cruft for the world.

September 26, 2005

Superflat Single #11 / catscam

Catscam is a recently resurrected Vancouver-based electronic group. We've secured this track from them for our Superflat Singles series: it's easily the longest single we've released so far. It's a sprawling, brawling explosion of murky electromayhem which reminds one of Gong and Fushitsusha in certain places. Turn it up loud and run for cover.

September 22, 2005


Today we feature a huge interview with Signalform, previously known as Dron and recording for various Eurolabels, and currently in collaboration with Tachikoma.

I is Ingo.
C is Christoph.
F is Frederik.


1. When did you start making music? And why?

i started making music in 1993.
i just wanted to try it out, and in the end i liked
it so much that i got stuck there.

In the late eighties. It was fun playing around with a
four track sequencer on my Commodore Amiga.

I the early nineties. I was drawn into it when doing
musical experiments together with Frederik.

2. Before you 'officially' began to make music, were
you a musical person? Or did you have a musical upbringing?

I: i did mix-tapes and had a couple of dj-approaches since 1987,
but i'm not really musically educated in a sense that i can
play an accoustic instrument or something like that.

No and no.

I was heavily infected with dance music by my brother
and tried cutting tapes, but had no musical background.

3. How do you see your music as different from that of
the artists that influenced your development?

as long as evolution goes on, people will develop their own
sound, even when they play in the same genre and had the
same influences. this is also reflected in our own music.

Hard to say. We onced recieved an email where the author wrote,
our music sounds refreshing. I think that's the best way
to describe it.

i value those artists for the things they do differently from
those i do myself, probably the same applies to our own tracks.

4. How do you think your music will be changed by the
development of technology in the future? Or will your music remain the

technology will change our music for sure, it always did.
i can see that new software technology will have a big impact,
especially when it uses a dedicated hardware controller,
but i cannot name the results. as studio musicians we heavily
use sequencing rather than playing live, so maybe a new
kind of sequencer will lead to massive changes our music.

Every technological possibility changes the music. Progress
enables us to discover new, unprecedented sounds. It is like
moving the deep space frontier a little bit further.
However the style will never change.

we will certainly find a way to warp new technologies into our
environment. our horizon and with it our music will change for sure.

5. Do you feel that an early exposure to video games
led you to become an electronic musician?

a clear yes. 20 years ago i liked chiptunes and
videogame/computer music better than most radio programs.
well, to some extend this is still valid today.

Yes. I liked the sounds of the video games and the demos.
These where sounds I never heard before an that attracted me.

sure. still those weirdly futuristic sounds come onto my
mind when doing a track and composing sounds.

6. If you could compose music for a musical ensemble
from another culture or historical period, what would that ensemble be?

that would be rather difficult for me, i don't think that i would
do it. but if i had to, i'd choose something japanese,
with a lot of percussion in it :-)

I think present time is a very good time to make music.

generally, i think electronic sounds have more edge over 'organic'
instruments. if i were thrown back in time, i could imagine trying
tuned percussion, percussive repetitive music.

7. Which natural (or environmental) sounds do you hear
that you would like to record?

a garden with singing birds, buzzing insects and floating water.

Water, rain, chatter, wind.

insects and traffic noises.

8. If you could design a musical instrument what
features would it include?

it would be an electronic instrument and
it would do all kinds of different synthesis
forms at once, with a fully modular concept.
it would have lots of knobs, jacks and joysticks.

A hardware controller for every parameter.
'Almost total recall': the value for every parameter would be the
same when you recall a sound. However the sound would be slightly
different and there has to be no way to discover why nor to restore
the original sound.

a portable, visually and ergonomically elaborated instrument with
lots of controls, every sound generating method imaginable and
a pattern based sequencer.

9. Do you believe that dance music is following a
progressive or a retrogressive trend? Or to put it another way ... is
there any hope for dance music? Will it become more interesting in the
future, or ape the past more accurately?

mainstream dance music is like fashion, new and old trends come in
alternating order.
the underground will evolve for sure. we just have to wait, see and

There is hope for dance music as long as future dance music will differ
from todays understanding of dance music.

dance music in my experience has always been about making an
so it will definitely evolve, selectively recycling but always moving

10. Electronic musicians often report that their gear
has irregular glitches. Have errors in your gear's
hard- or software ever aided your composing?

i own a korg ms20 which is slightly broken. it does strange
things when feeding it external audio signals, then it plays all
kinds of ghost notes and modulates in a really wild way.
this is very funny, so i didn't repair it.

