The Difference Engine
Ideas on the Ephemeral in Live Electronic Music

We take a look at how improvisatory genres such as jazz have embraced the one-off performance and how live electronic musicians can incorporate more ephemeral elements.

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Production in Flux: What’s Next for Electronic Dance Music?

Is recorded music the only real kind of music? Of course not. That is... unless music recordings are your only access to music. Then those recordings are no less 'real' to you.

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Cuts Without Pastes: Electronic Music Artists that Fell Through the Cracks

Not everyone can be Al Walser. Despite their abilities and efforts, some producers didn't click with their audiences, ending up in some kind of digital purgatory. Alan Ranta looks at a few artists that, for various reasons, slipped through the cracks.

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Aesthetic Perceptions of 21st Century Laptop Performances

When laptops are used as instruments on the stage, questions of performance authenticity are raised, and for good reason.

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Party Machine: The Rise of Canadian Electronic Music

If Toronto is having a Seattle moment, as The New York Times called it, it's fair to say that Canadian electronic music is having a Chicago/Detroit moment.

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The Audibly Deteriorating Landscape

The ruins of Detroit identified a past that stands in contrast with Techno's futurism, but do the foreclosed homes, uninhabited luxury condos, and padlocked storefronts provide any kind of guide to tomorrow's music?

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Playing Guarde: Music Metacreation and the Vanguard

To create something or to create something that creates something; that is a question. But if you lead an electric horse to art, does it dream of the avant-garde?

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2011: Music’s Most Electronic Year Yet

Vestigial organs like industrial music and the radio dial proved vital in 2011, while house and dubstep were invaded by hordes of uninvited outsiders, proving once again that electronic and plugged-in music is at the vanguard of change throughout the world.

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The Survival of the Industrial Sonic in a Deindustrialized West

In the '90s, industrial music crossed over into the mainstream with heavy guitar and massive personalities, but blue collar labor itself was disappearing...

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Techno’s Labor Force, Rock’s Betrayal, and the Birth of the Fascist Groove Thing

Electronic music has always maintained an ambivalent attitude towards labor, at once rejecting the notion of wage internment and creative inhibition while embracing the beauty of the cyborgian mechanics of the factory and the allure of discipline and dominance.

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Idle Chatter About Paul Lansky

With "Notjustmoreidlechatter", Paul Lansky attempted to make a piece that would withstand the monotony of archival recording, future-proofed against the technological developments in the field of digital sound manipulation.

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The Extinction of Electronic Music Giants

The year 2010 saw two iconic music medium figures go out of production. Panasonic's Technics SL-1200 turntables, the primary tool of DJs since 1972, and Sony's cassette-based Walkman, which put mobile music in over 100 million ears since 1979. Both went the way of the dodo.

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The Science of Sleep: The Electronic Lullaby

In the age of access, it’s possible that Raymond Scott, Kraftwerk, and ARP may become as essential tools for infant soothing as “Rock-A-Bye Baby”.

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My Life With the Tape Hiss Cult

When we think of our experiences with electronic music, we can follow a thought trail that leads like a Wikipedia article from one incendiary album to many others. Their qualities are not always alike but for one: the nostalgic thread that runs through them.

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Chilled to Spill: How The Oil Spill Ruined Chillwave’s Summer Vacation

Empty nostalgia or a realignment of values, chillwave's alchemical waste-sounds may be on the cusp of a deadbeat summer.

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Amon Tobin Part 2: A Cool Acousmatic Cat

Tobin's goal as a composer was to create music that truly reflected the time in which it was made, and to see how far he could remove his samples from their sources before arranging them in new contexts. He achieved such an artifact with each album.

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Amon Tobin Part 1: A Cool Trip-Hop, Drum & Bass Cat

Amon Tobin has sought -- and succeeded -- to unite the two dichotomous sides of electronic music: to satisfy both the dancing feet and the theoretical minds of audiences worldwide.

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Things We Were Due to Forget: The Cold Undertow of Minimal Waves

When a music such as minimal wave “comes back”, it forces us to think about its lifeline, particularly its death. Yet what does it mean to relive a memory that we never even had?

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Ain’t No Cure for the Digital Virus

How I came to love electronic music... I got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell looped and thrown over a 4/4 or broken beat with a bad ass bass line.

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Electronic Music: The Invader and Infiltrator

Electronic sounds have come to occupy and permeate spaces focused on alterity, from the fringes of academia to the disposal heap of exotica.

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//Mixed media

Because Blood Is Drama: Considering Carnage in Video Games and Other Media

// Moving Pixels

"It's easy to dismiss blood and violence as salacious without considering why it is there, what its context is, and what it might communicate.

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