CMKY Presents Hauschka at eTown Hall

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For our first post-festival event, we are pleased to present a special live session with Hauschka at eTown Hall in Boulder, Colorado. The event will be held this Thursday, April 24, at 6:00pm.

Hosted in collaboration with KGNU and eTownHauschka is one of the most recognizable 21st Century proponents of what is known as prepared piano – one whose sound is altered by the insertion of alien objects between or upon its strings, hammers and dampers.

Currently touring his new work, Abandoned City, the compositions awaken the loneliness and unattainable romance of timeless, unfamiliar places, with cinematic melodies full of resonant overtones, bright cheerful keyboard patterns and dark percussive touches. The tracks all bear the names of actual vacant cities. Hauschka chose Abandoned City as the title of the album to convey the sense of hope and sadness that consumes him when he’s sitting alone at the keyboard. “I was interested in finding a metaphor for the inner tension I feel when I’m composing music, a state of mind where I’m lonely and happy at the same time,” Hauschka professes. “When I saw photos of abandoned cities, I felt it was perfect.”

This program is supported by The Boulder Theater. Hauschka will be joined for this event by Blackbird And The Storm.

Advance tickets are available now via The Boulder Theater’s website. Click here to purchase. Get more details and RSVP for this show on Facebook.

Spotlight: madelife

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This year, Communikey is pleased to host a portion of our CMKY 2014 Festival programming at madelife. A truly inspiring organization, we took time out to chat with the madelife team about who they are, what they’re doing and where they’re going.

Communikey: Firstly – walk us through your team. Who are we talking to? Who is madelife?

madelife: Our founders are Mae Martin and Daniel Conroy. Leah Brenner is our curator and gallery director. Angelo Keely is our creative director. Frankie Graham is our music coordinator. Cain Czopek is our creative coordinator. We also have a bunch of professional creatives who work as mentors with us and a team of amazing interns.

CMKY: Madelife is a relatively new addition to the Boulder community, having only started up a couple of years ago. Why did you begin this project?

ml: We really wanted to create a launch pad for creative community in Boulder; a place where creative people could come to develop and manifest their dreams and goals. So really, the whole concept evolved around mentoring and connecting people. We also saw a need for a more urban, edgy and eclectic artist representation in Boulder that went beyond landscapes and bronze sculptures.

CMKY: You seem to dabble in a ton of different areas, from live music performances to art workshops and even retail sales. Can you break down what madelife does in a nutshell?

ml: In a nutshell, we want to launch and represent artists that we believe in. We do that with a highly curated store representing mostly small and local designers, two gallery spaces with monthly rotating art exhibits, a black box performance space that hosts live music and other performance acts, recording and producing content with artists in our video and music studio, and our flagship apprenticeship program that helps people achieve their creative and entrepreneurial goals.

CMKY: Do you see this model as something that could be scaled to other cities, acting as a hub for creative education and youth engagement in markets outside of Boulder?

ml: Absolutely. When we launched we were already thinking big and that we would be creating similar spaces all over the country.

CMKY: You’ve grown so much in the short time you’ve been up and running. What’s next for madelife?

ml: We want to do more collaborating with national and international artists and really grow our apprenticeship program.

CMKY: One last thing – are there any CMKY 2014 performance you’re especially looking forward to?

ml: Wow, so many great things happening with CMKY 2014 it’s hard to choose! The Whether Weather Installation sounds super interesting, and I’m excited to check that out as well as the DJ Boutiques and the workshops with Dubspot!

Spotlight: AudioPixel

We caught up with longtime Communikey participant Hepp Mccoy to chat about what his long-running lighting design company, AudioPixel, has in store for CMKY 2014 and the power of Deadbeat. Catch their installs at Apex Movement next weekend during our Dub Extrusions and A Family Affair showcases!

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Above, Voices From The Lake’s Neel performs at the CMKY 10-Year in front of an Audio Pixel install. Photos by Stephen Cardinale.

Communikey: AudioPixel started up in 2008. What inspired you to get into lighting design and go down this path?

