On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog. But they just might know you’re an MS-20.
Hector Urtubia – aka Mr. Book – has connected his synths to the Web and set them up for the world. Submit a music pattern, and send it off to the synths to be rendered to sound. It’s like Kinko’s, if they did analog synths instead of printers.
Hector explains more:
I created a web app (http://analogalacarte.com) which allows you to create a synth pattern, submit it and it will get rendered live in hardware on one of my synths at home.
That’s an MS-20 mini, connected to the world via Web tech. And below, a Shruthi-1 in the same role. Images courtesy the artist.
Not just another Theremin or KAOSS-style control. Now you’re playing with cubes. Image courtesy the developer.
Cue the Tetris theme, and start playing music by navigating a field of cubes.
So, you’ve seen X/Y touchpads before, many times, in hardware like the KAOSS Pad (or Lemur, or your computer trackpad). But AeroMIDI 3D does something rather different: instead of just a single X/Y area, you get an array of programmable 3D cubes floating in space, all triggered with waves of your fingers using the forthcoming Leap Motion connect. Use one finger, multiple fingers, different parameters, whatever you like, and notes and control messages are sent via MIDI to your favorite software.
You get three dimensions of control for each finger, if you like, and the developer promises low-latency gesture recognition. The software is available for Mac and Windows.
With Leap Motion apparently on track for a release next month, you could have your fingers on this very soon. And this is the second dedicated music app we’ve seen in development for the Leap, even before it has been released. (Leap Motion recently did a round-up of music apps; more are on the way.) Previously: From Gestures to MIDI: Geco Promises Music Applications for Leap Motion
This array of ports has the power that PCI slots on old Mac towers did. But will it be as practical? That answer may depend on vendors. Photo courtesy Apple.
“Pro” is a funny word. When people say “pros” in contrast to “amateurs,” “producers” rather than “consumers,” they mean something about relative seriousness. And in tech, they usually invoke these words when they’re looking down on tools they feel aren’t up to snuff.
That’s fair. Especially in music making and digital art where money is tight, people invest in tools because they deliver, not just to show off. And they’ve usually been burned by something less-than-pro letting them down.
So, when people see a machine from Apple dubbed the “Mac Pro,” they have certain expectations.
The problem is, the upcoming Apple Mac Pro doesn’t meet those expectations. It looks like a Dyson vacuum cleaner someone lifted from the maintenance closet on the Death Star. The innards seem promising enough: powerful next-generation graphics architecture from AMD meet the latest-and-greatest computational iron from Intel. On closer inspection, the design is functional, too: Apple has cleverly organized the whole beast around the heat intake.
What’s conspicious, then – what really upsets people – is the absence of internal storage bays and expansion slots. Apple’s machines have never been as upgradeable, component by component, as their Windows- and Linux-running brethren, but the most common needs to add storage media, video and audio interfaces, and the like have always been well accommodated by Apple’s pro towers.
The Mac Pro is the final departure from that design. And so, it represents a formal dividing line between expansion via slots and internal bays on one hand, and external gear connected by cables on the other.
This is a day a lot of us saw coming. Nor is it a trend restricted to the Mac. The PC vendors still make towers, but they have become specialist machines for gamers, producers, and server administrators, as sales in laptops (and now tablets, too, or at least Apple’s tablets) have surged. Continue reading »
Propellerhead’s latest cheeky tutorial makes no apologies. Reason 7′s Audiomatic Retro Transformer is, they say, the equivalent of tapping a filter on a phone camera app like Instagram, bundling lots of different sound attributes together into a single push-button setting.
This seems likely to produce some controversy. In fact, I’d for some time pondered writing an editorial decrying the Instagram Music phenomenon – digital music covered in layers of crackly fuzz for no terribly good reason, uncreative cynicism and artificial nostalgia posing as authenticity.
But let me for a moment play devil’s advocate … with the voices in my own head. Maybe I never wrote that editorial partly because I found the effect fascinating myself. I started actually using Instagram and loved it as an experience that was entirely unlike the experience of using film. With similar effects in music, I had an equivalent feeling: this was a digital experience that was independent from the hardware these effects mimic. So maybe there’s something else going on here.
