very best alternative music powered womxn and non-binary musicians with an international lineup of artists, DJs, plus zines, records, and food. We asked Loud Women founder Cassie Fox to tell us what’s been happening with Loud Women, and what to look forward to at the Fest on 14 September in London. Grab a ticket on eventbrite now, it usually sells out!
Music tech startup Vochlea have been creating a big stir with early previews of its Dubler Studio Kit - grime star Novelist is already a fan - and launched a Kickstarter campaign.. Now Vochlea has just won the Web Summit Music Tech Innovation Award for the Dubler, which is available on pre-order.
Loud Women promoted shows are some of the best gigs around, especially their nights at the Hope & Anchor in London. Featuring artists from the UK and beyond, they are always packed, and a perfect mix of great sounds and a great crowd. The 9th February show at the Hope & Anchor was another classic, with ILL, The Hysterical Injury, I, Doris, and Gender Chores.
Exciting new festival for 2019 - Cro Cro Land!
Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers have just announced the release of Bloom: 10 Worlds – a developed, augmented and expanded new edition of 2008’s game-changing original Bloom app, that’s a firm favourite here at Kitmonsters, and is now on Android for the first time. Peter Chilvers spoke to us about the new Bloom, available on pre-order from today at Generative Music and out on 7th December.
From Me To You (FM2U) is a one-day conference specifically set up by artists, for artists. It’s an incredible event with all panels moderated by musicians in order to ensure that topics are discussed from their point of view. Tickets for the next one on Saturday 1st December at Rich Mix in London are available at Music Glue.
The Roundhouse in London has unveiled a stellar lineup for its next In The Round series of intimate shows, in January 2019 - including Patti Smith, Shirley Collins, Ronnie Spector, Fatima, and This Is The Kit, with more to be announced. Tickets go on sale Wednesday 31st October to members and general booking opens Thursday 1st November.
Music Tech Fest returned in style in Stockholm in partnership with KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and with venues that included the dramatic Reaktorhallen - a decommissioned nuclear reactor chamber deep underground. It was the setting for a week long AI Performance Lab of 90 artists, hackers and scientists, and became a spectacular performance space to showcase their work.
The first WITCiH festival is an absolute ‘don’t miss’ and takes place in London 26-28th September featuring electrifying female and non-binary artists. WITCiH - The State of Gender? hosts four audio-visual premieres and includes a lecture from Gazelle Twin who has just released thrilling new album Pastoral.
Tickets for the event at The Barge House in Dalston are available here
Music Tech Fest is back, bigger and more exciting than ever - taking place in Stockholm in partnership with KTH Royal Institute of Technology. With Creative Labs, Performances, Demos, in Conversations and Family activities, there’s something for everyone at this festival of innovation and experimentation, including Imogen Heap launching her Mycelia World Tour, work from Scanner, Robyn, Lula Mebrahtu and more. Tickets for the public days 7-9 September are available from the Music Tech Fest website.
New festival We Are Robots presents an amazing line-up at the Old Truman Brewery in London from 2-5 November. Focusing on the ‘future and innovation of music’ it features performances, installations, workshops, discussions, technology, and an industry conference, and includes leading names and exciting newcomers, with Daniel Miller DJ-ing at the after party. Tickets to the main exhibition are free, with performance, panels and workshop tickets available separately.
Bishi’s incredible WITCiH Summer Salons are a magnet for talented innovators, and the June edition was a classic, with amazing insights from Imogen Heap, Bishi and Rachel Wingfield from Loop.pH. The next salon is on Wednesday 12th July at The Barge House in London with Rebekah Ubuntu, Jenn Kirby, Bishi and Kat Five.
Attila Haraszti aka Rawfare has hacked SoundCloud by creating an innovative interactive track that’s rave-inspired and changes according to the plays. He’s passionate about creating new ways for artists to get more influence over social platforms and we interviewed him about the SoundCloud ‘Pipo’ track and his other exciting projects.
Sound Designers ModeAudio have launched a competition with Kitmonsters to win some of their great Sound Packs! They’ve had amazing reviews for creating some of the best samples, loops, patches and presets in the business, praised for their quality and style. They’re designed to integrate with your favourite software and include MIDI data and project files.
Electronic music icon Martyn Ware has been paying tribute today to Ikutaro Kakehashi, the founder of Roland who has died at the age of 87 and was the originator of the design and technology of the brand. Kakehashi was one of the inventors of MIDI, and received a Technical Grammy Award in 2013.
Loud Women Volume One is a thrilling twenty-one track compilation that gets the punk rock party started. These tightly-packaged tunes from the UK’s most hotly-tipped female artists, are ready to explode out of your speakers. From anger as an energy, to shivers down spine moments, laughs out loud, ferocious guitars, and more punchlines than a week’s comedy programming, it is punk at its broadest and best. The album launch party is Saturday 18th March with artists including Lilith Ai, Madame So and deux furieuses, and with all profits going to Women’s Aid. You can order the CD here.