Hepp Mccoy: In 1995 my brother indoctrinated me to the techno world by giving me a Plastikman cassette tape and taking me to several early American electronic music festivals. In so many ways I was obsessed — and still am since those days — with everything techno. I was always most interested in progressing the production and technological aspects of the electronic music culture. Around the age of 16, I started my own lighting company and soon found myself busy every summer weekend setting up lighting and lasers at raves all across Colorado. After moving from Boulder to San Francisco in 2005, I spent several years cutting my teeth in professional software programming. Inevitably, Burning Man became a huge interest, and to make a long story short, I found myself with a group of us determined to make “the most badass art car that will f*cking blow minds!!” Somehow we ended up throwing some wildly successfully warehouse techno parties in the SOMA district, and after raising nearly $20k we went and bought a shuttle bus that we built a 16′ steel dance platform on top of. As soon as the dance platform was up, I knew it was a chance to take my lighting projects to a new levelAfter acquiring some new LED hardware, I soon realized that the existing lighting industry solutions were rudimentary, expensive and did not come close to fulfilling the visions we had for programming immersive and reactive lighting content. Back in 2008, video mapping wasn’t even a thing yet and LEDs were just being used as flat video walls. Technically, the vision for that artcar project was the start of AudioPixel. I ended up spending the summer of 2008 doing nothing but programming and developing the concepts that would become the basis for the lighting software that we now use and distribute around the world.

CMKY: Walk us through your team. How many people is AudioPixel actually comprised of? 

HM: As briefly explained, I founded AudioPixel in 2008. Soon after that, a longtime friend and fellow programmer, Aaron Wilson, came on board as a key software contributor.

One of our first large festival performances was the Raindance Festival in 2010, where I was able to meet and work alongside Erin O’Brien. Little did I know at the time that I would not only meet the love of my life, but also the third amazing contributor that would spawn so much new life and creative energy into the project.

CMKY: You build many of your lighting rigs from scratch, tailoring their look and feel to whatever event they’re being used for. What goes into creating an AudioPixel show? 

HM: If we are lucky, we get to work with amazing crews like CMKY, Nexus, The Do Lab, Bamboo DNA, Audiowaska, Whomp Truck and so many others that have amazing stage designs for us to light. We often find that the artists we collaborate with see AudioPixel as a way to bring their visions for live performances into reality.

Sometimes we have the opportunity to design / build with the team months before an event, and sometimes we have to wing it on the spot; but every time it’s a unique, one-of-a-kind layout. After arranging the LEDs and wiring all the hardware, we then map out the equipment in relative 3D using our custom editor.

CMKY: Your lighting installs are driven by code. What is going on under the hood, so to speak, with your software? 

HM: Our goal was to create a platform that allows us to have no creative limits. Lighting designers using conventional software are often held back by being unable to hang lights wherever they want to, and seamlessly map them together in realtime using content that is aware of where they are placed. We believe we have achieved that creative freedom. AudioPixel’s concepts were built from day one around flexibility, and these techniques now bridge the gaps between audio-reactive visuals, immersive lighting effects and video mixing / blending in a 3D space.

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Andrew Bowen from Public Address basks in the glow of AudioPixel’s light show at CMKY 2013.

CMKY: You’ve done installations at the past few CMKY festivals. What other events or festivals have you worked with? 

HM: A few notable festivals have been lighting main stages at Decibel, Lucidity, Sonic Bloom and the Boom Festival in Portugal, which had over 20,000 people. Some of our favorite productions have been with some of the biggest sound stages and art sculptures at Burning Man; such as the Temple of Boom, Control Tower and Nexus.

CMKY: Can you give us a sneak peak at what you’ve got in store for CMKY 2014?

HM: We are working hard on our special collaboration with Cacheflowe this year. We long have been inspired by Justin’s work and although there were several times we had a chance to work together, it just never seemed to work out until now. We are especially excited because we both write custom software for live visuals. This collaboration is focused on integrating our two systems to work together for both lighting and audio-reactive projection-mapped visuals.

CMKY: Is there a CMKY 2014 showcase that you guys are particularly looking forward to? 

HM: Deadbeat! I had been a long time fan, and when he released New World Observer, it took me several years to recover from the album. Only had one chance so far to see him: a very special performance in San Francisco at Recombinant Media Labs. I am incredibly excited that he is coming out to Colorado this year.

Rundown: #CMKY2014 Schedule Highlights

Communikey Festival 2014 begins next Thursday, April 10. If you haven’t already gotten up to speed with what we have in store this year, we’ve prepared this handy narrative to walk you through the program. Read on!

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The festival kicks off with the ICAS Lab at Shine. Free and open to the public, this one-day symposium aims to facilitate an ongoing conversation between innovators who work in the intertwined worlds of culture, design and urban planning. That afternoon, our first DJ Boutique at eTown Hall — home to the CMKY 2014 Festival HQ — features Denver stalwarts Roger That and Seth Nichols, who have become local favorites thanks to their tireless gig schedules and deep record collections. Afterwards, the party moves back to Shine for our Opening Nightcap, where CMKY resident Tony Z and longtime midwest techno veteran Sassmouth will take to the controls and give Festival participants a proper welcome to Boulder.