As this tutorial point out with Instagram, it’s natural for an end user to think about end results rather than the many individual components that might get there. It’s also easier to get the brain to try A/B comparisons of groups of settings than to try to parse even more choices one parameter at a time, especially when those parameters interact. That’s true whether you’re a newbie or a pro. In other words, presets may play to our perceptions. They group together related attributes we already find pleasing (the look cross-processed 35 mm film or the sound of a cassette tape). But just as importantly, they allow us to compare results rather than get mired in individual details.
This should still beg some questions about originality. But maybe there presets like Audiomatic Retro Transformer can have some potential. There are three ways I can see them doing that: Continue reading »
Gold Panda is back with another full-length masterpiece. Here, any gauzy soft-focus fuzz is stripped away. The music is still warm, focused on chopped-up samples, and delicious, meditative repetition. But it’s more focused than ever, with a dry directness that lets his musical craft come further to the fore.
There is some narrative and program explained on Gold Panda’s “Half of Where You Live.” Some of that is hard to miss – exotic percussion, clanging away as though you’ve ventured out onto the streets in some far-off city, references in titles and vocals to place. And there’s a sober comment on the pace of poverty in a slowed-down Japan. But while an interesting read, I don’t know that it’s essential; perhaps the album is even more more a journey into the imagined places of Gold Panda’s mind – a glimpse of the rhythms of the world and travel through his eyes, a travel log of motion.
And through all of it, there’s an ability to make repetition of samples into a hypnotic experience, a reflection on those samples.
The terrific tastemakers at ISO50 land the exclusive stream – I’m always gratified when it’s a focused blog with an impassioned audience and editorial that gets the love. (PR people, take note.)
I agree with their take: this is one that could be around for years to come. It’s worth clicking the ‘buy’ link, to get it on physical or even digital. Hey, I like my digital collection. I listen in the precious moments when I’m disconnected from the Internet, the value of cherished times that streaming services might not appreciate.
Gold Panda spoke to CDM last time round about his work. Sampling is the technique, but it’s also the feelings he attaches to those sounds that comes across. It’s as though there’s a single impulse between his finger tapping the MPC, the samples arrayed in Live being cued, and some kind of emotional cue that makes them mean something.
Apart from the text we copied yesterday, audio developers can’t say anything about the contents of audio APIs in Apple’s new iOS 7. It’s all under NDA. So, instead, since Apple is all about feelings this week, let me convey the emotion I’m hearing about audio in the iOS update, in the form of a Facebook sticker:
But just as JACK and Audiobus are beginning to work together to make inter-app functionality more powerful, the Apple technologies under the hood should pack more power into all of these tools. The Audiobus crew have made an official statement, saying they have “big plans”: Continue reading »
About as compact as you can get, without compromises: the iPad (even mini) alongside Z1 gives you a full-blown DJ rig, complete with dedicated output, headphone cue, control. Image courtesy Native Instruments.
Native Instruments – among other developers – has now given you a DJ app you can load onto an iPhone or iPad. But that mobility is only useful in a club situation if you can cue tracks through headphones and comfortably control your mix. Lug along a lot of hardware, and you might as well go back to your PC. (And, please, no one say the word “dock.”)
The Traktor Kontrol Z1, announced today, is NI’s answer to the problem. For controlling your mix, it gives you a conventional 2-channel set of faders and knobs, for hands-on access to fades, EQ, filters, and effects. For audio, you get both stereo (phono RCA) output to the club, and a dedicated headphone jack for cueuing. Solved.
Fortunately, this gadget doesn’t become useless when you connect it to your PC or Mac. There, it’s a standard MIDI controller and audio interface. It’s connected via USB, running on the same drivers as other NI gear, and supports Traktor Pro (or the included Traktor LE) – so, for instance, you can use your iPad as a backup for your MacBook or the other way round, in case one fails while you’re on the road.
Check out the video, and you can watch the iOS and desktop versions all running together in a rather nice rig (approaching live setups as well as DJ setups):