Can walls make waves? Well the thought-provoking #PlayThisWall has been making friends at festivals and events across Europe, with its great electronic sounds. It has even made an appearance with Music Tech Fest at the #Horizon2020 #H2020Future conference at the EU Commission. It’s a double sided wall musical interface by sound artist Run Dreamer, and we asked him to tell us all about it.
#MoreInCommon is a fantastic compilation album out soon in support of the UK charity HOPE not hate. We find out more from the organiser and get a taste of some of the tunes, a few of them from artists we’ve featured on Kitmonsters. You can pre-order the release on Bandcamp.
The incredible vibe hit you like a velvet brick as soon as you walked through the door – outrageously good music from hotly-tipped bands, innovative merch (Satan pants anyone?), and a welcoming atmosphere.
Electronic music legend Daniel Miller is an artist, producer and DJ who launched Mute Records in 1978 with his own 7” single – ‘Warm Leatherette’ under the name The Normal, and went on to work with acts like Fad Gadget, Depeche Mode, Moby, Erasure, Yazoo and Goldfrapp. He recently started DJ-ing again and plays regular techno sets worldwide. Dynaudio met Daniel Miller in his home studio for a chat about music, synthesizers, mixing and production.
Saint Agnes set out to thrill - whether it’s stunning raw rock n roll live shows, putting their blinding new single Sister Electric out on lathe cut vinyl, or merch that’s a special ‘The Fuzzy Agnes’ hand-built effects pedal.
Torrents of glitter, torrents of rain, torrents of talent, and lashings of politics as well as craft beer, turned Field Day into a truly heady brew.
Our favourite festival - Music Tech Fest - celebrates its 10th Edition in Berlin 27-29 May, with an amazing line up of performers, technologists, hackers and industry. It’s a giant creative laboratory and festival of music ideas, taking place at the legendary Funkhaus studio complex, and we’ve got a great discount on tickets for people on our mailing list.
The second day of #ArtBeatFest was stuffed with hotly-tipped artists, from country punk to dream pop, electro and rock. Put together by ArtBeat Promo, along with The Zine, Panda Power and Kitmonsters - our reviews team checked out these rising stars at The Amersham Arms in London.
The first #ArtBeatFest was a two-day thrill-a-minute rollercoaster at The Amersham Arms in London, featuring bands across all kinds of genres, from Hyper-Pop through to Electro and Garage Rock. With a booking policy of future festival headliners, and spearheaded by ArtBeat Promo, along with The Zine, Panda Power and Kitmonsters, the all killer no filler lineup was stuffed with the stars of tomorrow.
The new School of Music Business in London offers musicians short courses from tutors at the top of the industry, as well as giving something back in the form of grants from The SMB Fund. With courses ranging from starting a label, to music PR, social media success, and starting a music blog, plus media training from Kitmonsters’ own Terry Tyldesley, there’s a wide range of expertise. We spoke to the founder Matt Errington - an artist manager, music journalist and music business specialist - to ask him about the school, and give us his top tip for musicians.
Ableton has announced the immediate release of the new Push, alongside Live 9.5 – a free update for all Live 9 users. It’s inviting owners of the original Push to take part in a trade-in that offers a saving on the new version, plus Ableton is introducing Link, a new technology that lets you play in time with multiple instances of Live and a growing number of iOS apps.
The iRig Mic Studio is another IK Multimedia triumph - a beautifully-engineered, super compact, high quality USB condenser microphone that’s great to use.
Day Two of Music Tech Fest Scandi - the festival of music ideas - in Umeå, Sweden, included the launch of new music format TJAY, an amazing performance from Graham Massey, Scanner and Jason Singh, plenty of new music tech and hacking. The next Music Tech Fest is #MTFCentral and takes place in Ljubljana, Slovenia 18-20 September.
While the Apple Music launch has been attracting a lot of attention, Apple has also just put out a new version of GarageBand for Mac with features aimed at dance and hip-hop music-makers. These include new loops, patches and drum kits as well as the ability to share from GarageBand straight to Apple Music Connect via the iOS app.
We had a great look at the latest from Chirp when we were at Music Tech Fest Scandi. Chirp is like a sonic barcode - it sings data and lets you share links, pictures, payments and more between devices, using the Chirp app. Currently crowd-funding through Crowdcube, we talked to founder Patrick Bergel and iOS developer Manabu Shimada about the new Chrome extension, Chirp Composer, future plans, and their SoundCloud hack at MTF Hack Camp.