On Friday, April 11, we start the day on a studious note with the first of our Dubspot workshops at madelife before firing up the p.a. at eTown Hall for our daily DJ Boutique. Ben Shreves and Ginger Perry will hold down the decks for this round, delivering an eclectic set of dancefloor wares reflective of their time spent on the Front Range techno circuit. Later in the afternoon, we will host our second Dubspot workshop at madelife before taking over the main room at eTown Hall for our passholder exclusive showcase featuring the acclaimed leftfield techno producer Rrose.

Please note: the Rrose event will be open to full Communikey Festival 2014 passholders only. Weekender passes do not include admission for this show, nor will there be individual tickets made available.

After a little breather, we will relocate to Apex Movement for Dub Extrusions: the first of two afterhours showcases to take place during CMKY 2014. Dub techno legend Deadbeat headlines, with support from the up-and-coming ambient techno producer Ñaka Ñaka and Denver’s own The Missing Link, who is preparing a special all-hardware live set for this event. Detroit icon Clark Warner, meanwhile, will warm things up with one of his classic DJ sets.

Moving into the weekend, Saturday kicks off with our third DJ Boutique at eTown Hall, featuring Ryan Scannura and Falling Into Places from Denver’s Deep Club crew, who are gaining notoriety for their house-inflected take on the techno aesthetic. Meanwhile, across town, Dubspot will help festival attendees get their learn on with two more workshops, focusing on deeper production techniques in Ableton Live. That afternoon, interdisciplinary artist Sougwen Chung will present her new Ecdysis Installation, which features an original score by Praveen Sharma from Sepalcure, at the ATLAS Institute Black Box Theatre. Afterwards, we set up shop at the Sundown Saloon for the Downer Happy Hour, where CMKY residents Ivy and Brandon Brown will set the controls for the heart of the weekend.

Saturday evening, we are pleased to also present our first ever Synesthetic Dinner Theatre at the Odd Fellows Lodge in downtown Boulder. Featuring a menu designed by Chef Lauren Ivey, who previously worked at the Abbott’s Cellar (CA), Poole’s Downtown Diner (NC) and Rioja (CO), the five course meal features musical accompaniment from Denver-based electronic musicians Ten And Tracer, offthesky and Radere. Each artist is currently developing a special performance piece inspired by their individual course. Additionally, they are set debut their collaborative ROTSTAT project as part of the event.

Please note: this event is not included in the Communikey Festival 2014 pass and is available only as an off-pass ticket. Only 48 seats are being made available for the dinner.

To round out our Saturday schedule, we move back to Apex Movement for A Family Affair, our second afterhours event, which is being hosted in conjunction with AfterHours Anonymous and Mother Earth Sound System. Hessle Audio boss Ben UFO — who has become one of the most hotly tipped selectors in the game — and Bulgarian techno auteur KiNK are set to headline, with Denver techno vets newnumbertwo and Scott Everett providing support with a special b2b set.

After a short respite, we take over Boulder Central Park for Into The Sunset, our crowd favorite park party. This year, we present renowned live techno act Minilogue. It will no doubt be a bittersweet moment, but we are honored to host one of their last ever North American shows. New York’s Eric Cloutier — one of the Bunker’s resident DJs — is set to provide support. His sets are always a treat, so be sure to arrive and early and stay late!

Once things wrap up at the park, we’ll take things back over to madelife for our Landing party, where Make Mistakes residents steofan and Time For Trees will present their mysterious Moon Eagles project. These guys are longtime cohorts of CMKY, so expect some deep familial vibes as they take Communikey Festival 2014 home.

For a full rundown of the CMKY 2014 Festival schedule, visit our website. There, you will be able to purchase Festival passes and individual showcase tickets, as well as get details on the installations we will be featuring around Boulder throughout the festival.

Rundown: #CMKY2014 Dubspot Workshops

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As part of our programming for Communikey Festival 2014, we are pleased to welcome back Dubspot for a series of workshops focusing on integrating the acclaimed music software Ableton Live into your creative process. Instructor Over the course of these four sessions, instructor Thavius Beck will explore everything from the fundamentals of Live to deep sound design and mastering techniques.