No. Only errors in operating the gear.

i regard each real instrument as being a unique thing, so any glitches
are a part of its character which you can make use of. but i don't use
glitches conciously.

11. Do you ever build 'noodles,' or randomly
generative synth patches? If not, how do you introduce elements of
randomness into your work?

randomness is not an obvious part of our music, it is more "under the
we use random events for modulation purposes, not so much for playing

Rarely. Elements of randomness are introduced by human error.

as a source of inspiration, yes. controlled randomness in a track also.

12. Do you believe that digital technology will
liberate or constrict musicians legally (in your lifetime)?

digital technology is cheaper, so it will be liberating especially
for the underground scene, where the budget is always tight.

Neither of them. Digital technology is just another way with its own
possibilities and restrictions. Legal liberation or constriction is
not due to technology but politics.

any technology can be used to create, i tend to be optimistic about

September 20, 2005


There's only one thing Tachikoma likes about Vancity: Blim. Luckily, Blim's back.

September 19, 2005

Superflat Single #10 / self oscillate

Our superflat singles series has reached a decade!

And what better way to do it with this light, gossamer, airborne track, composed on a flight from Germany to Lanzarote by the oscillation station, Self Oscillate.

Stay tuned for a century more of singles!

September 16, 2005

Tower of Power

Tachikoma's cd is now available online at Tower Records !!! Check out his new bio there, and leave a review of the cd! Even if you've bought the cd from Shima or Blips and Ifs, you can still leave a review at Tower Records, and it'll make Tachikoma's sales go up.... and when sales go up, rainforests are saved. It's a proven medical fact.

Melty McMeltdown.

We had a meeting of the triumvirate of Blips and Ifs producers last night to sit around a computer and redesign our homepage. Instead we ended up sitting around a piece of cardboard .... because Moil's computer had a meltdown. He's the guy who does all the tech stuff (and so much more) for Blips and Ifs, so - there probably won't be a Superflat Single update this weekend. Sorry about that, but stay tuned and we'll find a workaround. We always win!

September 15, 2005

Unreal beats.

The closest thing I've found to another bloglabel on the web so far is the inaccurately titled -- only they do reissues rather than new stuff. But their tunes are absolutely pants-shittingly good .... especially "Bounce For Relief."

September 12, 2005

Superflat Single #9 / mad:ox

Drop the needle on this submarine hiphop instrumental from the Englishman with the English plan. John Maddocks, the owner of Shima Records, is behind the programming.

Hey have you ever listened to all 9 of your Blips and Ifs mp3s in a row? There's quite a flow, you'll find. You don't necessarily need to set your mp3 player to random mode all the time..... continuity can be friendly.

Japan Hallucination I

Shinto purification ritual at Engyoji.

Taiwan Hallucination IV

My apartment building in Wanhua district.

Hong Kong Hallucination I

Lantau Island.

September 9, 2005

Taiwan Hallucination III

Rocks are nice.

Taiwan Hallucination II

Karaoke always wins.

September 8, 2005

Taiwan Hallucination I

To go back there or not to go back there, that's the question.

September 7, 2005

Party at Tachikoma's house.

You know how we do.

September 6, 2005

Superflat Single #8 / [710W3]

L33ter than thou. That's how [710W3] lays it down.

This track is his breakthrough. He busts his ass, this guy: he busts his ass. And what thanks does he get? Thank-a-lot. Thank-a-nothin'!

So he gets a lot of pent up rage in his system buffer, like a 19-yr-old bass clarinetist in Air Cadets, and once in a while he blows his top, and records a long rollicking delayed-detonation track such as this one. Know what, I mean.

September 1, 2005

Superflat Single #7 / tachikoma

Belatedly, Tachikoma is here again to drop a forgotten gem from his 'unheard remixes of the beat poets' 4-disc box set. Click on the link to "blipsandifs007.mp3" to download it.

(The best place to listen to this track? Your mp3 player. Dump it over there now.)

Thanks to all who were waiting for this single.... rain poems are more necessary than ever now in Vancity.