The iRig Mic Field promises to make field recordings rock - whether they are band videos, music recordings, or audio of things in fields. We tested it in different situations and found it to be a brilliant and compact piece of kit, great for all kinds of high quality field recordings.
Bands and artists we’ve interviewed, from Sleaford Mods and Martyn Ware through to newcomers Deux Furieuses and dressmaker, tell us what they want under the Christmas tree - from things practical to spiritual.
The live music scene is in spectacular health, especially at grass roots level - and our team went to some stonkingly good shows in 2014. We saw plenty of newer bands who are more than ready to headline music festivals, and should be doing great things in 2015. Here are our favourites.
Songs About Women (in the 21st Century) is an exciting compilation album that will be launched on 15th November at Rhythm Factory in East London, with performances from six of the featured bands. It’s been compiled by post-punk band Gertrude who have selected great acts from around the country. The varying genres include electronic and experimental music, and a Focus E15 poem, and many of the artists have been championed by BBC Radio 6 Music and XFM. The theme is what it means to be a woman, and Gertrude say the musical insights range from the personal to the political: the bitter sweet to the lyrical. The album is free to download, and we asked them to tell us more about the project.
With three bands fast carving out a name for their blistering rock, Rocklands TV put together an amazing bill at Alleycat in London’s Denmark Street. Deux Furieuses, Mourning Birds and Dana Jade made for an incredible evening.
We met the Thunderplugs inventors at the NAMM show and loved their nifty attenuated (filter) earplugs. We found out more about their story, and also tried them out. Here’s the info, and you can WIN some in an easy to enter competition too.
Keith Levene is a legend in the punk world and beyond. A founding member of The Clash and PiL, he’s now raising money to record Commercial Zone 2014, which he describes as the missing 4th PiL album, and which will feature new material too. He’s got pledge rewards up for grabs on Indiegogo, including one of his guitars. Judging by the eight-minute bootleg track he sent out as an extra to pledgers, the album is going to be brilliant. We talked to Keith, who’s on twitter as @missingchannel, ahead of a rare public appearance at a Ditto Campfire session.
We went to a fantastic Artist Development Masterclass Day organised by Generator at Roundhouse Rising 2014, designed to promote new talent and give artists support and advice. The event featured top managers, radio presenters, YouTube experts and more and was full of practical tips and quite a few surprises. We’ve pulled out some of the things that stood out for us.
We’ve been at NAMM 2014, the leading music gear show, that takes place in Anaheim in California. We’ll be bringing you choice cuts of some of the 5,000 brands that were exhibiting, and a taste of the exciting instruments and technologies that lie in wait for the coming year. Here are some early highlights and short videos from the preview day. Follow us on twitter, and check out Facebook for more updates.
We’ve checked out a brilliant new app for making lyric videos easy. It’s called Superstring and it’s the first app by new tech company Simplest Ways. Making any kind of music video can be tough on resources and time. Lyric videos are a great way to get your music on YouTube, and they’re popular with fans who want to be able to sing the songs. We asked London indie electro band Feral Five to give Superstring a try on their new single Strung Out.
Pussy Riot Freedom Compilation is a new album of great electronic tracks donated by members of female:pressure to raise money for the two imprisoned Pussy Riot members. As hopes mount that Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina will be released, the fundraising goes on to support them and their families.
We asked some of our featured artists what they want for Xmas and got some fascinating answers. New kit, old classics and fantasy gear - from a space bass to wireless shakers!
We were tipped off about The Lampost Gullivers and their “gnarled, brutish, blues metal” and vocalist that “scares the living shit out of anyone he manages to make eye contact with”, and pitched up at the launch of their debut album All Your Worldly Schmutter on Marble Ears Records, held at The Stags Head in Hoxton, London, home to many an arresting new underground band.
Clit Rock organisers always pull together some of the best rising female rock talent in the UK for their fundraisers, and the third in their series was a scorcher, featuring Deux Furieuses, Dana Jade and The Pearl Harts.
Dublin duo Hudson Taylor have built a huge following for their pop-folk guitar-driven sound. We talked to the brothers about new single ‘Care’ from their Osea EP - named after a tucked away island that’s their song-writing haven. The EP is out on Polydor, and there’s a 15-date headline tour in November.
Dreadzone are about to release a great new single - Too Late - that features Mick Jones on guitar and backing vocals. It fuses dance, rock and dreadness with a killer sample to make a swaggering track that embeds itself in your brain. We talked to Greg Dread about the single, and new album Escapades, ahead of the band’s tour.
The latest new instrument to catch our eye is TouchKeys, currently going down a storm on Kickstarter. It turns a piano-style keyboard into an expressive multi-touch control surface, using sensors and software to give you power over pitch, volume and more on any individual key. It gives you a range of new sounds, and you can use it with synth emulations too. You can fit it on your own keyboard or buy one ready-made. We talked to creator Andrew McPherson.