Dubspot workshops are hosted at madelife and free for all full Communikey Festival 2014 pass holders. These classes are also open to the public at $15 admission for each session. Tickets can be purchased by clicking on each of the workshop event titles below, or by visiting our website.

See below for a sneak preview of the curriculum:

Dubspot Workshop 1: Live Performance + DJing With Ableton Live
Friday, April 11 2014 at 12:00 PM
Thavius Beck has used Live exclusively over the last 5 or 6 years for his own solo performances around the world. In this workshop, he will give attendees an extensive look at his personal show setup and discuss various scenarios for setting up a live performance and / or DJ set with Ableton Live.

Dubspot Workshop 2: Advanced Sample Manipulation
Friday, April 11 2014 at 2:00 PM
In this workshop, Ableton Certified Dubspot Instructor Thavius Beck will discuss multiple ways that we can approach sample manipulation using the tools available in Ableton Live. Topics will include advanced warping techniques, time stretching with Sampler and Simpler, unorthodox resampling techniques and much more.

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Dubspot Workshop 3: Arranging, Mixing + Mastering With Live
Saturday, April 12 2014 at 12:00 PM
With Ableton Live, it can be easy to spend the majority of your time in the Session View playing with loops, but at a certain point you’ll want to take all of those loops and ideas and arrange them in a way that takes the listener on a journey and tells whatever story you want to convey. One thing that a lot of up and coming producers aren’t aware of is that there are some basic formulas used when it comes to arranging that can help make your songs more palatable and sound more professional. There are also some fundamental principles when it comes to mixing that can greatly enhance the overall clarity and width of your mixes without needing to use external effects or devices. We will explore all of this and finish off discussing various ways to master your finished mixes in Live.

Dubspot Workshop 4: Making Something From (Almost) Nothing
Saturday, April 12 2014 at 2:00 PM
In this more freeform workshop, Thavius Beck will demonstrate how easy it is to build the foundation of a song using only one sound in a multitude of ways. Attendees will start by recording a sound from a nearby source; and in the course of manipulating it in numerous ways, we will discover many of Thavius’ own personal techniques and workflow regarding resampling, routing audio, building effect chains, MIDI programming and sound manipulation.

Spotlight: Ear Candy Music

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Recently, we took some time out to chat with Chris Henry, the owner of Ear Candy Music and a longtime supporter of CMKY. Since helping promote electronic music in the Missoula rave scene back in the ’90s, Chris has been a cornerstone in his community, booking shows and ensuring that his customers – both online and local – have access to all the obscurist gems and leftfield oddities their record collections desire. If you see Chris floating around at CMKY 2014, be sure to say hi!

Communikey: You just launched online after running a storefront for many years. What does that look like? What sort of new challenges does operating in the virtual space present?

Chris Henry: We’ve been on eBay for a long time and finally got our own web store up and running recently. As Serato and other digital DJ technology started slaughtering our in store electronic and hip hop vinyl sales (circa ’05), we knew that going online and tapping a global customer base was essential for our survival. The new challenge with the webstore is to start figuring out SEO.

CMKY: Some could say you are a cornerstone of music and culture in Missoula. What is your history with the community there?

CH: I helped throw raves in ’94 – 95, started the record store in ’98 and then got serious about event production around ’00 in order to help the store. After all, more scene means more music sales. I did a lot of shows, which in turn got me interested in finding a space of my own. I then became a partner in a large venue complex in ’07 and was bought out in ’13. Now I’m focusing on the record store and our non-profit. All of this work has been focused on building community and promoting culture via providing recorded music, live performances, a bit of artist development, and the physical spaces to gather and make it all happen.

CMKY: What sets your shop apart from other shops? How have you managed to achieve longevity and maintained vitality all these years?

CH: Missoula has always had an insanely diverse, obscurist and esoteric record buying populace, and by serving these people for a long time – and being obscurists ourselves – we’ve learned a great deal about a lot of niche, underground music and where to find it. Our knowledge is strong enough to easily translate to a global scale, and we’ve managed to curate one of the deepest, oddest selection of records available in one place online. Missoula also has a low cost of living and doing business, and at some points our small pipe selection really made a difference. Now, the online sales dwarf the in store sales and are a huge help in keeping the storefront open. As far as vitality goes, it comes down to being an enthusiastic digger (in a wholesale sense) and having an unquenchable interest in modern music and whatever comes next.

How did you first get into electronic and experimental music? What brought you away from the mainstream? 