The 2013 Music Tech Fest was an incredible event, especially on the final day when the Music Hack Camp awards were presented, with hacks ranging from new instruments to a remix. Here are some of our highlights from Day 3, including Ableton’s new Push instrument, and guitars and synths made from ‘upcycled’ computer game instruments. The sessions were filmed and the videos are on the main Music Tech Fest site. We will be bringing you a second report as there was so much going on!
There’s an exciting What’s Next Musicians’ Conference coming up in Los Angeles on 10th August, and you can get free tickets. The conference is one of a worldwide series of events organised by Line 6, Topspin Media and industry leaders, to talk about the business and give practical tips. The series kicked off in London where Kitmonsters put together a panel about how to promote yourself, using social media and other strategies. The conference featured workshops and a discussion with music experts.
We got our hands on a new Apple MacBook Air 11” to put through its paces, and find out how you can use it to cover your musical bases from making through to performing.
Dom Smith runs the ace alternative culture magazine Soundsphere, based in Yorskhire. Soundsphere spotlights local and international musicians, and has launched its own free app. Dom is an evangelist for local talent, and has picked some of his favourite northern bands for us. There’s some amazing music here and we’re listening closely to his every word!
There’s an exciting musicians’ conference coming up in London on 6th July, and you can get free tickets. The What’s Next Musicians’ Conference is a worldwide series of events organised by Line 6, Topspin Media and industry leaders, to talk about cutting edge tech and ideas, and give tips and info to musicians. Kitmonsters is hosting a session at the London event called ‘Promote Yourself’, with music industry experts giving advice on promotion and social media.
We met “Beatboxing MC” Marv-ill Superlungs a while back, and marked him out as a talent to watch. Now he’s captured the nation’s imagination, as the beatboxer behind the Beatboxing Bird ad for First Direct. We’ve just filmed a brilliant interview with him, and can testify that he’s not called Superlungs for nothing! Here’s a little taste of what’s to come.
The second day of the amazing Music Tech Fest was full of surprises. Here are some of our highlights including new instruments such as The Seaboard Grand, music economy inspiration from Brazil, performances and very practical band help. All the while Music Hackers were mixing top bands’ stems, cocktails, and coding. Our report from Music Tech Fest - Day 1 is here.
Win a Line 6 StageSource™ L3t – 1,400-watt 3-way Powered Loudspeaker System with Embedded Smart Speaker Technology. The world’s most versatile loudspeaker system for musicians - a prize worth over £1645
The second, and sellout Music Tech Fest had a huge buzz about it. Mike Skinner (The Streets, The D.O.T.) sent over his latest aiff files, RCA Records supplied a load of stems for the Music Hack Camp hackers to play with, and there were amazing speakers. There was so much new stuff to do, see, hear and think about that we’re doing a separate blog for each day. Here are some of our highlights from Day 1, including Alex Allmont’s Lego sculptures that play rhythms, EMI’s strategies for artists, and live performances.
Guitar makers have been pulling out all the stops at recent shows, with eye-catching new axes - one-offs, limited editions and full production numbers. We’ve pulled together some of our favourite designs.
There’s been a big development in Apple’s GarageBand app, that’s opened up a whole load of exciting new musical horizons. You can now join your favourite apps up and record them into GarageBand for the first time. We checked it out with Yellofier and made some tunes.
Deux Furieuses’ huge visceral rock sound pins you to the wall. Their thrilling residency at The Water Rats in London has seen them dubbed “The half way point between PJ Harvey and the White Stripes”, and founding member of PJ Harvey, producer and drummer Rob Ellis, was checking them out at their most recent gig. The next Deux Furieuses show is on 2nd May.
There was loads of hot kit at the recent music trade show in Frankfurt - Musikmesse - and some top drummers playing it too. Here are some of the things that caught our eye.
French synth pop duo and disco lovers The Penelopes - Axel Basquiat and Vincent T - have done an audacious unofficial remix of David Bowie’s Let’s Dance, to “honour our hero”. It’s had an amazing response and is in the top 50 of the most popular tracks on Hype Machine, which aggregates the favorite songs of music blogs all around the world.
The Boss DD-7 Competition is now closed, but you can sign up to our mailing list for news of new competitions, events and more.
Online presence - love it or hate it, is essential and a great tool for artists. With endless new platforms and apps it can be hard to work out where to be and what to do. So the Music, Blogging & Social Media event organised by the great London Bloggers Meetup for 9th April, is pretty timely. James Howard from Google+ is on the panel, along with Kitmonsters’ Terry Tyldesley and Andrew Dubber, music industry advisor, digital expert and Professor of Music Industries Innovation at Birmingham City University.
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