CH: I got into punk and new wave in junior high, and in ’87 fell in love with industrial dance music. I was lucky enough to grow up just outside of Chicago, which was an international hub for that scene thanks to institutions like Wax Trax and Ministry, so I got to attend tons of all ages shows and clubs and participate in a very vibrant scene. Then it was British rave culture in ’91-ish – thanks to artists like Eon, The Orb, Orbital, The KLF, etc. – and on and on. Other than some Def Leppard and Van Halen when I was 10 or 11, I’ve never had much interest in mainstream music, so it was a natural path.

CMKY: You have many other projects running, what else are you up to?

CH: I recently helped start a non-profit – musicaremontana.org – dedicated to providing music performances to assisted living centers, nursing homes, etc. After providing a lot of entertainment for a younger demographic for a long time, I figured it was time to put my energies towards providing something for a different group of people. It’s a fantastic project and such a win-win situation, so I’m really excited to see how far we can take it.

CMKY: One last question: what was your favorite live music experience? 

CH: I’ve seen a lot of shows so it would be a big list and would sound like “Losing My Edge.” I can say my fav Communikey shows have been (in no particular order) Nicholas Jaar & friends at the church, Guillaume at the first one, Nils Frahm at Odd Fellows, Fussible in the park, the whole dub techno showcase at the Planetarium, Pole at Atlas, and one or two I can’t think of at the moment.

 

Spotlight: The Missing Link

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CMKY caught up with Denver producer The Missing Link to talk about how he got started making music and what to expect from his upcoming performance at CMKY 2014! Check out his interview below, then head over to SoundCloud to stream and download his entry for the CMKY podcast series. Enjoy!

Communikey: When did you start writing / making music?

The Missing Link: I started experimenting in my early teens when my brother got a Korg Mono/Poly. I got Cubase 3.5 and a Roland JV-880 for christmas when I was 17 and haven’t looked back since

CMKY: What was your first instrument?

TML: My first instrument was the trombone in elementary school band; but  the first “gear” I ever bought was the Waldorf Microwave XT.

CMKY: How were you introduced to electronic music? What drew you to it as a creative medium?

TML: My older brothers exposed me to what they liked, so I must have been around 10 when I first heard The Orb’s Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld and Cabaret Voltaire’s The Arm Of The Lord. What really got me was seeing all the knobs on the Korg Mono/Poly, though.

CMKY: Walk us through your process. How do you work technically and creatively?

TML: I really just shoot from the hip and go with what the sounds are saying to me.

CMKY: What gear did you use to put together this podcast?

TML: An Electron Octatrack, MFB Tanzbar, Roland SH-101, Juno-60 and Waldorf Microwave XT were all used, as well as an Evolver and Tetr4 from DSI, and a Studio Electronics Boomstar 4075 (arp filter). I owe a special thanks to Doug Cavender and Ben Shreves for letting me use their gear.

CMKY: What can CMKY2014 festival-goers expect from your performance?

TML: An over abundance of knobs on the table is a good starting point. This new style I’ve been working on I like to call Future Dub, having been inspired by African Head Charge and FSOL as of late. The main feel is deep and dubby, mixing 4/4 beats with breaks.

Podcast 23: Roy England & Attentat

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To kick off our 2014 podcasts, we’re thrilled to share this performance from Roy England and Attentat, a.k.a. Thomas Kamholz. Recorded live during CMKY2012 as they warmed things up at our Apex afterhours, this extended set finds Roy and Tom churning out pure rugged techno action that set the stage perfectly for headlining guests Claude Young and Shawn Rudiman. As we get back to the grind preparing our CMKY2014 program and plotting the rest of our events for the year, it brings us great joy to bring this special moment featuring two members of the CMKY family. Happy new year, everyone!

Make Mistakes With Communikey: New Year’s Eve 2013

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To celebrate the New Year and see the old one off in style, we are pleased to once again partner with our friends at Make Mistakes! We will be taking over both rooms of Shine Restaurant & Gathering Place in Boulder, CO for this event, playing host to some of our closest friends and favorite DJs.

With Special Guests:
Public Address
(Live Hardware Set – Santa Fe, New Mexico – Make Mistakes, Mesa Recordings)

Set Times:

Front Room
9 – 10:15pm – Papyrus
10:15 – 11:30pm – Brandon Brown
11:30pm – 12:45am – Benjamin Shreves
12:45 – 2am – Alala.One

Back Room
9 – 11pm – Moon Eagles
11pm – 12am – Public Address
12 – 2am – Attentat & John Templeton

Full details are posted on Facebook.
Happy New Year! We can’t wait to celebrate with all of you.